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Florida Heritage Travel, July 2011
June 27, 2011

July 2011 News And Events

Florida Heritage Travel is the companion monthly e-zine of


The Orange Blossom Special was an elegant luxury passenger train operated by the Seaboard Air Line Railroad between New York City and Miami from 1925 to 1953. In the winter months, a section of the train also went to Tampa and on to St. Petersburg. Its route has been taken over in modern times by a pale imitation, Amtrak's Silver Meteor.

The train was the brainchild of S. Davies Warfield, the president of Seaboard Air Line. Florida was in the middle of a huge real estate and tourism boom in the Roaring Twenties, and Warfield believed his luxurious train could attract wealthy travelers and business types to Florida. Warfield's niece, Wallis Warfield Simpson, became well known as an appreciator of wealth in later years by taking as her third husband The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII of the UK.

Although Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway had led the way with train service to south Florida, the rival Orange Blossom Special also became very famous. It was considered the fastest and most luxurious train of it's time, with first class sleeping and dining cars. Fresh food was picked up at stops along the route, and all meals were prepared in the train's kitchens. The Special was also well stocked with wine, hard liquor, beer and champagne.

The Orange Blossom Special lives on in memory because of the song of the same name. It is probably America's best known fiddle tune. It was written by Ervin T. Rouse with the probable help of Chubby Wise. This tune was first recorded by Rouse, and in later years has been recorded many times by such stars as Chubby Wise, Johnny Cash and Bill Monroe.

Ervin T. Rouse reportedly lived a lonely life on the Everglade's Big Cypress Loop Road and never made much money on his great song. He played his fiddle for tips in small taverns in Everglades country. Learn about Big Cypress Loop Road and Lucky's Place on Florida Backroads Travel.


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July is when many of us Floridians would sooner be in the North Carolina mountains. Florida is hot and humid in July and it doesn't get much better until late September.

Here are some interesting events around Florida for July 2011.


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 FESTIVALS. The weather is hot and humid, so there are fewer outdoor art festivals. There are still quite a few folk and bluegrass music festivals this time of the year.

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 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. July is a good time to relax in your air conditioned home and read a book by a Florida author. Our most visited author page is that of Randy Wayne White, the creator of Doc Ford.


Santa Rosa Beach
Around The World In 80 Days. Seaside Repertory Theater, June 16-July 30. A comedy adventure by Mark Brown adapted from the original by Jules Verne. This theatrical journey follows Phileas Fogg and his servant, Passepartout, as they set out to beat the clock in a race around the world. Five actors portray 39 characters from this classic novel, in an adaptation that’s been called “ingenious and imaginative” and “a ton of fun for all ages.”


Live Butterfly Releases. July 10, 2 - 4 p.m. Florida Museum of Natural History. Visitors to the Butterfly Rainforest exhibit will have the opportunity to listen to a short talk and view live butterfly releases on the hour at 2, 3, and 4 p.m., weather permitting.


St. Augustine Beach
Music By The Sea Concert Series. This series is presented by the St Augustine Beach Civic Association every May, June, July and Septermber Wednesday from 7 to 9pm at the Pier Pavillion. Free concerts feature a wide variety of music. Prior to the concert, a local restaurant makes dinner appetizers available. This is a family friendly event so bring your coolers and beach chairs.


The Desecration Of Tommy Boyle. July 15,16, 22 & 23 at 8 PM and Sun. July 17 & 24 at 2 PM. Historic Emma Parrish Theater in downtown Titusville. This is the story of Tommy Boyle, a mildly retarded young man who has been wrongly convicted of murder. It is set in a Texas prison during Tommy's last days on death row. Part of the story is told in "flashback". It is a deeply moving, poignant story with a surprise ending. This Play, written by Neal Demaray, won the Surfside Players Playwriting contest in 2007. Neal is an actor/Writer who lives in Melbourne, Florida. The show is Rated PG13. Tickets: $10. Open seating.


The Villages
14th Annual Crafts Festival At Lake Sumter Landing, The Villages. July 9 and 10. The Villages has consistently been one of the best downtown craft venues. The show will be located at Lake Sumter Landing Market Square. The Villages is an upscale community with several downtowns and is located in Central Florida South of Ocala and north of Leesburg. It is a beautiful and successful spot to have a craft show.


See Rock City. June 22 - July 10. Lemon Bay Playhouse. This comedy/drama is by Arlene Hutton and directed by Ron Bupp. This play picks up a year after the ending of her critically acclaimed "Last Train to Nibroc". This tender and funny sequel follows May and Raleigh through the end of World War II and introduces the characters of their two mothers-in-law. A medical condition keeps Raleigh from military service. Faced with daily rejection letters for his writing, constant criticism from his mother, and taunts of cowardice from townspeople, Raleigh fights to find meaning in his new life. When tragedy strikes the family and May loses her job to returning soldiers, she discovers she must make an unimaginable sacrifice to save her relationship with Raleigh. This tender portrayal of married life, set against the backdrop of World War II, shows the best of the human spirit and its ability to overcome any and all obstacles.


Summer Jazz On The Gulf Concert. July 23. This free event is held on several different weekends during the off season in Naples. It is held at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club and has become a tradition for local folks. Lots of good music, friendship and beverages. The concert is on the green area between the sandy Gulf beach and the hotel. Bring your own chair and your favorite bug spray.


Coconut Grove
Old Fashioned 4th Of July Picnic. July 4. 1100am-400pm. Begin your Fourth of July celebration with an Old-Fashioned Picnic at The Barnacle State Historic Park. Kids can make their own kites, toy boats, and paper dolls in order to understand how different children’s lives were a hundred years ago. Prizes are awarded to those kids that complete a historical scavenger hunt. Bring your own picnic or buy burgers, hot dogs, and veggie dogs here. Music will be provided by internationally known singer/songwriter Joel Zoss from 11:30am to 3pm. After the event here, cap off your 'Fourth' with fireworks at nearby Peacock Park.

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

If these events aren't convenient for you, try here for ADDITIONAL EVENTS.

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.


Uncle Ernie's Bayfront Grill
1151 Bayview Avenue
Panama City, Florida 32401

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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