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Now in our third calendar year
PCR #97 (Vol. 3, No. 5) This edition is for the week of January 28--February 3, 2002.

La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
Will's "No-Miss" Things to Do in the Sunshine State

Also known as "Ladies Hit Him in Head with Shoe if He won't Go!"

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And just where does the spousal abuse reference above come from? From an old billboard that used to advertise Tom Gaskins Cypress Knee Land Museum in Palmdale, Florida. The letters were spelled out with actual cypress knees! Nevertheless, take the time to visit my Florida, a Florida not limited to the big theme park attractions or the beaches, but a Florida of both fantasy and reality, a Florida found in its parks, nature preserves art museums, restaurants, small towns, big towns, and its countryside. First, let's look at the back roads in the Bay area that can be done in a day's time.

Best Back Roads
Hernando County: Beautiful wooded rolling hills, and not that far from the Bay area!
1. C.R. 541 (Spring Lake Hwy.)
from Pasco County to S.R. 50 (Take I-75 to the northbound C.R. 41 exit in Pasco County to Brooksville).
2. C.R. 484 (Mondon Hill Rd.) to U.S. 41: Simply stay north on Spring Lake Hwy.-- where it ends at S.R. 50, it automatically becomes Mondon Hill Road. Continue north then west to U.S. 41 in Brooksville.
3. C.R. 572 (Powell Road) from Spring Lake Hwy. to U.S. 41.
4. Cedar Lane from S.R. 50 to Powell Rd. (be sure to eat the Deep South Bar B Que at the intersection of SR 50 and cedar Lane for great home cookin' and great service.
5. C.R. 576 (Haye Rd.) from Spring Lake Hwy. to Culbreath Rd. Proceed straight beyond Culbreath Rd. and stay on Ayres Rd. to U.S. 41.
6. C.R. 481 (Snow Memorial Hwy.) from U.S. 41 to Inverness.
While in Brooksville--visit Rogers Christmas House, McKethan Lake Recreational Area, Hickory Hill SPJC Observatory, and Pappa John's Italian Restaurant.

Pasco County: Same rolling hills and even closer to Tampa:
1. C.R. 41 (Blanton Rd.)
from S.R. 52 in Dade City north to S.R. 50 (becomes C.R. 541 or Spring Lake Highway at the Hernando County border). Hilltop views are breathtaking.
2. Bellamy Brothers Rd. from S.R. 52 (just west of I-75) to Powell Road in Hernando County. Not as hilly as the others, but classic rural Florida.
3. Ft. King Hwy. from Dade City to Zephyrhills has a hill top view that is sudden and unforgettable.
While in Dade City visit the restored old County Courthouse.

Hillsborough County:
1. Williams Road
from Fowler Avenue to U.S. 92.
2. C.R. 39 from S.R. 60 to S.R. 674 in Ft. Lonesome (you'll see why it was named that once you get there).

Pinellas County:
1. Haines Rd.
from U.S. 19 to 9th Street North in St. Petersburg. This is one of the oldest and funkiest streets in Pinellas County. Check out the old one story buildings along this road.

Northern Florida:
1. Falling Waters State Park:
Has Florida's tallest waterfall at over 90' in height. Outside of Chipley.
2. Florida Caverns State Park: Batman would be proud, you'll be impressed. Located in Marianna.
3. St. Augustine: America's oldest City is one of its most charming. Visit the Castillo de San Marcos, the Bridge of Lions, and marvel at the opulent architecture of one of Henry Flagler's former hotel now known as Flagler College. If staying overnight, you must simply stay at the Casa Monica hotel.
4. Tallahassee: Alfred B. McClay Gardens, which was covered two weeks ago in the NCPCR.
5. Torreya State Park: Outside of Bristol is like stepping 500 miles north into the southern Appalachians, both in geographical and botanical appearances. Breathtaking views of the Appalachicola River which lies at the bottom of ravines almost 200' high.

Central Florida:
Orlando
--visit the "real Orlando, the City Beautiful" don't limit yourself to the theme parks!
1. Lake Eola Park: This downtown park features a large lake bandshell, Japanese pagoda, Japanese stroll garden, a Confederate War Monument (yes, Orlando was part of the Confederacy during the Civil War) and paddlewheel boats shaped like swans-great place to bring a date.
2. Harry P. Leu Gardens: Covered two weeks ago in NCPCR.
3. Maitland Art Center: This former artist colony established in the 1930's, with lots of Mayan fascia on its buildings, is now an arts and cultural center in the town of Maitland.
4. Orlando Science Center and Loch Haven Art Center: All located within a block of one another spend at least several hours at these fine cultural and science centers.
5. Charles Hossmer Morse Gallery: In beautiful Winter Park, has the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany work in the world, as well as works by art nuveau artisan Alphonse Mucha.
6. Wekiva Springs State Park and Howard A. Kelly Park: The fresh water springs at these parks are outstanding. Go tubing down Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park, or canoeing the Wekiva River at Wekiva River State Park.
7. Maison et Jardin Restaurant: Want to really impress someone? Take them to this fine restaurant located in Altamonte Springs. Reservations and proper attire are a must.
8. Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival: This annual event, usually held in early spring is one of the finest of its type in the nation.

Lake Wales-- Bok Tower Gardens. Probably featured in more post cards than any other Florida attraction, the bell tower and carillon are gorgeous. At 325' above sea level, this is peninsula Florida's highest point.
Spook Hill is where cars allegedly roll up hill.

Clermont--Citrus Tower: Located on US 27 in Lake County, the view from the Citrus Tower is incredible as it is, like Bok Tower, perched high along the Florida Ridge.

Plant City: Named after railroad magnate Henry B. Plant has a beautiful model train display at the 1914 High School. Every third Saturday a classic car show is done downtown, and eatin's good and plentiful at Buddy Freddys, Snellgroves, Pesos and Porters (all good home cookin), or Andrew's on the Park for healthy fare.

St. Peterburg: Has the Salvador Dali Museum, featuring many works from this master of the surreal. There is a gift shop on premise. For the classic car enthusiast, the Biff Burger on 49th Street is as close to paradise as it gets. And yes, they have tater-tots! And don't miss Sawgrass Lake Park, the Pier, and the Don Ce Sar hotel out on St. Pete Beach. Also, when in St. Pete Beach, go to Woody's for a good meal and good view.

Tampa: Where to eat: Classy-- Bern's Steak House and Donatello's. Nice view-Jimmy Macs and the Colonnade. Good Cuban- La Fonda, El Fogon and La Teracita. Good Spanish-the Columbia. Good Pizza- Westshore Pizza. Good and cheap home cookin'--Martha's.
The University of Tampa is a former opulent hotel of railroad magnate Henry Bradley Plant. Well known for its minarets, this one of Tampas's most recognizable landmarks.
The Tampa Theater is a beautifully restored 1920's theater with twinkling stars in the ceiling with rolling clouds, and a live person playing the mighty Wurlitzer organ. Some of the most artistic films in the world of cinema are shown at this public treasure.
The Sulphur Springs Tower, a remnant of a once thriving tourist industry sits vacant along the Hillsborough River just west of I-275.
Port Tampa, with its Victorian houses and small town appearance is a gem in Tampa's crown.
Gasparilla Sidewalk Art Festival, usually held in February has great art works for sale.

Bradenton: Bishop Planetarium.

Sarasota: Marie Selby Gardens (featured two issues back), classical impressionistic art by the European masters at the Ringling Museum of Fine Art, and St. Armands Key with its upscale shops and restaurants, including the Columbia Restaurant-great beach too.

Ft. Myers: Thomas Edison Home and Garden.

Collier County: The Big Cypress National Preserve.

Ft. Lauderdale: Ft. Lauderdale Beach is clean and world class. The arts abound and thrive in this city with many galleries, and the nickname "the Venice of America" is well earned due to the hundreds of navigable canals. Boat tours of these canals are worth the money and time. For Polynesian fare, you must visit the Mai-Kai.

Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties: Hands down, the Everglades National Park.

Miami:  Love it or hate it, this is Florida's premiere International city with almost unlimited things to see and do:
   See a staggering amount of cruise ships and cargo ships at the Port of Miami.
   Want to escape on a seaplane to the Bahamas just like Al Capone did? Try a Chalks Sea Plane at Watson Island across from the Port of Miami.
   The South Beach of Miami Beach has the largest concentration of Tropical Deco architecture anywhere on earth. Crazy as it is, at least once in life you owe it to yourself to stroll Ocean Drive.
   Art Galleries are too numerous to mention, but the Bass Museum is a good start.
   For all of the festive atmosphere at the South Beach, the Holocaust Memorial is a sobering, somber, and powerful reality check.
   Fairchild Tropical Garden was covered two weeks ago.
   A smaller, inland version of the South Beach would undoubtedly be Coconut Grove with its trendy shops and restaurants.
   For the airline enthusiast there is Miami International Airport, Florida's busiest airport, with more flights to Latin America than any other North American city, as well as the largest volume of air cargo in the country.
   Dug from a limestone quarry with a natural spring is the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables. Also in Coral Gables is the John Gifford Arboretum on the University of Miami campus, the grand and glorious Biltmore Hotel, and Place St. Michelle, a 1920's hotel designed as a rural French inn.
   Lastly, the Miami Space Transit Planetarium directed by beloved astronomer Jack "Keep Looking Up" Horkheimer.

Next week we will take a look at television shows filmed in or taking place in Florida. We'll discuss classic oldies like Flipper, Gentle Ben, and Surfside Six to the more recent Miami Vice and Second Noah. So stay tuned to Nolan Canova's Pop Culture Review!


"La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova