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 Art Museums are Cool – Let’s Visit

Florida Art Museums are Cool – Let’s Visit

September in Florida can be cruel. An early morning breeze caresses our cheeks like a lover’s touch and then bam! An hour later the thrill of fall is gone, replaced by yet another hot day and humid night – enough already!

So here is your September survival plan – stay in air conditioning a little longer. But don’t do this at home. Head for your nearest Florida art museum. Seriously. The AC is turned on. Florida art museums have exciting exhibits you don’t want to miss. Gift shops are loaded with temptations. An art museum café is a great place for taking a food break.

Sounds like a plan. I beat the heat and head to St. Petersburg to see the special Escher exhibit (Aug. 22, 2015 through Jan. 3, 2016) at the Dali Museum.

Florida art museum, Dali window view, St. Petersburg
View of St. Pete waterfront from the second floor of the Dali Museum. Photo by Lucy Beebe Tobias

Escher has long fascinated me. His intricate playing with positive and negative space (birds flying one way with the spaces being birds flying the other way) makes the viewer wonder – how many levels of reality are there? Good question.

The Escher exhibit is included in the price of admission to the Dali. I recommend the free audio guides. Museum hours are 10-5 with extended hours on Thursday (10-8). Parking onsite costs $10 for non-members but there are nearby surface lots and street parking too.

Close by on Beach Drive the venerable Museum of Fine Arts has a visiting exhibit called Five Decades of Photography (June 20 through Oct. 4) and another one called 50 Artworks for 50 Years. Notice a lot of “5’s” in the titles? That is because in 2015 MFA celebrates 50 years as a Florida art museum.

See the admission page for fees. MFA is open Monday through Friday from 10-5, Thursday from 10-8 and Sunday from noon -5.

Come back to MFA for a launch party on Oct. 21 when, as part of their anniversary celebration, they will launch a new cookbook called Food and Art, their first new cookbook in 40 years.

Over the Skyway to a Unique Art Museum

Just over the Skyway Bridge in Sarasota is the famed Ringling Museum of Art. Admission prices vary. On Mondays the museum is free while admission is required for other buildings on the grounds such as the circus museum. John and Mable Ringling, of circus fame, traveled widely, collected wildly and brought home every bit of Europe they could carry. The result – an exciting, restless collection of buildings that house in depth collections and changing exhibits.

Florida art museum, statue, Ringling Museum, Sarasota
A statue in the courtyard of the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota. Photo by Lucy Beebe Tobias

One current exhibit called Back and Forth: Thinking in Paint (Aug. 14-Oct. 25) is a dialog between contemporary painting by the faculty of Florida State University and the Ringling’s permanent collection.

Florida Art Museum Buildings Are Worth Exploring

Buildings housing Florida art museums get a lot of attention. The Dali museum building and grounds, modern and playful in the Dali “look at me” spirit, can be a destination in itself but what’s inside is even better than the outside.

The same is true of the Lightner Museum in St. Augustine. The setting is the former Hotel Alcazar built in 1887 by railroad magnate Henry M. Flagler. It is grand, elegant, meant to be a showpiece. And it works – inside and out.

 

Florida art museum - Lightner Museum, St. Augustine
Lightner Museum, St. Augustine. Photo by Lucy Beebe Tobias

Chicago publisher Otto Lightner bought the building in 1946 to house his extensive collection of 19th century life, often called “The Gilded Age”. Wander all three floors of the old hotel. Rooms are filled with cut glass, Victorian art glass, costumes, furnishings, paintings and my personal favorite – a section with the stained glass work of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Admission prices vary. The Lightner Museum is open every day (but Christmas) fro 9-5. Last admission is at 4 p.m.

Museum Galleries Galore in Gainesville

In Gainesville the Historic Thomas Center occupies a former private residence and hotel built in Mediterranean Revival Style. The popular center has galleries in rooms with high ceilings and lovely light. The current exhibit is Beauty and the Beasts (June 26-September 19). To know more, contact Russell Etling, cultural affairs manager, at 352-393-8532 or visit www.gvlculturalaffairs.org.

The Harn Museum of Art on the University of Florida campus offers rotating exhibits in well-appointed galleries. It is a year for birthdays. The Harn is celebrating its 25th birthday.

Admission is free. Open Tuesday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m. Open the second Thursday evening of each month from 6 – 9 p.m. for Museum Nights. The Museum is closed on Mondays and state holidays. The Harn Museum Store is open during museum hours.

Downstairs at the Harn is the Camellia Court Café, a lovely spot for a light lunch or coffee break.

At the other end of the art museum building spectrum, the Morse Museum of American Art in downtown Winter Park occupies a building so bland it could pass for generic office space. Looks are deceiving. The inside is pretty exciting.

Florida Art Museum - Morse Museum of Art, Winter Park
Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park, Florida. Photo by Lucy Beebe Tobias

The collection of work by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) includes jewelry, paintings, pottery, leaded glass lamps and windows. There is no other Tiffany collection this comprehensive anywhere.

Best of all (in my humble opinion) is the recreation of his chapel interior for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Admission varies. Museum hours are 9:30–4:00 Tuesday through Saturday (Open until 8:00 p.m. Friday, November through April and 1:00–4:00 Sunday. Closed Monday and most major holidays

Note: During the month of September holders of Sunrail tickets – show your tickets and get free admission.

There is an air-conditioned Florida art museum near you. Here is Artcyclopedia’s list of Florida art museums with both fine art collections and an online presence.

More To Explore

Art and Food Go Together in Puerto Vallarta

Discover Downtown St. Petersburg

Venice is a Vision Worth Visiting

 

Discover Downtown St. Petersburg

Discover Downtown St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg, Florida has 360 days a year of sunshine AND cars stop to let you go across the crosswalk. What’s not to like?

My friend Barbara Trow, a recent transplant to St. Petersburg, laughs as she reels off those reasons.

Today the sun is shining as advertized.

Barbara is my guide and we are on a mission: discover downtown St. Petersburg.

Downtown St. Petersburg - tree outside Museum of Fine Arts
Huge tree in bloom outside Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. A favorite climbing tree for kids. Photo by Barbara Trow.

It is a toss up between starting with the Dali Museum and the Chihuly Collection but I’ve been to the Dali with its wonderful collection. The futuristic building is so in keeping with the eyebrow raising, unpredictable artist himself that the building itself has become a destination.

Chihuly, on the other hand, is new to me so off we go.

But first – a few words about parking plus getting around and coupons.

Downtown St. Petersburg – Parking Essentials

Downtown meters are set for $1 an hour with a limit of two hours. You don’t want to have to quit having fun to go feed the meter. For the mobile enabled there is an app to pay the meter online without ever using a real quarter. Download ParkMobile app to your smartphone. Still two hours passes fast and the meter runs out.

Consider parking on the pier at either of two parking lots – Pelican Parking Lot and Beach Drive Parking Lot. The cost is $3 a day, cash or credit card, but you are good to go for a much longer time. That counts.

It is a bit further (almost two blocks) to walk downtown if you are starting from the Pier.

A big plus – the St. Petersburg Downtown Trolley Looper stops on the Pier. Fare is .50 cents per person.

Note: there is a free fare zone from the Beach Drive parking lot on the Pier to stops along Beach Drive and Sundial/Muvico.

Do pick up the free downtown St. Petersburg Guide & Map, loaded with information and coupons. Barbara has already cut out the one for $2 off to the combination Chihuly Collection and Hot Shop ticket.

Map Out Your Time in Downtown St. Petersburg

Downtown St. Petersbur - chihuly glass museum
Walking under a canopy of Chihuly glass in the Chihuoy Collection, St. Petersburg. Photo by Lucy Beebe Tobias

I recommend the combo – first wander through the Chihuly Collection (how do they make such other worldly, delicate and amazing glass sculptures?) then later in the day, say after lunch, visit the Glass Studio and Hot Shop (they have demonstrations on the hour) to watch glass being blown in freeform shapes. It is a huge “wow”, one of those “you have to show up and experience it a photo won’t do” moments.

Both the collection and the glass studio are presented by the Morean Arts Center that also has a Center for Clay – I’d like to come back for clay. Friday nights they offer hands on fun in clay.

We meandered along the waterfront and wandered into the Savory Spice Shop on Beach Dive. It lives up to its name. Wonderful aromas. So many spices. So many choices. They come with taster bottles – so we’re sampling and of course, buying.

Did you know the store does food demonstrations? We sign up on the local mailing list. Food plus spices plus taste testing. Savory reasons to return.

In 2014 Michael Mina and Don Pintabona opened Locale Market a two-story store on Second Avenue North, part of the Sundial Center.

Wander the aisles and be inspired, we certainly were – seafood, meat, ready made for lunch or dinner, a huge salad bar, bakery goods, cupcakes too beautiful to be real, gourmet coffee, and wines. Join them for dinner at a large common dinner table or get food to go. And don’t go far – there are tables on a second-floor porch.

Opting to resist we continue on to Red Mesa Cantina on Third Street South, sitting outside under umbrellas while fountains gurgle and sparrows visit a succulent garden. Everything is delicious – this is a popular lunch and dinner spot. Only here a few months, Barbara is already a regular at Red Mesa Cantina.

Full of lunch we head for the Hot Shop to watch master glassblowers as they blow us away with their talent.

Downtown St. Petersburg - glass blowing
Glass blowing is hot work at the Hot Shop, part of the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg. Photo by Lucy Beebe Tobias

Now it is mid-afternoon. So many more things to do in downtown St. Pete but it is time for me to go home. I’ll be back.

Oh, and just so you know, the local newspaper is free if it rains. Read all about it at a newsboy sculpture in front of the St. Petersburg Museum of History on The Pier.

 

 

MORE TO EXPLORE

Seafood Sizzles in Cortez

Venice is a Vision Worth Visiting

Gainesville is Good to Go for All Seasons