Tag Archives: #Florida

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 17B

26 Jan

A Slice of LIfe

Bill LItes

Day 17 – 7/28/2021 (Continued)

In another 20 miles south on US-17 I visited the Barberville Pioneer Village located on the grounds of the Barberville Central Highschool in Barberville, FL.  This settlement is the culmination of years of work to move a number of restored historic buildings to this location, to help visitors visualize and understand the way pioneers, to this area, lived and worked.  Some of the 11 structures include an 1875 log cabin, an 1885 Post Office, an 1885 Depot, an 1890 church, and an early 1900s country store.

It was only another 5 miles to the Lake George State Forestry Station located on US-17 at the edge of the Lake George Forest.  At one time in his young life our son, Billy, had wanted to be a Forest Ranger and he was lucky enough to climb one of the Ranger Station towers with a Ranger during a tour of their facility.  After that experience, forestry stations had always interested my too.  I really didn’t want to interrupt the folks at the station, so I just stopped long enough to give my back a rest and to take this photo.  Then I continued south.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

My next stop was just down the road on US-17, to visit one of my favorite family campgrounds, now known as DeLeon Springs State Park located in DeLeon Springs, FL.  From the early 1970s to around 2000 our family fell in love with camping.  Most of our camping took place up and down the central part of Florida at the many fresh-water springs.  One of our favorites was DeLeon Springs campgrounds, with its 1930s Old Sugar Mill Restaurant.  In the 1970s the property was privately owned, and we got to know the owners quite well.  Now every time I pass thru DeLeon Springs, a family camping memory pops into my head.  Oh, what fun we all had camping at the springs!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was another 10 miles south on US-17 & east on US-92 to where I visited the Deland Naval Air Station (DNAS) Museum located on the southern end of the Deland Municipal Airport.  This small museum is housed in the former Chief Master-at-Arms house and is dedicated to the honor of the men and women who have served our country in U.S. Naval Aviation.  The museum displays U.S. Naval military training artifacts and memorabilia dating from 1942, when the Naval Station was in operation.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I drove around to the north end of the Deland Municipal Airport, where I was hoping to visit the Commemorative Air Force Museum (Florida Wing) and get photos of their restored (flying) AT-6 Texan and restored (flying) T-34 Mentor, and talk airplanes with CAF members that might be there.  However, that part of the airport was closed off and Greta (my Garmin) couldn’t find the hanger.  I had to be satisfied with the photo below.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I got back on US-17 and drove 20 miles south to visit the last museum on this road trip.  This last stop was to visit the Florida Postal Museum located in Orange City, FL.  This small museum is housed in the old restored 1876 Heritage Inn, which just happens to be the very same building where the first Orange City Post Office was established in 1876.  Yep, the post office was moved several times over the years, but the museum ended up in the very same building where it had all started.  The museum has a variety of postal artifacts, along with a collection of framed envelopes, lining both sides of a long hallway, with dates from the inception of the U.S. Postal Service to the present.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now it was finally time to head southeast the last 50 miles on I-4 & SR-46 to my home in Titusville, FL.   I had called DiVoran to let her know about what time I thought I would be home, and she had a great ‘Welcome Home’ meal ready for me when I got to the house.  It was great to eat a home-cooked meal for a change and sleep in my own bed.  As much fun as these road trips are, I always look forward to getting home and relaxing in familiar surroundings with someone I 

love and appreciate.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures on this road trip as much as I have writing about them.  Putting these museum visits and traveling experiences into words always brings back visions of all the amazing things I have seen during this trip.  Thank you for riding along with me on this road trip, and I hope you will join me on the next trip for some more new and exciting museum adventures.  Be safe out there!

Photo Credit: https://www.clipartmax.com/cartoon-driver-waving/

—–The End—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

2021 Mid-Eastern Road Trip Part 16

12 Jan

A Slice of Life

DiVoran Lites

Day 16 – 7/27/2021

Leaving Douglas this morning, I headed southeast on SR-158 about 35 miles to visit the Okefenokee Heritage Center, located on the northern edge of the 700-square-mile Okefenokee Swamp, in Waycross, GA.  This center provides and preserves the historical cultures that make up the diverse area around the Okefenokee, with exhibits and artifacts dating from 350 BC.  The museum also gives tours of the restored area buildings, train station, and 1912 Baldwin steam locomotive (‘Ol No. 9).

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed southeast 35 miles on US-23 to visit The Folkston Funnel located in Folkston, GA.  It’s not a train depot as I originally thought but is a raised platform for visitors to watch the dozens of CXS trains traveling into and out of Florida thru the nearby “Folkston Funnel” switching station.  The city provided platform has chairs, tables, lighting, ceiling fans, and a scanner that allows train fans to listen to radio traffic between trains passing thru the area.  I didn’t read a sign thoroughly, located close to the platform, that advertised ice cream and cold drinks down the street.  I thought the ice cream shop was in the caboose.  Silly me!

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

I picked up US-301 out of Folkston and headed southeast 15 miles, crossing the St. Marys River (the border), where I visited the Corner’s  A-Maize-Ing Acres located in Hillard, FL.  As it turned out, this is a 125-acres privately owned farm that caters to people who are looking for a variety of farm-fresh vegetables and/or a beautiful setting for a family picnic or special photo shoot.  I didn’t need vegetables (I had no idea what was in season) or a family photo, so I just made a quick stop to rest my back, and was on my way.

I continued 10 miles southeast on US-301 to where I visited the West Nassau Museum of History located in Callahan, FL.  I found this small museum situated in the old restored 1881Callahan Train Depot, and it displays railroad exhibits, artifacts, and memorabilia about the history of Callahan and the surrounding Nassau County area dating from the early 1800s.

Now it was only 20 miles southeast on US-17 to visit the Ritz Theater & Museum located in the LaVilla area of Jacksonville, FL.  The 426-seat theater was built in 1929 and was the focal point of LaVilla (considered the mecca for African American culture and heritage) from the 1920s to the 1960s and was known as “The Harlem of the South.”  The LaVilla Museum is located off the lobby of the theater and displays a variety of exhibits related to the LaVilla area dating from the early 1900s.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was a short drive to downtown where I visited the Jacksonville Fire Museum.   This museum is housed in the restored 1886 Station No. 3 building and displays firefighting equipment, artifacts, and a diorama of the Great Fire of 1901, which distroyed over 2000 buildings in a 146-block area of what was then the city of Jacksonville.  The museum also has a restored 1902 LaFrance horse-drawn fire engine and a 1926 American LaFrance fire engine on display.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

Now I headed for the Southbank Riverwalk district of town to visit the Museum of Science & History (MOSH) there in Jacksonville.  Originally chartered in 1941, this three-story museum has a large Florida Natural History Center and many Florida scientific and historical exhibits on display for visitors.  The museum is home to the beautiful 200-seat Bryan-Gooding Planetarium.

Photo Credit: Bill Lites

It was still raining, and I needed to find the motel there in Jacksonville and get something to eat.  As it turned out, the motel was in the Orange Park area off, south I-295, and it took me a while to get there.  After I got checked in and got my stuff settled in my room, I recorded my activities for the day.  Then I warmed up my leftover Enchiladas, refried beans and yellow rice, from the El 1800 Mexican Restaurant last night, and enjoyed that great tasting meal again.  What a delight!

—To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 64 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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