This is my first request for help with the bucket list in over a year.
I lived in Florida in the ‘80’s and have visited every place listed in the United States version of 1000 Places to see Before you Die. I have collected my supplemental list for Florida and am ready to solicit the collected wisdom of the Jolly Swaggerers.
I know about the major attractions. Been there, done that, had my face painted, got the baseball cap. You know what I’m looking for, places along blue highways, events unknown outside the county limits, and people—friends, family, asylum escapees. I await your advice.
Here is what I have so far.
Amelia Island. Bypassed by the railroad Flagler built in the 1890’s, it has remained unspoiled. Many Victorian and Queen Anne homes.
North Central Florida
Ocala National Forest, and The Enclave. I have spent many nights camping in Ocala NF and hiked many miles across her 600 square miles. There are a few tiny towns within the park. I recall meeting up with a homeless cyclist there back in the ‘80’s who told me the location of a hippie enclave deep in the forest. I drove back in and found a couple of dozen people settled in for the winter in a patchwork of tents, aging vans, and refrigerator cartons.
I was talking to a hobo the other day in Pensacola who asked me where I was heading. When I mentioned Ocala NF, he asked if I was going to The Enclave. I am wondering what that little camp of the ‘80’s may have morphed into. Stay tuned for a full report.
I’ve toured a few miles of the western end of the Gulf Coast and I see a firing squad of condos lining the beach backed up by a single highway lined with pizza joints, boat rentals, real estate offices, and convenience stores. Here small towns are gobbling up the beach like Pac-Man.
I’ve have a few leads of places which have resisted the condo tide, malls, or even traffic lights.
Mexico Beach, check out Lookout Lounge at happy hour, on CO386
Port St. Joe
Two places this traveler has already stopped to his pleasure.
Pensacola, Museum of Naval Aviation, on the Naval Air Station. I was blown away by the magnificence of this blogworthy display. My blog for this place is already in the can and will be posted on Wednesday, December 28th.
Gulf Islands National Seashore and Fort Pickens maintained by the National Park Service. An interesting old fort dating from 1834 adjacent to a pleasant, inexpensive, beachside campground.
Sanibel, Captiva, Pine Island. Renowned for the shells on the beach. Pine Island is a 3-acre park that is home to 68 people.
Tarpon Springs. A Greek fishing village that thrived on harvesting sponges until synthetics wrecked the business. I am told the town retains the charm of its earlier heyday.
I had not planned to venture too deeply into the 100-mile coastal strip city known and Miami-Fort Liquordale-Palm Beach. But if there is a really worthwhile place, I could be tempted. I will definitely not be visiting the Southport Raw Bar.