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Exploring

As a mom of two little girls, we enjoy exploring all Florida has to offer.

  • Summer Reading List

    What's on your reading list?  While I took a break from running, I decided to catch up on some reading.  First book I read this summer was Love with a chance of drowning.  After watching this youtube video about it, I was hooked.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLZXXpW4ZgA&feature=youtu.be

    The story of Torre DeRoche, a woman who did not like swimming in the ocean for fear of being eaten by a shark and her new found love who has been planning to sail around the world , will have you laughing out loud as they embark on their journey.  It took me a while to read this one, and not because I did not like it, but because I did not want it to end.

    reading list

    While on our way to San Francisco, I began reading Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter.  If you like intermingled story lines, then you'll love this one.  The book travels back in time and back and forth between Italy and Hollywood.  Interesting story line, but I'm not sure I loved it.  As  I said before, I find myself reading books faster if I just want to finish them instead of savoring every minute.

    Summer Reading

    Lastly, I picked up Wuthering Heights while shopping for the girls' school supplies.  I had not read it while in High School, but I remember the book being mentioned in the Gilmore Girls.  Yes, I love the Gilmore Girls.  Did you know there's a list of books mentioned in the Gilmore Girls series and even a list to read like a Gilmore Girl?  I'm almost done with it and I'm torn.  I don't want it to end but I so want to know how it ends.  I know the book is set in Yorkshire, England, but I can't help but imagine the storyline somewhere in the South, like Savannah, Georgia.

     

    What book are you reading now?

    Did you read Wuthering Heights in High School?

    Were you a Gilmore Girls fan?

  • Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens

    While visiting my mom in New Smyrna Beach, we decided to take the girls to the playground nearby.  We waited for a few minutes to let the afternoon sprinkling rain pass, but it wasn't happening.  So, we started driving north on US-1.  If you are ever looking for a park while driving, look for brown signs.  Just after a few minutes, we saw a sign to the Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens.  They are located off US-1 and Herbert Street in Port Orange.  My mom had not been to it, so we thought to give it a shot.  Little did we know, we were in for a treat!

    Dunlawton Sugar Mill Plantation

    botanical garden

    Sugar Mill Botanical Gardens are open 8 am to sunset every day.  Guided tours are available on Wednesday by appointment only.  The grounds are very interesting to both young and old.  My girls had a great time searching for dinosaurs.  Yep, you read it right.

     sugar mill gardens sugar mill gardens sugar mill gardens

    Originally, the grounds belong the Dunlawton family which owned the sugar mill back in 1832.  All that remains is the ruins, but they are still pretty interesting.  I was amazed at the size of the equipment used.

    Sugar Mill Gardens

    After several attacks by Seminole indians, the sugar mill was never able to fully recover.  The Dunlawtons attempted to create a tourist attraction out of their sugar mill to no avail.  In the 1950's the land was leased to create Bongoland, equipped with a small train, an indian village replica and large concrete dinosaurs.  While the train and the indian village replica are both gone, the concrete dinosaurs were still there.

    Sugar Mill Gardens

    The grounds were beautifully kept.  There's a gazebo and a seating area for a wedding as well as a garden library.  There's also a human sundial and various trails to go exploring.

    Sugar Mill Gardens

     

    sugar mill gardens

    There is no entry fee, but they do have a donations box available.  This park is truly a gem in the city.  We were so glad to have founded, it was difficult to get my girls to leave.  To read more reviews, check out tripadvisor.

    Do you like visiting botanical gardens? Which is your favorite?

    Do you ever drive around looking for hidden gems?

  • We are back!

    Vacation is now over!  School started today for Hillsborough County, so my two babies are now attending Elementary School full time.  Where has time gone?!?!

    back to school

    While the market was closed, we took the girls to San Francisco for a few days to escape the Florida heat.  With high temperatures nearing 65-70 degrees every day, we were glad to put on our jackets every morning.  I had been to San Francisco many years ago on a trip with my grandfather and my cousins, so it was fun to return to the City by the Bay.

    San Francisco

    The girls had the most fun riding public transportation, whether it was a street car, cable car or the bus, it didn't matter.  We found this great app, Rover, and downloaded it for free.  It worked amazingly well to get us from point A to point B.  It would tell us the closest bus stop location and all the available buses for our destination.

    San Francisco

    While in San Francisco, we visited a few of the parks in the area.  When traveling with kids, it's always fun to find a spot to "let them run" while you sit and enjoy your coffee.  We visited at least three parks while we were there: Golden Gate Park, Yerba Buena Gardens, Embarcadero Park and South Park.  Each park had something unique to offer the girls.

    Golden Gate Park

    An as an avid, Yelper, I was able to get a "cool" badge for visiting so many parks! :)  We love using Yelp locally and especially when visiting a new town.

    Yelp

     

    One interesting thing about San Francisco was that I found many of the same ornamental plants all throughout the city.  I was surprised to see how these plants could tolerate such a broad temperature spectrum.  I realize it doesn't get really cold in San Francisco, but it sure gets hot in Florida.

    ornamentals

    Needless to say, we had a great time while in San Francisco.  However, we are back home now and ready to go.  The market has reopen to regular business hours (Tuesday to Sunday 9 am to 6 pm) and we can't wait to see you!

    Have you ever visited the City by the Bay?

    Are you ready for the school year to begin?

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