This weekend rocked all kinds of socks, shoes, and other various attire that could be said to do so. Handsome arrived Thursday, and Friday was spent meandering around Lettuce Lake. We stopped at one end of the boardwalk, and I happily sketched away while he took the opportunity to nap. We met a lovely gentleman who was a fellow artist, and we happily passed some time chatting with him about various stuff. Then, we went home and proceeded to prepare for a costume party at Super Lady’s domicile. Sweet Shooter was kind enough to drive, and I was pleasantly surprised by how awesome the party was for me. Normally, I don’t do well in large groups of people, and a good portion of the people at this event were unknown to me. However, a perfect party is had when everyone is friendly and drunk in the enjoyable fashion, and that was exactly how this one ran. I had lovely conversation, enjoyed some Yuengling, and did quite well in a game of giant Jenga. Quite an excellent evening to be sure
The next day, Saturday, Handsome and I decided to go back to Lettuce Lake and rent a canoe for the afternoon. A totally perfect idea. The river was calm, and we saw many a beauteous bird and tree as we made our way. I have a deep fondness for canoeing, ever since my camp days. For a time, I was even certified by the Red Cross in canoeing (yeah, certification for everything these days). I learned most of my skills from a canoe trip I took through the Adirondack State Park. I was 17, and it was probably one of the best weeks of my life. I had not canoed since, but getting back into one on Saturday settled my heart in a strange and glorious fashion. I easily remembered the strokes to steer the vessel with little trouble, and I got to again enjoy the feeling of slicing through that water as though it were a silk curtain. I managed to get some lovely pictures of the trip.
Today was a fitting end to a fabulous weekend. We went to market, and then headed off to The Refinery for brunch. If I have not gushed about this restaurant, or even if I have, I simply must do so now/again. This is my favorite place to eat in all of Tampa, because it is a most unbelievable combination of everything I want in a restaurant. Local produce, interesting menu options, gourmet cooking, excellent drink menu, and surprisingly affordable. I went to brunch with the Gentleman once before, and I have not gone for brunch since. Today was just as unfairly delicious as I remember.
After stuffing ourselves senseless, Handsome suggested we go take a tour of the Cigar City Brewing Brewery. He had toured there last time he was in town while I was at work, and he was adamant that I would enjoy the experience. He was completely correct (which is not out of the ordinary). Though a very small brewery, Cigar City Brewing is a world renown brewery with seven beers in the list of the top 50 beers in the world (note that no other single brewery, let alone a micro brewery, can claim that many). Our tour was $5, and we were immediately given a pint glass, which we got to keep, and then taken into the small brewery attached to the tasting room. We got to fill our glasses with our beer of choice at the beginning of the tour. Handsome and I went for a dark called Maduro, and what a spectacular choice. The beer was smooth and rich, quite a delightful brew. I never thought I would be one to enjoy beer, but ever since I discovered the rich variety of flavor that one can experience within this beverage, I simply can’t get enough. The tour was concise and informative, and we then wandered back into the crowded tasting room. Handsome and I expressed how much we enjoyed the Maduro, and our tour guide insisted we try the Vanilla Maduro. I cannot even begin to describe how scrumptious this beer’s flavor is, even having had a fair number of different varieties in my short life. The fullness of the vanilla is a perfect accent to the richness already in the beer. Handsome and I were so taken, we bought a growler before we finished our pints. Top all this off with a charming conversation with a couple at the bar, and the time spent at the brewery was a worthwhile experience. Such a great weekend!