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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Day Trip to Historic DeFuniak Springs, Florida

We went for a ride to explore the surrounding areas and about 30 miles north of our campground we came upon DeFuniak Springs... A cute little town with some beautiful historic homes, built in the late 1800s and Historic Downtown. Located in Walton County, DeFuniak Springs emerged in the 1880s as a railroad stop. This Northwest Florida city is centered around a completely round lake, Lake DeFuniak. and is home to the Walton-Defuniak Library, the oldest library in Florida still serving the public

DeFuniak Springs is a small city of around 7,000 located off of Interstate 10 between Tallahassee and Pensacola. The city is the county seat for Walton County, Florida. DeFuniak Springs is home to many interesting historical events. Another point of interest is Lake DeFuniak, said to be one of only two perfectly round natural lakes in the world. Folklore has it that the lake was formed by a large meteor crashing to earth centuries ago. The circumference of the lake is 5,280feet, which makes a pleasant mile. Their major industry is agriculture, which is growing all the time, if you'll excuse the pun. The cattle business, timber (especially pine), and poultry farms are primary resources.

County Seat Courthouse built 1871 (est) & St. Agatha's old church was founded in 1890 and finished in 1896. It is the oldest in the city and the stain glass windows are of interest. St. Agatha's was the first church built in DeFuniak Springs

In 1881, a railroad surveying party consisting of W. D. Chipley, W.J. VanKirk, and W.T. Wright came to the area seeking a route for the L&N Railroad. After stopping on a hillside overlooking the beautiful, naturally round lake, Colonel Chipley exclaimed, "Here a town shall be built!" The traditional Victorian bracketed Louisville & Nashville railroad depot in DeFuniak Springs was first built in 1882, and then enlarged in 1909

They planned a town named after Fred R. DeFuniak, who held many high offices with the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, including that of General Manger. The Florida Chautauqua Association organized in 1884 and held its first assembly in DeFuniak Springs in February of 1885. This assembly made DeFuniak Springs one of the cultural centers of the southeast until the late 1920s.

The Walton~DeFuniak Library is the oldest structure built in 1887 as a library and is still in operation today. Also The Hotel DeFuniak built in 1920 is now operated as a B&B filled with many antiques of the time period.

Numerous Victorian era homes encircle little Lake DeFuniak, and it's at times difficult to tell the old homes from the new ones built in the same Colonial Revival and Queen Anne styles. The town has around 200 historic buildings surrounding the lake, 40 or so which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Small towns are always a fascination to me even ones that do not have anything to do because they always have houses and buildings that were built long ago. I often wonder what was this town like in it's heyday. DeFuniak Springs is one of those towns that are desperately trying to hold onto their historic district in hopes of drawing tourist. It is a nice little town!

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

On Our Way to Grayton Beach State Park, Florida

We were up early this morning getting ready to pull out of Gulf State Park in Alabama and was headed towards Grayton Beach State Park back at Santa Rosa Beach in Florida.
Goodbye Gulf State Park we had a GREAT time here ~

It wasn't a long drive just about 198 miles but we needed to stop at Carpenter's Campers in Pensacola. The recall we had fixed a year ago on our Norcold fridge had gone bad and they told us there was a recall on the recall (LOL) so there would be no cost to us. That is always a good thing and these people were awesome. Friendly and fast, since we told them we were on the road. Lucky for us we had called and they got the part in while we were at Gulf Shores. It only took them 1 hour from the time we pulled in til we pulled back out on the road. If you ever need work done while near Pensacola Florida they are the ones to go to.

Back in our home sate of Florida and look at the huge flock of Pelicans we saw

Soon we were back on I 10 and we headed through Pensacola Florida with ease. Over long bridges and pass neat rest areas with a Blue Angels Jet right out front.

We finally arrived at Grayton Beach State Park ~ and after checking in got set up on our site #39. Nice site thank goodness with FHU 50 amp. For my friends who are not RVers FHU means full hookups ~ water, electric & sewer.

It is a very nice site and there is a little lake right behind us. As soon as I put my bird feeders up we had a bunch of birds... little chick-a-dees and cardinals. But also an unexpected guest ~ a young raccoon who wanted some of the bird seed. Thankfully he couldn't get to it but it was sure fun watching him try.

For a review on this State Park click here. Another view of beautiful Sunrises and Sunsets

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

We arrived at Dauphine Island, Al. by Ferry ~ Part II

After we got off the ferry we had to go check out the fort we saw from the ferry. Fort Gains was another southeastern fort built to defend our country. Sadly it's biggest action was the Civil War. OK ~ I know another fort but we love historic forts and the history they hold inside.

Fort Gaines (1821-1946) - Construction on this Third System masonry fort began in 1821 but construction and funding problems prevented completion and a redesigned fort was started in the 1850's. Designed by Joseph G. Totten and named after Gen. Edmund P. Gaines in 1853. The fort was still incomplete in 1861 when the U.S. Civil War began. The fort was occupied by Confederate forces in 1861 and they finished the fort in 1862. Abandoned after World War I and reactivated during World War II it was abandoned after the end of World War II.

At the beginning of the U.S. Civil War in 1861 the Alabama State Militia seized both Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan from Federal troops. Fort Gaines remained in Confederate hands until 8 Aug 1864 when it was surrendered after the Battle of Mobile Bay to a Union fleet commanded by Adm. David Farragut. The Battle of Mobile Bay was the occasion for Adm. Farragut's famous order, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!", referring to torpedoes (mines) strung across the channel into Mobile Bay.

After we checked out the fort we got back into the car and headed towards the USS Alabama. Now we have passed the USS Alabama many times and we decided this was the day we were going to go tour it... BUT and it's a big one... while walking around Fort Gains, Ralph's leg behind his calf was in a lot of pain.

We think he hurt it a few weeks ago at the beach but it was feeling a lot better. When we got to the Battleship Memorial Park and we saw the ship we decided it was to much walking up & down for his leg and perhaps my knee. So we spent some time looking around at the planes & tanks in the park and once again decided to come back another time.

On the way out we stopped at the Meaher State Park only 4 miles down the road, to check out the campground for when we come back... it is FHU (full hook up) with 50amp. Very nice park!!!

Have Fun, Travel Safe & Stay Healthy!!!

Get your mamogram & check up today... Early detection saved my life....


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