Saturday, April 18, 2015

A to Z Blogging Challenge - Payne's Prairie and The Mystery of the Missing Town

Big Sky Country, in Florida

Oooo, a mystery. In 1895, my grandmother was born in a town called Rocky Point, Florida, just south of Gainesville. My great-grandparents owned a strawberry farm there and they sold to New York restaurants and the like. But Rocky Point no longer exists. Not even the buildings. Not any photos. Not anything but a map from 1899 and some deeds, document it's existence. I’m trying to find out what happened, when my great grandparents moved and why.  I don’t know if Rocky Point dried up, or if the population was forced or paid to leave. I do know that Payne’s Prairie, which has been there forever, is now a state park. Since Rocky Point was situated within Payne’s Prairie (park) boundaries, and apparently disappeared around the time the park was established, it’s a mystery I hope to solve someday soon…

The sink hole

Watch your puppies if you bring 'em...!

Bison have been on the prairie since the 1800s, so have wild horses

Sunset on the prairie

Beautiful wildlife and habitat
What you will find in the area today is a breath-taking sky-is-so-big park teaming with wildlife and natural habitat. You’ll find, biking, hiking and equestrian trails, fishing, camping, and birding to suit anyone, plus an interesting history (which doesn’t include, for some reason, Rocky Point). Also you can get married there, canoe and kayak, oh, and feel free to come just for the day and have a picnic, and, your “well behaved dog,” is welcome in certain areas (just watch out for ‘gators, snakes and bison!). The park has just announced the addition of Operation Recreation GeoTour  which makes using your GPS fun as well as informative! Read more about this new game/service at
1899 map with Rocky Point below Gainesville

For more information about the park:

Images from :

Friday, April 17, 2015

A to Z Blogging Challenge - Ocala

No, I'm not writing about Orlando! Ocala, on the other hand, I have sentimental ties to, the strongest of which is that my father was born there. Actually born in the house they lived in at the time, not at the hospital, which was perfectly normal back in 1926!

Downtown Ocala

I grew up visiting my grandmother at her home on the shores of Lake Kerr right outside of Ocala, and marvel at the things my sister and I were allowed to do without adults around. My grandmother owned over fifty acres with a lovely house facing the lake. She had a guest house where we stayed, a double detached garage, citrus orchard, grapes, bees (my dad kept them), and a large Camellia garden right next to the house. The dock was located down by the “hunting” cabin, the first house she and my grandfather built there.

Anyway, I could go on and on about memories, fishing, swimming, exploring. My sister and I were so lucky! When “Mama Ruth” as we called her, decided it was time to sell up, she sold most of it to a family who raised thoroughbred horses. This was during the beginning of the influx of horse breeders/trainers who have now basically taken over the landscape around Ocala and made it second only to Kentucky.
A horse "farm"

These horse “farms” are beautiful. I have visited a few and some offer tours that are full of interesting facts and information. 

Silver Springs

Salt Springs
There are other things to see in the area, Silver Springs (my dad’s first job), Salt Springs (where my Dad used to catch blue shell crab in his youth), and LOTS of better than average fishing "holes." Come on, send the kids to the springs, bring a rod and settle in. The weather is just fine...
Images from:

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A to Z Blogging Challenge - National Navel Aviation Museum

Do you like airplanes, or anything to do with historical aviation? Then this museum is the place for you. My husband and his father, who was the chief aeronautical designer of the Concorde’s wings and nose, spent two days visiting this museum a few years ago, and want to go back. They both said there was too much to see in two days. My father in law lives in France, so we have planned for my husband and him to take another excursion down to Pensacola the next time he visits us. Here are some photos to whet your appetite!
An Italian Flying Boat from the 1920s with my father in law beside it

Hawker Harrier Early 1980s

Mitsubishi Zero WWII

Mig, 15 with my father in law (my dad shot one of these down) Korean Conflict

Grumman Duck Pre WWII

Corsair WWII

Grumman Goose 1950s

Fokker DR VII 1918

For more information: