July 2017 News And Events
FLORIDA HERITAGE TRAVELis the companion monthly e-zine of FLORIDA-BACKROADS-TRAVEL.COM
BROOKSVILLE, FLORIDA: PEACEFUL TOWN WITH TURBULENT HISTORY
Brooksville, Florida is just a few miles east of Weeki Wachee Springs on the other side of Spring Hill. It is within a long commuter's drive of Tampa and an ever increasing number of Tampa workers are making the trip.
Although a medium sized town of just less than 8,000 people, it is easy to get lost in Brooksville because of the many state and federal highways that meander through town in a most unusual way. For example, US-41 comes into town from the southwest, then turns east through town before going north again. US-98 comes in from the southeast, then turns west before going north again.
State Road 50 bypasses the town on its south side, but State Road 50A goes directly through town. All of these highway confluences result in a series of one way streets that locals have no problems with but that confuse tourists.
How Brooksville, Florida Got Its Name
Charles Sumner was a United States Senator from Massachusetts in the
years before the American Civil War. He was an outspoken opponent of slavery, and known for his fiery speeches on the subject. Preston Brooks was a congressman from South Carolina, and an equally outspoken advocate of slavery.
One day in 1856, Sumner gave a speech in the Senate that was especially insulting to the South. Brooks savagely attacked Sumner on the Senate floor and nearly beat him to death with a cane. Sumner missed the next 3 years of service in the Senate, and needed extensive therapy to survive his injuries.
Brooksville is named for Preston Brooks. His attack on the hated Yankee senator made him a hero in the South, and Brooksville was very much a southern city in the years during and after the civil war and well into the twentieth century. There has been recent criticism from many Brooksville citizens about the name of their city, but for the time being it is still called Brooksville.
The weather worn statue of a confederate soldier still stands guard in front of the Hernando County courthouse in downtown Brooksville.
The violent act that inspired the town's name does not fit with its peaceful demeanor of today. Lovely ancient oaks line the brick streets. Grand old well maintained southern mansions stand proudly in quiet neighborhoods.
The downtown area has not been gentrified like in so many Florida towns. It is a collection of interesting old buildings and quite a few that have seen better days.
It's a real town where people live, work and play.
Unlike most of table-flat Florida, Brooksville and Hernando County have many rolling hills. Some of them are among the highest elevations in Florida.
One of the most interesting attractions in Brooksville is Chinsegut Hill Manor House, also known locally as Mount Airy, Snow Hill or just The Hill. This is a historic site that was originally the plantation of Colonel Byrd Pearson from South Carolina who named his sprawling estate "Mount Airy". The house was partially completed before Florida became a state. The property has had other uses and names over the years.
The friendly laid back residents of Brooksville make this a good little town to visit.
RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH
The Main Street Eatery
101 North Main Street
Brooksville, Florida 34601
The Main Street Eatery has been serving homemade lunch, and only lunch, since it was opened in 1989 by Mr. and Mrs. Bill Bell. It is very popular with the locals who work in the nearby shops and government buildings, but it has also been discovered by tourists.
The Eatery has a delicious selection of sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts. Their offerings range from healthy to decadent. For example, you can have their house salad with garden fresh veggies, celery and carrots and a healthy dressing. Or you can also have their Buzzard Breath Chili, a spicy concoction topped with Cheddar Cheese and crispy tortilla chips. If you can eat one bowl of this hot chili, the second bowl is free.
They serve spicy chicken wings, cheese nachos, pasta salad, Greek salad, and even have a diet platter made with Jell-O and cottage cheese. All of their sandwiches are made using 97% fat free meats. They proclaim that their Cuban sandwich is the finest north of Havana. That
would include those in Miami, of course, so that is quite a claim!
My favorite soup at this cozy small restaurant is their "Bill's Famous Cajun Bean with Hamburger Soup". This delicious meal is not as spicy as the chili, and is sometimes made with three or four different kinds of beans. I once asked Mrs. Bell for the recipe and was politely refused, so I just have to keep going up there to have it when the craving hits me.
The interior of Main Street Eatery is "retro art deco", with a small counter and maybe two or three booths and ten tables. It's smack dab in the middle of historic downtown Brooksville. They even have free WiFi if you get lonely for your e-mail.
The Main Street Eatery is open from 1100am to 400pm Monday-Friday, 1100am to 300pm on Saturday, and closed on Sunday.
FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL UPDATES
Thanks for continuing to subscribe to Florida Heritage monthly e-zine. Our website, Florida-Backroads-Travel.com continues to grow, and we hope you enjoy these updates.
You can also subscribe to our Florida Blog by going to our home page and selecting an RSS feed. This way you will have daily updates. I recently added a new page to the website: Florida Tales. This feature allows website visitors to share their favorite Florida stories with us. We also revised our Florida Getaways page to provide links to getaways in all 8 geographical regions of Florida.
July is a great month in Florida, but it's starting to get hot and humid. One good thing is most of the snowbirds are gone for the summer so the lines are shorter at our local restaurants. Air conditioners are cranking away no matter where you are.
HERE ARE SOME INTERESTING FLORIDA EVENTS FOR JULY:
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 27 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 pages are those of Randy Wayne White, the creator of adventurous marine biologist Doc Ford, Tim Dorsey and his unlikely protagonist, serial killer Serge Storms, and Robert N. Macomber, and his historical novels featuring Captain Peter Wake of the U.S. Navy.
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 JULY 2017
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.
IF YOU ARE NOT A SUBSCRIBER TO FLORIDA HERITAGE TRAVELAND WOULD LIKE TO BECOME ONE, GO TO OUR HOME PAGE AND SUBSCRIBE!