My first priority for 2012 is to get caught up with my travels at the end of 2011. I explored a wonderful shrine near Lake Wales in the middle of an orange grove, ate at one of Florida's most famous restaurants and visited some of the state's oldest homes. Look for posts on St. Anne's Shrine, Chalet Suzanne, Villa Zorayda and the Dow Museum in the near future.
Most of my posts focus on places in Central and North Central Florida. I hope to be able to add some blogs from other areas of the state next year, specifically South Florida and the panhandle. While I made a foray into Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach last year, I never made to "Florida's Great Northwest" and both parts of our state are rich with material for Visual Ephemera.
As I mentioned in my last post, there has been some buzz created by the "Save Our Shuffleboard" Facebook group I started to document (and somehow preserve) Florida's disappearing shuffleboard courts. I'm hoping to generate some attention for the game and its potential to attract new shufflers in 2012. Otherwise this fun pasttime that was an integral part of Florida's leisure heritage will eventually disappear. They seem to be on to something in St. Pete, I'm just not sure how to make that happen in other parts of the state.
Also mentioned in my last post was my renewed fascination with Florida's springs and the state's threatened waterways. I recently saw more dried up lakes in North Florida and it saddens me deeply to see our natural resources disappear and livelyhoods dependent on that water disappear. I hope to get into more of our springs to see what kind of shape they are in, document threatened lakes and spend more time overall on the water.
My project related to Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth will continue and come into fruition this year. I'm very excited about this and look forward to sharing more as things get firmed up.
And finally just a few self observations. I'm aware as my interests have evolved, so has this blog. I've realized I don't like writing about history as much as I do researching it and taking photographs of historical places. As a result Visual Ephemera has become more of a photo blog. It is my hope that a picture is worth a thousand words and that in today's society that is enough to encourage my viewers to see these places themselves. I also realize that I've begun to focus more on historic architecture and less on the quirky, campy stuff in Florida. That too reflects my growth and the fact that much of the great mid-century Florida kitsch is vanishing from our landscape, while the older 19th and early 20th century history is better preserved and more easily accessible. And I have grown in my appreciation of it.
I've also realized that it is the relationships, both in person and via the Internet, that keep me motivated and focused and I want to make a renewed commitment to meeting more of the interesting people who care about our state. if you are a regular viewer of this blog, thank you, and I hope this in some way changes your perspective on the way you see Florida. There's still a lot of great stuff out there, and I am committed to trying to shine a light on it.