Daytona Beach

20130313-222443.jpgIt’s been awhile (13 days to be exact) since I last updated this blog. Nothing has happened that seemed noteworthy enough to get right on the computer and share. The weather has been cool and windy so not much beach time, and Daytona Beach is more of a typical Florida tourist city with lots of high rise condo buildings along a relatively narrow beach and none of the “old city” charm of St Augustine.

We arrived at Tomoka State Park Friday afternoon after an easy hour’s drive south on I95. The park is actually in Ormond Beach about 5 miles north of Daytona. It’s a peninsula defined by the Tomoka and Halifax Rivers and would have been a great places to rent a canoe had the weather cooperated.

Saturday we drove through Daytona and checked out the beach but it was too cold and windy to walk. It was interesting to see the cars driving on the beach. You have to pay five bucks to drive on the sand and from Daytona you can drive about four miles south, staying in lanes marked out with traffic cones and a 10 mph speed limit. I guess it would be nice to not have to carry all your beach picnic stuff from a parking lot somewhere but the presence of the cars spoiled the ‘out in nature’ feel of the beach.

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We did find a good veg restaurant for lunch, the Dancing Avocado Kitchen. This was on a nice shopping street, Beach St, on the mainland side of the Halifax River.

Sunday we attended the Unitarian Universalist Curch in Ormond Beach. Like many churches, the minister invites visitors to stand and introduce themselves. I wasn’t going to say anything, but the lady next to us announced herself from Sterling Heights, MI, so I introduced Sue and I as her neighbors from Marine City. At the end of the sermon the minister was reminiscing about his first post as a Catholic priest in Sterling Heights and noted he was a graduate of Holy Cross in M.C. What are the odds?

After church we drove about 20 miles south to check out New Smyrna Beach. Not much there but we did find a nice neighborhood Mexican restaurant for lunch.

Monday we went to yoga at a studio on Beach Street then hung out at the coffee shop next door for the rest of the morning. Yoga was fun but hard as the teacher went way too fast for me. We went back to the campground for lunch, then went for a bike ride around the park and on a paved path through the woods.

Tuesday was forecast to be the nicest day of the week so we had lunch outdoors at Ormond Beach then went for a long walk on the beach. On the way home we stopped at Bulow Creek State Park to see the Fairchild Oak, a live oak said to be more than 400 years old.

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There is a short loop trail and the southern end of a six mile trail at the grove with the big oak tree. We did the short loop and walked a bit on the six mile trail. Time ran out but we realized we wanted to see more of this beautiful woods with a mixture on moss draped oaks, pines and palm trees.

Wednesday we went back to the oak grove and walked for three hours in the woods. A photo really can’t convey the beauty,

20130313-213719.jpg but it was a magical place. We even saw a wild boar family cross the trail, mom, pop, and six boarlets.

Thursday we went to another part of Bulow Creek where there are ruins of a 19th century sugar mill.

20130313-214202.jpgThis was a big operation with 200 slaves tending 1000 acres of sugar cane. It was destroyed in the Second Seminole War in 1836 and never rebuilt. We toured the ruins, had a picnic lunch, then walked the six mile trail from the north end. We got another glimpse of wild boars and heard lots of oinking and squealing off in the underbrush.

Friday we rode our bikes around a bit then got packed up and departed for Dave and Linda’s house in Port St Lucie, about three hours further south on I95.

D&L are friends from our Philadelphia years and it’s always great to get back together. Saturday we went to the Ft Pierce farmers market and craft show, then a nice lunch right on the beach at the Driftwood Inn in Vero Beach.

20130313-220159.jpg After lunch we stopped at the Endless Summer Winery on the way back to D&L’s condo. Tasting was fun as they had about a dozen different wines to try. They were all based on the Muscadine grape which grows well in the Florida climate. It’s sweet and grapey tasting but some were blends with dryer varieties that were quite good.

Sunday morning we went to D&L’s Methodist church for the rock and roll service. They had a good band in place of the choir who were entertaining; the service was quite informal but seemed just as ‘religious’ as a more conventional church. Sunday evening we competed in a trivia contest organized by their homeowners association. There were about 150 people grouped into teams of eight. We started strong but faded badly in the second half. Who knew San Diego was a bigger Navy base than Norfolk or that the Supreme Court decided Miranda vs. Arizona before Roe vs. Wade? It was a fun evening nevertheless.

Monday was a three hour drive across the state to Sue’s parents’ house. Linda recommended we stop for lunch at Mary Margaret’s Tea House in Arcadia. We were seated by a guy in a top hat and tails and served cucumber sandwiches and hibiscus tea. It was better than it sounds.

When we tried to unpack at Sue’s parents house we found the trailer door lock wouldn’t unlock. We finally broke in after a couple of hours with a guy at the Snoozy factory on the phone giving advice. Turned out a screw fell out of the internal mechanism, easy to fix once I was inside. We didn’t break anything and now I know how to get in with just a screwdriver and a nail. Not much of a silver lining in a sizable grey cloud, but it’s something.

The rest of the week will be puttering around on the trailer and visiting with Earl and Greta then off to Koreshan State Park in Fort Myers Friday.

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2 thoughts on “Daytona Beach

  1. That forest looks very cool; if you want to dig up some of those palm trees and putt them in my yard, that would save me some money.

    Does that tea house have a grass runway behind it? It seems like I remember reading about a similar place in one of my airplane magazines.

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