FLORIDA or Bust!

Well, we finally made it to Florida for the winter.  We are staying in Wilderness RV Park just outside of Silver Springs, FL.  We found it on the internet, and we got REALLY lucky.  It is a wonderful park with a lot of amenities and a host of activities to keep us busy.  It is also a gated community which makes us feel quite safe.

We were tired travelers when we arrived on November 10th, but unknown to us, a very nice surprise awaited us at our camp site.  Our oldest son, Jeff, who lives in Gainesville, FL (about 35 miles from Silver Springs), had conspired with the park personnel and entered the park before we arrived.  He set up the cutest “Welcome to Florida” celebration complete with a Gator wine holder, champagne, and glasses.  Needless to say, we were totally surprised, and this surprise gave us the needed “boost” to unpack and settle in.

This park has three sections, and we are staying in the Preserve Club which is the nicest of the three sections (I told you we got LUCKY!).  The sites are large with a gigantic concrete pad and plenty of space between you and your neighbors.  Everyone we have met has been super friendly and helpful.

The Preserve Club has its own entrance gate, and you need a special key to be scanned in order to raise the gate and enter.  It also has its own clubhouse, pool (heated!), and hot tub. RV sites can be purchased (QUITE expensive!) and deeded to the owner.  Here are some photos of the Preserve clubhouse (outside and inside) and pool area (you have to have a passcode to get in the clubhouse and a passcode for the pool, too).

Many of the owners have built upscale storage sheds that open on one end to a full kitchen/bar/grill area (complete with a fully stocked bar and bar stools), patios and gazebos furnished with lavish outdoor furniture, and screened-in hot tubs. Needless to say, we feel like the Clampetts from the Beverly Hillbillies with our “generic” outdoor setup!

The park has many amenities available to all campers. It has a restaurant (actually opened to the public), candy store (YUM!), Bath House (for the pool for the whole park), Fitness Center, Recreation Center, Mail Center (for permanent residents), and Laundry.  All facilities are well-kept and clean.

These camp sites are not in the Preserve Club, however, they are VERY nice sites also!

Sunday evening our son took us to a wonderful Veterans Day concert and celebration at a Veterans Park in Ocala. There was a big crowd, the concert was great, the emcee told some really cute jokes, and the finally with fireworks was the perfect ending to a lovely evening.

The moon was gorgeous that evening, but the picture doesn’t do it justice.

Although we haven’t even been here a week yet, I think we are going to really enjoy ourselves in this RV park.  What’s more, we are going to enjoy being close to our oldest son and visiting him often in the next few months!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!

Betty

Abraham Lincoln

(NOTE: Oh.My.Gosh! I thought that I published this post a few days after we visited Springfield, IL, and shortly after arriving in the St. Louis area to spend time with family. It should have been published around Oct. 7, but apparently I forgot all about it. DUH! 🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️ I’m not going to edit this post now, so please excuse any errors that don’t reflect the passage of time correctly. Oh, well….)

(Second Note: Now I remember why it didn’t get published back then: This particular post kept “crashing” my iPad as I worked on it, and I got TOTALLY frustrated! I know this because it is happening again, so I’m just going to click “PUBLISH” and hope for the best. There may be mistakes, but “it is what it is!”)

Three days ago we stopped just south of Springfield, Illinois. We are on our way back to Missouri for some time with family before we head further south for the winter. Most of you will know that Springfield, Illinois, was President Abraham Lincoln’s home from April 15, 1837 to February 11, 1861, when he became President-elect and left for Washington, D.C.

The land that the city of Springfield now occupies, was settled by trappers and fur traders in 1818. Springfield is the capital of Illinois, however, did you know it was not the first capital of the state? I didn’t. Kaskaskia was the first capital of the Illinois territory until 1819, a year after Illinois became a state. Vandalia was the second state capital of Illinois from 1819 to 1839. Springfield became the third capital of Illinois in 1839 through the efforts of Lincoln and some of his associates who who thought the capital should be more centrally located. It is still the capital of the state today.

I had always wanted to visit the Lincoln “sites” in Springfield, and we were finally getting our chance. We spent the last two days going to the Lincoln home on the corner of 8th Street and E. Jackson Street, the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Old Capitol Building, and the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery. The Lincoln Tomb is the final resting place of the 16th President of the United States, his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, and three of their four sons, Edward, William, and a Thomas.

There is SO much information I have learned over the last two days visiting these places; it is just too much to even try to share. You will need to plan a trip to Springfield and delve into the life of Abraham Lincoln, his childhood, his life in Springfield, his joys, his sorrows, and his legacy to this country.

I took MANY photos of the places we visited. If you zoom in on some of the photos, you will be able to read some of information and learn some of the things I learned.

On the first day, we visited the Lincoln home, and afterwards, we walked the several block area around the home with houses and exhibits from the time period in which the Lincoln’s lived that area.

Lincoln’s home. The home has been photographed MANY times from this angle. Also, SOME of the furnishings in the home are original, but I can only remember a few of them.

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Guest bedroom. This IS the original guest bed.

The Lincolns’ bedroom. The bed is not the original bed.

However, that IS his original desk where he wrote a couple of his speeches.

Where Lincoln stood and shaved. Notice how high the mirror is on the wall.

Mary Todd Lincoln had her own bedroom because she had a lot of migraine headaches. I don’t remember if this is her original bed or not. 🤷‍♀️[/ca[/ca[/ca[/ca[/ca[/ca

The boys’ room.

The servant’s room.

Then we went to the Lincoln Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery.

You can see in this picture how close the custodian’s residence is to the Lincoln Tomb.

As you enter the tomb.

Tomb from the back side walking up from where the temporary tomb’s location.

It is a magnificent tomb and monument to President Lincoln’s legacy.

The second day we spent the majority of the day going through the Lincoln Presidential Museum. That place is truly amazing. If you ever go there, do NOT miss the two video/shows! They are both quality presentations.

This media presentation, Ghosts of the Library” was fantastic and was my favorite. All I could say as I walked out of the theater was, “WOW! Just WOW!”

This is a stellar production, also, complete with flashing lights, thunderous sounds, and vibrating seats during the battles of the Civil War.

The display behind the log cabin was from Lincoln’s birth until he moved into the White House as President of the United States.

All figures in the museum were SO life-like!! I asked a museum worker about the statues. She said they were made of silicon and the eyes were medical grade eyeball replacements. All the bodily hair was real human hair; right down to the eyelashes!

Look at how realistic Lincoln’s arm looks! It looked even better in person.

The display behind the White House was from the time he took office until his assassination, death, and burial.

There was wall after wall of replications of political cartoons published in newspapers around the country all vilifying President Lincoln. I didn’t realize he was SO hated from so many different groups! As President of the United States, he not only presided during the Civil War, but he had to try to hold this country together during one of its darkest, divisive hours. I have a new respect for this president.

Then there was the display portraying Lincoln’s assassination by John Wilkes Booth and the funeral.

Of course, we had to have our picture taken with the Lincoln family before we left the museum!

We also walked across the street to the Lincoln Presidential Library, however, the majority of it isn’t open to the public. We were only allowed on the first floor. There are meeting rooms, and one can do research there. The historical documents related to President Lincoln were not on display, so there wasn’t much to “see.”

Then we went to the Old Capitol Building. This was the capitol building of Illinois from the time it was opened in 1840 until the 1870s when it became too small to serve the economic growth spurred by the Civil War and the consequent industrialization. This capitol building is where Lincoln argued cases in front of the Illinois State Supreme Court, where he served as a State Legislator, where he made his famous House Divided speech, where he announced his candidacy the the U.S. Senate, and where his body was returned after leaving Washington D.C. for citizens to pay their respects before he was buried.

After the new state capitol building was completed, the government turn the Old State Capitol over to Sangamon County to serve as the county courthouse. The capitol building had been greatly altered during its years as a county courthouse from 1876 until 1966. In the 1960s the county’s need for more space had grown so urgent that it required the building of a new county courthouse. After the new county courthouse was completed, the county retroceded the Old State Capitol to the state of Illinois.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency wanted the Old State Capitol building returned to its original form. Restoration and reconstruction of the building took place from 1966 – 1969. Workers completely dismantled building, stone by stone, and rebuilt it. Therefore, the outside is all the original stones and columns. The inside, however, is not original building materials but has been reconstructed to resemble the appearance of the building in 1860, when Lincoln last saw it before leaving for Washington D.C.

Here is a photo of the “new” Illinois State Capitol Building from a distance.

There are many more historic buildings to explore in Springfield, Illinois, along with much history to learn…..too much to try to cram in to this meager blog. I hope this blog has inspired you to visit there some day.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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