A Busy and Cold Weekend Here in Florida. Let’s Look at Moss Park Pix Again!

A Busy and Cold Weekend Here in Florida. Let’s Look at Moss Park Pix Again!

Lately I’ve been ready to head back out at each opp to see some new beautiful corner of Florida. Or revisit a familiar spot. Not happenin’ this weekend. It’s too cold and I’ve got too many tasks demanding attention. Way too many, truth be told.

But seeing as how I took about 80 or 90 photos at that awesome, serenity-promoting trip to Moss Park I just wrapped up 36 hours ago, why not post another pic or two from that excursion! I think I will…

Here’s another one I especially like. It came early in the shoot. Selecting your faves and getting them ready and all of that can be a bit time-consuming. Very rewarding but it can take a while. I have around a dozen or so I’d like to get up, so I’ll let this gem be next.

I hope life is treating you well where ever you may be as you read this. And I hope you’re getting a chance to delight in the wonders of this amazing planet that sustains us.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Moss Park in Southern Orange County is a Lovely Spot

Moss Park in Southern Orange County is a Lovely Spot

Just got back from a two day camp. Moss Park this time. If you’re familiar with greater Orlando, you know that’s just a bit east of our airport and that the Lake Nona area has grown up around the park. Yes, Moss Park pre-dates all the Lake Nona stuff. By many, many years.

What a place for a shutterbug to run wild! Loved it. Will be returning soon. In Florida, our motto should be “So Many Beautiful Places; So Little Time!”

Well, I’d vote for that. So much beauty all up and down the Sunshine State. Getting to experience just a bit more of it, and “talking” about here gives my life meaning and purpose. I’ll start tonight with just one quick photo. More to come. I promise.

 

Photo Credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

Jim’s Place in Elkton Florida For Pizza and Fine Country Fare

I was in Elkton last October for an event at the St. Johns County Fairgrounds and noticed Jim’s Place. Elkton is not a big town by any stretch of the imagination and Jim just about has it locked up, as far as the restaurant business is concerned. But after having lunch there on that Saturday, I’m sure Jim would do just fine even if there was plenty of competition!

Just in case you’re not too familiar with this part of Florida, St. Augustine is the “big city” in St. Johns County. Tiny Elkton is a good location for the county fairgrounds as it’s pretty much in the middle of St. Johns. I was there playing music with my good friends Bill and Eli Perras for the recent Tiny House Festival and Jim’s is a stone’s throw away from the fairground’s entrance. I had to stop.

It was a busy Saturday lunch and it took my server a while to greet me. This was not a serious issue to me as the joint was jumpin’ and another party was seated about 20 seconds before I was. As someone who worked in that business for many years, I knew it would be a minute or two before my server made it table side.

Once she got to me and we got down to business, I opted for the Club Sub, it sounded intriguing. When I’m in a place for the first time, a Club Sandwich is one of my go-to orders. I’ve learned over the years that any establishment worth its salt can usually turn out a decent Club. But I’d never had a “Club Sub” and I just had to see what would come out of the kitchen.

It did not disappoint! It’s hard to translate a double decker sandwich into a sub roll but this sub — even though it really should have been served with a bib — was an excellent lunch for this first-time guest.

There are some menu offerings at places like Jim’s that are pretty much impossible to finish in one sitting. Their Club Sub is a great example. But I put on my big boy pants and managed to polish it off. You’re really not going to be able to eat it as you would a “normal” sub; this Mac Daddy of subs isn’t going to stay together for you, at least not long enough to get from stem to stern. If you do go to Jim’s and decide to give this selection a go, your fork will be your best friend. The fries were served hot and were quite good, too.

I liked the country vibe at Jim’s. When you look at the menu and take in your surroundings, there’s just a bit of a disconnect. Pizza and subs are staples here, but it looks nothing like your basic city pizza parlor. If you know what I mean. The best way for me to describe it is that it’s a bit like a scaled-down Cracker Barrel but without the retail part. It’s small-ish, but so is the town of Elkton. You certainly can get a lot more than pizza at Jim’s Place, so the country feel there is fitting. I’ve just never personally walked into a place for pizza or a sub that looked like it.

The next time I visit, I think I’ll make it earlier in the day and get an order of biscuits and gravy. And I’ll quash that silly hope that one day I’ll see Chicken Fried Steak on the menu at my fave pizza place in downtown Orlando! Just kidding…

Jim’s Place not only features excellent variety on its menu, it’s a very family-friendly spot and also has some outdoor seating on the front patio. The parking lot is not paved, something you’ll find in many small eateries in the country, so come wearing your boots and not your Sunday shoes! And the prices at Jim’s are moderate.

Jim’s Place ~ 4917 S.R. 207 ~ Elkton, Florida 32033 ~ Dial 904 692-1222 ~ The Home Page

You Do Have to See Silver Springs State Park to Get It!

You Do Have to See Silver Springs State Park to Get It!

Just got back from a two day camping excursion to Silver Springs State Park near Ocala and had an awesome time!

Silver Springs State Park is the newest gem in Florida’s state park system and I’m glad it’s been added. As many of you may know, it was a tourist attraction, the oldest in the Sunshine State and was completely converted to a state park in October of 2013. And it’s beautiful.

I never did see the original attraction. Had seen Weeki Wachee as a kid and Cyprus Gardens a time or two, but never made it out to Silver Springs. Awfully glad I finally did!

I just spent two nights camping in the park, enjoyed every moment of it. It was just a bit chilly for sleeping, but to me that’s better than really hot! The temps here in Florida are not always ideal for those of us who enjoy outdoor activities. This time of year is as good as it gets.

If you’d like to know more about the history of Silver Springs and its change from a tourist attraction to a state park, the Wikipedia entry is a good place to begin.

If you’d like to visit the site for the park as it exists today, follow this link.

I took plenty of pix. I’ll be posting soon with more.

 

Happy Camper Bulldog Ben

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

This Amazing View of Tonight’s Full Moon Is Brought to You By…

This Amazing View of Tonight’s Full Moon Is Brought to You By…

Many of you know I’m passionate about pix. Amateur photography is such an awesome thing.

Tonight’s full moon is so beautiful. This photo is the first time I’ve ever done a “moon shot” with any cam other than a cell phone. I like the way it turned out. (A Canon Power Shot, if you’re curious; nothing too fancy.)

I had a chance to go camping again this week. Some of you probably read those entries. The moon was not quite full Monday night/Tuesday morning but bathing her beams until about 2 AM was way too much fun.

I knew that she would be full by tonight so I had to take a look. Oh my! The moon shadows are so good! That’s one of the things I like best about doing outdoors-type stuff, camping especially. If you like moon play, you’ve got to get the hell out of the house sometimes, right?

This may not be the best or most-detailed moon pic you’ve ever seen. But it’s my fave. Hands down.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Triple Trimble Tuesday!

Triple Trimble Tuesday!

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Well, it is Tuesday. And I do want to send along one more photo that features the beauty of Orange County’s Trimble Park. Okay, maybe two.

Good shot of the meeting of Lake and Sky first.

And then another sunset pic. I like the one shown here as the final foto better than most. Mr. Sun seemed a bit tired. I was sure he was going to chill awhile after a long day at work. Well, the days in January aren’t all that long, but you know what I mean…

I hope your Tuesday has truly been terrific! Mine has been fine. I just need to dive into my recliner and chill. Camping, as many of you probably know, can be very fun. And very, very exhausting!

 

Photo Credits Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

 

Another Shot or Two from Trimble Park.

Another Shot or Two from Trimble Park.

There must be thirty or forty docks at the park. No, that’s not an exaggeration! A view of a dock or two. This huge lake is Lake Griffin.

Call Orange County Parks and Rec if you’d like to book or need info such as hours, fees, how to find them, and all that. If you like to do outdoor stuff and you’re here in Central Florida, don’t overlook this hidden gem.

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Trimble Park, Orange County’s Best-Kept Secret

Trimble Park, Orange County’s Best-Kept Secret

If you like to do outdoor stuff, let me recommend you overnight at Trimble Park in Tangerine. (That’s the tiny town after Zellwood but before Mt. Dora!) I just wrapped up a one-dayer stay at Trimble Park and I am one happy camper!

I took a photo or three and I’ll share a few. It really is a special site and it does truly “fly under the radar”. I’ve been in this county for over 50 years and I had no idea this lovely park even existed.

If you like to camp, Trimble features 15 great lots. You’ll mostly see RV’ers there, I was the only tent camper on-site for this outing. (That’s not too unusual, as many of you many may know.) But I’m all-in for tent camping. And I’m having way too much fun!

Hope to see you sometime before too long. Maybe at one of our awesome beaches, campgrounds or outdoor music venues. Life’s too damn short to spend all of it hiding in your living room, man cave or that little cubicle you’re chained to from 9-5.  There are so many opportunities to do outdoor stuff here in the Sunshine State. Until recently, I had let slip through my fingers a thousand and one of those opps. And now I’m making up for lost time.

Photo credits Benjamin Lawrence Basile

One of Life’s Unsolved Mysteries–KFC and Gravy

One of Life’s Unsolved Mysteries–KFC and Gravy

Seriously, folks! Why is it that the gravy served with those mashed potatoes at KFC is frickin’ beef gravy? Why can’t you at least ask for a chicken-based gravy to go with those not-that-great mashed taters! Bulldog just cannot understand how this came to be… Just can’t. For real.

 

Photo Credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

First Watch is First Choice for Good Grub in Longwood

I found myself driving past First Watch one cold, dreary December morning recently and jumped at the chance to let someone else take care of breakfast. I had spent a very wet night camping nearby at Wekiva Springs State Park and was not up for making breakfast at my camp site. By the way, that park is beautiful; I’m whining only about the weather. I loved the park itself and will go back another day; perhaps Mother Nature will be in a better mood.

Anyway, back to First Watch. It is a fine choice for a hot and hearty breakfast, especially on a cold winter morning. The sausage and eggs were perfectly done, the rye toast could not have been better and my service was very good. The home fries seemed like they’d been under a heat lamp just a bit too long, but that’s a minor issue in my book.

I saw several couples having breakfast. I think I was the only solo patron on this trip. Although a saw no kids on this visit, it seemed as though it would be a family-friendly spot. I did see high chairs at the ready.

The decor at First Watch is simple and natural. Some would say boring. But I like and patronize places with tans, earth tones and some actual wood. Too many eateries now eschew anything that looks even remotely traditional but I like the “feel” here. I call it traditional-ish without being stodgy.

As far as value, my check was about what I’ve had at Peach Valley Cafe, Keke’s and other establishments offering breakfast and lunch. And there’s plenty of parking in the Publix shopping plaza where they’re located.

Loved it. Will most definitely go back to First Watch the next time I’m in that part of Central Florida.

 

First Watch ~ 2425 W State Rd 434, Longwood, Florida 32779 ~ 407 774-1830

Visited December 2016