Monday, June 28, 2010

Florida, Off the Interstate.

Too often we have driven the 450 miles from St. Petersburg to Pensacola in 7-9 hrs on interstate roads.  Really tired of that.  For the last few years, we have been trying to slow down and just enjoy our days; seeing and stopping more often when something has perked our interest.  The coastal route up the west side of Florida keeps you off the beaten central path and has plenty to see but this time we opted to go a bit further north before turning west and to drive the old Highway 90.

 It was the only path years ago for those traveling east or west and it linked some of the oldest towns of Florida.
 Towns everyone know such as Pensacola, Tallahassee, and St. Augustine have been existing since the time of our first Spanish explorers.  Ones less recognised, like Milton, Holt, Monticello, Madison, Defuniak, Chipola, Marianna etc. started by farmers and traders before Florida was a state and still under Spanish control and even others;  those further off the public's mind, like Lee-"Little but Proud",  and Two Egg - a name worth Googling; are all on the historical path of Highway 90.

This trip we had our 14 yr. old nephew along with us and 'thought' we could enrich his base with some things he never saw before. Sure.  How can you show a kid with an Iphone loaded with apps, whats outside his air conditioned environment?  His world, his rabbit hole,  lay at his command within a 3 inch screen just 2 thumbs away.  The stories of Two Egg, Monticello, Madison and comments on the rivers, farms and tons of unusual visuals for us town folk, fell on deaf ears.........Ooops, I didn't notice, he is sleeping again.

Stopped a number of times to take a few photos for this blog and to stretch my legs. One of the most pleasurable was a stop at Monticello.

  Highway 90 runs directly into a town circle and then leaves on the other side.  In the center of the turning circle, seems to be the old county court house, the center of government a century ago.  It is still kept in good repair and the traffic flow around it works well and allows pull offs for parking and us tourists to take photos and take a walk about.

 Across on one corner is the Perkins Block building, designed as an Opera House.

 Amazing that in such a rural area, such a fine building was erected to seat 600.

 The building is in excellent condition and the details are amazing.  Beautiful to see how craftsmanship and artistic design worked hand in hand.  The brick work often caught my eye, even on the side and back of the building....spaces left blank and others full of detail.

 Definitely built in a different time by those with different standards.

Other establishments have been retrofitted for todays purposes. A gas station refitted as a restaurant. Warehouses now storefronts, dead space now a garden and seating area beside a bakery,

 display racks for cane poles of different lengths, diameters and finish.

  An old tree near the road was not cut down to make way for....progress, but a special space was made for it to remain standing.

 The tree remains standing and cars could go around.

That works just fine.

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