For a Florida spring training side trip: Try Davis Islands in south Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. — For travelers in town for spring training games, Davis Islands already makes for a fine side trip, with its picturesque marina, quaint restaurants and shops, and views of the bay. Now that Yankees great Derek Jeter lives there, however, baseball fans have an added incentive to go.

Jeter's 30,815-square-foot waterfront mansion was officially completed last month, reportedly to the tune of $7.7 million. Reportedly the largest residence in Hillsborough County, it's so big that local residents have taken to calling it St. Jetersburg.

The structure, which overlooks Hillsborough Bay and can be seen clearly from the Bayshore Boulevard sidewalk on the other side of the inlet, takes up two lots and has seven bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a pool, two three-car garages and two boat lifts. The mansion is surrounded by a 6-foot security wall — for which Jeter had to get a variance to go higher than the 4-foot limit allowed for by local ordinance — prompting locals to call it the Great Wall of Jeter.

The upscale island neighborhood — technically two islands — in South Tampa is accessible by way of Davis Boulevard, the neighborhood's main drag just over the Davis Islands Bridge connecting it to the mainland not far from downtown. Jeter's place is on Bahama Circle heading east toward the waterfront off of the boulevard.

The strip features about a dozen shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Some island residents say Jeter has been spotted at the restaurant 220 East, located appropriately at 220 E. Davis Blvd, which serves American and European cuisine. He's also been seen at the Anchor Bar at 304 E. Davis Blvd., which serves pub food for under $10 per entree.

If you're having breakfast, try The Pink Flamingo, a tropical-themed diner at 304 E. Davis Blvd.

The island boasts a number of Mediterranean Revival Style homes and commercial buildings worth taking a look at. While you're there, take a stroll east from Davis Boulevard via one of the residential side streets to the marina to check out the boats. From there, continue east to the channel to get a view of Harbour Island, Channelside and the Port of Tampa.

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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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