Posts Tagged ‘Florida State Parks’

The blog is behind again.  We had a wonderful visit with Barb and Jerry (Dick’s brother and wife) in their Melbourne home, a retired military community that graciously provides RV hook-ups for visiting guests!  And discovered the deliciousness of rock shrimp at “The Lobster Shanty” – we’ll be on the look-out for them from now on.  The day we left, we toured the Kennedy Space Center.

If I had to pick a word to describe that visit, it might be – underwhelming. After an amazing and breathtaking IMax movie on the Hubbard Telescope, it was pretty much all downhill.  Maybe that raised our expectations too high?  For whatever reason, both of us (that’s one non-science oriented but space enthusiast person, with one engineer husband who can look at rockets, etc. all day long) became almost bored as our touring progressed, and when driving rain forced us out of the park several hours before we planned to leave, no tears were shed.

Beach at Fort Clinch State Park, Amelia Island

And then, the next day, Amelia Island.  Ahhh, yes.  We’ve been needing something like this.  Fort Clinch State Park provides us with long walks along the beach, including a lovely starlit one, when we return from dinner at nearby ” Cedar River Seafood” where we have the best fried shrimp of our lives (they cook it in rice bran oil!). And my first up-close and personal encounter with an armadillo.

Fort Clinch State Park, Amelia Island

Campsite, Fort Clinch State Park (there ARE people on either side of us)

That was on my list of “have to see” things – now I can move on to a Painted Bunting sighting…

Fort Clinch State Park Armadillo

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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings State Park - her home

We went to this park because I loved the movie, “The Yearling”,  as a child and I love going to the homes of writers.  I didn’t know much about Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings,  who won a Pulitzer for that book, but  I’m pretty excited to be here and learn more about her life.  Unfortunately,  it turns out they aren’t doing guided tours of the home and grounds anymore. So a bunch of us disappointed visitors wander around, peering through windows, reading our State Park brochure, trying to help each other out… did  Gregory Peck sleep  in THIS bedroom?

I learned this much:  Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was a city girl , who moved to this small farm, in the middle of an orange grove near tiny Cross Creek, Florida in the late 1920’s.  She lost a husband here – he didn’t take to the rural lifestyle – but gained fame and fortune with her writing. And, evidently,  a drinking problem and depression later on.

But she  must have been happy, inspired and very connected to the land and people here for a certain time period- there are a lot of quotations to attest to that.   I would need to read a biography to gain any real understanding of what happened here.  And read “Cross Creek” if I ever want to come back  – the staff person said it’s required reading for anyone visiting the site for a second time.

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Suwannee River, FL

We might have been singing “Way down upon the Pee Dee River”, if Stephen Foster (whose namesake park in Florida we’re in)  hadn’t had the good sense to search an atlas and switch to Suwannee  (which he misspelled Swanee in the song, Old Folks at Home) instead. Foster lived in Pittsburgh almost all his life, and never even visited Florida, let alone saw the Suwanee River.  But the song gave Florida tourism a huge boost!

We saw a copy of the manuscript where Pee Dee was replaced, and the actual desk where he looked through the atlas at the lovely museum on the grounds.  There’s also a carillon tower (97 bell) which send out his music at intervals throughout the day.  And a Craft Square (quilting, blacksmithing, glass-blowing, etc.) which was closed when we were there, except for the gift shop.  That was okay, we pretty much have those skills down.

Museum at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center

Carillon Tower, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center

Campsites were nice and fairly private – and within walking distance of all of the above.  We had our first fire and hot dog roast of the trip – and the night sky was gorgeous.  It’s great to be outside again!  (Note Wisconsin plates 😉 )

Campsite at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center

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