Waldo’s Antique Village is located just north of Waldo in northern Alachua County, Florida. When you enter the grounds, and if you have blinders on your eyes and look straight ahead into the Farmers’ Market, you might miss the shop and the display of antique farm machinery and the log cabin, to your left. But don’t miss this place. You’ll find oddities, collectables and just plain “junk” (One person’s “junk” is another person’s “junque”!).
As an outdoor writer and regional editor of Florida Sportsman Magazine, folks seem to think I have all the answers! Well, that’s partially true, and I can say one thing with authority: If you’re snagging artificial lures when you’re fishing this fall around oyster bars and rocky creek mouths, you need to get out your gold spoons and put the lures with treble hooks away. While there are some excellent ways of rigging soft plastic baits, like D.O.A. Lures’ CAL baits or Capt. Joey’s Slicks, it’s hard to beat the visual and sonic appeal of a gold spoon. It’s the perfect lure for fishing close to grassy edges, and when its weedless prongs are rigged properly, you’re likely to keep from snagging anything but a big redfish, a “gator” seatrout, or a “doormat” flounder. Just drag it back to the boat, giving it a short twitch every few feet.
There are several good versions of gold spoons in the tackle universe. The “classic” for our southern waters has always been the Johnson Silver Minnow (in gold!), but recently many of use professional anglers have been turned on to a northern favorite–the Eppinger Rex. The Rex comes with a fish-tempting red or chartreuse feather and is available in 1/4 and 1/2 ounce sizes. Pick a color you like, or try both–and throw the size you like depending on your tackle.
The Festival of Lights promises to return in all its glory and then some, featuring old favorites such as the lighted boat parade and duck race along with new avenues of entertainment.
“We’re very excited for all the support and interest that’s been sparked by bringing back the Festival of Lights,” Fanning Springs Chamber President Michael Michaelis said.
He said they have a good group of people who are passionate about what they’re doing, referring to the chamber members. The festival is not going away, Michaelis said, but will be around again for a long time.
This year it’s being held on Dec. 5 at Fort Fanning and the city park. The festival begins at 10 a.m. with the boat parade starting at 6 p.m.
There will be live performances by Steel Bridge Band and Jamie Davis. Vendors will line the path through the park offering food, games and craft items. There will be rides and games for children and adults with some attractions including a rock wall, bungee jump, pool water walkers and more. A car show is also being planned for the event.
“It’ll have a little something for everybody, is going to be the key with this,” Michaelis said.
For the most part, the tides along our Natural North Florida Gulf Coast are semi-diurnal. That means that most of the time we have two high tides and two low tides each day. Of course, there can be some variation and geography does affect the tides to a degree that sometimes we don’t have the full four tides. But for the most part, the range of our Gulf waters from Panacea to Yankeetown are pretty predictable.
Tides are driven by several forces. Primarily it’s the gravitational pull of the moon, with some affect by the sun. And seasonally, wintertime lows are very low and summertime highs are very high, depending on the angle of the earth and its distance to the moon. At the winter solstice, on or about December 22, you can expect the most extreme tides. Mid-day highs will flood well back into creeks, and morning lows will allow birds to wade without getting their feet wet.
To boaters, extreme tides (especially lows) mean that care must be taken when running outside of channels. For fishermen, extreme high tides mean that creeks are accessible and that redfish and sea trout are able to move into deep holes near the tree lines.
However, a word of warning when on the water in winter: Know your tides and know when to get back to deeper water!
Monticello will bring in the Christmas season with our Downtown Christmas Celebration on December 4 from 5 to 8.
There will be food, crafts and music. At 6 the community tree will be lit and at 6:30 Santa will arrive.The First United Methodist Church will once again create a lively Bethlehem with a live nativity.
Other events in December include these at the Monticello Opera House
Pas De Vie Dance Co.
December 12, Live Dance & Dinner
Pas de Vie Ballet is a dance company based in Tallahassee, Florida a non-profit 501-C(3) corporation led by artistic director, Natalia Botha, and ballet master Charles Hagan. Pas de Vie Ballet is dedicated to the preservation of the art of dance through the education and inspiration of today’s youth. In every culture, art provides the life-giving veins of expression and growth. Pas de Vie means “step of life” – with each one we take, let us dance to celebrate its beauty and wonder. This holiday, Pas De Vie will bring Holiday cheer through dance to the MOH with selections from the Nutcracker and a variety of other seasonal pieces.
Voces Angelorum Christmas Show
December 13, Live Holiday Music & Dinner
In the Fall of 2000, Charles Witmer founded Voces Angelorum, a volunteer women’s chamber choir, to give singers throughout the Tallahassee metro area the opportunity to sing in a small and intimate community choir. Ranks include music teachers, students, political advocates, state workers, and a variety of other professions. Voces Angelorum is dedicated to masterfully performing choral music of excellence. Come hear these extraordinary voices back at the Monticello Opera House with a holiday extravaganza!
Sarah Mac Band Christmas Show
December 19, 2015
Live Music & Dinner
Claire, Charlie and Sarah Mac joined together in early 2005 aspiring to create original music that blended these unique styles that each brought to the group. From this emerged the Sarah Mac Band; an engaging combination of blues, jazz, and acoustic rock that has been classified as both Americana and Alternative. The band simply describes the sound as ‘jazzy, bluesy, rock with a healthy dose of soul.
It’s FREE! And lots of fun!
Taylor County is located in the heart of Natural North Florida and each year they present full weekend of BBQ, music and fun for the entire family. This year’s Southern Pines BBQ Festival will take place December 11-12 at Perry’s Forest Capital State Park.
This event gives out over $15,000.00 in cash prizes for the following BBQ Events: OPEN BBQ Competition ($10,000.00 in cash & prizes), John Boy & Billy Grilling Sauce Contest ($1,000.00 in cash & prizes), People’s Choice ($500.00 for 1st Place – No Entry Fee) & KIDZ-QUE Competition (Ages 6-13)
Thousands of dollars in cash prizes are awarded during the weekend to those in all the competitions. Visitors can sample BBQ at the many sampling stations or they can be a judge in the People’s Choice portion of the event where they can try over 35 different kinds of pulled pork.
A mixture of blues and rock music plays throughout the entire weekend featuring some of the most renowned blues artists. For those who want to attend this event, there is no fee to enter, however, if you want to sample BBQ and enter the People’s Choice, there is a small fee for those portions of the event. In addition to BBQ, this event features arts & crafts, antique car show, kids play area, activities and great entertainment.
During spring and summer, you’ll find some of the best fishing over the deeper grass flats along our Natural North Florida Big Bend. However, when the water cools to the low ’60s, usually in late fall, you can expect the redfish and spotted seatrout to be hunting their next dinner along any one of our many coastal creek mouths. Our creeks are mostly tidal, and they tend to fill with bait fish as the tide rises. And, as the tide falls, predators lie just outside, waiting for the bait to swim past. And often, skilled anglers presenting lures or live baits, hit the jackpot!
While live baits like pinfish and shrimp are popular with many anglers, it’s topwater lures that provide lots of fun when these hungry fish begin to eat. Two popular lures are the Rapala Skitterwalk and the Heddon Super Spook, Jr. Both have distinctive rattles and excellent hooks. Spinning gear in the 2500-class will give your prey a fighting chance, once hooked.
All our coastal counties (Levy, Dixie, Taylor, Jefferson and Wakulla) have tidal creeks. A good reference and a handy thing to have aboard your boat in search of the best creeks is a Florida Sportsman Fishing Chart. Three of these cover our area. They are #19 (Suwannee), #20 (Steinhatchee) and #21 (St. Marks).
While our Visit Natural North Florida website is full of excellent information, it’s sometimes nice to have travel information on a single sheet of paper! Our new “Outdoor Adventures” brochure has a full listing of Coastal and Land Adventures, including fishing guides, equestrian opportunities and outdoor outfitters. If you’re an angler, hunter, rider, paddler, you’ll want to have this brochure handy.
To receive a copy, please email me at email@example.com and I’ll get one in the next mail.
Natural North Florida’s Steinhatchee River is the boundary between Dixie and Taylor counties. It begins inland and is fed by drainage from swamps as well as springs. The river empties into the Gulf of Mexico about 100 miles north of Tampa/St. Petersburg at the town of Steinhatchee. There, you’ll find food and lodging, as well as kayak and canoe rentals, liveries and launches.
One of the most popular trips for visitors to the area is the 4-hour paddle from the Steinhatchee Falls to town. River Haven Marina has a fleet of paddle-craft (2 canoes, 4 tandem kayaks and 6 single kayaks) and offer unguided trips. They’ll shuttle you from the marina to the falls (don’t worry, it’s not Niagara!) to begin your trip and furnish you with paddles and safety gerar. The cost for the trips vary from $30 to $40 for the four-hour trip. They also offer full day rentals should you wish to head to a coastal launch spot to do some fishing!
River Haven Marina is located at 1110 Riverside Drive in Steinhatchee. Please call (352) 498-0709 for reservations or more information!
The newly-opened (2015) Island Grove Wine Company Tasting House is probably the most exciting thing that’s happened to the the small crossroads settlement at Island Grove, FL in years! That said, realize that Island Grove is a peaceful little place that time forgot when US301 as almost abandoned by travelers due to the construction of Interstate highways! But now, it’s a destination worthy of the drive from Gainesville and it’s a great way to sample the mostly-blueberry-related products of the company’s farm just to the east. And by-the-way, make your trip more enjoyable by a visit to the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Home followed by a meal at the famous Yearling Restaurant, both in Cross Creek!