Tuesday, April 20, 2010

SPRING BREAK 2010

It's Spring and we're "On The Road Again". Upon leaving Webster on 4/3, our only scheduled stop is to be in Gulf Shores, AL by 4/13, so we enjoyed a nice visit with family for Easter and were so proud to be at our granddaughter's (Kiley),baptism in Green Cove Springs. We enjoyed Easter Sunrise Service and the day with family. We left Green Cove Springs on Wednesday, April 7, and spent several nights Lee's Country Campground in White Springs, FL. You may have heard what a special place the Stephen Foster State Park is to visit. Hourly carillon concerts and a beautiful museum we both had visited in elementary school (about 100 years ago). Not really, but those panoramas have been working since about 1939 with minimal maintenance.

We spent 3 nights in the area since we were so tired after the 83 mile drive from GCS and moved on to a town we had never visited - DeFuniak Springs, FL - to Sunset King Lake Resort. Although the campground was a little off the beaten path, we soon realized it was one of the friendliest places we've ever visited. On Sunday morning we attended an on-site chapel and enjoyed a service presented by lay workers. We were treated as if they had known us for years and were invited to a pot luck lunch at the restaurant - also on site. These people are fishin' and huntin' buddies "big time", on these twin lakes - where the water flows into the springs at DeFuniak Lake. One couple befriended us and took us for a beautiful sunset ride in their pontoon boat. We found after a couple of days we could have easily stayed longer - but we have what is known as the "hitch itch". (This means it is time to get back on the road.)

Since neither of us had ever been to DeFuniak Springs, we had an opportunity to learn a unique part of Florida history, one of our favorite subjects. It was named "DeFuniak" in honor of Frederick DeFuniak, first president of the P&A (Pensacola and Atlantic Railroad Company). The "springs" are in the center of the lake, in the center of town. DeFuniak Springs had one of the busiest train stations in Florida in 1883 - made famous by the Florida Chautauqua (Hall of Brotherhood), modeled after the New York Chautauqua - a Methodist training center for Sunday School teachers. The Chautauqua had an auditorium that held over 4000 seats. The whole town supported the center. An interesting fact - the growing town was the home of the State Normal School (c.1885) which moved to Tallahassee in 1905 where it became Florida State University For Women, known today as Florida State University. The DeFuniak Springs Library, is one of the oldest continually operated libraries housed in the same original building in the State of Florida. We visited the library - it has one of the oldest armor collections in the world - many of the pieces are medieval - and all are displayed throughout the library. The whole town seems to revolve around Circle Drive, a charming one mile beautifully preserved circular drive around DeFuniak Lake. Talk about a walk back into Victorian times, when labor and materials were plentiful - turrets, double verandas, classic fluted columns, gingerbread trim, and window dormers are found everywhere you look - over 250 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places in DeFuniak Springs.

For lunch one day we enjoyed a famous "Ed's Pub Burger" (absolutely delicious and only a half pound burger) with fries on the shores of Lake DeFuniak. We thought it was a great idea until I tried to feed the ducks and was soon surrounded by what seemed to be a scene from the Alfred Hitchcock film "The Birds". Seems like they were everywhere, so I threw the fries to escape, and we made our way back to the car.

On the morning of 4/13 we departed Sunset King RV Resort and DeFuniak Springs and drove 139 miles to Gulf Shores, AL to attend the Tiffin RV Network Rally - about 100 coaches all manufactured by Tiffin Motorhomes in Red Bay AL.
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