Archive for October, 2012

Photo: Port St. Joe

When friends beckon in Port St. Joe, it’s best to park your bike and play some wall ball.

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See Florida in a New Light with Historic Photos

It’s hard to believe tourists would come to Florida before the advent of air conditioning, but I found a cool website filled with photos of travelers coming here in the 1880s and 1890s.

Not only were these folks un-blessed with air conditioning, they were seeing Florida from paddlewheelers and steamboats that traveled rivers, such as the St. Johns and Banana and Ocklawaha and Tomoka. And you’ll see that often the men were wearing dress suits while ladies wore long dresses and elaborate hats. Crazy.

You’ll get a kick out of these images, which also include roads scenes, photos of kids by St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos, and Seminole Indians (circa 1890) by the Jupiter Lighthouse.

If you have any insight into where these photos came from, drop me a line. And if your computer doesn’t handle a Powerpoint presentation, another site (THIS ONE) has the same still photos you can see right away.

It’s Old Florida history and it’s pretty cool.

Continue reading See Florida in a New Light with Historic Photos »

You’ll See Florida in a New Light with Old, Historic Photos

It’s hard to believe tourists would come to Florida before the advent of air conditioning, but I found a COOL WEBSITE that has a Powerpoint presentation filled with photos of travelers coming here in the 1880s and 1890s. Not only were these folks NOT blessed with air conditioning, they were seeing Florida from paddlewheelers and steamboats that traveled down rivers like the St. Johns and Banana and Ocklawaha and Tomoka. And you’ll see that often the men were wearing dress suits while ladies wore long dresses and elaborate hats. Crazy, man, crazy.

You’ll get a kick out of these images, which also include roads scenes, photos of kids by St. Augustine’s Castillo de San Marcos, and Seminole Indians (circa 1890) by the Jupiter Lighthouse.

If you have any insight on where these photos came from, drop me a line. And if your computer doesn’t handle a Powerpoint presentation, another site (THIS ONE) has the same still photos you can see right away.

It’s Old Florida history and it’s pretty damn cool.

Continue reading You’ll See Florida in a New Light with Old, Historic Photos »

Destination: DeFuniak Springs

Among one of Florida’s finest road trips is Highway 90 in the Panhandle (aka Western Florida). Since the road predates parallel I-10 by decades, it rolls through a lot of Old Florida towns.

One that always catches my eye is DeFuniak Springs 80 miles east of Pensacola. It first gained recognition in the 1880s as a gathering place for Chautauqua programs — the spiritual, social, and educational camps that were started in New York.

Not only is this town reflect a look many of us remember as ‘Old Florida’, it has a wonderful old library, the retro Hotel DeFuniak, the Chautauqua Winery, and a lovely collection of Victorian homes that encircle a nearly symmetrical spring-fed lake — one of only two such naturally circular bodies of water in the world (head to Switzerland to see the other one.

Head to Northwest Florida to see DeLightful DeFuniak Springs.


(For more information, click on the city's website DeFuniakSprings.net)

Continue reading Destination: DeFuniak Springs »

Destination: DeFuniak Springs

One of Florida’s finest road trips is along Highway 90 in Northwestern Florida. Because the road predates the parallel I-10 by decades, it rolls through a lot of Old Florida towns.

One that always catches my eye is DeFuniak Springs, 80 miles east of Pensacola. DeFuniak Springs first gained recognition in the 1880s as a gathering place for Chautauqua programs — the spiritual, social, and educational camps that were started in New York.

Not only does this town reflect a look many of us remember as Old Florida, it has a wonderful old library, the retro Hotel DeFuniak, the Chautauqua Winery and a lovely collection of Victorian homes that encircle a nearly symmetrical spring-fed lake — one of only two such naturally circular bodies of water in the world. (You'll have to head to Switzerland to see the other one.) 

Head to Northwest Florida to see DeLightful DeFuniak Springs.

(For more information, visit the city's website at DeFuniakSprings.net)

Continue reading Destination: DeFuniak Springs »

Bubbles the Manatee Now Marks the Entrance to Homosassa Springs

Manatees are pretty large to begin with, so it takes a pretty extraordinary effort to create one several times larger than your run-of-the-mill manatee.

Back in 2002, that's what artist Rachel Peter of Wildlife Interiors did, with help from Bill McRoberts and Mark Hamill. Their bodacious 30-foot manatee quickly became a landmark of sorts; first at the Bella Oasis Resort and then so often around the resort property it should have had a tracking device.

In any event, Bubbles (the manatee’s name) has a new, permanent, and appropriate home: on Highway 19 at the entrance of the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, which is well known for its manatee rehabilitation program.

I think it’s great that the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park purchased Bubbles for the park, and then staff jumped in by giving Bubbles a manatee makeover starting with a fresh coat of paint.

FYI: Park manager Art Yerian thinks this is the largest manatee they’ve ever rescued.

You’ll find Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park where you’ll find Bubbles: 4150 S. Suncoast Boulevard, Homosassa. For more information on the park and their active calendar of events, call (352) 628-5343.
 

Continue reading Bubbles the Manatee Now Marks the Entrance to Homosassa Springs »

Amelia Island Makes Condé Nast Favorites List

I love it when Florida shows up in national polls about something cool — like a readers’ survey about the best of something. Like the best island.

Like Amelia Island.

I just learned that in the new 2012 Condé Nast Readers’ Choice Awards, our own Amelia Island ranks among the ‘Top 10 U.S. Islands’, which puts it on par with Maui, Nantucket and Hilton Head.

And that's not just this year. They've been making the list for the last six years in a row!

Guess what else? Amelia Island also shows up in two other categories: Among the Top Florida Resorts is the 25-room, oceanfront boutique hotel, The Elizabeth Pointe Lodge, and the 446-room beachfront Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.

If you’ve been to Amelia Island before, you know how special it is, with a lovely downtown shopping village, diverse restaurants, a nice selection of bed and breakfasts, wonderful beaches, and history in abundance — including the Palace Saloon and intriguing Fort Clinch State Park.

If you haven't visited Amelia Island, here's your reason to go.

And 46,000 Condé Nast readers would agree.

Continue reading Amelia Island Makes Condé Nast Favorites List »

Bubbles the Manatee Marks the Entrance to Homosassa Springs

Manatees are pretty large to begin with, so it takes a pretty extraordinary effort to create one several times larger than your run-of-the-mill manatee.

Back in 2002, that's what artist Rachel Peter of Wildlife Interiors did, with help from Bill McRoberts and Mark Hamill. Their bodacious 30-foot manatee quickly became a landmark of sorts; first at the Bella Oasis Resort and then so often around the resort property it should have had a tracking device.

In any event, Bubbles (the manatee’s name) has a new, permanent, and appropriate home: on Highway 19 at the entrance of the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, which is well known for its manatee rehabilitation program.

I think it’s great that the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park purchased Bubbles for the park, and then staff jumped in by giving Bubbles a manatee makeover starting with a fresh coat of paint.

FYI: Park manager Art Yerian thinks this is the largest manatee they’ve ever rescued.

You’ll find Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park where you’ll find Bubbles: 4150 S. Suncoast Boulevard, Homosassa. For more information on the park and their active calendar of events, call (352) 628-5343.
 

Continue reading Bubbles the Manatee Marks the Entrance to Homosassa Springs »

The Coca-Cola Millionaires of Quincy, Florida

I have a million reasons I love to travel around Florida, and the bulk of them are based on the stories I hear.

The first time I visited Quincy, a town of 6,975 roughly 30 miles northwest of Tallahassee on U.S. 90, someone told me it had more millionaires per capita than any other place in America. Who knows if that's so, but even if it's only half right… Why?

Well, according to what I heard it turns out a Quincy banker suggested to his customers that they invest in a refreshing new product that seemed to be growing in popularity, even in the days when folks didn’t have much cash in their pockets.

The product happened to be Coca-Cola and $40 worth of 1919 Coke stock would be worth an estimated $6.4 million today.

History. It’s everywhere, and off the beaten path, in Florida.

Footnote: Be sure to read 'How Quincy Struck It Rich', a VISIT FLORIDA feature by Lenora Dannelke.

Continue reading The Coca-Cola Millionaires of Quincy, Florida »

The Coke Millionaires of Quincy, Florida

I have a million reasons I love to travel around Florida, and the bulk of them are based on the stories I hear.

The first time I visited Quincy, a town of 6,975 roughly 30 miles northwest of Tallahassee on U.S. 90, someone told me it had more millionaires per capita than any other place in America. Who knows if that's so, but even if it's only half right… Why?

Well, according to what I heard it turns out a Quincy banker suggested to his customers that they invest in a refreshing new product that seemed to be growing in popularity, even in the days when folks didn’t have much cash in their pockets.

The product happened to be Coca-Cola and $40 worth of 1919 Coke stock would be worth an estimated $6.4 million today.

History. It’s everywhere, and off the beaten path, in Florida.

Footnote: Be sure to read 'How Quincy Struck It Rich', a VISIT FLORIDA feature by Lenora Dannelke.

Continue reading The Coke Millionaires of Quincy, Florida »