It's that time of year when we all could use a little sunshine and summer warmth.
Here's a "virtual" Spring Break trip to Florida - to the "real" Florida of crystal clear natural springs, water-skiing aqua maids, sexy Daytona surfer dudes, cheap motels, mysterious swamps, and creatures of the southern wilds - as revealed in vintage postcards and photos of some of central Florida's remaining natural places. I took these photos on a business trip to Orlando last fall when I found the time for an afternoon visit to the springs and an evening at the beach.
The Fountain of Youth - De Leon Springs:
Fountain of Youth Eco/History Tours on pontoons!
Time for a swim!
Worked up an appetite? The old mill - one of the few reminders of De Leon Springs' legacy of enslaved labor during the plantation days before the Civil War - is now a restaurant and gift shop. How convenient!
They offer make-your-own-pancakes breakfast all-day on griddles in the center of each table.
With two kinds of batter = H e a v e n.
A plaque memorializing the tourism era of Sunshine Sally, a famous water-skiing elephant - back before the A.S.P.C.A.
A walk on the wild side.
A very large and elusive woodpecker:
There were butterflies in many colors.
And push-me-pull-you bugs.
Spanish moss by the bushel and live oaks.
Let's take a quick detour to another natural spot,
No, not Miami Beach, but Wekiwa Springs - close to Orlando. First you have to thread your way through some typical Florida sprawl.
To find this pleasant spot:
The spring pool itself feels more intimate than De Leon Springs.
The water was very nice. Then it started to rain. Which was also very nice.
Now, let's go to the beach!
Where there were lots of birds.
Who weren't shy.
Out on the water...
Daytona surfer dudes were riding the waves:
I was running out of daylight:
The birds hadn't gone to bed yet.
Time to find a place to stay for the night. Perhaps one of these vintage beauties:
Here's a real survivior and a bargain at $30 a night. Hmmmmm... maybe not.
Let's end here - in the inevitable Florida way - at Hannah Cremation Services where "quality exceeds cost," whatever that means!