Road Trips

I ordered some books on day hikes and day trips to do in Florida.

I’ve also Googled trips and hikes, and that was helpful, but I really want the information in book version.
The day trips book looks great. It’s trips that you can do on one tank of gas. I haven’t yet figured out how the book works, because obviously if you live in Tallahassee and I live in Miami, a tank of gas is going to get us to very different locations. Or a span of locations would be a more accurate way to put it.

So I don’t know how the book is structured yet, but it looks like there’s some good destinations. Tarpon Springs is one. It’s a town that was founded and settled by Greek immigrants, and apparently the Greek influence thrives to this day.

The town is known for its sea sponge harvesting. I guess there are shops along the main street that sell all things sea-sponge-related. I think you can even go out on an ocean tour and see sponges being harvested.
That sounds interesting to me.

Homossassa Springs sounds like a worthy place to visit, too. It’s where manatees go in the winter.
Manatees have to be some of the strangest creatures on the planet. I haven’t seen them up close and personal yet, but I’m looking forward to that. It’s a wonder they survive, being that they are so slow moving and gentle. I’m not sure that they even have a way to protect themselves.

Seems like a shark could make a meal of a manatee pretty quickly. Not that it could eat it quickly, but that it could kill one pretty easily.

I have read that manatees are often injured by boat propellers. Apparently if boaters aren’t watching the water closely, they can easily go right over manatees, and the propellers cut them, sometimes fatally.
So anyway, seeing the manatees at Homossassa Springs sounds great.

The Bok Tower Gardens near Lake Wales would certainly be do-able for me in one tank of gas. I could get there and back with less than a tank, I’m sure.

The book lists that as a day trip. I’ve heard great things about it. The tower itself is on the register of historic buildings, and apparently the construction of it was quite a feat.
The rock for the tower is coquina stone, and was quarried somewhere on the coast and brought in by train. The bells—I think there are seven, or nine—are bronze, and were cast in New York and then shipped down by train. A person can stand up inside the biggest bell.

Half-way up the tower is the room where the carilloneur plays the bells. The bells ring every hour on the hour. Twice a day, so I’ve been told, there’s a half-hour concert, when the carilloneur plays songs on the bells.
I would like to hear that concert. I think it would be beautiful.
So I have three trips I’m looking forward to doing: Tarpon Springs and Homossassa Springs on the Gulf coast, and Bok Tower Gardens in the middle of the state.

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