Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Lunch in Safety Harbor, Florida

Last week I had lunch with dear friends in Safety Harbor, Florida. Safety Harbor is a small town with quaint buildings; it's sleepy and charming. It's also quite an artists' community.

We had lunch at the Green Springs restaurant. Good food, a guitarist to serenade us, and the dining room had a remarkable mural of a lush jungle, by artist Kumpa Tawornprom.

After lunch, my friends were eager to show me "the tree." Below is the Baranoff Tree, reportedly the oldest Live Oak Tree in Pinellas County. It's estimated to be between 300 and 500 years old. The sign says that the tree, which takes up a whole block, is registered with the Live Oak Society of the Louisiana Garden Club Federation.

There was one more treat after lunch — a visit to the home of one of the local artists. The header of this posting shows part of the house. Here's more:

The house across the street, below, was not to be outdone. Those white tiles around the windows are actually pieces of mirror, and the neighbor's house glistens.

Limbs bordering the neighbor's yard. There was a third house in the immediate vicinity. It was painted bright purple, but looked very conservative next to the other two!


  1. Hello Mark:
    What a delightful place Safety Harbor looks to be, its very name made us smile. The 'Rousseau' inspired restaurant looked to be most intriguing although it seemed to blend seamlessly with its artistically decorated neighbours.

    The garden of the artist which you show here reminded us very much of YSL's garden in Marrakech. The dominant blue being such a powerful tone but, in our view, stands up well when used in a hot and sunny climate.

  2. Hi, Jane and Lance - parts of these houses reminded me of the old-fashioned gypsy caravans, but I do see Marrakech in them, too. What really struck me was to see how much delightful mileage one can get out of several pieces of rebar and a bunch of bottles and (thrift store) vases.

  3. My friend Sarah said, "Thanks Mark! It was such fun to see how you shared the photos with your impeccable eye. We loved being there with you and Robin."

  4. WOW! The colours! Amazing! To be so inhibited - wonder what his childhood was like. And that tree! A real treasure.
    Very pretty new button by the way.

  5. Thanks, Sarah - I have you and Rick to thank for introducing us all to this fun spot.

    Hi, Anyes - I loved the house colors, but what really inspired me was the dynamite groupings of bottles and vases (I think the inclusion of vases of very different shapes is very important to the look he achieved.)

    Glad you like the June 2011 button. It's sweet, isn't it? And it measures only about half an inch.

  6. My favorite is that incredible tree!! Sometimes nature just can't be outdone!!

  7. The tree is astounding, Stacey. Each limb is as big around as a very great tree, and in fact some of the limbs are now reinforced with supports.

  8. It looks like a delightful place to spend a vacation...Bohemian, relaxed, and with a holiday atmosphere. After all the monochromatic neutrals that designers are dictating, these saturated colours are a welcome change.

    Square With Flair

  9. Hi, Terry - I always enjoy visiting communities where artists cluster. Inevitably I see very expressive houses like these, and I find them inspirational. While Safety Harbor is very small, it is becoming a tourist destination, as evidenced now by a new Starbucks!

  10. The Baranoff Tree is amazing. I love the almost truly perpendicularity of the branches. Looks like you had a great day!

  11. The tree is amazing, Michael. I would guess that if you and friends wanted to encircle it holding outstretched hands, you'd require 5-6 people.

  12. Loved growing up in Safety Harbor and love just as much growing old there! Much has changed over 60 years, but the spirit of the place remains.

    FYI The mural at Green Springs was painted by Kumpa Tawornprom. He's a wonderful artist and, as we speak, he's creating a beautiful mural to be enjoyed from my backyard patio.

  13. Thank you so much for commenting! As you can see, I've added Kumpa's name to the blog. I'd love to feature more of his work here on the blog, and I hope you'll be in touch. Mr. Tawornprom is a great artist.