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Dunedin may be a laid-back Florida beach community where anyone can feel at home at once, but it is fiercely proud of its rich American and Scottish heritage and the many firsts to its credit. This charming rural town in Pinellas County is the oldest town south of Cedar Key and is home to around 36 thousand warm and friendly people. Original settlers were cotton and citrus farmers but soon Dunedin was known as one of Florida’s chief seaport and trading centers with the largest fleet of sailing vessels in Florida.
Among the many firsts, Dunedin is famous for the amphibious tractor, the Alligator, that was assembled here and used during World War II. It played a decisive role in the Pacific phase of the war. Dunedin citrus packers were also the pioneers of frozen orange juice concentrate. The “Pram” sailboat racer originated here and Dunedin was the first home of the prestigious PGA (Professional Golfers Association). The first radio signals from Pinellas County were sent from Dunedin. The Dunedin Garden Club has the distinction of being the oldest continuous garden club on Florida’s west coast.
Vicinity of Dunedin
Life at Dunedin is easy paced and tourists can move about independently even without a car. Enjoy a leisurely stroll on Main Street, window shopping and browsing through its unique boutiques and galleries. Don’t miss the Art & Antique Gallery, off Main Street on Broadway with its high-end antiques and home accessories. Main Street ends at the glorious blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, but this is the marina, not the beach. Honey¬moon Island is about 6 miles away from downtown and is the nearest sandy beach. Getting there is not difficult even without your own transport. You can rent a bike, catch a bus, or take a cab. A ferry gets you to Caladesi Island State Park, which contains one of the top beaches in the country.
The local Mease Hospital looks after the population’s medical needs. Dunedin Historical Museum has planned a walking tour of historic sites of the neighborhood. The Museum houses area artifacts and the Society works to preserve buildings that are pertinent to Dunedin’s past. The Douglas home and Andrews Memorial Chapel are now on the National Register of Historic Sites. In commemoration of its ancestral ties with Scotland, a nation that has molded Dunedin into what it is today.
Visitors will be more than comfortable at the Meranova Guest Inn where you have a choice between a comfortable cottage and one of seven suites with kitchens in the 96-year-old house. There are many options for dining out in Dunedin, depending on your mood. Locals flock to ‘Kelly’s For Just About… Anything,’ which is a popular watering hole offering drinks, food, and live music. Meals that are more substantial can be had at The Black Pearl, a fine dining restaurant whose varied menu includes rack of lamb and filet.