June 2015 News And Events
Florida Heritage Travel is the companion monthly e-zine of FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL.
WILLISTON, FLORIDA: IN THE HEART OF SPRING COUNTRY
State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/152581
Williston is about 22 miles southwest of Gainesville, Florida. It is a typical small Florida town that has not changed as much as others have over the years. The population is about 2,800. It is a working town close enough to the University of Florida for commuting, but with plenty of jobs in forestry, manufacturing and farming for folks that want to stay in town. For more than 25 years, the town has hosted the Central Florida Harvest and Peanut Festival in October.
The town is a major regional crossroads with US-27, US-41, SR-121 and a host of other state and county roads meandering through town. It is about 10 miles west of I-75. The area around town has a lot of horse farms. One of the town's claims to fame is that it is the birthplace of Foolish Pleasure, the winner of the 1975 Kentucky Derby. Another attraction in the area is Two Tails Ranch, an animal refuge that specializes in taking care of elephants. Over the years the ranch has taken care of more than 250 elephants.
The limestone formations underlying the area around Williston have created many interesting features including several springs that are attractive to cave divers. The two most popular of these are Blue Grotto Springs and Devil's Den Springs.
Each of these springs is set up with a vendor that can make your cave diving experience an enjoyable one. These vendors charge an admission fee, and you should check their websites for fees and hours of operation.
Train lovers will enjoy visiting Kirby Family Farm. It features a narrow gauge railway (3 feet wide) known as the Great America Railway and claiming to be Florida's largest private railroad. The farm is an educational facility and is not open to the general public. You have to visit their website and make a reservation.
RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH
The Ivy House Restaurant and Boutique
106 NW Main Street
Williston, Florida 32696
The Ivy House Restaurant and Boutique
The Ivy House is a two restaurant operation, with the other one being in Ocala. The Williston location is in a beautiful old building in downtown Willison that looks like a boarding house or large home from yesteryear.
It feels a bit like dining in an elegant antique store. There are several dining rooms and each is furnished in period pieces that give you a feeling of going back in time. The menu has a lot of variety, and is primarily loaded with good old southern specialties like fried green tomatoes, cheese fritters and barbecue shrimp and grits. Many of the entrees are southern fried, but you can find a few baked selections if your cardiologist insists.
One of their specialties is Baked Krispy Chicken served with macaroni and cheese, cornbread and a light delicious dinner roll. We had this and it was unanimously pronounced excellent. For drinks we had Good Ole Southern Tea; it was refreshing and delicious on the hot day we visited.
Other entrees include shrimp, codfish, steak, tilapia and many sandwiches and salads that are large enough to serve as a meal.
The second floor of the building has a nice little gift shop with many unique items. We had to hit the road and didn't have time to give it our full attention. Maybe next time.
FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL UPDATES
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June is early summertime in Florida. Windows are kept closed and airconditioners are humming away. The snowbirds are back up
north so the lines for breakfast, lunch and dinner are more reasonable at our local restaurants.
HERE ARE SOME INTERESTING FLORIDA EVENTS FOR JUNE:
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. We plan to add even more when we have time to visit them.
FLORIDA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS. We have an extensive list of Florida Tourist Attractions. Some of them are well known; other are a wonderful step back into Old Florida.
FLORIDA FESTIVALS. There are several outside events this time of year. Among these are outdoor art festivals and folk and bluegrass music festivals.
FLORIDA BEACHES. Almost anything you decide to do in Florida can be enhanced by spending some quality time at a great beach, and best beaches in Florida will guide you in the right direction.
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. Any time is a good time to read a book by a
Florida author. Our most visited author page is now that of Randy Wayne White, the creator of adventurous marine biologist Doc Ford, followed closely by Tim Dorsey and his lovable hero, serial killer Serge Storms.
Here is a useful link that will tell you what is going on this month virtually everywhere in Florida.
FLORIDA FESTIVALS AND OTHER EVENTS FOR JUNE 2015
Information on the towns and places hosting these events, or near them, including lodging, can be found at Florida Towns.
A few 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.
Thanks for subscribing to Florida Heritage Travel. We will see you next month with more updates and event information.