These words, from Simon and Garfinkel's song, make me think of where I reside! I live in a small town about 50 miles north of Tampa in Spring Hill, FL. Although this is a small town we have a lot to share with the world! A week's visit could keep you quite busy discovering my little town!
As you drive up Route 19 on Florida's west coast you suddenly find yourself greeted my a beautiful landscape with flowers and a sign welcoming you to Spring Hill and across the street there is a lovely dolphin fountain greeting you as well. If you decide to take a left hand turn you will enjoy a beautiful ride to the small Pine Island beach we have here. In my opinion the drive is better than the beach! The road to the beach winds around marshlands and gives one the feeling of driving to the Keys or one of those long scary roads in a horror flick. If you happen to get a little thirsty on your way there is a biker bar there waiting to sell you a cold drink and offer a meal!
Now, had you decided to drive straight and not turn, as you travel up route 19 you will see an array of large dinosaurs. Why they are there, I cannot tell you. One dinosaur holds an automotive repair shop! I have asked but have not received any information, they are just there!
Proceeding about another mile north you will run in to Weeki Wachee State Park, a neat place to spend several days. Enter Weeki Wachee and rent a canoe and take a trip down the river, seeing beautiful birds and wildlife, but don't fall out as there might be a gator or two eyeballing you for his supper! Besides the canoe trip, you can take a guided Riverboat ride and listen to the history and nature descriptions as you go, learning about the flora, fish, gators, and whatever wildlife you may encounter.
When you return from your riverboat ride, you must visit the mermaids and watch a mermaid show with several beautiful mermaids telling you a under water story. The mermaids are swimming in water from an underground spring where the water is 72 degrees year round! I am sure you will be mesmerized by the mermaids and their beauty as they gracefully swim through the water and you watch through a glass panel in a theater!
That is a full day right there at Weeki Wachee. You can take the next day and visit Buccaneer Bay, a water park made from the same underwater spring. There are crazy rides to go on at the park, or just a lazy river to sit in a plastic ring and enjoy a ride along the outer banks of the park. There is also a large beach and umbrella area where you can enjoy your picnic lunch or catch some sun on the beach. This park will be sure to wear everyone out so a good nights sleep is in order to continue your week!
When you come out of Weeki Wachee you run into State Rd 50 into Brooksville. As you enter you need to get on main street and head downtown and stop at the court house and read some of the history outside. Some of the trees were used for lynching years ago and there are statues of local dignitaries, and stories of the pirates that had invaded in years gone by! As you go down Main Street on your right is Rogers Christmas House. For the ladies this is at least half a day and so the hubbies might as well find a nice bench or take a nap in the car. Rogers is 5 houses full of Christmas ornaments and decorations with each room a different theme. I am in pure bliss when I visit here. I also can spend a chunk of money there, even though I already have more Christmas decorations than one needs. Time to get some rest again for the following day!
The next day you can go up US 19 again for approximately 30 miles north and you can dive if you are a diver or you can have a swim. So what's the big deal there? While you are swimming you will be met and sharing your space with the other kind of mermaids, the lovely manatees. Isn't that cool? Swimming with the Manatees! What an awesome feeling to share with these gentle giants.
After you have experienced all this you can enjoy a day of rest at my home and sit by the pool and nap in the warmth of the afternoon. At supper time we will take you down 19 to Hudson Beach and have dinner at the beach bar and watch the sunset. When you head out to go home there is no way you can drive by Hudson Ice Cream without stopping to enjoy your favorite flavors and sauces or cones or whatever tickles your tastes buds. By the end of the ice cream you will be ready to bust so it is time to head towards the dinosaurs and make our way home.
This is a guest blogger post by Joan Penfold.