Monday, September 12, 2011

I'm getting used to this place

I had lots of company coming in for this first month, and several road trips planned as well.  Sister flew in from Alaska for  a week, and DH flew in for almost two weeks.  We planned an expedition to San Antonio, Florida, home of St. Leo University, to visit friends who live across the Lake from the school.  We drove cross country to Bradenton to visit relatives, and there we were introduced to a truly Old Florida dining experience, the Linger Lodge.  Then of course we had to visit DH's brother in Winter Park.

I learned the difference between Old Florida and the rest of Florida.  Indian River City where I stayed is Old Florida. The houses were built in the 50s and earlier.  There are certain styles, Spanish, like my house, farm style, mid-century styles.  Many do not have AC unless it was recently added.  Windows open, and there are lots of shade trees and plants that cool the walls on the sunny side of the house.  The yards are sometimes big with room for fruit trees and garden vegetables, sometimes small and easy to care for.  In most neighborhoods, the house designs vary, though there is one neighborhood in particular that looks like it came from a 1950s Florida dream, all the houses the same design but all different pastel colors. When you get into the houses, you find neat, divided 3/1 floor plans, tile or terazzo floors, big screened patios out back.

The newer parts of Titusville contain a lot of tract developments that would be at home in many other parts of the country.  Ranch style or split level houses, even some colonials, cheek by jowl with similar houses, all with attached garages and neat lawns.  They look very nice but not unique.

My neighbor and landlord is a wonderful source of information about the history of Titusville, the homes and families, also the plants and animals, and even the rocks.  There is a kind of big soft rock you see often in yards down there, it's grayish tan, and has lots of little shells in it. There are some amazingly shaped specimens, some holding mailboxes in front of houses.  When I asked, the neighbor told me it's Coquina.

I was walking around the neighborhood with Ginger every day.   I was actually getting interested in the place, and I kept looking for houses for sale, just in case.  I saw a few houses I might actually be interested in, but nothing was for sale.   The house across the street was for sale, but priced too high for us.  When we eventually did look at it, the layout and rooms were too cramped for our tastes. It had been updated, and the Craftsman features were all gone inside.  That was a shame.

Excitement!  One day, there were three birds perched on the telephone line in front of the house.  I have seen plenty of birds do that in my time, but not this kind. These were quite large long legged white birds with long  curved bills.  They looked amazing, teetering there on the thin wire.  I hurried to get my camera, but alas!  They took off.  I looked them up and found they were American White Ibis.

DH and I traveled to Bradenton where we stayed overnight with his cousin and wife in their new condo.  That year, they had bid high to get into that condo and the development was growing all around them.  A central business district was developing, with shopping, restaurants and a theater.  They took us to the Linger Lodge for lunch, saying it was uniquely old Florida.  The place was a hit with us, all right.  To get there, we wound a couple of miles through an upscale neighborhood with large brick and stone houses set back on wide lots with lots of huge old trees.  Somehow we ended up in an old 1940s-50s campground with the Linger Lodge at one end of its community building.  We dined on a deck over the Braden River, feasting on such delicacies as Conch Chowder, Alligator Bites, Grouper, Catfish,  Key Lime Pie, Orange Blossom Pie, and of course, Margaritas. 

Next:  My sister and I go on an Airboat Ride on the St. Johns River

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