We like this place and here are some reasons why:
The camp site:
- Easy to get into and long enough to actually maneuver a bit so we could get our TV dish pointed in the right direction without trees. Baseball and NFL game possibilities.
- The campground is clean, tidy and well maintained. Nothing like having a good first impression that lasts.
Another item about the park is the hiking trails. There are some service roads/trails in the area that are a good way to get in a little hike.
The Trail and Stephen Foster Culture Center State Park is near White Springs
I wanted to see the Swanee River. The area down near the Florida Trail was also a canoe/kayak boat access area that we checked out first.
The park is also known for the Culture Center which has a quite a few items about Stephen Foster in the museum.
The museum also includes a number of dioramas depicting scenes from his songs.
Interestingly enough, Foster was from Pittsburgh and only visited the South once during a honeymoon cruise down the Mississippi River to New Orleans.
- Oh! Susanna
- Camptown Races
- My Old Kentucky Home
- Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair
- Old Black Joe
- Beautiful Dreamer
- Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)
Among the displays, we learned he only lived to be 37. Tragically, he fainted in his room during a period of illness and broke his wash basin and gauged his neck. He lay bleeding for three hours until he was discovered and died a few days later.
He is known as the "Father of American Music" and his works were most popular in the mid 1800's although they continue to generate interest 150 years later.
On the grounds, the State of Florida built a large Memorial Carillon to commemorate. I didn't even know what a carillon was before we saw this. It basically is a 200' tower with large tubular bells - the largest of its kind in the world.
Throughout the day in the park, portions of his songs are played from the automatic electric player. Throughout the day you can here the pleasant tones throughout the campground.
At the base of the structure, there is another large room that has more artifacts.
I think my favorite was a display and model of the inside of the 97 - bell carillon. It was built in 1958 at a cost of $500,000 by the State of Florida.
The high cost of maintenance of the bells led to silencing them in the 1980's. They were partially (32 of the 64 bells) turned on again 1993 after funds were raised.
It was a nice visit to another great Florida State Park!
Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.