Magnolia Terrace Tea Room and Bistro immerses visitors in a palette of pastel hues, from its light yellow walls to chairs tied with gauzy pink bows. On tables swathed in floral cloths, tiered platters display traditional English tea sandwiches and snacks, fruit- and cheese-laden salads, and fresh-baked scones. An assortment of rich herbal teas steep in nearby pots, and bakers supplement savory dishes with strawberries dipped in chocolate, cupcakes, and other sweets.
The roar of falling pins, the sight of fist-bumping teammates, the aroma of bubbling pizzas. These stimuli greet the senses of visitors crossing the threshold into Mariner Bowling Lanes. A haven for family fun, the alley has all the necessary equipment to provide hours of bonding, including soda and snacks, arcade games, and bowling leagues.
At The Plant Stop, rows of lush foliage and vibrant blooms flourish amid sunlight and open air, surrounding visitors in hundreds of draught-resistant shrubs, flowers, and trees. Pat, a plant expert with more than 25 years experience in the landscaping business, runs this horticultural haven. Along with a staff of expert nurserymen, Pat helps customers select exotic plant life and nurture classic foliage such as flowering trees. He works with growers across Florida to stock the store's lush pathways with more than 20 varieties of clay-ball-rooted palm trees, which can thrive for many years without being staked or finishing elementary school.
At The Plant Stop's design station, landscapers chat with patrons one-on-one to draw up complementary landscape designs that incorporate plants tolerant of Florida's climate. The customer-focused staff also delivers trees free of charge.
The 35 acres that make up Life Glow Organic's farm are a land free from pesticides, antibiotics, and chemicals. Here, a family of farmers uses eco-friendly practices when growing their crop, which results in fruits and veggies that hold USDA organic certification and a special place in every scarecrow's heart. Watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, and celery all spring from the fertile soil, where the farmers or customers can hand pick them as soon as they're ripe.
On Saturdays, the farmers lift the curtain on their operation and lead free tours of their garden and greenhouses. More in-depth tours can introduce visitors to chickens, horses, rabbits, and other farm animals. Life Glow Organic also hosts special events including weddings and activities such as camping.
When Peter Santangelo became president and owner of his parents' nursery business at age 17, he carried on his parents' horticultural expertise and the Santangelo entrepreneurial spirit to make his business a success. He traveled all over Florida to cull his botanical inventory, and over the years he expanded the nursery and even started doing his own farming.
A winner of the 2011 and 2012 Best of Suncoast silver award, Canterbury Farms employs botany buffs who tend to 43 acres of Florida-friendly woodland plants that include palms, shrubs, and tropical herbage. The lush, green landscape is punctuated by colorful exotic plants as well as by Amigo, a cartoonish fiberglass statue that once perched on the roof of Peter’s parents' nursery decades ago. Pensive green thumbs may solicit shrub-related style from Canterbury Farms experts by bringing in photos of their outdoor or indoor spaces, and free estimates are also available for landscaping projects.