Sunday, March 15, 2015

Pancakes and Springs

After we had toured Lincoln's cottage last Monday, we received a call from Amtrak informing us that our return trip back to Florida was cancelled.  Apparently a train accident south of Richmond that morning had made it impossible for any trains to go south for a couple of days.  John and I then made plans to take a rental car home, arriving there a day later than originally planned.  And we now we are dealing with the temperatures in the lower 80s, requiring us to run our air conditioner.  So hard to believe that we were dealing with cold and snow last week!  And since we have been back we can tell it is spring with blooming dogwood as well as azaleas.  Pictured below is a live oak with bushes of pink azalea below it.
That picture was taken at DeLeon Springs State Park of Florida.  Truth be told we visited this park for the delicious stone-ground flour pancakes at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill Restaurant.  Each table has its' own griddle on which diners can cook their own eggs and pancakes.  I let John do the cooking.
He is adding blueberries to the pancakes.  Once we were stuffed with as many pancakes as we could eat, we set out to explore the park.  In 1831 the park was called Spring Garden Plantation,the owner Colonel Rees planted sugarcane and built a sugar mill on the property.  In 1836 Indians demolished the mill and held the land for two years until the U.S. army drove them out.  The mill was started up again in the 1850s, constructed by enslaved Africans.  Pictured below is what is left of the sugar train which was used to boil cane juice.  The mill was again demolished in 1864 by Union Troops.
The outstanding feature of the park's some 600 acres is the headspring, with some 19 million gallons of water flowing daily from an underwater cavern.  In the 1950s it became an advertising ploy to get northern tourists to come down and try "the deliciously healthy water".  Below is a picture of the fountain from which the water flowed, now no longer used.
Our last stop of the day was at Blue Spring State Park, which, according to a park brochure, is a "first magnitude spring which discharges 104 million gallons of water daily into the St.Johns River".  It is also the winter home of 200 manatees, which we came to see- however we missed them by two days.  We did have a pleasant walk on the boardwalk along the river and springs.  In the park is also a three story house built in 1872 by the original owner of the land, which we were allowed to tour.

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