Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Take the Long Way Home

I don't know exactly what I was expecting heading to Winter Haven to see some graffiti yesterday morning. Seriously, in such a small town, could there really be anything worthwhile? Yes and no.

While at the Lakeland show a woman insisted I needed to go to Winter Haven, going so far as to write down some very complicated directions to the site. I studied them. I pondered if it would be worth the 50 mile drive. Because I had nothing better to do I went, but not before consulting everyone's favorite resource. From my Google search I learned that what she was referring to was an art project meant to bring not only money, but awareness to an area of their city that could use some help. Referencing that, the woman had written down that it was a yucky part of town. When I got there I thought it looked pretty decent to me. My perspective as an outsider of course.

So it turns out they allowed artists to paint on a blueberry packing plant on New Year's Eve, calling the event, Circ' de Spray. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depends on how you look at it, blueberries had to be part of the art work. Here's how they started things off:
To clarify, Eloise is the name of the area adjacent to Winter Haven. With that out of the way, here's how the walls looked:
And here is a view from the back of the plant:
As you can see, the plant is adjacent to the railroad tracks, with an orange packing plant on the other side. This area of Florida is prime orange growing country. Blue, blue skies, however, oddly enough, we are still enjoying low humidity. I told someone the other day that we've had nearly six months of perfect weather which makes me wonder what's coming next! Despite some thunder last night, no rain fell. Furthermore, the weather forecast for today said rain after noon which may or may not come to fruition as it is still sunny as can be at 3:30 in the afternoon.

The drive over was easy as can be on I-4 to exit #48. Once I got off the interstate I took County Road 557 towards Lake Alfred. Driving along at almost highway speed I saw this place on the right side of the road causing me to be grateful no one was traveling behind me as I was able to make a quick U-turn and check it out. It was then that I remembered my friend Beverly telling me about the place and how she loved to go there, especially in the fall. The garden shop was really something, under large oak trees and in fact, some of them going through what some might call a roof.
My goodness it was a fun place. I managed to leave with only two things, a cardinal outdoor thermometer and a owl figurine. Believe me there was more that i thought about but I don't want to clutter up the outside too much. Or, do I?

Initially I planned to come back by and eat lunch there, however, as some of you know, I oftentimes prefer to take "the long way home." And boy howdy, this trip I got just a little more than I bargained for. Stopping to ask directions, I know, I have my handy phone, but just the same, I like to ask the locals. So far, so good. Nice drive through a diverse area of homes, lakes, and orange groves. It was just that when I did get to US 27, I should have continued on to I-4 rather than head towards Haines City. Whatever road I was on lead me to Dundee, a small citrus town. Then again, they are large enough to have this railroad depot museum:
History is so darn interesting. When you travel through these small towns, unless you stop, you never know what you are missing. Truthfully, all I saw was the outside because the museum has very, very, limited hours, as in Thursday for a few hours and Saturday the same.
Talk about some primary colors in this photo--my goodness--they did it all for me!

Onward I drove, using my handy little compass that came with the car. What I didn't have was a map which would have been oh so useful. Maybe mine did not transfer from the Element, don't know, but I need to buy one ASAP if I plan to continue being Miss Out & About. Make that Mrs.

Anyway, somehow I ended up driving through Haines City and still it was 40 some odd miles to Orlando! My next stop was Davenport, another tiny town, which according to their website is charming. Not to my eyes, and the downtown they claim you can stroll?--about a half a block long! Goes to show you that relying solely on the web can be misleading. So I stopped in here as it was past lunchtime:
Not only can you not rely on the web, you can't always rely on signage. During my lunch I discovered that the restoration stopped long ago, as in the late 90's because they have no city sewer lines and apparently they aren't coming anytime soon. I would love to recommend this place, but unless you want to spend $12.95 for a mediocre meal, you should keep on driving. I think they try real hard, maybe just a little too hard. My brocoli salad had more stuff in it than was necessary, as did the chicken salad. The soup might have been better chilled.
To be fair, I could have left once I saw the menu which is prix fix, but the room was so tiny I felt I should stay. The elderly ladies sitting adjacent to me gave it rave reviews. Re, the sign claiming to have won a pie contest, that very well may be true. I could not eat the dessert offered, instead opting to take my slice home with me. It was delicious.

Instead of getting home around 1, by the time I pulled into the driveway it was 3:00. Good grief!!! You live and learn don't you?

I was thinking as I drove to Winter Haven what a good name that was for a city in Florida. Others must have been quite as literal when they named Winter Park, Winter Springs, Windemere, with promises of wonderful places to escape the cold of winter. My mind has gone blank, but believe me, there are other Florida cities with Winter in their name. Who can blame them?

Finishing up, The Family Fang, I remained delighted with the novel, which as I mentioned before, is so darn clever and is reviewed by the New York Times here. While looking for this review, I've discovered that Nicole Kidman is making a movie from the novel. That should be interesting.

Well, I have indeed, just put the kettle on
for some iced tea. I said it wasn't humid, I didn't say it wasn't hot! I'm thinking a glass of iced tea and a session with my latest novel, Rules of Civility, which is very hard to put down.

Furthermore, it is so very hard to believe this is post #999.


Karen Howard said...

Just a little trivia for you . . . The Barn is owned by the Wales family. Connie Wales happens to be the cousin of my cousin, Jane. I saw Connie and her sisters several times during my childhood when they came to Tallahassee to visit their mother's sister, my Aunt Nita. I saw Connie on one of my trips to The Barn many years ago. I assume her children do more of the work now, but I could be wrong.

matt said...

Congrats on tomorrow's number 1000! This one made me chuckle. Speaking of cardinal paraphernalia, I sure hope your book gets there soon!

Gail Peck said...

I'm glad I made you chuckle son. I hope that book gets here soon myself!

Karen, I'm sending you an email regarding "The Barn Antiques."

Bruce Peck said...

Who knows if anyone will read this one but the estimate of 3,000 photos sold is off a little. I have kept a few records and find the number more about 4,546. Congratulations!

Limping Along