To kick off this tour of the Tampa Bay, my boyfriend and I decided to change things up for the weekend. We should be celebrating the first long weekend of the year with a trip to New York or Virginia or Denver or wherever our hearts desire – or where we can get the cheapest plane tickets.
Instead of flying across the state border we took a drive over the Sunshine Skyway bridge – while I held my breath until we were on land again.
One of the things I wanted to do while making the move to Florida was frolic in a sunflower field, and really do some aerial above the bright flowers. While I didn’t do aerial, I did have a bright and sweaty day.
In the past two weeks the sunflowers have been flooding my Instagram feed. I dug in and did a little research – totally just clicked on the pictures location – found a couple of sunflower fields in the area and zeroed in on Hunsander Farms.
This morning when I woke up – and then woke up my boyfriend – I asked if he wanted to venture down to Bradenton with me.
I chose Hunsander Farms for their u-pick sunflower field and produce market but I didn’t expect to be transported to Cracker Country meets West Virginia fall festival.
We pulled up and my eyes instantly settled on the little old west village that welcomes you to the fields. We followed the lot of cars – and there were A LOT – to the right to u-pick sunflower field.
Admittance fee was $2 per person (cash) – you cannot get better than that these days. PLUS it was free parking – when does that happen!?
We stumbled down the hill (theres a tube slide for kids!) to the sunflower field and were instantly transported the most instagrammable place in town.
Although the field was huge, we may have been a little late to the party with most of the big sunflowers being already picked or wilted from the blistering Florida sun. We thought it was sunflower season but I have just learned that even though sunflowers love the sun, Florida can be too sunny and hot even for sunflowers and the season ends mid-spring.
That didn’t stop us from taking picking a few lively looking sunflowers, taking pictures of the adorable me, and alllll of the bees!
We roamed around the field for about an hour, pointing out pretty sunflowers and watching the bison in the enclosure behind the sunflower field. One of the bison was flopping around and it reminded me of how my bunny rolls into his flops!
Once we sweated out all of the water we drank from the past two weeks – Florida sun, man – we trudged back up the hill with our very own batch of sunflowers. To pick sunflowers it costs (cash) $1 a flower and $20 if you pull the root. I’ve never bought flowers for anyone but it seems like a bargain to me!
We put the sunflowers in the car and followed the scent of fair food to their little dining area. We deciding on just buying two (giant) sweet teas before wandering over to their produce. But we first had to talk about the amount of jeepers creepers style scarecrows throughout the farm; welcoming you through the front gate, on top of the eat shack, hanging down from trees, and on the stage roof – everywhere. Now that’s true farm style there.
Here’s the fun part for me, attempting to pick out fresh veggies. Here’s the thing, I’m a TERRIBLE vegetarian. I actually don’t like most fruits and vegetables and I definitely don’t know how to pick out the ones I do like or am willing to try.
Well, I attempted, and I like to think I did a good job.
Since it is a holiday weekend, my dad being a dad is having a BBQ tomorrow for me, my boyfriend, my sister, and her fiancé. As I’ve mentioned before, my family is not very vegetarian friendly but my boyfriend and I attempted to pick out so zucchini and quash to grill up tomorrow. We also picked our two husks of corn on the cob because most of the good corny boys were taken and I did not have the energy to look through them all.
The one veggie I DO like and actually LOVE is eggplant. That stuff is GOOD! Every time I come home my mom always drives out to Trader Joe’s in Connecticut to ensure she can get the best eggplant and make me her famous eggplant parm. Well, she taught me (over the phone) how to make eggplant parm so I bought four. Or I can make eggplant grilled cheese or eggplant quesadillas!
Now that we are set on veggies for the week and we have completely sweated through our clothes we decided to head out. We had a little retail therapy sesh – even though Tyler would not budge on buying me a $1000 pair of Prada shoes and then head over to the perfect end to a south Tampa Bay trip, Woody’s River Roo in Ellenton.
We sat at the tiki bar on the water sipping on drinks and me stealing his fries – as any great girlfriend would.
Our trip down to Manatee County was the first of many Tampa Bay trips to come. Now that places are opening back up, we plan to take advantage (safely) of all the places the Tampa Bay has to offer.
We’ve been to many places in St. Petersburg (even though I feel as if we’ve barely scratched the surface) now it’s time for us to venture out, see what’s been lurking just 30 minutes outside of the city life.