May 18, 2011
No Bucket List Complete Without These Local Favorites
Ever since the movie came out in 2007, bucket lists have become more mainstream with nearly everyone you talk to having one. Most of those include travel to exotic lands like Africa, Europe, Asia and more; others include dare devil activities like skydiving, climbing a mountain or riding an animal- whether it is a horse, elephant or camel. But you don’t have to travel far to fulfill items on a bucket list. In fact, we’ve compiled a list of all the things residents of Brandon should do before they “kick the bucket.”
1. For waterfront dining in the greater Brandon area, try out Circle’s
2. For Brandon boutique shopping, check out Green Boutique, located in Plaza Bella.
3. For local produce, take a stroll over to Collin’s Produce on the corner of St. Cloud Ave. and S.R. 60 E. in Valrico. Also, u-pick strawberry fields abound in the area during strawberry season, which runs from December to April. The same can be said for blueberry fields from March to May.
4. If you are looking for blueberries and wine, Keel and Kurley in Plant City offers a u-pick of its fields, but is also the produce of blueberry wine.
5. Strawberries are so plentiful in the area, there is a whole festival for them. The Strawberry Festival is a must-have on any local’s to-do list.
6. Consignment shops are plentiful in the area as well, including Julie’s Walk-in Closet, Hangover’s Boutique in Apollo Beach, Hut No. 8 in Valrico and Carousel Kids in Lithia.
7. Cozy up for a cup of tea. For tea, there are a multitude of tea houses and tea shops in the area, including The Tea Cup Tea Room on Lithia Pinecrest Rd., Camilla Rose Tea Room in Plant City, Victorian Grace on Parsons, Simply Country Gifts & Southern Belles Tearoom in Thonotosassa and the newly-opened FeliciTeas and Tabitha’s Tea, offering loose leaf, tea bags, tea sandwiches and tiny edible treats.
8. For Irish Bars, looking no further than O’Brien’s Irish Pubs in Brandon and Plant City as well as O’Tooles on Brandon Blvd., where you can wear you’re Kiss Me, I’m Irish shirt every day of the year.
9. Fox & Hounds, once an Irish pub, is under new ownership and will be Brandon’s newest English pub. Practice your English accent.
10. For a cool treat or a hot eat, try out local landmark Campbell’s Dairyland.
11. Spot a manatee. The Manatee Viewing Center is also a great locale to reconnect with nature. It is open from November to April near the Big Bend Power Plant, owned by Tampa Electric Company (TECO).
12. At Kerby’s Nursery, local residents greet you and explain everything one would need to know to plant anything from rose bushes to a fig tree.
13. For a night out, consider The Brass Tap, which has more than 300 beers on tap. Talk about beer selection. Enjoy a stogie while you’re there. Or, if you prefer to make your own home brew, Bootleggers Beer is the place for you.
14. If beer is not your drink of choice, Joia Fabulous Pizza & Martini Bar is known for its hand-crafted martinis, which are $5 on select nights. Park Square Cellar is the place for wine aficionados.
15. Head to La Septima for a great Cuban sandwich.
16. The Rack is the place to be for great sushi and a game of pool or nine-ball.
17. Little Harbor, located on the bay, is the ideal location for a Sunday brunch, complete with champagne mimosas. Breakfast on the beach.
18. For great Greek food, including gyros, visit hidden gem Romano’s.
19. Create while you uncork at Sketch & Sip
20. Squeeze off a few rounds at Shoot Straight
21. For a day out with your furry friend, visit Dr. Ott’s Dog Park
22. For a local getaway, try Palmer House, located just past FishHawk Trails. It’s just far enough from civilization that you can be truly immersed in the old country feeling you get while staying there.
23. For health food nuts, Chuck’s Natural Food’s is the place to be in Brandon.
24. Stomp your cowboy boots at the Dallas Bull.
25. The best place for breakfast is The Brunchery
26. Go ice skating at the Ice Sports Forum, or roller skating at Skateland of Brandon.
27. Listen to live jazz music and enjoy food and drinks at Incognito Lounge in Apollo Beach.
28. Get a cup of coffee and cheese toast at La Cubanita.
29. Try your hand at clay shooting.
30. Take a dancing class at The Way 2 Dance in Brandon.
31. Go horseback riding at R&R Ranch, Misty Farms, etc.
32. Rent a canoe and float down the Alafia River.
33. Spend a day in Winthrop Town Centre.
34. Take a cooking class at Rolling Pin.
35. Make a splash at Lithia Springs
36. Eat a double decker pizza at Babe’s
37. Find an antique treasure at The White Rabbit, Sweet Memories, Somewhere in Time.
38. Go to Christmas Lane
39. Watch one of two lighted boat parades in Riverview and Apollo Beach
40. Go for a bike ride at Alderman’s Ford Park
41. Have a picnic at Medard Park
42. Eat one of Sweetie’s Delights cupcakes with Whippy Dip
43. Eat the latest fried concoction at the Florida State Fair
44. Get artsy at The Pottery Patch
45. Visit the Betty Walker garden at the Hillsborough County Extension Office, take a class
46. Eat a guilt-free frozen yogurt from You Say When Yogurt Shoppe
47. Buy a tree, pumpkin, etc. from a local tree lot
48. Go bowling at BCB, Oakfield or The Alley
49. Take a library class on genealogy, scrapbooking, life writing and more at Bloomingdale Public Library or the SouthShore Public Library
50. Walk around on a cold Florida night at Novemberfest
51. Take your kids to Dinosaur World
52. Carve a pumpkin at The Pumpkin Festival
53. Eat Bellafia’s award-winning dark chocolate peanut butter cups
54. Ride the rides at Spring Jubilee
55. Eat an authentic meal at Italian Kitchen
56. Listen to live music at Della’s After Dark
57. Attend the annual Brandon Fourth of July Parade
58. Get a loaf of Cuban bread from Moreno’s Bakery
59. Go mountain biking at Alafia River State Park and Balm Boyette Nature Scrub
60. Go to an old-fashioned drive-in movie at the Ruskin Family Drive-in
61. Grab a morning pick-me-up and breakfast pastry from FishHawk Bagels
62. Attend a summer concert in Park Square
63. Eat something made with tomato at the annual Ruskin Tomato Festival
64. Eat a taco and a slice of pizza from S&S Taco/ Pizza & Stuff
65. Go to Cracker Country
66. Have a muffin at Mimi’s Café
67. Attend and eat chili at an area chili cook-off.
68. Get something framed from Field’s Framing on Lithia
69. Mark your piece of sidewalk at Chalk Walk
70. Go wild at Wild Dame Night
71. Unwind at Cork & Olive Wine Bar & Café
72. Pay tribute to our veterans at Veterans Memorial Park
73. Do the ropes course at Camp Cristina
74. Drink it all in at Corks & Forks
75. Be there when the Strawberry Queen dips a strawberry in chocolate at The Original Leena’s Chocolates
76. Bring a gift to the Cookson Hills Toy Run
77. Attend the County Fair
78. Take in the view of the rose bushes from Estela’s
79. Eat a steak or all-you-can-eat shrimp at Jesse’s Steak House
80. Have a family meal at a family restaurant- Ben’s Family Restaurant
81. Get that Old Florida feeling eating at The Oaks Bar & Grill
82. View paintings and other works of art at The Big Draw
83. Watch a live production at James McCabe Theatre in Valrico
84. Have buffalo chips at Tadpoles
85. Make a card at Cards for the Troops
86. Taste and vote at the Taste of Brandon
87. Take a hot air balloon ride with Balloons and Beyond.