Known as the “Sponge Capital of the World,” Tarpon Springs is an area where Greek immigrants settled during the early 1900’s and built a thriving industry harvesting and selling the natural sponges that are abundant in the waters. Just an hour south of the GlenLakes community, Tarpon Springs continues to be the world’s largest natural sponge producer supplying 70% of the natural sponges. Charming restaurants and shops, whitewashed buildings, Greek food, culture and traditions are on display and make for a great day trip.
The Sponge Docks– For most visitors, the heart of Tarpon Springs resides at the famous Sponge Docks. The historic Sponge Exchange is the location where the sponges were once bought and sold in a huge marketplace, and is now a plaza with restaurants and shops.
St. Nicholas Sponge Diving Trip– Board a sponge boat known as the St. Nicholas and cruise down the Anclote River. You’ll be amazed as the diver dons 172 pounds of traditional diving gear including a helmet, breast plate, boots and body weights, plunging over the side of the boat connected to an air hose while gathering sponges.
Anclote Key Boat Trip– Consider the Sponge-O-Rama cruise on a pontoon boat to the nearby Anclote Key Preserve State Park, one of Florida’s most stunning barrier islands. Wade in the shallow water to find beautiful shells and notice the wide diversity of bird species.
Greek Village– Wood frame homes of the original Greek immigrant sponge divers are interspersed with commercial buildings and sponge packinghouses where sponges were processed by cleaning, trimming, sorting, bleaching, drying and packing.
Mama’s Restaurant– A local favorite featuring pickled octopus, lamb shank in tomato sauce, smarides (pan fried fish smelts), and spanokopita (spinach pie).
Mykonos Restaurant- Known for traditional and classic Greek food. Try the chargrilled kalamaria (calamari), psari tis oras (charbroiled or pan fried whole fish of the day) and don’t miss the classic Gyro.
Drawing visitors for decades with its Mediterranean village charm, Tarpon Springs is an authentic place with a fascinating history that still holds true today. The Tarpon Springs High School is home to the “spongers” and Jimmy’s Pizza specializes in a spinach and feta pie. Lucky for residents of GlenLakes, Tarpon Springs is an easy day trip. GlenLakes homes are designed for easy living and gracious entertaining. Nestled in the heart of the community is the newest neighborhood of estate home sites. Located between the 10th, 11th and 12th fairways and sparkling Cypress Lake, each estate home site offers outstanding views and plenty of room for a beautiful home. For more information on living the Florida lifestyle at GlenLakes, click here.