AKA homemade soap and sponges.
We had a very lovely outing touring the “Little Greece” in Tarpon despite the blistering Florida sun. Before we left the house we checked the forecast for thunderstorms. Although there was supposed to be some charcoal clouds rolling in, I’m thinking we should have been more concerned with the fact that the automated forecaster belted that it would be a 95-degree day. We paid no mind to it obviously because that isn’t quite news here in the sunshine state. We toured many small shops by the sponge docks and I could sum everything up in the words soap and sponges obviously.
Most of the town’s famous sponges are retrieved from a diver deep under the beautiful coasts. There is nothing more unique and fascinating than these fluffy golden sponges. Not one of them is like the other. Each has a different style, shape, and sometimes a different hue of color. We encountered the “elephant ear” sponge for example. Baskets of seashells, including conch shells (my favorite!), coral, and other miscellaneous nautical treasures were spread among the sponges! The sponges smell like saltwater, which I love, but the smell of the soap we’re getting to next surpasses the smell of the ocean.
The other large contributions to the town are the soaps which are completely natural and smell absolutely heavenly. Each smell was unique and the fragrance was unlike anything your nostrils have ever landed on. One whiff of this goat milk soap is so powerful that it is the first and well, only thing you smell when you enter the shop. We decided to take some home for ourselves. I fell in love with the milky almond soap and my love had a liking for an aroma of Egyptian musk. The small things in life truly delight me.
Other than the two main articles of Tarpon, there are plenty of boats, seashells, spices, and traditional Greek food. There were many small restaurants offering gyros, spanakopita, kalamari, and the like. Anyone who has never had spanakopita really needs to indulge in some delicious “spinach pie”. It may sound horrendous but it is one of the best platters from another culture I’ve ever had. We decided not to stop to eat because we had such a big breakfast before we left on our merry way. Along with amazing smells of food lingering, there were specialty spice shops. We stopped in one shop that had custom blends of garlic, salt, peppers, basil, rosemary, and any other mixture you could think of. In the back of their store, they had rows of jars among jars of teas. Anyone that knows me, knows that my husband and I love tea! We spent our time there prying jars open and slamming them shut after satisfying our sniffer in an attempt not to buy the whole middle shelf.
And last but not least, the innumerable amount of mermaids everywhere was overwhelmingly thrilling! Considering I have a strong attraction to the nautical life considering my tattoo sleeve, my love for the ocean, my obsession of mermaids, and my husband even being in the U.S. Navy, this was my paradise.