We arrived at the Morningside RV Resort on October 17th and we took a couple days to check out the area. We are about an hour from most attractions but we have plenty of time off, so the hour isn’t so bad. Morningside is located in Dade City (not to be confused with Dade County, which is Miami), and is the county seat of Pasco county. It’s a fairly small town with a few nice restaurants and antique shops. Most things happen in nearby Zephyrhills like shopping, movies, health care, etc. Area auto traffic is typical for Florida – older drivers going too slow and not watching where they are going mixed with the younger natives driving too fast. We try to avoid some of this by using lesser traveled roads when we go site-seeing.
Soon after arriving here we went out and bought new bikes. Tom has a blue one with Jimmy Buffet/Margaritaville logos on it, while Mary’s is pink with the Cancer Society artwork. We got these to replace the fold-up city bikes we started out with but they were just too small to ride very far. We found a great trail through the Withlacoochee State Park that used to be a train right-of-way. The entire trail is 46 miles long but we usually only ride from the trail head to the first stop at about 6 miles then ride back. This is plenty of exercise for a couple seniors and we try to do it 3-4 times per week.
We followed our normal routine of using the RV park as a base and visiting the surrounding area as much as possible. We got to Clermont with our bikes several times and rode around Lake Minneola. They connect a really nice trail around the lake to other converted rail trails, stopping for lunch and drinks. One afternoon the Tiki bar was crowded and we invited another couple, who were waiting for a table, to join us. We had an enjoyable conversation and then as we were leaving they took our picture for the blog.
Another favorite was the Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg. The Freda Kahlo exhibit was also there and made for a beautiful afternoon. The museum is well worth the visit.
Speaking of St. Petersburg, it’s not the same slow-moving old town of the 50’s and 60’s. It’s hip, modern and filled with young people. Looks like a great place to live.
We also explored Brooksville with it’s Hanging Tree, so named because of an incident that took place more than 100 years ago. It’s on the square downtown.
We also visited Lakeland, Lake Wales, Tampa, New Port Richie and Crystal River. Lakeland was very close and we had intentions of watching the Detroit Tigers play ball in the Grapefruit League. Tom’s accident while working prevented us from going but we will be in the Northeast this summer where we can attend regular MLB games. Lake Wales is home to Bok Tower and Gardens, again a sight well worth seeing. Bok Tower is a “singing” tower with a carillon at the top. A professional carillonneur is there that plays songs periodically. They have a TV monitor set up in the gardens to watch him play. The grounds are located on what was once the home of C. Austin Buck who had the tower and gardens built then donated them to the state of Florida. At Christmas time the home was decorated and opened for visitors.