Enjoy a first person perspective of what it’s like to spend “the perfect day” in downtown New Port Richey, Florida’s Sports Coast’s river city.
It’s a cool, calm, misty morning as you cruise along US Highway-19. With the Florida humidity having entered its season of hibernation, the water droplets that hang suspended in the air feel refreshing as you roll down your windows, turn off the AC, and welcome in a gust of the salty gulf breeze. Turning onto New Port Richey’s Main Street from U.S. 19-the coastal highway, you witness the glimmer of daybreak dancing in the road ahead, guiding you along the central artery into the historic downtown.
All at once, the sky bursts open in a vibrant smattering of oranges and pinks. You park your car at the water’s edge in Sims Park and unload your kayak, quickly disembarking into the magnetic current of the Pithlachascotee (Cotee) River. With your camera unholstered, you glide silently over the water. The natural beauty of Florida is on full display as at any moment you could catch a glimpse of a pod of dolphins or a fever of stingrays.
After several hours on the water, you’ve worked up a ferocious appetite so you return to your launching point, load up the kayak and roll through Main Street until you reach the edge of downtown. Christina’s Restaurant has been cracking eggs since the crack of dawn and you crack your back and yawn as a waitress greets you on the patio with a pot of fresh coffee. “Can I get you a menu, hon?” she asks. No need, you’ll have the biscuits and gravy. Waiting for your food, you look toward Main Street and watch folks on their morning walks, jogs and bike rides. They greet one another as they pass. Your server has returned with a steaming plate that she places in front of you. You dig in, savoring the pillowy biscuits soaked in a rich pool of gravy.
Stuffed, you excuse yourself to join the hustle and bustle of Main Street. Walking along, your eyes feast on the 1920’s architecture, spotting the golden dome of the Richey Suncoast Theatre but it’s the energy from the Hacienda Hotel that draws you near. The rising cupola stands tall over Main Street and you walk in its shadow while imagining the Hollywood stars of yesteryear who once gathered in the courtyard. As the morning slips away, you find a shady spot beneath an oak tree in Sims Park and instinctively reach for your camera before something stops you. You lean back against the oak tree and think of the day to come – a stroll up Grand Boulevard for some afternoon tea at the White Heron, followed by a wine tasting class at Sip – it’s then you decide that it’s alright to spend a few minutes alone with the salty gulf breeze.
Courtesy of Jacob Freid, Marketing Specialist for the City of New Port Richey