A visit to historic Ybor City, Tampa, Florida

June, 2012

I have lived in Tampa know for over 20 years and I had yet to get down to visit the Ybor City Museum State Park . This part of Tampa oozes with history! The buildings and the streets always remind you of it wonderful past.  We decided to make it a girls day out and my friends Valerie and Marylou joined me in a day of discovery.

Of course a trip to Ybor is not complete without a meal at the Columbia Restaurant. The Columbia “is” Tampa history. Open since 1905 the Columbia is one of only 50 restaurants in the USA chosen as an All-American Icon. A visit to the Columbia is a feast for the eyes as well as the palate. Ornate hand painted tiles and exquisite iron works is seen throughout the building, inside as well as outside. Before lunch we stopped in the gift store so I could get a bottle of my favorite “1905 Dressing” and visited with the fella hand rolling cigars.

Columbia Restaurant Ybor City

Columbia Restaurant Ybor City

Lunch was AMAZING as usual, we all tasted a bit of each others to see who’s was best..no winners, all were wonderful! Marylou told us stories of many meals spent here in the past visiting with Cesar and listening to him stroll around with a violin many years ago.

The Beauty of Ybor

The Beauty of Ybor

After lunch it was time to walk off some calories. Historical markers in front of the restaurant reminded us of the Krewe of the Knights of Saint Yago(the restaurant is their headquarters) and of the passing of the Rough Riders at that Intersection in 1898. There are at least 8 other historical markers in walking distance from this spot!

Ybor City Museum State Park

Ybor City Museum State Park

We drove the short couple of blocks over to the Ybor City Museum State Parkto experience a piece of the rich cultural heritage of Ybor City, one of only two National Historic Landmark Districts in Florida. The Museum is located in the 1923-era Ferlita Bakery. There is a wonderful journey through Tampa’s Cigar history on exhibit through the building. There is a short video I suggest you see prior to taking the walking tour. Here you will also find architectural drawings of some of Tampa’s most recognizable historic buildings, the ovens from the original bakery, a recreation of a cigar factory, and many collectible cigar boxes and artwork. Exhibit is very well done and full of information for all ages! Outdoors there is a lush Mediterranean-style garden and the “casita,” representative of a typical cigar-worker’s family home.

The Casita

The “Casita”

You can tour the home and see it nearly as it was when it was occupied.

Across from the gardens you will find Ybor Centennial Park and the site of the first city-owned fire department (then the site of the Italian section of the city). In the park you will see the Immigrant Statue depicting a family.

Immigrant Statue

Immigrant Statue

It is very heartwarming and thought provoking. Many came from Germany, Cuba, Italy, and Spain to have an opportunity to raise their families in a land that was free.

It had been a wonderful day of learning about Tampa’s history. Wonderful food and companionship made the day perfect. If you get a chance take a stroll through Ybor one sunny afternoon. You will find yourself going back in time to a simpler age and smiling….

Happy Trails


For more information on Ybor City please visit: http://www.ybor.org/

Interested in learning more about the Real Florida? Check us out at Http://www.notaclueadventures.com  We would love to show you around!

For additional photos from our trip please click here

About notacluegal

Jeanene was born in Pittsburgh, PA. As a young child her family was very active in the outdoors. Things changed when her parents decided to travel down different paths in life and with that decision so went many of the opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Being lucky to live in the suburbs Jeanene always had a backyard to play in and loved being outdoors. As the years passed she took every opportunity to be outdoors. She bought land in Tennessee and as a single mom moved her young daughter to the mountains. The were many life lessons learned on that mountain. There was no plumbing on the property – or even a house, but that did not stop her. She learned to live off of what was available and built her own cabin from the trees on her property. Those were rough years but the most rewarding. Now Jeanene resides in Tampa, Fl. and works as an office manager full time….but still yeans to be outdoors. Jeanene started “Not a Clue Adventures” to teach everyone she could how wonderful the outdoors are! That camping and fishing and hiking can be done by everyone and at many different levels. Single mom’s no longer have to be afraid to take their sons and daughters outdoors. By working with young couples, single parents and even seniors, she gets to teach others about her love for the outdoors and hopes to open their eyes to new adventures. In 2009, Jeanene completed certification as a Leave No Trace Instructor. She also works closely with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) and the Florida State Parks. Jeanene is also certified in First Aid/Adult CPR.
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2 Responses to A visit to historic Ybor City, Tampa, Florida

  1. My family lives in St. Petersburg, and we go into Ybor City to eat sometimes. Now I want to check out the museum, too! 🙂

  2. Very nice post! Another taste of real Florida.

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