As I write I am on my way to Florida. Yes, my friends and I are doing our own version of the cliché college Spring Break. After all, what’s a true friendship without a few long car ride experiences? As seniors, we wanted to do something together, one last hurrah, if you will. What is really crazy to think about was that this time last year I was planning a three week trip around Europe!
Thursday we partook in another collegiate tradition before getting ready to leave Friday morning. This, my friends, is the ‘holiday’ called Green Beer Day at MiamiUniversity. Green Beer Day (GBD) is a tradition dating back to 1952 (The year my grandpa was a freshman at Miami!). The story behind GBD is that Miami’s Spring Break used to fall over St. Patrick’s day, and the students (and bar owners) didn’t exactly agree with this. To solve this problem, the bars uptown would open at 5:30 in the morning on the Thursday morning before Spring Break. At the time all students could drink, but today you will mostly find seniors and grad students on the bar scene in the mornings. And yes, the beer sold at the bars is green!
My own experience was a small, but good one. I am not a big drinker at the best of times, but felt I had to experience such a time honored tradition! So housemate E and I got up at 5:45 am, and she made some awesome banana chocolate chip pancakes for us and three of her friends that joined us. Around 7 we made our way to a bar uptown and each had a green beer. The three blocks of Miami’s uptown area was packed and full of people dressed in green. It was fun and worth going, even if I did only make it through about half of my beer (still, I was very proud of my green tongue).
The rest of the day after class was spent packing and getting set for our trip. Four of us left early Friday morning, heading to Knoxville, Tennessee first. We spent a few hours adventuring around the World’s Fair Park and the river while housemate E had a music lesson with the instructor from the University of Tennessee (one of the graduate schools she auditioned at). Then we were on our way to Clemson University in South Carolina, to spend two nights with my sister.
It was perfect that Clemson ends up being almost exactly half way to St Petersburg, Florida. Getting to spend some time with my sister was such a treat. I’d been to Clemson once the year before for the weekend, so it was good to see the campus again and experience authentic Southern food! My sister took us to a great, collegiate breakfast sandwich place called The Pot Belly Deli, and we stopped at to get some amazing barbecue and banana pudding from The Smoking Pig.
Sunday morning we turned back the clock and got up an hour earlier to start our final leg of the trip to Tierra Verde. We had the music, the open road, and some beautiful weather to spur us on. We were making great time. And then we hit Clearwater.
Clearwater is where one of the four of us would be staying, and it was definitely a designated Spring Break hot spot. It took us a little less than two hours to get over the bridge and three blocks down to the condo her group was staying at, and back over the bridge. But we made the most of our sitting in traffic!
Finally, almost twelve hours after leaving Clemson, we made it to Tierra Verde. Our hosts are housemate K’s good family friends, and they are just the picture of Southern hospitality. Their house is simply amazing – elegant inside and out. Housemate K was already there, had flown in from DC, and the four of us were rushed off with refreshments and veggies to take a quick boat ride to catch the sunset.
So it’s been a few days since I began writing this post in the car, but I’ll end it here. More on our great trip to come! Unfortunately I have been fighting some kind of cold, but today I am feeling so much better. I think I’ll go step outside and enjoy the sunshine for the time being (it’s such a treat to have consecutive days of sun!). Thanks for reading, cheers! Until then…