Saturday, August 31, 2013

Erin Prais-Hintz ~ Staycation Time! ~ 2nd Annual Challenge of Travel

 When Erin Prais-Hintz offered this blog hop, my first thought of writing about a Staycation, was to talk about the town of Lodi, NJ, where my husband and I lived, and raised our 5 children, for 30 years. It is a typical urban suburb, just a short trip over the George Washington Bridge to the most exciting city in the world, NYC. It is small, very inconspicuous, and many people had close family ties (Italian, and YES, That Family). The running joke was there were more banks in Lodi than anything else, because “long term” residents needed a place to keep their stash. 
But that wouldn’t be true to you today. We have lived in Longwood, FL for 14 years, and it as different from Lodi, as night is to day. It is also a suburb of a larger city. About a 30 minute drive from Orlando, FL with its well know tourist attractions of WDW, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld, but that is the only similarity.

Longwood’s Historic District encompasses roughly 190 acres and has 37 contributing structures. It became part of the National Register of Historic Places in October 1990. Describing this area as “quaint” would be a major understatement. In addition to the Longwood Hotel, the Historic District boasts a handful of historic structures, including the 1873 Inside Outside House (now home to a small business called Culinary Cottage), the 1879 Christ Episcopal Church and the 1885 Bradlee-McIntyre House, a former winter cottage and fine example of Queen Anne-style architecture. The Historic District also contains City Hall and a number of city administration buildings, as well as a new 10,000-square-foot, $1.4-million Community Building. In addition, a couple of specialty stores and boutiques can be found here. 
One of the major goals of city officials is to attract more residents and visitors to this charming area. However, the Historic District remains a work in progress. (the above information taken from
A crane at the stream in our backyard
I live in the unincorporated area of Longwood, to the west of the actual city. It was once part of sprawling orange groves; until a major developer bought it all in the 70’s and set out to develop several housing areas, which he named Sable Point, and Sweetwater Oaks.

A visitor to my window
Turkey family out for the day

Unlike the developments of today, the ground was not plowed to nothing and then cookie cutter homes placed on the property as close to maximum capacity as possible. Each owner was given the option to customize their home as they wished and to today, that remains an important part of keeping its desirability in the area.

Tortoise pair. frequently seen
in the same area as alligators
Yes, we have these visitors too,
pic courtesy of a neighbor

There are ponds, a beachfront lake, and streams throughout the complex, and trees everywhere, including on the islands that divide the roads running through it. Wekiva Springs Rd is the main one, homage to the Indian tribes who originally owned it, and our street runs off it near the end of the development.

 What, do you ask, is on the other side? Less than a half mile away, it backs to Wekiva State Park, hence some of our frequent visitors seen here.
Out for a stroll
Just finishing breakfast

I created this necklace to represent the rustic feel of this area, including the many oak trees, bodies of water and beauty of mother nature, which is all around us.
Focal by Jeannie K Dukic
Thank you for coming to visit our little corner of the world. We love it here, and if you should ever come to visit for real, am sure you would too. For now, follow this link to Erin's Treasures-Found blog to continue your journey.
I just had to add this note. As I sit here, getting around to hopping around the world, through this blog hop, most of the dogs in the neighborhood started there call to order. The reason ~ another one of our burly, 4 footed, black haired visitors is casually lumbering though our backyards, oblivious to the racket he is causing, and many stares he is also getting. They are truly incredible creatures.


  1. Very pretty beaded necklace and focal! Your pictures are wonderful, I enjoyed my trip to your little piece of the Earth very much!

  2. Very pretty necklace Marlene, I love the colors. What a charming area (with the exception of the alligators)!

  3. Your home is a treat for the eyes, Marlene, and I would imagine a boon to the spirit :) I love the lyrical quality of your necklace, which invokes both woodland and water with a wonderful mosaic of colours.

  4. Love all the visitors you seem to have :) I think your necklace captured your staycation perfectly!

  5. Thank you for taking us along on your little tour. The pictures are wonderful, and your necklace matches them perfectly. It's nice to live with nature just around the corner, isn't it? It's what I enjoy about my own hometown too. Though some of your "visitors" are a little scary, yikes!

  6. Thank you for sharing your wonderful city with us. It sounds like a fabulous place to live and to visit. Your necklace is beautiful!

  7. What a great necklace! I just loved how you blended the colors of your hometown together.

  8. It's a beautiful necklace and I love how you drew the colors from the focal. It's a great representation of nature and all she has to offer (including some of your visitors.) :)

  9. Absolutely beautiful location - the architecture is wonderful and I loved the pictures of your visitors from the animal kingdom. I love your design - beautifully done. Thank you for sharing.

  10. What a charming part of the country you call home! And I'm charmed by how it's reflected in your necklace - serene, with lovely surprises.

  11. I love all the wildlife around you and your necklace is beautiful and a real reflection of your neighbourhood.

  12. So interesting to find interesting historical architecture and nature abounding. I knew about the beauty of nature (flora and fauna) in Florida, but the historical buildings - never knew. I love them. Beautiful colours in your necklace to represent a pretty area. Andrea

  13. Your pictures are amazing I really enjoyed my visit to your blog. I also loved the beaded necklace. I will be back.

  14. Hello Miss Marlene!I am so horribly late to the party! My own even! I am sorry that it took me so long to get around to all the great hometowns! I wanted to be sure that I could spend uninterrupted time enjoying them all! Your adopted hometown sounds like a lovely place. My parents used to have a second home in Brooksville. I wonder if maybe that was close by? I never think of Florida as having so much of these wild creatures. Makes for something interesting every day, I suspect. I love your pretty necklace. It would go with everything. Thank you for joining me on the journey. Enjoy the day! Erin

    1. I know of Brookville Erin, visited there once when I was a consultant for a medical supply company. It is about 75 miles west of Longwood. Beautiful area.

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