Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Archive for florida

Circus Splendor in Sarasota

By Linda Tancs

Circus mogul John Ringling and his wife Mabel wintered at a Mediterranean Revival-style mansion in Sarasota, Florida. It was modeled after the palazzos of Venice, Italy, and completed in 1926. Named Cà d’Zan (Venetian for “house of John”), the 36,000-square-foot palace reflects all of the splendor of the Gilded Age. You can explore the first floor of the manor, which includes living, dining and entertainment areas, all furnished just as in the days of the Ringlings’ residence. The home is part of a 66-acre museum complex adjacent to Sarasota Bay known as The Ringling, featuring the State Art Museum of Florida, Circus Museum and Bayfront Gardens. Museum admission alone does not include the mansion, so be sure to add it to your ticket purchase.

Shrimping in Florida

By Linda Tancs

Florida’s Amelia Island is known for its stunning beaches and Civil War history, but its maritime history is equally significant. In fact, the locale is known as “the birthplace of the modern shrimping industry.” At the Shrimp Museum at the City Marina in downtown Fernandina Beach, you can learn about the families that brought modern shrimping to Florida and their descendants who keep alive the traditions. And this time of year (the first weekend in May), the annual Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival attracts over 100,000 visitors to this barrier island in the northeast. The event features a pirate ship parade, fireworks, free concerts and, of course, shrimp vendors.

A Rare Lake in Florida

By Linda Tancs

Florida’s Grayton Beach State Park is more than just another beach park and a backdrop for golden sunrises. The 2,000-acre park is also home to coastal dune lakes. These lakes are a rare natural phenomenon found in only three other countries (Australia, New Zealand and Madagascar) and one other state (Oregon). They’re unique because their water levels are maintained by an interchange between saltwater and freshwater, providing for an interesting mix of plants and marine species. At Grayton, you’ll see three of these lakes: Alligator, Little Redfish and Western lakes. A kayak or stand-up paddleboard is the perfect way to explore. Bring your own or rent one at the ranger station.

West of Key West

By Linda Tancs

Seventy miles west of Key West, Dry Tortugas National Park is accessible only by a daily ferry, private boats, charter boats or seaplane. It’s worth the effort, considering that one of the nation’s largest 19th- century forts (Fort Jefferson) is there. This 100-square-mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. With so little dry ground, it’s best to see it by swimming, snorkeling or diving. Your reward will be corals and seagrass communities among the most vibrant in the Florida Keys.

100 Years of History in Key West

By Linda Tancs

When Casa Marina opened 100 years ago it was Key West’s most glamorous destination. The Florida resort was conceived by American railroad tycoon Henry Flagler as an accommodation for wealthy customers of Flagler’s Overseas Railroad, which spanned from Key West to the Florida mainland. Its designers were as famous as Flagler; architects Thomas Hastings and John M. Carrere also designed New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, New York Public Library and the Senate and House of Representatives office buildings in Washington, D.C. The hotel hosted politicians and Hollywood’s elite. It was even requisitioned by the military for use during World War II and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Located just minutes from historic Old Town, it boasts the largest private beach in the city.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Three Sisters in Florida

By Linda Tancs

Three Sisters Springs is a natural freshwater spring system in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in western Florida. The springs provide a critical habitat for the endangered Florida manatee because the temperature remains constant at 72 degrees Fahrenheit, aiding in their survival. In fact, the refuge (one of 566 national wildlife refuges) is the only one created specifically for the protection of the beloved mammal. It’s also one of the few places where tourists can legally swim with the manatees. Crystal River is located about 90 miles north of Tampa.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The History of Florida Citrus

By Linda Tancs

Citrus is an integral part of Florida’s identity, and the industry was especially prominent in the 1800s in Eustis—so much so, in fact, that the town was once known worldwide as the “Orange Capital of the World.” It’s fitting, then, that the town hosts the only independently housed citrus museum in the state. Among its collection, the Citrus Museum features devices used to measure the quality of the fruit, packers’ seals, a device to convert ripe, green-skinned oranges to an orange color and memorabilia like labels and posters.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Coral Art in Florida

By Linda Tancs

The expression “solid as a rock” takes on a whole new meaning at the Coral Castle Museum just outside Miami in Homestead, Florida. Originally named Rock Gate Park, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. This unique sculpture garden was carved out of 1,100 tons of coral rock, the single-handed achievement of a Latvian immigrant. He labored over the project for 28 years, motivated to create a memorial over a broken romance. Features of the castle compound include a nine-ton gate that moves with just a touch of the finger, a Polaris telescope and functioning rocking chairs – all made entirely of stone. Individual and guided tours are available.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Florida’s Treasure Coast

By Linda Tancs

Florida’s Treasure Coast is located on the state’s southeastern coast. Comprising three counties (Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin), it might be best known (as its name implies) as the place where ship-wrecked coins wash up on the shores. That’s because over 300 years ago a fleet of 11 Spanish ships wrecked offshore between the St. Lucie River and Cape Canaveral while returning to Spain with riches from the colonies. You might still dig up a few gold coins today, but don’t miss the area’s other attractions, like beaches, tournament fishing and nature reserves including the nearly 12,000-acre Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

The Little White House

By Linda Tancs

Florida’s only presidential museum, the Little White House in Key West was a sanctuary and working office for numerous U.S. presidents. It was foremost the winter White House for President Harry S. Truman and remains an occasional site for government functions. Tours are given daily. This is a great time to enjoy vintage Christmas decor from a bygone era. Merry Christmas!

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