Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: The Review

In comparing my intentions for 2011 with the reality of the past year, I feel satisfied with how much I accomplished. I wrote posts for most of the excursions I took at the end of 2010, with the exception of the Nehrling House and Vilano Beach, which may be 2012 posts.

I made great progress on my Ponce de Leon project, although I rarely blogged about it. Much of my in-state travel was inspired by quest for the Fountain of Youth. Look for more on that subject next year. While I didn't get to Tallahassee or the panhandle, I did make it to Flagler College and Ponce Inlet.

My trip to SW Florida for a February wedding was fruitful and I got to see Everglades Wonder Garden, Warm Mineral Springs and the Koreshan Unity State Park. I attended Hukilau in June, re-connecting with my friends Jeff and Kelly from Vintage Roadside and met the legendary underwater performer Medusirena Marina. On the way back we stopped at Henry Flagler's opulent Palm Beach home Whitehall.

A visit to Everglades Wonder Gardens allowed me to indulge
in my obsession with taxidermy

Jeff from Vintage Roadside

It's not every day you get your photo taken with a real live mermaid

In addition to blogs spawned from my 2011 goals, I also:

Overall it was a year of connection for me. I started an Old Florida group on Facebook, and have developed a following over 600 devoted to remembering and preserving the sunshine state's past. Through social networking I've met several like-minded folks with similar interests and enjoyed a sense of camaraderie in my mission. My Ponce de Leon project has led me to my own exploration of Florida's springs and the issues of water in our state and I feel drawn to documenting and creating more awareness of that critical issue. I believe this state is at a critical crossroads and the decisions we make now will determine whether Florida will be a state worth living in.

Some updates about past posts:
  • I connected with one of the new owners of the Pine Green Sam Stoltz house and he is writing his own blog about living there.
  • Dr. Bob Knight and staff of the H.T. Odum Florida Springs Institute will be making a presentation to the members of the Elks Club at Glen Springs regarding refurbishing the spring
  • I created an Old Florida slide show for use during the Osceola Pioneer Village's Pioneer Day
  • A preservation-oriented mayor was elected in Orange City, perhaps paving the way for the preservation of that city's historic district
  • Jeff, Kelly and Marina who gave the excellent presentation at Hukilau on Aquarama, are giving an expanded presentation on mid-century mermaids across the US at Modernism Week in Palm Springs this year. Best of luck guys!
  • Everglades Wonder Gardens appears to be off the market, pending the health of its owner
  • Legoland opened on the site of the granddaddy of all Florida attractions, Cypress Gardens, and has been drawing huge crowds
  • I was contacted by a journalist from the Wall Street Journal pitching a story about shuffleboard in Florida (I'll keep you posted on future developments)
  • A new book has been published about the artist Joy Postle

I feel like my blog helped connect people and places in 2011 – for some it was an opportunity to remember places lost, for others it was learning about new places to explore. It feels great when someone visits a place I blog about. If we don't visit these places from Florida's past, they won't continue to exist. My mission remains the same, and this year I felt like maybe I might be making a wee bit of an impact. Tune in tomorrow to see my intentions for 2012.

The legendary Willa Cook at Cypress Gardens (image from Lu Vickers)

I found out after swimming in Wekiva Springs, that an immediate shower is encouraged
after exposure to the water, due to the poor water quality

I experienced a youthful euphoria swimming at Warm Mineral Springs

One of my favorite images of the year from Rock Springs

I was able to photograph several of Sam Stoltz's homes this year

Watch out Marina!

I found a new appreciation for Florida's Cracker architecture this year

Blues musician Willie Green performed feet away from our table
at the Yearling Restaurant in Cross Creek

An old favorite in great shape

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Glen Springs
and all of Florida for that matter...


  1. To see more of my photographs, visit

  2. Thanks for some great stories, Rick. I love following them, and hope to see all the same stuff you have. Florida, in a way, is all of America. It's the place our parents wanted to visit in the 50's and 60's, it was all that was new, shiny, and modern about the USA. Hopefully some of that past will live on (the great, pre-mouse Florida), hopefully it'll avoid the "beige-ing" of America, or if nothing else, be preserved in history & photographs. Thanks for your efforts.

  3. Nice traveling along with you. Your posts are the next best thing to visiting Florida! Looking forward to 2012.