My parents bought their new home in March of this year with the plan to make it open for all of us to use as a wonderful place to vacation.
Tavares is located about thiry miles north west of Orlando, and is about an hours drive to either coast, being so centrally located makes it ideal for planning day trips. The house sits on Lake Harris, a massive lake, just shy of 14, 000 acres, it connects to several other lakes, and if you desire you can cross lake after lake and go through various channels and rivers and ultimately end up in the Atlantic ocean.
My parents took us all out on their pontoon, it was a beautiful sunny day simply perfect for a boat ride. We headed across Lake Harris, through the dead river, into Lake Eustis, down the Dora Canal into the Mt. Dora Lake, we then docked and took a stroll around Tavares. A little later we headed back to the pontoon, chased off all of the birds who decided it was a wonderful place to perch, and retraced our journey home.
Another day we took a drive to Homosassa Springs located on the western side of Florida. There is a lovely state park, Homosassas Springs State Park, a winter home to many manatees, and a permanent home to several captive manatees. The park is a delight, well worth a visit. As well as manatees there are many birds to see, owls, eagles, flamingos, to name a few, a lovely old fellow Lou the Hippopotamus who is fifty years old, aligators, black bear, foxes, and a reptile house with lots of little creatures who thankfully are safely kept behind glass. Other than Lou, all the birds and animals are native to Florida. While walking around the park we discovered a very small creature lying in a crack in the sidewalk, it was obviously injured, my mom and Amber, Patrick and Charlie stood guard while Henry and I went to find help. In the nature building we found three retirees, all volunteers at the park, who were quite excited with the thought of an adventure. Henry, the three park volunteers and myself all headed back to the injured creature. It turned out to be a baby flying squirrel, one of the volunteers called for emergency back up and we continued our tour of the park. A little later we checked back with the volunteers and found out that the little squirrel was in a warming bed and would be transferred to a rehabilitation center for flying squirrels run by a lady called Mary. We were glad that we had had some part in rescuing the poor little squirrel.
We visited a beach on the Gulf of Mexico and dipped our toes into the surf and another day we headed over to the east coast to New Smyrna Beach to see the Atlantic ocean. New Smyrna is a good place to visit, we walked around a farmers market, it was strange to me that it was essentially the same as the farmers market we have in Fort Wayne, selling identical things packaged almost identically, very strange! A man was playing calypso music at the market, it was perfect, the sun was shining and it was very hot, we purchased a bag of kettle corn and headed to the beach.
It was a perfect day for the beach, a light breeze, ample sunshine, warm water, seventy-seven degrees warm, and lots and lots of sand. I built a sandcastle, we all played in the surf, ate popcorn, played ball, sat in the sun, and did all the usual going to the beach activities, it was wonderful.
It was a great, albeit brief, vacation, and I hope to run down to Florida again with Dave sometime in January for a few days of fun in the sun.
|Turtles at Homosassas|
|My mummy with two of her great-grandsons|
|Lou the Hippo|
|The baby flying squirrel. He was much photographed by us and the park volunteers!|
|I wouldn't trust that smile if I was you.|
|A splendid eagle|
|Amber and two of the boys standing in the Gulf of Mexico|
|My mom enjoying the shade|
|A view of Lake Harris at sunset|
|The boathouse at sunset|
|The pontoon First Mate|
|The pontoon Captain|
|The Dora Canal|
|Trees in the Dora Canal|
|Amber and her boys enjoying the pontoon|
|Pontoon rides are very relaxing|
|My splendid sand castle, it took the boys no time at all to demolish it!|
|You can't go to the beach without someone getting buried in the sand :)|
|A view of New Smyrna Beach looking south|
|Amber and Charlie paddling in the Atlantic|