Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hollywood Legends On Pasco's Cotee River

Most people assume they have to travel to Hollywood - or at least Universal Studios Orlando - to get a glimpse of the movie star lifestyle. What many in Pasco don't realize is that we have a little bit of star dust right here at home and it can be found along the banks of the Pithlachascotee River, which winds through historic downtown New Port Richey.

In the early 1920s, celebrities like Shirley Temple, Greta Garbo and Charlie Chaplin came to Florida for the great weather and glamorous parties in places like New Port Richey's Hacienda Hotel. A few even built homes here and one of the best ways to see those homes is aboard the Miss Daisy II, the 49-passenger pontoon boat that docks at the Seaside Inn Restaurant off U.S. 19 in Port Richey.

The two-hour river tour takes visitors past homes once owned by silent film stars such as Thomas Meighan and Gloria Swanson. Baseball great Babe Ruth had a spring training residence here, as did Shirley Temple, whose $1.7-million Spanish-style home is pictured at left. June Carter Cash spent her winters at a home on the Gulf of Mexico in Pasco. The Miss Daisy's Capt. Ray Kelly will even show passengers his copy of an old black-and-white photo of Johnny & June Carter Cash enjoying a fishing trip at one of the stilt homes still standing today.

The Miss Daisy is a great way to see the riverfront and tiny islands that dot the Pasco coast, including Durney Key, a popular spot to camp, dig for shells, picnic and sunbathe. You can grab a great lunch at a number of riverfront restaurants, including the Crab Shack, Fatty 'n Mabel's, Hooters or Catches Seafood. The Miss Daisy is available for private groups, special events and sunset cruises. Reservations are strongly recommended. Adults are $19; children are $12. Discounts are offered for groups of 26 or more. For more information, visit or call 727-819-1754.
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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Destination Pasco: Discover the Hot Spots in Your Own Back Yard

When your job is to promote tourism in Pasco County, invariably some wise guy will ask, "Tourism in Pasco? What on earth is there for a tourist to do in Pasco County?" Anyone asking that question simply hasn't been paying attention.

Where else can you step out of a plane at 13,000 feet one day and recharge at a world-class resort and spa the next? Paddle your canoe past homes once owned by Hollywood starlets in the morning and dive for sunken treasure in the afternoon? Only in Pasco can you tour what was once the largest citrus packinghouse in the world or visit a tiny town also known as "Kumquat Capital of the World."

At the Pasco Office of Tourism, our job is to draw attention to all of the unique attractions that make our area such a great alternative to the typical theme park experience. In "Adventures of a Pasco Tourist," we will highlight the best of what this part of the Suncoast has to offer, from strolling for antiques in historic downtown Dade City to scoping out the baby bald eagles and black-bellied plovers at Anclote River Park.

For this first installment, check out Pasco County's mention on a list of unique or quirky things to do in Florida. Sky Dive City in Zephyrhills was chosen as one of only 20 destinations profiled as part of Visit Florida's "Been There, Haven't Done That" campaign. View the entire list at

Until next time, happy travels and please send your ideas and suggestions for our next great Pasco Adventure! Email us at or call the office at 727-847-8129.
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