Delightful Downtown Dunedin

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Today, Mom and I decided to enjoy some time in downtown Dunedin.  Originally settled in 1852, the name Dunedin is from the Scots Gaelic for Edinburgh, Dùn Èideann.  It is pronounced ‘Done Eden’.  There is a heavy note of Scottish pride in this Florida town.  Just last weekend, the Pipe Band (Bagpipes) of Dunedin took 4th place in the world in the World Pipe Band Championship.  There’s even a few kilt shops in town.

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Dunedin is often listed in the top 10 small towns in Florida to visit.  It is the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays.  And being situated just north of Clearwater and St. Petersburg, its the perfect place to call a home base when in the area.

Running right down the middle of town is the Pinellas Trail, a 38 mile biking and walking trail that runs from Tarpon Springs to the north all the way down to St. Petersburg, on the tip of the Pinellas peninsula.  There’s any number of things to do in this delightfully off-beat town.

Since we were in the area, we opted to have lunch at Casa Tina’s, an authentic Mexican restaurant in the heart of downtown.

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On our way in, the sandwich board outside caught Mom’s eye.

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As some of you may know, I have an allergy to all things onion.  So you may be asking yourself, “Shiloh, what in the world could you eat in a Mexican restaurant except for the tortilla chips?”  The answer is a cheeseburger.

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I know that might seem sacrilegious to some people, but when you have food allergies, you have to be flexible.  But do not worry, since Mom more than made up for my food issues with her lunch.

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Casa Tina’s is family owned and operated, run by a husband and wife team of Javier and Tina (hence the name).  Even their kids have worked there.  The daughter has been known to perform on the silks in the dining room on the weekends.  The decor is based around the skeletons and sugar skulls that are associated with Dias de los Muertos.  The food is made fresh daily and is delicious.  Everyone is always friendly and accommodating and we’ve yet to have a bad meal there.

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After lunch, Mom decided she wanted to do a little shopping.  As you might guess, she did partake of the margarita special.

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Lunch on the Rainbow River

After taking a ride around the area, Mom and I decided to stop at the restaurant our AirBnB’s host, Jim, recommended to us when we arrived.  Swampy’s Bar and Grille is situated right on the bank of the Rainbow River in downtown Dunnellon, Florida.

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We opted for the outside seating next to the river.  And what a view we had.

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The water is so clear, you could see the bottom.  What looks like silt in this picture is actually the clear bottom of the river.  The way Swampy’s is situated, pontoon boats, kayaks and paddleboards can pull up to the dock, tie up, and get out to have some tasty food.

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Since we’re on the river, we had to have something water related, so Mom had the fish and chips while I went with their surf and turf.  Mom’s fish was lightly battered and flaky.  She said it was delicious.  My steak was seasoned with blackening seasoning and my shrimp were grilled and both had wonderful flavor and the steak was nice and moist.

As we were eating, we watched several boats go by, though with the first one we were nervous, since there is a bridge over the water next to the restaurant.

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We’re happy to report it is high enough for the boaters to get through easily.  And even though we were right next to the road, it was peaceful enough to have a conversation.  The waitstaff was quick and efficient.  I never had to wait around for my iced tea to be refilled because as soon as I was close to the bottom of my glass, a new tea appeared.  This is a great little restaurant, with good food, good atmosphere and great views.  I would recommend this place to anyone.