Tallahassee Tourists (First Part)

Old Capitol Building, New Capitol Building behind

Tallahassee, the Capitol of Florida left an impression on us as we explored the Museums, old French quarter, tree lined streets with historical houses and the Mission San Luis replica of a 17th century community which was occupied by the Apalachee Indians and Spaniards who were drawn together by religion as well as military and economic purposes.  The Old Capitol, a Greek Revival building was built in 1845  and restored between 1978 & 1982.  It is now a museum of great historical significance.  We found it incredibly interesting especially to see the Senate and House of Representative Rooms, the Governor’s Suite and Supreme Court.  These areas have been refurbished as they were in 1902.  The new Capitol Building is 22 floors high.  We were able to tour a couple of levels and take the lift to the 22nd floor where there is a 360deg view of the City.

Duncan House of Reps

Senator Braban

No plush leather chairs, laptops, mobile phones, televisions, limosines and chauffeurs.  Wonder how our politicians would have managed!  Governor had a staff of four including a stenographer.  How many on the President’s and our PMs staff?  What does that say!

Mission San Luis

The Mission San Luis is a living history site & national historic landmark.  The tour took us around the Apalachee Indian council house, Franciscan church, military complex and spanish and indian fort.  Information boards explain life as it was in this 17th century community.

Duncan Indian Counci House

rhonda & Indian Squaw

The Council House slept up to 1500 Indians all around the perimeter as well as visiting natives from other areas.  The Chief had his own raised area.There was a large area left open at the top and logs were burned underneath constantly so that if it rained the heat would evaporate the moisture and in summer the heat of the fire would draw the cool air in. Very ingenious.  Where the Indian Community House was round and open the Spanish Homes were divided into living and bedroom.

Duncan with Spanish Commandant’s wife

We visited the Tallahassee Museum which is a living history dedicated to the pioneers of Florida and has animals native to Florida.  We looked through a 1920s red wooden caboose, a 1930s African-American Church and Bellevue, the Tallahassee cotton plantation home of George Washingtons great grand-neice.  We saw Florida panthers, bobcats, red wolves, alligators, black bears, birds of prey to name a few.  The Park features adventures for children of all ages with Tree to Tree adventures courses.

Duncan Red Caboose

Rhonda Cotton Plantation Homestead

black bear

Florida panther

Red wolf endangered

While walking Katie around our complex a snake very similar to this one slithered across the pathway in front of me.  We like to take her through along the paths and roadways and then around the perimeter.  I think her pounding along must have disturbed the snake and I came along.  I also just happened to be in thongs, lesson learnt as they are very venomous.  Black bears have also been sighted in the vicinity.  People are told to house their garbage bins in sheds or secure with a lock.

Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake

Well weather is still awesome.  Sunny hot days, water 25 degrees, so many people on the beach sitting under umbrellas in beach chairs.  Can’t understand why more people don’t go into the water which is so calm and chrystal clear (are you getting sick of me repeating myself).  Honestly Duncan and I feel like we are on an extended summer holiday and will make the most of it as we only have five weeks to go.  I have had my card confiscated as my wonderful husband thinks he has to reign in my spending.  We are off to Orlando (DisneyWorld) soon so he will have to give it back. Ha Ha.

Look our for Part 2 of Tallahassee Tourists.  Until then – Silver Nomads

Wining, dining and lazy days

Ripleys Believe it or Not – all things are big in America

Not a lot to report.  We have been spending lazy days at the beach.  The weather has been awesome.  Water chrystal clear and calm, cloudless days and brilliant sunsets.  I have been swimming almost every day with Katie.  I don’t know who likes it more she or me.  She has a sand bath after her swim and ends up with sand all over her. The three of us then have long walks along the beach with people with children wanting us to stop so they can pat her.  She is quite an attraction.   After her swim we go up the boardwalk to the shower and both stand under it while I get as much sand off her as I can.  lol.  We spent a day at Pier Park (which has lots of shops and entertainment park) eating popcorn and ice-cream and I spent time in the butterfly house. The annual migration of North America’s monarch butterfly is a unique phenomenon.  The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do.  They cannot overwinter as larvae or pupae, and cannot survive the cold winters of northern climates.  Some fly as far as 3,000 miles to reach their winter home.  The butterflies cluster together to keep warm  Tens of thousands of monarchs can cluster on a single tree.     A bit of useless information I guess but I found it interesting.

Monarch butterfly

Popcorn anyone?

The shops over here are scattered around not like in Australia where we have mainly large shopping malls where you can do all your shopping without driving very far.The supermarkets like Walmart and Publix are separate and not in any central mall.  Also the cafes/restaurants aren’t central.  You can drive several miles and pass many along the way.  It may be different in the main cities as we are in a very quiet part of Florida which, I might add, we love.  I am finding clothes, handbags, wallets, jewellery, watches, surprisingly cheap.  I’m going to do some Christmas shopping before we leave.

grey squirrel

We are seeing many squirrels around, two types black squirrel and grey squirrel.  Apparently they are pests as they dig to bury their nuts to store for winter and dig up bulbs (which they love to eat)and other plants in garden beds.  There is a hunting season which starts in a couple of weeks with a quota of 16 per day.  Seems cruel to me but I guess we cull our kangaroos at times as well, and eat  kangaroo meat.  This weekend we are  going to Pensacola for the day to the Seafood Festival.  They have live entertainment so sounds like fun.  Also next week we are going to Talahassee which is the Capital of Florida.  Has lots of history so looking forward to that as well.  I am trying to talk Duncan into taking me to a Gridiron match.  He is not keen but I may talk him into it yet.

We are finding lots of differences here from Australia.                                             Where we have layby they have layaway.

quirrel eating cone nut

There are ATM machines beside the road as you are driving along.  Voting is not compulsory but neither is it in the Uk.  I will leave you with a photo of one of the spectacular sunsets and a quote I read recently – ” Life is like dessert – too brief to hurry”.

Sunset over Walton Beaches

Beautiful days in Paradise

Sunset over Emerald Coast

I meant to post a photo of the sun setting which I took from the plane on arriving here at Panama City Beach so have put it in this one.  We are having some amazing sunny days with clear blue skies and the sunsets are so beautiful – hues of oranges, yellows and then as the sun gets lower pinks, mauves and blues.  Still hot for us but officially Fall (Autumn) has started and weather is expected to get cooler next month.  The averages at present are highs of 28C and lows of 18C, still very hot by our standards.  I have been spending plenty of time in the pools and we have both been into the sea most days which is so warm and calm.  There are so many people on the beaches, all sitting on chairs under umbrellas, lots of families and older people (probably my age lol).  Not too many swimming.  Yesterday we saw small sting rays jumping out of the water, never seen that before.  Kept an eye out for sharks and threre were some fins but turned out to be dolphins thankfully.  We have taken Katie down to the beach a couple of times.  She is so funny, just loves to swim, jumps the waves and tries to jump at the gulls as they fly over.  We let her off the lead once but she just wanted to head out to sea!.   Dogs are allowed before 8am and after 4pm.  My worst nightmare happened though – she decided it was time to go right at the edge of the water, yep you guessed – We had taken bags for that purpose but figgered she would have enough sense to do it on the sand.  Oh no, in front of everyone I am scrambling around picking it up whilst it is falling apart near the water’s edge.

Katie swimming

We have found people to be very friendly and helpful.  So many are either walking or riding push bikes as we go by and we all say hello.  When we are walking Katie they stop and talk to, or pat her, so she is a real icebreaker.

We have been back to the Outlet Centre where we bought a watch each, I bought jewellery and Duncan bought shirts, one pink!!!  Couldn’t believe it.  Things are so cheap, we just wish we had more room in our suitcases.  We are finding groceries, meat and fruit expensive however fuel is cheap so that makes up for it.  We havn’t been too far afield as yet.  We are just enjoying the beautiful days, the beach, scenery, walks and  the occasional lunch or dinner out.  I have joined a small church a few minutes walk from here and a Ladies Group on Wednesday nights.  Have met some great women and hope to make some lasting friendships.

Butterflies

We have made plans to visit Tallahassee in a couple of weeks time.  The city is the Capital of Florida.  It is a town of history, 2 Universitys, and a Community College.  We are looking forward to that.  We have also booked our Disney World Resort, tickets to theme parks for 3 days and tickets to see an Arabian Nights theatre and dinner show.   Going to Disneyland has been a dream of mine since I was a kid.  Just goes to show dreams do come true if we never, ever give up.  Thanks to all who have told me they are enjoying my blogs.  We enjoy hearing from you as well.Until next time from the Overseas Adventurers.

Beach scene

.

Hello from Seacrest Beach, Florida

We have been here for two weeks and are slowly assimilating into the differences between the two countries and there are many.  We had lunch at Capn Jacks Buffet and the girls told us that at the end of October the restaurant closes and doesn’t reopen until March!!  They then go and apply for unemployment or the Polish girl we met was going home for a couple of months.  Summer has just finished and we are now in Fall (our Autumn).  Weather is still very hot but will cool down in October.  They are on daylight saving time.  We have air con on 24/7.  I have a pesty cold which I can’t seem to get rid of – maybe the air con. Duncan is managing to drive on the right hand side of the  road quite well although I find I am still going to get in the left hand side which, of course, is the driver’s side.  Fuel is very cheap here – $3.65per gallon, which is $3 a gallon cheaper than Oz.   Weather has not been very favourable.  Mainly dull cloudy, showery days.  We have yet to see the azure blue calm seas in the photos and postcards as a result of the Hurricane and storms.  Sea has been very choppy but the sand is so white.  We are on Highway 30A – well known across America for its seaside complexes, beautiful beaches, white sand, crystal clear water and watersports of every form.

In front of our Condo

Our Condo is very comfortable and our pet, Katie, is very special.  She is so obedient and well behaved and has taken to Duncan.  She loves chasing lizards and squirrals. They have gone for a walk before I am up in the mornings all around the complex.  There are two pools, one directly below our condo and the lagoon pool a little further over.  Just to the front of us there is the Village Square where there is a Mexican restaurant, Seafood and Steak, small food store, Orange Leaf frozen yoghurt where you purchase the yoghurt by the ounce and sprinkle it with whatever toppings you want, yummy. (A bit like our Hard Rock at home).  Bicycle and scooter hire is prevelent as is hire of umbrellas on the beach @ $40 per day.  Thankfully we have all we need here.

Outlet shopping

We went for a drive to Pier Park at Panama City Beach.  There is a jetty where you can walk out as a visitor for $2 or fish for $6.  There are many shops of all kinds, clothing, souveneirs, swimwear, art, popcorn, ice-cream and restaurants with very diverse menus.  We also drove in the other direction  to Destin where we stopped at Silver Sands outlet centre.  We thought we had plenty of time but couldn’t believe our eyes, so many shops over such a distance.  It was so hot so we parked the car, walked a mile or so and then  shifted the car to the next set of shops.  I bought a leather handbag and shoulder bag at an amazing price.  We also shopped at Calvin Klein, checked out baby wear and the chocolate shop.  I couldn’t find a bathing suit but  managed to get a beautiful suit a couple of days later at Panama City Beach.  So many to choose from.

Buffet lunch

We are looking forward to next week as we have a few things planned.  We are going on an Airboat Tour which skims and glides across inches of water in search of Alligators Dolhins, Herons and Birds of Prey, then off to the Imax Theatre.  I’m hoping to feel better so I can go parasailing and we are going on a trip across to Shell Island.  Several options here – swim with the dolphins, snorkle or just walk around the Island collecting shells and swimming or lazing on the white sand.  We are a little intimidated by the distances between places.  Doesn’t look so far on a map but we now realise how big the United States is.

Sunset

Until next time – love from us to y’all.  Hope to hear from you soon.

Rosemary Beach, Florida – Day 3

We arrived at Panama City airport Sunday evening (US time) and were met by Steve and Lynn who asked had we heard about the Hurricane?  We hadn’t so they said that initially it was headed for us so they had been making plans to evacuate us and Katie (the black lab we are looking after).  Fortunately it had changed direction and was now headed for New Orleans on the Gulf of Mexico which is about 5 hours west of where we are at Rosemary Beach.

We slept fitfully after the long flight and Monday morning we were driven around the area, shown where to shop for groceries, where there are good restaurants/cafes, walkways around the area, how to get down to the beach and the large pool in the complex.  Lynn has obtained lots of brochures for us  so we can go through them and work out what we would like to do and when while we are here.  They then took us to the Waffle House for breakfast.  This is a fast food chain serving everything breakfast and beyond.   You might be surprised to hear that I opted for the All-Star Special which included a waffle, butter, maple syrup as well as eggs, bacon,toast, hash brown and gritts (which looks like mashed potato and is corn based a bit like oats). Duncan settled for bacon/eggs/hash brown.  Hash browns come regular/large/triple (smothered-onions; covered-american cheese;chunked-smoked ham;diced-tomatoes;peppered-peppers;capped-mushrooms-topped-chili;county-sausage gravey;scattered all the way CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

Steve and Lynn left shortly after.  We were so jetlagged we went back to bed for several hours.  Yesterday Duncan drove the BMW we have been loaned very carefully to the Supermarket, Publix.  He managed the left hand drive and right hand lanes very well. At the checkout he did his usual “mr have-a-chat” and when he told the check out girl we are from Australia she asked had he FOUGHT ANY KANGAROOS?  With a straight face he said no.  Maybe  she has seen too much TV about Boxing Kangaroos!

We are in a very big complex of condiminiums.  There is a small village at the front which has a small grocery shop, icecreamery, gifts and souveniers and a couple of restaurants. They are all closed for a couple of days due to the hurricane.  The beach is very close with steps down to it.  We have a small pool right in front of our condo and there is a much larger resort style one further over.

This morning I walked Katie and thankfully, I had taken water bottles for us both.  Yes, you guessed it I got lost.  I seemed to be going around in circles and as much as I asked Katie to take us home she just looked up at me as if to say that’s what you’re here for!!  Finally asked someone and I was only a block from home lol.

Now to the hurricane.  I am very thankful it did not stay on its original path although I do feel for the people in New Orleans.  Today (Wednesday) it has crossed the Coast as a Category One Hurricane which is bringing about 150klms wind and sheets of very heavy rain.  It is moving very slowly so they are expecting up to 20ins of rain.  We have really no indication of it except it is very windy, no rain and some blue skies.  Yesterday we went to look at the beach and the Ocean was incredibly choppy, beach non-existent.  We are not deterred in any way and are so looking forward to all there is to offer.  I have several things on my bucket list  and so does Duncan.  I havn’t taken many photos yet as it has been very gloomy and overcast so will include a couple in another post.

Until next time.  Don’t forget to comment on my post, let us know whats happening over there and I will reply.

16 days to go Check out my Facebook Page for photos of Rosemary Beach where we are going to housesit. It looks so beautiful. I cannot believe we are actually going there. Most of you know that I love the beach and swimming and, as la bonus, there are a couple of pools as well. I think I must have been a dolphin in another life. Packing has proved easy as the weather will be warm to hot. My first shopping excursion will be to buy a pair (or two) of bathers. Looking after our hosts home and Katie will be such a small chore compared to what we are getting. I am still trying to work out how to insert a photo on this blog but hopefully will do so before we leave. Until next time