Saturday: Arts Alive Free Museum Day

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If you love art, spending time with your family and free stuff, then you’ll have a great time this weekend! This Saturday, September 25th (always the last Sat. in Sept.) is Arts Alive Free Museum Day; no passes required and no residency restrictions.  Last year my husband and I got a very late start with our little boy, so we were only able to make it to the Museum of Fine Arts (St. Pete). This year, we are determined to see more than one. Here’s a list (taken from stpete.org) of local museums you can visit for absolutely FREE this Saturday:

So grab your family and take advantage of this great deal! I think we’ll try to make it to Great Explorations and The Morean Arts Center this time to see the Chihuly Collection. Which museums will you visit for free? To learn more about our local museums and other activities going on this weekend, click here.

Last year at the Museum of Fine Arts all the kids were invited to make their own art to display.

Happy Birthday, Nihja!

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Today we’re celebrating Nihja’s 22nd Birthday at Patrons Insurance Agency. He’s not just an agent, he’s family. To celebrate, we’re handing out cookies to everyone! Well actually, we give out cookies every Friday, but we’re still excited about his big day. Check back here later to learn more about this superstar agent. I (Jenn) will be stopping by the office to ask him a few questions. However, feel free to give him a call now at the office (727-394-1890) for a free quote. We’re passing those out all day everyday!

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Restaurant Review: The Conch Republic

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16699 Gulf Boulevard North Reddington Beach, FL

One of my favorite things about my birthday is the traditional birthday dinner out with my family. Every year my parents let me pick where I want to eat and buy us all dinner. I love to try new places so I asked my friends on Facebook for recommendations. They said I should go to the Conch Republic on North Reddington Beach, so I did.

The food was awesome! We started with the smoked fish spread on Club crackers that was so good that my fish-hating dad ate it and so did my 3-year-old. My son kept eating the spread off the same cracker (yes, it became gross) and asking for more. Then, I had a house salad with bleu cheese dressing–pretty good. For my main course, I had the Stuffed Pork Chop–amazing! It was a Bone-in oak-grilled pork chop butterflied stuffed with their own apple bacon chutney dressing, topped with an apple walnut glaze. I only wish I could’ve eaten while it was hot. I was holding the baby when it came out, but it was delicious at a few degrees above room temperature.

I would love to go back, but next we’ll go with the kids when it isn’t so busy. We went on a Friday night and the restaurant was packed. We were seated very close to a full bar so it was cramped and LOUD! It was also difficult to get a high chair. There was only one left when we showed up at 6:30p.m., but the buckle was broken, something my 7-month-old can’t be without. We had to take turns holding him and eating until another chair was free, which wasn’t until halfway through our main course. Yet, these were my only issues and I could easily avoid them by eating there on a weeknight or at lunch time. And, if you don’t have little ones and don’t mind some noise, it’s not an issue at all.

On the bright side, the food was great and everyone sitting to the right of the bar had a great view of the beach. The staff was very friendly and helpful and it was reasonably priced ($15-$25 per person). Next time I’ll try some of their seafood, like the Cedar Plank Salmon or the Fresh Gulf Grouper (my mom and husband had, and loved, grouper sandwiches).

Just a reminder, Patrons Insurance Agency insures restaurants and other businesses. If you’d like choosing a policy for your business, please call us at 727-394-1890 or get a free quote online at www.patronsinsurance.com.

Our Trip To Sarasota, Part 1: Holiday Inn

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Last week we had the opportunity to get away as a family to Lido Beach in Sarasota. This was our first family vacation, not in Rhode Island (where my husband’s family lives). We loved the idea of going somewhere an hour from home because it didn’t cost much to get there, but it was far enough away to feel like a vacation. We have a very tight budget, but we were able to stay at a hotel because my day is a Holiday Inn Priority Club member. He earns points each time he stays at a Holiday Inn for his job and can redeem them for hotel stays, airline tickets, shopping certificates and more. If you travel a lot, I recommend you look into becoming a member. We had a lovely room on the sixth floor with a beautiful view of the gulf.

We weren’t directly on the beach, but we could just walk across the street to get to the soft sandy shores. We played in the water , jumping in and out of waves and hunted for pretty shells. We took a break for some Publix subs and a nap. Then we got some lunch at The Old Salty Dog on City Island, just 5 minute drive away from our hotel. There are several places to eat at within walking distance, but we wanted to go to the place where Adam Richman from the television Man vs. Food ate. We tried their signature dish, the salty dog, a quarter pound hotdog beer-battered and deep-fried. I topped mine off with grilled onions and pepper jack cheese. It was monstrous artery clogger and pretty tasty. Then we hustled back to the beach to watch the sunset.

The rooms were nice and the staff there was okay. We asked about a burger and hotdog place on the beach, but they didn’t know about it and didn’t offer to find it for us– a good concierge would. I was also disappointed with the internet speed; it was very hit or miss. Sometimes it was quick and sometimes it took 10 minutes to load a page. I was hoping they had a fridge in the room to help us save on food costs, but I guess it doesn’t come in every room. If we go again, I’ll make sure we bring a cooler for storing breakfast and snack items. All in all I give this hotel 3 stars.

Is Special Event Insurance For You?

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Would you ever consider purchasing special event insurance? You may want to if you’re one of the many brides planning a summer wedding. You put so much time, effort and money into planning what’s supposed to be the biggest day of your life, you don’t want anything to go wrong. Lots of people insure their weddings. In fact some wedding vendors require you to carry it.

Special event insurance can help you recover some of your costs should you have to cancel or reschedule your wedding, anniversary party, bar mitzvah, sweet 16 or any other special occasion. It even helps when one of the key participants or vendors cannot be there, like your caterer, officiate or photographer. If your future spouse is a member of the armed forces, you may want to consider purchasing a policy in case they are called to active duty. Special event insurance may also cover your wedding gifts, gowns, tuxedos and your honeymoon.

Major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup require all their vendors to carry special event insurance. Coverage for the games themselves cost about $8.95 billion. Who could count how much the rest of insurance costs are? The biggest sporting event in the world definitely relies heavily on the insurance industry.

If you’re having a special event and you don’t want to take any chances, give us a call and we’ll put together a policy for you. Each event will call different types of coverage, so it’s important you discuss all the details with your agent.

Chug on down to Largo Central Railroad

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The first full weekend of every month, my family loves going down to Largo Central Park. We pack up the diaper bag, slap on some sun screen, put a few dollars in our pockets and we’re ready for some good family fun. This park is special because it is the home of the Largo Central Railroad (LCRR), a miniature railroad that you can ride for FREE! The railway is maintained and operated by LCRR club members and is funded by the donations of those who visit.

Everyone can ride, except pregnant women and babies who cannot sit up unsupported. So if you fall into one of these categories, make sure you bring a friend to escort your child(ren) or watch your baby. Each adult can sit with two kids, but first each family must fill out a waiver. The trains start running at 10:00 a.m. (and stop at 4:00 p.m.), but you may want show up half an hour earlier to beat the heat and the long line. If you get hungry while waiting, you can grab a snack at the concession stand, which is run by a different community group each month (i.e. Boy Scouts). For a few dollars you can get a hotdog, chips and a can of soda.


There are several different trains that vary in size, but most can fit a few families. You can’t choose which one you ride, but you can ride multiple times. The track is about 1.2 miles long and the ride is longer than you might expect. You’ll wind around the beautifully landscaped park, including a ride through a tunnel and over a short bridge. My 3-year-old son loves to hear the train whistle, Wooooo wooooo! as it leaves and returns to the station. Be sure to stop by the gift shop (a card table manned by a LLRC volunteer) and buy a whistle and a hat (just $6 each).

For a train schedule click here and to the rent the train out for a birthday party read this first. The trains will be running this Saturday only, because Sunday is the 4th of July, but they usually run both days. Hope to see you there sometime!

My Beach Safety Tips

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Beach Safety Tips

  • Children need to be under constant supervision, especially near the water.
  • Know how to swim and teach your children how to swim.
  • Know child and infant CPR.
  • Stay out of the water at twilight or in the dark, when sharks are most active.
  • Swim with in a group or with another person.
  • If a lifeguard is present, swim directly in front of them in water that is waist deep or less.
  • If caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shore until you are out of it. Then swim to shore.
  • Try to avoid being in the sun during the hottest parts of the day 11:00 a.m. – 2:00p.m..
  • Wear sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher. Put it on before you get in the sun and reapply every 2 hours.
  • Don’t forget to wear UV protection on your lips and protect eyes with sunglasses.
  • Wear sandals to protect your feet from the hot sand, sharp shells and debris.
  • Stay hydrated; drink plenty of water.
  • Make sure to check the weather for coming storms and seek shelter if you’re caught in one.
  • And of course, don’t forget to do the Stingray Shuffle! Watch this video to see how it’s done.

Don’t let these tips keep you from having fun. Enjoy the beautiful beaches while they’re oil free and the weather is nice. To find out where the best beaches are, check out Dr. Beach’s Top 10 Beaches. I hope you notice that Florida has two beaches on the list, including Siesta Beach (Sarasota) at #2!!!

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