Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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St. Petersburg Florida

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 12, 2018

We got into St. Petersburg, Florida on Wednesday Sept. 5. Unfortunately, I hadn’t booked the conference hotel which was already full when I registered for Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. Events took place at the historic Vinoy Renaissance by the bay. This distinctive structure faces a boat marina and a park on one side and Beach Drive at another end. Our hotel, the Hampton Inn, was on a side street from this main strip that hosts a plethora of restaurants and museums. The town is good for a few days stay with all there is to see and do. Here are shots of the Vinoy that was built in the 1920’s.

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It was a distinct disadvantage not staying there as we had to tip the valet at the Hampton Inn each time we needed the car. I got too hot walking the five to six blocks in ninety degree heat to the conference hotel while dressed up for the meeting. Once I left the Vinoy in the afternoon, I didn’t return. Daily thunderstorms and the intense heat prevented another long stroll. A shuttle ran between conference hotels, but only in the early morning and late afternoon. So I learned my lesson. Never stay off site again. However, we enjoyed St. Petersburg along Beach Drive even though we didn’t go farther into downtown.

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Dining adventures included Parkshore Grill where we had lunch on day one.



We dined outside at Fresco’s on the first night.


We met my former critique partner, Sharon Hartley, and her husband for dinner at Bella Brava.


Richard and I enjoyed the early bird special at 400 Beach Seafood.


I think I had more fun trying the different restaurants than anything else!

I skipped out on the conference on Saturday afternoon for a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts. This two-story building held many exhibits including sculptures, paintings, and valuable artifacts. I liked the clock exhibit. There’s a café and gift shop on the premises. Here are some of the items we viewed. More are in the album on my Facebook page.


Coming Next: Bouchercon 2018

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10 Responses to “St. Petersburg Florida”

  1. Good advice, and great food pictures! Why couldn’t I still live in Florida? So many great mystery conferences!

  2. Hi Nancy,
    It was good seeing you last weekend at B’con. I feel exactly the way you do about not going to another con if I can’t be in the hotel where all the action is.
    Why did you guys leave the Bella Brava Sat night? I saw you come in then walk out a few minutes later. I was there with Debra Goldstein.

  3. Hi Nancy,

    Did you get to see DruAnn at all while you were there?


    Shanna Tova Um’Tuka

    On Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 9:30 AM, Nancy’s Notes From Florida wrote:

    > Nancy J. Cohen posted: “We got into St. Petersburg, Florida on Wednesday > Sept. 5. Unfortunately, I hadn’t booked the conference hotel which was > already full when I registered for Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. > Events took place at the historic Vinoy Renaissance by the bay.” >

  4. J S said

    At least you enjoyed some good food. I stayed at the Vinoy and never left the hotel. The food options there were limited and expensive, and the crowd made it almost impossible to get service. Every time I thought about leaving the hotel, it started raining. I didn’t want to walk blocks in the heat and humidity, to get lunch or dinner…and I would also have missed multiple sessions if I had done so. I loved the conference, but I wish they had made more arrangements for box lunches ( not just the one day), and perhaps setup some buffets in the ball room or larger meeting rooms, for those of us who wanted to stay in place.

    • Yes, you would have needed an umbrella to go anywhere. Several restaurant were easily reachable on foot, but it rained every afternoon right at dinner time. I like conferences that include more meals but then registration fees are higher. By staying off-site, we missed out on hanging by the bar or attending any of the evening sponsored socials.

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