Written and illustrated in a light, breezy style, Traveling St. Pete: A Girls Guide is a book for visitors and residents alike to get the most out of the city – and not just downtown.
The slim volume, published by St. Petersburg Press, takes an entirely feminine perspective on restaurants, shops, spas, bars, museums, parks and more. It’s “a fun, whimsical way for girls – women, specifically – to experience St. Pete,” according to co-writer Melanie Bowman. The target audience is women on “girls’ weekends. Mother-daughter trips. Bachelorette parties.”
Bowman, a clinical social worker and professional truffle chef, co-wrote A Girls Guide with her bestie, attorney Meredith Gaunce.
Both arrived in St. Pete a dozen years ago – Gaunce from Savannah, and Bowman from just across the bay, where she’d lived since 1991.
“I didn’t really feel like a local until the last few years, I guess,” Gaunce says. “St. Pete has changed so much that, if you did grow up here, it looks very different now anyway.”
The only criteria for inclusion in the book, she explains, was this: “We had to have been there and loved it. And it had to have been open for two years or more.”
Deciding which of the friends’ favorite Mexican restaurants to include was a challenge, but a challenge that had to be accepted. Says Gaunce: “We wanted to make sure we had one Italian, and one key pizza place … if you’re coming here for a weekend – we know from planning weekend trips – you don’t want to try all the same foods. You kind of want a good variation.”
Click on the arrow above to watch our interview with Melanie and Meredith.