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Florida Heritage Travel, May 2010
April 26, 2010

May 2010 News And Events

Florida natives and tourists old enough to have been around the Tampa Bay area for awhile will remember the dining room shown in the postcard above. Just after the Civil War, a local resident planted a kapok tree from India on his property near the western shore of Tampa bay in Clearwater. People came from miles around over the year just to look at this tree.

The 200-seat Kapok Tree Inn opened on the property in 1958 and immediately became a hit with locals and tourists alike. It offered fried chicken, broiled steak and baked ham served in a setting of fabulous antiques and tropical palms with the backdrop of the famous kapok tree and its offspring. By the 1960's the New York Times and Holiday magazine named the owner of the Kapok Tree, Richard B. Baumgardner, as one of the top ten restaurant operators in the world.

The restaurant was so popular they went public in the 1970's and opened several other Kapok Tree Inns in Florida and and Maryland. The whole operation began to founder, and finally the last one - the original in Clearwater - closed its doors in 1991. Those of us who loved the place miss it a lot.


Thanks for continuing to subscribe to Florida Heritage monthly e-zine. Florida Backroads Travel continues to grow, and we hope you enjoy these updates. Our site remains among the top 1% of all websites in the world in terms of traffic.

This past month I took a trip from Naples to Orlando and back, and added a page about the trip with a link to photos I took along the way.

I am receiving good input from site visitors who have created their own web page through the "Your Page" tab on the home page or on individual town and attraction pages. Each of these web pages has a unique URL and is a permanent part of the Florida Backroads Travel website. I also use this feature to write about places in and near my featured towns and other attractions.


May is the time of year in this part of Florida where we crank up the air conditioning in the house now and then. Most of the snowbirds have flown or driven their cars back north.

Although we miss our Yankee friends, we are pleased that the lines at restaurants are noticeably shorter, and it's easy to get a doctor's appointment the same week you call in. The lines at Publix are also shorter and the parking lot has lots of available spaces.

Here are some interesting events around Florida for May 2010.


FLORIDA WINERIES. Check the Florida winery nearest you. Many of them have wonderful weekend events that include music and wine tastings. Our site has information on 18 wineries scattered across the state.

FLORIDA MUSEUMS. Many Florida art and historical museums have scheduled events. Click on the links to find out what is going on.

FLORIDA THEATER. This is still an active time for plays and musical events in our many Florida theaters.. Check the links to find out what might be interesting to you.

FLORIDA AUTHORS. Anytime is a good time to stretch out in a hammock and read a book by a Florida author while the palm trees rustle in the warm breeze.


Artsquest Fine Arts Festival, May 6-9. ArtsQuest was born over 20 years ago as the Grayton Beach Fine Arts Festival, and has been held there as well as Sandestin. This year's festival will be held in downtown Seaside.


Around The World In 80 Days, April 16-May 9. Hippodrome State Theater. A feast for the imagination with dazzling special effects, hilarious staging, imaginative casting and a talented cast.


Fernandina Beach
Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, April 30-May 2. This festival is held each year on the first weekend in May in the historic downtown Centre Street business district. Plenty of fun, arts, crafts and even some delicious shrimp. Enjoy the Pirates Parade. This year's is the 47th annual festival.


Cocoa Beach
HAIR, April 23-May 9, Surfside Players, 301 Ramp Road, Cocoa Beach. Hair is the first rock musical, an anthem of the hippie generation. Enjoy the "Age of Aquarius" and other tunes, but remember this play is for mature audiences. Strong language, suggestive dancing, simulated drug use, nudity and anti-Vietnam war rhetoric.


Grand Opening Of Rural Heritage Center, May 15, 10am-3pm. The rural communities of Black Hammock, Chuluota, Geneva and Snowhill are coming together to celebrate their rural heritage.

Mayfaire By The Lake, May 8-9. This art show is always held on Mother's Day weekend on the shores of beautiful Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland. This is one of the biggest art shows in Florida.


Orange Blossom Jamboree, May 21-23. Camping, live music, food vendors, drum circles contests and lots of kid activities. Held each year at the Sertoma Ranch in Brooksville.


Fort Myers
The Big Bang, May 7-23. Two guys try to raise money to produce the most expensive musical ever made, a historically hysterical story of the history of the world. Florida Repertory Theater performs at the historic 1908 Arcade Theatre in the heart of the Fort Myers River District on Bay Street between Jackson and Hendry Streets.


Boca Raton
Chapter Two, May 1-16, Boca Raton Theater Guild of South Florida. This is a semi-autobiographical Neil Simon comedy about a recently widowed writer who is introduced to a soap opera actress. Both characters are undertain if they are ready to start dating.

Information on the towns and places hosting these events, or near them, including lodging, can be found at Florida Towns.

In our current slow economy, some events are cancelled on very short notice. I do my best to ensure that our information is correct and current, but I recommend you call before leaving for the event to make sure it's still on.


This month's favorite restaurant is a place I've enjoyed for years. It's in Brooksville, right across the street from the Hernando County Courhouse and under the gaze of its Confederate soldier statue. Main Street Eatery

Thanks for subscribing to Florida Heritage Travel. We will see you next month with more updates and event information.

Regards, Mike Miller
Chief Backroads Traveler

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