Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 61 – Stephen F. Foster Culture Center State Park, FL

Friday was our first day back in the Eastern Time Zone for months.  I completely forgot about the change to standard time this morning.  So my 9:30 late wake up was really my 8:30 what I wanted wake up which is what it would have been on Thursday anyway.  My internal clock is confused.

Our mission today was to have a look at the spring.  White Springs was, in fact, the first major tourist draw in Florida.  The springs were thought to have healing powers even among the native Indians in the 1700’s.  They could come here and not fear attack from their enemies.  A number of old photographs show the splendor of the spot in its heyday.  There was a hotel and the river was kept from flowing into the spring by means of some sort of batten system.  The spring fell out of favor in the early 1900’s and White Springs became a quiet little town.  There was a terrible flood in the area during the 1970’s and all but the first level walkway and the spring itself were destroyed.

This has been modestly kept up but, in all honesty, the spring looks nasty.  Even with the old photos at hand it is hard to imagine it in good shape.   It’s a pity that we don’t have to funds to keep up all the special spots.

The Suwanee River has very dark water.  I think it is tannin from the vegetation that makes the color so.  It is flowing very quietly past the springs.  Judging from the bank, the water level seems very low to me.  

The bike was in working order this morning so we pedaled over to the spring.  As it is on the river bank, this was the only hill we encountered on our ride.  It was enough on the way back to work up a little pant.  We did have to exit the park for a bit to get there.  While we were down at the spring, Brett heard a kerfuffle up where we left the bike so he decided to go up and keep an eye on it while I took a few more pictures.  The noise was from a pickup truck that had managed to spill several cases of bottled water onto the road.  Brett was amazed to see the people picking them up and tossing the bent ones onto a lawn beside the road.  I had previously observed a bicyclist toss a bottle onto the side of the road as well.  Littering seems to be the norm is this little neck of the woods.

As we came back through the park we stopped again at the museum to admire the house and the landscaping.  We spoke at length to a ranger who gave us some more facts and figures about the place.  There are 97 bells in the tower which makes it the biggest in the country.  The museum opened in October 1950 and the parquet floors are still the originals.  Our ranger knew a lot about the floors because she was the one who manned the broom.  As we were going into the building we saw a body lying on the front porch.  Fortunately, he was not dead but just waiting for his wife to finish her touring.  

There is a pretty fountain next to the house.  We sat by it for a while, listening to the sounds of the water.  Brett would like to have a fountain, the more ornate the better.  It would go with the Victorian style lamp that he chose for the front yard.  A neighbor, upon seeing it, declared that it was the ugliest lamp she had ever seen.  Maybe so but Brett loves it so he ought to have a fountain to match.

We have found that the people at this campground for these few days have not been the friendliest that we have met along the way.  Most that we have encountered haven’t even made eye contact.  The one exception has been an older couple just across the way.  The wife was raking up the leaves in our campsite when we arrived.  She told us she isn’t a volunteer, she just needs the exercise so goes to each site as it becomes empty and cleans it up.  Her husband is quite a talker and visited with Brett for quite a while as he was repairing the bicycle.  I can hear that the wife has just introduced Brett to some other campers who want to go to the Northwest in their new trailer.  He is regaling them with tales of our trip as I write.
We move on again tomorrow morning.  I like moving days too.  There is new ground to cover and new things to see.

No comments:

Post a Comment