If you’re new to The BIG Road Trip – all the information can be found on this page. Curious how this series came about? Find the ‘why’ in this first announcement post. All BIG Road Trip posts can be found archived here.
If you have state-related art, stories and inspiration to share or if you made art inspired by this blogpost, LINK US UP BY USING THE INLINKZ TOOL AT THE END OF THIS POST. Inspiration for you to use as a jumpstart to get creative is at the end of the post.
I am looking for GUEST BLOGGERS to blog about different States in America (find the list with States and schedule here.) These guest posts do not have to be as extensively written as mine and preferably give more personal and artsy insight and info about the state/region. Info that is interesting for an artist to know, like pointing out local art shops and little galleries et cetera. Also, I will be available to help you with tips, search for images and add extra inspiration if you need me to. Email me at bigroadtrip[at]maritspaperworld[dot]com if you’re interested!
We are ‘on the road’ for three month now, heading south.
Today we enter the state of FLORIDA
We are welcomed by this sign…
… and we jump up and down and right over the border into this state when we see the word SUNSHINE on the sign. Yippeee… a sunshiny state! Sunshine is something we Europeans are longing for as we only have cold and grey weather here lately!
You heard me right, I talk in plural because I am not alone today. I have a companion from Great Britain with me.
Bernice Hopper from Newly Creative is longing for sunshine too and she will show me – and you – around Florida. Nice to have you with me Bernice – take it away then!
~ Guest post by Bernice ~
You may be wondering why a Brit living in the UK is taking you around Florida. I’m related! My daughter-in-law is from Florida and I have visited quite a few times!
Let us begin with a question? What is your first thought if someone says Florida to you? Disney Parks? Sea World? Busch Gardens? Kennedy Space Center?
There is so much more to Florida than theme parks. Recently I had the privilege of driving 2000 miles around the northern part of the State. What I hadn’t realised was that Florida is the South. I mostly visit on the Atlantic Coast and the people I know there are originally from New York or South America. They have a whole different style of accent from the American ‘South.’ Northern Florida isn’t totally ‘you’all’ but it isn’t far off. In fact we did visit one cafe where we couldn’t understand the owner and she didn’t understand our English accent.
So let me introduce you to some of the lesser known parts of some of Florida. I can’t possibly introduce you to all of it – there’s so much of it!
Just north of Orlando is Micanopy. The movie Doc Hollywood was filmed here and now has lots of little antique shops.
Did you know there are more than 180 State Parks in Florida?
In the north of the State there’s a very specific State Park. It’s the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center where you can find out all about the man who lived in Philadelphia and wrote the song most associated with the south: Suwannee River. The State Park is on the side of the river that Stephen Foster made famous only because the river had enough syllables in its name to fit the song he was writing.
Travel west from there and you will be in the area known as The Panhandle. Here you will find the State capital: Tallahassee.
In the capital building you can find out all about Florida.
The Knott House close by is a restored Victorian house built in 1843 probably by George Proctor, a free black man. It takes its name from the Knott family who bought it in 1928. Luella Knott wrote poems which she wrote on cards and attached to her antique furniture with satin ribbon.
A few miles from Tallahassee is Quincy where you can stay at McFarlin House described in the guide book as ‘an exquisite, turreted pile whose sumptuous interior and 42-pillar porch were created for John McFarlin, Quincy’s richest tobacco planter, in 1895’.
Another specialist state park is the Florida Caverns State Park. Here you can have a guided tour below ground.
Pensacola is the furthest most city west in Florida. There is the modern city of Pensacola, the historic Downtown area.
And the beach
Another quirky little place is the Wakulla Lodge in the middle of the Wakulla Springs State Park. This was built in the 1930s and still has the feel of that time. It’s a great place to have lunch if you don’t have time to stay the night.
The coast of The Panhandle is along the Gulf of Mexico and there are lots of little towns along the way most of which look to be forgotten by most tourists. There are stunning sunsets.
Cedar Key, once a thriving port, is now a small fishing and tourist town. Here you can take a boat trip to see the local wildlife and it’s especially thrilling when the dolphins come to play alongside the boat.
Further down the coast on the way to St. Petersburg there are several state parks including the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park. Here you can find what is left of a steam-driven mill operating in the 1850s.
In St. Petersburg you can visit Little St. Mary’s, a local historic landmark. The story goes that Henry Taylor was never paid for his design work at St Mary’s Church. So out of spite he then built a Romanesque-revival miniature church and dubbed it Little St Mary’s. So what you may ask! When people showed up, they were greeted with a public toilet!
Last but not least on our tour is Ybor City – the Latin Quarter of Tampa. Here the old cigar factory buildings have been restored and the area is thriving.
There are still people rolling cigars but really only so tourists like us can take photos!
I hope you have enjoyed this tour of some of the out-of-the-way and quirky places around northern Florida. I’ve missed so much out, so I hope at some time you will travel around The Panhandle and find all these out-of-the-way places for yourselves.
Thank you so much Bernice – for showing us all these fun places and beautiful scenery!
There’s plenty of inspiration to be taken from the photos and information Bernice gave us – but I will list some inspiration tips and add – as always – songs + lyrics to spark your imagination even more. If you create something inspired by this post, or have something else Florida-related to share, please let me know or leave your link with InLinkz at the end of this post!
So… what has Florida – and this blogpost – to offer that you can use as jumpstart to get creative?
And does anyone remember these guys?
- Miami vice!
and for the music…
- Songs about Jumping/Leaping
Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones (lyrics)
Leap Of Faith – Bruce Springsteen (lyrics)
Jump On It – Sugarhill Gang (lyrics)
Jumpin’ Jive – Joe Jackson (lyrics)
- Famous musicians from Florida
Lynyrd Skynyrd – a rock band known for popularizing the southern hard-rock genre during the 1970s. Originally formed in 1964 as the “Noble Five” in Jacksonville, Florida, the band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its driving live performances and signature tunes “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Free Bird.” At the peak of their success, three members died in an airplane crash in 1977, putting an abrupt end to the band’s most popular incarnation.
From Northern Florida we have the Backstreet Boys who hailed from Orlando, Florida. In 2011, Michelle LaPoint-Rydell submitted this BSB-inspired layout to my top 2000 blogparty
Gloria Estefan is the most famous musician to come from the Miami pop industry and
The Bellamy Brothers originated from Darby, Florida.
- Songs about Florida
The state song is Swanee River (Old Folks at Home) by Stephen C. Foster
(the link is to a version played/sang by Hugh Laurie) (lyrics)
Key Largo – Bertie Higgins (lyrics)
Florida – Modest Mouse (lyrics)
The State of Florida – Less Than Jake (lyrics)
Mainline Florida – Eric Clapton ft. Pete Townshend (lyrics)
Deep Down in Florida – Muddy Waters (lyrics)
If you have a State-related blogpost to share, or if you have art to show that is inspired by the State or by this blogpost, feel free to leave a link. Please leave a link to a specific blog post or image on flickr, rather than a general url. To avoid spam, I will view each link before it gets approved. No linking up to travel agents or advertisements please. Thanks!
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Julie Tucker-Wolek says
I love Florida!! I haven’t been since 2001 .. but used to visit there as a child all the time 🙂