Wednesday, January 29, 2014

What's Wrong with this Picture???

Okay - who didn't get the memo (you know, the one about the SUNSHINE state)?

It's freezing here... maybe not compared to the rest of the country, but by Florida standards it is cold!  My friends in the north have no sympathy - they would be wearing shorts and fist-bumping about the warm weather while the rest of us, used to higher temps, are pulling out the parkas to deal with the 40 degree weather.  I'm a little south of the freeze line so I didn't have to make the mad dash to turn the furnace on in the airstream.

It was a rainy dreary day, so I spent some time in front of the computer browsing for things to see and do in Florida.  Everyone knows about Disney World and the tourist attractions but there are a lot of out of the way, off the beaten path, places to go and things to do.

Some great resources if you're planning a trip to Florida are:

Now if it would just warm up a bit....

Monday, January 27, 2014

I have the best friends!

Actually, that's a true statement on many levels.  I've been blessed by many good friends who are there for me through thick and thin.  But look what showed up in the mail for me this week...


My very own mini 'Stream.

Hand-carved for me by a dear friend in Tennessee!
Complete with A/C, running lights and awning!

She's going to sit on my desk here at home so I can daydream about the next trip!

Thank you Wanda and Glynn for my present - I love it!

PS - Please feel free to leave comments, it's lonely here in cyberspace!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Silver Springs State Park

I had the opportunity this week to meet some friends at the Silver River State Park near Ocala for a few days.  

Actually, Silver River State Park, combined with Silver Springs Nature Theme Park late in 2013, and is now known as Silver Springs State Park.

The Silver River is a short spring-fed river located east of Ocala, FL. Fed by Silver Springs, it connects the springs to the Ocklawaha River, passing through a pristine woodland environment.

The River Side of the Park...

The campground is on the river side and offers spacious sites with water and electric and is well maintained. 
I had 4 bars here with Verizon.  There is also a primitive group camping area, picnic area and a playground.  The River side of the park is home to a pioneer cracker village and the Silver River Museum and Environmental Education Center. There are approximately 15 miles of trails and the ones I hiked were well maintained and marked.  Be warned -- you need to book early, this is a popular state park for snowbirds!
Entrance to trails

Trails are beautiful and well marked

Swamp trail bridge

Cypress knees

River view from the end of Swamp Trail

Palm reflection in the water

Taken from about 6' above the water, this guy was swimming about 4' below the surface

The Spring side of the park was very quiet the day we visited

Entrance to what used to be Silver Springs Nature Theme Park

The main attraction of Silver Springs is the glass bottom boat ride that has been in operation is the late 1800’s.  The boats run hourly from 10am - 4pm. 

On the Spring side you can view the spring head from a covered viewing deck, walk along the river on the paved trails and see the ornamental gardens. There is a canoe and kayak launch and you can rent a canoe or kayak or bring your own. 
Original settlers - Timucuan Indians

Horseshoe Palm - it's supposed to be lucky to take your picture here

Kayakers paddling into the headwaters
A little bit of Hollywood Trivia - Six Tarzan movies with Johnny Weissmuller were filmed here. The old 1950s The Creature from the Black Lagoon was also shot here at Silver Springs Florida.  My favorite... Sea Hunt with Lloyd Bridges filmed more than 100 episodes here.  In the 60’s the TV show “I Spy” filmed here as well and is responsible for the underwater statues you can still see here.  Other movies filmed at Silver Springs include 
The Yearling --- Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman
Distant Drums --- Gary Cooper
Underwater --- Jane Russell and Richard Egan
Blindfold --- Rock Hudson and Claudia Cardinale
Legend --- Tom Cruise
Never Say Never Again --- Sean Connery
Smokey and the Bandit 3 --- Jackie Gleason
The park also has a population of Rhesus monkeys... Brought in by one of the concessionaires in the 1930’s, we didn't see any during our visit, the best way to see them is by kayak.
Photo "borrowed" from Wikipedia

This is my favorite Florida park by far and I will definitely go back.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I thought I was done with that expression when I quite the corporate world over a year ago.  
This week has been kind of hectic though with deadlines, and few more hours than usual at my from-home-contract-job.  

I escaped for an hour this morning to get a few groceries.  I pulled into the parking lot, 

crossed the road on my walk to the town square, past my sister's cafe - Kokomo's. 

I stopped to say hi but didn't eat there... I am really, really trying to eat healthier (and I already had breakfast).  But I think she has to wipe the drool off of her bakery case when I leave.

Strolled over to the farmer's market to grab a few veggies. 

The Flagler Farmer's Market has been around since 1979 and is open every Friday and Saturday.  Besides great deals on fresh and organic veggies, there is fresh local caught seafood, citrus, baked goods, jams, local honey, pottery, baskets, jewelery... a little something for everyone.  Parking isn't always great, but it's worth the trip.  Go early, then visit Kokomo's for the best coffee around. 

I even found some new pillows for "Breezin".
Forgive the pictures - all I had was the phone

Tomorrow is Saturday and I will be packing up "Breezin" for a quick trip on Monday, hooray! I'll be testing out my work from the campground theory.
Have a great weekend…

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Bulow Plantation Ruins State Park

Tucked away a few miles from A1A and I95 in Flagler Beach is what is left of the Bulow Sugar Plantation.
Beach road to the ruins is narrow
 Now a historic state park, the 150 acres contains the ruins of the former plantation where the Bulow family grew sugar cane, cotton, rice and indigo.
Put the camera away and let's walk!
 The plantation was destroyed in 1836 in the Second Seminole War.  A walking trail leads to the sugar mill ruins, listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and the park has picnic facilities and an interpretive center that tells the plantation's history.  There is a boat ramp for access to the Bulow Creek, a designated state canoe trail and fishing is available.

This was a pleasant way to spend an hour or so in the afternoon but since I try to keep Grace away from the water (alligators, you know), it's really not much more than an hour of adventure.  The trail from the parking area to the ruins is about 1/2 mile.  Grace and I chose to walk but you can actually drive to the ruin site if you want.  Can you imagine stirring big vats of boiling sugar in the hot, humid Florida summers?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Princess Place Reserve

Since Breezin is still sitting in her RV-port waiting for life to slow down enough to travel, I thought I'd take advantage of a beautiful day and visit a local park for some light hiking.

Located in the Palm Coast/Flagler Beach area is the Princess Place Reserve.  The 1,500 acres bordered by Matanzas River and Pellicer Creek was originally purchased in 1886 by Henry Cutting and known as Cherokee Grove.  It passed to his widow upon his death, who later married an exiled Russian prince and took the title of Princess.  Cherokee Grove was renamed  Princess Place in honor of her.

There is a lot to do at Princess Place.  You can hike, camp (primitive tent camping only), fish, bird watch, picnic, canoe or kayak, or just enjoy the scenery.  Best of all - it's free!
Matanzas River as seen from the trail

Walking along the salt marshes

There is a lodge with a porch facing the river

complete with rocking chairs to watch the sun set over the water...
The requisite live oaks dripping with spanish moss
a launch for canoe or kayakers

and a small dock for fishing...
There is a old livery stable to explore, along with Florida's oldest in ground pool, fed by an artesian well, and several other buildings.

The trails are short and packed sand at Princess Place, each about .5 to 1 mile, but you can connect to get in about 3-4 miles.  If you need more walking than that - Pellicer Creek Conservation Area is right next door with another 10 miles of marked trail.

On the way to or from these two preserves, you also pass the Florida Agricultural Museum.  Definitely worth a day trip if you are in the area.  I will be going back again to explore.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ringing in 2014

Happy New Year!

Okay, so I'm a day late but I have a good reason.  Both daughters and all grandkids came for a Christmas visit this year and the last crew just left this morning.  It made for a wonderful Christmas!  The two girls and I spent a whole day going through pictures from the past and reminiscing. And spending time with grandkids is the BEST.

But now the tree is down, the decorations stored and I have OD'd on Christmas cookies and Hallmark movies (yes, I like that sappy stuff during the holidays for some reason).  

I'm not much for New Year's resolutions --- I make 'em, but by February they are usually a distant memory.  So I'm only going to make a couple for 2014.

Eat More Veggies!

Travel More and enjoy the moments!

I read a lot of full-time RV'er blogs and really enjoy Wheeling It.  The best resolutions I've seen are here .  I even think Grace would agree...