A Tale (and Pics) of Serendipity in Gulfport, Florida

by Nora on February 17, 2014

  

I happened upon Gulfport Florida very much by accident (or serendipity, depending on how you see it).

I had been staying with a friend in south Florida, and in addition to needing some personal time and space, I had a “date” (the platonic kind) to meet somebody in St Petersburg who will be a part of my future tapestry and my next big destination (which I’ll reveal shortly – that particular story deserves its own post).

I just popped on to a short-term rental site to see what kinds of places I could rent in the area. That’s when I saw “Serendipity House” in Gulfport.

Now.

My normal travel researching style is to exhaust every single possibility before I make a choice. I research, then research, and research some more – a process I thoroughly detest but can’t seem to avert myself from, kind of like watching a train wreck.

But I was paralyzed. I knew nothing about Gulfport, save for a friend in the area who said “it’s really nice”.

 

And with that, I booked it.

Boy, oh boy – am I ever glad I did. I discovered a lovely little town that I’m so thrilled to have spent 10 days in.

 

Here is a collection of photos taken in Gulfport – taken with a Nokia Lumia 1020 camera-phone, which AT&T has kindly loaned me. (Stay tuned for a review of this phone, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, which I’m also testing out).

 

The beach in Gulfport is lovely, and although it was a dozen shades too chilly for me to swim, I enjoyed daily walks along the beach.

 

The houses are equally deserving of attention; full of colour and styled with a playful beach flavour.

 

Every Tuesday is a vendors’ market that features crafts, foods, jewelry, artwork, musicians serenading passers by, and more. You can even get your chakras aligned. (Yes, Gulfport is that kind of place).

 

By accident (or serendipity?), I stumbled on the very low-key but beautiful Ibis park. Not only are there copious ibis birds in this protected area, but also great blue herons, turtles, gators(!), nesting ducks, and an array of giant birds I couldn’t identify but loved to spy on.

 

I loved the sign in Ibis park warning people not to feed or molest (molest?!) the alligators. I caught sight of one, but didn’t get close enough to consider molestation.

 

One of the things I love about the southern States is the spanish moss. It hangs from the trees and creates an ambiance that is both eerie and beautiful.

 

Which one is your favourite picture?

 

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I was recently featured in Canada’s Globe & Mail, extolling the virtues of free accommodation and other tips to get the most value from your travel dollars.

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Tiffany Soukup of Vagabond Way interviewed me about my lifestyle and propensity towards free accommodation:

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anna February 18, 2014 at 4:30 am

I just looooove the colorful market stalls. Mine never come out like this, always a lot more muddy and messy. But all pics are beautiful!

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2 theprofessionalhobo February 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Hi Anna – I know what you mean! The first Tuesday I was there I tried to get shots of the market with my iPhone, but they just didn’t turn out. The next Tuesday I had the Nokia Lumia 1020, and everything turned out so much better!

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3 Fab February 19, 2014 at 3:38 am

Hi Nora,

you have crossed out my post!

I didn’t think you were so touchy for a small gag!!

Anyway, as I said in my PS of that post, I was just kidding!!

All the best!

Fab

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4 theprofessionalhobo February 19, 2014 at 4:51 pm

My apologies, Fab. I can’t find the comment; I must have deleted it by mistake. I’m sure your joke was very funny!

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5 Fab February 20, 2014 at 5:22 am

Hi Nora,

so you aren’t a touchy woman but you are a kind and diplomatic lady!

Ok, I’ll believe in your version of the facts!

Ciao!

Fab

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6 Pat Simon February 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Hi,

Love your column!

I live directly across from Gulfport in one of the high rises across Boca Ciega bay. I love to travel as well and would be happy to take you to dinner while you are here and show off the treasures (hidden or otherwise) of St. Pete. I am open every day and evening but Monday. Let me know if you have time and inclination.

Try the roast beef sandwhich at O’Maddys -fabulous, and the two for one dinners at Cote De Basque are eqully good.

Enjoy!

Pat Simon

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7 theprofessionalhobo February 19, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Hi Pat,
What a lovely offer! Unfortunately I moved on (a couple of weeks ago now) to the Emerald Coast, about 6 hours away. 🙁 Maybe next time…

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8 Sofie February 19, 2014 at 4:41 pm

+1 For the market! I love markets like that:-)
I’d actually love to visit Florida some time. The Keys and the Everglades, of course.

Oh and:
“My normal travel researching style is to exhaust every single possibility before I make a choice. I research, then research, and research some more – a process I thoroughly detest but can’t seem to avert myself from, kind of like watching a train wreck.”
–> That’s SO me as well:D
I hate booking accommodation and flights. It’s two things I always keep researching and I’m always afraid to book, worried that I might book wrongly.
Nerve-wracking!

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9 theprofessionalhobo February 19, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Hi Sofie – Ditto! I’m always worried that as soon as I book I’ll find something better or cheaper. And with flights especially – it’s such a cryptic search process, especially if you have options. Argh!

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10 Sofie February 19, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Indeed!
Sometimes options just suck:p

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11 Nora Tuchagues February 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm

Hey Nora

Love the second pic – it looks like you used one of them there fancy cameras to snap it. Hard to believe that it came out of a phone!
I gotta say that I’m also a fan of sign photos. heh heh no molesting alligators.

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12 theprofessionalhobo February 21, 2014 at 3:58 pm

Hey Nora (Tee hee – I’ll never get tired of that),
I’m really impressed with smartphone cameras and what they can do now. Stay tuned for my review of the Nokia Lumia 1020…..it has been a real eye-opener for me.
Ps – I can think of a lot of things to molest, but alligators? That one got me! 😉

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13 Ross March 10, 2014 at 10:34 am

Great photos. The wooden walkway one is brilliant.

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14 Nora Dunn March 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Thanks, Ross – that’s one of my favourites too. 🙂

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15 Shannon July 9, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I’ve read your blog for years and can’t believe I stumbled across your post on Gulfport! I’ve lived in Chicago all my life but my family has owned summer homes in Gulfport since the 1970’s when it was a small beach bum town. It’s still one of my favorite places in the world although no longer the quiet, secret sleepy beach community it was. I hope you visited the Beach Bazaar.

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16 Nora Dunn July 11, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Hi Shannon,
Is the Beach Bazaar the same as the Tuesday street markets? If not, then I think I missed out on the Bazaar. Boo!
Glad you know about and love Gulfport; although it’s probably a far cry from the sleepy beach community of the 70’s, I think it’s still a bit of an undiscovered gem….which adds to its charm all the more.

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