"Following where my camera leads me!"

"Following where my camera leads me!"

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Enjoying Florida-the Backroads!

 It was time for a nice long relaxing drive out into the Florida countryside and the long back-roads.

all along the back roads, the highways and the by-ways of Florida.....we saw these pretty pink-purple blossoms! Who knows what they are?

Mr. Front Porch said maybe the DOT scatters the seeds all along, to brighten the roads. ??? Or maybe they just grow wild.

One of my favorite sights!!---the Citrus Center billboards! they remind me of "old Florida" of the 1940s and 1950s, I guess. Way before the big amusement park was built, and Florida was known for it's many many roadside attractions and stands. Magical places of roadside zoos with monkeys, reptile shows with crocodiles and inguanas, roadside statues of huge dinosuars and glistening miniature fairylands,  brilliant parrots and alligators, beautiful sunken gardens full of old moss draped oak trees and big flowers like magnolias, azaleas, and camellias, and glass bottom boat rides.
Old Florida, this was a 1930s or so postcard

the "old days" in Florida

 There were kiddie parks with train rides and merry-go-rounds in the hot sunshine, orchid gardens and jungle gardens full of bright pink flamingoes, otters, manatees, and proud peacocks.... and my favorites---the clear ice cold springs and the mermaids! (Weeki Wachee Springs, one of my favorite places!--and now a State Park)
Anyone remember the amazing water skiiers at Cypress Gardens?
they were truly a "big deal" back in the day!

 and the beautiful southern belle costumed ladies that wandered about in their big long dresses with colorful ruffly umbrellas.

okay......how are they standing in the reflecting water like that??!
is that Esther Williams out front maybe? LOVED HER MOVIES! This is the Esther Williams pool, it is shaped like the map of Florida.  I think the movie "Easy to Love-1953" was filmed here and others as well featuring Miss Williams?

 Scenes from "the Notebook--2004" were also filmed here (as well as nearby our city--Charleston), and the movie "the Patriot--2000" was filmed here at Cypress. Parts of "the North and the South--1985" mini-series were also filmed here, and again, parts of that one were ALSO filmed in our Charleston, pretty cool!

"The North and the South" was my all time favorite Patrick Swayze role! He played Orrie Main.  (Johnny Castle in "Dirty Dancing" was my second favorite) 
I will have to check the truth to the above movies filmed at Florida Cypress Gardens because I know "the Notebook" was filmed at the Cypress Gardens near to Charleston!! So was North and South. Not sure if what I read was correct since there seems to be some confusion over there actually being TWO Cypress Gardens. LOL
I DO KNOW Esther Williams movies were definetly filmed in Florida.
(the other ones I mentioned WERE NOT--they were filmed at the South Carolina Cypress Gardens)....nice to learn new things all the time...LOL
the Old Wishing Tree at Cypress

they look like Queens, don't they?

Back to the Citrus signs on the highways.............

gosh, yes, remember buying boxes of the pastel colored salt water taffy on ocean vacations as a child! Chewy, chewy, stuff, but we loved it! They still sell it at Myrtle Beach. Maybe in our beach stores here in Charleston, I will have to look next time. Have you had any?

you can see those bright pink purple flowers in this one!

HONEY, y'all! free ORANGE juice! Peanut brittle! butters and jellies! Hot peanuts! Doesn't this just make you WANT TO STOP AND check it out? LOL

Love seeing beautiful old historic church houses in small old towns.....

I always look at their doors, their stained glass windows, and if they have a churchyard cemetery.

Here's a bright little bungalow! Red mailbox post and red door.
Rows of neat and well tended little homes line this street

Love the scenic back roads! Look at those old old graceful trees! one right in the middle of the street! LOL

old houses, general stores, churches, and barns dot the countryside--I sure love to see them

big and tall, and covered in vines!

Beautiful green, and shady!

where does it go??

Fascinating old building!! Wonder what it was originally??? Love the green vines crowning the top of it

interesting old buildings abound.....and beautiful old church-houses! With steeples, tidy green lawns, and prayer towers and doves in the windows!

nobody here around the "hot down bar and grill"!! LOL (or is that Hoe down?) A "hoedown" is a like a big Square Dance stompin' southern dance party, right?

such pretty country!! farms......lots of farms! We saw lots of horses, cows, and Brahmas (we think?) with huge horns. We saw Florida Cracker cows as well as miniature Texas Longhorns out in the green fields. The most common cows in Florida are the easily recognized black and white Holstein cows, which are dairy cows. Farming/ranching is big in Florida.

Little roadside stands sell all kinds of things

tiny houses for sale

.......and where do Florida countryside roads lead to???! ha ha LOL

Yep, I'm finally HERE, at the bright and fun Florida Citrus Center!

I LOVED this cobalt blue seahorse....!!---but his price!!?? nope, not doing it. He was heavy solid glass. I probably should've bought him.....

Lots of snow globes and pretty plates and salt and pepper shakers to pick from

I call these "big long shell chandeliers" LOL

we have one of these in our home. I love it

Sea horses made from shells, gators, coffee cups, and candy!

and of course..........at a"CitrusCenter"..........there are oranges to purchase!! LOL Grapefruit too, but I didn't see any that day.


Lots of pretty things to look at. I shopped at two Citrus Centers. Never found the orca I hoped for for Fairy Granddaughter, but I DID find her a toy alligator here. LOL And some jewelry for her Mommy. And I got myself a piece of jewelry to remember our Florida trip with.

Lookie!!---rocks.......more rocks!!

I hope everyone is having a great week and enjoying Spring!


  1. The phlox is still blooming pretty along our highways...and back roads! You drove by places I've seen here in FL! We love driving around and seeing the old buildings and houses. You get to see a lot more at a more leisurely pace! I'm so glad you had a good time! Love the shell things for sale! I always need one more! lol Enjoy your week! It's HOT here now!

    1. Thanx for identifying the pretty mystery flowers, Diane! They were growing rampant all along the highways and in the fields!-- so pretty

  2. Your pictures are wonderful, Debbi! You captured both the old Florida and the new. I feel like I've been there! I don't like the state of Florida (bad memories) but I do appreciate the unique sights and experiences to be had there. xoxo

  3. Seeing this post makes me homesick for Florida when my grandparents moved therein 1961.
    Things have really changed on west coast since the 60's
    I love the Florida pecans or is it Pee Cans or PA Cons ?

  4. Yes, that is the wild phlox along the roads, and I believe some has been planted over the years by the DOT, and it just keeps coming back. I love the wildflowers! You found some fun and interesting old places. I love OLD FLORIDA, the way it used to be. I am glad there are still some places left like that, but they are disappearing too fast. Thank you for sharing our beautiful state as you traveled.

    1. I love Florida-- its beattiful and so many interesting things to see and do

  5. Beautiful!-- not beattiful!! Lol

  6. Loved all the old churches and the many different pictures. Looks like you had a great time.