Turtle Mound is a family friendly & pet friendly stop along Florida state road A1A in central Florida on the east coast. It’s historically important to Florida and the prehistoric Indians that once lived there. Turtle Mound is comprised of a massive amount of shells left by the native Indians living in that area. It was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and is the largest shell mound left in the United States. It stands 50′ tall and covers approximately 600′ of land. Because of its massive height (for the state of Florida) it has several lookout points that make for beautiful photo opportunities. It is speculated that this mound was used as a safe refuge from hurricanes and also a hunting ground to catch animals that would flee flooding waters of the storm. It is so tall (using flat/low land Florida measures) that it can been seen as far as 7 miles out to sea and is rumored to have been a focal point/marker for the Spanish ships of way back when.
It is handicap accessible and easily walkable due to the large wooden deck boardwalk like structure that is available to walk. A handicap scooter could even easily maneuver this area. There are a few small steps part way up though on some lookout areas.
Due to this being easily accessible by everyone of all abilities, families and pets – I give the Turtle Mound a 5 out of 5 for Must See attractions in Central Florida. It is located about 9-10 miles south of New Smyrna Beach in Volusia County.
Tomoka State Park is located in central Florida on the east coast side. It’s only about a 30 minute drive north from Daytona Beach, 20 minute drive east from Destination Daytona (in Ormond Beach), about an hour and half drive from Orlando, 15 minute drive from Flagler Beach and is located just on the mainland across the Halifax River from Ormond By The Sea.
Family oriented and pet friendly, this state park’s admission was $5 per vehicle or $2 per bicyclist or pedestrian for an all day stay. There are camping sites within the park and several great fishing holes. We didn’t enter into the camping area, so I can’t tell you much about it, but we saw a great many folks fishing all over the park.
Gorgeous greenery, seasonal flowers and filled with palm trees of various sorts, this park is inviting and beautiful. Large turnarounds are situated along the main gravelled (crushed shell) roadways. Well laid trails to hike are scattered about and there’s some wildlife to see. Large turtles call this park home as well as a stray alligator from time to time also. The turtles were particularly intriguing to our dog. They were digging into the soft sandy soil to conceal their eggs, so we didn’t get to see them up close.
At the far end of the main trail there is a large tribute statue to the Tomoka Indians. It is weathered terribly and large sections of the statue have fallen off. The state of decay was sad to see, but it seems any money spent on the park has gone into the upkeep of the grounds – which were very nice. A restroom facility is located in the same alcove as the statue and there are several camping or cookout sections there as well.
Visiting the Tomoka State Park was a delight for the day and gets a 5 out of 5 for family friendly and pet friendly. I highly recommend it! Click here to learn more about the park.
No matter where you go, there you are.
Drinking a giant mug of joy juice (coffee) I hear birds singing this morning in a happy way. It’s obvious that change is coming. Life is changing.
Yesterday I enjoyed my back yard in Knoxville, TN. This morning I woke up in Plainfield, IN. In a few short hours we will trek to Danville. A sleepy little town west of the big city. A comforting place where life seems slower and nostalgic. There’s love waiting for us there. A cute dollhouse cottage with a small front porch and a swing. Always a welcoming smile and hug at the entrance, it’s a small home full of character and memories.
The drive from here to there is beautiful in its own right. Narrow curvy roads hug corn fields most of the way. Occasionally we will spot a deer gracefully wading through what’s left of last year’s corn stalks. A replica of Sheriff Andy Taylor’s police car is parked in front of the Mayberry Cafe in the quaint downtown area. A true Americana style town, it’s pricey to live here. The old gas stations boast of the available fuel with rather hefty price tags & public parks aren’t exactly free. I was told once, “they’d tax the air if they could figure out how to.” I still see it as a happy place though.
Away from the city, the dirt in Indiana is sweet. Not candy sweet, but mossy sweet from a wet winter, like new fallen rain. It’s a musty smell like my beloved grandmother’s cellar that makes my heart happy. As we drive, I’ll catch a sweet whiff of it if I’m lucky. The air here is different, it doesn’t squeeze my chest like east TN. It’s a little easier to breathe & a little easier to walk.
It’s another day, another adventure and another opportunity to love each other.
Reflections are not what they use to be. Mirrors are not utilized much now; the image looking back at me is sometimes unrecognizable and hauntingly older than my mind says I am. Have you ever had that moment? When you glance at yourself and then glance again – because at first, you didn’t recognize yourself.
Life can be a lot like that as well. Most people have an idea of what they want their lives to look like by certain ages: 30, 40, 50, 60. It’s true that we do not always meet the goals and lofty ideas that we set for ourselves. But it’s also true that some of the most random things that occur (completely unplanned) can be the most beautiful.
Personally, as I age, I appreciate many of the same things the younger version of myself did. To sit outside and just listen has never left my heart. No matter where I am, I can do it free of charge and it bothers no-one. Why? Because I love what I hear. I hear God’s creation, his peace, and when I’m lucky…his still small voice. Try it. Go sit outside. Sit in the grass of your yard. Sit on your porch or patio. Sit on a sidewalk. Just be. After a long pause ask yourself, what do you hear?
I’m in my back yard in the Tennessee Valley. I hear at least 15 different types of birds singing back and forth with each other. Each one a sweet song and in a different pitch. The wind is blowing and the blades of grass are rubbing against each other. Footsteps are behind me as a brave squirrel is going up and down the Elder tree. In the distance there is a faint sound of laughter and delightful squealing as the neighborhood children chase each other. Often a loud car may zoom by in the distance. (They really need a new muffler.) I can hear water flowing through the ditch gently and occasionally I can hear small frogs jumping in and out of the water. There are tree branches scraping in the wind and there’s a whistle in my ear as the chilly breeze picks up. It’s spring in East TN and it sounds peaceful. Longer I sit, I would hear more.
Age has taught my eyes to see things in a different way than the younger me ever could. I see so much beauty now all around me and it’s also easier to see through people. One thing I saw wrong was my life at 40. But, that’s a post for another day.
Be well. Know you are loved.
I have a confession to make. I fell in love several months ago. Keeping it to myself until just recently when I shared it with my husband was difficult to do. He has been understanding and very accepting of my new love. He’s definitely my best friend and understands.
You see until recently, I enjoyed travel as long as it was recreational, short lived and I knew we were coming back home soon enough. But lately, so many things have changed in our lives. All the kids are “grown” or at least they think they are. They have all moved away from home now and declared their independence. We are now Empty-Nesters and have grown into a new class of people. One that I always assumed would never affect me much because I just knew that all the boys would still be around. I assumed that they would be around regularly and that the house they would always come home to- the house they grew up in, the house they matured in and had so many developmental memories and such- would somehow mean the world to them. Why I thought this way, I’ll never know.
I moved away from home at 18 and struck off on a life of my own too. I never looked back or even considered going back home. Actually, I saw going back home as a failure in life. If I couldn’t make it on my own, I would have been devastated! There was one point when I went back though, in 2001 for about a year and half when both my parents were in a terrible car accident. Mom begged me to come help her and I did. That was short lived as God gave her Grace and she was walking again when I left. Alas, I digress…. so back to my new love…
So delusional thoughts aside, reality is often not was we expect it to be. In an adventurous ever changing world that we cannot control, we are but passengers on this ride through life. A passenger doesn’t control the direction – and in my life God is the driver. So in recent years, I have just sat back and watched he scenery as I’ve been passing through. God is still my greatest love of all, number 1 in my life…my husband is number 2. But as for this new love I referred to, well it surprises me just as much as it has surprised my husband.
I love to travel! Not just leisure travel, but packing up and moving away travel. This travel is one that I had always denied before, absolutely refusing to leave East Tennessee. Now, I’m excited by the thought and look forward to many new adventures along the way!