Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

John and Mary Fort survey Dog and St. George islands from atop the Crooked River Lighthouse.

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Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

The Crooked River Lighthouse was built on the mainland after storms destroyed three lighthouses on nearby Dog Island.

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Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

The original lens for the Crooked River Lighthouse is on display at U.S. Coast Guard headquarters in New Orleans.

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‘Night of Lights’ Illuminates St. Augustine

St. Augustine’s one of the world’s loveliest cities, and it’s even more spectacular with the ‘Nights of Lights.’ 

On Nov, 17, the city flipped the switch on approximately three million holiday lights that outline buildings in the historic district, add a soft glow to the trees in the Plaza de la Constitucion, and span the legendary Bridge of Lions.

St. Augustine’s already a place every Floridian should see, and if you see it between now and Jan.31, you’ll see the historic city in its best (holiday) light.

(Hint: Travel a little further, and just north of town in Vilano Beach folks are dressing things up with their first "Dressing of the Palms.”)

If You Go

St. Augustine, Ponte Vedra & The Beaches
Visitors & Convention Bureau
(800) 653-2489
www.FloridasHistoricCoast.com

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Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

A room in the Crooked River Lighthouse keeper’s home displays items from the time when tending the light was a 24/7 job.

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Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

Gift shop manager Laurel Newman walks to shut the door of the Crooked River Lighthouse as climbing hours come to a close.

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Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

Crooked River Lighthouse keepers followed daily work and record-keeping procedures so the light would always function.

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Photo: Crooked River Lighthouse

Crooked River Lighthouse visitors can climb the structure from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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Winter Solstice Celebration Dec. 16 at Tallahassee’s Mission San Luis

From 1656 to 1704, Tallahassee’s Mission San Luis was the western capital of Spanish Florida. Today it’s an archaeological research site where you can walk through a community of costumed living history guides, reconstructed buildings, and exhibits.

But when you plan your visit for December 16, add to all of this a full day of activities. It’s a celebration of Winter Solstice and will feature stories, skills, and traditional glimpses of Native Americans as well as a Market Fair in the plaza, 17th-century Spanish dramas, childrens' crafts, storytelling, living history, food vendors, a chance to learn how to stomp dance, and participate in a drum circle (I’ve done this and you can’t beat it).

That’s not even the half of it. Even after the sun goes down, the day’s just getting started with evening events that including storytelling in the Council House, drumming, and a stunning vision of the heavens brought to you courtesy of nature as well as telescopes provided by the Tallahassee Astronomical Society.

Mission San Luis is a great place, and this is a great event… naturally.

If You Go

Mission San Luis
2100 West Tennessee Street
850.245.6406
www.missionsanluis.org
Open Tuesday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$5 adults, $3 seniors,$2 children 6-17

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Chipley’s Falling Waters State Park Combines Beauty and Mystery

Florida has a unique geology, making it one of the rare places on earth that produces crystal clear natural springs and unusual water features as beautiful as they are mysterious.

Falling Waters State Park in the northwest Florida town of Chipley is both beautiful and mysterious.

Way back when, this was the site of a whiskey distillery but today the park is recognized mostly for the ‘Falling Waters Sink,’ a 100-foot-deep cylindrical pit that provides a dramatic backdrop for the steady stream of a waterfall.

When you go, stake out a spot on the observation deck and watch the water plunge nearly seven stories to the bottom of the sink.

Where does all that water go from there? No one knows… and that’s the mystery.

And it’s part of what makes Florida worth exploring.

If You Go

1130 State Park Road
Chipley
(850) 638-6130
floridastateparks.org/fallingwaters
$5 per vehicle, up to 8 people
Daily 8–sunset

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