In my NPR Note two months ago, Turn the Page, I mentioned that my wife and I were looking forward to getting the chance to travel. We’ve officially started that process. We realized Saturday morning that neither of us had anything on our calendar, so we made an impromptu road trip to north Florida. Our initial destination was the Falling Creek Falls Park. The falls are in a little park just a few miles north of Lake City. We had talked about dropping by the falls sometime when we were traveling through the Lake City area. Instead, we made this a bit of a special trip.
Naturally, we took the back roads instead of the Interstate. What a great adventure! There is a boardwalk from the parking lot to the falls, so even someone in a wheelchair can get to the falls. The falls are pretty cool, especially if you are going to be in the area. I’m not sure I’d recommend making a special trip, unless you’ve got some other things you want to check out in north Florida.
The Falling Creek Chapel is a half mile or so up the road from there and we checked it out, along with the church cemetery behind it. The church was built in the 1880s and includes two front doors: One for the men and one for the women. The congregation stayed that way with the men on one side and the women on the other once they entered the church.
We recharged the car while we had lunch in Lake City and then headed west to find two communities where Carolyn’s ancestors lived back in the 19th century. Our first stop after lunch was Wellborn, followed by looking to see if we could find what remains of Houston, Florida. Both communities are right off US 90 between Lake City and Live Oak. Carolyn got a kick out of imagining where her ancestors might have actually walked or taken a horse drawn wagon down some of the dirt streets we found.
We made it back to New Port Richey in time for supper.
The next couple of months are going to be pretty busy, but both of us are at least thinking of places we can visit the next time we find ourselves with a free day that we can use to explore Florida. With the outdoor air temps heading into the 90’s, we will likely concentrate on museums and other indoor attractions until cooler temperatures come back this fall.
I can see us visiting Fanning Springs, Manatee Springs, and Homosassa Springs the next time we head north on 19. Closer to home, it would be fun to visit the Anclote Island lighthouse one weekend when it is open for tours. If you haven’t visited the Werner-Boyce State Park in Port Richey, you owe it to yourself to pay it a visit and walk along the nature trails there. A road trip to Mount Dora to check out the Hacienda Hotel’s sister hotel, the Lakeside Inn, is also something I’m sure we are going to do at some point.
Florida has so much more to offer than the House of Mouse and the other mega-attractions in the Orlando area. Do you have a favorite place you have enjoyed visiting? Let us know. If you want to explore Florida as well, here are some “trips on a tank full” that you might want to check out.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that we’ve got some cool stuff right here in New Port Richey. The next Dirt Mall will be held at Studio NPR on Sunday, from 9:30am-2:30pm. The Wright’s Farmers’ Market will start at 11am, so I’ll plan on swinging by after church and check both events out. The next Art Walk is at 6pm this Friday evening and there is a Kids Fishing Tournament at Sims Park on Saturday.
As we observe Memorial Day this weekend, please remember our soldiers and sailors who gave everything in defense of our country.