The Old Spanish Trail: FL to CA

The Old Spanish Trail as it crosses over Gloster Avenue in Sneads, Florida

Once a grand highway system that led motorists from St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California the Old Spanish Trail still lies in some places today. Built in the 1920s it was the Route 66 of the South and many of the small towns grew based on the traffic that flowed through the cities from people on their way cross country.

The roadway linked the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean similar as to how Interstate 10 does in the present. It was about 2,750 miles in total length coast to coast. Construction began in 1915 and was not completed until the 1920s.

It is said that the Old Spanish Trail follows the path that Spanish Conquistadors took back in the 1500s as they explored what was later to become the United States.

Today the Old Spanish Trail is known as Highway 90 in the eastern half of the U.S. and Highway 80 in the west.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Victory Bridge

Victory Bridge at Chattahoochee River Landing, Chattahoochee, Florida

Constructed in 1922, the Victory Bridge cost a total of $1 million dollars and was used for over 70 years. It was a 100′ drawbridge that opened and closed to allow for riverboats to make their way through without coming into contact with the spanning arches.

It was named the Victory Bridge in response to the efforts and triumph of World War I which had just ended a few years beforehand. Old Spanish Trail which crossed over the bridge was a popular route that followed the path of colonial era roads. The Old Spanish Trail National Highway connected St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California.

After the Jim Woodford Dam was built in 1947, the use for the drawbridge become obsolete as the dam blocked any major boats passage down the river. It was the dam that created Lake Seminole. Each year the river floods but some years with greater intensity. As seen in the photo below, the river levels are monitored and marked during those extreme years. The highest level on record since the bridge was built was in March of 1929 when the river rose 79.6′ and in July of 1994 the Apalachicola River flooded 78.4′.

Violet Sky pointing at Historic Flood Level Markings on the Victory Bridge, Chattahoochee River Landing, Florida

Today Victory Bridge stands as a reminder of the past and makes for some great photo opportunities.

It was replaced in 1994 as the demand for traffic increased and the stability of the bridge were questioned. Soon afterward the bridge was decommissioned and barricaded from future usage. Although access onto the bridge is not allowed walking trails permit for some exploration underneath.

Violet Sky at Victory Bridge at Chattahoochee River Landing, Chattahoochee, Florida

Also nearby is one of the last standing Indian Mounds from the Fort Walton Period (1450-1650).

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

The Last Fort Walton Period Indian Mound

Indian Mound at Chattahoochee River Landing, Chattahoochee, Florida

At Chattahoochee River Landing stands the last of seven Indian Mounds constructed during the Fort Walton Period of 1450-1650 AD. These mounds were built by Native Americans in the area and were used for building dwellings on high ground to prevent being washed out in the event of the river flooding.

Only four of seven mounds have been found nearby with this one being the last standing. These mounds would have been constructed in a pyramid type shape with a flat top. The high surface was also suitable for a look out perch. It is believed that the chief or priest would have lived at the top while others lived around or at the base. This location would have been great for Native Americans as it was located near the river that would allow them to travel, hunt and trade with other nearby tribes.

Indian Mound at Chattahoochee River Landing, Chattahoochee, Florida

When Spanish explorers began navigating through the area in 1674 the Native Americans abandoned this site. With the Old Spanish Trail passing right through this spot the mound became an important stop along the route. During the War of 1812, the British used the mound for their fort.

On November 30, 1817 the Scott Massacre took place at this site and is noted for being a significant battle during the First Seminole War.

Indian Mound at Chattahoochee River Landing, Chattahoochee, Florida

During the mid to late 1800s, paddlewheel boats were docked at the landing and several wrecks are still nearby. Today the mounds are remembered for their significance in local Native American history and culture.

The mound stands on the banks of the Apalachicola River just south of the city of Chattahoochee, Florida and the Jim Woodruff Dam that creates Lake Seminole. The mound is free to visit and offers for some interesting history and beautiful views.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Three Rivers State Park

Violet Sky at Three Rivers State Park, Sneads, Florida

Along the tranquil shores of Lake Seminole just a short drive from the city of Sneads, is Three Rivers State Park. A beautiful landscape offering plenty of outdoor activities and even space for overnight lodging. It is a unique destination due to its connection to three different rivers and three different states.

History of Three Rivers State Park

The term “Three Rivers” comes from the converging of the Chattahoochee, Flint and Apalachicola Rivers that flow in and out of the lake. It was the building of the Jim Woodruff Dam in 1947 that flooded the area to create Lake Seminole. The lake is named after the Seminole Indians who once lived in the area.

In 1955, the area became a state park and has since offered outdoor recreational opportunities to visitors. There are 686 acres of land at Three Rivers State Park.

Lake Seminole from Three Rivers State Park, Sneads, Florida

Fun Facts About Three Rivers State Park

Glance across Lake Seminole from the state park and you can see the Peach State aka Georgia!

The lake is 37,500 acres and borders Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

At its longest stretch the lake spans 35 miles north from the dam.

Lake Seminole from Three Rivers State Park, Sneads, Florida

Visiting Three Rivers State Park

Activities at Three Rivers State Park include cycling, hiking, boating, fishing, picnicking and birding. In the picnic areas there are also playgrounds and a pavilion for events. Camping is also available at the park. There is one cabin available to rent on site that features one bedroom and one bathroom for guests to stay in. At the park are 30 campsites available for tent and RV’s.

For more information about visiting Three Rivers State Park, please visit https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/three-rivers-state-park.

Also nearby is the town of Two Egg, the haunted Bellamy Bridge and Lazy Acres Family Farm!

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Fall Fun at Lazy Acres Family Farm

Violet Sky at Lazy Acres Farm, Marianna, Florida

Venture down country roads near Marianna, Florida to arrive at this cute family farm. Complete with a maze, cows, pigs, chickens, lawn games, live demonstrations, a general store and hay ride it makes for a fun fall adventure!

History of Lazy Acres Farm

The Lazy Acres Family Farm has been in the same family since 1854 and is owned by the great-great granddaughter of the original owner. The first member of the family to own the farm was Benjamin Neel who initially homesteaded the farm. His son, William Neel also ran the farm until his death in 1928. When William Neel II inherited the farm when his father passed away he was only eight years old and raised his first peanut crop that same year. After his time in the service he returned back to the farm where he married and had two children, one also named William. They named the homestead Lazy Acres Family Farm in 1947.

The current owners of the farm are still in the same family. They work hard to preserve their family homestead and raise cattle, pigs and chickens every year. They also farm about 100 acres of land each year. In addition they open the farm up for events seasonally.

Violet Sky at Lazy Acres Farm, Marianna, Florida

Visiting Lazy Acres Family Farm

There is a gift shop and farm store that sells fresh meat from the farm and other local goods to visitors. When they are not open to the public you may see a booth at local farmers markets.

Every fall the farm is open to guests to explore the maze, see animals and take a hay ride! The uniqueness of this maze comes from a delightful mix of flowers and corn. Also along the maze is a scavenger hunt of fun facts that could land you a prize from the drawing at the end of the season.

Field trips are also available for school and church groups. For more information about hours and admission please visit https://www.thelazyacres.com/contact.

Violet Sky at Lazy Acres Farm, Marianna, Florida

Also nearby Lazy Acres Farm is the haunted Bellamy Bridge and the town of Two Egg.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Town of Two Egg, Florida

Violet Sky in Two Egg, Florida

Just a short drive from Marianna and the famous haunted Bellamy Bridge, Two Egg, Florida is a quaint community with a unique history.

The town used to be home to the Allison Company Sawmill and a lumbering community. In fact, the town was actually called Allison during the early 1900s after the business. All that was there was a sawmill, grocery store, post office, a few homes and a camp for lumberman.

When the Great Depression hit in the 1930s, the grocery store had locals bringing their eggs in exchange for goods. Many families had plenty of chickens and that was all they had to give in trade for other necessities.

The town named changed to Two Egg after the Great Depression when the man that owned the grocery store in the community kept complaining that he lived in a “two-egg town”. As people would bring in only two eggs in exchange for items. Another tale also came from the idea that during the exchange of two eggs they were dropped at the store. The name for the area kind of stuck as locals kept referring to the area as “Two Egg”. The post office renamed its location and the Florida Department of Transportation marked Two Egg on the map.

Hollywood actress Faye Dunaway known for her leading roles in Chinatown and Bonnie and Clyde, was born and spent a few childhood years between Bascom and Two Egg in northwest Florida.

Also nearby are rumors of the “Two Egg Stump Jumper” a local legend of a wild man similar to bigfoot who roams the woods and swamps.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

The Ghost of Bellamy Bridge

Violet Sky at the Bellamy Bridge Heritage Trail, Marianna, Florida

Florida lore says that the Bellamy Bridge is one of the most haunted destinations in the entire state. The tale of how it grew to earn that name has been told time after time. Strange occurrences have been known to occur here since the mid-1800s and the story of the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge has been cited as the reason for those paranormal happenings.

The “Ghost” Of Bellamy Bridge

Photos have been taken at the sight which resemble strange beams of light. People along the trail and at the bridge have felt icy chills on a hot summer day and the presence of someone standing nearby.

While several local legends state sightings of ghosts including one of a moonshiner murder and another of a headless man driving a wagon the most popular is the tale of the Bellamy family.

The ghost at the site is thought to be Elizabeth Bellamy, the wife of a plantation owner who owned the land near where the bridge is presently located.

Elizabeth Bellamy had been raised on a plantation in North Carolina. Her grandfather was an officer in the American Revolution and her father was a general in the War of 1812. Elizabeth fell in love with a young doctor by the name of Samuel Bellamy. They were married at her family plantation in North Carolina. Together they had a son named Alexander.

Her sister Ann had recently married Samuel’s brother Edward. Both of the couples moved to Northwest Florida. In 1836, Samuel and Elizabeth Bellamy along with their infant son moved to Rock Cave Plantation which was located near the parking lot and land by the bridge. The actual plantation house would have been located a short distance to the southwest. Along the trail you may notice live oaks that were once planted by Dr. Samuel Bellamy as an elaborate entrance to their Antebellum home at Rock Cave Plantation. Their main crop at the plantation was Sea Island cotton. Nearby also on land that cross the trail was Terre Bonne Plantation which was owned by their relatives, Edward and Ann Bellamy who lived at the farm until 1860 before moving to Mississippi.

Elizabeth died of malaria on May 11, 1837 at the age of eighteen after only three years of marriage. Alexander, their son, died of the same illness just three days later. This tragedy left Samuel devastated and heartbroken. He buried his wife and son on a ridge in the Samuel C. Bellamy Family Cemetery at Rock Cave Plantation. According to coordinates, the cemetery is located on a ridge nearby where the Bellamy Bridge stands today but the markers have since been lost.

Samuel become severely depressed turning to alcohol to combat his sadness. He struggled with emotions of losing both his wife and child. He asked that when he died he be buried at Rock Cave Plantation beside his wife and son. In 1852, Samuel committed suicide with a straight razor at Chattahoochee Landing. Since he committed suicide they would not allow him to be buried by his wife as it was considered by religious belief to be an act of sin. He is buried somewhere in Chattahoochee in an unmarked grave site.

The ghost of Elizabeth is said to frequent the grounds nearby the Bellamy Bridge as she is restlessly in search of her husband.

History of the Bellamy Bridge

The Bellamy Bridge was constructed in 1914, long after the tragic situation of the Bellamy family but was named for them due to its presence upon what was once their plantation land. It is the oldest bridge of its type in Florida. At a total cost of $2,389 the bridge is made from steel and is last bridge to have crossed the Chipola River at this spot.

Prior to this bridge the first few bridges here were constructed of wood. The first was built in 1851, the second in 1872 and the third in 1874. All three of the previous bridges could not withstand the harsh waters during flooding season when the Chipola River would rise. The fourth bridge is the one that stands today and has stood in this spot for over 100 years.

After being declared obsolete in 1963 due to increased traffic in the area it was decommissioned and the roadway and new bridge were constructed at Highway 162.

The Bellamy Bridge, Marianna, Florida

Visiting the Bellamy Bridge

The Bellamy Bridge is free to visit and is located on Northwest Florida Water Management District land. Parking is available off of Highway 162/Jacob Road which is also the site of the trail entrance. The trail is about half a mile through the woods and ends at the Bellamy Bridge.

Every October on the Friday and Saturday before Halloween, a guided, haunted trail tour is offered using flashlights at night.

Caution: Be aware of local river levels as the path may be washed out or impassable. Also watch for wildlife as this is located in a remote destination. The trail and bridge are in a swamp and mosquitos are terrible during rainy season so bring plenty of bug spray and long sleeve clothing.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

The Nina Replica

Nina Replica during its visit to Pensacola, Florida

Imagine sailing on a great expedition across the treacherous waters of the Atlantic Ocean. It was on a boat similar to this that joined the party of Christopher Columbus’ crew in an several transatlantic adventures. Companioned by the Santa Maria and Pinta the boat explored the islands of the Caribbean. Overall the Nina had been logged in Columbus’ journal as having traveled at least 25,000 nautical miles. Today the replica of the Nina travels around the continent sharing glimpses into the historical past of the ship.

History of the Original Nina

This boat was used on the first voyage Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Only 26 men sailed aboard the Nina during this journey. It was in August of 1492 that they sailed from Spain to what is now the Canary Islands and the Bahamas. They spent the winter months in the tropics exploring the area and returned in the spring of 1493.

Nina Replica during its visit to Pensacola, Florida

Just a few short months later, the crew set out again, but this time with 17 ships including the Nina. This boat lead everyone across as they were in search of exploring Hispaniola. After sailing the waters for nearly two years, all remaining ships except the Nina were destroyed in a Hurricane in 1495.

With as many crew as they could fit onto the Nina, Columbus and his men returned to Spain in 1496.

While on a trip to Rome, the Nina was captured by a crew of pirates and taken to Sardinia. Later in 1498, Columbus’ third voyage went back to Hispaniola. Over the next several years she explored the area of the Caribbean. The last record of the Nina is somewhere along the coast of Isla de Cubagua, Venezuela in 1501.

Violet Sky at the Nina Replica during its visit to Pensacola, Florida

The History of the Replica Nina

This replica of the Nina was built in Brazil alongside the Pinta in the late 1980s. Engineers, historians, naval researchers and shipbuilders all worked together to construct these replicas as best they could to how the Portuguese would have built the ships.

Nina Replica during its visit to Pensacola, Florida

They used hand saws, chisels and other period tools to construct the vessels of Brazilian hardwood. The ship weighs about 75 tons and travels at a speed of 5-7 knots using its replicated sails.

The two ships travel North America giving people the opportunity to explore what these famous historic ships would have been like to be aboard.

Nina Replica during its visit to Pensacola, Florida

While the Nina was docked at Palafox Pier in downtown Pensacola, we got to experience the miraculous ship!

During its docking in Pensacola, the cost to tour the ship was only $5 per person and that included a guided tour around the deck of the boat.

For more information about where the Nina (or the Pinta) is on tour, admission and hours please visit http://www.ninapinta.org/.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Dave and Buster’s-Panama City Beach, FL

Arcade at Dave and Busters, Panama City Beach, Florida

Looking for a convenient location to play a few arcade games and grab some dinner? Dave and Buster’s in Pier Park is an excellent place with fun-filled activities for all ages.

With many games to pick from you can play for hours while earning points to redeem cool prizes!

When to Visit

Earliest in the day is best to avoid large crowds and faster dining service. The evenings, especially on weekends can be much busier.

Check the promotional calendar to view special event dates for discounts and bundles. For example, all day Wednesday is half price games which allows you to save on your play chips while earning the same amount of points to redeem later.

For a current calendar of events happening at Dave and Buster’s of Panama City Beach visit their website at https://www.daveandbusters.com/locations/panama-city-beach or visit the storefront for more deals!

Arcade at Dave and Busters, Panama City Beach, Florida

Power Cards

If you are looking to play games at Dave and Buster’s, you will need to purchase a power card. This card is rechargeable and your points will continue to accumulate as you play.

Even better you can download the D&B app for your smartphone. In this account you can link your cards, recharge and earn more points. You can get rewards such as $10 free for every $100 you spend on food and game play.

To find out what current power card offers include visit https://www.daveandbusters.com/rewards.

Playing the Games

Different games at Dave and Buster’s have different costs to play and redeem different benefits.

Games with a green light around the swipe box mean that they are eligible to earn tickets that are redeemable for prizes.

Games with a blue light are for fun. These games are usually simulators or challenge games among multiple people.

For more information about games visit https://www.daveandbusters.com/play-games/games-in-store.

Gamebar and Restaurant at Dave and Busters, Panama City Beach, Florida

Dining and Drinks

Eating at Dave and Buster’s has a surprisingly good turn out. Unlike most greasy arcade snacks, D&B has a variety of foods on their menu from zucchini noodle pasta to a stacked hamburger. Salads and desserts are even a delicious option.

A full service bar as well unique house drinks are available at Dave and Buster’s for those over 21.

For menu options visit https://www.daveandbusters.com/sports-bar-and-restaurant.

D&B Sports Zone at Dave and Busters, Panama City Beach, Florida

Sports Bar

ESPN is played constantly at Dave and Buster’s on the big screens behind the bar.

Reward Zone at Dave and Busters, Panama City Beach, Florida

Rewards Zone

Find something to redeem all your tickets for in the reward zone. Here you have the option to find a giant stuffed animal, ninja products, X-boxes and or just a candy bar.

Thanks for reading and as always, “Keep on Truckin'”-Violet Sky

Fun in Historic Pensacola

Violet Sky in Historic Pensacola, Florida

In an effort to preserve the historic places of Pensacola, the city in partnership with the University of West Florida designated spaces for this district to be maintained. What makes this cute little area so unique is that the streets and all the buildings make visitors feel like they are stepping back in time! I thought this was such an awesome place to visit because the homes and businesses are tastefully restored with a nostalgic feel. The streets are designed as though you are actually visiting the places years ago and tidbits of history in front of the buildings embrace this sensation.

Violet Sky in Historic Pensacola, Florida

Another exciting aspect of the area is the ability to follow the Colonial Archaeological Trail. Featuring multiple historic locations throughout the downtown area of Pensacola, the Colonial Archaeological Trail is an excellent way to witness the preservation of local history. As you venture through the trail a unique aspect of this walking tour is the key locations that were previously used in the area. The occupation of Pensacola by Spain, Britain and now the United States have all left a trace in the archaeology of the region.

Violet Sky in Historic Pensacola, Florida

Shown above is the Lear-Rocheblave House. John and Kate Lear built their timeless home in downtown Pensacola in 1888, although they never actually lived in the home it still stands today as a symbol of the past. The residence was built upon the grounds of a 1700s British building. The house was built of strong construction and featured a grand porch and balcony upon each floor. The elegant door welcomes visitors in to see its beautiful architecture sprinkled with tidbits of history. The home gained the second part of its name after a local tugboat captain by the name of Benito Rocheblave purchased the residence in 1897. The Rocheblave family had resided in the area since 1817 during the time of Colonial Spanish rule.

Violet Sky in Historic Pensacola, Florida

Another important building in the district is the Old Christ Church. This beautiful, historic church was built in 1832 and known for its longevity in the city of Pensacola. Not only is this house of worship considered to be one of the oldest church buildings in Florida, it the oldest masonry church in the state which still stands on the original foundation.

So many other great historic places are available to visit in the downtown Pensacola area! For more information about visiting Historic Pensacola, please visit http://www.historicpensacola.org/.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

A Historic Train and Florida Panhandle Industry

Train from St. Joe Lumber and Export Co., Port St. Joe, Florida

From this quaint coastal city of Port St. Joe, Florida the St. Joe Lumber and Export Co. was a large source of employment for people of the area. Known for thousands of acres of pines and forest land the panhandle of Florida has produced a lot of lumber over the past century. In fact this historic train known as #11, was built in 1916. After spending its life at various lumber mills it finally landed in the ownership of St. Joe Lumber and Export Co.

Train from St. Joe Lumber and Export Co., Port St. Joe, Florida

The train weighs about 62,000 lbs and was used to haul lumber and exports to and from the mill. Used in operation until 1955, Engine #11 was officially retired and donated to the city where it remains at this site for visitors to explore.

The wheels shown below were removed from another locomotive that was used in the area. In fact they were found in the St. Joesph’s Bay. This type of wheel gives evidence to Florida’s first railroad which began operations in 1836.

Wheels from St. Joe Lumber and Export Co., Port St. Joe, Florida

Also nearby is the Birthplace of the Florida Constitution.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum

Violet Sky at the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum, Pensacola, Florida

This beautiful building has a deep history in the city of Pensacola. Located across from the popular Plaza Ferdinand VII, it boasts its elegant presence overlooking Jefferson Street. Today the museum serves as the official home of the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Florida State Museum, but in its years past it also was the location of Pensacola’s City Hall!

T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum, Pensacola, Florida

Built in 1907, this building was once the site of Pensacola’s City Hall until 1985. Although the creation of the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum was initiated long before that.

In the Pensacola suburb of Ensley in 1957, T.T. Wentworth, a local politician, businessman and artifact collector started a display of his pieces in a roadside stand. Over the next several decades his collection grew and finally in the 1980s he agreed to donate his artifacts to the city of Pensacola. The condition of his donation was dependent on the fact that the city would need an adequate space to store the pieces.

Violet Sky at the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum, Pensacola, Florida

Following the movement of Pensacola City Hall from this building to a new location a few blocks west it was decided that Wentworth’s artifacts would be moved into this facility. The old city hall went under a renovation from the graciousness of a state grant to prepare it for its new purpose. In 1988 the museum was opened to the public.

Inside the museum features not only T.T. Wentworth’s collection but also added over the years include a science center for children, artifacts from life in the Florida Panhandle and an exhibit on hurricanes that have hit the area.

For more information about hours and admission please visit http://www.historicpensacola.org/plan-your-visit/museums-properties/tt-wentworth-museum/.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Pensacola’s Colonial Archaeological Trail

Colonial Archaeological Trail, Pensacola, Florida

Featuring multiple historic locations throughout the downtown area of Pensacola, the Colonial Archaeological Trail is an excellent way to witness the preservation of local history. As you venture through the trail a very unique aspect of this walking tour is the key locations that were previously used in the area. The occupation of Pensacola by Spain, Britain and now the United States have all left a trace in the archaeology of the region.

Colonial Archaeological Trail, Pensacola, Florida

With a partnership of the University of West Florida, Florida Public Archaeology Network and other local historical organizations this trail has been designated to commemorate life in the area from years past.

As you can see from the map above, present day streets are highlighted and stars present the location of various historic locations through the area. This map makes it easy to snap a photo and take a walk around the beautiful downtown of Pensacola. While you are on your adventure, be sure to check out all of the locations on the Colonial Archaeological Trail.

Violet Sky at the Colonial Archaeological Trail, Pensacola, Florida

At the Commanding Officer’s Compound you can learn about how both Spanish and British military forces utilized this spot to serve as a location for their military headquarters.

The Spanish left behind an old barrel well and also a cold storage area that would have been used to sustain life at the compound.

Later it was excavated that the British had built brick ovens. After much archeological research was conducted at the site it gave more proof to the locations past as a compound for military officers and storage.

These remnants can be seen from the photos above and below!

Colonial Archaeological Trail, Pensacola, Florida

The Officer’s Room along the Colonial Archaeological Trail is located at the corner of Plaza Ferdinand and across from the T.T. Wentworth Jr. Museum.

The outline of the corner of the room still lies down in the dirt. In fact, the stone you see today was actually constructed in 1775. Serving as an officer’s room and later barracks this site has been used for research into the military presence of Pensacola.

Violet Sky at the Colonial Archaeological Trail, Pensacola, Florida

The trail is completely free and a great way to learn about the history of Pensacola!

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

Violet Sky

Disney Springs: A Free Walt Disney World Adventure

Violet Sky at Disney Springs, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

If you are searching for a magical shopping destination with plenty of amazing options, be sure to check out Disney Springs during your visit to the Orlando/Lake Buena Vista area. Decorated with a Mediterranean flair and filled with some of the most popular shopping brands and restaurants there is something for everyone at this enchanting open air mall.

Violet Sky in a teacup at Disney Springs, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

By visiting Disney Springs you will feel the magic of Disney for free! Parking in the garages on site has no charge and there are no admission prices either. At this unique shopping center you can explore several Disney stores including The World of Disney, The Art of Disney, Disney Days of Christmas and Disney Pin Traders. If you have a little girl who loves the princesses, check out Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Also at Disney Springs are other popular fun stores including Build-A-Bear Workshop, Coca-Cola, Lego Store, M & M’s and Ron Jon Surf Shop. You can browse clothing and accessories stores including Coach, Vera Bradley, Under Armor, Tommy Bahama, Lacoste, Kate Spade and Alex and Ani.

Food at Disney Springs, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Food options at Disney Springs are also just as exciting! Such as in the photo above you can purchase the same Disney styled treats at the Candy Cauldron. Restaurants at the shopping center include Rainforest Cafe, The Boathouse, Splitsville, The Edison, House of Blues, Wolfgang Puck and Planet Hollywood!

In fact at Planet Hollywood you can see famous memorabilia from several popular movies. As shown below, Dorothy’s pinafore dress and blouse worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz is on display.

Violet Sky with Dorothy’s Dress from The Wizard of Oz, Disney Springs, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

If you are looking for activities to do while visiting Disney Springs, do not worry! There is plenty to see here. An AMC movie theatre shows several movies a day while Splitsville offers bowling! Take a scenic trip and ride in Aerophile, a hot air balloon that takes you up into the sky to see distant views of Walt Disney World!

Explore a chance to ride across Village Lake in a historic, restored amphicar or ride the carousel. Be sure to dedicate a day of your vacation to exploring all that Disney Springs has to offer, and best of all you can explore the area for free!

For more information about Disney Springs please visit https://www.disneysprings.com/!

If you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World check out one of my other blog articles, Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World!

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Julee Cottage

Violet Sky at Julee Cottage, Pensacola, Florida

This cute little cottage located in the historic district of Pensacola has some unique history behind it. It was constructed back in 1805 and today it has been named for its owner during the era, Julee Panton, a free woman of color.

The cottage is said to show architectural characteristics of a buildings seen in New Orleans at the time. The cottage has a Creole design to it which resembles the significance behind Ms. Panton’s ownership of the residence.

Julee Cottage, Pensacola, Florida

Ms. Panton purchased the cottage for $300 in the early 1800s with a little bit of land. She lived at the residence and was known for her skill in making candles and pastries. She would sell these goods as a means of income.

Julee hoped for more people of color to be able to own land and in 1809, she sold a portion of her lot to another freed woman by the name of Angelica for $41.50. Francisco Casini was a freed Mulatto man who purchased another portion of the lot for $212.00.

It was rumor at the time that Julee worked to purchase the freedom of slaves. She then helped them get a new start in the African community of Pensacola.

Julee Cottage, Pensacola, Florida

Although the cottage was not always located in downtown, the home was saved and moved to the area to serve as an exhibit.

Inside visitors can learn about life as African Americans would have experienced during post Reconstruction era.

To visit Julee Cottage please visit http://historicpensacola.org/plan-your-visit/museums-properties/julee-cottage/

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Statue of Don Tristan de Luna

Violet Sky at Plaza de Luna, Pensacola, Florida

Located right at the end of Palafox Pier in downtown Pensacola stands this bronze statue in honor of Tristan de Luna y Arellano. Known as a Spanish Conquistador, Tristan de Luna sailed to present day Florida in 1559. His mission from Spain was to conquer the Florida area and establish colonies in the New World.

Where Pensacola stands today, this was the site of Tristan de Luna’s colony. It is one of the earliest known European settlements in the United States. Landing with 1,500 people along with 11 Spanish ships the settlement seemed to have enough resources to succeed. The colony was called Santa Maria de Ochuse and relied on supplies from Spain and Mexico in its early stages. A terrible hurricane destroyed the newborn establishment resulting in the survivors to flee by boat or march northward into present day Alabama. After this dangerous storm encounter the Spanish deemed northwest Florida too risky to settle. The area was abandoned from Spanish establishment for nearly 150 years until the French rediscovered the land in the late 1690s.

Plaza de Luna, Pensacola, Florida

This statue was created and placed in commemoration of the 450th anniversary of his establishment. It was completed by Bob Rasmussen a local sculptor and featured in Luna’s hand is the Spanish flag of that time. So check out this nine foot statue next time you are in Pensacola to witness a piece of artwork that depicts this significant historical figure.

The statue and nearby parking is free to visit. Just bring a camera and an energetic smile!

Thanks for reading and keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Learn to Cha Cha in Downtown Pensacola

Violet Sky learning to Cha Cha in Pensacola, Florida

Originating in the 1950s in Cuba, the Cha Cha has long been a popular ballroom dance. During my visit to Pensacola I noticed at the corner of Plaza Ferdinand VII there were the steps to the dance in the sidewalk square. It was a unique find in the midst of historic buildings and aged live oaks. Being that I had never attempted the Cha Cha it was a fun adventure worth a try!

Also nearby in the park is a statue to Andrew Jackson commemorating the spot that he stood while being inaugurated as territorial governor of Florida Territory. You can read about the statue at https://adventureswithvioletsky.com/2020/09/20/andrew-jackson-statue/

Cha Cha dance steps in Pensacola, Florida

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Lear-Rocheblave House

Violet Sky at the Lear-Rocheblave House

John and Kate Lear built their timeless home in downtown Pensacola in 1888, although they never actually lived in the home it still stands today as a symbol of the past. The residence was built upon the grounds of a 1700s British building. The house was built of strong construction and featured a grand porch and balcony upon each floor. The elegant door welcomes visitors in to see its beautiful architecture sprinkled with tidbits of history. The home gained the second part of its name after a local tugboat captain by the name of Benito Rocheblave purchased the residence in 1897. The Rocheblave family had resided in the area since 1817 during the time of Colonial Spanish rule.

Captain Benito and his family lived at the house for many years and adored the elegance of the structure. It’s location was optimal due to its proximity to local shopping, churches and parks. It is local legend that a ghost of one of the Rocheblave daughters haunts the home and wisps of her classic perfume can be smelt in the air.

Lear-Rocheblave House

It wasn’t until 1988, that the building was restored as a museum. Today the house is preserved as part of the Historic Pensacola Village and presents guests with furniture and décor that would have been typical of the turn of the century. On your visit, bring a camera and be prepared to step into Pensacola’s past at the Lear-Rocheblave House.

The home is located at 214 E. Zaragoza Street in Pensacola. For more information on visiting the Lear-Rocheblave House, please visit http://historicpensacola.org/plan-your-visit/museums-properties/lear-rocheblave-house/.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Deluna’s Chat and Chew

Violet Sky at Deluna’s Chat & Chew, Pensacola, Florida

Walking around downtown Pensacola can offer some amazing shopping locations, venues and historic destinations, but a hot summer day in Florida can leave anyone looking for a way a to cool down! Deluna’s Chat and Chew is conveniently located across from Palafox Pier. This quaint little station offers some tasty options for ice cream, floats or even snow cones! Better yet, its vintage charm makes it a cute place to grab a snack.

They have a huge selection of delicious Hershey’s Ice Cream flavors! And after trying one of their double scoop waffle cones, I am proud to say that it was worth every penny. During my visit I tried a waffle cone with superman and butter pecan. It was quite the refresher after exploring the marina and downtown.

Menu at Deluna’s Chat & Chew, Pensacola, Florida

Also available are sugar and cake cones as well as cups for those who prefer no cone. If you are in the mood for a good old fashioned root beer float, they’ve got those too! Available with root beer or coke they typically come with vanilla ice cream, but if you are feeling especially creative, you can create your own!

To visit Deluna’s Chat and Chew, check out the map below or visit https://www.facebook.com/DelunasChatandChew/ for more information!

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky

Andrew Jackson Statue

Violet Sky at the Andrew Jackson Statue, Pensacola, Florida

It was on this site that on July 17, 1821 that Andrew Jackson was sworn in as Territorial Governor. During the ceremony the Spanish flag was lowered while an American flag was raised. During the event, Jackson gave an informative speech to the people of the community and declared that Pensacola was now a part of the Florida Territory while naming it the capital. Thus this park has been a place that is noted for its historical significance in regards to the admission of the Florida Territory to a part of the United States.

Andrew Jackson Statue, Pensacola, Florida

In 1935, the bust of Andrew Jackson was placed in Plaza Ferdinand VII. It was precisely placed based on historical documents in the spot that he stood while being inaugurated as territorial governor of Florida Territory.

The declaration came about after the passage of the Adams-Onis Treaty that was signed in 1819. In the treaty it is was determined that Spain would cede the land known today as Florida to the United States.

Andrew Jackson Statue, Pensacola, Florida

You will find the statue in Plaza Ferdinand VII right nearby downtown Pensacola. The statue is near the corner of the park by S. Palafox Street and E. Zarragossa Street.

Thanks for reading and as always, keep on truckin’!

-Violet Sky