The "Real" Florida has captured my heart, my soul, my entire being. I already miss the the Spanish moss-draped Live Oak trees that line sandy streets of small town neighborhoods, the shore birds everywhere, watching the tides go in and out, the slow-paced living, riding my bike for miles and miles and miles. I miss the ramshackle cracker houses of Florida's hardy original settlers and the restored Victorians surrounded by cottage gardens. I miss the rivers, lakes, springs, ocean, gulf and beaches. I even miss the little green and brown Anole lizards that are always underfoot.
Our route this trip took us from Jacksonville and St Augustine to Cedar Key, then to Micanopy, Macintosh, Cross Creek, and Orange Lake (a cluster of small towns near Gainesville). I did come back with one regret, that we missed seeing any springs on this trip. We drove 75 miles out of our way to visit our favorite spring at Manatee Springs State Park only to find that the park was closed (as were most of the state parks with springs) due to major flooding of the Suwanee River.
My obsession with documenting every interesting and/or beautiful thing has become a bit overwhelming, evident by the almost 1,000 photographs that I took in just one week. So my first Florida trip post is a little taste of some of the lovely places I went last week. Future Florida posts will chronicle my visits to each area. There is so much I want to show you!
Above, pic #1 "Miss Clarabelle", an old fishing boat now sits outside the Cedar Key State Museum. Yes, that's me in pic #2, showing off my crazy out-of-control Florida hair. Bangs are not my friend in Florida. I just realized that's the first picture of myself I have ever posted, and it's of me minus makeup with frizzy hair in a bathroom. Lovely. Below: The restored Sinclair home on Cedar Key, next to the museum.
St. Francis statue at a tiny park with Live Oaks and Plams, nestled in a grand neighborhood of historic downtown St. Augustine. The scent of Jasmine was in the air.
Cool mod house numbers posted on a Palm tree in St. Augustine. Strangely, the house at #47 sat abondoned and in disrepair, with notices posted on the home and trees. Of course, I was dreaming of restoring this old home on the river to it's former grandeur.
One of dozens (hundreds?) of feral or semi-feral cats on Cedar Key. Surprisingly, most look very healthy. The locals and tourists feed them.
The tiny beach at Cedar Key at low tide. Sailboat anchored off in the distance.
Close-up of a beautiful Egret who was a constant presence by our little rental cottage. I must have taken 50 pictures of her.
The back of an abonded home in charming McIntosh. This one was calling for me to restore it too.
Sunset at Cedar Key.
A taste of Florida's golden years: The Boy outside of The 50's era Orange Hut, which I believe was in Orange Lake (lots of little towns clustered together, so it may have been one town over). The oranges we bought here were the best I have ever tasted. That's just a little taste of "The Sunshine State". I will alternate my Florida posts with other subjects so that you don't start thinking of me as that annoying person who wants to show you slides of their vacation. I just know this is a special place that should be shared with the world.