Sunsets; St. Pete Beach Sunset; St. Pete Beach; Eleven 11 Lounge

life after 50, boomer travel, over 50“Where do you want to go for your 60th birthday?” asked my daughter A and son D when we were planning our family getaway for my milestone year. Since my birthday falls in January, I knew I wanted to go someplace warm, someplace not too far, and someplace fun. I had so enjoyed my time in Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach, Florida last January, that I decided it was a perfect spot for my 60th celebration weekend.

St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille, Florida, 60th birthday

Pass-a-Grille has the most beautiful sunsets.

In July, we booked a large beach house on AirBnb. It had three bedrooms and three baths. My boyfriend L and I stayed upstairs in the master suite and A and D each had their own bedroom on the first level. The kitchen was fully equipped with everything you would need and there were decks off almost every room for soaking up the sun.

St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille, Florida, 60th birthday, Airbnb

We rented a large house on AirBnb.

It was rather chilly during our stay but we didn’t let it dampen our spirits. Thankfully, the sun was shining more days than not — so we were able to be outside most of the time even if we couldn’t wear our flip flops.

Many Reasons To Love Pass-a-Grille

There are many reasons to love Pass-a-Grille. Nestled between the gulf beaches and the bay, it’s quaint, quiet and a great place to relax. The town has cute shops and seafood cafes. There are no high-rise hotels, except for The Don CeSar, an Historic Hotel at the entrance to the island.

St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille, Florida, 60th birthday; shelling; collecting shells

It’s fun to walk the beach and collect shells.

Anywhere you stay, you’re within walking distance to the beach. If you like to collect shells like I do, you’ll be pleased with the selections that the ocean waves bring to shore — just be sure to bring an empty bag for your stash. It’s also an excellent place to go birdwatching. Sit by the bay and you’ll see unique gulls perching near the fishermen. Plus, there are some of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen.

St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille, Florida, 60th birthday; birdwatching

Birdwatching is a favorite pastime in Pass-a-Grille.

It’s a short ride from Downtown St. Pete, by car, trolley or Uber, where you’ll find a vibrant city filled with an array of American and ethnic restaurants, museums and galleries, trendy boutiques and shops, and arts and entertainment. There’s also a superb Saturday Morning Market. It’s not as big as the PSU Farmer’s Market in Portland, Oregon, but I’d rank it pretty high.

St. Pete Beach, Pass-a-Grille, Florida, 60th birthday, Downtown St. Pete murals, Hyppo popsicles, swah-rey desserts

There are murals, fun shops and places to eat in Downtown St. Pete, including: Hyppo for gourmet popsicles and swah-rey for desserts.

Taking In The Downtown St Pete Attractions

I was excited to show A and D the hip and cool attractions that Downtown St. Pete has to offer. L and I were glad to go back to some of our favorite places from last year and see what was new.

Salvador Dali Museum, Downtown St. Pete , Florida, 60th birthday

Salvador Dali Museum is known for its architectural design.

The nice team at St. Pete Tourism, provided me with complimentary tickets to the Chihuly Collection, a permanent collection of world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s glass artwork, and the Salvador Dali Museum, featuring the artist’s paintings. Both are located in the city.

The Chihuly Collection; Downtown St. Pete; Florida

The Chihuly Collection is bedazzling!

Having missed the Chihuly exhibition at The New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx last summer, I was pleased to get a chance to visit the Chihuly Collection in the heart of St. Pete’s Central Arts District. We were all in awe as we walked through the 11,000+ square feet space, which “is dedicated to showcasing Chihuly’s unique installations in intimate settings, each complementing his works of art.” I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story. Definitely go see the Chihuly Collection when in town.

The Chihuly Collection; Downtown St. Pete Arts District; Florida

The Float Boat was breathtaking.

The Chihuly Collection; Downtown St. Pete Arts District

A glass-blown garden of color.

On Saturday, we stopped by the Saturday Morning Market, held downtown at the Al Lang Field parking lot, near the harbor. It’s an outdoor market with local produce, an array of food trucks and eateries, and arts and crafts pavilions. It’s not too far from the Dali Museum, so we walked there afterward.

Saturday Morning Market in St. Pete's Vibrant Downtown; Florida

There are food vendors and crafts at the Saturday Morning Market.

It was my second time visiting the Salvador Dali Museum. I was happy not to miss the last weekend of the special exhibit Dali & Schiaparelli, a sensational presentation of the creative relationship and works of fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli and Dali. Being a fashionista, I loved, loved, loved the exhibit. A and D liked the museum too. L isn’t much of a museum person so we let him rest and have a snack in the museum cafe.

Elsa Schiaparelli; Salvador Dali; Dali Museum; Downtown St. Pete

Designer Elsa Schiaparelli was inspired by Dali’s artwork.

Schiaparelli; Dali Museum; Downtown St. Pete

Some of Schiaparelli’s gowns were dramatic.

Schiaparelli; Dali Museum; Downtown St. Pete

Fashionistas will fall in love with the design house’s current couture collection.

Schiaparelli; Dali Museum; Downtown St. Pete

An inspiring Schiaparelli quote from the exhibition.

Eating Our Way Around St. Pete

Between all the restaurants in Pass-a-Grille and Downtown St. Pete, our tummies were well fed for five days.

On Thursday, we dined at The Mill, voted by Florida Trend Magazine as the “Best New Restaurant” in Florida. We took the waiter’s recommendations and ordered Watermelon Bruschetta and Maple Butternut Squash Hummus appetizers. L and I shared Phyllo Feta Salad and Seared Diver Scallops for our main course, A had her own serving of scallops and D selected the Crispy Roast Duck. We all agreed the service was top-notch and so was the food.

The Mill; Downtown St. Pete; foodie; St. Pete restaurants

The Mill is an award-winning restaurant.

Friday, I took the trio back to my favorite Bodega on Central Avenue for lunch. I was so thrilled to share the best-ever Cuban sandwiches with A and D. L knew how good they were from our last visit in 2017. We shared sandwiches, slaw, and fried plantains. It was all — so good, so good, so good! 

Bodega; Downtown St. Pete; Cuban sandwiches

Bodega has the best Cuban sandwiches.

For dinner, we made reservations at Acropolis Greek Taverna. On Friday evenings, the waitstaff sings and dances and they break plates, just like a Greek taverna in Greece. There’s even a belly dancer to serenade.

Acropolis Greek Taverna; Downtown St. Pete, Florida; Greek food

At Acropolis Greek Taverna you can enjoy belly dancing with your Greek salad.

Saturday was my honorary birthday dinner. L and I had eaten at FarmTable Cucina in the Sundial Mall downtown last January and liked it so much that we wanted to return. The delicious Fried Cauliflower starter was like a work of art with finger lime, golden raisins, guanciale, sea urchin aïoli. Equally impressive was the Ragu of Wild Mushrooms and the warm olives. We were so full from our meal that we skipped the dessert menu and instead went downstairs to the Locale Market and bought a few cupcakes to take home.

FarmTable Cucina; Sundial St. Pete; Downtown St. Pete, Florida

The cauliflower at FarmTable Cucina is like a painting on a plate.

Other days we stayed in Pass-a-Grille, for casual dining in the town center. We had tasty salads and sandwiches with fresh grouper at Seahorse Restaurant and The Brass Monkey. One afternoon, we went to Uncle Andy’s Parlor in The Don CeSar for ice cream.

Pass-a-Grille; Florida Grouper; Seahorse Restaurant; St. Pete Beach

Florida grouper is a popular menu item in Pass-a-Grille.

A Beautiful Sunset Bids Us Adieu

On our last evening in St. Pete, we drove to the Grand Plaza Hotel, a beachfront resort. “The Level 11 Rooftop Lounge, is a great place to have a drink and watch the sunset,” said my friend B, who lives in St. Pete. “It’s atop the hotel.”

Sunsets; St. Pete Beach Sunset; St. Pete Beach; Eleven 11 Lounge

A perfect sunset for a St. Pete send-off.

It was a lovely way to bid adieu to my glorious 60th birthday weekend retreat with my family. “Did you like St. Pete and Pass-a-Grille?” I asked A and D. They both shook their heads affirmatively. “It was very relaxing,” D said. “I think we’ll have to plan an annual trip here,” A said. “What a wonderful idea,” I replied. “A wonderful idea.”

It’s January 31st and my 60th birthday month has come to an end. Oh, no! I think I need to celebrate all year long. This card from my boyfriend L sums up how I feel about being 60. Are you 60 yet? LMK know if you have any advice to share about this decade.

60th birthday; turning 60

This birthday card sums up how I feel about turning 60.