I just got back from a relaxing overnight trip to Dade City, about an hour's drive from my home in the Tampa area. I'll be back later with all the details and photos, but first I wanted to share the schedule the folks at Pasco County put together for me.
If you're heading to the area, try this itinerary:
Stop by the Dade City Chamber of Commerce for brochures, expert advice and a lay of the land.
Spend a few hours strolling downtown Dade City's oh-so-walkable streets. It's one of those rare downtowns where motorists actually slow down for pedestrians. Browse the antique stores, gift shops, boutiques and other haunts.
Stop for a bite at Kafe Kokopelli or Lunch on Limoges, downtown's see-and-be-seen eateries.
Devote at least an hour to the Florida Pioneer Museum, a 16-acre property that explores the state's history. Be sure to check out the collection of dolls honoring Florida's first ladies, including the newest addition, Ann Scott.
Finish off your meal with a sweet treat and a cup of coffee at Betty Cakes.
Drop by Kumquat Growers, Inc.* for a tour of the kumquat capital of the world – and free samples, too!
Head around the corner for a locavore supper at Pearl in the Grove, a you'd-never-know-it-was-there restaurant that opened last year and is already racking up awards.
Check into the Hampton Inn, just up the road from the heart of downtown. The hotel is clean, comfy and affordable, with free breakfast, parking and Wi-Fi. Guest rooms are equipped with a fridge and microwave, so stock up on snacks at the Sweetbay Supermarket down the street and save money on dining out.
* Ever tried kumquat pie? It tastes kinda like frozen key lime pie. So refreshing! Greg Gude, general manager of Kumquat Growers Inc., gave me his mom's recipe. Find it on my Facebook page, where I'll be sharing this and other kumquat recipes in the kum-ing weeks!