FLORIDA for the Winter!

Visited October 14, 2016 – February 13, 2017 (Delinquent Blogger’s Note:  I am catching up on our last five months of travels, but it is too much to post at once.  So, I will spare your eyes from glazing over and break it up with a post every few days.  After the Florida posts, there will be some posts from our time in Virginia and the Carolinas last fall.)

Fort Clinch State Park - River Campground

Fort Clinch State Park – River Campground

Our fall/winter in Florida came to an end two weeks ago and it was a continued whirlwind of travel around the entire state–beyond wonderful, and warm just like we hoped!  We visited dozens and dozens of friends and celebrated the holidays with our families.  We camped at seven state parks and day-visited at eight others, camped at one county park, surfed on five driveways and one farm, and left our rig twice to stay in the hotel of the conference we worked in St. Augustine and also with friends in Tallahassee.  I also flew back to Vermont for a reunion weekend with my girlfriends from grade school.  We do this annually around the country and trust me when I say that it is a weekend not to be missed!

Camped at:

  • Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach
  • Anastasia State Park, St. Augustine
  • Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka
  • Little Manatee River State Park, Wimauma
  • Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Hobe Sound
  • Easterlin County Park, Ft. Lauderdale
  • Curry Hammock State Park, Marathon, FL Keys
  • Collier-Seminole State Park, Naples

Visited:

  • Fort Mose Historic State Park, St. Augustine
  • Washington Oaks Gardens State Park, Palm Coast
  • MacArthur Beach State Park, North Palm Beach
  • Savannas Preserve State Park, Port St. Lucie
  • Zachary Taylor State Park, Key West
  • Colt Creek State Park, Lakeland
  • Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Homosassa Springs
  • Manatee Springs State Park, Chiefland

Fernandina Beach – Tallahassee – Crystal River: Visited October 14 – December 1, 2016

We arrived in Fernandina Beach about a week after Hurricane Matthew hit the east coast.  Thankfully, we had been literally high and dry in the western mountains of North Carolina.  But we saw his wake of damage as we drove south on I-95.  Sections of highway behind us in NC had been closed by flooding and we saw downed trees for miles and miles along the road shoulder and in the median through SC and GA.

The conference in St. Augustine was just two weeks away and the historic district and Anastasia State Park took a heavy hit by Matthew with wind damage, flooding and lengthy power outages.  But our conference went off without a hitch or any changes to our itinerary.  The Florida Park Service shined, impressing and inspiring the directors and staff from other states with our disaster preparedness, response and recovery process.

From St. Augustine, we headed to Wekiwa Springs for our annual fun weekend of camping with about a hundred of our park service alumni gang!  Then we were off to our daughter’s in Crystal River to driveway surf through the Thanksgiving holiday.  She hosted three, yes three, big food-fest parties in one week (including Thanksgiving) and she did this with their kitchen completely torn apart for remodeling—she is amazing and indefatigable and a little/lot crazy!

Three Sisters Springs, Crystal River

We took a side trip to Tallahassee to see our other daughter, visit all our peeps, worship in our home church, and go to the FSU-BC game with our granddaughter and sis-in-law and nephew who flew up from South Florida (it was so great to be back in Doak Campbell Stadium and yes, to get a big win!)  Back in Crystal River, we got to enjoy more time with our grandkids, catch up with lots of old friends, and also cheer our Seminoles to a solid win over the Gators!

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