March 30, 2020

Tampa, Florida

Ben T Davis Beach. Photo: Dylan Stinson/Film Tampa Bay

Whether you dream of spending free time on the beach or stepping out in a city famous for its natural beauty, Latin culture, and ethnic food, Tampa offers a wonderful setting for your RNFA SutureStar™ training.

First, there are the beaches. Our workshop hotel has its own small beach and waterfront restaurant. Or you can follow a walking/biking path for about a mile and arrive at Ben T. Davis Beach, known for powdery white sand and spectacular sunsets. (It’s right next door to Whiskey Joe’s Bar and Grill, with fire pits, tiki cocktails and Florida-Caribbean food.)

And some of the Gulf Coast’s largest and most famous beaches are within a 45-minute drive.

Then there’s downtown Tampa, about a 20-minute drive from our RNFA workshop hotel. The Tampa Riverwalk is a good place to start exploring: this walking path follows the scenic Hillsborough River along the edge of the theatre district, two city parks, and several museums, not to mention sculptures and monuments. If you go at night, you can see city bridges lit up with continually changing colored lights.

Henry B. Plant Museum

A water taxi offers daily tours of downtown Tampa, with 15 stops, most of them on the Riverwalk. Purchase a fare once and you’ll get a wristband that entitles you to hop on and off for unlimited trips all day.

You’ll find many historic homes and bungalows in the Hyde Park neighborhood. In the center of the neighborhood, the SoHo district (for South Howard Avenue) is hopping with cafés, shops, craft beer bars, Irish pubs, tapas bars, and restaurants of many ethnicities.

Just north of Hyde Park is the Henry B. Plant Museum, originally the 511-room Tampa Bay Hotel, a Moorish Revival extravaganza constructed in 1892 by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant. Today most of the building serves as offices and classrooms for the University of Tampa, but the south wing is maintained as a museum celebrating the Gilded Age.

Centro Ybor plaza in Ybor City

 

Some of Tampa’s many neighborhoods were separate towns annexed by the city as it grew. One of those is Ybor City, a historic district northeast of downtown. The town was founded in 1885 by a group of cigar manufacturers led by Vincente Martinez-Ybor. The factory workers they hired, mostly Cuban and Spanish immigrants, were soon joined in the neighborhood by Italian, German, Chinese and Romanian Jewish immigrants, who established shops, farms, box factories and other businesses serving the cigar industry.

“1905 Salad” from Colombia Restaurant Ybor
Ybor grew into a bustling city that became, at one time, the world’s leading cigar supplier. As a multi-ethnic and multi-racial town, Ybor City was a real anomaly in the American South of its time. The town thrived until the Depression in the 1930s, then gradually declined until the 1980s, when artists seeking studio space started moving in.

In recent years Ybor City has had a vibrant resurgence. There are museums, murals, art galleries, sidewalk cafes, and boutiques. Known as Tampa’s Latin Quarter, Ybor City has restaurants of all kinds, including the Columbia Restaurant Ybor—Florida’s oldest restaurant, featuring Spanish and Cuban food—and a lively nightlife, with wine bars, brew pubs, cantinas, and entertainment venues.

For something completely different, it’s about a 20-minute drive north from our workshop hotel to Big Cat Rescue. It’s not a zoo, but rather an animal shelter, devoted to rescuing exotic cats, rehabilitating injured or orphaned native wild cats, and ending the private trade and ownership of exotic cats via education. Tours of the Big Cat Rescue are a great way to see big cats up close and learn more about them.

A tiger at Big Cat Rescue

Or head out to Lettuce Lake Regional Park, a hardwood swamp forest with boardwalk trails, a tall observation tower, alligators, and some of the best birding in the area.

There’s so much more. Tampa is a haven for the performing arts, with
everything from comedy clubs to touring Broadway shows, dance companies, opera, symphonies, and music venues ranging from intimate clubs to huge arenas. In sports, the city is home to numerous major- and minor-league sports teams, college sports, and a whole lot of professional wrestling.

A scene at Lettuce Lake Regional Park

And, need we add, family fun? Busch Gardens theme park, Adventure Island water park, the Grand Prix Fun Center, the Glazer Children’s Museum.

Take it from us, Tampa is an extraordinary destination for your RNFA course.

Call 800-922-7747 for availability and register today! Note: SutureStar Workshops fill up fast (specialty workshops, such as CV and OB, are even more limited).
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