Thursday, April 5, 2012

a touch of Florida

Just a touch, since we are spending this week in the Jacksonville Florida area.  It has been hot and sunny since we got here on Sunday, low 90s.   You know you are in Florida since you get served orange or grapefruit juice, your choice, at the Welcome Center.  What a treat!
step right up to get your Florida juice at Welcome Center

Well first tourist thing we did was to drive out to the beach on the way down to St. Augustine. Fooled us, since you can't even see the water for all the large, expensive homes built toe to toe right on the beach side.  Not only do you own the land your house is built on, but you also own the beach!  We did finally find some state park beaches where you can get to the water.

St. Augustine was a major disappointment.  It was too soon for us to enjoy after having had such an wonderful experience in the Savannah area.  It was the ultimate in tourist town, with high on get their money and low on share the history.  This was the hottest day, being high 90s and we were uncomfortable, so that did not help.  We could not get enough liquids into us to keep up with the heat.  There were some interesting things in this oldest continually lived in town in the nation, but we just didn't get to them.  As one woman said to me while waiting in line to get into the Oldest Wooden School House " can you breathe in this town without paying for it?"  My thought was that it seemed like a Disney set, lots of reconstruction of stuff, without the orderliness of Disney.


school house was equipped with chains to hold it down in high winds

you can also see chains running thru the building
walking area in Spanish quarter


view of St. Augustine harbor

The one thing we really enjoyed was the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum.  There were actual pirate artifacts and treasure retrieved from ships that sank off the Atlantic coast.  Lots of interactive computer info about pirates, some famous such as Bluebeard and others not so famous.  You can set off some cannon on the ship you tour in the building.  All a lot of fun for kids and kids at heart!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Augustine,_Florida
http://www.piratesoul.com/

Next on our agenda was to drive back up to Georgia, which is very close and go to visit the Okefenokee Swamp.  It is managed by the US Fish and Wildlife department.  They offer a boat tour into the swamp, which we both knew we wanted to do.  It was wonderful!!!  You get a local as your tour guide, ours was 7th generation growing up in the swamp and he really loves it.  It's a 5 mile round trip and you get to see lots of plants, tress, gators (lots to see) and large turtles.  We saw 6 gators and 3 very large turtles.  We had sprayed our selves with as our guide said "swamp perfume" (bug spray) to keep mosquitoes away.  Not yet many mosquitoes yet, but flies who did not seem to be affected by the stuff.  Oh well, win some lose some!  We both loved it and plan to do something similar when we get to New Orleans again next week.







video


video

http://www.fws.gov/okefenokee/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okefenokee_Swamp
Tomorrow we are going to Amelia Island to walk in some of Ponce de Leon's footsteps.  Also going to see Kingsly Plantation, out on one of the islands, which are just northeast of Jacksonville.
We'll let you know how all that goes.

Not much in the way of interesting foods here in Florida.  One nice thing is that the RV park has a small cafe which serves some pretty good basic foods.  We started off there on our first morning here and that's how we got to see the turtles, right at the cafe dock.

Stay tuned for more adventures.
Michelle and Fred
Traveling the country so you don't have to!