December 28, 2012
MIAMI – Does anyone recall Lester’s, the snazzy coffee shop and lunchroom in Miami Beach?
Today, there’s yet another Lester’s, namely the Lester’s at Wynwood at 2519 NW Second Ave., Miami, FL, 33127. Call (305) 456-1784. It’s much trendier with all sorts of events, a sort of idea place as put together by Daniel Milewski.
Find out more at lestersmiami.com.
December 28, 2012
OSPREY – Dozens of theme parks have disappeared from Florida, some more interesting than others. One park in the Sarasota area was Floridaland.
It had various themes, including a dolphin show, and a prime location near Casey Key, now one of the most exclusive places to live on the West Coast of Florida.
Today at the intersection of Tamiami Trail and Blackburn Point Road is a plain old shopping center, but it once had a lovers lane and shows with chimps feeding dolphins.
Does anyone have memories of Floridaland they would like to share? Leave comments below.
December 28, 2012
ARCADIA – When driving through the center of Florida along Route 17, this cow-centered antique town is a must stop. The city, which is west of Okeechobee, is packed with dozens of antique shops of varying quality. The rest of the town is worth a drive too; particularly notable is the 1915 St. Edmund the Martyr Episcopal Church, the U.S. Post office and back streets of historic frame Victorian houses.
Progress has definitely left Arcadia in the dust; that’s both good and bad as its done up enough to feel safe and comfortable, but missing the snazzy restaurants and art galleries that bring real money into the town. Read more
July 23, 2012
CLEARWATER BEACH – The Clearwater Regional Chamber, along with support from Clearwater Marine Aquarium and the City of Clearwater, has launched a project to artistically showcase the bottlenose dolphin.
Dolphin sponsors and artists have been recruited to showcase the talented local artists as they uniquely decorate upright 6’ tall fiberglass dolphins. The tie in with Winter and Dolphin Tale is a natural fit since Winter resides at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Read more
June 27, 2012
PARRISH – Just east of the outlet mall in Ellenton in Manatee County is the Florida Railroad Museum. It’s a museum of real trains put together by volunteers, and on weekends they take an old diesel engine, pull a couple of passenger cars, and ride up the rail to an abandoned logging “town” called Willow.
The trips take just over an hour; you get to see a few orange groves, creeks and strawberry fields. The railroad right of way is owned by Florida Power and Light; a conductor said that while the plant is fired by natural gas (pumped across the Gulf of Mexico, wow!), the rail line is preserved in case they ever need to refire the plant with coal in an emergency.
There are two engines that pull the cars, one used as backup. The cars have different histories. The observation car is basically a reworked freight car but the two passenger cars really take you back, including one that served on the Alaska railroad.
It’s a great family adventure, and the kids from age two to six seem to enjoy it the most.
At Christmas, there are Santa specials. On special occasions, the museum is taken over and becomes a vehicle for a Thomas the Tank Engine promotion. It’s a few miles past the Ellenton Prime Outlets on Route 301 on the route to Sun City in Manatee County.
Below, a video of the ride and some shots of the railroad and museum.
March 26, 2012
February 28, 2012
MIAMI – The historic interview with The Doors’ Jim Morrison, as he discusses nudity and music performances back in 1970.
February 28, 2012
A brilliant documentary shows underwater Florida, and shows how it has one of the richest fossil records from the Ice Age.
February 23, 2012
MIAMI – Television was the great medium that helped put Miami on the map; indeed whenever the city has needed a boost, television was there to help sell it.
In the early black and white days of television, Surfside 6, the ABC television show, gave the city lots of fame. The Warner Brothers show had Troy Donahue, Van Williams and Lee Patterson as detectives who worked out of a houseboat in Miami.
Also on the show was a Boom Boom Room cha-cha singer played by Margarita Sierra and a socialite played by Diane McBain.
The houseboat became famous as it was the place where killer Andrew Cunanen was captured; in fact the actual houseboat was apparently involved and was no longer in Miami, and spent a time as a restaurant in Brunswick, Ga. Many Surfside 6 boats were made by a fellow named Larry Vita under that name.
Love for some readers to give some history on the Larry Vita boats.
February 22, 2012
IMMOKALEE – While there has been a long discussion about whether or not to drill of of Florida’s coast, few remember that Florida has also been home to actual oil wells. Pictured here, Blanchard’s Everglades oil well near Dade-Collier County line on Tamiami Trail.
The best known well began pumping in 1943, after a long search, in a site near Big Cypress Preserve.
A great history online is at the website Petroleum History Resources:
Predictably, the Humble Oil Co. find sparked a flurry of lease purchases and wildcat wells. By 1954, the Sunniland field was producing 500,000 barrels per year from eleven wells at average depths of 11,575 feet. Sunniland remained Florida’s top producer until 1964, when Sun Oil Co., after spending $10 million on 34 dry holes, discovered the Felda field in nearby Hendry County.
Most don’t know that Florida today has an Oil and Gas department that monitors oil and gas drilling in the state. Click on the link above and you can see maps of where Florida’s oil wells are located.