Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Scotland in Florida

Dunedin, Florida is a town that advertises itself as "the real Florida," away from the glitz of the beaches, the tacky strip malls and the high priced attractions. Settled by Scots in the 19th century and using the Gaelic name of Edinburgh, it is a charming place in the sun with lots of pleasant, reasonably-priced restaurants and some nearby natural attractions.
The downtown area has a low-rise, almost Victorian look with lots of big trees and brick streets. Main Street is the location of most of the pubs and restaurants. Some that are worth a visit are Bauser's, a pub that allows dogs and whose exterior walls are decorated with dog protraits; Sea Sea Riders, with  covered outdoor terrace dining; Casa Tina for Mexican food and decor; Pan y Vino for delicious pizza and an extensive wine selection; and The Living Room for Armenian food served in a luxurious setting that includes some interesting books you can read while you wait for your meal. (I found a good book on the Chechen War there.)
There is a pretty Bed and Breakfast inn called Meranova right downtown, but it is fairly expensive. Nearby, a cafe called British Delicious serves specialties from the islands, as does a British-themed pub at the marina called Crickets. Dunedin also boasts a Lawn Bowling club, a Highland Festival and other occasions when you are likely to see men in skirts carrying bagpipes. The town is home to a lot of artists, and Art Fairs downtown are frequent. The local library on Douglas Street is a good place to pass some time, and for its size has a good selection of books, including used books you can buy for as little as 50 cents. Marguerite's Cafe right next door is convenient for lunch al fresco in warm weather.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday you can travel to Dunedin without using a car from Clearwater Beach, downtown Clearwater or Tarpon Springs on the Jolley Trolley. Dunedin is also served by local buses.
Last but not least, Dunedin is home to the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training and to the minor league Dunedin Blue Jays in the regular season. The town attracts a lot of Canadians for its baseball and Scottish heritage.


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