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Stovall Mill Covered Bridge located in Sautee Nacoochee, GA dates to the 1890s

Stovall Mill Covered Bridge and historic marker
Stovall Mill Covered Bridge
Stovall Mill Covered Bridge

Located off of Georgia Highway 255 in Sautee Nacoochee, GA is the 38-foot-long Stovall Mill Covered Bridge. The graffiti covered bridge dates to before the turn of the 20th century. As would be expected, parking is free and there is no admission charge to view or walk across the bridge. Picnic tables are on site so you can enjoy the views and sounds of Chickamauga Creek.

Text for the Georgia Historic Marker reads:

Stovall Mill Covered Bridge

Fred Dover constructed a bridge and nearby grist, saw and shingle mill complex here in the late 1800s. The original bridge washed away in the early 1890s and Will Pardue replaced it in 1895 with the present 38-foot structure. Dover sold the operation to Fred Stovall, Sr. in 1917. The mill and dam washed away in 1964. Constructed as a modification of the queen post truss design, the bridge’s trusses have two vertical posts (with iron rods) separated by a horizontal crosspiece. The bridge was featured in the movie I’d Climb the Highest Mountain  starring Susan Heyward.

Erected by the Georgia Historical Society, Georgia Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

Stovall Mill Covered Bridge historic marker
Georgia Historic Marker recognizing the Stovall Mill Covered Bridge. The marker dates from 2000.
Stovall Mill Covered Bridge and historic marker
Stovall Mill Covered Bridge and Georgia Historic Marker
Stovall Mill Covered Bridge
Stovall Mill Covered Bridge

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

For those with more interest in the subject, I recommend the book Vanishing Landmarks of Georgia: Grist Mills and Covered Bridges written by Joseph Kovarik. Vanishing Landmarks of Georgia spotlights 56 remaining gristmills and 16 covered bridges. In addition to stunning color photographs of each structure, the guide provides a history of the site and detailed directions, including maps and GPS coordinates.

 

 

 

I’d Climb the Highest Mountain, starring Susan Hayward and William Lundigan is available on DVD. This simple story directed by Henry King, follows a Methodist minister called to a rural Georgia mountain community. There he and his city-bred wife use their love to help a small town find God. The film has limited reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.

 

 

 

 


Covered Bridges of the Northeast
 

In Covered Bridges of the Northeast, author Richard Sanders  Allen describes foot bridges, latticework, and double-decked structures, double-barreled bridges, drawbridges, and more, in locations from Maine to New Jersey. Enhanced with 150 illustrations, diagrams, and maps, the text provides complete information on bridge location, length of span, and other data. A priceless tribute to bygone days, this profusely illustrated and delightfully written book will captivate lovers of Americana and anyone interested in bridge construction.

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“Blind Willie” McTell and the 12-String Strut in Thomson Georgia

12-String Strut art exhibit in Thomson, GA.

Blind Willie McTell

Blind Willie McTell Image courtesy Library of Congress
Blind Willie McTell
Image courtesy Library of Congress

William Samuel McTier (McTear) was born in Thomson, Georgia on May 5, 1898, though some researchers contend that he was born in 1903, and his headstone gives the year of 1901. I have yet to find a source on how he became known as McTell. It is also unclear if young Willie was born blind or lost his sight during childhood. The New Georgia Encyclopedia indicates McTell attended schools for the blind in Georgia, New York, and Michigan.

While in his teens, McTell and his mother moved to Statesboro, GA, and it was here where Willie learned to play the six-string guitar.

By the 1920s, McTell had left the family home, taking to the road as a traveling musician, playing carnivals, bars, parties, churches, and street corners to earn a living.

Young and talented, McTell became popular in Atlanta, regularly playing at house parties and similar events. By this time, he had upped his game to the twelve-string guitar, an instrument that helped him project his music better in the crowded areas he often played.

By 1927, recording companies had noticed McTell and other blues musicians and he cut his first tracks for Victor Records, following that with a 1928 session for Columbia. The New Georgia Encyclopedia lists multiple studios that McTell recorded for, often under different names. Musicians of the era would often record under similar, but different, names in order to avoid contract conflicts. 

McTell was wed to Ruth Kate Williams in 1934. They were to later record several tracks together.

John A. Lomax recorded McTell as a part of the Archive of American Folk Song in 1940. These recordings, held by the Library of Congress, have been released under the title The Complete Library of Congress Recordings.

Commercially, McTells sales were declining during the 40s, and he found himself playing more on the streets. He did record for Atlantic Records in 1949 and Regal Records the same year. His final known recordings were made in 1956 by Atlanta record store owner Edward Rhodes.

Starting in 1957, McTell served as the preacher at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Atlanta and devoted himself to religious music. Blind Willie was to only live a short time longer and passed away on August 19, 1959, due to a cerebral hemorrhage. McTell is buried in Jones Grove Baptist Church Cemetery in Thomson, Georgia.

McTell’s 12-String Strut

Located in the downtown Thomson, GA area is a public art exhibit titled McTell’s 12-String Strut, honoring the locally born Blind Willie McTell. There are twelve, seven-foot-tall Stella guitars in the installation, each painted by a different artist. The guitar models were created by Icon Poly Studio and are made of polyurethane.

The installation was presented to the public in 2016 after a Georgia Department of Economic Development report suggested a public art component and providing additional exposure for one of McDuffie Counties most recognized citizens as part of the county’s tourism marketing efforts. 

Below, find images of 6 of the 12 guitars that are located throughout Thomson. 11 of these are very easy to find. The 12th however took a bit more digging. It is located outside the McDuffie County Government complex.

12-String Strut
12-String Strut

 

12-String Strut
12-String Strut
12-String Strut
12-String Strut

Posthumous Recognition

The Blues Hall of Fame inducted Blind Willie in 1981 and in 1990, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame bestowed the same honor.

Blind Willie McTell Georgia Historic Marker in Thomson, Georgia
Georgia Historic Marker in honor of Blind Willie McTell, located in Thomson, GA

In 1993, a Georgia Historic Marker was unveiled in Thomson, GA,, near the old railroad station, honoring McTell and his legacy. The text (including a few small grammatical errors) reads as follows

Willie Samuel McTear (1901-1959) was born between Big and Little Briar Creeks in the Happy Valley Community. In 1911, he and his mother moved to Statesboro, where he began his life of traveling and performing. Although blind from infancy, Willie developed a lifelong independence based on his acute sense of hearing., remarkable memory and versatile musical genius.

Willie performed and recorded under many names but favored “Blind Willie” McTell. Best remembered for his blues, McTell, had a remarkable repertoire of blues, spirituals, gospels, rags, fold ballads and popular music. McTell played from “Maine to Mobile Bay”, and at theaters, taverns, road houses, churches, medicine shows, train stations, barbecue joints, house parties, and on the streets.

His blues feature his trademark twelve-string guitar played in rapid and intricate patterns of jagged, shifting rhythms accompanying his clear tenor voice. He started recording in 1927 for RCA Victor Atlantic and the Library of Congress. He last recorded in 1956 and returned to McDuffie County shortly before his death and is buried in the Jones Grove Cemetery. Blind Willie was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 1990.

McTell has also played a considerable influence on musicians after him. Performers as diverse as Taj Mahal, the Allman Brothers Band, Ry Cooder, Jack White, and Bob Dylan have covered his songs or singled out the blind guitar player for his influence on their careers.

 

Do you want to learn to play 12-string guitar? Or maybe you are looking to upgrade your equipment. The unmistakable sound of a well-made 12-string guitar is perfect for solo gigs and band performances, especially when it was designed by the founder of influential U.S. punk band Rancid. Tim Armstrong’s Hellcat is based on the old Fender acoustic that was his go-to guitar for songwriting, and quickly became one of the best-selling Fender acoustic artist models ever. With the Tim Armstrong Hellcat-12, that same classic vibe is offered in a 12-string version that simply rocks. Whether it’s alt-folk tunes at the college coffeehouse or slamming punk with a band, the Hellcat-12 combines great acoustic tone with versatile onboard electronics and a satin body and neck finish for smooth playability, all at a surprisingly low cost.

Blind Willie McTell Music Festival

Blind Willie McTell mural located in downtown Thomson.
Blind Willie McTell mural located in downtown Thomson, GA

The legacy of McTell is celebrated each year at the Blind Willie McTell Music Festival held in Thomson, GA. Ticket prices for the event seem quite reasonable. The lineup for 2022 included Jimmie Vaughn, the Texas Gentlemen, Joachim Cooder (son of the legendary Ry Cooder), and more. For more information on the festival check their website.

Sources:

Burditt, Erin. “Guitars are Back.” The McDuffie Progress. April 13, 2021.

Jacobs, Hal. ““Blind Willie” McTell.” New Georgia Encyclopedia, last modified Jun 1, 2020.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

The Rough Guide to Blind Willie McTell is an excellent introduction to the genius that poured from his fingers. It contains 25 key tracks including some of his best known such as Statesboro Blues. Little of the life of McTell is really known and there is no full length biography. To learn more about southern blues I recommend a copy of Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast. Drawing on archives and interviews with musicians, Red River Blues remains an acclaimed work of blues scholarship. Bruce Bastin traces the origins of the music to the turn of the twentieth century, when African Americans rejected slave songs, work songs, and minstrel music in favor of a potent new vehicle for secular musical expression. Bastin looks at the blues’ early emerging popularity and its spread via the Great Migration, delves into a wealth of field recordings, and looks at the careers of Brownie McGhee, Blind Boy Fuller, Curly Weaver, Sonny Terry, and many other foundational artists.

 

 

 

 

 


The Blues Fake Book

from: The Music Stand

The most comprehensive single-volume blues publication ever, with songs spanning the entire history of the genre. Every major blues artist is well-represented, including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, Billie Holiday, Leadbelly, Alberta Hunter, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bessie Smith, Sonny Boy Williamson, and scores of others.

 

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Plan Your Golf Vacation in Volusia County Florida

LPGA Hills Course Hole 8

Where to Plan your Golf Vacation in Volusia County, Florida

Are you planning your vacation to Volusia County? Maybe you will be visiting for one of the NASCAR races or motorcycle event. You or your children might be attending a convention at the Ocean Center. Perhaps you or a family member attend Stetson University or Bethune Cookman University. Maybe you are looking for the opportunity to drive on the “World’s Most Famous Beach.”

Whatever your reason for being in Volusia County we welcome you. Now, what do you do if you are a golfer. If you have a few hours there are multiple options available for you to consider so be sure to pack your clubs!

Below is a listing of golf courses located in Volusia County. I have chosen to make this list alphabetical by city and then by course. Here you’ll find an address, website information, and a brief bit on the course/s.

This list should help you find the right course and help you get the most out of your golf game in Volusia County.

Daytona Beach

Daytona Beach Golf Club
Daytona Beach Golf Club

Daytona Beach Golf Club North                                                          600 Wilder Boulevard                                                    https://www.daytonabeachgc.com/

The North course was designed be Slim Deathridge in 1946. Mr. Deathridge served as Head Professional at the time. The course was rebuilt in 1997. This is a par 72 course with the longest tees being 6,413 yards. This is considered to be the tougher of the two Daytona Beach Golf Club courses.

Book your tee time online, take advantage of the putting green and driving range, sign up for individual instruction, or shop at the pro shop for all your golfing needs or for club repair. Grab a meal at the Sand Trap Bar and Grill.

 

 

Daytona Beach Golf Club South                                                                                                                             600 Wilder Boulevard                                                                                                                                         https://www.daytonabeachgc.com/

The South course was designed by Donald Ross and measures in at 6,229 yards with a par of 71.

Donald Ross Courses Everyone Can Play
Donald Ross Golf Courses Everyone Can Play

Ever wonder what it would be like to play the same golf courses as celebrities such as Tiger Woods, Gary Player, Mark O’Meara, and even Babe Ruth? A celebrity in his own right, Donald Ross created many of the best golf courses ever designed. Here is the definitive collection of golf courses in the United States created by Ross, the most prolific and renowned golf course designer of all time. Paul and B. J. Dunn have collected all the information you need in order to find and play the more than one-hundred public, semi-private, and resort golf courses in the United States, all designed by Ross.

Get your own copy of this beautiful book HERE!

 

 

 

 

LPGA Hills Course Hole 8
The Eighth hole on the LPGA Hills course

LPGA International Hills Course                                                           1000 Champions Drive                                                                 https://lpgainternational.com/

Playing just under 7,000 yards, the Arthur Hills designed course is a par 72 that has been rated 4 stars by Golf Digest. Hills designed this course around nature. As such it features wetlands, pine trees, and water hazards.

Memberships are available at multiple levels. Practice with ten target pins or on the six putting greens, several with sand bunkers allowing for additional practice opportunities. Book your tee time online and enjoy a delicious meal at Malcolm’s Bar and Grill.

 

 

LPGA International Jones Course                                                                                                                            1000 Champions Drive                                                                                                                                         https://lpgainternational.com/

The Rees Jones designed course is considered a favorite among touring professionals. This 7,100-yard, par 72 course is challenging enough to have earned a 4 star distinction from Golf Digest who also named it number six in its 2010 listing of top 50 American courses for women.

Pelican Bay Golf Club                                                                                                                                          350 Pelican Bay Drive                                                                                                                                  https://golfatpelicanbay.com/

Bill Amick designed this 6,800-yard, par 72 course. This course has served as host to two Senior PGA Tour events.

Book tee times online. The practice facility includes target greens, a pitching complex, a practice bunker, driving range and two putting/chipping greens. After a round of golf enjoy lunch at The Pub.

Daytona Beach Shores

Oceans Golf ClubOceans Golf Club                                                                              2 Oceans West Boulevard                                            http://www.oceansgolfclub.com/

This public course is a 13-hole, par 3 course that measures about 1,150 yards. This might be an option if you are pressed for time.

This is a walking course only. Club and bag rental are available.

 

 

 

 

DeBary

DeBary Golf and Country Club
DeBary Golf and Country Club

DeBary Golf & Country Club                                                         300 Plantation Club Drive                                                                    https://www.debarycc.com/

This semiprivate course has been rated 4 stars by Golf Digest. At almost 6,800 yards at its longest, this par 72 features water on the 9th and 18th holes. The course is a past US Open qualifying site.

Book your tee time online or sign up for private instructions. A restaurant with an extensive menu is available. You can make restaurant reservations online if you wish.

 

DeLand

Victoria Hills Golf Club                                                                                                                                          300 Spalding Way                                                                                                                                               http://www.victoriahillsgolf.com/

This 7,150-yard course was designed by Ron Garl is located on over 200 acres. The course features both water and sand hazards. Golfweek has called this course among Florida’s top 15 public courses.

Book your tee time online or over the phone. Lessons and personalized instruction are available. Do you have a big event coming up? Consider hosting it onsite. Multiple locations with scenic views are available. Be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Sparrow’s Grille Restaurant.

Deltona

The Deltona Club                                                                                                                                                 1120 Elkcam Boulevard                                                                                                                                      https://thedeltonaclub.com/

Designed by Bobby Weed, this award-winning public course measures just slightly under 7,000 yards and shoots a par 72.

Reserve your tee time online. Golf lessons are available from club pros. After your round drop into the Deltona Club Café for a meal.

New Smyrna Beach

Hidden Lakes Golf Club                                                                                                                                        35 Fairgreen Avenue                                                                                                                                            http://www.hiddenlakesgolfclub.com/

Playing at almost 5,900 yards at its longest, this par 69 is a favorite of the many snowbirds who arrive each winter in New Smyrna Beach. Despite the somewhat short distance the course features three, par five holes.

Book your tee time online, lessons are available for golfers of all ages and abilities, and when you are finished stop in to the 19th Hole Restaurant for a full assortment of foods that will leave you satisfied.

New Smyrna Golf Club
New Smyrna Golf Club

New Smyrna Golf Club                                                                   1000 Wayne Avenue                                                                       http://newsmyrnagolfclub.com/

This public course was designed by Donald Ross and opened to the public in 1953. The course was renovated in 2016. This is a par 72 course with a distance of slightly over 6,500 yards. Reasonable rates and large numbers of snowbirds make early tee times difficult during the winter months. Be sure to grab lunch and a beer at Tiano’s. 

 

Book your tee time online (this course gets very busy in the winter) and be sure to stop in to the pro shop for all your equipment needs. Amenities include a driving range, putting green, practice bunker, chipping green, and professional lessons. Stop in at Tianos for delicious Italian themed food after your round.

Are you in New Smyrna Beach and looking for pizza? Tiano’s is a great option. Take a look at my NSB pizza recommendations and find the perfect dinner for your family! You won’t find any of the big chains on this list. Be sure to support your local restaurant owner.

 

The Preserve at Turnbull Bay                                                                                                                                 2600 Turnbull Estates Drive                                                                                                                                  https://www.thepreserveatturnbull.com/

This 6,600-yard, par 72 course, designed by Gary Wintz, runs through the Turnbull Bay nature preserve. Water is to be found throughout the course.

Book your tee time online for this beautiful course. Stop in to the Pro Shop for all your last minute needs: clothes, balls, bags, shoes, gloves, and any other golf supply you can think of. The club features a snack bar with a basic lineup of quick foods. Beer and wine are available.

Venetian Bay Golf Course
Venetian Bay

Venetian Bay                                                                                  63 North Airport Road                                                                      https://venetianbaygolf.com/

Designed by CEC Design, Venetian Bay, considered by many the premiere course in New Smyrna Beach,  Venetian Bay measures almost 7,100 yards from the back tees and shoots a par 72. You start right out of the gate with an incredible 500+ yard par 5.

Book your tee time online then show up to the well stocked Pro Shop. Here you will find all the top names in golf equipment and apparel. They can even regrip your clubs for you. Private lessons are available at varying price points. Dining is available in the Champions Grille Restaurant. Members have access to the swim club and other amenities.

 

Ormond Beach

Halifax Plantation Golf Club                                                                                                                                  3400 Clubhouse Drive                                                                                                                                        https://www.halifaxplantationgc.com/

This Bill Amick designed course plays at 7,100 yards at its longest with a par of 72. The course is noted for its picturesque views and rolling terrain. New grass in 2021 has increased the quality of play.

Reserve your tee time online. A PGA certified instructor is on staff to help you improve your game with private lessons. The Tavern Restaurant offers golfers and excellent meal option. The restaurant has varied hours by day.

Riviera Country Club                                                                                                                                           500 Calle Grande Street                                                                                                                                         https://www.rivcc.com/

Expanded to 18-holes in 1954, this course has been updated several times by golf architects including Mark Mahana, Dave Wallace, and Lloyd Clifton. The course measures 6,250 yards and is a par 71. This family owned course is part of the Florida Historic Golf Trail.

Call to reserve your tee time. Once there, get a bucket of range balls and warm up on the driving range. Most greens fees include cart rental. Stop in at the Pro Shop for all your golfing needs from top manufacturers. Breakfast and lunch year round, and it appears there is a dinner buffet during the winter months.

Port Orange

Crane Lakes Golf & Country Club                                                                                                                          1850 Crane Lakes Boulevard                                                                                                                    https://www.cranelakesgolf.com/

This is a semi-private 18-hole course designed to challenge any skill level. Rates depend upon season and time of day. Par 66 course that measures 5,186 yards from the furthest tees.

Reserve a tee time online then head over to the Golf Shop for any items you may need for your bag: clubs, balls, gloves, you name it. Practice facilities include a driving range, chipping green, and a putting green. Crane’s Roost Bar & Grill offer golfers a place to rest and unwind after playing 18.

Cypress Head Golf Club                                                                                                                                       6231 Palm Vista Street                                                                                                                                     https://www.cypressheadgolf.com/

Designed by architects Arthur Hills and Mike Dasher in 1992 this is a public course owned by the City of Port Orange. This course measures in at just under 6,800 yards from the longest tees with a par of 72.

Book your tee time online. Improve your game by signing up for one of the many clinics offered onsite. After shooting 18, finish your day at Flagsticks at Cypress Head.

Spruce Creek Country Club                                                                                                                            1900 Country Club Drive                                                                                                                                       https://www.sprucecreekclub.com/

This semi-private course was designed by Bill Amick. The back tees are slightly over 6,800 yards with a par of 72. You may encounter arriving or departing planes as the course is adjacent to the fly-in. Trees and water hazards highlight the course.

Reserve your tee time online. Call to reserve you table at the Prop n’ Fore Bar and Grille with salads, sandwiches, and full entrees. After playing and eating, you may want to look into a membership which is available at different levels and perks.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Esquire is one of the premiere magazines geared toward men available today. Keep up with the latest in all areas important to you with a discount subscription. Click the photo or the highlighted link for exclusive savings and you’ll be enjoying your first issue in no time.


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Ormond Indian Burial Mound Historic Marker

Historic Marker placed by City of Ormond Beach

Ormond Indian Burial Mound

In May 1982, when Dixon H. Reeves, and his wife Harriett, paid contractors to break ground on a house site at the corner of south Beach Street and Mound Avenue in Ormond Beach, they did not fully comprehend the damage they were going to do to an irreplaceable cultural artifact. In fact, once the city manager issued a stop work order, the Reeves sued the city for damages. The property ownership reverted to Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Barron, who the Reeves purchased the property from, and the Reeves eventually received a $4,000 settlement from the city.

Ormond Indian Burial Mound
Ormond Indian Burial Mound

Where the Reeves wish to build their home was the site of a Timucuan Burial Mound. In Timucuan society, bodies were not buried but instead they were placed on top of the ground and dirt piled on top. In some instances, the flesh was allowed to decay, and the bones were bundled and placed at the mound site. At times, items owned by the deceased were broken and included in the interment.

Despite the mound having received considerable damage through the years, including digging by “pot hunters” and construction of adjacent roadways, archaeologists believe as many as 125 Timucuans had been buried on the site. For anybody caught digging on this, or similar sites, you will more likely than not be charged with a third-degree felony. See this link for additional information.

With a lack of consensus among city leaders a fund was started to help purchase and preserve this sacred site. The Barron’s agreed to sell the property to the city for $55,000. Despite confirmation on the importance of the site from professional anthropologists and archaeologists, it took an anonymous donation of $30,000, along with the fundraising drive, to help secure the sale as shortsighted elected city officials balked at the price and potential ongoing costs.

Today, the site is owned by the City of Ormond Beach and is a park in a residential area. Visitors can see the mound from all sides, surrounded by roads and houses. Parking is available across the street at Ames Park so please do not park on park lands or in the yards or drives of nearby property owners. Please do not climb on the mound as it is a fragile archaeological site.

 


Native American Mythology – $16.95

from: Dover Publications

If you are interested in Native American History and mythology, this fascinating book is one you should have in your libary. This fascinating and informative compendium of Native American lore was assembled by one of twentieth-century America’s premier ethnographer/anthropologists. Hartley Burr Alexander recounts the continent’s myths chronologically and region-by-region, offering a remarkably wide range of nomadic sagas, animist myths, cosmogonies and creation myths, end-time prophecies, and other traditional tales. Click the photo to order directly from the publisher and to see their other Native American selections. 

Sign Text

 

Historic Marker placed by City of Ormond Beach
Historic Marker placed by the City of Ormond Beach and the Ormond Beach Historical Trust

The Ormond Mound was constructed by the prehistoric people of this area sometime after A.D. 800. The skeletal remains of more than 125 early native (sic) Americans are buried in this sand burial mound. Interring bodies in earthen mounds was a common burial practice in the late pre-historic period. The bones of most of the deceased were “bundled” and buried during special ceremonies. As more bodies were buried and covered with layers of sand, the mound grew over time. The Mound is preserved as one of the finest and most intact burial mounds in Florida through the efforts of the community that worked to save this site in 1982.

City of Ormond Beach

Ormond Beach Historical Trust

 

 

This marker is placed by the City of Ormond Beach and is not a part of the Florida Department of State marker program.

 

 

If you wish to learn more about Timucuan culture there is an excellent book I can recommend.

Perhaps the definitive book on the subject is written by Dr. Jerald Milanich, The Timucua.  

This is the story of the Timucua, an American Indian people who thrived for centuries in the southeast portion of what is now the United States of America.

Timucua groups lived in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia, a region occupied by native people for thirteen millennia. They were among the first of the American Indians to come in contact with Europeans, when the Spaniard Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the Florida coast in 1513. Thousands of archaeological sites, village middens and sand and shell mounds still dot the landscape, offering mute testimony to the former presence of the Timucua and their ancestors.

Two hundred and fifty years after Ponce de Leon’s voyage the Timucua had disappeared, extinguished by the ravages of colonialism. Who were the Timucua? Where did they come from? How did they live? What caused their extinction? These are questions this book attempts to answer, using information gathered from archaeological excavations and from the interpretation of historical documents left behind by the European powers, mainly Spain and France, who sought to colonize Florida and to place the Timucua under their sway.

I also recommend taking a look at this page from the National Park Service. 

Great magazines at low prices for students & educators. Click to save up to 90% off the cover price.

Timucua Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions Courtesy Florida Memory
Bry, Theodor de, 1528-1598. XXIV. Mode of Drying Fish, Wild Animals, and other Provisions. 1591. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. <https://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/294790>, accessed 22 October 2022.

The State Library and Archives of Florida (Florida Memory), has an excellent page of Theodor de Bry’s Engravings of the Timucua. These incredible works of art date from before the year 1600. The 42 pieces are all available for viewing and low resolution copies are available for download. A sample de Bry image is seen at the left.

 Sources:

Daytona Beach News Journal

Florida Master Site File VO00240

Ormond Beach Historical Trust, Inc. “The Story of the Timucua Indian Burial Mound in Ormond Beach, Florida.” Pamphlet published April 2000.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products. 

 

Coloring Books to Relax

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Orlando Magazine-A Great Option for Locals and Tourists Alike

Orlando Magazine September 2022

I recently came across Orlando Magazine and want to share this with my readers. I think many of you might be interested.

Orlando Magazine September 2022
Orlando Magazine September 2022 Issue

Orlando Magazine provides readers with a diverse look at all that is happening in the “City Beautiful” and the surrounding areas. This is a magazine that is perfect for locals and visitors alike. They cover a wide array of subjects; it’s not strictly business, tourist, or real estate driven.

Orlando Magazine is a monthly city magazine with eye-catching, contemporary design and compelling content that is both entertaining and informative. The arts, news, dining, travel, entertainment, style, people and trends – if it’s part of Orlando’s lifestyle, it can be found in Orlando Magazine.

The issue I picked up includes the “Ultimate Farm Guide.” This article includes a look at multiple farms including Southern Hill Farms (be sure to check out their Fall Festival), Wild Flower Farm, Uncle Matt’s Organic (the juices sound delicious), Webb’s Honey, and more. As residents we already know that Central Florida is home to a diverse agricultural economy. It is sometimes easy to forget this though and by highlighting just a small handful of these stories it reminds us how important it is to support our local growers.

For those of us into arts and culture, the 2022-2023 Season Preview is a must read. From Broadway Shows at Dr. Phillips Center (Hamilton is coming back to Orlando) to the  Orlando Museum of Art  will be hosting a tour of drawings from the Casa Buonarroti Museum in Florence which promises to be a real treat, Orlando is offering top level cultural events. Orlando Shakes is making their return after being shutdown  due to COVID-19. Lovers of art, theater, dance, and other cultural activities should review the list. Orlando is truly alive with culture for everybody.

Prior issues have included best burger, a look at Ocala horse country, a celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, and more. The October 2022 issue takes a look at the fifty most powerful people in the community, a guide to the best haunts  is available just in time for Halloween (think Cassadaga, the Oviedo Lights, the Annie Russell Theater, Greenwood Cemetery, and other places that might make your skin crawl, and includes an excellent events calendar.

Great magazines at low prices for students & educators. Click to save up to 90% off the cover price.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

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Book Review: Your Sheep are all Counted South of the Border Billboards

South of the Border

Capelotti, P.J. Your Sheep are all Counted: A Roadside Archaeology of South of the Border Billboards. Pelham, AL: Whitman Publishing, LLC, 2022. Foreword by Stephanie Stuckey. 266 pages, 253 pages of text, color photos, index, bibliography, ISBN 9780794849771, $29.95.

The road trip. It’s as American as well, a Stuckey’s pecan log roll. For travelers on US-301, now part of I-95, South of the Border was, and still is, a destination unto itself. Whether you were headed north or south, dozens of billboards bombarded your senses making it difficult to not stop at the Hamer, South Carolina attraction.

 

If the road weary family needed food, drinks (alcoholic or non), a hotel room, a campsite, gas, a place for the kids to run around and get some energy out, or maybe just a good laugh at the crass commercialism of the entire place, South of the Border made for the perfect stopping place.

South of the Border
Welcome to South of the Border

South of the Border was the brainchild of Alan Schafer, an entrepreneur with a mind for marketing that comes along only rarely. Schafer opened South of the Border in 1949 as a small outlet to sell beer in response to a ban on alcohol in Robeson County, North Carolina. Thus, the name “South of the Border.” The border of North and South Carolina.

Over the years the highway system around the business changed and South of the Border grew to fill the needs of travelers. Schafer added hotel rooms and camping sites, restaurants, souvenir shops, playgrounds, and more. Putting the attraction into perspective, Capelotti states, “At more than 1,200 acres, it is more than seven times the size of Walt Disney’s original Disneyland in Anaheim, California—a roadside empire built on a bottle of beer.” (Page 2)

In addition to the roadside attraction came the advertising, the focus of this book. In this excellent book, Capelotti presents the reader with a story of several hundred images of billboards that made South of the Border famous. These images have been captured from South of the Border archives, photos from the John Margolies collection at the Library of Congress, and finally searching for and photographing billboards still in the wild; an ordeal that is not without a bit of danger due to the increases in traffic.

In a forty-year career, John Margolies created what the Library of Congress calls “one of the most comprehensive documentary studies of vernacular commercial structures along main streets, byways, and highways throughout the United States in the twentieth century.” At nearly 12,000 slides, the collection is enormous in its depth and quality. You can read a bit more about the Margolies collection on the LoC blog.

You Never Sausage a Place
You Never Saw Sausage a Place Courtesy Library of Congress

Capelotti puts forth that a reason for the success of South of the Border and for the billboard advertising is that Alan Schafer never allowed the business to be taken too seriously. The author points out that one of Schafer’s billboard trademarks was to make fun of himself, his products, and at times, his customers. An example provided is “He abbreviated South of the Border as S.O.B. and left the passing motorist to attach whatever meaning as might come to mind.” (Page 7)

The author breaks his book into chapters by billboard theme which works very well, allowing the reader to see the evolution of SOTB design. In short, but heavily illustrated chapters, Capelotti allows his reader to explore the evolution, and importance, of the billboard. As we are reminded, advertisers have only a few brief seconds to catch the attention of a driver speeding along the interstate. It is important for them to grab your attention and leave a lasting impression. South of the Border has been an expert at that for seventy years.

The billboards went through various theme changes such as a black background, a yellow background, the use of sombreros and serapes, and changes to the beloved mascot, Pedro, who evolved in appearance throughout the years but continues to make appearances. While there were changes, there has been a consistency as well. The use of bright colors, a familiar and repetitive font style, a heavy reliance on puns (often with double entendre), Pedro, and the famous mileage counter. This mileage counter made sure travelers could not miss the attraction.

Camp Pedro
Camp Pedro Courtesy Library of Congress

Shafer was known for his word play with a great example pitting north versus south. An early example started life as “Southern Cookin’, Yankee Prices” playing on stereotypes of Southern speech and Yankee cheapness. When this slogan finally made it to the public sight it had been toned down a bit to “Southern Cookin’, Yankee Style.” The point was still driven home, and if you didn’t get it, the use of both Union and Confederate flags would reinforce the meaning. In one billboard that was still fighting the Civil War, a clearly nervous Pedro, in full Mexican regalia, stands to the left looking at the flags out of the corner of his eye with a concerned smile. (page 57)

 

 

This is a fun book, but one also with historical importance. The billboard has evolved and is now often the home of competing legal firms (For the People). Electronic billboards make what was never meant to be permanent, even more fleeting. South of the Border has a nostalgic feeling for anybody who travelled south (to an extent north, but mostly south), along the east coast of America. Those road trips to Florida would not have been the same without South of the Border. Both the book and the attraction are recommended!

For those interested in even more history of this cultural icon; the American Road Trip, I recommend the following titles:

Don’t Make Me Pull Over! An Informal History of the Family Road Trip  See my review here.

Ratay offers “an amiable guide…fun and informative” (New York Newsday) that “goes down like a cold lemonade on a hot summer’s day” (The Wall Street Journal). In hundreds of amusing ways, he reminds us of what once made the Great American Family Road Trip so great, including twenty-foot “land yachts,” oasis-like Holiday Inn “Holidomes,” “Smokey”-spotting Fuzzbusters, twenty-eight glorious flavors of Howard Johnson’s ice cream, and the thrill of finding a “good buddy” on the CB radio.

 

 

Stuckey’s

Beginning as a single roadside stand selling pecans in Eastman, Georgia, by the 1950s, the name Stuckey’s was synonymous throughout the South with candy, souvenirs, clean restrooms, and the other necessities of automobile travel. During the 1960s, the Stuckey’s stores moved into the new frontier of the interstate highways, where quite often they sat alone at the exits like oases in the middle of a desert. Their bright aqua-colored rooftops were a welcome beacon for those who had been driving long distances. Travel has changed a lot since then, but Stuckey’s can still be found along the nation’s highways, still providing dozens of types of candy and nuts, plus the same mix of souvenirs, as always. Anyone need a rubber alligator or a pecan log?

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

No travel library is complete without a subscription to Travel & Leisure. Click the link or the image below for exclusive savings on this recommended magazine and get inspired for your next big trip!


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Society of American Travel Writers Monument at the Casements in Ormond Beach, FL

Society of American Travel Writers monument

Society of American Travel Writers Monument

Leroy Collins
Leroy Collins shown in his days as a Senator. Photo courtesy State Archives of Florida

On November 14, 1956, Florida Governor Leroy Collins welcomed the National Association of Travel Organizations at the Ellinor Village Country Club. It was there that morning on which the National Association of Travel Writers was organized. The NATW adopted bylaws, a constitution, and elected officers. Peter Celhers was elected as the first president.

The groups met with sessions such as “A Guided Tour of Florida,” “How to Sell Travel,” and more.

Now known as the Society of American Travel Writers, the national group has over 1,000 total members. SATW members are classified into one of four geographic areas and also assigned one of three councils based upon profession.

SATW operates upon a published set of core values including ethical standards, diversity, respect for individuals, respect for culture, and sustainability.

In June 1999 the Central States chapter of SATW met in Daytona Beach, welcomed by a $55,000 incentive package from the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. An additional $30,000 worth of promotional goods and services were donated by local businesses.

The DBACVB considered funding the visit of sixty travel writers a wise investment based upon the potential publicity in magazines, newspapers, and books. (Remember, the internet and social media had not blown up in the manner they have today.) Susan McClain, the communications director for the bureau stated, “The main message we’re presenting is that we are rejuvenating Daytona Beach and we want to attract more families.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The visitors were treated to tours of facilities such as Museum of Arts and Sciences, Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Ocean Walk (at the time under construction), LPGA golf courses, and other tourist friendly sites.

One visit of interest was a return to the Ellinor Village site where the organization had been formed forty-three years prior. To commemorate both the formation of the organization and the recent visit, SATW was able to install a small bronze on coquina plaque on the grounds of The Casements in Ormond Beach. The plaque reads

Society of American Travel Writers monument in Ormond Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

Society of American Travel Writers

In 1956, the Society of American Travel               

Writers was formed at Ellinor Village,                                                           

two miles south of the Casements. This oak tree

was planted on June 3, 1999, in conjunction

with the Central States Chapter meeting of

SATW in Daytona Beach to recognize the

founding of North America’s largest

organization of professional travel journalists

 

Want to be a travel writer? Take a look at How to be a Travel Writer by Don George.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

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Chocolate Museum and Cafe in Orlando Florida

Chocolate Museum and Cafe

Chocolate Museum and Café

11701 International Drive Orlando, FL 32821

Chocolate Museum and Cafe
Chocolate Museum and Cafe–located on International Drive in Orlando, FL

Who doesn’t love good chocolate? I am not talking about the kind you get at the local convenience store but rather hand crafted pieces made from the highest quality beans. OK, I know there are a few of you out there but for the rest of us, the Chocolate Museum and Café can be a heavenly experience. Expensive, but heavenly.

Located in the tourist heavy International Drive area of Orlando, the Museum and Café are just that. A museum and a café. Calling it a museum may be stretch, particularly for those with any kind of museum or history background. More what you have is a collection of items with little explanation or interpretive work. Visitors will mostly rely on their tour guide to provide information on what is displayed. You can visit the two parts of the attraction without the other though the museum tour is really a sales pitch for the café.

When you walk in you are greeted with display cases of beautifully molded chocolates and sweets. If you have not pre-bought your tour ticket, you pay here. The tour is not cheap at $17 for adults. I highly recommend watching Groupon for discounted tickets. That is where we go ours. With that and the sales offers Groupon regularly displays I believe our tickets were below $10 apiece. Much more reasonable and really, much more in line with what I might expect to pay for a tour that lasts around 45 minutes.

Your Tour Guide
Your Tour Guide provides background and introductory information

Your tour begins with a casually dressed guide leading you to a short video presentation then taking you into the “jungles” where you will learn about the cacao plant.

In the next room, you will learn about the history of chocolate and how this delicacy was discovered, so to speak. Chocolate has not always been a favorite taste and you will learn more here as to how it has developed over time.

Chocolate Making Equipment
Some early equipment that was used to make chocolate candies

Have you ever wondered how chocolate candies are made? The next room features displays of machinery used to create some of the most famous candies in the world.

Next, visit the chocolate sculpture room, where you will encounter the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Easter Island, Taj Mahal, Mount Rushmore, the Great Wall of China, and much more, all carved out of chocolate. It really is amazing what these artisans can create.

A Chocolate Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore recreated in chocolate
Eiffel Tower made of chocolate
The Eiffel Tower made of delicious chocolate
Great Wall of Chine made of chocolate
The Great Wall of China or should it be the Great Wall of Chocolate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the tasting! Here your guide will prepare each visitor a small sampling of various chocolates where you will learn how different manufacturing techniques lead to differing tastes. SURPRISE! All the samples you just tried are for sale right outside as you step back into the lobby area.

Samples
At the end of your tour, sample some chocolates that are available for purchase
Display Cases loaded with chocolate from around the world
Display cases to tempt visitors with chocolates from around the world

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The café offers a wide variety of chocolates made on site and from artisan chocolate companies. If you are looking for a snickers bar, head on down the road.

The café features a large assortment of coffee drinks, baked goods, pastries, sandwiches and gelatos. I will tell you, the hot chocolate is delicious and the gelatos were amazing. We did not try any of the sandwiches but we did indulge with several pieces of chocolate to go. As would be expected, prices are not cheap and your bill can add up quickly.

Pierre Cheese Market

We had a good time even though from a “museum” point of view it fell flat. I would not recommend this for families however. It is not a cheap visit and kids probably will not grasp the difference between these chocolates and a Hershey bar. It is good for a couple’s afternoon out or maybe with a few friends.

The museum and café are open noon until 6 p.m. every day. Museum tours begin at 1 p.m. and run every hour with the last tour at 5 p.m.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

Chocolate for Beginners
Chocolate in Mesoamerica: A Cultural History of Cacao
Great Moments in Chocolate History w/ 20 Classic Recipes
Chocolate Wars


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Bataan-Corregidor World War II Monument in Kissimmee, Florida

The fall of Bataan and Corregidor in the Philippine islands to Japanese forces were arguably the
worst defeats of United States forces during World War II.

General Douglas MacArthur. Photo courtesy Library of Congress

In VERY simplified form, General Douglas MacArthur and his troops in the Philippines were tasked with holding back the advancing Japanese Imperial Army. Their objective was to keep Japan out of the American territory of the Philippine Islands.

General MacArthur consolidated his troops on the Bataan Peninsula where a combined force of American and Filipino troops were able to hold back the onslaught of Japanese troops for three months, a crucial delay to the plans of Japanese leadership.

After escaping Corregidor during the night of March 12, 1942, General MacArthur later uttered his famous “I Shall Return” speech, a promise he made good on in 1944.

On April 9, 1942, Bataan fell. Major General Edward P. King surrendered the allied troops to Major General Kameichiro Nagano, beginning what would become a further nightmare for the already hungry and weary troops. The surrender of Bataan would lead to the surrender of Corregidor less than a month later.

A Map Showing the Route of the Bataan Death March

 

It was at this point, where Japanese soldiers ordered their prisoners into a series of marches that collectively are known as the Bataan Death March. This march was approximately 65 miles with little to no food and water.

Online sources vary as to the number of prisoners and to the number who perished. A good estimate as to the number of prisoners forced into the march is 75-80,000 combined U.S. and Philippine troops. Death estimates from the forced march and conditions at Camp O’Donnell range to as high as 20,000 soldiers.

The Monument

Fast forward to the 1990s in the city of Kissimmee, FL. In 1991, the city approved the project and dedicated a quarter acre plot at Monument Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard for the erection of a memorial honoring those who served in the Philippines during World War II. The men who spearheaded the project were former Kissimmee City Commissioner Richard Herring and resident Menandro de Mesa who founded the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial Foundation. The Foundation set a goal of raising the roughly $125,000 needed for the creation and installation of the monument. The Osceola County Tourist Development Council contributed $10,000 toward the goal.

A Tribute to Courage
A Tribute to Courage

Sculptor Sandra Mueller Storm received the commission to create the haunting memorial. Storm is a renowned artist with multiple large commissions to her credit including “The Courage to Challenge” in Vierra, FL, “Called to Serve” in Hillsboro, KS, and “Melody of Arts” in Panama City, FL. Her work is featured in major collections throughout the country. In discussing her work she stated, “I think my major strength as a sculptor is the intensity of my involvement in what I create in bronze and the emotional impact my sculptures have on those who view them. Teaching sculpture for many years has also showed me how art can change lives, especially of children and the elderly.”

General Bruce Holloway who gave one of the speeches at the monument dedication. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

On Saturday, May 20, 1995, a day in which Florida spring rains would not hold off, the city unveiled the life sized bronze statue to a crowd of several hundred. The program included a wreath laying, and keynote speeches from Philippine Brigadier General Tagumpay Nanadiego and retired United States General Bruce Holloway.

The statue features three figures huddled together showing the pain and desperation of the march. The scene depicts a Filipina woman offering care and water to two soldiers, one Filipino and the other American.

Dedication Plaque
Dedication Plaque for the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial at Lakefront Park in Kissimmee, FL

 

 

 

 

 

 

The text of the dedication plaque reads:

This monument is dedicated to the Americans and Filipinos who served in defense of democracy in the Philippines during World War II, especially in Bataan and Corregidor and on the infamous death march.

Photos of the monument

A View of the Full Monument
Detail of the Pain Soldiers and Civilians Felt
Anguish on the Face of a Filipina Woman Providing Water to Philippine and U.S. Soldiers
Pained Soldiers Who Were on the Bataan Death March Receiving Water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur 1880-1964

 

 

Resources

For those wanting to learn more about the Philippines in World War II there are many excellent resources to consider. I recommend taking a look at these four titles.

Bataan Death March A Survivors Account
The Bataan Death March: Life and Death in the Philippines During World War II

Triumph in the Philippines


 

 

 

 

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.


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