New Smyrna Beach Florida is a beautiful city of about 20,000 people
located about halfway between Daytona Beach and Titusville on Florida's
It's about one half hour drive south of Daytona, and a bit more than an hour's drive northeast from Orlando.
New Smyrna is the vacation destination of choice for many Central Floridians.
Many condominiums and cottages in this oceanside town are owned by weekenders from Orlando and the surrounding metro area.
The beautiful white sand beaches and deep blue ocean are less than an hour away for most Central Floridians.
A Scottish doctor, Andrew Turnbull, founded New Smyrna in 1768. He brought with him about 1500 people of Mediterranean descent, many of them from the islands of Minorca and Majorica off the coast of Spain.
Turnbull tried to establish a new colony, and the early settlers tried to grow indigo, hemp and sugar cane. They also tried to make rum.
Conditions were really bad in Florida in those days. The settlers were often attacked by Indians and the insects, including gnats and mosquitos, were abundant and miserable.
Most of these settlers abandoned New Smyrna and Turnbull en masse and walked north to St. Augustine. St. Augustine was British at the time - 1777 - but not long after became a Spanish possession again.
New Smyrna Beach Florida and St. Augustine have both lived under four flags: Spanish, British, American and Confederate States of America.
Dr. Turnbull gave up his colonizing idea and moved to Charleston, South Carolina. The descendants of his Minorcan settlers make up a significant portion of the population of St. Augustine even to this day.
Not much remains in New Smyrna to remind us of Dr. Turnbull and his Minorcan pioneers. There is what looks like the remains of an old fort or storehouse downtown across from the city marina.
Nobody seems to know for sure what these ruins are all about. The most repeated theory seems to be that the settlers were building some kind of house or commercial building but stopped work when they bailed out to St. Augustine.
There are ongoing efforts to determine the origin of these ruins.
The current Town of New Smyrna Beach Florida was incorporated in 1887. Just 5 years later the Florida East Coast Railway came to town and the population of 150 began a steady growth which continues to this day.
The early growth depended on fishing, citrus and tourism. Some growth has been contributed to moonshining and rum running during the Prohibition era in the 1920's and 30's.
New Smyrna's access to the Atlantic Ocean is through Ponce Inlet south of Daytona Beach, formerly known as Mosquito Inlet. New Smyrna Beach has some great white sand beaches that can be driven on just like the ones in Daytona.