Monday, January 10, 2022

1/10 Parksdale Market in Plant City

Plant City is famous for being the world's largest winter supplier of strawberries.  As you drive into the town, you pass dozens of large fields full of strawberry plants.  This is just the beginning of the winter picking season, but farm workers were in the fields picking already.

The Parksdale Market is famous for its fruits and vegetables, but also for its strawberry shortcake and strawberry covered ice cream.  I bought several jars of jam to give as gifts, but skipped the shortcake.  The owners of this market also own many of the local strawberry fields, so you can be certain your berries have been picked that morning.  I got there early, so had no problems finding a place to park my motorhome, but I would have had a problem after noon.

They offer a lot more than strawberries. Everything is bright and nicely displayed.

This is the counter where you order your strawberry shortcake.  I had come here several years ago with a group of other women who drive RVs.

You can eat outside or under this picnic area. 

And, of course, I did buy some strawberries.  Not only were they beautiful, but they tasted terrific with my dinner later on. 

1/8 Colt Creek State Park, northeast of Tampa

I am back in Florida after visiting family in Ohio.  Colt Creek is one of the newest state parks in Florida and is very peaceful because it is isolated and far away from traffic.  There is a river and small lake where you can kayak and several hiking trails, but mostly it is a place for rest and relaxation. 

So here are some photos of the campground.  You can see it is mostly pine forest:

These are very nice, large campsites with electric and water hookups.

Sites are not only large, but nicely spread out.

While tenters can occupy an RV space, this is a separate tent area with several of the nicest tent sites I have ever seen.  You park at the entrance and carry your equipment to your site.

This also is one of the tent sites.  Lots of room and privacy.

I liked the very nice, modern restroom facility, which was just across from my site. 

Note the outdoor washer and dryer, plus a family restroom in the center.

And this was my site.  Very convenient to doing laundry! 


Thursday, December 30, 2021

12/29 Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

 This is a large mansion and gardens near Akron, Ohio, that was originally owned by the man who was a co-founder of Goodyear Tire and Rubber.  It is an interesting place, built in 1910, and in the 1950s was donated as a non-profit by the family.  It has been restored to the original fixtures and furniture that would have been there in the early part of the 20th Century.  

During the spring, there are garden tours, but each Christmas, it is decorated and open to the public for several days.  It was a little tricky to take photos with so many people wandering around and at night with low light but lots of lights in the garden.  We arrived at 5:30 pm, so the first few photos were at dusk.

The theme of this year's display was Great Movies.

This is a real pipe organ. I was told the pipes were hidden behind the tapestry in the room. 

I liked this butler's pantry.

Interesting stove!

And a double bathroom. 

Ever been told by a doctor to take a sitz bath??  This little "tub" on the right is an original sitz bath.  You sat on it with your legs hanging over. 

Interesting shower.  We were wondering what the pipes were for.  Apparently, they sprayed water from the side, which was promoted as being good for the liver and internal organs. 


It was a fairly decent evening, so we went outside to view the gardens and the conservatory, aka greenhouse.  This is an orange tree.  Originally, greenhouses were often known as "orangeries" because they grew oranges and lemons and other exotic fruit. 

Sunday, December 26, 2021

12/23 Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

 I visit here whenever I am in the Sarasota area because it is so beautiful and peaceful.  The gardens consist of two large homes and the property on which they stand.  Their owners were interested in plants and planted a lot of trees and tropical plants in the early 1900s, and then donated the land to a non-profit that would preserve the plants for the public.

After going through the visitor's center, the next stop is the greenhouse.

This botanical garden focuses on air plants and orchids in the greenhouse.

It felt cold outside after the warm moist air of the greenhouse.  Just outside, in a protected area were some very old bonsai.

There are a lot of paved sidewalks in the outside yard, with lots of tropical trees and flora.

The Selby family chose the location of their home well because of the view and water access. This is downtown Sarasota.

Check out the graphic of the Grinch on this boat. 

Last time I was here, I watched a man "fish" for his cell phone in this pond!

A last trip through the green house on my way out.

Part of the gift shop is a greenhouse full of orchids you can buy.

And this is a display on the way out. 

They have bought the land across the street from this botanical garden and plan to build a much larger, hurricane-proof greenhouse and research center, as well as a parking garage.  The parking garage is going to be a big problem with me because I will have to rent a car to come here since I cannot drive my motorhome into or onto a parking structure.  Darn!