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Labyrinths are Mindful Walks in Florida

Labyrinths are Mindful Walks in Florida

Labyrinths. What a nice surprise to find them in Florida.

Egan’s Creek Park, for example, has been transformed with a whole new look and attitude – it even has a labyrinth.

The small park on Atlantic Boulevard in Fernandina Beach underwent a huge facelift– going from a large grassy area next to a creek to an exciting place with walking/jogging trails, exercise equipment, a kayak/SUP dock, a covered picnic area and a sweet labyrinth installed by 8 Flags Playscapes, Inc.

labayrinths -egans creek

The labyrinth is a great addition to the community and it is getting a lot of attention.

Christine Anne Platel, a Veriditas-trained Labyrinth Facilitator, is its champion. She has a Facebook page for the labyrinth and schedules events including labyrinth walks on each new moon and full moon.

“My intention is to extend the opportunity to walk the labyrinth to others who may not know about it, like the Council on Aging and youth groups,” said Platel.

Good intention!

And I have the same goal. Since spring of 2016 I’ve been walking labyrinths all over Florida for my next book entitled Circling the Center: the Labyrinth Trail in Florida, publication date September 1, 2018.

Didn’t know Florida had labyrinths? Neither did I – so here is a labyrinth primer:

Are labyrinths and mazes the same?

No. A labyrinth has one way into the center and one way out. There are no dead ends. You cannot get lost.

Whose idea was it to make a labyrinth?

That answer is lost in the mists of time. Labyrinths, and the unknown reasons for building them, go back 5,000 years. They are found in every culture, including those that have never had contact with another culture.

Labyrinths are based on sacred geometry, the spiral shape is found repeated over and over throughout the universe, like the shape of the Milky Way, a spider web, the rings rippling out from a rock tossed into the water, even your thumbprint is a labyrinth.

Why walk a labyrinth?

Each step can be a prayer, a way to de-stress, an opening of your mind to finding the center of your heart. In medieval times labyrinths were embedded on cathedral floors so pilgrims who couldn’t make the trip to Jerusalem could make a substitute spiritual journey on a labyrinth.

The walk is symbolic of life’s walk, a lovely order to life’s turns and quite in contract to chaos.

Labyrinths are part of Integrated Therapy, recommended for grieving persons, for wellness, and for those who are open to change, the experience can be a transformative. experience.

Where do I find labyrinths in Florida?

Labyrinths are found all the way from Pensacola down to Miami. Start on the Internet with the World Wide Labyrinth Locator, go to the menu bar on the left, choose the locator then plug in Florida. Also visit my Facebook page Labyrinth of the Week

And in the fullness of time, follow the labyrinth trail in my new book.

Are all labyrinths located on church grounds?

The majority of labyrinths in Florida, some sixty percent, are found on church grounds. The second most popular place for labyrinths turns out to be private gardens – you call ahead and make an appointment. Labyrinths are also found at retreat centers, Hospice facilities, universities (Florida State University in Tallahassee is building one on campus right now), spas, hospitals, county parks, art museums (three art museums in Florida have labyrinths) and more.

labyrinths - weelness spa in high springs

Not all labyrinths are permanent. Some are made on beaches to be washed away with the tide. Others are painted on canvas to be unrolled for events. Or, at the Wellness Spa in High Springs, you can call Suzie Ann Clark (386-454-8889) to make an appointment. Upon arrival she will take you to the yoga room and unroll the five-circuit canvas labyrinth beautifully painted by the St. Louis Labyrinth Project.

Do all labyrinths look alike?

Not at all, every labyrinth is different. The materials used to make them vary, so does the size and shape.

Many are the classical spiral shape copied after the 11-circuit labyrinth on the floor of Chartres Cathedral in France. Some are contemporary like the one at Dali Museum in St. Petersburg

At Unity of Venice church there is a garden labyrinth where the path outline area holds plants, garden statues, stones people have brought here from their travels. It is a living, changing labyrinth.

llabyrinths at Unity of Venice

Ready to get started and walk a labyrinth? Good, enjoy, take it one step at a time.

 

SURVEY UPDATE

Thank you to those who answered our survey last month. Unfortunately Irma came along right after Saturday Morning Magazine was published, and everyone was distracted, including us, so we are doing the survey again. Here it is:

Because of your interest in travel, the environment and yet to be discovered adventures, you are invited to be part of a brief survey about Saturday Morning Magazine (SMM):

  1. What SMM topics are your favorites?
  2. Would you read SMM twice a month?
  3. What subjects would you like to see more of in SMM?

Send your answers to:

[email protected]

Thanks!

 

More to Explore

Grab flip flops and let’s go to Hollywood, Florida

Flutter with the Butterflies in Fort Myers

Jack Kerouac Slept and Write in College Park, Florida

 

Florida State Parks are Calling Your Name

I LOVE FLORIDA STATE PARKS

Yes, I do. Deeply. Passionately.

Just thinking about taking my dogs for walks on dirt trails shaded by tall trees or getting my wading shoes wet climbing in and out kayaks for river trips makes my feet itch.

Florida State Parks - Leon Sinks

And I confess that occasionally I slip away from work to go tuck my feet under a state park picnic table and Zen out for a while – cell phone turned off, incommunicado.

No one knows where I am but I know exactly where I am – communicating with nature – me listening, nature talking.

Good times.

Florida has 174 award-winning state parks, state trails and historic sites – these are your “go to” places for fun and adventure or those needed Zen moments.

Florida State Parks – Here are Fast Facts

  • Most Florida state parks are open 8 a.m. to sunset every day of the year. Museums and historic sites may have different hours. Always check the specific Website.
  • Entrance fees vary with a range of $4 to $10 for a vehicle up to eight people. Every park page on the Florida state parks Website has a “fees” page. Lower fees for bicyclists and walkers.
  • Individual and family annual passes available.
  • Volunteers are needed and welcome at Florida state parks. Greet visitors, conduct tours, intern, remove exotic plants or maintain a beach, waterway or trail – your own piece of natural Florida. Go to their “apply now” page and create an ID and login.

Florida State Parks - kayaking

Florida State Parks are family, senior and dog friendly

Sometimes the planned visit to a Florida state park is not quite what happens when you get there.

Like the time photographers, including me, were chosen to be part of a book entitled “24 Hours in the Life of Ocala”.

My first assignment was Silver River State Park (since renamed Silver Springs State Park). The time frame for taking photographs: from noon to noon the next day.

At the stroke of noon on the appointed day I’m sitting on a park bench, cameras ready. This trail was well known for wildlife sightings. I could see deer and raccoon prints, even a bear paw mark in the dirt.

All right, a deer or two walking by would be great. Time passed. Nothing. Well, maybe a turkey. Nothing. How about a squirrel? Nothing. Birds? Nothing. I keep lowering my expectations. Nothing.

What is up with this?

Wipeouts do not happen to photographers like Graham McGeorge. Graham shows up in the wilderness, any wilderness, and a bear promptly walks by or a bald eagle strikes a pose. Those photographs end up in National Geographic.

Two hours went by. I’m still sitting on the bench. It is the middle of the day. Any wildlife with any sense is laying low.

Then the biggest dragonfly I have ever seen landed on my hand. Its wings were iridescent, shimmering with purples, turquoises and greens. Instantly I knew its beauty couldn’t be captured in a photo. Besides, he was sitting on my camera hand.

I’m convinced the dragonfly came to deliver a message:
“Expectations blind you to what is going on around you.

Be content to be here now.”

Then he flew away.

Great advice.

Florida State Parks where wildlife may arrive for a photo opp

Early the next morning as the sun rose in the sky I’m back in the park. This time stopping by the side of the road, getting out of the car, gathering gear, slinging a camera over my shoulder, ready to walk the walk.

And there was the deer on the forest path about 30 feet away. Standing still, looking right at me, backlit from the rising sun that cast a luminous yellow edge all around its body.

Well, wonder of wonders, good morning to you too.

Oh, how I love early morning light. It is the best time of day and yes, I got the photograph.

So you see Florida state parks are places where unexpected, beautiful things can happen.

Florida state parks - silver springs

Take the episode of the leaping deer.

The day was clear and cloudless. Two dogs, one human, we are all walking together on a forest path inside the same Silver River state park. We liked coming here because this park is conveniently located just a mile from where we lived.

Tall pine trees gave off a heady fragrance. Without any warning three deer came out of the forest, all three rising up in an arc and coming back down to earth at the same time. Then they run a few more steps and leaped into the air again, connected by invisible threads and knowing just when to jump up in the air at the same time.

We stopped walking. My dogs, without hesitation or a command, sat right down to watch the show. The three deer leap across our path, crossing no more than 20 feet ahead of us, came back to earth, ran a few steps, leaping again and so it continued. The trio leaped and ran their way together across a meadow and then disappeared into the trees.

Lipizzan stallions in the ring could not have put on a better performance.

Then the three deer were gone.

I wanted to clap. The dogs wanted to keep on walking.

We never saw deer leaping again.

Perhaps you will.

 

Saturday Morning Magazine has an invite for you

Because of your interest in travel, the environment and yet to be discovered adventures, you are invited to be part of a brief survey about Saturday Morning Magazine (SMM):

  1. What SMM topics are your favorites?
  2. Would you read SMM twice a month?
  3. What subjects would you like to see more of in SMM?

Send your answers to:

[email protected]

Thanks!

More to Explore

Paddling and Floating in Florida

Rainbow Springs State Park has Azaleas in the Springtime

Living History Reenactors are time travelers

 

A Taste of Cuba in Historic Ybor City

A Taste of Cuba in Historic Ybor City

“History is a fragile thing,” says Max Herman, our guide with Ybor City Historic Walking Tours – a family-owned business started by his dad Lonnie Herman.

Take Ybor City as an example – a place that came to be because a rich young Spaniard chose to immigrate to Cuba and years later a hurricane prevented a plane from leaving Key West.

Centro Ybor in  historic Ybor City

About that hurricane – Don Vicente Martinez Ybor (1818-1896) was all set to board a plane to Galveston, Texas. His plan – build a cigar factory there. His cigar factory in Cuba had been successful until he sided with those who wanted a free Cuba. The Spanish told him to leave and not come back.

Next Key West seemed perfect for cigar making but workers kept missing home and skipping back to Cuba just 90 miles away.

A friend showed up at the Key West airport. He too couldn’t leave – the weather prevented that – but advised Martinez Ybor to put Texas on hold until he visited Tampa, Florida where the friend had just been. Tampa had a railroad, a port and fresh water, all ingredients for a successful cigar factory.

So a chance meeting, a delayed flight and history changes. Fragile indeed.

Historic Ybor City became the Cigar Capital of the World

In 1880 Martinez Ybor bought 40 acres of Tampa swampland, filled it in and invited competitors to build their factories alongside his. He solved the labor absentee problem by building casitas, little shotgun houses.

A casita cost $700 to build. He charged workers $700 to buy one – by taking $1.25 per week out of their pay check. Families moved in. They stayed. Italians, Cubans, Germans, Irish, immigrants from many countries arrived, worked and lived side by side.

The highest paid person in a cigar factory was the Lector – every worker contributed money from their paycheck so the Lector would read out loud – newspapers in the morning, in English, Spanish and Italian, then novels a chapter or two in the afternoon. If you wanted to know what happened next, show up for work the next day.

Martinez Ybor’s cigar factory, now owned by the Church of Scientology, has a courtyard where cigar workers once ate lunch. School for children let out at noon then they’d come to the courtyard, play while their parents worked inside the factory and listen to the Lector through the open windows.

We sat in the courtyard and marveled at how different times were then.

Martinez Ybor’s “bad” business decisions like inviting competitors to build with great loan terms, selling houses at cost – paid off big time.

Historic Ybor City casita

He didn’t live to see it but in 1927 Ybor City was named the Cigar Capital of the World.

Then the 1929 crash happened. After that cigarettes, newly available in packages, took the puff out of cigars. In a frenzy of urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s many casitas and neighborhoods in Ybor City were bulldozed.

Still the social clubs like the Italian Club, the Cuban Club survived while some cigar factory buildings were recycled to become corporate offices and breweries.

The New Orleans architectural flavor on 7th Avenue lives on and is complemented by the contemporary Centro Ybor shopping center packed with lively dining, theaters and shopping.

Another survivor from the city’s early days – chickens. Seriously. We saw and heard roosters, hens and babies. They are protected. You can’t even pick up their eggs.

Ybor City is designated as a National Historic Landmark District

Ten blocks of Ybor City are designated as a National Historic Landmark District. Our walking tour, 90 minutes at an easy pace, does a big circle of this district. Cost: $20 for Adults $10 for Children 6-12 FREE for Children 5 & under. Payment is in cash. Reservations are required – To make a reservation call 813-505-6779. You receive a text or e-mail confirmation.

Cuban Club in Historic Ybor City

Max’ narrative is fun and informative and he knows every shady spot to stand – perfect on a hot summer day.

We stopped at the only three remaining casitas – on a block that also houses the Ybor City Museum State Park, open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $4 for an adult. Tours of the one casita owned by the park take place on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

The museum itself used to house the Ferlita Bakery, famous for its Cuban bread. Max shows us a nail next to the front door of the museum’s casita. Every casita had a similar nail by the front door. Early in the morning runners from the bakery would run up the steps, slap a big loaf of Cuban bread on the nail, and run to the next house to do the same slap.

Slapping bread on nails may be gone but Cuban bread remains hugely popular.

After the tour I visited La Segunda Central Bakery and held open the door for a person carrying a three-foot long loaf of Cuban bread out the door under their arm. And while I waited for my Cuban sandwich to go, more loaves of Cuban bread walked out the door under arms.

Historic Ybor City foodie alert

No Ybor City foodie alert is complete without mentioning the original Columbia restaurant that opened its doors in 1910. The same family, five generations, runs the entire operation of five restaurants around the state.

Come to the Columbia in Ybor City for the food, stay for the Flamingo dancing. Call 813-248-4961 for flamenco show reservations.

Jose Marti park in Historic Ybor City

The most surprising “factoid” of our 90-minute tour was learning that a piece of land, a former family home, belongs to Cuba. The family willed it to Cuba. It is Cuba soil and has been since 1956. This site was the home where Cuban national hero Jose Marti stayed. Due to decay the home was removed but a mini-park exists here.

A piece of Cuba in Historic Ybor City

So, think about this – you can visit Cuba without leaving the United States. The little park has a Marti statue and trees with plaques from each Cuban province. Max told us the soil used for each tree comes from that particular Cuban province.

And back to that young Spaniard who immigrated to Cuba. Who was that? It was Vicente Martinez Ybor who came from a rich Spanish family. At the age of 14 he traveled alone to Cuba. Sounds really daring, until we learned from Max that Spain had mandatory military service. Rich families sent their male children to faraway places.

Martinez Ybor did well in Cuba, learned cigar making, started his own factory and the rest, as they say, is history.

Max is right. History is fragile. A turn here, a weather event there and history changes.

Visit Ybor City. Take the Historic Ybor City Walking Tour. Step back in time while enjoying the present.

UPCOMING EVENT

What are you doing Tuesday, July 11?

Mark your calendar. At 11 a.m. come meet with award-winning author Lucy Tobias at Bookstore1’s new location at 12 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota. If you haven’t been here yet, it is well worth a visit, beautiful building and great selection of books, magazines, cards, and writing materials. Lucy will be signing her award-winning books and doing a book reading – oh, and hugs are free. You can RSVP here

MORE TO EXPLORE

Making Mosaics in Barcelona, Spain

Myakka River State Park has an airboat tour

Don Pedro Island, Sombrero Beach and more calling your name

 

 

 

Sunken Gardens Grows Lush and Exotic

Sunken Gardens Grows Lush and Exotic

Two words perfectly describe Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg  – lush and exotic.

What, you say, is it still there? Oh yes, Sunken Gardens, an old Florida family roadside attraction, is still alive and thriving right in the middle of a traffic jammed city.

Who knew a sinkhole could be so beautiful?

Ever so long ago, George Turner Sr. did. He was a hybrid kind of guy, a plumber who was also an avid gardener. Think about that. Perhaps only this unique combination of talents let him have visions where everyone else saw a piece of property with a shallow lake that had filled an ancient sinkhole.

Sunken Gardens has waterscapes and exotic plants

In 1903 he bought that four-acre property and drained the sinkhole exposing super rich soil. Just what every gardener wants – super rich soil. Turner knew this soil was perfect for growing exotic plants and fruits from all over the world. So the entire sinkhole became his dream canvas.

And the plumber side of Turner got to go wild. Turner build waterscapes everywhere – ponds, waterfalls, meandering water connections. They are still here today, recycling the water. I would have loved to know this man in person – such a dreamer and doer.

Sunken Gardens

By 1935 the doors opened to Turner’s Sunken Gardens. People paid .25 cents to see all the exotic plants, papayas, citrus, Royal palms and bougainvilleas.

In 1967 the World’s Largest Gift Shop opened. That building, now restored, is the entrance to Sunken Gardens. In 1998 Sunken Gardens was designated a local historic landmark. Purchased by the City of St. Petersburg in 1999, city staff does a super job of keeping Sunken Gardens lush and tropical, promoting Sunken Gardens as a wedding venue and hosting events here.

If a place is truly tropical then exotic birds can’t be far away. Parrots in cages drawn bird enthusiasts but the showstopper has to be their flock of Chilean flamingos. Exotic indeed.

New to Sunken Gardens – a flock of Chilean flamingos

The Flamingos Forever Committee raised the money to bring these beauties here. Not your bright pink flamingo, these birds are delicate shades of orange. Get our your cameras. Run the video.

When I arrived the flamingos were waiting to be fed, all on full alert with heads held high. Coming back a half hour later most had their heads tucked under their wings, mealtime over.

Sunken Gardens flamingos

A few observations:

Hardly need a hat here. The walkways are crowded on both sides with tall vegetation casting shadows across the pavement.

Consider bringing a small hand towel. It does get humid down in the sinkhole (the low point is 15 feet below street level). Sunken Gardens is, after all, tropical to the 10th degree.

Flowers in bloom – all ready for their close ups. No makeup needed.

Get the brochure. Carry it with you. It includes a map of the walkways with numbered stations and their names. Can’t get lost, it is a meandering circle walk.

Sunken Gardens flower

I wasn’t going to sit on the Growing Stone (perhaps a relative of the Blarney Stone?), a fossilized limestone found in the center of the sinkhole. Not until I read that legend has it that if you sit on the Growing Stone you will be granted tranquility, inner harmony and the talent to make things grow.

Make things grow? That did it. My buns found that stone and stayed sitting there for a good fine minutes.

Can’t hurt, might help.

The sign also noted that the Growing Stone is always on the Sunken Gardens first day tour for new employees. It is a tradition.

Sunken Gardens is tropical to the 10th degree

On an upper level I found an extensive butterfly garden. A sign said this would be the site of a future Children’s Garden. Sitting on an alcove bench I watched butterflies visiting red and white Pentas, milkweed, pipe vine and plumbago. A pleasant place designed for some Zen moments.

Behind a low wall past the Butterfly Garden lies a small desert area with three boxes, homes for tortoises. The day I visited no tortoises made an appearance. But there is a low step on the other side of the wall for children to look over, so I’m assuming there are times when the turtles appear.

What you need to know

Sunken Gardens, 1825 4th Street North, St. Petersburg, FL 33704. Phone: 727-551-3102.

Web site: http://www.sunkengardens.org

Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors (age 62 and up), $4 children (ages 2-11)

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sunday noon to 4:30 p.m.

Parking: Free.

 

Upcoming Events

Lucy with books

Lucy Tobias

Signing at Bookstore1 Sarasota, 12 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, FL phone 941-365-7900

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017, at 11:00 am

Bookstore1Sarasota

Click here to RSVP

 

SUMMERTIME/LOCALTIME. Come to the bookstore to meet the author of three books: 50 Great Walks in Florida, Florida Gone Wild(er) and Mar Margaret Manatee: the adventures of a young Florida manatee (in English and Spanish).

Lucy Beebe Tobias is an award-winning author, photojournalist and illustrator creating lively and engaging books on environment, exploration and ecology. Her writing is family focused, senior welcoming and always eco-friendly. Tobias is a former newspaper reporter and photographer for the New York Times Regional Group. She served as Authentic Florida Expert for Visit Florida with blogs, stories and videos. She lives in Sarasota and if you see a tall woman walking a Welsh Corgi it is probably Lucy.

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jack Keroyac lived for a while in College Park, Floraida

Naples Loves Outdoor Farmers Markets

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jack Kerouac Slept & Wrote in College Park, Florida

Jack Kerouac Slept & Wrote in College Park, Florida

Jack Kerouac slept here.

Believe it! For a short while, during a piece of 1957-58 Jack Kerouac and his mother lived in a two-room apartment at the back of a bungalow in College Park, a laidback neighborhood in northwest Orlando.

His novel On the Road was recently published and gaining fame. While in College Park he typed up the original manuscript to the sequel Dharma Bums.

Who knew? The world might have continued on blithely unaware. But freelance writer and reporter with the Orlando area NBC Bob Kealing heard the “Jack Kerouac lived here” rumors and he went looking. Through John Sampas, Jack Kerouac’s brother in law, Kealing found the 1926 bungalow at 1418 ½ Clouser Avenue, College Park. It was badly in need of repair.

After an essay by Kealing in the Orlando Sentinel in 1997 local people banded together to buy the Jack Kerouac bungalow, fix it up and make this historical place a haven for writers. They didn’t raise enough money but after a story about the project in USA Today, Jeffery Cole, Chairman and President of Cole National, and a Kerouac fan, stepped up to supply the remaining funds. Kealing became co-founder of the project.

credit: Orlando Weekly. Jack Kerouac houseJack Kerouac lived here, aspiring writers can too

Today the Kerouac Project supports writers through awarding four residencies a year. They are taking applications now for 2017-2018. To my surprise, you don’t have to write like Kerouac to apply. Genres accepted include poetry, play, screenplay, fiction/short story and nonfiction.

So the house is not open to visitors, since writers are doing their residencies, but you can drive by and if you are a serious writer, apply to live here for a short time while you write.

One twist on their Web site – if you shop on Amazon through the Kerouac Web site then a portion of your purchase goes back to support the Kerouac Project.

But I hear you say you want to walk through a writer’s home, feel the vibes, and see the table where they wrote daily.

Have I got a place for you – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park in Cross Creek southwest of Gainesville.

Rawlings House

At a round table on the front porch she sipped morning coffee, looked out over the orange grove that provided income and, when properly prepped with caffine, set to work writing on a small typewriter. Here she penned The Yearling her Pulitzer prize-winning novel and many other stories.

A ranger in period costume gives house tours on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from October through July. Tour times are 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. 3p.m. and 4 p.m.

Be sure to pick up free brochures in the parking area (a $3 fee to park). Take the self-guided walk around the house and grounds.

Just inside her garden gate is a sign with a quote from Rawlings (1896-1953) about how coming to this place was in fact coming home.

Rawlings sign

Next to the park are a picnic area and a boat ramp providing access to Orange Lake.

If you’ve never eaten alligator meat, now is your chance – it is on the menu at the Yearling restaurant just down the road from the park.

But if alligator doesn’t do it for you the menu also lists quail and cooter along with frog legs and venison. Of course a grouper sandwich is available too. That is required Florida fare even inland.

Hours are noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday then noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. Note these hours if you want to plan a combo visit to both the Rawlings Park and Yearling restaurant.

Writers do like their special places to write – that niche where creative juices flow – containing a certain table, chair, view or perhaps just privacy, all with the right ambiance.

Visit the home Hemingway lived in for ten years

The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West provides an abundance of ambiance. Hemingway lived here for ten years. He wrote in an upstairs loft of a small cottage next to the big house. His typewriter (larger than Marjorie’s) is still on the table.

Sometimes tours rush you through his workspace and that is sad. This is a special place to sit and absorb the vibes. Instead his work area is gated off and only a walk through allowed.

A 30-minute tour of the house and grounds is included in admission price. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Heads up – you should know they only take cash. Admission is $14 for adults, $6 for children ages 6-12.

Don’t like cats? Then take a pass. Any visit to Hemingway’s house is dominated by the fact that descendants of his six-toed cats (his first was a gift from a ship’s captain) still live here. Lots of cats – 40-50 cats with their own Web page and they are everywhere. I do like cats and find that after visiting most of my photos are well, of cats. I am not alone.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960) was the premier female voice for the Harlem Renaissance era – a storyteller, author, anthropologist, and more. She grew up in Eatonville. The town has a Hurston festival the last week in January.

Hurston lived and spent her final days in Fort Pierce. The city has a Zora Neale Hurston Dust Tracks Heritage Trail, a do it yourself tour, with markers and kiosks, of her life and times here.

So there you have it – Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Zora Neale Hurston -a short list of famous writers and where they lived in Florida. Be sure to take a journal with you when you visit and write down your thoughts. It could be the start of a great American novel.

 

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