Friday, February 25, 2011

After the show.......Backroads!

Since I had to take I-75 all the way down to Renninger's, I was SO ready to get on the backroads for the flip trip. I wanted to head straight to the ocean, but with so much traffic around Daytona for the race, I decided to aim farther north at Amelia Island, since I had never been there.

I started north on 19 in Eustis and went by this pretty little park at Lake Eustis where the sailboats were out for a regatta.

Traveling through the Ocala National Forest (no phone signal and always on fire) I needed some exercise so I stopped at Juniper Springs and did the nature trail. Now I really felt like I was back in Florida, with the tunnels of live oak dripping with spanish moss, cypress swamps, palms and palmetto bushes around every turn.

The incredible clarity of the spring water doesn't translate so well in my pics, but it is just amazing.

The trail follows the river where you can see the clear water at every turn, and also see the sand "boils". These resemble boiling water coming up out of the sandy bottom, but are artesian springs of underground fresh water being pushed up through the honeycombed limestone which runs throughout central and north Florida, where there are almost 1000 springs!

The river was a bit low from the usual spring drought--I wonder how far these kayakers got?

When I arrived on Amelia Island, before I hit the ocean, I first cruised through Fernandina Beach, and what a surprise! It is such a quaint and scenic little historic town! Plenty of shopping and nice hotels close to the walking district (beware the blasting train horn throughout the middle of the night if you stay at the Hampton!)
There are tons of beautiful historic homes that have a wide variety of different types of architecture!! (There are a few antique malls in town--don't miss Trailer Park Collectibles-- with a few more scattered around the area)

Pressed for time, I did just a quick drive by photog of as many houses as I could......

......these aren't the greatest pics, but show the general idea of how different all these places are.

There is a really neat old cemetary in town that is quite interesting.

FINALLY I get to see the ocean.......and it was SPECTACULAR!!
Beautiful crashing waves......
.....perfect weather for a beach run..... was hard to tear myself away!

(I cruised around Amelia Island for awhile--the beach road is under construction--a bit disappointed at the massive development and endless beach cottages with for sale signs all along--Note to self: visit the unspoiled areas of the NC shore)

I got such a late start (slept late because of those !@#*! train horns) that I only had time to stop at ONE place along the backroads (341) to Atlanta, but it was a WONDERFUL stop in Baxley where I got to meet the very special father and daughter artisans and antiquers Jimmy and Clair-- who own Honest Al Antique Emporium.

Clair is a talented potter who has some beautiful pieces in the store, and Jimmy is retired Marine who plays the harmonica----both having attended the Campbell Folk Art School in Murphy NC.

(I'm always amazed to find that there really are no nicer people in the world than Georgians, and I'm always glad to be back where "Southern Hospitality" is a way of life that you find so easily along the backroads!)

Jimmy has the most amazing museum quality display of artifacts from the turpentine industry in Georgia that was so important to the early economy of the state. It was very interesting to learn about the different stages, tools and progression of the extraction of this useful but toxic by-product of the tar from pine trees.
There were the ridged clay sap pots that I have always loved, the metal cone-shape (and later rectangular) sap pots, and even the very rare glass sap pots made briefly during the war....along with the hauling buckets and other tools used.

Thank you, Jimmy, for taking the time to explain that interesting history!

This shop is filled with every sort of antique and collectible you could think of, and I wish I could have spent all day there....I am definitely going back!

I loved the tool room......and then there was the bottle room......

And when I thought I saw it all......there was the enormous warehouse out back that I could have spent all day digging around in----and me without an inch of space left in my car!!!

Ahhhh.......another backroads fix! Can't go too long without one!!

(Note: books on tape really fill in the time between stops, and make two hours of driving seem like a few minutes! I listened to Randy Wayne White again, and always appreciate the Florida history, archeology, geology, and the scuba diving details that he intertwines within his suspenseful tales)


Victoria Woods said...

thanks so much for stopping by Honest Al's. Your blog is so informative. Looks like you have alot of fun.

time worn interiors said...

Great photos! We had a similar incident with trains horns when we did a show once! It was awful!

Gracie's Cottage said...

Oh wow- what beautiful homes!
And that shop - yowza...I want to go!
This sun-starved northerner enjoyed your photos so much. Thanks!


Karen S. said...

My sister-in-law moved to NC and I'm gonna visit her this year...I can't wait...your photos here are just fabulous...I love seeing new places...what a treasure town of fine old houses and that cemetery surely has some interesting stories I'm sure....and yes the ocean! Wow what a stop! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

The shop you went to looks amazing! I can't believe all the bottles in that room!

Sweet Repose-Junk Revival said...

SIGH...did I say SIGH...sorry, you got me at the ocean...I've been known not to tell a soul where I'm at and just throw the dog in the truck and drive...I could get lost you know...somewhere in a swamp...oh glorious swamp...I think I have the fever and you know exactly of what I speak!

The Victorians down there just amaze, long side the live oaks and the Spanish moss...paradise, if you ignore the crowds and wait till the snow birds leave!



Kathy said...

What a great "Florida" fix for me. Thanks. Amelia Island looked just beautiful even though you think your pics weren't the best. Nice thing to look at from up north! - Kathy

Embellish said...

Fun post I love the cemetary pick!

The Cranky Queen said...

Nancy, great pics...Amelia Island is beautiful and those homes were just breath taking! Hope Florida Show went well! Did you get my email showing the bingo number basket? Just let me know and visit me in blogland! Tiff

Lana said...

Thanks for the tour ~
you make a wonderful tour guide! :)

countrycharisma said...

Hey Nancy, What an interesting trip! Your Florida and coastal pictures always entice me! The houses, the shore, the great shop with the potter, what a great viewing! I tried to send you a comment the other night, but it did'nt go through because my computer locked, so I am sending you one this morning. You will have to let me know when you are going to KY; that is my old stomping ground (where we lived before we moved to TN). I would have loved to have seen you at the Nashville Flea Market! blessings, carrell

Chris said...

Wow, I just accidentally stumbled onto your site. I am from Florida and I live in GA now too...but I love going to Renningers to find stuff....My sister and I just went to Weeki Wachi to see the mermaids two years ago! I love love love old Florida! Thanks for keeping it alive!!!

Gin Leathers said...

It's always so wonderful reading your blogs and seeing your pics... you really should consider writing a travel book! Makes me want to go back to Fla but take the back roads. And I'm so glad I saw the part about Baxley...will try to go there this weekend! Thanks for all your work sharing this all with us!