Just 40 minutes north of Clearwater Beach visitors can discover rich Greek culture and history. At the turn of the last century, Tarpon Springs was considered the largest sponge port in the U.S. Greek immigrants and divers followed and the industry and the community grew. The 1908 Sponge Exchange was the place where sponges were graded and sold. Following challenges caused by the 1920’s land bust, a hurricane, the Great Depression, the 1938 sponge blight and 1948 red tide, sponging has lost and regained ground time and again.
The Tarpon Springs Sponge Exchange, located across from the marina, today is a small shopping village. During its heyday, the small stalls stored sponges.
Along Dodecanese Blvd. and the many side streets, visitors can savor Greek food such as a Greek salad over potato salad, tzatsiki, spanakopita spinach pie, gyros, souvlaki, calamari and moussaka. Greek bakeries offer amazing treats like baklava (see photo above) where honey, ground walnuts, cinnamon and sweetness are hidden within flaky phyllo dough.