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Fun in the Florida Sun at Yankees Spring Training

Shelly and I took a trip to Florida with great friends Pat and Lani Morrissey to attend the New York Yankees spring training in Tampa, Florida in February, 2020.  Along the way, we stopped in various locales to visit with friends.  

Shelly and I decided to drive so we could have the flexibility to see friends before and after the Yankees games.  We left Maryland on February 21st and drove through to St. Augustine, FL.  Shelly had never been there, and I was there as a young child.  After 12 hours of driving, we arrived at our hotel on St. Augustine Beach. 

 

On Saturday, February 22nd, we parked along St. George St., a pedestrian walkway through the heart of old St. Augustine.  The weather was cool and quite windy.  We took tours of the Colonial Quarter, the Pirates & Treasure Museum, and the fortress Castillo de San Marcos.  We also saw the St. Photios Greek Orthodox National Shrine.  Here are some pictures of old St. Augustine:

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We then had lunch with dear friends Michael and Lenore Grossinger.  Shelly and I worked with Michael at Aspen Systems Corporation.  We had a wonderful lunch at O.C. White's Restaurant, and recalled a lot of fun times at Aspen.  Here are pictures of Michael and me and the four of us:

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Meeting Molly and Marvin for Lunch

We left St. Augustine Sunday morning and headed for Lakeland to meet up with Molly Matison Bailey and Marvin Holt for lunch.  We met Molly and Marvin on our 2019 trip to Greece and we hit it off.  We ate at the Joinery and reminisced about our trip to Greece, and talked about family and future travel plans.  It was wonderful seeing them. Here's a picture of the four of us:

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Indian Shores Beach

After lunch we headed out to Indian Shores Beach to meet Pat and Lani.  Pat and I have been best buddies since 4th grade, and I met Lani during our first year of college.  Pat and Lani flew into Tampa Sunday afternoon.  We rented a really nice ocean-front, 3-bedroom condo on Indian Shores Beach named Joyce's Place.  The place was quite large with a huge balcony spanning the width that overlooked the Gulf of Mexico.  Here are some pictures and a video of the condo and views:

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We settled in and went to a restaurant named Caddy's for dinner.  We had great conversation, and returned to the condo for more talk and relaxation.  We had to get prepared because our first Yankees game was Monday, and we were really looking forward to it.  

On Monday Shelly and I went to lunch with Alicia Blackwood, a friend of Shelly's family.  We ate at Columbia in Sand Key near Clearwater.  It's a Spanish restaurant and it was very good.  We chatted for three hours, and Shelly and Alicia reminisced about their high school lives.  Here's some pictures:

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The first game was Monday night vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates.  We had good seats, by 3rd base on the visitors side (most of the seats on the Yankees side were for season ticket holders).  The game was not very exciting and ended in a 3-3 tie.  Here's Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole and his first pitch as a Yankee.

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Here's a picture of Shelly, Pat, Lani, and me before the game.

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Tuesday was an off-day, no game.  We relaxed on the porch in the morning and went to lunch at Guppy's on the Beach in Indian Rocks Beach.  It's a very good restaurant; Pat and Lani went there three times, and Shelly and I twice.  

Wednesday's game was 1:05 pm against the world series champion Washington Nationals.  We got there early and watched batting practice and tried to get autographs (we got one Yankee and one National, but they were minor-leaguers and I did not know them).  This game was very exciting and the Yankees won 8-2 in a rain-shortened 5 inning game.  Here's some pictures:

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Thursday was game 3 against the Tampa Rays, a tough team in the same American League East Division as the Yankees.  It was a gorgeous day, but very windy.  The Yankees won 7-1 and Shelly and I were filmed and made the jumbotron (we're below the letter K behind the 4 people in the front)!

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We had a wonderful time at spring training and loved spending time with Pat and Lani.  The companionship and conversation was great and we hope to attend spring training with them again. 

 

We departed Friday morning and visited the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.   The museum has several dozen pieces by Salvador Dali, and a couple dozen by other surrealist artists.  We learned a lot about Dali and surrealism.  We bought a Christmas ornament depicting one of his melting clocks.  

We spent Friday afternoon and evening with our friends Lisa and Todd.  Lisa is Shelly's BFF from high school.  We spent the day at their house and enjoyed the weather and a wonderful dinner.  Lisa and Shelly browsed their high school year books and talked about former boyfriends, jobs, and fun times.  Here's a couple pictures.

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We spent Friday night in Clearwater and Saturday morning headed to Bradenton to have lunch with friends Jeannie and Craig Harvey.  We had a wonderful lunch at their club, and took a nice picture.

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We then drove to Punta Gorda to have dinner with Shelly's childhood friend Karen Quint Kalvin and her husband Tom.  We had a wonderful time, and listened and danced to a band performing hits from the 70's.  Here's some pictures, including a beautiful sunset Shelly caught.

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We spent the night in Sarasota and headed home Sunday morning.  The trip was a lot of driving, but wonderful.  We're ready to do it again!

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