'scene' along the way, a second look, adventure, fantasy images, Florida landmarks, friends, fun, gardens, making memories, on closer examination, perseverance, photography, turtles, weather

Third time’s a charm…

There were three potential places to go that day, all close to each other. First was going to be The Narrows, the raptor rehab facility that I’ve been to before. The turtle pond was teaming with turtles, but with no volunteers to walk the various raptors along the paths all that was left was to see them in their enclosures. So we moved on to what was supposed to be the main event of the day, Heritage Village. We had looked it up, but failed to notice that it was closed on Monday and Tuesday. Which left us at the Florida Botanical Garden in the worst of the heat of the day. We followed pretty tiles down a shady path which led us to the children’s garden, a place I hadn’t visited before. A mom was pointing out some banana spiders to a group of children who told me to be careful as I headed over with my camera. The water birds were sounding off which led us to spot the small gator in the pond next door.

If all trees had faces like these I probably wouldn’t have had as many tree-climbing adventures when I was a kid.

We heard the water feature before we saw it. And it sounded very refreshing, like maybe we should take a dip to escape the heat. But we controlled ourselves.

I can never resist a bee, even if I have to crop 95% of the picture away in order for you to see him. Or her.

We will have to be sure to get out earlier as the weather gets hotter this summer. It was nice to be out, and even nicer to stop for lunch in air-conditioned comfort before heading home.

'scene' along the way, a second look, butterflies, flowers, gardens, Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, perseverance, photography

Model trains…

Not too long ago I was at the Nature Coast Botanical Garden when the model train was running. The conductor said that his grandchildren were coming soon so he had to hurry up and finish his work on the train village. I think he did a great job. And the last time I was at the botanical garden the shrubs had just been cut back, so there were very few flowers and not so many butterflies. My how things have changed in a few weeks.

The village is next to the waterfall these days.
And this little house along side the waterfall looks inviting.
I love the church garden.
The flowers are lovely.
And so are the butterflies.
Cactus buds reaching for the sky.
This one is past it’s prime.
A natural bouquet.
I must be drawn to pink flowers.
And lastly a zebra butterfly, there were many of them.
'scene' along the way, flowers, fun, gardens, Just do it, life, live and learn, nature, on closer examination, perseverance, photography

Succulents…

I’ve certainly raved over photo ops that come to me in the past, but this one didn’t come to me. No, I had to walk across the street to see it. And I heard it before I saw it. The fountain gurgling caught my attention. A sweet little succulent garden. I’ve been offered cuttings, but my track record with plants isn’t great. Fortunately for my kids and pets I’ve done better with them.

This last one is the flowers that really caught my eye. So sweet, love them.

'scene' along the way, adventure, bugs, dragonflies, exploring new places, finding my way, flowers, fun, gardens, Just do it, live and learn, making memories, nature, perseverance, photography, road trip

Newhall Audubon Preserve…

My young cousin and I had a conversation the other day about taking the detours that you see along the highways of life. She says she always takes the detour if she is traveling with time on her hands. I always feel like I spotted them too late to take the turn, or I think I have nowhere to pull the car over safely. There are missed photo ops that have been living in my head for many, many years. And while I missed a great potential shot the other day, I later hung a right at Newhall Audubon Preserve, a quick but worthwhile stop. Stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. I need to do that more often…

I confess that heading down a path like this by myself doesn’t always feel safe. Other hikers are a welcome sight.
The views are often lovely.
I didn’t walk the path around the little lake.
There were no big fat bumble bees, just tiny little ones.
Oops, one fat bee.
Loblolly pines are amazing. So tall and straight, I’m sure they were prized for timber. But taking a picture is almost impossible, except from this angle.
So very tall.
This isn’t the butterfly I had in mind, but he’ll do.
I loved seeing this dragonfly’s shadow.

After a short while I got back on A1A, knowing that just beyond the beautiful houses I was seeing on my left as I drove south, there was the ocean. I passed up one beach access turn off, I guess I hadn’t quite learned my own lesson, but I took the second one. I was catching on…

The ocean has my heart.
'scene' along the way, adventure, egrets, exploring new places, finding my way, Florida landmarks, gardens, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip, travel

A walk in St. Augustine…

Did I say a walk? It was nearly a sprint, maybe a trot. My cousin is fast! But we had a lot of territory to cover in one morning, or so I thought. As it turned out we parked the car and then were able to walk to the Lightner Museum, Flagler College, the charming shopping area, the fort, and the Bridge of Lions. Great restaurants and coffee shops were pointed out to me as we walked. This is a great place to visit. Even the lighthouse was pretty darned close by. What more could you possibly ask for?

This building housed the former Hotel Ponce de Leon, and now houses Flagler College.
The stained glass and mosaics of the interior design were designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
An egret with a fish will always catch my attention. But he let his catch go, alas, too late for the fish to survive.
The Lightner Museum is located across the street from Flagler College.
These are very impressive buildings and garden settings.
I will always love to look at a scene through an arch.
I saw photographers taking their time, setting up their tripods, while I zoomed along. Next time!
Shooting on the fly is my excuse for cutting off the sign.
A walk through the lobby.
Also found in the narrow shopping streets.
Lots of alleyways to explore.
Such pretty flowers.
Street photography.
The Castillo De San Marcos is the oldest fort in the continental United States. I zoomed past. Further exploration to come another day.
The Bridge of Lions, aptly named for these two who guard the entrance.
I have to go back.
adventure, Charleston views, exploring new places, flowers, gardens, history, Just do it, learning, making memories, perseverance, photography, road trip

Middleton Place…

When I told my Uber driver that I was planning to go to Magnolia Plantation he immediately said that I should go to Middleton Place. I have friends who would have planned ahead and learned some of the history of both of these places, which of course I didn’t do. Middleton Place was every bit as beautiful as the day before, possibly because the two gardens are only a few miles apart and full of azaleas. This is the country’s oldest landscaped garden, is what the brochure said, and it’s also a National Historic site.

Welcome to Middleton Place.
Landscaped paths, but which way to go?
I affectionately dubbed this Swan Lake, though the brochure calls it the reflection pond.
More paths, definitely landscaped.
Do I know them? No, but she was cute…
I was surprised to see that you open the gate and walk into the sheep’s territory. I was looking at this live oak before I noticed the sheep, but I took the picture before I realized how many more sheep, and live oaks, I’d see.
Maybe I’ll go this way.
If I got the story straight this is the Wood Nymph, and it’s the only statue that survived the Civil War, and it survived because they buried it to keep it safe.
After a while I have no idea where I am, I just explore the view.
A couple spent a long time trying to point this alligator out to me, but I didn’t notice it until I walked a little further along the path. I suspect it’s not real, it’s too perfect. And I remember an incident where my friend and I went out of our way to take pictures of swans that turned out to be made of plastic. The swan in this post is most decidedly real, just sayin’.
The Middleton Oak. It is estimated to be between 900-1000 years old. Three major limbs have had to be removed. That it was allowed to remain in an otherwise formal garden setting was most unusual for the times. The signage said that this oak served as a trail marker for Indians long before our country was founded.
All that remains of the main house. The paved path at the top of the stairs marks the central hallway of the house that was in burned by Union troops in 1865, and then leveled by the Great Earthquake of 1886.
A wedding would take place here later on. What a great venue.
The views never end.
I couldn’t choose the best view.
Beauty everywhere.
Weavers in action.
I took a close up picture of the House Museum, but I liked this view better.
This little boy told me that his father taught him that if you approach a kitty slowly and put your hand out then he’ll know you are his friend.
My last picture of the day. I might have gotten excited to see the horse and not paid attention to where I was walking, or not, but either way no harm was done.

I hope there will be many more visits to this area in the future because both of these gardens deserve another visit or two, and there is more to see in the area also. I bought a tee shirt in the gift shop that says Middleton Place, because that is/was my kids’s last name, and it was mine for 10 years or so. I mentioned that to the clerk and she asked if I was a descendant, if I had said I was I wonder if I’d have gotten a discount…