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End the Summer at the Pensacola Seafood Festival – September 23 – 25th

The Seafood Fest has lots to offer and is a nice way to spend the afternoon or the evening.  The seafood is local and fresh from the Gulf of Mexico and served by local restaurants.  You can enjoy shrimp, crab, scallops, grouper, alligator, crawfish, and for the folks who don’t love seafood you will find a large assortment of food including hot dogs, burgers, chicken, and nachos.  While enjoying festival goodies you can wander around and check out the local artists selling paintings, photography, ceramics, etc.  Enjoy the live bands, the chefs are doing cooking demonstrations, and as always the Florida Sun is shining.  What more could anyone want from a day.  The beauty of a festival in Pensacola is the beach.  You can stay in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Navarre, or any of the beach towns in the area that you love.  This is a great vacation stop and a nice celebration at the end of the summer.  Cool weather is coming, and I for one can’t wait.

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Summer Pasta Salad For Six

  • 1 – Box Large Pasta Shells
  • 1 Cup Feta Cheese Crumbled
  • 1 Pt. Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Pt. Red Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 3 English Cucumbers diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Mint Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Parsley Chopped
  • 1 Rib Celery Chopped, if you have fresh Celery Leaves you can chop them in too
  • 2 Tbsp. Chopped Black Olives
  • 2 Cups Low Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Clove Garlic Minced
  • The Zest of One Lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil to toss with the pasta after draining
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Cook Pasta according to package directions, drain and place on a sheet tray and toss with olive oil to cool

 

Once pasta is cooled place in a large bowl and fold in the rest of the ingredients.

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Planning a Summer Escape is not easy when you live life surrounded by beauty in Solivita

A Summer Escape for the Day, the Weekend, or a few weeks, any of these choices or all are fun. Below are a few suggestions for a Fun Florida Adventure.

A Day in Deland

Visit the Museum of Art and/or take a walk through Historic DeLand and enjoy a collection of more than a dozen sculpture installations. Two of the pieces you will enjoy are the Continuation and Jeugo, they are located prominently near City Hall and in front of the Bank of America Building at 230 North Woodland Ave. Both the Sculpture Walk and Public Art is a collaboration between the museum and the city of DeLand. The artwork changes annually and features a variety of styles and media including concrete, aluminum, stainless steel, PVC, bronze, and cooper. Enjoy the Public Art in the Utility Box Art Wrap Program which features vinyl wrap installed onto the utility boxes.

After taking an art walk or enjoying the Permanent Collection and exhibits at the museum enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants in town.

A Weekend Trip to Wakulla Springs

Truly a weekend away from it all, casual, comfortable, and fun. Wakulla Springs is about a 5-hour drive north, near Tallahassee, but away from the typical tourist crowds. The area is beautiful with over 6,000 acres of pristine forest. The Wakulla Springs Lodge is known as the “Castle of North Florida” and was built in 1937 by Edward Ball, an industrialist. You can stay in one of the twenty-seven guest rooms at the lodge, or you can stay in the area and enjoy the nature, history and the comfort surrounding Wakulla Springs State Park.

Wakulla Springs is largest, deepest freshwater spring in the world. In 1937 Ball purchased 4,000 acres surrounding Wakulla Springs and built the Lodge as a guest house. He imported marble and tile and hired craftsmen and artisans who built everything on site. The lodge has 27 unique guestrooms, each with a voluminous marble bathroom, walk in closet and period furnishings.

After taking a walk, hike, or a boat tour in Wakulla Springs State Park be sure to stop at the Soda Fountain. The fountain is an old Marble Soda Fountain known as the “longest marble soda fountain ever built.” The marble soda fountain is 70 feet plus 6 inches long and serves Root Beer Floats, Cherry Phosphates, Ginger Yips, and Sundaes. Soda Jerks man the counter and serve guests 7 days a week with ice cream treats, hot dogs, chili, sandwiches, and chips. A flash back to the fountain service you may have enjoyed “back in the day.” When I was a child, My Aunts and Uncles had a Soda Fountain in Little Ferry NJ and this fountain brought back many happy memories of sitting at the counter, legs dangling from the stools that spun around sipping Chocolate Egg Crème Sodas.

Enjoy a walk in Fort Sam Marcos de Apalache State Park, you can take a self-guided interpretive trail that will walk you through the historic ruins or book a ranger guided interpretive tour a few weeks in advance of your visit. The rangers will make every effort to accommodate your request. When Lee and I were last in town, we stopped at one of the local markets, picked up a picnic lunch and enjoyed a quiet afternoon in the parks’ picnic area. Head over to Tucker’s Point for a scenic view at the water’s edge where the St. Marks River joins the Wakulla River and flows out into Apalache Bay.

The park’s museum displays pottery and tools that were unearthed near the fort. Stop and stay to view the short video recounting the days the Spanish, English, American and Confederate forces occupied the site. The video is informative and will tie all the periods of the fort’s history together for you.

There are lots of small towns in the area to stop and enjoy that “away from it all” feeling. Enjoy a Stay in a B & B, a Motel, the Lodge, or a hotel, but take time to enjoy the quiet beauty that surrounds you.

Extend your Weekend Trip and take a detour on your way home

If the Wakulla Springs Trip sounds like your “cup of tea” then why not make this weekend destination into a road trip and extend your stay a few more days. Simply continue your road trip to Cedar Key, it is on your way home to Poinciana, travel south and head to the Gulf Coast to enjoy Florida, the way it was before Disney Moved into town. If you love Florida fresh seafood, you have arrived in paradise. Book a fishing charter, take a walk along the hidden Gulf Coast, and enjoy the sweet, salty air. Tourists, like the condominiums outnumber the fishermen these days, but the tourists are laidback as the beaches are not the main draw. Instead, these beaches are quiet little strips of sand hidden away from lots of beach goers. Grab a book, blanket, a chair, a hat for sunshade, and find the perfect spot to spend the day.