One of the most beautifully understated places I have ever seen has to be The Casements in Ormond Beach, Florida. When we first visited this area on vacation, I thought it was such a beautiful piece of property but never thought it would have such rich history behind it. It is now used as a Cultural Center for the city (my daughter takes yoga here), but it was originally built in 1910 as a private residence, overlooking the Halifax River.
In 1918 John Rockefeller bought the mansion to use as his winter home after being told by his doctors that Ormond Beach was the best place for his health. Today, pictures adorn the walls depicting all the great parties, visitors and Rockefeller’s life at The Casements. There is also a room set up to look like how it would’ve back when he owned it. Rockefeller died at The Casements in 1937. After his death, The Casements became an all girls school, and after that it was run down and partially burned down. It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places, and remodeled (to almost it’s former glory) in 2009.
Looking towards the gardens & Halifax River.
From the second I took a tour of The Casements, I knew this place was special. It has a wonderful feel to it, like you’re tossed back in time for a few moments. I wish I could have been alive to see it at it’s prime. There is also a book that I adore, about Rockefeller’s life at The Casements, called Neighbor John. For more information about The Casements, click here.
We lived in Saco, Maine for about thirteen months. It was one of the best years of my life. We had this little two story apartment on a street that had an island park (yes, an island that was a park) & it was within walking distance of the picturesque Main Street that I fell hopelessly in love with. We celebrated Madison’s fourth birthday in that apartment, I fell in love with photography in that town and we explored so much of it. We planned to buy a house there. But now we live in Florida.
Which I’m happy about, but oh boy do I miss Saco. Not Maine. But Saco. Such a great little town with such character and charm. We will be back someday, but until then, I have pictures from our favorite little trail/park, Riverfront Park & the Riverwalk.
“To a little girl, a dog can be all you need.”
We went to explore the nature trails at Spruce Creek Park in Port Orange, Florida this afternoon. We’ve driven it tons of times and I’ve never had the time to stop until today. What a treat! It’s a beautiful park. A roughly three-mile nature trail wraps around the park, complete with a fishing pier, boardwalk and big observation tower. While we didn’t get to see the entire park, we did get a chance to head up to the observation tower, bringing our trip to just over a mile from where we parked and started on the walk. There’s also a very nice playground and covered picnic area, along with picnic spots scattered throughout the park by the fishing pier. I had big plans to take pictures of everything around us, but I got a bit distracted. We just finished obedience classes with the puppy, so Madison got to hold the leash the entire time. I couldn’t help but keep the camera mostly focused on the two best friends today.
View of the marsh from the top of the observation tower.
A fiddler crab party! These guys were all around the little path in the above picture.
Spruce Creek Park was a great little spot tucked away on South Ridgewood Ave. We’ll definitely be back to check out the fishing pier and rest of the trail.
A couple nights ago, to celebrate our seven year anniversary, we headed to Blue Springs State Park for the Firefly Season. We got there at about six thirty, with enough time to roam around before it got dark. Unfortunately, the manatees have moved on until the colder months so we didn’t get to see any, but we did get to see some alligators (my first time seeing them in the wild) and put our feet in the water. It was beautiful to watch the sunset there.
Alligator and turtle.
When I lived in Maine I spent countless hours on the beach at my grandparent’s house. It was and still is my favorite place in the world, and when everything got too stressful or too emotional I could sit on the beach and everything would melt away. But now I live in Florida and I can’t exactly go to Maine every evening to unwind. So I have been desperately trying to find my own little spot since we moved, and I think I have finally found it in Cassen Park & Bailey Riverbridge Gardens.
The two parks, which in my opinion should just be one big park, are tucked away on either side of the Granada Bridge on North and South Beach Street. They are both tiny, Bailey Riverbridge covers only 2.6 acres and Cassen is 3.6 acres. So what’s so great about these little parks? To me it’s simple, the pier that loops under the bridge, and connects the two. What a great little spot! When I took the dog for a walk there yesterday, we even spotted some dolphins. I could easily spend a few hours getting lost in the view here.
Cressen Park, at the corner of Granada Boulevard & South Beach Street, Ormond Beach, Florida. It also has a little bait shop, which I think is easily the cutest thing ever. Plus they have ice cream sandwiches.
View from the pier, Daytona in the distance & a lone dolphin.
Looking on to the pier from the Bailey Riverbridge Gardens side.
The Bailey Riverbridge Gardens. A plaque outside the historic Pilgrim’s Rest Primitive Baptist Church located here says it is the site of the first North American Christian wedding.
Friday and Saturday nights in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, the Marine Discovery Center (not to be confused with the Marine Science Center in Ponce Inlet, FL) delivers an amazingly beautiful sunset tour on the Indian River Lagoon. I found out about this on Friday morning, and at 4:15 that afternoon we were aboard their Discovery pontoon boat, where our extremely knowledgeable narrator Mark informed Maddy that she would, in fact, get to see her favorite thing (this week), dolphins.
We passed the dog friendly Smyrna Dunes Park, which I later discovered is a great place to spend a morning with the puppy.
The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse, right before the sun started to go down.
Coast Guard ships.
On our way back to the dock.
Sunset on the Indian River Lagoon.
The two hour tour was an amazing way to spend a sunset. For more information about the Marine Discovery Center ecotours, please click here.