Searching, Singing, Sunning and Smiling…..

December 5, 2012

Everything seems to be bursting with color this morning in Jonathan Dickinson State Park following an overnight rain and a gorgeous sunrise.

After coffee we set off for a hike to enjoy the fresh morning air, the vibrant fall colors and to see how many critters we might find. We never know what we will see, which is part of the fun!

On our hike today we were treated to an Alligator enjoying the sunshine, a Robin singing away it seemed just for the pure joy of doing so and a Mockingbird searching for bugs.

Sunning
An Alligator enjoying the sunshine
A male Robin singing away high up from his perch in a dead tree
A Mockingbird searching for bugs
A Mockingbird searching for bugs

Being able to experience nature’s beauty fills me with pure joy and keeps me Smiling!

Hobe Sound, Florida – Our home for the next two months…..

Tall Pines, Palmettos and Tall Golden Grass
Tall Pines, Palmettos and Tall Golden Grass

Beautiful Hobe Sound, Florida, with its subtropical climate, lies in what is called the Treasure Coast region of Florida. The Treasure Coast region is located on the state’s Atlantic coast, comprising Indian River, St Lucie, and Martin, and in some definitions, Palm Beach Counties.

The name, Treasure Coast, refers to the Spanish Treasure Fleet lost in a 1715 hurricane. The 1715 Treasure Fleet was a Spanish treasure fleet returning from the New World to Spain. Some artifacts and even coins still wash up on Florida beaches from time to time. Wouldn’t that be a treat to find some Treasure Fleet coins while strolling along the beach!

The name Hobe Sound comes from the name of the Jove or Jobe Indians, one of the Native American groups that lived in the area before European settlement. The Spanish pronounced the name “Ho-bay,” which has evolved into the current name “Hobe”.

Hobe Sound is a quite, easy-going, laid back, beachside community with a population of about 12,000. The average high temperature in January is 74 degrees with July and August being its hottest months with average temperatures around 90 degrees. Thanks to some Hobe Sound web-sites for supplying some of the historical and demographic information that I included on this page.

Leaving Wildwood on Sunday morning, December 2nd, and arriving in Hobe Sound mid-afternoon we were treated to a delightful, light drizzle. We have been told that this fall has been unusually rainy and we can see the results of this extra moisture – the landscape here is very green and lush.  I noticed on our ride down the trees and other foliage were brilliant with fall colors of gold’s and reds.

This is our fourth winter trip to Hobe Sound. It began as a way to spend time with family and has turned into an annual event. We certainly enjoy this part of Florida; the weather, the ocean and especially the laid-back, easy-going atmosphere of this quite town.

We are thrilled to have this time to spend with family!

Waiting to be taken out on the Loxahatchee River!
Waiting to be taken out on the Loxahatchee River!
A beautiful hiking and biking path.
A beautiful hiking and biking path.
A small lake in Jonathan Dickinson State Park
A small lake in Jonathan Dickinson State Park

A Day with friends…..

The day before we left Wildwood, FL we spent the day with our friends Karla & Larry touring around the unique town of Inverness, FL. This was our first visit to Inverness. We met at Stompknockers On the Square, where we were treated to our very first gator nuggets.  Larry, said that we would never again look at a gator without thinking of eating this appetizer and he was right. This just might be the first and last fried gator nugget for this girl. We enjoyed a very nice lunch and then walked over to Cooter Pond Park.

Cooter Pond Park is within walking distance of the historic, downtown area of Inverness. The parks’ boardwalk, over the pond, allows you the opportunity to view its inhabitants from a high and safe place.

As we walked along the boardwalk we observed Cooter turtles, bass and alligators swimming among the tall reeds, Lily Pads and Water Hyacinth. We spotted a Little Blue Heron and several Kingfishers fishing for their lunch! Good thing we did not have to do the same!

Cooter Turtle
A Cooter Turtle (yellow phase)
What Lies Amoung the Lily Pads?

As we were walking to our car, after this fun walk, we heard and then spotted two Pileated Woodpeckers, tap, tap, tapping away. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a clear, sharp shot, because they were too high up in the trees.

It was a very fun day and our friends were wonderful hosts. I am sure we will return to this unique and beautiful area. Maybe next time we will go have a milkshake at the old Rexall Drug Store and chat with the bikers!

"Look Mom I Caught a Leaf"
“Look Mom I Caught a Leaf”
Water Hyacinth
Water Hyacinth in Cooter Pond

From Hiking Boots to Dancing Shoes…..

We enjoyed a lovely ride today, leaving the serenity and beauty of the woodlands with breathtaking sunsets, chances of leisurely walks and a rare bird sighting or two, to a more commercial environment filled with the sounds of music, people enjoying life to its fullest and golf carts (what!?!).

This afternoon we arrived in Wildwood – a skip, hop and jump from the ever exciting, fun-filled, they don’t let the grass grow under their feet kind of place – “The Villages”. And, by the way a very beautiful place with lots of green manicured lawns, flowers of every variety and color, palm trees, water falls and fountains, walking and biking trails, (Golf Cart lanes) and lovely architecture fitting to the environment. There are homes to meet every pocketbook, grocery stores, shopping, eating places, recreation centers, performing art centers, gyms, libraries, hospitals, clinics and much, much more. One never has to drive a car again, just get your own,  your name on the front, color to your choosing, two or four seater – Golf Cart.

I love The Villages, where life seems “lived”, people enjoying themselves – golfing (or just riding around in a Golf Cart), biking, playing ball of every sort (Pickle Ball anyone?), performing activities that keep you young and young at heart. The Village people often refer to themselves as “frogs” – “we are here till we croak”.

Hence the need for Dancing Shoes while visiting this location. Well, I might do a line dance or two, if truth be told I love it, but you probably won’t find the hubby out on the dance floor too often. In the Town Square, everyday of the year, you will be treated to a live performance – music of every genre and don’t let your heart be troubled wine and beer are served! I guess it helps get those feet moving. Just watch out for the wine and beer drinking, golf-card driving, can’t wait to get home, people at the end of the evening!

We will be here for two full days and we hope to enjoy a little music and some good company. We will be meeting some great friends, in one of the three Town Squares, for lunch and some strolling-people-watching entertainment while catching up on events. Let’s hope we don’t get run over by a ????.

I hope to have a few Golf Cart photos for your viewing enjoyment in a following post.

An interesting person with an interesting way-of-life……

Today, he was dressed in work clothes – jeans, boots, hoodie, gloves and he was working in the woods. He looked the same.

We returned to this beautiful place to see what was new and what stayed the same! We spotted him while driving along this woody road as we hunted for the Fox Squirrel with my telephoto. We stopped our car to chat. He remembered us as we did him; an old friend who last year was a new friend and to think – I don’t even know his name.

We met last year when we were camping at Three Rivers State Park. We would be hiking in the woods and he would be working on the trail. We also would meet up with him – us hiking in the woods and him riding his trail bike on his day off. He was always friendly and seemed ever so happy and the same was true this day.

He loves to share his experience and appreciation for nature never seeming too busy or in a hurry for a chat. I guess he is just happy doing what he loves – volunteering in Florida State Parks enhancing the trail systems, finding Bald Eagle nests (which he shared with us last year) and a sundry of other woodsy tasks.

His work is hard, his life style simple and his rent is free. He is a full-time Rv’er and he can stay in a park for 4 months then he has to move on to the next one – rotating between his favorites. In his spare time you will find him hiking, biking or kayaking the rivers – a way of life that would suit very few, but just right for him it would seem. He is definitely an interesting person with an interesting way-of-life.

In parting today I said “You look so happy!” and he replied – “Yes, I am very happy!”

We hope to meet up with him again and I must remember to ask his name not that it really matters. And, next time just maybe I will get my photo of the elusive Fox Squirrel.

Two Side Trips…..

Two side trips……

Covington, LA

When we were in Purvis, MS we drove to Covington, LA to spend the day with dear friends whom we have known for a very long time. Their names are Brenda and Louis and Rhonda and Paul. We met at Rhonda and Paul’s beautiful home. Last time we all were together was about seven months ago so we spend time catching up on everyone’s activities prior to heading out for some good Louisiana seafood. We had lunch, on Rhonda’s excellent recommendation, at Chimes, a fairly new restaurant in Covington. We had a wonderful lunch and then went back to their house for dessert and more conversation. On our way west in March we hope to stop at Fairview State Park so we can spend more time with these dear friends.

Torreya State Park, FL

Being rained in is no fun so we decided to make the most of the day leaving Lake Seminole Park in a day long down pour that started before sunrise and headed to Torreya State Park looking for some sunshine and a new experience! We found both!!

The Torreya tree is one of the worlds’ rarest and oldest known trees and grows among the bluffs and ravines of the Apalachicola River Valley in Florida. There are only about 200 of these trees left.

Enjoying retirement: On The Road & At Home