Tag Archives: nature

Florida Travel~Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

19 Jun

A Time to LIve

Melody Hendrix

 

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park is a Florida State Park located near Palm Coast, Florida, along A1A just a short distance north of Ponce Inlet .

 

 

 http://www.washingtonoaks.org/

Washington Oaks Gardens State Park

6400 N. Oceanshore Blvd.

Palm Coast, Florida 32137

(386) 446-6780

 

The park is most famous for its formal gardens.

 

It also preserves the original habitat of a northeast Florida barrier island.

 

The park has such amenities as beaches (on both the Matanzas River and Atlantic Ocean), bicycling, fishing, hiking, picnicking areas and wildlife viewing. The original residence has been converted into a visitor center with interpretive exhibits.

The Park’s eastern boundary holds  outcroppings of coquina rock , creating a picturesque boulder-strewn beach. It is full of swirling, sculptured coquina rocks piled along the beach, some sporting circular holes, others forming bowls that create tide pools for snails and anemones.

This unusual beach in Florida is a well-kept secret, hoarded by the locals who refer to it as “The Rocks”.

 

 

One quick stop just before Matanzas is Marineland. Hurricanes Floyd and Irene in 1999 forced the park to close for two months. In 2003, all of the park buildings west of Highway A1A were demolished leaving only the original structures along the Atlantic Ocean. In 2004, the park closed completely for renovations, and reopened on March 4, 2006. In January 2011, Marineland was sold again and is currently being operated as a subsidiary of Georgia Aquarium. The facility, now named Marineland Dolphin Adventure, offers several dolphins encounters, educational programs, and conducts research to help care for marine life in human care and in the wild.

The park has a nice boardwalk and restrooms. The beach is also strewn with outcroppings that appear at low tide.

 

 

A little farther north on A1A is Matanzas Inlet. 

It is a channel in Florida between barrier islands connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the south end of the Matanzas River. The inlet is not stabilized by jetties, and thus is subject to shifting.

 

The above picture shows the inlet at low tide and across it is the Matanzas Monument location. It was designated a United States National Monument on October 15, 1924.

Below is a link to the forts history

https://www.nps.gov/foma/learn/historyculture/the_massacre.htm

Hurricane Matthew caused damage. Below, shows (Sept. 6, 2014) and after (Oct. 13, 2016)  the damage hurricane Matthew did to this area. The storm cut a new inlet between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River near St. Augustine, Florida, stripping away a 12-foot dune and carrying sand into the estuary and altered a part of the northeast Florida coastline.

 

Matanzas Inlet is still a beautiful place. One of the treasures that draws me to this place is the sand. With the changing of tides and blending of the swift moving bodies of water, the patterns in the sand are truly master pieces that are sculpted everyday. Tide pools trap interesting creatures to explore. Lots of birds dine on the abundant food available. This area is loved by fishermen.

 

The rocks that add to the unusual look for a Florida beah appear and disappear with the tide.

 

You must be aware of the tides on the south side of the inlet. You can be trapped by incoming tides and forced to exit through private property.

 

There is beauty in all sides of the bridge. The inlet side, and the beach side. There is also a long boardwalk and parking on both sides.

If you love beach walks, photography, birding,  beaching, hiking or just exploring, this would be an enjoyable little trip.

Please join me next week on our last northern stop along A1A to St Augustine before we head west to the Suwannee River and some visit some springs.

 

 

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Florida Travel~Ponce Inlet

13 Jun

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

The Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse and Museum

http://ponceinlet.org/

Located 10 miles south of Daytona Beach in the Town of Ponce Inlet.  4931 S Peninsula Dr, Ponce Inlet, Fl 32127

Situated on the north bank of Ponce Inlet where the Halifax and Indian Rivers flow into the Atlantic Ocean, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum is a must see for anyone interested in Florida, maritime, or local history.

In 1774, the British put the very first lighthouse on the north side of the Inlet. It wasn’t really a lighthouse at all! It was simply a huge bonfire that was kept burning on top of a sand dune. A real lighthouse was built in 1835 on the south side of Mosquito Inlet.

 

 

This was a round tower made of bricks, and it stood 45 feet tall. Amazingly, the lamp was never lit. Why? The governor never ordered any fuel oil for the light. Next, a storm came and damaged the foundation. Then the Seminole Indians raided it and tried to burn the tower. Finally, in April of 1836, the lighthouse toppled over into the sea. This lighthouse lasted only a year and was never even lit!

The present light station was completed on the north side of the inlet in 1887. The new tower had a lamp at the top that was fueled by kerosene. This little light could be seen for more than 18 miles out in the ocean because it was magnified by a special Fresnel (pronounced Fra-NEL) lens.

 

 

The light station had three houses for the lighthouse keepers and their families, as well as an oil storage building and other small buildings. This light station still stands today! The inlet’s name has been changed from Mosquito Inlet to Ponce De Leon Inlet.

Lighthouse Facts:

The tower is 175 feet tall

It is the tallest lighthouse in Florida

There are 213 steps to the top of the tower

The tower beacon flashes six times in 15 seconds followed by a 15 second eclipse

The light from the beacon can be seen up to 18 miles out to sea

Approximately 2.5 million bricks were used to build the Light Station

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is one of only 12 lighthouses in the country to have been designated a National Historic Landmark.

 Looking up from the ground floor

 

Looking out from the top

 

Staircase and lighthouse window

 

 

Lighthouse Point Park

5000 South Atlantic Avenue

Ponce Inlet, FL 32127

(386) 756-7488

Consisting of 52 acres of pristine land on the north side of Ponce DeLeon Inlet, this park features fishing, nature trails, an observation deck and tower, swimming, picnicking and birding.

 

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The southern tip of Ponce Inlet. The natural beauty of the undisturbed land has been preserved for all to enjoy. Dolphins frequent the shoreline, gopher tortoises can be found in sandy areas, and other wildlife. There is also a designated area for your dog.

The Ayers Davies Lens Exhibit Building houses one of the finest collections of restored Fresnel lenses in the world, including the rotating first order Fresnel lens from the Cape Canaveral lighthouse and the restored original Ponce Inlet lighthouse first order Fresnel lens.

 

 

Smyrna Dunes Park

https://www.volusia.org/services/public-works/coastal-division/coastal-parks/smyrna-dunes-park.stml

From Lighthouse Point Park, you can see Smyrna Dunes Park on the other side of the river.

 

Although only a short distance away across the inlet, it is a distance to drive from one to another. The lighthouse is entered through Port Orange/Daytona and Smyrna Dunes Park is entered through New Smyrna Beach.

The Dunes Park is also dog friendly.

It has long boardwalks to the beach and river.

 

This park is similar as the same activities available and has beautiful dunes also.

 

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Both of these parks are scenic, peaceful and great to spend the day in.

 

 

Next week we will drive north on A1A to Washington Oaks State Park and Matanzas Inlet.

 

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody

Mingus Mill

28 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mingus Creek Trail, Cherokee, NC

A half-mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor Center is Mingus Mill. Built in 1886, this historic grist mill uses a water-powered turbine instead of a water wheel to power all of the machinery in the building. Located at its original site, Mingus Mill stands as a tribute to the test of time.

The fairly large building is powered by the water that rushes into the “millrace” from a diversion upstream.  The path leads all the way to where this diversion occurs.  As you walk up the millrace you’ll notice how the wooden planks that makeup the siding have remained firmly in place over the years. Although it was rehabilitated in 1968 by the National Park service, it is still an impressive sight to see.

There is a revelation of God in creation Psalm 19

14 Mar

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

There is a revelation of God in creation. His gospel is written in everything. As far back as I remember, I have been deeply connected to nature and the outdoors. As a child and even as an adult, stepping outside in nature was like arriving on an amazing planet. I am filled with awe and wonderment of the beauty and mystery before me. I run to explore everything great and small within my reach. I feel the presence of my Creator filling my soul with every breath. I almost hear His footsteps running with open arms to greet me. My spirit wide awake open to every morsel of knowledge and beauty I can possibly soak up. All my senses are alive with the sight, smell, sound and touch of God’s Holy presence.  A combination of inner peace and excitement comes over me. I fearlessly start exploring and unfolding the mysteries of all that surrounds me. When something catches my attention, I open my eyes, not only to see the common, but to see beyond that, to understand its role in the perfect workings of nature. What is its life story? Where does it fit in for the human race?

I believe everything we need to live, heal and survive, God has put on this earth for us. He gave us a mind to figure out the purpose of each entity and how to use it for good and not evil. Instead of treading on nature and destroying everything beneath our feet with no regard for it’s real worth, we must understand that it is Holy and is needed to sustain us. And some things are even simply for our pleasure.  We live like we have another planet to go to after we trash this one. I plead that we honor our Father’s precious gifts of earth and sky. Please don’t let our Godly gift be packaged and artificial as it seems to be transforming into. I pray our natural resources will not be traded for money or poisoned by greed. And I pray our future generations can look away from their electronics and know what is real.

God’s Precious Gift….Time

7 Mar
A Life to Live
Melody Hendrix
Melody
Time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters.  Margaret Peters
The bad news is, time flies. The good news is, you’re the pilot. Michael Altshuler
You have thousands of thoughts a day. Don’t waste them on negative things. Unknown
Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you. 
Carl Sandburg
At the end of life, what really matters is not what we bought but what we built; not what we got but what we shared; not our competence but our character; and not our success, but our significance. Live a life that matters. Live a life of love. 
Author unknown
It’s really nice to wake up in the morning realizing that God has given me another day to live. unknown
time-2

You’re Still Growing

21 Feb

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

Melody

Quotes authors unknown
Something will GROW from all you are going through. And it will be YOU.
A seed alone in the dirt with no light begins to rot and fall apart. From that very dis-integration a life force sprouts, reaches for the light and in its own time, blossoms.
When life is hard don’t wish it were easier, decide to be stronger.
Where ever God has planted you, bloom with Grace.
bleeding-heart

8 Fun alligator facts you may not know

7 Feb

A Life to LIve

Melody Hendrix

1.  American alligators have been observed using lures to hunt birds. They balance sticks and branches on their heads, attracting birds looking for nesting material.
2.  Alligators are ecosystem engineers. Alligators play an important role in their wetland ecosystems by creating small ponds known as alligator holes. Alligator holes retain water during the dry season and provide habitats for other animals.

3. Alligators are carnivorous but recently reported to also eat fruit such as wild grapes, elderberries, and citrus fruits directly from trees. Alligators may help spread the seeds of these fruits throughout their habitats.

4. The temperature at which the eggs develop determines their sex. Eggs exposed to temperatures above 93°F (34 °C) become males, while those at 86 °F (30 °C) become females. Intermediate temperatures produce both sexes.

5.  Alligator courtship is sophisticated. At the start of the spring breeding season, males bellow to attract females. The bellows have an infrasonic component that can cause the surface of the water around the male to ripple and dance. Other courtship rituals include head-slapping on the water’s surface, snout and back rubbing, and blowing bubbles.

6  large individuals bite down with 13,172 Newton’s or 2960 pounds–of force, one of the most powerful bites ever recorded for a living animal.
7.  Serum in American alligator blood is incredibly effective at combating bacteria and viruses, meaning that even alligators that lose limbs in mucky swamps often avoid infection.

8 Alligators mate in June. Males may fertilize several females in one mating season.
gator-2

The Glory of the Morning

31 Jan

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

 

The glory of the morning awaits our step
Days promise reborn as we slept
Dew is the tears that darkness wept
On each blade of grass the promise is kept

Light above chases shadows beneath
Bud and blossom and furled leaf
A gentle urging the day bequeaths
A shake, a nudge, a call from sleep

Angled shafts of grays and blues
Shifting through the morning hews
The veil is lifted, the colors are loosed
So that first light might brighten our view

Awaken, open, raise your head
Nights gone away, finally fled
Turn pink, turn blue turn yellow turn red
Day is coming, make your bed.

Author Unknown

 

orlando-wetlands

The Peace of God

10 Jan

A Life to Live

Melody Hendrix

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7
“Jesus, I declare you as my Lord, and with you I find calm and peace. Today… this moment… I choose to look to you, instead of focusing on the people and problems that hound me. Because I am your child, you will lift my heart, tilt my head heavenward, and help me to rise above every difficulty. ”   Tricia Goyer
I pray that the love of God and the Peace that surpasses all understanding fill your heart and mind today.
boat-in-the-mist-p0st

God’s Shining Light

29 Nov

A Time to Live

Melody Hendrix

The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are….
The second greatest is being happy with what you find…..
unknown
Let your light shine so brightly that others can see their way out of the dark.
Katrina Mayer
Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on earth, for what they believe is what they will become.   Brooke Hampton
light-painted-sunflower

 

 

I am retired and enjoying life. My hobbies are my 5 grandchildren, son and daughter, and my loving husband. I am a photographer and extreme nature lover. I love spending time in my garden or in the wilderness connected to God my Creator.
Melody
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