Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Alphabe~Thursday “F” is for Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Originally one of three forts built by Major William Lauderdale in 1838 during the Second Seminole War on the banks of the New River. The fort was abandoned in 1842. It wasn’t until the late 1800’s that Henry Morrison Flagler* brought Florida East Coast Railway down to this area and growth in the South took off. Rumor has it that after the big Florida freeze in 1895, someone sent Flagler some orange blossoms as proof things could thrive in south Florida.

*Here’s a little something about Henry Flagler that I found fascinating:

My husband and I toured the Ponce De Leon Hotel/Flagler College in St. Augustine, Florida. A beautiful structure built of coquina walls two foot thick. That is another post all by itself.
Anyway….the tour guide told us a story about Flagler’s second wife, the former Ida Alice Shourds. She was obsessed with the spirit world so he had her institutionalized for mental illness in 1895. Apparently Flagler had a mistress while his wife was away in the loony bin. At that time in history it was illegal to divorce a spouse if they were institutionalized for mental illness. So Flagler used his political influence to change the law. In 1901, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that made incurable insanity grounds for divorce, opening the way for Flagler to remarry. Judge Minor S. Jones of Florida's 7th Judicial Circuit presided over the divorce. On August 24 of that year, Flagler married his third wife, Mary Lily Kenan.  He then lobbied to have the law changed back. 

 Now that is what I call exercising political influence for personal gain!

The Railroad

In addition to Flagler’s Railway, a second line came down to Fort Lauderdale. The Seaboard Air Line Railroad operating a deluxe passenger train called the Orange Blossom Special.  They offered service primarily between New York City and Miami. During the maiden run of the new streamlined train at the Jacksonville Seaboard Railroad Station, Ervin T. Rouse and Robert Russell "Chubby" Wise saw this train. Rouse and Wise wrote the "Orange Blossom Special" song as a fiddle tune.

I know you’ve heard it before!

Run Daisy Mae Ruuuunnn!

Moving along to the present day……                   

Located 23 miles from Miami, Fort Lauderdale is a major yachting city and is nicknamed the Venice of America because of its canals. The boating industry is responsible for many jobs in the area; it is a major manufacturing and maintenance center for yachts. The area is so populated now that one town runs into the next. So if you aren’t familiar with the different areas you could end up lost.

When I was a young girl I dreamed of going to Fort Lauderdale. After all, Connie Francis sang about it….in “Where the boys are!”

The main focus of the movie, Where the Boys Are, is the "coming of age" of four collegiate girls during spring vacation in Fort Lauderdale. College students have been making the trip since the 1800’s.
Because Of this movie, I fantasized about going there and was so jealous when my oldest sister married and moved there with her new husband to live on one of the canals.

For about $20.00 you can take a water taxi along the intracoastal waterway and New River passing expensive yachts and multimillion dollar homes.

There is plenty to see in the surrounding areas of Fort Lauderdale. I have provided a link for your enjoyment:


To return to Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe~Thursday click here: off on my tangent

Thanks for visiting!~Ames

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Alphabe~Thursday "E" is for Everglades City

Everglades City is located in Collier County,Florida; see the red dot on the map below?

Originally owned by W.S. Allen, a fur trader, this lodge (below) was purchased In 1864, by George T. Storter for $800. Mr. Storter was the founder of the town Everglade. Mr. Storter started The Rod and Gun Club (below) in 1864, Mr. Baron Gift Collier bought it in 1922 and by that time it was built completely of pecky-cypress (the wood that is practically impervious to termites and rot).

The Rod and Gun Club has been visited by Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Nixon and such notables as Hemingway, Mick Jagger and Burt Reynolds. 

Times change and after sitting in neglect for 12 years, Mr. Martin J. Brown and family purchased it in 1972 and turned the establishment into what it is today.
Fancy for being built on mosquito infested swamp land huh?
The town grew as a result of dredging done back in 1923 by Baron Gift Collier. Dredging also helped to control mosquitos. Baron Collier utilized the town as his headquarters for his Tamiami Trail road-building company. The Tamiami Trail is the road that connects Tampa Florida to Miami Florida. (see map above)

This building was originally built in the 20’s to serve as a Laundry for the road builders. It is now the Museum. Make this your first stop.

This is the City Hall, originally built in 1927....

and this is what it looked like (side view) after hurricane Wilma came through.

This was the Bank of Everglades which is now the Spa-fari B&B
Everglades Community Church established 1926

This abandoned train Depot..... now the Seafood Depot

The community that grew on this land included a trolley, hospital and clinic, movie house, library, railroad depot, common garage for autos and two hotels. Today there is a lot of commercial fishing, shrimping, sponge fishing, and stone crabbing, but I’d say it gets its popularity for being a "Gateway to the Everglades."

The Everglades is the mother of big swamps! A subtropical wetlands.
Journalist and environmentalist, Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, refers to the Everglades as "The River of Grass."  Water leaving Lake Okeechobee in the wet season forms a slow-moving river 60 miles wide and over 100 miles long.
 One might ask “Why would I want to go there?”

Well, there are literally thousands (between 10,000 and 12,000) of islands within a day's paddle from Everglades City.

You can book tours out through the islands but a lot of people Kayak the Everglades and some even camp in Chickees. A Chickee in the National Park is an elevated 10' x 12' wooden platform with a roof and a walkway that leads to a self-contained toilet.


A real Chickee is a palmetto thatch over a bald cypress log frame and was adopted for use by Seminole Indians during the Second and Third Seminole War. Before that they lived in log cabins.

The Seminole people are the descendants of the Creek people. The diversity of the Tribe is reflected in the fact that its members spoke seven languages- Muscogee, Hitchiti, Koasati, Alabama, Natchez, Yuchi and Shawnee. If you want to know more about the Seminole Indians I have provided a link here:


Well I guess there are a few things to see in Everglades City but one thing is for sure… will see a lot of these!

Click here to return to Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe~Thursday:
 off on my tangent
Thanks for the visit! ~Ames

P.S. Sorry about these lines. I can't figure out how to get rid of them. Also....
Another docent that I sit with at our local museum just told me about a book titled Killing Mr. Watson, an outlaw and suspected murderer of more than 50 people
Nearby in in Chockoloskee, the Smallwood General Store still stands. It is now a museum.
 Apparently this store has a large role in local history as it is the site where Ed Watson was killed. The area residents, tiring of Watson's ways, all shot him in front of the store as he stepped off his boat. The account is detailed in Peter Matthiessen's well-researched historical fiction, Killing Mr. Watson, 1990.
Have you read it?
Hummm….I am going to see if I can check this book out of our library.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Take ~ “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”

This is a must see movie!!!

A perfect drama comedy for the Summer!

I laughed!

I cried!

I wanted to stay and watch it again!

I thought the actors and their characters were perfectly cast!
Judi Dench ~Played Evelyn (remember her from Bond as “M” ?)

Maggie Smith ~ Played Muriel (You may recognize her from the Harry Potter series, but I know her crotchety character in real life!)

Cecile Imrie ~ Played Madge (You may know her from Calendar Girls)

Penelope Wilton ~ Played Jean (She also starred in Calendar Girls but she played the perfect biotch in this movie!)

Bill Nighy ~ Played Douglas (love it when the weak and meek come out on the top of the heap!)
Tom Wilkinson ~ Played Graham (I was thrown a curve ball with his character and he left me crying!)
Dev Patel ~ Played Sonny (I fell in love with his character! So genuine, and straight from the heart of India.)
The story line:
A group of British retirees decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self.

I walked away thinking: I need to buy Long term Healthcare Insurance! :D
The scenery? Reveals another side of India that is probably spot on.
My favorite quote from the movie:
 In India, we have a saying; everything will be all right in the end. So if it is not all right, it is not yet the end.”
Do yourself some pleasure and don’t pass this one by. You will enjoy it so much!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Alphabe~Thursday "D" is for Daytona

Hi all, I’m back with another round of places in Florida.   
This time it’s Daytona.

See the big red dot? It’s on the East coast of Florida
It’s famous for its beach. Maybe a few of you have been there before?  

Daytona Beach
There’s even a few pristine beaches with nothing built on them. If you are looking to surf, the East coast is where you want to head. You can’t catch a wave on the West coast of Florida.

But wait, there’s more!!
We have  Racing!!!!!
The Daytona 500
If you are a biker then you probably already know about Bike week (March 9-18 2012)
and Biketoberfest (October 18, 2012 to October 21, 2012)

The Loop further north in Ormond is a famous route for bikers.
And there’s camping too!

Tomoka State Park
Within the park is the site of the Timucuan village of Nocoroco, located on the Tomoka River. The site was inhabited approximately a thousand years ago. It became a state park in 1945. On May 7, 1973, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

But wait!
There are other places nearby that everyone should go and see if they are in the Daytona area.
South of Daytona beach on the beach peninsula is the light house at Ponce Inlet. Completed in 1887, the Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station is open for tours as well as the light keepers dwellings. It is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and the second tallest in the nation.
Oh and there is a great place to eat right across the street. It’s backs up to the river and it’s called Lighthouse Landing. Here’s a link:
A little bit to the south on the beach peninsula is the old community of Eldora.


Eldora House
Isn’t it beautiful? Eldora House is located in what was once a prominent community of orange groves in the latter part of the 19th century. After a freeze destroyed most of its crops the community was abandoned. This house is all that is left and it stands 3 feet above sea level inside the Canaveral National Sea Shore Park.
Florida is a beautiful place to visit. Almost paradise. But I have bored you enough as it is and that’s all for this week. To return to Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe~Thursday you can click here:

Thanks for visiting! ~Ames

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saturday Centus # 110~My Journey


Photo credit: Freaking

To skydive and experience an exhilarating feeling…

….gone because I feared I’d leave my child motherless.

To leave a good job for one offering more pay….

…gone because the turnover rate was too high to chance.


You could have had it all” whispered my inner voice…..


Yet I have raised my child, I have retired young with a full pension, I have been blessed.

This was the journey I was to make….

….. And the road I was to take.

…And just like LIFE the road has many ups and downs
…And ebbs

....and flows.

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