Tarpon Springs: Get Your Greek On
Just north of Tampa Bay, you will find the gulf-coast community of Tarpon Springs. Well-known in central Florida as a colorful Greek community, the area was made famous by Greek sponge divers who arrived in 1905.
Today, picturesque Dodecanese Street along the harbor-front, plays host to tourists with shops full of sponges and shells as well as a high density of authentic Greek restaurants. Visitors can take a dolphin boat tour or a trip out in the Gulf to learn how early divers harvested the valuable sponges.
We chose Dimitri’s on the Water for a great Greek lunch, making the selection due to the waterfront location. We sat outside and watched tourists board the sponge tour boat while chatting with the tour “diver” suited-up in the old-fashioned dry suit and heavy boots that would anchor him to the seabed. He was leaving the next day for a two-week commercial fishing trip, still a thriving industry in this area.
No visit would be complete without a stop at one of the local bakeries (we stopped at Hella’s), for some traditional baklava or nontraditional baklava cheesecake – all delicious!