GETAWAY THE MAGAZINE OF TRADEWINDS ISLAND RESORTS | 2016
2 Strolling the Shores Discoveries with Captain Tim 6 A Day in the Life Meet Dan the Man 8 I Love My Job Because Building the best service team 12 Live Like a Local Browsing galleries and shops 15 Kickin’ it by the Sandbox It’s all happening beachside 16 Sandy Toes & Salty Kisses Capturing the memories 18 RumFish Grill at the Airport Fish tank installation drama 22 29 Years of Meetings Training over 55,000 teachers 24 The Art of Nature Works by local artists on display
28 Bellissima A taste of Italy on the beach 32 Bird Watching An interview with Beaker 34 Vacationing with Tots Paradise without the passport 38 Introducing SNUBA® A safe and easy way to explore underwater 40 Dessert Makes People Happy A pastry chef shares her passion 42 Birds & Fish from Florida Put your local knowledge to the test 44 Bloody Marys Walkabout A tour of unique concoctions 46 BlueGreen Vacations The perfect vacation combination 48 Social Sharing Your Instagram memories 49 Discounts and Rewards A vacation concierge can help GETAWAY magazine is produced and published by the Marketing Department of TradeWinds Island Resorts. Editor in Chief | Lynda Waters Creative Director | Sean Godonis Art Director | Terri Rickman Staff Photographers | Wendy Yoder, Sean Godonis Cover: Steve Beaudet Photography
TradeWinds Island Resorts 5600 Gulf Blvd., St. Pete Beach, FL 33706 727.363.2215 | JustLetGo.com TradeWindsWeddings.com | TradeWindsMeetings.com © 2016 All rights reserved. Printed in the USA
MAKING IT PERSONAL I hope you enjoy this issue of our Getaway magazine, and that the stories and photographs remind you of some of your own stays here at TradeWinds Island Resorts. Vacation memories can be some of our most precious, and they often remain with members of our family and friends the longest. Thank you for trusting TradeWinds as your host for those times away from the hustle and hassle of everyday life. As a company, we made some big commitments for 2016. We purchased additional property between Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost, which currently serves as parking for our employees. This gives us the opportunity to develop the space in the future, bringing TradeWinds Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost even closer together. The second commitment was to those employees themselves. Building on our “Culture that Rocks” philosophy initiated late last year, we launched into 2016 with an aggressive campaign to hire and train the very best employees to serve our guests. We committed to celebrating our employees with videos called “a day in the life.” We instituted our own employee app for smart phones so just about everyone could get the latest information, and there’s even an “Ask Keith” section, where employees can ask me anything. And, we committed to many wage increases with no position in the company paying less than $10 per hour. We know that your experience here at TradeWinds is different from other places you could choose to stay. Not only do we have more unique offerings, but we are confident we have the best, friendliest, and most helpful team of hospitality professionals. This issue of GETAWAY is dedicated to sharing many of the stories of our team. I hope you enjoy the articles, and of course I hope to see you here on our beautiful beach again soon!
Keith Overton, CHA President, TradeWinds Island Resorts
Photo courtesy of Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater
By Helen Anne Travis
im Kehoe strides across the sand to the people waiting for him under the cabana. They smile at him sleepily and politely cover their yawns.
“Good morning, everyone,” he booms.“I’m Captain Tim.” It’s 7:30 a.m. and the sun is just peeking over the buildings to the East. About a dozen people, ranging in age from eight months to eighty, have gathered for the Captain’s Morning Beach Walk. As he leads his group to the waterline, Captain Tim names the birds out searching for breakfast. That massive beast coasting above the shallows is a pelican, he explains. Those tiny birds looking for mole crabs are called sanderlings. Just as they reach the shore, an osprey with a five-foot wingspan dives into the water in front of them. It emerges seconds later with a fish wiggling in its talons. As it flies away, the osprey emits a high-pitched squeak that sounds deceptively delicate for such a large bird.
“Cool!” exclaims one of the kids. Even the grownups are awake now.
WITH CAP TAI N T I M
As they squish-squash across the sand, young and old pepper him with questions. “Will we see a dolphin?” “Do manatees bite?” “What kind of fish can we catch around here?” Captain Tim smiles and answers: “If we’re lucky.” “No, they’re gentle giants.” “Grouper, snapper, permit, amberjack, triggerfish, sea bass and the occasional wahoo, to name a few.” He remembers his own excitement when he first came to Florida 25 years ago. He was only supposed to stay two weeks, but then he found out he could fish every day here. He went home to Cape Cod long enough to sell his motorcycle, give his landlord notice, and pack his truck to return to Florida for good. At the water’s edge, Captain Tim shows the group a large striped cockleshell. He used to carry a shell guide on his morning walks, but now he knows them all by heart. There’s the tiny butterflywinged coquina, the brown fan of the pen shell, the pointy ridges of the Florida fighting conch. “Did you know the whole beach is made of crushed shells?” he asks the crowd, now wide awake and scanning the waterline for manatees and dolphins. “It’s why our sand is so pristine white.”
“Well, not entirely pristine,” he adds, picking a plastic bag out of the water. “You know these bags take 20 years to decompose in the ocean? And when they are floating in the water they look like jellyfish, which is a favorite food of sea turtles.” The sun is above the buildings and the predawn sky has turned from pink to blue. The high thin clouds of sunrise are gone and the day is crystal clear. Behind them, the cabana team is popping open beach umbrellas. A few kids have run ahead and are peering at something in the water. “What is that?” Captain Tim catches a quick glimpse of the stingray’s barbed tail as it darts away. He explains that between May and October you need to do the “stingray shuffle” when entering the water. He shows them the move that frightens any nearby rays and saves your feet from their sting. “It would make a 300-pound man cry,” he says. Then he breaks into a dance, snapping his fingers and crooning, “Doooo the stingray shuffle.” Everyone laughs. At the end of the mile-long walk, the kids stop to admire the JetLev team buzzing like Buck Rodgers over the water. The group is back at the cabana where they first met that morning. No one’s yawning now. “If you had a good time on today’s walk, then my name is Captain Tim,” he tells everyone as they part ways. “If you didn’t, then my name is Todd.” The cabana guys chuckle. Todd’s their boss, the TradeWinds beach service manager.
“Doooo the stingray shuffle.”
During Captain Tim’s Morning Beach Walks you might encounter a Florida fighting conch, or at least one of its shells. The conchs live in water five to 25 feet deep. Don’t worry if you see one of these guys while you’re paddling about. Despite their name, the Florida fighting conchs aren’t looking to exchange blows (unless you’re a male interested in one of their lady friends). Their shells, which can grow up to four inches long, are a real treasure for beachcombers. Hit the beach after a nasty storm and you may find hundreds swept ashore. During their breeding season each spring, you may see the conchs closer to the shore. Unlike other mollusks, which lock themselves in their shells when pulled out of the water, the Florida fighting conch lives up to its name. It will thrash wildly, trying to escape. If you find a live shell, remember what Captain Tim always says: “If they’re home, leave them alone.”
DantheMan Dan McLaughlin Grounds & Public Areas Manager
TRADEWINDS TRADEWINDS GETAWAY GETAWAY
More People, More Videos Take a peek into a Day in the Life of several TradeWinds employees. These videos capture Captain Tim “amazing!” Kehoe, Liz “very adventurous” Baldwin, Audra “hostess with the mostest” Vogintiene, and Doug “tall tale” Rogers.
Or check out our cooking demonstrations and “Hook It and Cook It” recipes by the chefs at RumFish Grill.
The TradeWinds Way videos showcase how our employees extend “above-and-beyond service” to our guests.
eet Dan McLaughlin, one of the relatively rare Florida natives who works at TradeWinds. Though “home grown,” Dan has the distinction of traveling through 17 countries, in seven months, by himself. Dan grew up in Treasure Island, the island just north of St. Pete Beach. “When you are used to watching the sun set over that gorgeous Gulf of Mexico, you really miss the beach when you haven’t seen it for a few months,” says Dan. Some of the high points of his trip were scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, riding a camel around the pyramids, sleeping under the stars in the desert, and climbing a glacier and a waterfall in New Zealand. “I spent three months traveling in Europe. What impressed me there were the centuries of history, the castles, the cathedrals. Just amazing. But New Zealand was my favorite
country. If I had the chance, I really would consider living there.” How did that trip change the way he looks at life? “I was really reserved. But when you’re on your own, you either strike up a conversation with a perfect stranger or you’re lonely. Travelers share the same passion. I met people that I still keep in contact with. And that trip definitely gave me the confidence I needed to be comfortable leading a team of diverse individuals.” Dan McLaughlin is Grounds and Public Areas Manager for TradeWinds Island Resorts. When you visit the resorts, you are likely to see him straightening loungers, checking on his team and interacting with guests around property. “I just want the guests to have a good time, have fun with their kids in the pool, and have a frosty margarita.” JUSTLETGO.COM
I Love My Job Because
t was still a little bit cool when several hundred employees of the morning shift trekked out to the beachfront and yelled “I love my job!” while a drone camera flew overhead. The Beach Team had already been super-busy with a last-minute request to spell out the message with blue beach towels packed into trenches dug in the sand.
So what was it all for? It was the kickoff to TradeWinds’ world-class employment campaign that started in late December. That’s generally a little early for Florida beach resorts to begin hiring the additional staff needed for the higher occupancy months of Spring and Summer.
Tamika, Hostess S Kat, Guest
Tyson, Che f
TRADEWINDS TRADEWINDS GETAWAY GETAWAY
“We wanted the most enthusiastic, friendly and experienced team to serve our guests, with plenty of time to train them in ‘the TradeWinds way’. Who better to appeal to those people than our own great employees?” stated Keith Overton, President of TradeWinds Island Resorts.
A new website, ILoveMyJobBecause.com, was created and numerous enthusiastic TradeWinds team members shared their feelings about working here at TradeWinds in a 90-second video. Their voices were heard on local radio. They were featured on television spots airing on the local network and cable stations. Ads ran in the Tampa Bay Times and local neighborhood papers. The Human Resources crew held one huge Job Fair over the span of two days in January. Over 400 candidates came in and 88 new team members were hired. Two more job fairs were held, one with a DJ doing a remote broadcast from the resort! Word quickly spread among the hospitality community that TradeWinds was paying more as a starting rate than the other properties on the beach, and was offering a signing bonus up to $2,000 based on hospitality job experience.
A Referral Bonus Program was already in place that awards current employees with up to $150 for each new employee they refer. There is no limit to how many new employees someone can refer, and virtually no stipulations. Beginning shortly after he started, Chef Tyson Walters (one of the campaign â€œstarsâ€?) triggered a chain of seven (and counting) referrals for multiple food and beverage positions. TradeWinds was one of only 3 local hospitality companies to make the Tampa Bay Times Top 100 Workplaces in 2016, ranking #13 (and the only hospitality company) in the large company category. TradeWinds allocated more than $2.4 million in 2016 for increases; and in 2015, nearly 300 people were transferred or promoted. 60% of managers have been promoted from within.
usekeepin g o H , e t t e n r She
Tiffany, Ba rtender
behind the scenes I love my job because...
he TV Dream Team video crew charged into the normal workday, and our employee partners stopped their daily tasks for interviews, make-up, coaching and “Take 2, Take 3”. Others came in on their day off, made sure all the cabanas on the beach looked pretty for the camera, interrupted setups for groups and banquets, lit all the fire tables and rearranged the furniture in The SandBox. It takes the whole team to say “It’s a wrap!” Visit ILoveMyJobBecause.com to watch the video.
Billboard design featuring Tyson from RumFish Grill
The changes they’ve seen!
In an industry that typically has more than 100% employee turnover annually, TradeWinds has long been a standout for long-tenured employees. Over 150 employees have been with us 10 or more years; and that doesn’t count those people who may have moved or had a break in service and then returned!
Patti Pierce, 30 years “I can hardly believe 30 years ago I walked behind the front desk at 3 p.m. to start my shift. I’m still here, but now in the Revenue & Reservations Department. Life is good at TradeWinds!”
Dean Fortune, 34 years “So much has changed, but much is the same. When we opened TradeWinds back in ’86, our focus was on personalized service and a professional staff: hopefully, that will never change!”
Donnie Robinson, 36 years “I remember the Brown Derby (where RumFish Grill is today) and a laundry chute next to Room 1822. I’ve worked laundry, grounds and now as a houseman. A lot has changed, and I still like what I do!”
Margarita Yepes, 30 years “I started as a Concierge with a white blouse and pink bow; the first uniforms! Banquets is my life; my staff is my family; it fulfills my heart.”
LIVE LIKE A LOCAL
Behind the 600 Block
Morean Arts Center
Vincent William Gallery
You’ve probably heard of the worldclass museums – Dali, Museum of Fine Arts (MFA to us locals), Chihuly – that have made this part of Florida an acclaimed arts mecca. But what you may not know about are the scores of art galleries that also await to delight and inspire you. by Angela Mitchell
Turns out, countless artists call Tampa Bay home and their creations grace galleries throughout the area. Whether you want a one-of-a-kind souvenir or the next gem for your personal collection, here are just a few suggestions for an unforgettable gallery-hopping adventure. Morean Arts Center
Corey Avenue Head north on Gulf Boulevard to the charming downtown area of St. Pete Beach and its historic Corey Avenue (one block past 73rd Avenue). First up, the Vincent William Gallery, where “a collection of fine, fun, functional and fabulous art” awaits. Representing more than 40 local artists, this longstanding and beloved gallery offers everything from stained glass lamps to sterling silver cuffs. Venture further down this eclectic enclave to The Art Expo for more original wares, from unique paintings, pottery and paper weights to hand-painted stools, mailboxes and pillows. After you’ve shipped off your finds (both galleries will handle the shipping for you) and donned your new jewelry, take a break at the local watering hole, the Swigwam, which relocated to Corey Avenue after decades on the beach. It’s a gallery in its own right, with signed dollar bills from patrons adorning the walls in true Key West-dive bar fashion – not to mention the Miami Vice-era autographed photo of Don Johnson in the women’s bathroom.
Downtown St. Petersburg Next, head off the beach to the city sidewalks of downtown St. Petersburg, where no less than 46 art galleries are yours to peruse. (For the full list, log onto StPeteArtsAlliance.org and go to the Directory page.) Start with a stroll down Central Avenue beginning at the corner of 7th Street, home to the Morean Arts Center. Check out their contemporary art exhibits – they’re free and open to the public – then stop by their Gallery Store for a variety of local art to buy. >>> JUSTLETGO.COM
Around the back of the center, you’ll discover their Glass Studio and Hot Shop. For $8.95 you can see resident glass artists performing this ancient art form, from furnace to cool down. As you watch the gaffer blowing the glass, an assistant will give you the lowdown on the artistic vision, science and steps of the process. The adjacent Hot Shop sells all of the glass creations made in the studio, including ornaments, jewelry, vases and more. (You can also shop at the Hot Shop without purchasing a ticket to the Glass Studio.) The Glass Studio also offers a “Personal Glass Experience” for $75, where you can work oneon-one with a demonstration artist to learn the fundamentals of glass blowing and create your own masterpiece.
Glass Studio and Hot Shop
Continue down Central Avenue to a variety of galleries (plus plenty of great shops and cafés) between 7th and 6th Streets, home to the historic Crislip Arcade, which has been renovated and offers low-rent studio and gallery space to bolster the city’s thriving arts community. Just one of the gallery/shops to check out is Strands of Sunshine, offering beautiful handmade jewelry, pottery, paintings and more. (Here you’ll also find a souvenir St. Pete t-shirt that you’ll actually want to wear.) To finish the perfect afternoon of gallery-hopping, walk one more city block to the corner of 5th Street and Central, where the Florida CraftArt gallery (free admission) awaits. The shop is filled with a wide variety of handmade works from Florida artists in clay, fiber, glass, jewelry, metal, paper, mixed media and more.
Strands of Sunshine
Strands of Sunshine
TRADEWINDS GETAWAY Florida CraftArt
Tampa Bay Lightning Watch Party at sunset
Tampa Bay Rays Watch Party
Kickin’it BY THE
SANDBOX From hockey to honky tonk, baseball to corn hole, there’s always something extraordinary happening around The SandBox at Guy Harvey Outpost.
Suntan Boot Jam
Tampa Bay Lightning Watch Party
Suntan Boot Jam JUSTLETGO.COM
s e o t y d n a & s S e s s i k y t l Sa A N I NTERV IE W WIT H VAL RIT T E R, P H OTOGRAPH E R
Every wedding should be unique and reflective of your own personal style. At TradeWinds Island Resorts, personalized services turn your beach wedding dreams into a stress-free reality. With multiple venues and exceptional staff, your TradeWinds wedding can be everything you have ever dreamed of. 16
Q. Is TradeWinds your typical beach venue?
Q. How do you deal with “I look terrible in pictures!”
Of course the beach is beautiful. But when a bride wants “tropical,” you need more than just a beach and a palm tree. I’ve found a spot that looks almost like a bamboo jungle, and I’ve taken some great shots there. At TradeWinds, there are so many unique and out-of-the-way places to shoot. I can definitely capture the feel of a tropical island. Who else has a waterway, swans, palm trees AND beach?!
There’s no such thing as a non-photogenic person. However, very few people know how to pose themselves for pictures. I coach them beforehand, and also show the photos as I shoot so the couple can see them. Then they relax and feel more confident. My gift is to make people look good in their pictures. I know a lot of tricks.
Q. What’s your favorite time of day to shoot?
Once a couple knows the photographer is getting the shots they like, they can forget about me and just enjoy their day. That’s one reason I show them exactly what I’m shooting at the beginning. Then I can move along quickly, taking advantage of those immediate “special moments” that occur.
One hour before sunset is the golden hour. Many couples will come back for sunset shots later; it’s an opportunity for dramatic shots.
Q. What’s the trick to getting great candid shots?
Q. Any last words? I try to be creative with every shoot to make it unique. The same with editing. I love to edit photos a bit differently in the most flattering way for my clients. My style is unique, clean, fun and colorful. I really do love what I do! Val Ritter works and lives in the Tampa Bay area, but will travel anywhere in the world to shoot your destination wedding. For more beautiful wedding photos, visit vrvisionphoto.com or tradewindsweddings.com and click on the Wedding Gallery.
SH GRILLQTPA Get your last taste of the beach before you head back home! If you’re traveling on Southwest Airlines to Tampa, you’ll be greeted as soon as you exit your plane by RumFish Grill®, the latest expansion of the original RumFish Grill® at Guy Harvey Outpost on St. Pete Beach. It was the first fullservice restaurant opening as part of the topranked airport’s $953 million renovation project.
FUN TANK FACTS: Weight: 10,000 pounds (empty) Capacity: 1,300 gallons of saltwater Contents: a stunning collection of reef fish species and 200 individually molded artificial corals Built by: Acrylic Tank Manufacturing, Las Vegas Featured on: Animal Planetâ€™s Tanked show Installation: Between midnight and 4:00 am Cleaning: Diver has to get inside the tank Ornamentation: Marlin exploding from top of tank Maintained by: Secrets of the Sea Exploration Center and Aquarium
large cylindrical tank with a marlin replica splashing from the top holds 1,300 gallons of saltwater and a vibrant collection of colorful reef fish. Adorning the inside of the tank are 200 individually molded artificial corals. The installation of the tank, filmed in the dead of night at the airport, was built by Wayde King and Brett Raymer, stars of Animal Planet’s show Tanked.
Installing and filming a fish tank past airport security checkpoints posed some interesting complications. Several employees of TradeWinds underwent background checks and training to be issued security clearance badges to act as escorts for the filming crew. All the production equipment still had to go through TSA screening, which necessitated a lot of individual visual inspection.
The 10,000-pound fish tank was lifted by crane onto the tramway after the last flight of the night and all passengers were transported to the main terminal. Even after the doors going into the airside were removed, there was only about 1/8-inch clearance! To avoid cracking the mosaic tile floors, plywood sheets had to be laid down in front of the dolly from the tramway to the final installation point, making for a very long night.
Just as fish were being added to the tank, a pump blew a gasket, spilling hundreds of gallons of water! Six workers sprinted toward “secret coded doors” and the camera crew headed for the “secret elevator!” Water, water, everywhere! (The angel fish got a little skittish, TSA officials immediately went on full alert, but no fish were lost.)
The restaurant features many of the same dishes as the St. Pete Beach location, which is owned by TradeWinds Island Resorts. In line with the philosophy of marine wildlife artist Guy Harvey, whose artwork is found throughout the restaurant, the company has an obligation to protect the natural resources of the area. An informational kiosk stands at the front of the restaurant that identifies the fish in the tank, and you won’t find over-fished or irresponsibly farmed species served in the restaurant. Tampa International Airport was recently ranked by Condé Nast as the seventh-best airport worldwide. Trams whisk passengers from the main terminal to multiple airsides and the final TSA security inspection. The $953-million renovation project includes a people-mover that will connect the Main Terminal, Economy Parking and a new Consolidated Rental Car Center. JUSTLETGO.COM
55,000 TEACHERS and still growing
By Lynda Waters with Karen Brown It started 29 years ago when a handful of people got together at TradeWinds and started planning and brainstorming. Today, 127 conferences later, over 55,000 teachers have been through workshops with the Florida Association of IB World Schools (FLIBS).
“We have considered alternate venues from time to time, but our workshop leaders and participants consistently rate our FLIBS Professional Development events highly, and rate TradeWinds as a great resort with a host of amenities that just fit our style. If any attendee has a special need or concern, TradeWinds addresses it.
It’s unusual for an Association to make one destination and resort its only location for meetings. “Because TradeWinds has worked so well for us, we have been able to expand what we do and what we offer each year, allowing us to meet the needs of schools and educators from all over the world. All of our FLIBS staff work out of satellite offices throughout the state. As a result, after over 30 years’ working with the TradeWinds, we have adopted it as our headquarters. The TradeWinds has actually become part of who we are,” says Karen Brown, Workshop Manager.
“It’s much more than responsive customer service. It’s not just the managers in Sales and Convention Services who walk the talk. The line staff in Banquets, Front Desk, Room Service and food and beverage outlets are genuinely concerned about making every event the best it can be.
TRADEWINDS TRADEWINDS GETAWAY GETAWAY
“TradeWinds makes training more than 2,000 teachers annually, a very manageable task. I couldn’t do my job if I also had to train the hotel staff on all the unique needs of our meetings. The longevity and dedication of the staff is one of the many things that made it an easy decision for me to accept my position of Workshop Manager,” said Karen.
Four buffet lines await attendees, and lunch breaks are staggered to accommodate 750 people quickly. Margarita Yepes, Director of Banquets, directs it all with warmth and a smile.
at one resort destination. • Largest meeting resort on Florida’s west coast beach • 70,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting and function space • Perfect for Conferences, Corporate Events and Weddings • Portfolio of 14 dining and entertainment venues
Banquet Managers Jennifer Sosnowski and Joyell Baker join Margarita for the large meal functions. An example of how close the team feels to FLIBS: Jennifer took the stage and led the audience in “Thanks for the Memory” on the director’s retirement.
Margarita has been with TradeWinds for 30 years. Jim Rausch, Convention Services Manager for FLIBS, 20 years. Senior Banquet Captain Victor Dawani, Joyell and Jennifer, 41 years.
The Artof Nature 24
s if dining on creative taste sensations next to a wall of water filled with majestic fish swimming about weren’t inspiring enough ... now there’s new artwork on the walls at the RumFish Grill that might just be your best vacation souvenir ever. Take a stroll down the hallway next to the dining room to check out the latest creations from local artists. These paintings all depict a little slice of Florida wildlife that you can bring home with you. Not only will your fond vacation memories live on in a painting that graces your home or office, the natural beauty of Tampa Bay will also live on because of your purchase. TradeWinds will donate 10 percent of the sale to Tampa Bay Watch, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Tampa Bay estuary through scientific and educational programs.
Paintings by award-winning local artists depict scenic Florida in the hallway at RumFish Grill®. Find your favorite and bring it home: 10 percent of proceeds go to protecting the natural habitat of Tampa Bay.
Sandra Williams St. Petersburg, Florida Sandra’s acrylic paintings reflect her passion for the incredible order and beauty of this planet and the creatures on it, always bringing out the essence of the creature’s personality.
Bill Castleman Seminole, Florida Bill’s plein air paintings capture his love for his native Florida landscape. With them he hopes to stir the viewer’s imagination and raise the awareness of our disappearing wilderness.
Joyce Ely Walker Palmetto, Florida Joyce’s watercolor and oil paintings are expressions of the essential elements of each place. “After visiting a place over and over, I respond to the scents, sounds and climate.”
About the Local Artists
Karen Baker Dunedin, Florida Karen’s paintings in mainly pastels explore what inspires her most: the world of Nature and all its mysteries. “There’s a peace and completeness I resonate with in Nature.”
Protecting Nature’s Works of Art
Thomas Krause Nokomis, Florida Tom’s love of marine life – and time spent underwater – dominates his creativity on canvas. His ability to light his subject material below water with refracted light is breathtaking.
When you buy a local painting from the gallery at RumFish Grill, we’ll donate 10 percent of the sale to Tampa Bay Watch, an organization dedicated to preserving the beauty and wildlife of Tampa Bay. They perform a variety of habitat restoration and protection activities throughout the year, utilizing thousands of volunteers to participate in salt marsh plantings, storm drain markings, oyster bar creation, coastal cleanups, and wildlife protection, demonstrating environmental stewardship in its purest form. Learn more at tampabaywatch.org.
Bellissima The beaches abound with numerous dining opportunities but visitors to St. Pete Beach should not say arrivederci without a relaxing meal at Palm Court Italian Grill.
By Mary Scourtes Greacen
he restaurant has crystal stemware and crisp
table linens but still maintains a nice and casual balance. More than a few shorts-and-sandaled young couples fueled their infatuation over a bottle of wine and drawn-out supper. Our waiter coo-ed over us like a great-uncle, and squeezed and weaved past other waiters in the busy room, but got everything to us hot. He confided this place isn’t just a job, it’s like being part of a family. There is admiration among co-workers and little turnover. While enumerating the night’s specials, he poured extravirgin olive oil onto a fresh tomato, garlic and spice mixture for dipping on the warm, Kalamata olive loaf. The classic calamari fritti, a server-recommended standout, is exactly what you would expect: delicately breaded crisp rings and tentacles. It’s kicked up a notch with red peppers, capers and marinated olives and presented with a hearty marinara sauce. JUSTLETGO.COM
Silver dollar-size, paper thin, slices of beef tenderloin are matched with caper berries, tomatoes and arugula and when given a swirl of pine nut-truffle vinaigrette, the carpaccio resembles the colors of the Italian flag.
If the thought of dessert makes you say ah, mi Amor, then you won’t be disappointed in a stracciatella infused with chocolate flakes, limoncello, tiramisu, pot de crème or another one of the chef’s creative delights.
The menu has plenty of creative touches: Artigiano Vita La Lattuga, Italian for “eat your artisan” salad, makes friends with its golden pea shoots, beet carpaccio and goat cheese. Other starters include a rustic pizza, bruschetta, and flame-roasted tomato bisque.
How popular is Palm Court? Certainly among the most celebrated restaurants - here and near - as TripAdvisor ranks it #1 out of 127 restaurants, for the last year or two.
The menu showcases Florida seafood, such as gulf grouper, shrimp and clams and seafood cioppino, bobbing with grouper, mussels and shrimp. “Spaghetti can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner” is a favorite sentiment attributed to Sophia Loren. Perhaps she tasted Palm Court’s idyllic al dente pasta. Gamberi Genovese’s large gulf shrimp belie their name because they are anything but shrimpy. Nicely seasoned by pesto and arranged with grape tomatoes, they are perfect foil for a tangle of angel hair pasta. It’s hard to quarrel with the fine mix of savory flavors and contrasting textures on supple, pistachio-pesto-crusted lamb chops, saucy by a shallot and garlic, port reduction set atop a smooth whip of truffled, Yukon gold potatoes. With about a dozen and a half entreés, vegetarians and/or those seeking gluten-free meals would enjoy one of its gluten free pasta dishes or Risotto alla Zucca. The butternut squash with black truffle rice entrée has both “GF’’ and “V’’ designations on the menu.
TradeWinds Executive Chef Justin Harry, who learned to cook in Naples, Italy, says he has customers who drive from as far as Orlando and Miami because of its ranking. “It’s quite baffling: they even drive from the boondocks to check Palm Court out,’’ he laughs. Harry says the restaurant was originally Italian, and then went to French food in the late ‘80s, before returning to its Italian roots. Al fresco patio dining on a Chamber of Commerce-perfect evening is a plus. At its best, the dinner is one you’re sorry to finish, so you’d better grab some sneakers for a beach walk after such a fine, and filling feast.
Executive Chef Justin Harry (left) oversees the wide portfolio of dining options and banquet functions at TradeWinds Island Resorts. Chef Jon Hilton (below) offers his creativity as chef de cuisine at Palm Court.
Palm Court Italian Grill TradeWinds Island Grand Lunch & Dinner, Monday – Saturday Bellini Sunday Brunch Buffet Reservations suggested: 727.363.2358 30
PA L M C O U R T
Sunday Bellini Brunch By Mary Scourtes Greacen Palm Court’s Sunday Bellini Brunch changes regularly like the tides. There’s always something new to be caught there. Daytime tipplers need to know the bottomless Bellinis flow at 11 a.m. For $37.95 ($16.95 for children under 10) you have full reign of breakfast and lunch seafood, salads and seasonal entrée items. All you have to do is roll out of bed and show up for maximum dining indulgence. Assorted breads, bagels and blintzes joining an interesting cheese selection and fruit are hallmarks of a good brunch. Palm Court’s chef skillfully makes waffles and pancakes. Guests ooh and ahh over the Eggs Benedicts made with crab, steak, smoked salmon, arugula and more. “We get lots of good feedback on our cold seafood,’’ says chef de cuisine Jon Hilton, who has cooked at the TradeWinds for three years. There are dreamy crab claws and peel-and-eat shrimp, beet and vodka-cured salmon rosettes with all the accoutrements. Grouper, salmon, mahi mahi or cobia, depending on the season, star as entrées.
Carnivores will delight in the beastly slab of smoked sea salt prime rib. Executive Chef Justin Harry says that regulars return just for the beef. Such southern favorites as Applewood smoked bacon and country sage sausage abound. Then progress to the artisan greens, marinated vegetables, cured meats, and tempting selection of fresh watermelon, dragon fruit or papaya, to name a few of the many offerings. My taste buds’ best friend and Lipitor’s worst enemy is the pastry table overflowing with mini mousse shots and Key lime or carrot cheesecake. Oreos, pound cake, fruit and pretzels mingle at a chocolate fountain. Hilton, who grew up cooking Southern cuisine, likes the guests who brand Palm Court as their favorite brunch haunt. One guest from Michigan came three times last year. She is on her way back to TradeWinds in October, probably for the brunch, again.
BIRD WATCHING by Wendy Kirkwood
any birds have made TradeWinds their home; from the green herons that return to raise their young every year to the beautiful swans that cruise the waterway that meanders throughout the resort. The rarest bird you’ll see, however, is much larger than your average species and a lot more mysterious. He’s a large, friendly blue pelican named Beaker with a wingspan of around 6 feet, and his lively presence can be felt all over the TradeWinds property. We thought we’d sit down with our marvelous mascot and get the scoop, straight from his beak!
Q: Beaker, walk us through a typical day in your life. A: I get out of my nest in the morning like everyone else, one webbed foot at a time! From there I get to roam around the spacious TradeWinds property, participating in some incredible activities, greeting guests, and spreading smiles until it’s time to tuck in our smallest beachgoers and soar home to start it all again the next day!
Q: Do you ever get lonely, being the only one of your kind? A: I am lucky to be the only Beaker around! There’s no better feeling than when an awe-struck kid runs up to me to slap wings or give me a squeeze! I also get invited to hang out with some pretty cool celebrity mascots, like the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Thunderbug and the Tampa Bay Rays’ DJ Kitty and Raymond!
Q: Why did you choose TradeWinds to call home? A: The friendly staff is so accommodating to visitors, even to a big bird like me. When I flew down for vacation more than 30 years ago, I never wanted to leave! Now I’m part of the TradeWinds family and I couldn’t be happier they all took me under their wing!
Everything You Could Want and More
By Amanda Williams ecently, our family experienced a resort that we ALL decided was the best place we’d ever stayed. It had everything. Every member of the family was happy the entire time we were there. I know what you’re thinking – toddlers are never happy for days at a time! But truly, we all lived in a state of pure, unbridled euphoria for three days. We only left the resort property ONCE during our stay and we immediately regretted the decision—so much so that I was irate that we’d squandered precious time that we could have been zipping down the High Tide Slide or just being beach bums.
Paradise without a Passport Part of the reason we all swoon when we see the beach resort commercials on television for all-inclusive resorts in far-flung, tropical climes is that there is the promise of entertainment, food, luxe amenities, and relaxation all for one price, on one property. The problem with that pictureperfect pitch for us? We travel as a pack. That means two parents, two kids under age five, four passports, four plane tickets, too many hours on a plane and too much hassle. It’s not that you can’t get to these island destinations with kids – it’s that we don’t want the headache involved. We found TradeWinds and we knew we’d hit the
family vacation jackpot. This resort has the FEEL of a tropical all-inclusive getaway without the hassles, hefty prices, and logistical nightmare of leaving the country. We arrived at TradeWinds and got settled in our well-appointed “island vibe” guest room and changed into our beach duds. (We stayed at the Island Grand property, not the Guy Harvey Outpost, which was next door, though we did venture over for a flavorful RumFish Grill® meal by the famed fish tank as snorkel-clad kids braved the waters and swam with the fishes as we devoured crab cakes.) Taking to the beach, we enjoyed watching the boys’ introduction to the “warm ocean” (we’d spent time in Alaska, where the ocean is extremely cold) and seeing the look of utter joy come over our preschooler’s face when he saw the High Tide Slide. If you’re five years old, this is the ultimate in awesome vacation amenities. It’s also where we spent at least four hours each day, making a spectacle of how insane his moves were or how brave he was each time he zipped down the three-story behemoth.
Have Your [Crab] Cake and Eat It Too The Flying Bridge restaurant was our ticket to relaxing, delicious meals on an open air veranda near the beach. The beauty of this setting is that you can actually savor a meal. Trust me – this is a stand-out for families with children. I’m not sure if the resort graciously planned and positioned the buckets and shovels in the sand near the hammocks, or if it was one battle-weary parent’s attempt to pay it forward at the dinner hour, but that small detail will never go unappreciated by my husband and me. Our boys played together from the time we ordered until the food arrived. We even let them play a little longer so that we could enjoy our Grouper and Shrimp and Steak without interruption. They were no more than ten feet from us and we all happily greeted the evening under a golden Florida sunset without a hitch.
Land and Sea and In Between The KONK Activities Center was an area where we simply did NOT get to spend enough time. Like I said, we had three days and I was determined to pack into those days all I could. We did a few of the activities around the property for kids that were extremely easy access: feeding the swans and koi, searching out shark teeth in the Sharktooth Sandbox. Hearing “Mom! Is this a real shark tooth? It
is! I know it is! It’s from a Mega mouth I bet,” will never get old as I replay memories! Simple moments like this cannot be replaced or replicated, and are ready for the making and taking at TradeWinds. But, what we didn’t seem to fit in were the endless opportunities for programmed activities like glitter tattoos, stuffed animal making, kid’s camp, and even campfire s’mores. We just couldn’t do it all. The availability of a kids camp and kid care is one of the things that makes me certain we’ll be back for round two at TradeWinds! It’s perhaps a blessing in disguise—I will be able to make a case to the family for visiting again and again to make sure we get to take it all in!
The Kids Are Ruined for Life Since your time is your most valuable commodity, don’t waste it shuttling kids here and there looking for entertainment and food and other amenities that are all offered in one place. If you find a pearl like the TradeWinds, don’t pass it up – it will be the most all-encompassing one-stop satisfaction shopping you’ll ever have when it comes to domestic family travel. It’s that good. With the ease with which we were able to create priceless memories, I find myself wanting to go back and relive them all and maybe make a few more! This is atypical of our vacations – sure they are mostly good days and good times, but to have three uninterrupted, picture-perfect days when the whole family is just plain happy is incredible. The kids are ruined on “normal” vacations for life. The only thing that keeps me up at night as I recall innumerable fun memories is: how the heck am I going to pull off another vacation quite so out-and-out incredible?! Amanda is a travel writer living in the Midwest with a penchant for adventure and Florida sunsets.
SNUBA A safe and easy way to explore the underwater world. Now at TradeWinds.
TRADEWINDS TRADEWINDS GETAWAY GETAWAY
alled “the best underwater advancement since flippers” by Caribbean Travel & Life, SNUBA (Surface Nexus Underwater Breathing Apparatus) differs from SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) because it allows you to go below the water’s surface without wearing a heavy air tank. Instead, your air supply is on a raft, floating above you and following you as you swim. All you have to do is breathe through a regulator that is hooked to your air supply above. On a guided SNUBA tour at TradeWinds, you only go as deep as 15 feet, no experience or certification is required, and children eight years and older can give it a try. See the checklist to determine if SNUBA could be your next adventure. If so, you can book your tour by the SNUBA tent beachfront between Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., or call 727.313.2531. The guided tour lasts roughly 30 minutes and is only $45 per person.
SNUBA Checklist If you check one or more of these boxes, SNUBA is the ideal adventure for you! I love to swim and feel very comfortable in the water. I love snorkeling and am comfortable wearing a mask and fins underwater. I’ve always wanted to try SCUBA diving, but don’t want to go through the lengthy certification process. I want to see what’s underwater, but it scares me to go too deep. I want to get a feel for what SCUBA diving is like before I spend the time and money to get certified. I want a safe way to introduce my older children to the underwater world. I’m an older adult who wants to try something that’s thrilling, yet safe enough for my age. I want to experience a brand new adventure on my vacation.
To try SNUBA, you MUST check the boxes below: I am at least eight years old. I am not pregnant. I don’t have any heart or lung conditions.
“SNUBA is great for ages 8 to 80+. My oldest participant to date was 86 years old. I’m looking for someone to beat that!”
I’ll be able to understand the instructor’s safety instructions (in English) before diving.
-Anne Brandt, professional SNUBA guide for Bubble Brigade Snuba® Tours at TradeWinds JUSTLETGO.COM
“Dessert makes people happy.” Lots of tropical flavors and sweet comfort in Pastry Chef Lissa Heenan’s inspired creations.
By KT Gaye
rowing up in Cullowee, North Carolina, Lissa Heenan was the “go-to” dessert person in her family. She went to college in Wisconsin with the plan of teaching French as a career, but “those high school seniors ate me alive,” she quipped. So Lissa headed to culinary school and found herself in Lyon, France learning the art of French pastry.
As the newest member of the RumFish Grill® culinary team, Lissa sums up her dessert philosophy - one we can all relate to - “Dessert makes people happy, no matter what the occasion.” Whether preparing a special dessert with the message “will you marry me” swirled in raspberry purée or creating a surprising combination of confections to delight guests, Chef Lissa has inspired a new take on sweet comfort. One of the most anticipated regular menu updates is the Cheesecake of the Day, showcasing Chef Lissa’s repertoire of flavor pairings. From the fresh tropical fruit featured in the strawberry, passion fruit, lemon meringue or orange versions, to the presentation of each individual cheesecake, the flavors are like a burst of sunshine. Not to be left out, the Oreo Cheesecake with vanilla bean whipped cream, encrusted with Oreo cookie bits, comes with companion shooters of the whipped cream topping for an extra sugar rush.
Why I love my job: “I get creative freedom from my heart, and TradeWinds allows me to use high quality Swiss and Belgian chocolate. Of course I have to sample for quality control!” Tropical flavors lead the way while familiar desserts get a creative new twist – the Chocolate Bread Pudding is made with Callebaut® Belgian chocolate, served drizzled with caramel sauce and salted caramel ice cream, and a daily dessert favorite is the White Chocolate Bread Pudding made with carrot cake. Gluten-free Molten Lava Cake is made from scratch and the just-right tart, tangy, slightly sweet Key Lime Pie is partnered with mango purée.
Want to feel like you’re on your own tropical island? The centerpiece of this signature Island Baba dessert is rum-soaked banana cake with mousse icing topped with cinnamon plantains. A bed of toasted coconut and a sprinkling of candied spice macadamia nuts with rum sauce accompanies the cake. The crowning touch is a chocolate wafer cookie in the shape of a fish.
Island Baba with Guava Ice Cream Banana Cake 10 Tbsp butter, room temperature 1 1/8 heaping cup sugar 10 Tbsp honey 2 1/3 tsp baking powder 3/4 tsp baking soda 4 cups cake flour 1 1/4 tsp salt 3/4 cup whole milk 4 large eggs 3/4 cup mashed banana 1/3 cup dark rum Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Mix in honey. Sift baking powder, soda, flour and salt together and incorporate. Combine milk and eggs, and add as one. Add banana and mix until smooth. Mix in rum until all is fully blended. Pour into a greased 9 x 13” pan. Bake in a 350° oven until done; check after 20 minutes. Cream Cheese Mousse 8 oz heavy cream 1/4 oz + 1/8 oz Knox gelatin powder 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp cold water 8 oz cream cheese 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp vanilla extract 1/2 cup milk 1 vanilla bean, scraped 1 tsp lemon juice Whip heavy cream, set aside. Mix gelatin and water in microwavable bowl, set aside. Beat cream cheese and sugar until creamy. Add milk, vanillas, lemon juice, mix until incorporated. Melt gelatin until hot, quickly mix in. Fold in whipped cream and hold in fridge. After cake has cooled, ice with mousse and cut into squares. Serve with candied macadamia nuts, brown sugar rum sauce and a scoop of guava ice cream.
Chef Lissa Heenan takes to heart the creation of dessert – knowing that whether there’s a special celebration taking place in the dining room, or a sweet craving to end the perfect day in paradise – you’ll be in your happy place with one of these luscious desserts.
How many of these creatures have you seen when visiting TradeWinds? See how many you can identify before checking them out! Give yourself 1 point each.
Score: 40-48 You must be a Florida native; 30-39 You’re a nature lover, for sure! 11-29 You’ve got lots to discover next time you visit; 0-10 Did you spend all your time at the bar? 1 Osprey, 2 Laughing Gull, 3 Pelican, 4 Mockingbird (state bird), 5 Cormorant, 6 White Ibis, 7 Snowy Egret, 8 Great Blue Heron, 9 Little Green Heron, 10 Roseate Spoonbill, 11 Black Skimmer, 12 Fiddler Crab, 13 Ghost Crab, 14 Hermit Crab*, 15 Baby Sea Turtles, 16 Mullet, 17 Skate, 18 Stingray, 19 Cownose Ray, 20 Loggerhead Turtle, 21 Grouper**, 22 Snook**, 23 Nurse Shark, 24 Sea Horse, 25 Florida Horse Conch (state shell), 26 Stone Crab, 27 Spiny Sea Urchin*, 28 Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin, 29 Sea Star*, 30 Shrimp, 31 Spiny Lobster, 32 Queen Triggerfish, 33 Red Drum or Redfish**, 34 Black Drum**, 35 Sheepshead, 36 Pinfish, 37 Mangrove Snapper**, 38 Manatee, 39 Sabal Palms, 40 Sea Grape, 41 Sea Oats (protected), 42 Palmettos, 43 Beach Sunflowers, 44 Beach Morning Glory, 45 White Mangrove, 46 Red Mangrove, 47 Black Mangrove, 48 Turtle Grass. *You can touch these critters (or their cousins) at Guy’s Great Touch Tank Experience at Guy Harvey Outpost.
14 16 17
48 34 33
24 26 25
**You can find these fish in the tank at RumFish Grill.
Illustration by: Terri JUSTLETGO.COM 43Rickman
BLOODY MARYS Walkabout
By Mary Scourtes Greacen
ot everyone belts down a kick-in-theface gulp on vacation? News to me. The eight sister bars on the TradeWinds Island Resorts property create harmonious equilibrium, each with unique Bloody Mary concoctions created by the bartenders.
Kate McCue at Beef ‘O’ Brady’s® says the year ‘round Bloody Mary is among her most requested. You are almost drinking your meal
Customers at Perks Up! Coffee & Cocktails at Guy Harvey Outpost have been known to wait for its opening to fuel their first buzz. “You wouldn’t believe how many Bloody Marys I make on Saturdays,’’ says bartender Mary Roth, who tops each with a skewer of cherry tomato, Babybel cheese halves, olives and a briny green pepperoncini.
Jimmy Buffett sounds at the pirate-themed RedBeard’s Sharktooth Tavern are as laid back as friendly bartender Tiffany Green who likes how its marauder theme inspires Bloody Mary orders. She flashes a big smile, and suggests you “sail away with this drink’’ having a lime wedge, celery stalk, and dill pickle “boat’’ garnish.
Guy’s Gulfside Grill teamed up with The SandBar to create their pretty “Liquid Lunch” topped with geen olives, lime, lemon, celery and a skewer of grilled shrimp! Another stop at Guy Harvey Outpost is the more than 35,000-gallon aquarium inside ® RumFish Grill for a salty and sassy Bloody Mary, rimmed with Old Bay seasoning salt, and topped with a shrimp. At the Island Grand, catch a sunset with a Flying Bridge Beach Bar yummy cocktail with two big bacon slices or begin your lunch with a spicy cold one.
when a leafy celery stalk, dill pickle blanketed with bacon bits, and a strip of bacon are erected over the cocktail.
By the pool, Salty’s Tiki Bar tops the drink with two olives, a lime wedge and a pickled green bean. Can’t think of a better way to eat one’s veggies. Awakenings, a quick stop for beverages in the lobby area, makes the pep-you-up special by adding fresh horseradish, tomato juice, and sun-ripened chili Sriracha sauce to Belvedere Bloody Mary infused-vodka, then garnishes with a celery salt-dipped lemon wedge and three chocolate-covered espresso beans. Whether spicy or timid, plain or infused vodka, shaken or stirred— a Bloody Mary is the perfect quaffable potion.
Bluegreen Vacations & TradeWinds ÂŽ
The Perfect Vacation Combination
Bluegreen Vacations invites you to return time and again to TradeWinds Island Resorts to experience all the resort has to offer. We also invite you to discover how the Bluegreen Vacation ClubÂŽ can help you achieve the vacation lifestyle you deserve.
Christmas Mountain Village™
The Hammocks at Marathon™
About Bluegreen We believe in the power of vacationTM. We believe vacations make people happier by sharing time together, smiles and memories. Founded in 1966 as Patten Corporation, Bluegreen Vacations has created the perfect way to share happiness through our Bluegreen Vacation Club®, a vacation ownership program that offers: •T he choice of many different destinations and unique vacation experiences, with over 60 Bluegreen resorts around the country and more than 4,000 resorts available via exchange programs • The flexibility to craft vacations that fit your lifestyle
Vacation is where our heart is, and the resorts, destinations and experiences available through Bluegreen Vacations have won the hearts of over 195,000 owners and counting. Stop by the Member Services Desk to learn more about Bluegreen Vacations, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
• The quality of service and resorts to ensure your vacations meet your every expectation • …and so much more!
THIS ADVERTISING MATERIAL IS BEING USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF SOLICITING THE SALE OF TIMESHARE INTERESTS. | THIS ADVERTISING MATERIAL IS BEING USED FOR THE PURPOSE OF SOLICITING THE SALE OF TIMESHARE PROPERTY OR INTERESTS IN TIME-SHARE PROPERTY.
Sensational sunsets, laughter with loved ones, and unforgettable moments. So many memories and so many ways to Just Let Go. Connect, engage and share your moments with us. #TWResorts or @TWResorts
See Your Travel Professional to Book Your Next Florida Beach Vacation!
Members Get More. The TradeWinds loyalty program is free. Itâ€™s easy to join. And you get extra benefits and rewards. Earn points. Get fun stuff. Save money on food, drinks, shopping. Get free valet parking and a front row cabana.
Find out how at JustLetGo.com/Rewards
Our Travel Advisors are here to help! Our friendly reservation advisors work right here at the resorts and are experts on all our many different accommodations and activities. They can help our travel partners with fully-commissionable packages, or recommend dates with the best rates or special offers. Please be sure we have your current mailing address for your commission checks!
Call 800.360.4018 7:00 a.m. â€“ 11:00 p.m. ET Book online: JustLetGo.com JUSTLETGO.COM
Located directly on the white sands of St. Pete Beach, consistently rated as one of the Top Beaches in America by TripAdvisor, the TradeWind...
Published on Aug 10, 2016
Located directly on the white sands of St. Pete Beach, consistently rated as one of the Top Beaches in America by TripAdvisor, the TradeWind...