A passing thundershower drenches Main Street, but soon the sun breaks through and the sounds of a banjo and harmonica fill the warm, summer air.
I find myself wondering if the storm may have been worse if we weren't safely tucked away in Safety Harbor.
"It's an eclectic, quaint little town," says Heather Richardson, a local artist.
A TOWN WITH A TWIST
With little shops and restaurants, it's a bit like Mayberry, but with an artsy twist. As we come to a dead end on an otherwise typical street, we suddenly see an explosion of color.
We've run right into Whimsyland, a home at 1206 3rd Street that was put together by artists Kiaralinda and Todd.
"It evolved into this amazing environment," Richardson says.
Colorful mosaic art and mirrors and dozens of colored bowling balls are among the pieces of art.
"People from all over the world come to visit," she says.
During cooler months, the artists occasionally offer tours of the inside. But, the rest of the time?
"People come here all year long and walk up in the yard," Richardson says.
BUILDING A COMMUNITY
The artsy, relaxed atmosphere appeals to many.
"I used to be a high school English teacher," says Janet Lee Stinson. She, her husband, and two children moved from Canada to Safety Harbor about two years ago. She says she was drawn here by the vibrant community of local writers and artists.
Stinson and hundreds of others are working to build the Safety Harbor Community Art and Music Center at 706 2nd St. N. The center's exterior features many mirrors to show, she says, that everyone is an artist.
"It's a human mosaic here," Stinson says. "This town is full of volunteers and people who just want to have a loving community to live in."
OLD AND COOL
Local historians say when Spanish explorers arrived, the native peoples had already been living in what is now Safety Harbor for generations. You can still visit spots where they built mounds and fished along Tampa Bay. It's one of the oldest places around, but also one of the coolest.
For more information on Safety Harbor:
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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