FL: Mid-Florida Winnies

March Mid-Florida Winnies Newsletter

This was a fun and very informative campout for the chapter. We had 16 coaches in attendance which was a great turnout. We did miss some of our regulars but also welcomed some members who had never attended a rally before.

Several coaches arrived on Sunday and that made for a great informal Happy Hour at Norm and Paulette’s coach which was situated on a very nice pad with a large paved area for our chairs. Most everyone went out Monday evening. The Rudolph’s who had been members since 2017 attended their first rally and we also welcomed Howard and J.C. McNeal who had never attended a rally.

Our Hosts, Horner’s, Christian’s and Belleville’s did an excellent job providing us with great meals and a great environment for our St. Patrick’s Day themed rally. This was a great campground with great amenities. We were treated to a campground breakfast on Monday morning for those of us who arrived early. We had to pay for it but the food was plentiful and very reasonably priced.

Monday afternoon some of us went out exploring the area. The Parks’ and Smalley’s found the Cracker Trail Museum. This museum was established in 1967 to serve the public interest of the Peace River Valley by providing a means for the collection, preservation and interpretation of collections of significant historic objects from the area served by the museum. The collections include a 1914 Baldwin locomotive Engine #3 (also known as the Loping Gopher) donated by K.D. Revell. The locomotive operated until 1957. There was a Blacksmith Shop donated in 1978. It was built in 1897 and was located in Bowling Green where it operated until the mid-1950’s. There are other out buildings of interest such as the Post Office, Hart Cabin, Smokehouse and outhouse.

The museum is called the Cracker Trail Museum because in the 1880s, Florida Cowboys moved cattle across the State to market – they got the nickname “Crackers” from the sound of their whips made moving the cattle along the Cracker trail, which includes State Roads 68, 98, & 64. The museum has acquired over 4500 historical artifacts and memorabilia which are displayed in a way as to warm the heart and bring a smile to a visitor’s face.

The excursion didn’t end there. The small group also found the Bee Barn which sells a wide variety of Honey. They travel the country with their bees pollinating fields from the Northeast to the West coast. Tuesday was the time set aside for members to visit Solomon’s Castle on their own. What a treat this was. It was built in the 1970s to 80s by internationally renowned artist Howard Solomon. There are more than 80 interpretive stained glass windows and countless metal sculptures.

They have a great little café “Boat in the Moat Restaurant” which has very good food. They also have the obligatory gift shop which has a collection of interesting art pieces and shirts for purchase. Tuesday’s Happy Hour was held at the Belleville’s coach and we had a great selection of snacks provided by our members.

The evening meal Tuesday was corned beef and cabbage for the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Richard provided us with dessert which was two sheet cakes, one in Key Lime and the other chocolate which were both delicious. After the meal some stayed for the game Left-Right-Center. The Christians won one of the games and the LaFlamme’s won the other two. It was not really gambling, we only played for nickels.

Wednesday morning the Host’s treated us to a wonderful pancake and sausage breakfast. We also had juice, coffee and tea. We decided to sell our 50/50 tickets during breakfast and we sold $95 worth of tickets and decided to put $50 in the charity fund leaving us with $45 to give out. It was decided that we would have two drawings. Irene won the first and Sara won the second one. We held our chapter meeting immediately following breakfast during which we decided to donate $100 to the Arc of Alachua Co. which we visited in January.

Our Wednesday Happy Hour was also held at the Belleville’s coach and we again had a wonderful selection of snacks from our members. Our Wednesday evening meal consisted of great hamburgers and grilled hotdogs. There were some cheese burgers too with our members providing the side dishes which were all great. Everyone had a great time and talked about what a great location this campground was and how friendly everyone was.

On Thursday morning we had an assortment of muffins and Danish with fruit cups, juice, and coffee. We said our goodbyes and thanked our hosts for a wonderful campout. Our next campout is in April at Paradise Oaks RV Park in Bushnell. You need to contact the campground directly for reservations. Remember this is the officer hosted campout which means no charge for meals.

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