The day after Christmas can bring with it a powerful onset of post-holiday blues. The resignation sets in for children as they realize Santa has come and gone. The radio stations have stopped playing Burl Ives and songs about the holidays. And many of us head back to work.
But it may be sunnier for Wolfpack fans heading to Florida to watch NC State take on the University of Central Florida in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. The game kicks off Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.
So we thought it would be fun to reach out to some of our alumni in St. Petersburg to give us a blog-guided tour of what visitors can do in the city and in neighboring Tampa during their stay.
Steven Yost, 1979 engineering alumnus; now retired from the Georgia Department of Transportation and works on the event staff for the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field
Do you have plans for the Bitcoin Bowl? Because baseball doesn’t start until spring, I’ve got the winter months off. However, I do have the option of working at the stadium when other events are staged. Hence, I’ll be working at the stadium for the State-Central Florida game. At this time, I don’t know in what capacity, but most likely I’ll be working on the suite level.
Where are some great places to stay in St. Petersburg? The iconic “pink” Don Cesar is located in St. Pete Beach and is on the Gulf of Mexico. This hotel has a rich history and is quite a landmark. If you choose to stay in downtown St. Pete, consider the Vinoy. It is a first class hotel and is on the Tampa Bay waterfront. The Vinoy is where many of the visiting baseball teams stay when the come to St. Pete to play the Rays.
Any “musts” for Wolfpackers to do or see while visiting? The Dali Museum is one of them. At this time, I believe there is a special showing of some of Picasso’s works. I recommend you take a guided tour as the tour guides are full of information, and some of them really get into character when they lead their groups through the museum.
Will the Wolfpack win? I predict State will win, but they’ll be in for quite a game.
Megan Rindone, 2007 Poole College of Management alumna with a 2011 masters of public administration; now a mortgage loan officer at FBC Mortgage
Favorite place to eat in Tampa/St. Pete? My favorite place to eat dinner is Bella’s Italian Restaurant in South Tampa. In downtown St. Pete, Red Mesa Mexican Restaurant is a staple, and Avenue is a great burger place, with indoor and outdoor seating, TVs and a great menu. For lunch…Mott & Hester’s Deli in South Tampa has the very best warm Italian sub. Woody’s has the best chopped Greek salad, and chicken, lemon, and feta soup!
How about a place that visitors have to get to before leaving? In St. Pete there is an Italian market called Mazzaro’s. It’s a must-see, and go hungry! …In Tampa, Historic Ybor City is a great place to go during the day and see the cigar district of Tampa.
Prediction for the game? NC State by 6! GO PACK!!
Bill Hogarth, 1976 alumnus with a Ph.D. in zoology; now director of the Florida Institute of Oceanography
Where can visitors go to shop? Corey Avenue in St. Pete Beach for restaurants and shopping. Of course, Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg features great shops and restaurants with a fantastic water view.
Any good dives or greasy-spoon joints visitors should check out? Willy’s Burgers & Booze in St. Pete Beach. Very casual with an unusual menu of Willy’s Wet Burger, fried bologna, deep fried turkey stuffing ball, to name a few.
Prediction for the game? NC State in an exciting squeaker.