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Gulfport, Florida ~ Paradise is Closer Than You Think by Carol Cortwright
The waterfront town of
Gulfport, Florida, nestled between St. Petersburg and the
beaches, is home to candy-colored cottages and a laid-back 'old
Florida' charm that is nothing if not the mantra of the Sea
Breeze Manor Bed and Breakfast Inn. If you're looking for a
getaway that includes gently waving palm trees and casual island
elegance, look no further. Innkeeper and owner Lori Rosso is
also a hostess par excellence, putting to good use her years of
experience in Washington, D.C. as a travel and special event
coordinator for executives, government officials and even the
President of the United States.
The Sea Breeze Manor offers guests a
quintessential Florida experience with the timeless appeal of a historic
Inn. This rambling 1923 property overlooking Boca Ciega Bay is the
color of a stormy sea with bold touches of sunny yellow and red trim and
crisp white lattice, wrapped in a jungle of bird of paradise, banana
trees, ferns and other flora. At the Sea Breeze Manor, 'something's
always blooming,' says Rosso, pointing out clusters of pearly shell
ginger and peach hibiscus flowers adorning the courtyard. The facility
includes four luxury suites in the main house and two adjoining cottages
just off the verdant garden. Well-behaved canine guests are welcome to
stay in the cottages. 'Gulfport is a dog-friendly town,' she says.
Rosso makes sure that as soon as her
visitors step over the threshold, every detail will be taken care of
with expert precision. 'I want them to just take a deep breath and
unwind,' she says, 'and they'll soon feel like they're in another
The Sea Breeze Manor's interior spaces
mix British colonial-ornate antique pieces and gilt mirrors, with a
whimsical and thoroughly Florida blend of tropical fabrics, seashells
and bamboo accents. All the Caribbean themed suites offer comfortable
luxury and plenty of room to breathe, with sitting areas and private
balconies or patios overlooking the tropical courtyard or Boca Ciega
Bay. The Manor is just a stone's throw from a walk on the sugary sand
and a dip in the sparkling water.
Accommodations come with a full
breakfast spread each morning. There's always fresh fruit and juice,
along with hot dishes from stuffed berry French toast to southwest hash
browns and fried eggs, sausage strata, eggs Benedict, and other hearty
fare to get the day started right. Port and sherry are available in the
sitting room and soft drinks and snacks are provided as well.
The Sea Breeze Manor serves as
the perfect backdrop for celebrating important occasions, from
full-blown wedding weekends to family reunions.
retreats complete with chilled champagne are popular as well.
'Valentine's Day is a big deal here,' Rosso notes, 'with lots of
special little touches.'
With the holidays right around the
corner, it pays to note that a gift certificate for a restful
mini-vacation is better than just about anything else you can
tie a ribbon around.
Rosso loves Gulfport-something's
always going on, from the twice-monthly Art Walks and community theater
performances to dancing at the historic Gulfport Casino five nights a
week. Local treats also include the Taste of Gulfport, Gecko Fest and
the Pink Flamingo Tour of Homes. There are plenty of charming antique
shops, artsy boutiques and unique waterfront restaurants to visit, all
within walking distance. 'You can park your car and leave it for the
whole weekend and never run out of things to do,' she maintains. 'But
the absolute beauty of it is that you can do as much-or as blissfully
little-as you want while you're here.'
Information and photos submitted
Carol Cortwright The Sea
5701 Shore Blvd.
Gulfport, Florida 33707 727-343-4445 | 888-343-4445
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