From Apollo Beach I continued my journey toward a small agricultural community of Lithia. I’m not kidding when I say small, its sports a population of 8,527. When I checked the population online, I noticed that Lithia was called a suburb of Tampa. That didn’t really feel right, because it is a good 30-40-minute drive away and also very much an inland community of its own. I suppose that if the logic is that everything located within 50 miles from Tampa is its suburb, so be it then.
Lithia is a funny little place. It’s practically as in the middle of nowhere as a community located 20 miles from a large city can be. There are a lot of fields and farmhouses scattered all over, and some forest islands here and there. I didn’t notice that it would have had a proper city center, but maybe the buildings in one intersection marked the center. There’s certain charm in rural communities like Lithia, even though I would imagine that it would not be easy to move there and become “one of them”.
I arrived to Lithia in the afternoon and had just enough time to meet some friends of mine in the Alderman’s Ford Park. It is a popular county park that has an excellent hiking loop along the banks of Alafia River. It may not offer the views a hike in a mountainous area would, but it is a good stroll in nature. The park is really well maintained, and especially the bathrooms were in a great condition. The only problem we had was choosing the place where we wanted to eat as there were so many picnic tables all over! We had so much fun there hiking, playing football, and having a picnic.
The next morning we went and had a breakfast at Tim’s Café. I cannot praise this small home-style breakfast place enough! They serve really tasty southern food, the portions are large, and the service is fast and friendly. I had some grits, a few slices of bacon, and some pancakes. Simple and delicious! The place was full but not overly crowded. Some of the local (or so I assumed) bikers were having a breakfast there as well. The place may not impress you with the decorations and furnishing as it seems a little worn out, but the food is good and inexpensive.
As there wasn’t much else to see in Lithia, I headed toward the Atlantic coast of Florida.