Winding Down Here at Stephen Foster

AntiquesVillageWhiteSpringsFL (5) (Copy)We are winding down here at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. The campground is looking better as we, and our fellow volunteers, slowly rake, sweep, clip and blow the leaves and trim the bushes in and around the campground area. We finally found a hand blower that I can start myself and I try to use it every day on the campsites. In the mean time another volunteer couple, Linda and J.T., are trimming the trees, bushes and along the roadways. They pay to stay on their campsite and work all day most of the week to whip the campground back into shape after a long fall and winter season. Our co-campground host couple, Dennis and Liz, are doing a great job as well as we learn to use the “automated” cleaning solutions station that was put into the storage areas of the bathhouses. This is suppose to help deliver the “right amounts” of cleaning solution with water ratios for proper cleaning and to help the park save money in the long run. We are still having to use a watered down bleach solution on the shower areas though as it stays so damp in the bathhouses between the rain and humidity. But, we do our best with what we are given and we are still receiving compliments from our fellow campers about how clean the bathhouses are and how nice the campsites are being kept.

We will say that Stephen Foster’s campground is very RV friendly with quite a few large pull-through sites and level pads. It looks more of a resort than a true state park. The park itself is more of a place to enjoy old-fashioned music, crafts and history. Most of the events here stress the “Old Florida” folk culture ways. They do have 5 nice air conditioned cabins, a huge canoe/kayak launch and lots of areas to have a picnic, playground equipment for the kids, trails to explore, large lawn area with a stage area to listen to a concert or watch a movie after dark. You can walk through the craft village and take a crafting class, ride your bike or rent a picnic pavilions, the Nelly Bly Kitchen or the auditorium to host a family reunion, business retreat or even a wedding. It would take you a week to see and do everything here. Don’t forget the Stephen Foster Museum, with it’s diorama’s of life on the Stephen Foster Plantation, tributes to his music and antique musical instruments displays.

We still haven’t heard about our Southern Women Crafts being able to participate in the annual Florida Folk Festival so we can’t really comment on that yet. We do hope to be vendors for that event. We may even be able to come back in July to participate in the Antiques, Arts and Collectibles day. The current Gift Shop manager here will be coordinating that event and hopes to include North Florida Authors as well as vintage trailer vendors in the Tiki Huts area right next to the Crafts Village. We are still working on getting a vintage trailer to house, display and sell our handcrafted items from. Please see our Southern Women Crafts blog for updates on our progress there.

Being in the middle of the town can have it’s advantages even such a small town as White Springs, Florida. We are just a couple of blocks from the nearest library, a couple of restaurants, a hardware store, one local bank and Dollar General which functions as the local grocery store. For fresh fruits and vegetables you can visit the Citgo gas station across the street from the Dollar General. It has a butcher shop and the “Family Traditions” restaurant too. Speaking of restaurants, there are three located within 3 miles of the park and they are the aforementioned Family Traditions which serves southern type meals, Fat Belly’s which is a Barbecue and Grill place and Lonnie’s Pizza. We haven’t had a chance to visit the Family Traditions restaurant but some of our fellow volunteers say the meals are good and plentiful. We did try Fat Belly’s and their barbecue pork sandwich meal was pretty good. Finally, we can’t say enough about Lonnie’s Pizza. It is a family run place which serves pizza (duh!), calzones, sandwiches and salads. Love their calzones and their pizzas and salads weren’t half bad either.

If you visit the park during the last part of the week you really should try to visit the old Adam’s General Store building right at the corner of U.S. 41 and County Road 136. There is a caution light there with the bank on one corner, the Hamilton County Nature and Tourism Center on the opposite corner and car detailing business on the other. Of course, there are only two caution lights in the whole town so you really can’t miss it. The owner has finally opened the building up as an antique store. Apparently, he is quite a collector and some friends of his are willing to work in the building three days a week to sell off the inventory. He does state, emphatically, that his metal antique signs on the walls and his collection of antique gas pumps are NOT FOR SALE! But other than that most everything else is. It was fun walking through the store, which they have arranged in sections like the old general store, as well as walking around the antique village type area in the back. The upstairs of the building is not opened to the public, at this time, as it is being used as storage but they hope to be able to offer “After Hours” tours at a later date. For now, you can visit any time from 10am to 4pm, Thursday through Saturday and be taken back to yesteryear. They also have hopes of being able to open an old fashioned soda fountain area once they get approval from the health department. Won’t that be great! Anyway, below are just a few of the pictures we took during our visit.

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We only have about 10 days left here at the park and will be spending the next few days cleaning, packing, rearranging, etc. to get ready to leave here and go to our next assignment. It has been lots of hard work but still fun and a different learning experience for us. As with most of our assignments we really appreciate the friendly staff as well as the local people who have made our stay an enjoyable one. We want to thank all of them and will try to do so in person to as many as we can. We do want to send a special “Shout Out”, to the ladies at the White Springs branch of the Suwannee River Regional Library for keeping us in DVDs, books to read and information about the area. The local libraries are always a great source of information of not only the normal library things but about local culture and history as well. If you really want to know about the small towns you visit then drop on by a local library.

Finally, we want to thank the new manager of the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park’s Cousin Thelma Boltin Gift Shop. She readily agreed to try selling our book on commission and when she saw that it was selling well she was our first steady customer who wants to buy the book outright! Thanks so much Ms. Joanna…..

Till next time. Hope you will keep reading about our adventures and recommend our book and website to your friends and family….


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