Return to Moss Park

Return to Moss Park

A couple of months ago I spent a very pleasant part of a winter’s day at Moss Park.

This gem is about 4 miles from Orlando Int’l Airport and features amazing scenery and camping, among other things.

I always love making a trip and taking in all the sights. I have camped there twice and have made two other day visits to grill and take photos.

And, yes, I got some really good photos on this trip.

My companion and I enjoyed a pleasant picnic lunch and then I started roaming around with camera in hand.

The banner photo is one that I especially like. The vistas in this part of the park–situated very close to the park’s entrance–are always breathtaking.

The one you see below is from that same part of the park. I always know that pix taken in those last couple of hours before sunset often turn out fabulously. On this visit, I was not disappointed.

Both our lunch and the photo expedition were wonderful. You can be sure that there will be another return to this fine outdoor spot very soon.

And when I go back, I’ll undoubtedly capture many memories and plenty of photos to go with them.

Photos like the one below, the last one I’ll share for now.

Enjoy your outdoor adventures. At this moment in our shared history, it’s all the more important to look for ways to grab a little serenity.

Taking in the beauty of some of our superlative outdoor spaces is a wonderful way to do that.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Fort Christmas Follow Up

Fort Christmas Follow Up

On February 9th, I put up a brief post with a few photos about my January visit to Fort Christmas Park, a “hidden gem” within the Orange County (Florida) parks system.

When you visit any park, you’d expect to find some rec facilities, picnic sites complete with sheltered pavilions, grills and a playground.

Fort Christmas Park has all of that and much more. A recreated Fort of no small historical significance, for starters.

The construction of this outpost for our troops of that day began on Christmas day of 1837. Which is–as you might expect–the reason behind the Fort’s noteworthy name.

Are you interested in Florida history?

Would like to know more about the three Seminole Wars of the 19th Century?

The conflicts which have been called the “Vietnam Wars” of that time.

More about the fighting spirit and resistance of great Seminole chiefs like Osceola, Micanopy and Billy Bowlegs?

I was quite surprised to learn how much the park and the recreated fort could inform and educate those who come to see and experience all of it.

My companion and I stayed for over three hours and tried to take it all in. I assure you, it was time very well spent.

This post is mostly focused on the recreated fort. I did get some good photos and those make a good template to put together a post that can give one a glimpse into what the park and the replica of the fort have to offer.

The banner photo is a view of the gate leading into the fort from the outside. The one below is of one of the stockades from the interior. This would be one of the locations where troops defending the outpost would be if the fort should come under siege.

Once you’re in the interior of the fort, the building you see below houses a fine and accurate exhibition of the fort’s history, down to the carpentry and construction tools which were used for such purposes in the 19th Century.

Another one of the things that caught my interest is pictured below. That’s the enclosure where gunpowder and musket balls–the ammo of the 19th Century–were stored.

The earthen floor–which you can’t see in this exterior shot–was about two feet below ground to keep the ammo cooler and more secure than it would be at ground level.

There is so much more about Fort Christmas Park and the Fort in particular that could never be conveyed in a blog post.

For example, there are many real, authentic out-buildings that illustrate what life was like for settlers here in Florida in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. The photo below features just one of them.

I did capture a few interior shots that I think merit a place in today’s posting. I’m very keen to know more about about wood-burning stoves and some of the other furnishings found in the homes of that time.

If you’re in Central Florida or ever come here–for a visit to our beaches or ever-popular theme parks–I heartily recommend the Fort and the Park for anyone who’d like a glimpse into Florida History or get a taste of what life was like for our early settlers.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

A word from Florida’s FWC with Spring on the way

A word from Florida’s FWC with Spring on the way

Each year around this time, wildlife obey Nature’s directive to shift back into high gear.

And each year, our Fish and Wildlife Commission here in the Sunshine State puts out info so the public can be “springtime savvy” as far as helping critters of all kinds is concerned.

Helping–or in many cases–just making sure that our behaviors and actions don’t hurt.

If you’re here in Florida, taking a look at the site and this helpful bulletin would be a good thing.

And it’s a very good thing for those of us who love critters to watch out for them all throughout the year no matter what neck of the woods you may be in.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Fort Christmas Park

Fort Christmas Park

My fellow outdoor enthusiast and I made another trip to Orange County’s Fort Christmas park a couple of weeks ago.

It was another splendid trip, and I did have a chance to take some good photos.

When you visit Fort Christmas Park, there are so many things to see. It’s a park in the Orange county park system wrapped around a pretty authentic re-creation of the actual fort. Fort Christmas was active for a short time in the 2nd Seminole Indian War.

That’s a photo of that storied fort (as re-created) but the fort is only one of the reasons why making a visit to the park is time very well spent.

There are at least 15 out-buildings spread all over the park grounds and they shed light on what life was like for settlers in Florida in the late 19th to early 20th Centuries.

I’ll have more coming soon both about the fort, a very brief mini-history of the Seminole wars and why the fort came to be. And then a photo journal of all of the other things that lie in store for the park’s visitors.

Keep getting out to see some of the great outdoor spots in your neck of the woods. Every corner of America–and our entire planet, for that matter–has a thousand lovely places just there for the taking!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

Blanchard Park and the Little Econ

My traveling companion and I had a marvelous time at Blanchard Park on the east side of Orange County recently.

That outing was about ten days ago and it was a great morning in a wonderful and somewhat under-appreciated spot in the Orange County Parks system.

The banner photo was taken from the picnic area. We had staked out a good spot with a truly fabulous view of the “Little Econ” River.

By the way, the river’s full name is the Econlockhatchee River and it flows into the St John’s River, the longest in the Sunshine State.

Folks around here just call it the “Little Econ”, as you might imagine. A good part of its 54 mile length winds its way through eastern Orange County and there are several parks dotting its path.

Here’s a view of the river looking straight across the bank from our prime spot where we’d set up our camp stove and started to take photos.

I didn’t get too carried away with my camera that morning. But I did get a dozen or so shots worth keeping. Here’s one similar to the banner photo but not zoomed so tightly.

As most of my readers know, I usually take plenty o’ pix each time I get out into Nature’s Den. But the other reason we went to Blanchard Park that fine Tuesday morning was that it was a perfect opportunity to fire up that two-burner camp stove I love so well and make some pancakes and vegan sausage.

We enjoyed our late breakfast that morning and then moved on to another outdoor adventure. That was a trip about ten more miles out East Hwy 50 to the tiny town of Christmas, Florida.

Fort Christmas Park is another choice spot for Central Florida outdoor enthusiasts. But that will be material for another post on another day.

I just want to note as I’m closing that while we were making breakfast, there were two incidents where joggers who were zipping through the park stopped to tell us how awesome the smell of our pancakes were!

That and everything else about the morning was pretty cool. We’re most definitely going to make another trip to Blanchard Park in the near future.

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2020 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

A Quick Look Back Over Some…

A Quick Look Back Over Some…

I did want to take a quick look back over some of the outdoor fun I had this year.

Although I would have loved to have had even more outdoor fun, I had plenty of it in 2019.

Less than I’d like but undoubtedly more than most folks.

A couple of the trips I made to the Canaveral National Seashore this year were very memorable.

The first was on July 1st and the second in early September, soon after Hurricane Dorian blew through.

The first was memorable mostly because it was just a blissful, nearly-perfect day and the second because the shore was practically covered in shells of every type.

Hurricanes do throw millions of tons of shells and plenty of flotsam and jetsam on the shore in their wake.

I did blog about both of those trips here and here.

Another noteworthy excursion happened in November. It had been over a year since I had had a chance to visit Wekiwa Springs State Park and I’m delighted to say that that trip about seven weeks ago was absolutely wonderful in several ways.

If you’re anywhere near these lovely places here in the Sunshine State, you’re past due for a visit.

About three weeks ago, my traveling companion and I spent two nights and three days camping and seeing the sights at Silver Springs State Park.

We had a fabulous time, though Joan had a head cold start as we were about one day into the trip.

We took the ever-popular glass bottom boat tour for which Silver Springs is so well-known. Below is one of the shots I got on the tour. There were many, many more, as you might imagine.

I hiked solo while Joan rested and we both enjoyed the park and our two-plus days there even with the head cold hassle.

All in all, it was a very worthwhile trip and we’re making plans to return to S.S.S.P. early in 2020.

There will be a more thorough post about that trip coming early in the New Year. Three brief paragraphs here tonight simply do not do it justice.

Outdoor activities are popular in every corner of America and all over the world.

Make sure that in 2020, you get in on some of the fun!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Walt Disney’s Birthday

Walt Disney’s Birthday

Some happy news: today is the birthday of Walt Disney.

For me–and for so many others–that is, indeed, a cause for celebration.

The world is a better place for Walt having come along. A mere 118 years ago, I might add.

It’s also true that my life is certainly better because of that salutary event.

Walt, we love you and strive to move your amazing, unique vision forward.

A proud Disney cast member, I am,

Benjamin Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Ben is not the owner of the delightful graphic in this post and believes it to be covered by Fair Use.

Wekiwa Springs in November

Wekiwa Springs in November

My traveling companion and I made a trip to Wekiwa Springs earlier this month.

It was a great trip and we enjoyed it immensely.

She had not seen it before; had not seen any of our fabulous State Parks here in the Sunshine State and she loved it.

The banner photo is of the bridge that visitors see when they leave the parking area and walk towards the springs.

I’m sure I’ve taken well over a hundred photos of this beautiful and well-loved sliver of the Park. I’m quite pleased with this one.

You can rent canoes and kayaks here and paddle about to your heart’s content. Here you can see plenty of colorful kayaks just waiting to launch.

I’ve had many friends who swear that kayaking is THEE way to go when you’re near the water. I’m sure that their feelings about that are quite well-founded, but I’m more of a canoe guy! Here four of them greeted us when we came of the way with our cameras in hand.

We are planning another visit soon. This time we’ll be set to camp again. It’s really hard to beat this gem of a park when it’s time to pitch your tent and set up camp.

I will keep you posted on that, of course. Here’s a photo of two happy outdoor-folk getting a selfie in one of Florida’s best outdoor spots!

If you’d like to visit the Park sometime soon or simply learn more about it, just follow this handy link.

If you do make it out to Wekiwa Springs, I’m quite sure you won’t be disappointed!

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

Beautiful Beach, Good Weather and No Shells

Beautiful Beach, Good Weather and No Shells

Wrapped up a fine and long-overdue trip to Cocoa Beach recently.

I love the beach, and the City of Cocoa Beach is always a pleasure to visit.

And yes, the weather was near-perfect.

But for whatever reason, it was tough finding shells.

Now, I know most of you are probably thinking that any trip to the beach is very worthwhile whether you come away with a good haul of sea-stuff or not.

I certainly agree!

But still, I was a bit disappointed. The banner photo for today’s post showcases the shells we did come away with.

But I’ll be heading back soon, of course!

Get outdoors, folks.

To the beach, to one of our amazing National Parks. To wherever!

Just get off the couch and do it!

You’ll be so glad you did…

“Beachdog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

Greenways and Trails in Florida

Greenways and Trails in Florida

There are so many things to like about this time of the year.

For those of us who live in the Sunshine State, one of them is using and celebrating Florida’s Greenways and Trails.

Traditionally, October is the month we publicize our trails and encourage Floridians and visitors alike to use them.

If you’re around here at any time of the year and would like to know more, it sure couldn’t hurt to visit this site put together by the folks whose job it is to spread the word about such things.

This is such a good time of year to get out into the outdoors. I do a lot of that and it’s hard to put into words how much enjoyment–enjoyment and serenity–I get from doing it!

It’s all right there for the taking…

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

© 2019 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile