The Beautiful Northwest Florida Part One

By Sandra Coffman (wren) on April 23, 2010

When most people think of Florida they think Miami, beaches, Palm trees, oranges and Orlando theme parks. But there is much more to Florida than these things. My mother and I have seen most of it and I can truly say that there are many wonderful places that few see.

Do you know that there are hills in Florida? That there are springs, caverns, beautiful and rare trees and plants? That there are beautiful areas that will take your breath away?

Let me take you on one of our trips.  Now most of this trip took place before I had a camera so I will have to paint the pictures in words.

We will start our trip in Jacksonville the gate way to Florida or so the tourist council says.  We will go west on Interstate highway 10 though if we had more time we would use highway 90 which wanders through many tiny little towns and great views.

The first part of our trip is mostly through pine forest, lots of straight rows of pine trees. But just East of Tallahassee the land starts to rise and we find hills.  Do not laugh as to most of y'all our hills are not much but compared to the flat southern half of the state they are huge.

Our first stop is Tallahassee area. This is a beautiful area with many plants those of you from more northern areas would be able to grow. Our First stop will be at Alfred B. Maclay Gardens State Park.  This is where these pictures were taken.  The best time to visit here is from January through April with the peak in March. The Camellias start blooming in late winter and then the Azaleas around February. The Camellias are not bushes but TREES. The gardens were started back in 1923. The gardens are on Lake Hall. Boats cannot use motors on this lake so the peace is wonderful.

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Now, while in Tallahassee, you must not miss the Nurseries-there are two that are easy to reach, just come out of the Gardens and head South. Tallahassee Nursery is WONDERFUL.  I go over there at least once a year.  Not far from here is the Native Nursery. If you keep going south you will find another wonderful but small Nursery and a great State Park.

The Park is the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park.  A little piece of heaven.  Here is a huge deep spring, said to be the largest known spring and underwater cave system in the world. You may find that you recognize some of the area.  Many movies were made here.  Scenes from first Tarzan move with Johnny Weissmuller, the underwater scenes for one of the Airport movies, and scenes from "Joe Panther" a messed up version of the Children’s book "Joe Panther" about a Seminole boy, good book, bad movie.  And let's not forget “The Creature from the Black Lagoon" filmed here and in Jacksonville.

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Traveling south we will come to the Just Fruit and Exotics near Crawfordville.  A great little nursery that carries fruit trees for the south.

Keep going south and you will come to Sopchoppy a tiny town with a silly sounding name. This is a corruption of the Muskogee Native American name for the nearby river - Lockchoppe now called the Ochlocknee River.

Now we will turn west and head toward Apalachicola – town, bay and river.  Here we will stop for the night and have a great sea food dinner with the Apalachicola oysters.

Here is a map of the area we traveled with a general idea of where the places  we visited are located.  Click on it to see the roads traveled.

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Related articles:
Alfred B. Maclay Gardens, Apalachicola, Camellias, caverns, Crawfordville, florida, gardens, lake, northwest florida, Nursery, Ochlocknee River, oysters, Sopchoppy, springs, State Park, Tallahassee

About Sandra Coffman
I am a Third generation Florida Native, Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida.

My interests are in Birding, gardening, photography, reading, crocheting, traveling - though I can't do as much of that now - and surviving my Belgian Tervuren Andre the demon child.

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
o yes! dahlianut Apr 28, 2010 5:38 AM 5
Beautiful! adinamiti Apr 27, 2010 8:04 AM 10

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