The River's Edge - Official Blog of The Barrymore Hotel Tampa Riverwalk

Row Tampa Christens Rowing Scull in Hotel's Honor


This past weekend Lisa Reilly-Covington (Director of Sales) and Sherri Pearson (Front Desk Supervisor) attended the prestigious Tampa Mayor's Cup Regatta to accept the christening of a rowing scull in The Barrymore Hotel's honor.

"The Mayor’s Cup is one of the preeminent early-season rowing events featuring many of the top crews and athletes from around the country. With its inaugural event in 1975 as The University of Tampa’s President’s Cup Regatta, the races have become a key training event for many of the top universities and high schools such as The United States National Team, Yale, Dartmouth, Marietta, Temple, and The Kent School."

We are grateful to accept this honor as proud supporters of The Tampa Stewards Foundation/Row Tampa and are delighted to be the host hotel for many excellent rowing teams from around the country!



Barrymore Hotel's John Lennon Statue Featured in Article on


This week, our hotel was featured in an article by about our John Lennon statue, featured on our hotel grounds. Sure, there may be no obvious ties of Lennon to our city, but surely everyone can relate to "giving peace a chance" in some way or another. As a downtown Tampa Arts District hotel, our acquisition of the statue, created by Cuban sculptor José Villa Soberón, coincides with our passion for the arts - all art: national, international and especially local Tampa area art. 

“When you came around the corner and you saw it, it just drew you right to it,” Cathy Ferguson said. “It was almost like he was going to talk to you. That was the kind of feeling.’’ Many passers-by stop and snap photos next to "Lennon," along with the Tampa skyline and Straz Center for the Performing Arts in the background. 

“Once it catches people’s eyes they are absolutely surprised when they see it there,” said Larry Collier Jr., general manager and director of hotel operations for H.I. Development, the Barrymore’s development and management company. “We’ve seen numerous people stop and take pictures with it. We’ve seen cars drive by, stop and turn around.’’

Read the full article on

The Best Beaches for Collecting Shells Near Tampa Bay

The month of March is here and if you're a Floridian, that means perfect beach weather is pretty much here. If you're not from around here, now's the time you probably have already started thinking about your next trip to the beach. One of our favorite pastimes is collecting shells on the powdery shores of our beaches. It's truly a wonder of nature just how many different shapes, colors and variations of even the same type of shell can exist. Grab your beach bag, your sunscreen and a keen eye - it's time to expand your shell collection.


1) Caladesi Island State Park:

undefinedLocated near Dunedin, this little snippet of Gulf Coast paradise is surrounded by crystal blue waters, loads of marine life and is draped in powder-fine white sands. This beach is only accessible by boat or personal watercraft, so the peaceful serenity of shell-hunting is all yours.



2) Honeymoon Island State Park undefined
Also located in Dunedin, this state park island is actually right next to Caladesi Island and features a pet-friendly beach. It is accessible via car across the Dunedin Causeway, with plentiful parking. You can also explore the Osprey Trail, which provides visitors without 2.5 miles of grounds to explore.



3) Fort Desoto State Park undefined
Fort DeSoto is made up of 3 miles of white sandy beaches, with the North Beach being the most popular for shelling, swimming and relaxing. This beach is located near St. Petersburg and also boasts ample campgrounds for overnight getaways at the shore.



4) Anna Maria Island and Egmont Key
Near Bradenton, Florida, Anna Maria Island is a splendid taste of Old Florida island life, only about an hour's drive from the Tampa area. The best way to search for shells is by knowing the tides. Find out more about shelling in Anna Maria Island and the ferry to Egmont Key.


5) Marco Island

Marco Island is about 3 hours from Tampa Bay (near Naples), but we had to add this destination to the list. If you love shells, get ready. And you better bring TWO beach bags to put them in. The amount of shells and variety available on the shores along Marco Island are astounding, and the sands are even finer than our Tampa Bay Gulf Coast Beaches. If you can't make it this far south on your trip this time, we highly recommend penciling it in your next vacation.


Sources: Florida State ParksFlorida

7 Mardi Gras Facts


1) Mardi Gras actually means "Fat Tuesday," for those of us who don't speak French.

2) The first parade for Mardi Gras was held in New Orleans in 1857.

3) The Mardi Gras colors are purple, gold and green. Purple stands for justice, green stands for faith and gold represents power.

4) Masks were originally worn in early celebrations so all people could mingle and enjoy themselves without the constraint of different classes.

5) Bead-throwing originated with the purpose of tossing a strand to a person who stood for what each color meant. You're a faithful person? Have some green beads. These beads were originally made of glass, which we can imagine would have been quite a mess when not intercepted.

6) King Cakes are baked in honor of the "three kings." Made from twists of cinnamon dough, the cakes are oval in shape, to represent the unity of faiths, and are decorated in the traditional purple, gold and green colors. Each cake contains a small plastic baby, to represent the baby Jesus. The person who finds the plastic baby in their slice of cake is said to have good luck.

7) Carnival and Mardi Gras are not the same thing. Carnival refers to the fun that begins on January 6, The Feast of the Epiphany. Mardi Gras is the Tuesday before Lent begins on Wednesday, the next day.



IB TimesNew Orleans ShowcaseUSA TodayMardi Gras New Orleans

Why It's Important to Schedule a Tasting Before Your Wedding


Pictured is a two-layer wedding cake designed and created by our Sous Chef Victor. This beautiful cake was featured in a wedding tasting at The Barrymore.

Ah, springtime. The season is fast approaching where the flowers blossom and weddings pop up left and right. If you're planning a Tampa wedding, in the next few months, scheduling a tasting with your chosen reception venue is incredibly important. Pictures and descriptions are one thing, but the way the food actually tastes is another.

By scheduling a tasting with your wedding reception venue, this gives you the opportunity to ask important questions about ingredients, especially if any of your wedding guests have allergies. Before your tasting, be sure to view a full menu and ask about all available food options. Sample everything you plan to serve, as it's best to not have any surprises one the party gets started. Ask any questions you have about catering policies and inquire about bar options if you plan to serve alcoholic beverages. Does the venue offer a cash bar or open bar? What kinds of beverages are available? Don't be afraid to dive into the details.

undefinedBy participating in a tasting, this also gives you the opportunity to pair together foods that go with your wedding's theme. Are you planning a beach wedding? Caribbean-style seafood dishes might be a better fit. Is your event a more classic, black-tie affair? Timeless options may be better. Ask the Chef what they think will mesh well with your vision. Chances are, they'll be a world of knowledge with a variety of creations available to suit your needs.

Oftentimes forgotten, some guests may have certain dietary restrictions, or follow a vegetarian diet. It's always a good idea to offer a real vegetarian option for your meat-free guests other than salad and the side of vegetables. Consult with the Chef about "real-food" vegetarian options that all wedding guests can enjoy.

If your wedding venue also makes desserts, especially wedding cakes, ask to see a portfolio of their work, and sample a variety of flavors of cake and frosting. Not only ask for a portfolio of their cake and pastry skills, but also ask if the venue also has photos of past events they've hosted. A beautiful presentation is an important part of planning the menu for your wedding reception.

Taking the time to schedule a tasting is a critical part of making sure your special day comes to life as you dreamed. Some may think it's an unnecessary step, but happy wedding guests with stomachs full of delicious food will make for an even more memorable event.

7 Things To Do in Downtown Tampa for Valentine's Day



Valentine's Day is right around the corner, so now's the time to start planning your romantic day or night out in Tampa. With our list of things to do besides giving your honey flowers, we think you'll find something special to make this day memorable.


undefined1) Get Out On The Water - Does your sweetheart love the outdoors? We are big fans of stand-up paddle boarding and Urban Kai is right around the corner from The Barrymore and downtown Tampa. You can rent a stand-up paddle board or kayak for a romantic cruise down the Hillsborough River while getting some exercise. With the cooler weather, you might want to stick to just a kayak this time of year. You can even rent the really cool-looking waterbikes from Tampa WaterBikes for a romantically healthy day out on the water. Is breaking a sweat not so much your thing, but you still want to enjoy the river? Rent an electric boat from eBoats Tampa and snuggle while enjoying great views of the skyline.



undefined2) Wild at Heart at The Lowry Park Zoo - Ok, so this one's not in downtown, but who can pass up a chance to go to the zoo? Bring out your wild side at the Zoo's Valentine's Day event. This entertaining experience includes a romantic dinner, drinks under the stars,  up-close animal encounters and fire-side tales of love in the animal kingdom. (This event is intended for adults only). More info about Wild at Heart





undefined3) Dinner at Waterworks Bar and Grill - Because why not? We think our resident restaurant is fantastic and Executive Chef Rusty Evers has prepared a variety of gourmet entree selections just for you and your sweetheart. Does your one and only fancy crab-topped filet mignon? Or how about red grouper with lemongrass wasabi broth? Or do they dream of decadent fresh-shucked oysters and a miniature red velvet heart cake for both of you to share? See the full details of the Waterworks Valentine's Day Special Offerings here. Reservations are kindly suggested.




undefined4) Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival - Do you and your date love food? Or, if you don't have a date, spend Valentine's Day with your true love - BARBECUE. At this particular festival in Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, you and your special someone can sample beer, sip bourbon and sample a variety of meaty delicacies from around the Tampa area. Get tickets to the event here and plan to indulge responsibly by booking a room at The Barrymore for the night where you will be only steps from the park and festival. (Exclusive rate for this festival). Book online or call us and ask for the BEER AND BOURBON rate.




undefined5) Gifts from Ashworth Artisan Chocolates in Downtown Tampa - It's Valentine's Day and what sweeter way to celebrate than with something sweet and chocolatey. The newly relocated artisan chocolate shop, formerly known as City Street Sweets in Hyde Park Village, is now located at 212 East Cass Street and is offering 12 chocolate-dipped strawberries for $36 or 6 for $22, plus lots more indulgent options. Order now to make sure you get them in time for next weekend! Why? Because chocolate, that's why.
Check them out online: Ashworth Artisan Chocolates




undefined6) Yacht Starship Valentine's Cruise - Now taking reservations for their prix fixe menu Valentine's Day Cruises. This cruise features a private table, DJ entertainment, a long-stemmed rose to adorn the table, and romantic views. Valentine's cruises start Friday night at Feb. 13 at 6:30 and go through Sunday. See their website for full details, times and food offerings. Book your reservation now


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