Why live in Dunedin, FL? The question really should be, "Why not?" Dunedin is on the west coast of Florida, right on the Gulf of Mexico. Just to the west are Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island.
There are so many things to do in Dunedin that most people can't get to them all. Starting with January, every Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm, there is an open air farmers market in Pioneer Park. This market, with local farmers selling fresh produce, meats, breads, honey, hand-crafted items, spices, sauces and so very much more, is right on the downtown Main Street. Admission is free, so you can browse the area until something tickles your fancy. Or, just walk around to each vendor, chat for a bit, and sample their wares. This way, you know exactly what you are getting.
If the Farmers market doesn't do it for you, there is the second Friday Wine/Art Walk. This starts about 5:30 in the evening and shops stay open late for downtown visitors. Stroll along the sidewalks, sample some wine at various shops and locations, have a nice meal at any of the many restaurants - even outdoor patio dining at several establishments.
There is a huge Arts and Crafts Festival in January, in downtown Dunedin Main Street. This is one of the best crafts festivals in the Southeast so you really don't want to miss it. Check out the various hand-made products, from knit scarves to cutting boards, to blown glass, to beautiful artwork paintings, to metal sculpture and so much more. Of course, there is lots of great food to eat as you amble along. Because Dunedin is very dog friendly, bring your favorite canine along, to socialize with the other dogs.
February brings one of the year's most anticipated events - the Mardi Gras parade. There will be more than 50 floats from around the area. There will be all kinds of things going on, pirates, fun, LOTS of beads and when it is all over, the crowds will head to downtown for fine food and drink. Top it all off with a visit to Strachan's Hand Made Ice Cream shop and you have a perfect February evening. And for the Snowbirds, there is NO snow.
March brings something different, the Trashy Treasures event. This is held at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center on Friday and Saturday. It is lots of fun. Naturally, the Open Air Market is going on Friday and Saturday, the second Friday Wine/Art walk is still on as are all the other normal activities in the area. And you simply can't forget the annual St. Patrick's Day celebration, hosted by Flanagan's Irish Pub. There will be a full day of music, food and perhaps a wee bit of beverages. For this day, everyone has their Irish on.
March also is spring training for Major League Baseball and Dunedin is the home of the Toronto Blue Jays for spring training. Come to the ballpark to watch your favorite players and future stars warm up for the coming baseball season. For the snowbirds, it is great entertainment, and they can break out the tee shirts and shorts a couple months early. Just might want to check out real estate for sale in Dunedin, as a thought.
Moving into April, Films in the Park take center stage. These are held in Pioneer Park each Friday evening for the month of April. The movies begin at dark. Bring your own chairs, folding chairs are great. Bring your own snacks too. It is all FREE, so don't hesitate. It is a great evening of family fun and entertainment. You can even bring your dog. And for the summer, the Dunedin Jays play almost downtown against other budding baseball stars. It is great entertainment, and the cost is very low. You just might catch a souvenir baseball.
May brings outdoor concerts to Weaver Park, on the water. The music starts at 7 pm and goes 'til 9 pm. There are snacks available for sale, or bring your own. Again, your own chairs are welcome. Just get there early as the whole area fills up quickly. While enjoying the outstanding music of some of the area's finest musicians, catch the sunset and realize how great it is to be living the Dunedin lifestyle. And it is all free, the music, the sunset, and the seating.
Bring your camera, you might see a musician who played with some of the biggest bands in rock 'n roll, playing on stage just for your delight and edification, and because they just love to play music.
By the way, the hand cut fries are hot and delicious. We are just getting warmed up on why live in Dunedin. You just might want to find out what a house you are looking at is worth, and if you do, click on the sunset.
June brings yet another Arts and Crafts Festival to downtown. It will be Friday and Saturday with lots of interesting hand crafted items to touch, smell, and buy. There just might be some food and one never knows, but the hand squeezed lemonade really tastes good on a warm June afternoon. Then the Open Air Market has it's last month of fresh produce and other tasty offerings in June, since the summer is just a bit warm for open air market. This means it is your last chance to stock up on some of your favorite sauces, specialty coffees and teas, and why not get just one more loaf of hand crafted bread or other simply scrumptious baked goods.
Come July, people are thinking of the beach. There is the Dunedin Causeway, with fishing, wind-surfing, jet-skiing, sun bathing and swimming to offer. Or drive across the Causeway to Honeymoon Island and enjoy the stunning beach, dubbed the best beach in America by Dr. Beach in his annual rating. Stay tuned for more on Honeymoon Island in another post.
August sees the end of school vacations and families are getting ready for that. Football is in the air, with pre-season getting fired up. High schools are geared up for football, the NFL is all atwitter about the coming season. The Tampa Bay Bucs are an easy drive away from Dunedin. And the minor league baseball teams are jockeying for their playoff positions. Sports are big in the area this time of year.
If sports are not for you, get involved. There is the Fine Arts Museum, Friends of the Island - for Honeymoon Island, or clubs such as the Dunedin North Rotary, whose motto is "Doing good and having fun."
September finds some of the best outdoor weather of the year. Boating and fishing are exceptional. You can kayak on the grass flats to relax, or fish for redfish and speckled trout, or paddle across to Honeymoon Island. Or drive across the Dunedin Causeway to Honeymoon Island, then hop on the ferry to Caladesi Island for an afternoon picnic.
October finds Halloween. There are events for the children all month. There is the big Our Lady of Lourdes Fall Festival, with a huge carnival midway with rides, games of chance, cotton candy and more, a massive flea market tent with outstanding bargains, and barbeque. The fires start a couple days early so the pits are ready for hundreds of pounds of ribs, pulled pork and more, all cooked on site.
Then November comes and people are getting ready for Thanksgiving. The weather is cool, still no snow though, for you snowbirds. The Open Air Farmers Market starts up again, so you can get the unique blend of coffee beans, or that special cheese or loaf of bread you couldn't find in the grocery store.
December brings another special and signature Dunedin event, the Old Fashioned Christmas. There will be S'Mores made to order over hot coals, games and toys from the 1890s for the young at heart to try out, outdoor concert, and even "snow" over Main Street by the historical museum.
Then the incredible boat parade with dozens of elaborately lighted boats to celebrate the holiday season. The boats parade off-shore a bit, from the north down to the Clearwater Causeway, turn around and take turns coming into the Dunedin Marina so all can see the fun handiwork on each decorated boat. The culmination of the parade is the last boat, bringing in Santa Claus to light the holiday tree in Edgewater Park.
Yes, Dunedin is a unique, fascinating and fun place to live. You too can share the Dunedin lifestyle, which is what makes it such a great place to live. There are always things to do in Dunedin, and the people love to share.