Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Here's Looking At You, Stephen Foster
Gary stuck to his word, and spent most of today exploring this beautiful park. From the looks of the 145 pictures he took, he did some SERIOUS walking. He seems kind of tired, so that explains it. I'd like to show you all of the pictures, but I am limited to only post a few here on my blog. I picked out a few favorites, and will leave it up to Gary to post all the rest on his Facebook page. Let's start at the beginning, and I'll try to describe what you are looking at. First is the ranger station at the entrance to the park. We got the impression just by seeing that, that we were in for a nice stay at a well-maintained park. By the way, the park staff and volunteers here are some of the friendliest that we have ever encountered. We can't remember the last time we actually got thanked for staying at a place, and that's exactly what happened here. The big yellow building is the Stephen Foster museum. It was built around 1950, and is gorgeous inside and out. Gary tells me that there are lots of pictures and displays, and some really cool hand-carved dioramas that actually have moving parts. They are true works of art from what I can tell. The big tower is the Carillon, a 200 foot structure that was completed in 1957. It's peak contains 97 tubular bells that regularly play some of Stephen Foster's songs. We have enjoyed hearing them from the campground. Behind the Carillon Tower is the craft village. It consists of several buildings where goods are produced and demonstrations are shown. Many of those goods and others that are made by local craftsmen, are sold in Cousin Thelma Boltin's Gift Shop. The two-story shop also contains a wide variety of park souvenirs, as well as food and drinks. You can also rent bicycles there. There's a gazebo that overlooks the Suwannee River, and a ramp to launch canoes. The path where the canoe launch is, also serves as the starting point for a couple of the many trails that are here in the park. Gary wasn't energetic enough today to walk any of the trails. According to the sign by the canoe launch, if the river depth is between 51 and 59 feet, then it's ideal for canoeing. It was 56 feet when Gary was down there, so it would have been a perfect time for a canoe ride. I wish I could fit in a canoe, but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon. There are five rental cabins near the river that look like they would be REALLY nice. Not pictured are the numerous picnic areas and pavilions that are spread throughout the park. There are several playgrounds for the kiddies too. I'm sure that Stephen Foster would be most proud to know that this park bears his name. It truly is a beautiful place.