Last month, my girlfriend Ashlyn and I decided to take a spontaneous trip to St. Petersburg. Why? Because sometimes a girls trip is good for the soul. Ashlyn and I had been wanting to plan a girls trip for a while, but our schedules always conflicted (we both travel a lot). When I was back in Orlando, I texted her on a whim asking if she wanted to road trip to St. Petersburg. Of course, she agreed! We didn’t have any concrete plans, we just knew we wanted to enjoy the sunshine and explore downtown St. Pete. We packed up our bags, put on some old school tunes and headed west.
Since my car was in Canada (I’ve been there visiting family for the past month) I needed a reliable car and quick. Toyota came to my rescue and hooked me up with one of their newest cars – the Toyota Avalon Hybrid. I’ve never owned a hybrid car (ya girl is low maintenance when it comes to cars…shocker) and let me tell you – it was heaven! First things first: she’s fuel efficient. I kept looking at the gas gauge thinking there must be an error. I visited Florida for 10 days and barely went through a tank of gas (and I drove alllllll around town after returning from St. Pete). My little sports car would have eaten through a tank of gas quickly! Next up: I loved how spacious the car is! I’m 5’10 (and often drive in heels) so leg room is a must. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid had all the leg room I needed and more. The spacious interior and comfortable seats were the perfect recipes for a girls trip! The drive to St. Petersburg was only 2.5 hours, but we left early in the morning (#NotAMorningPerson) so the extra safety features came in handy for this caffeine deprived girl. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid is equipped with a back camera and pre-collision system, so it’s like I had a little helper the entire drive. Further, the blind spot monitor is a lifesaver (literally) – your side-view mirrors light up when a car is in your blind spot! I felt so much safer merging or changing lanes with a little bit of extra help! I will absolutely be needing all these safety features in my next car! Further, the HD Radio predictive traffic application in the main console gave us real-time traffic updates – suggesting alternative routes to our destination! Ashlyn (who went to college in St. Petersburg) confirmed we made it to St. Petersburg from Orlando in record time!
Ashlyn and I are total music fanatics, so the touch screen console with Entune App Suite (aka my new BFF) allowed us to browse Pandora for the perfect playlist! Also, Ashlyn was able to make dinner reservations through the OpenTable app while we were driving! We were able to browse all the best restaurants St. Petersburg had to offer and selected the Still Water Tavern for some fresh seafood. We were spared the stress of having to search for a restaurant and were able to walk right in to our table! Talk about a relaxing trip. We were also able to monitor weather updates throughout the trip through the Entune App Suite. Florida weather is so unpredictable (hello hurricane level rain showers out of nowhere) and were able to dodge a couple of thundershowers throughout the trip. If there is one thing we hate, it’s frizzy hair. I’m happy to report our hair stayed in tact the entire time!
Another fun feature of the Toyota Avalon Hybrid is the wireless charging station (under the console). Ashlyn had to shut me up after an hour of raving over (what I think is) the neatest thing to happen to my phone. We simply placed our phones on the charger – no charging plugs required! For a girl who looses her chargers like bobby pins, this feature is like Christmas.
We made reservations at The Birchwood after Ashlyn raved about her last few stays. The Birchwood is a boutique hotel – meaning it is super small and intimate. With only 18 rooms, you really feel like you’re appreciated. All of the employees make you feel like superstars with smiling faces and sincere greetings. Every single person we encountered, from hostesses, to waiters, to guests were all cheerful and had contagious smiles on their faces. Must be something in the water!
The rooms were super retro chic, with fancy 1920s decor. The room featured a gorgeous canopy bed with the most comfortable mattress! We cranked the AC to 65 (we’re both ALWAYS hot) and had one of the best sleep in a while. Don’t even get me started on the bathroom! The bathroom features marble walls and the most gorgeous bathtub I’ve seen in a while. The hotel provided us with a bubble bath, so we alternated nights on who would lounge in the tub in pure serenity. #BathGoals!
The Birchwood features The Canopy, a fun and vibrant rooftop restaurant/bar that overlooks the gorgeous waters of Tampa Bay. We sat in an cabana (that was air conditioned…Florida rooftop #goals), sipped on some wine, mingled and enjoyed music. Once the sunset and it got cooler (and by cooler I mean 75 degrees, ahem) we sat by a fire pit and caught up on our lives. Ashlyn just got engaged, so there was wedding talk to be had!
Overall, it was the perfect getaway we needed to clear our minds and reconnect after a few months in different countries. Looking back, we both chuckle thinking we forgot to take a picture together! I swear she was there! Proof. More proof). I’d highly The Birchwood if you’re ever in St. Petersburg and the Toyota Avalon Hybrid if you’re looking for a new ride!
Thanks to The Birchwood for hosting our stay and Toyota for the Toyota Avalon Hybrid rental. As usual, all opinions are mine alone.