Tarpon Springs a Day Trip to Another Time and Place! Part 1
Day trip to Greece! Well as close as you’ll come in the United States. Tarpon Springs is just 45-55 minutes north of St Pete and has the highest percentage of residents of Greek heritage in the US! It made for a fun trip. There are seafood places, dessert shops, gift shops and much more.
Also known as the ‘Sponge Capital of The World’, Tarpon Springs had 500 Greek spongers initially set up shop here in around 1905. Such a cool area, making for a very fun day with lots of culture. Exhausted traveler here, more to come tomorrow on Tarpon Springs!
“The Hellenic influence remains strong today. According to census figures, more than one in 10 residents claim Greek descent, giving Tarpon Springs a higher percentage of Greek-Americans than any other American city. More than seven percent report that they speak Greek in their homes. The high school sports teams are nicknamed “Spongers.”
Venture from the Anclote River’s original sponge docks up side streets, peer into small cafes or storefront meeting rooms, and you may spy men talking loudly in Greek, playing cards and perhaps enjoying a bottle of tangy retsina wine. The aromas of garlic lamb and horiatiko – baked chicken – mingle with the honeydew scents of confections such as baklava and loukoumades.
His grandfather, father and uncle helped establish the sponge industry
“We have 125 businesses, 25 restaurants, three or four boat rides, and I don’t know how many bakeries,” said George Billiris, whose family came to Tarpon Springs in 1904. His grandfather, father and uncle helped establish the sponge industry.
“It was like a gold rush when it started,” said Billiris, whoin his 80s years old still works on the docks with his St. Nicholas Boat Line. It began in 1924 as an attraction offering tourists a boat ride and a chance to learn about sponge-diving. And thus from sponges sprung the tourist industry.”
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