'scene' along the way, adventure, boats, connections, exploring new places, finding my way, flowers, friends, fun, gardens, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, weather

A lovely day in Rockport…

If there ever was a time for me to learn to replace the sky in an image then today would be the day. My day in Rockport really was lovely, after all, it wasn’t raining. But the sky could have been a lot prettier. But the lack of color in the sky couldn’t spoil the colorful scenes I was seeing everywhere I looked.

This, I was told, is the iconic image of Rockport, so it was the first image we took
If I didn’t believe it when I first heard it, then this sign would have convinced me.
As we walked to the waterfront these glimpses down the alleyways made me anxious to get there.
I have been seeing these gorgeous hydrangeas everywhere, but none prettier than these.
Hollyhocks are a favorite from my childhood.
And then we were there.
The restaurants touted fresh lobster, and it probably doesn’t get fresher than this.
Another view of the iconic building. It was destroyed in 1978 by a huge storm, but the townspeople pitched in to recreate it.
The scene behind the facades.
You would likely have a view like this no matter which of the waterfront restaurants you might choose to have your lunch.
Or a view like this…
This parade of little sailboats was being towed by the speedboat ahead of them. We decided that it was a group of kids being guided in after sailing lessons.
Where ever you choose to eat you will have seagulls staring longingly at your lunch. But we had this house sparrow keeping us company.
When we finally arrived at our room for the night we found this great potential sunset view right from the doorway. But the clouds took over.

When you are retired every day is a vacation I know, but to be back ‘home’ with time to enjoy places I never visited when I lived here is the best of all possible worlds.

'scene' along the way, adventure, coping, exploring new places, finding my way, friends, go with the flow, life, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel, unintended images

Detours…

I’ll bet you think I’m going to get all philosophical and talk about how you think your life is going one way and then it takes a very unexpected turn. I might be tempted to talk about that, but in this case I’m talking about the actual detour we took yesterday. Off of Rt. 301, compliments of the policemen who had closed the road to all traffic. We knew that something very unfortunate had happened up ahead, and we had a pretty good attitude since we had planned a day of driving that would get us to our stopping point on the early side. I had, however, just suggested that a bathroom break might be in order, and little did I know that it would be two hours before we found ourselves back on 301.

We were on a two lane road, very rural, with standing water along the sides of the road in places, from the recent rains.
When I say ‘we’ I mean ourselves and the many, many huge trucks traveling in both directions. One after the other those huge trucks passed us, most with their right side tires off the pavement and I noticed that they were creating a deep rut on the other side of the road. And still there were more coming.
I wished I could reach my camera when I saw three mules in the pasture here. One was kicking up it’s heals at the other two. It could have been a good picture, darn it.
I suppose I was lucky that I wasn’t the driver at the time, so I could amuse myself by taking pictures with my phone.

It took us over two hours to travel that detour. We saw only one issue, and that was a car driving in our same direction, and she had gone off the road enough that trying to back herself back up the slope probably wouldn’t work. We were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel by then, 301 was just up ahead and our particular nightmare was almost over. We looked at the cars and trucks heading south and just turning onto that sad little road and felt bad that they had no idea what they were in for. And, just as we expected, once we reached 301 we saw that the northbound lanes had been reopened while we were stuck in that detour nightmare. But we were back on the road with no harm done, so we were happy. Later on we learned that a truck driver had overturned and died, causing this whole problem. Day one of this trip was done…

'scene' along the way, changing times, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, history, learning, live and learn, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park…

If I had read the signage at the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park I might have looked at the site a little differently. Old ruins are frequently the subject of photographs, and this one was only a short distance from Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park and required only a walk across the road to see it in its entirety. So it was a no-brainer to drive the two miles and see what was there. But in looking it up this morning I found myself surprised to read that it is the ruins of a forced-labor farm owned by David Levy Yulee. Once Florida became a state Yulee was elected to the Senate, and after Florida seceded from the union he became a member of the Confederate Congress. That he was an ‘enslaver’ was startling to read, maybe because of the terminology, or maybe the current political climate is making me take these statements less for granted than when read in a textbook years ago. He is also given credit for helping establish the network of railroads which became a boon to Florida’s economy. There is a much bigger story represented in this small space than I would ever have imagined.

'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, birds, exploring new places, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, making memories, perseverance, photography, weather

Homosassa creatures…

When you discover that your friend has never been to Homosassa Springs State Park you might just decide to spend your day-before-the-storm there. The weather was surprisingly good again, even if the storm is supposed to hit tomorrow.

About that alligator feature photo. I am assured that that is a real alligator, as opposed to a mechanical one, which is what I suspected. But so far I’m not convinced, and he isn’t talking. He did smile for his picture though, whatever he is.

The Whooping Crane was too close to the camera for a full view. He is huge, trust me, but he wasn’t whooping it up this time.
But there was some carrying on happening, but by the eagles, who were calling to each other.
Flamingos always are a favorite to shoot, but today they were especially cooperative.
I’m not sure who is who, but they look cosy.
Who has the curliest neck I wonder?
The weather was perfect, the animals were cooperative, and the views were nice too.
'scene' along the way, adventure, exploring new places, friends, gardens, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, weather

Bok Tower Gardens…

As is my unfortunate habit, I did my research on this lovely venue after the fact. That’s when I discovered that the ‘singing tower’, named for the wonderful serenade of bells that can be heard throughout the gardens, is made from pink marble and native coquina stone. And that it was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, ‘the father of American Landscape Architecture’. His accomplishments include New York’s Central Park, plus too many more to mention. Upon arrival you see hints of the tower, and we quickly decided to head straight for it since the weather was iffy the later in the day it got.

This alligator greets you as you arrive to buy your tickets to enter.
You gaze at the tower from a distance, and it’s so very pretty. But it’s when you look at the detail in the photos that you really appreciate its beauty.
This is the clock face that was designed to cover the opening through which the glorious bells had been hoisted into place. Each of the zodiac signs are represented around the face of the clock.
But it’s the actual sundial itself that struck me. A golden snake as part of the design. What an imagination it must have taken to assemble all these parts into one whole.
More details to see.
I nearly missed the golden door, and the stone marker of the grave of Edward Bok who gave us all this gift to enjoy.
Did you spot Adam and Eve in the lower panel? I was surprised when I did.
You have to use your imagination here. When you stand on the current month you yourself cast the shadow that tells the time.

We did have to dodge some raindrops, and some serious sounding thunder claps, but for the most part the weather cooperated and we had a great day!

'scene' along the way, adventure, birds, bucket list, exploring new places, Florida wildlife, front yard visitors, fun, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, perseverance, photography, road trip

Wishful thinking…

There is a consistency to my vague desire to find the perfect place to live these days. Aside from the basic affordability, the most important, and unobtainable, wished-for aspect, I want built-in photo ops on my doorstep. With that in mind downtown Lakeland might be just the spot for me.

Who wouldn’t love to have this park right outside their front door?
Each year they have an event where they capture, band, and give veterinary check -ups to the resident swans at the lake. TV coverage of the event this year was how I knew the swans were even there.
While swans are always lovely, I don’t know if I would have wanted to stop here on our way home, very loosely ‘on our way home’, were it not for knowing that they had black swans here. Now seeing them was worth the extra mileage.
These were a treat to see.
A youngster perhaps, judging by the lighter feathers?
I think that this one was preparing to audition for Swan Lake.
And a snowy egret in her golden slippers. She didn’t seem to mind being out numbered by her bigger feathered friends.

Birds do seem to dominate the Florida photo-op scene, don’t they? I’m lucky to live here where affordability is at least possible. Not to mention the photo ops.