Dinners with Joy in Clearwater, Florida

By on August 2, 2016

By Norine Rae –

Summer vacations can be filled with lots of fun activities that can leave you needing a vacation after your vacation. Instead of being exhausted, my summer adventure to Clearwater Beach, Florida was more like an excerpt from the book: Eat Pray Love. Each day was filled with beach activities, local festivals in the surrounding communities, time with loving friends, and oh yes, lots of amazing food…all of which left me feeling very grateful.

The quaint cities near Clearwater Beach provide fun attractions for adults as well as families. If you don’t have friends in the area to stay with, don’t let that stop you. There are beautiful accommodations and resorts like the historical Sandpearl Resort, which I enjoyed touring during my visit. It is located right on the beach with wonderful amenities from the beautifully appointed guest rooms to the exquisite dining options.

If that is beyond your budget checkout Airbnb where you can find rooms for as low as $60 dollars a day to full homes at incredible prices. There are also many quality restaurants in the area, Frenchy’s is one of the local’s favorite. My friends suggest the Frenchy’s located just a block off the beach. If you enjoy grouper I recommend the grouper cheeks.

The main attractions, besides the pristine soft snow-white beaches and inviting warm water, are too numerous to list but here are a few: swimming with dolphins and manatees, which is high on many tourist lists, the Clearwater Marine Aquarium where you will meet Winter and Hope from the hit movies Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale, and the towns of Dunedin, Safety Harbor and the Greek town of Tarpon Springs; all offering great shopping and festivities and are easy to get around with the trolley system. Tarpon Springs is especially inviting with it sponge docks offering Greek culture with tantalizing food, boating, fishing, beaches and shops.

4th of July Parade FloridaOn the 4th of July I felt as though I had stepped back in time as we enjoyed the small town parade in Lutz, Florida and finished the evening in Safety Harbor with fireworks over the bay. I also had a chance to go to the Ed Fletcher’s Early Bird Dinner Theatre, which presented the world premiere of “Love, Lies and the Doctor’s Dilemma,” by Michael and Susan Parker. It was an evening full of laughs, delicious food and great company. Susan Parker even came to our table to wish one of the attendees a Happy Birthday. A great experience for the low price of $36.

But, by far the most memorable times during my vacation were meals with my wonderful friends, that I lovingly refer to as “Dinners with Joy.” There is nothing more precious than relationship. Dinners with Joy took front seat to the beach, festivities, touring and all the other activities. We ate, laughed, and cried together. Joy and her husband John are gourmet cooks or should I say, amateur chefs. With great company like my dear friend Rose and her boyfriend Eldon, Susan and Ralph, as well as others- we all ate to our hearts’ delight.

Each meal was prepared with love. I will never forget the joy of my pallet and warmth in my heart as we shared these tender moments together. With gratitude we savored each bite as we laughed and shared stories of the past and present.

I encourage you to visit Clearwater Beach and make some of your own memories, but more importantly, I hope that you – like myself – embrace the gift of genuine loving relationships and your own dinners with joy!


Norine is a lifelong learner, international speaker, minister, writer, mother, and friend. You can find her at: NorineRae.com.


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Dinners with Joy in Clearwater, Florida