Anyone that knows me well understands that even though I was born and raised in Florida … I am not fond of Florida! If God would open doors I’d be outta here so fast your head would spin! The weather just kills me here!! Especially as I age. Instead of the normal four seasons that most of the continent gets we have hot … hotter … hottest … and “when did i move to hades?” That’s it. I think this past winter we actually had TWO days, yes I said TWO days that I could wear a jacket. What is that all about?? Bring on the cold peeps!!
But for all the hatred I have toward the balmy Florida sun, I do love the history that is all over my own backyard. I’m a history buff. Actually a HUGE history buff. So it was no surprise to my hubby when I asked him recently if we could spend time “tooling” about Florida learning some more of what Florida is all about.
Our first stop was St. Augustine. We have been there a bajillion times and each time we always seem to find something new we have not done before. What do you expect though from the Nation’s OLDEST city?? There is so much to see. In years past we’ve done the old fort, Ripley’s museum, the old drug store, the Spanish Quarter, the fountain of youth [no, it didn’t work!], the wax museum, and of course, all the shops and yummy food places.
This particular time we did the Mission Nombre De Dios. This was the site of what is believed to be the first ever church service on the North American continent. In 1565 the king of Spain sent peeps over to Florida [of course, not called Florida at that time] to teach the natives about Christ. A short time after they landed Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales [can he get a longer name?] held the first mass service on the site of this church, and after the church service Pedro Menedez stuck a wooden cross in the ground to commemorate the event.
Today a statue of Father Lopez as well as a giant cross are placed here to memorialize these events.
Ok, friends, this cross is HUGE! According to literature we received at the entrance it stands 208 feet above the river and weighs like 70 tons. It was so beautiful to look up and see this cross “painted” in the sky with the clouds floating behind it. My pictures don’t do it justice!
Besides the statue and the cross this church site also has some old graves and a tiny church nestled in the middle of beautiful garden pathways. It was very peaceful and relaxing to just take our time walking through the garden … holding hands [insert son saying “gross” here] … and thinking back to what it might have been like in the 1500’s.
Yes, I am a sap and a freak. That has already been established 🙂
Once my husband had taken all he could of the romantic scenery we headed out and by chance ended up at Washington Oaks State Park. We have driven by this place over and over and over again and never taken the time to stop and smell the roses … literally in this case. We discovered that this State Park actually was full of rose bushes … and much more!
In days gone by Washington Oaks State Park was the winter home of Mr. & Mrs. Owen D. Young. Mrs. Young was an avid gardner while her husband worked from home as the founder of RCA and eventual CEO of General Electric. It was no surprise to me that they would pick this place to spend their winters. Just check out the scenery from what used to be their backdoor:
This park was full of interesting things to see. They had their own orange grove, and original greenhouse that Mrs. Young built for her orchids, peaceful pathways through lush green gardens with bubbling ponds, their own private beach called “The Rocks”, and even a a thousand foot long, mean, people eating snake! I am so not kidding!! Ok, so maybe I’m exagerating a tad bit … but at one point a long snake crossed our paths and I was like, “That’s it. I’m done. Going home now” … and quickly exited the park! Me and snakes do NOT get along!!
Aside from creepy crawly nature though it was such a joy to visit this park. I do believe we will go back again with a picnic next time!
That was about all the history my sweet, oh so understanding, hubby could take for one day … so we headed home for the night. But let it be known that bright and early the next day I had him up and attem’ heading to the Ponce Inlet beach park. I LOVE this park and we try to spend at least one day here each month during the summer. I love how in one small area you can experience not only the ocean but also the Florida scrub and wildlife. They have wooden plank pathways to dawdle along as well as the stone jetty leading out into the ocean. It’s kinda like the land that time forgot … so long as you go during the week. Weekends tend to compare to what you might see in an Frankie and Annette movie … does anyone even remember those movies??
Anyhoo, here are a few shots that we took since it WAS our last day of peaceful freedom. Did I mention the reason we explored Florida was we were on our ten year anniversary weekend? No? Well, now you know!!
And there you have it. Just some random thoughts about how I love to “search for yesterday” because frankly, I think I was born way to late on this planet 🙂
If you are ever in the State of Florida and looking for peaceful, CHEAP, and entertaining things to do … be sure to check out all these parks. Worth every bit of time spent!