Hushpuppies, Natural North Florida Style–With Guava Jelly!

Visitors to our Natural North Florida Big Bend often eye quizzically the hushpuppies served alongside their fish or shellfish dinners at local eateries. Places famous for their local seafood (Poseys or Shell Point in Panacea, Deal’s or Pouncey’s in Perry, Roy‘s and Fiddler’s in Steinhatchee, The Lighthouse in Fanning Springs, Bett’s in Chiefland and any number of Cedar Key or Inglis restaurants) all serve hushpuppies, and A FEW OF THEM SERVE THEM WITH GUAVA JELLY!

pups 1 300x197 Hushpuppies, Natural North Florida Style  With Guava Jelly!

Hushpuppies are simple to make. They’re basically cornmeal and hot oil!

pups5 230x300 Hushpuppies, Natural North Florida Style  With Guava Jelly!

Hushpuppies served with Guava jelly are a Natural North Florida treat

I once tried to estimate the number of times my friend and server at Fiddler’s, Doris Ross, has had to explain guavas and why there’s a cup of the tasty jelly aside the fried corn nuggets.  It was a futile task, and Doris simply rolled her eyes!

Regarding guavas, they’re a tropical fruit.  Some are a staple of the Cuban diet, candied in cane sugar and eaten with cream cheese and crispy Cuban crackers.  Served with a sweet cafe con leche, they’re hard to beat.  But it’s the smaller Catley guava that makes the pure, golden-toned jelly at only a few factories.  In my opinion, Palmalito is the best brand and it’s available in many markets, including Publix.  And it’s a Florida product, made in Bradenton.

Guava%20Red%20s Hushpuppies, Natural North Florida Style  With Guava Jelly!

The Guava fruit


As for hushpuppies, basic hushpuppies are just that—basic. Add water or milk and an egg to about two cups of self-rising cornmeal and stir, being careful to not get the mixture too moist. Hushpuppies that start out “wet” don’t get cooked through. Some folks, mainly northerners or North Carolinians, add sugar to their hushpuppy batter—a process that’s the source of many a dinnertime confrontation. Not an accomplished chef or not good with measuring? All the mixing and measuring can be avoided by using one of the many readily available hushpuppy mixes from just about any grocery store in the south. The final step, and one to be made just before the fish get cooked, is to fry the “pups” in hot 375-degree canola or peanut oil. Temperature is critical, so I recommend a digital thermometer—it’s handy and more accurate than guessing (or spitting into the grease to see if it pops)! Cook your pups until they’re brown, turning once, and then drain them on paper towels. If you have fish to cook, the hushpuppies will hold in a slow, 250-degree, oven while you finish frying the main course.

The next time you’re served guava jelly with your dinner at a Big Bend restaurant, give it a try.  The tropical flavor is perfect when combined with the savory taste of the “pups”.  And when it comes to the answer as to why we eat guava jelly with our hushpuppies, there’s no clear answer.  Perhaps it’s the same answer to the question, “Why do mullet jump”!

Southbound To Yankeetown (Florida, That Is!)

I remember my first encounter with the waters near the mouth of the Withlacoochee River. It was the mid-1980s and my Mom and Dad had just moved from St. Pete to Yankeetown. Our boat, a Boston Whaler Montauk, was well suited to drifting the flats off Pinellas Point or for trolling for Spanish mackerel near Mullet Key. Our tackle was light, with the exception of a few baitcasters used to wrangle big Tampa Bay snook. Needless to say, we were totally unprepared for what we would find in the Gulf waters along the lower end of Levy County, only 100 miles from our previous home.

Yankeetown and neighboring Inglis occupy the north bank of the Withlacoochee River between US19 and the Gulf of Mexico. Early on, the area flourished, primarily as a destination for northern hunters and anglers. Later, a small power plant was built upriver and the river and Gulf access channels were dredged to allow access by fuel barges. Now, that plant is gone and the whole area can best be described by two words—‘sleepy’ and ‘fishy’.

The first things visiting boaters notice about this area are the rocks. I’m not talking pea gravel or smooth, flat river stones. But big rocks—and lots of them! A trip downriver from the small launching ramp near Coast Guard Station Yankeetown on a low tide will give you a good picture of the limestone base that typifies the geology of north central Florida. And these rocks don’t just end where the river leaves the shoreline. Both sides of the dredged channel are littered with spoils, and random rock piles pepper the flats to the north and south of the river. I’ll always be thankful to local guide, Capt. Matt Fleming, for sharing his ‘bad rock’ and ‘hit rock’ waypoints with me.

rocks 1 300x200 Southbound To Yankeetown (Florida, That Is!)

Yankeetown’s rocks are not necessarily in deep water. This outcrop was in about 3-feet—on a rising tide!

The rocky spoils dredged up during the construction of two Progress Energy channels and the now-defunct Cross Florida Barge Canal have become the de facto barrier between Crystal Bay and Withlacoochee Bay. The ‘Barge Canal’ is now officially know as the ‘Cross Florida Greenway’ but locally it’s still know by its original name. Those channels, along with a long line of bars that parallel the coastline, are responsible for some pretty good fall fishing south of Yankeetown. Navigating these waters can be tricky, but don’t be fooled into complacency when you see locals zigzagging in their boats near the coastline. Most of them know the location of each and every bar and rock pile. A simple (and safer) course to the spoils is to leave the mouth of the Withlacoochee, go to marker #18A and then head south to waypoint N28 58.326 W82 47.790. That puts you in the middle of the Barge Canal channel, giving you good access to those spoils. If you’re heading on to the power plant channel spoils, head southeasterly from there to Fishermans Cut (N28 56.600 W82 46.532). As the spoil islands are dredged, there’s pretty good water right up to their rocky edges.   While all of the islands have great fishing potential this month, I’d head to the last two islands to find the best action. Here, along the spoil edges near Long Point (N28 55.996 W82 49.326), use live pinfish on slip-sinker rigs or deep-running D.O.A. Bait Busters for seatrout and redfish. Also, be sure to keep a brightly colored jig handy just in case a school of Spanish mackerel appears. The spoil banks on both the Barge Canal and Progress Energy canals run all the way to the natural shoreline.   Inshore anglers, particularly those who enjoy fishing topwater lures, might concentrate on Trout Creek and Johns Creek during high water on cool, sunny days. Those creeks flow into the Barge Canal from the north, just outside it’s mouth. Another popular area is Rocky Cove, an area tucked in between the power plant discharge spoil and the north side of the intake channel. Pay particular attention to the flats outside and the sloughs between the rows of bars just inside Rocky Point (N28 57.530 W82 44.571), at the tip of the discharge spoil. Here, expect to find mostly trout and reds. Reaching the area isn’t too hard on higher water—just hug the northern bank of the intake spoil eastward from Fishermans Cut. Just don’t be in a hurry!

captcove 1 300x200 Southbound To Yankeetown (Florida, That Is!)

Captains Cove Outfitters is a great source for tackle. It’s on SR40 in Inglis.

Yankeetown is also a good departure point for some near shore fishing for offshore species. The marked channels—Withlacoochee River, Barge Canal and Progress Energy—all have been, at some time in their recent history, dredged. And that process did a nice job of producing some pretty rough edges, especially on the deeper channels. If the weather’s nice, run out the Barge Canal to its junction with the Progress Energy channel. There, troll big, lipped plugs to the southeast up the Progress Energy channel to marker #28. Pull them close to the south side of the channel for the best chance of a grouper bite.

clymer 1 200x300 Southbound To Yankeetown (Florida, That Is!)

This hefty gag grouper attacked a lipped plug in 14-feet of water, near the Barge Canal

Slow Down (Paddle!) Levy County’s Backwaters at Shell Mound

sara 1 200x300 Slow Down (Paddle!) Levy Countys Backwaters at Shell Mound

A nice Big Bend redfish!

Whenever anyone asks me to recommend some Gulf fishing waters that are protected from early winter winds, the Shell Mound backwaters north of Cedar Key always seem to top my list. Located about 10 miles north of the town of Cedar Key and halfway to the town of Suwannee, Shell Mound offers visitors not only a nice campground, but two boat ramps, a small fishing pier and even an interesting archaeological site.

The rugged Gulf shoreline between Cedar Key and the Suwannee River gives unlimited opportunities to anglers, especially those in shallow-draft skiffs, canoes or kayaks. The scenery’s not bad either, and a trip here will give you a look back in time to when Timucuan Indians ate enough shellfish, mostly oysters, to leave a 28-foot high midden mound near what’s now the site of a boat ramp. 3500 years isn’t a long time in the overall scheme of things, and I suspect the creeks and islands seen here today are much the same as when the Timucuan plied these waters. Oysters still abound in these waters and their presence support an excellent year-round fishery. And cooler November days usually signal the peak of the action.

I don’t know if anyone’s ever counted the number of islands and shell bars in this area, but I’m sure there are more potentially good inshore fishing spots than any angler might fish in a lifetime. Not only are there bars and islands right up against the almost indefinable shoreline and in creek mouths, but there are layers of barrier bars extending on a north-south line as much as three or four miles to the west. Just one example is Deer Island (N29 14.177 W83 04.785), about 2 miles north of the outside Shell Mound boat ramp. This island straddles the front of an oyster-strewn bay at the mouths of Giger and Clark Creeks.   If you head west about a mile from the shoreline of the island, you’ll be atop the Lone Cabbage Reef. Another three miles and you’ll be at the north end of the Ranch Bars—and still in less than six feet of water. It’s these bars and reefs, and others like them along this stretch of coast that slow the action of the wind and waves, making backwater fishing popular here in almost any situation.   In fact, I often wonder just why anyone would even want to fish the deeper water here in the fall when there are all those redfish, trout and black drum infesting the backwaters. A couple of my favorite backwater spots here are The Preacher Hole (behind Deer Island at N29 14.000 W83 04.001 or near the bars in the back of Little Trout Creek at N29 15.640 W83 04.283.

shell mound Slow Down (Paddle!) Levy Countys Backwaters at Shell Mound

November marks a turning point for shallow-water redfish and sea trout fishing along the Big Bend. By now, there have been enough cold fronts come through to significantly cool the waters. This cooling signals redfish that have reached spawning size, usually top-slot or slightly above, to school up and begin their journey to deeper waters.   These reds are often found tailing along the fronts of bars, particularly those in front of creeks, on falling tides. Smaller specimens tend to move into creeks and into deep holes in order to say warm during the upcoming winter. That’s not to say that you won’t catch reds on the lower end of the ‘slot’ on the outside, but expect them to be inside, many times sharing space with schools of ‘keeper’ sea trout. Expect to find your big ‘gator’ trout on the outside of creeks, too, but it won’t be until later into the winter before they start to really gather up. In November, expect to find those big girls, in search of fodder that’s rich in protein (usually mullet), foraging solo—and very spooky!

November’s cooler weather means hungry, active fish. And while live finger mullet, cut mullet, mud minnows (killifish) and shrimp are the choice baits of local anglers, the Shell Mound area is a great place to toss artificial lures. Of course, you must maneuver your boat quietly and maintain a certain degree of stealth. That means using your push pole or trolling motor—and NOT slamming hatches or cooler lids. Or, even better, use your kayak or your canoe. Good artificial choices for both trout and reds include 3-inch D.O.A. shrimp (which work well fished under popping corks), D.O.A.’s 5.5-inch Big Fish Lure (Stark Naked) or a MirrOlure 16MR Surface Walker (with a red head, of course!).

If you’re a camper, I suggest you stay at the campground and use either of the two adjacent boat ramps, making Shell Mound your departure point. Otherwise, stay at either Cedar Key or nearby Chiefland and then launch at Shell Mound.   Both ramps have good parking and the outside ramp, at the end of CR326, has easier access to the water behind Spanish Bayonet Island. But expect generally shallow water at either ramp and plan your launch time around the tides. The general area is also accessible from either Cedar Key or Suwannee on higher tides. It’s a long drive to the town of Suwannee by car, but a short run by boat. At those coastal towns, you’ll find lodging, restaurants, good boat ramps, and even kayak rentals. An excellent resource for planning your fishing trip to the area is the Pure Water Wilderness Web site at www.purewaterwilderness.com

Anglers can expect all of Florida’s Big Bend to come alive with game fish as waters cool in November, especially following this past summer’s uncomfortably hot weather and water temperatures. So, if you’re interested in lots of fishing action mixed with some beautiful ‘natural north Florida’ scenery, you owe it to yourself to give the 10-mile stretch of shoreline between the Suwannee River and Cedar Key a try.

Natural North Florida’s Three “F’s” (Fall Flats Fishing)

The term, ‘flats’, means lots of things to lots of different anglers. Bonefishers love to sight fish over stretches of shin-deep, pure white sand or marl. Tarpon enthusiasts often find their prey on ‘flats’ that are six to eight feet deep, and everyone knows that redfish prefer shallows where the rough, rocky bottom holds crustaceans and other of their favorite foods. Even die-hard offshore ‘diggers’ look for flat-bottomed ‘prairies’ where occasional rock outcroppings and ledges create a hiding place for grouper and snapper.

But on our Big Bend, particularly in the fall, when we think of flats we think of vast expanses of healthy turtle grass, crystal clear water–and spotted sea trout. And two of the best flats to fish are Cedar Key’s Jug Bar and those near the ruins of the bird rack offshore of Big Grass Island, between Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach.

The Jug Bar, likely named that because someone once marked some part of it with a tethered jug or bottle, is a shallow bank located south of Snake Key, one of the smaller Cedar Keys. It’s best approached by running down the Main Ship Channel from the village of Cedar Key to marker #4 and then making an easterly turn, avoiding the shallow southern tip of East Bank (N29 04.665 W83 03.108) . From there, you’re pretty much in the middle of a shallow grassy flat that’s about 3 miles square, running from Snake Key south to the deeper Gulf waters and east to west from Waccasassa Bay to the Main Ship Channel. The distinguishing feature of this area is that it’s cut through in many places by deep sloughs and swashes. The grassy edges of these deep cuts make perfect hunting grounds for ambush feeders such as sea trout, the area’s most popular and abundant game fish.   Shrimp and pinfish are probably the most prevalent bait species found here during the late summer and early fall, and both make excellent choices for anglers who prefer fishing with live bait. However, with the undulating bottom at the Jug Bar, it’s difficult to keep live baits at a consistent depth using popular popping cork rigs, which work fine at more constant depths.   Options include free-lining live baits, lightly weighted with a small split shot sinker, or tossing a man-made look-alike. A 3-inch D.O.A. shrimp (nite glow or holographic glitter) or one of MirrOlure’s Paul Brown Devils (glow or bone), dragged slowly down a cut or across the grass tops, head my list of ‘go-to’ artificial lures here, especially as the water temperatures fall later in October.

jugbar Natural North Floridas Three Fs (Fall Flats Fishing)

Before I explain why the fishing’s so good on the flats around the bird rack north of Steinhatchee, I probably should address the question, “What’s a bird rack?” What follows is probably more than you’d ever want to know. According to an indisputable source (my Dad) who grew up in Tarpon Springs during the 1930’s, there was a cottage industry there based on the collection and sale of sea bird guano (droppings) as fertilizer. To attract the birds and their business, a series of roosting platforms, about 20-feet square, were built along the Gulf coast from Pasco to Taylor Counties.   Most were constructed near the edge of the one-fathom (6-foot) contour, allowing towed collection barges access to them on most tides. The summer job of scraping bird racks was not fun for high-school boys, but in those times–a job was a job. During World War Two, pilots home from the European theater and temporarily based in St. Pete and Cross City, found the structures handy targets for bombing and strafing practice. Now, just a few, mostly ruins or just a few pilings, still stand, including the one southeast of Big Grass Island, between Steinhatchee and Keaton Beach at N29 43.438 W83 34.373. Unlike the Jug Bar, the flat surrounding this ruin is deep, and although peppered with sand holes rather than cuts, depths are more consistent, in the 5 to 7-foot range. Here, the ever-popular popping cork rigged with a light jig head and shrimp–or a solo shrimp imitation– works well. Just remember to rig so the working end of your rig drifts slightly above the grass tops. Non-shrimp bait options include pinfish or noisy pigfish, usually available at local marinas and bait shops. Artificial bait enthusiasts should also consider retrieving the ever-popular MirrOlure 52M18 or D.O.A. Lures’ Deep Runner Bait Buster in the pearl/green/red (#372) configuration across any sandy spot seen while making a slow drift of the flat. Reaching this flat isn’t particularly difficult. On a moderate tide, plot a course from Steinhatchee River marker #5 at about 300-degrees (true) and run about 7.5 nautical miles to the bird rack. It’s easily seen from several miles away on a clear day. On extremely low tides, and depending on your boat’s draft, cheat your course a bit more westerly to stay away from the shallow sand bars off of Dallus Creek, near N29 41.372 W83 30.934.

brack Natural North Floridas Three Fs (Fall Flats Fishing)

Spotted sea trout are not the only species you’re likely to find on these flats in October. Spanish mackerel, bluefish and cobia often continue to feed in these areas well into the month. With that in mind, it’s worthwhile to keep an eye peeled for birds wheeling over striking mackerel or blues—or for the dark silhouette of a big cobia checking out your boat. A stout spinning rod, rigged and ready with a light-but-sturdy leader and a snap will allow you to quickly change your terminal tackle from a shiny spoon (for mackerel and blues) to an eel imitation (for cobia). I use a pre-made Liquid Steel 12#, 27-inch leader on my ‘standby’ rods, and believe me, when hungry fish are in the mood to eat, these almost-invisible steel leaders won’t keep them from biting.

Yes, anglers do lots of ‘flats fishing’ along the Big Bend. But unlike flats found at other parts of the state, they’re deep, grassy and often extend miles in many directions, bounded only by river channels and the edge of the Continental Shelf itself. And if the two I’ve described are not to your liking or too far out of the way, it’s as simple as asking directions at any local Big Bend marina or tackle shop as to the location of another similar spot. We’ve got hundreds!

Visit Gainesville’s Kanapaha Botanical Gardens–You’ll Be Surprised!

kana1 300x183 Visit Gainesvilles Kanapaha Botanical Gardens  Youll Be Surprised!

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens 4700 S.W. 58th Drive Gainesville, FL 32608 Entrance on S.W. Archer Road (State Road 24) 1 mile west of Interstate 75 (exit #384) Phone Number: (352) 372-4981 Email: kbotanical@gmail.com


kana2 300x202 Visit Gainesvilles Kanapaha Botanical Gardens  Youll Be Surprised!

Kanapaha Gardens’ grounds are maintained year-round, at the ready for visiting nature lovers.

While the names Bellingrath, Callaway and Selby bring to mind some of the south’s great botanical gardens, Gainesville’s Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is often overlooked by even the most enthusiastic garden lovers.  Florida’s climate is generally tropical, and Gainesville can be hot, but being north of Tampa Bay, where the “tropics” start and it really gets hot, a summer visit to the gardens is lots of fun, provided you go early and avoid the mid-day sun.  However, as fall approaches, full days are easily spent enjoying the peaceful sights at the gardens.



Monday – 9am til 5pm
Tuesday – 9am til 5pm
Wednesday – 9am til 5pm
Thursday – Closed
Friday – 9am til 5pm
Saturday – 9am til the earlier of 7:00pm or dusk
Sunday – 9am til the earlier of 7:00pm or dusk

  • Hours of operation during special events differ from hours listed above (please see events)
  • We are closed for Christmas Day
  • No entry 45 minutes before closing


  • Adults: $7 plus tax
  • Children (ages 6-13): $3.50 plus tax
  • Children under 6: Free (when accompanied by parent)
  • Note: admission prices vary for days with special events (please see events)

*Price increase effective January 1, 2016 (Adults $4, Children ages 5-13 $4)

Here’s a blurb from the Kanapaha Botanical Gardens website that gives a good overview of all the gardens’ potential:

“Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is comprised of 24 major collections visually accessible from a 1 ½ mile paved walkway. These include the state’s largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast. Some of Kanapaha’s gardens are organized taxonomically; others demonstrate principles of ecology or natural selection. Kanapaha’s signature plants include a premier stand of Chinese royal bamboo (Wong Chuk), and–during the warm months–giant Victoria water lilies and Asian snake arums. The months offering the most color are June through September. Except during special events, like our Spring Garden Festival and Moonlight Walk, dogs are permitted on leashes. Picnic baskets are welcome and there is a picnic area very close to the entrance building. Kanapaha’s walkways are largely wheelchair accessible and benches, gazebos and other rest stations are liberally spaced throughout the facility. An exceptional gift shop offers a varied and unusual array of items including original art and treasures from the natural world. Kanapaha hosts many special events throughout the year including North Central Florida’s premier horticultural event, the Spring Garden Festival. Another must-see is our Moonlight Walk when the paths and meadows are illuminated by special laser lights and more than 1500 luminaries; live music is featured as well. And we host our annual Winter Bamboo Sale during January  and February. Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is a premier Gainesville wedding venue with both indoor and outdoor rental for wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, meetings, retreats, conferences and other social functions.”

Don’t Miss Octoberfest 2015 at Alachua County’s Rogers’ Farm!

rogers 300x174 Dont Miss Octoberfest 2015 at Alachua Countys Rogers Farm!

To get to Rogers’ Farms:
Take SR 121 N. From Gainesville to NW 156 Ave.
Phone: 386-462-2406

rogers2 300x200 Dont Miss Octoberfest 2015 at Alachua Countys Rogers Farm!

Rogers’ Farms is a culinary landmark in the Gainesville, Florida area.  Known far and wide for its strawberries (in the spring) and its late summer crop of peas, Rogers also maintains a healthy stock of healthy fruits and vegetables throughout the year.  But October is special!

The 2015 Rogers’ Farm Fall Festival, AKA Octoberfest, is an event that shouldn’t be missed!  How can you go wrong when Duck Races, Cow Trains, Hay Rides, a Corn Cannon and a Corn Maze are all on the agenda?  There’s a petting zoo and a hayride where each child under 12 years of age can take home their very own punkin’!

rogers5 225x300 Dont Miss Octoberfest 2015 at Alachua Countys Rogers Farm!

rogers7 300x225 Dont Miss Octoberfest 2015 at Alachua Countys Rogers Farm!

rogers3 Dont Miss Octoberfest 2015 at Alachua Countys Rogers Farm!

rogers4 Dont Miss Octoberfest 2015 at Alachua Countys Rogers Farm!

Gainesville Area’s “Big City” Farmers’ Markets Bustle in Fall

farmers market 7 225x300 Gainesville Areas Big City Farmers Markets Bustle in Fall

While mostly rural, the 11-county region we call “Natural North Florida” has one large urban area.  Gainesville and Alachua County are large, that is, if you count the 75,000-plus college students at the University of Florida and Santa Fe College.  Without those venerable institutions, you’d see fewer Publix Supermarkets and more roadside farmers’ markets!

Not that there’s anything wrong with roadside stands–they provide the public with a direct source of local eats, often fresher and healthier than at the big chains.  But we all know sugar cane stalks, tupelo honey, free range eggs and persimmons can’t always be found on the big stores’ shelves! And we have plenty of great places to buy fruit, vegetables, and other foods–fresh from the farm and local farmers!

farmers market 6 300x225 Gainesville Areas Big City Farmers Markets Bustle in Fall

farmers market 8 225x300 Gainesville Areas Big City Farmers Markets Bustle in Fall

It’s generally not a good idea to shop for food on an empty stomach. However, lunches at local farmers’ markets can be enticing!

Here’s a list of Farmers’ Markets you might consider visiting:


  • Union Street Farmer’s Market, City Lot 10 near SW 1st ST and SW 2nd AV, Gainesville, Wednesday, 4-7PM
  • Alachua County Famers’ Market, 5920 NW 13th Street, Gainesville, Saturday 8:30AM-1:30PM
  • Newberry Farmers’ Market, 25425 Newberry Road, Newberry, Friday and Satuday. 11AM -6PM
  • Tioga Monday Market, 13005 W. Newberry Road, Newberry, Monday, 4-7PM
  • Micanopy Harvest Village Market, 22050 US 441, Micanopy, 2PM-Dusk


Downtown Festival & Art Show, November 14 and 15, 2015

artfest 3 200x300 Downtown Festival & Art Show, November 14 and 15, 2015

It’s a WINNER!

North Florida’s art scene swings into high gear on Saturday and Sunday, November 14 and 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the arrival of the highly acclaimed Downtown Festival & Art Show. The streets of historic downtown Gainesville, from City Hall to the Hippodrome State Theatre will be transformed into a celebration of art and creativity complete with live music, performing arts and a spectacular array of food. More than 100,000 art lovers will fill the streets to enjoy and purchase one-of-a-kind artwork. The festival features 240 local and national artists displaying original oils and acrylics, vibrant watercolors, unique sculptures, dazzling jewelry, decorative ceramics and vivid photography. Children can create their own art at the Imagination Station, a free hands-on art activity area including sidewalk-chalk drawing, painting, mask design, puppet creation, clay sculpting and interactive entertainment. For music lovers enjoy continuous, live entertainment on four stages by local bands, solo musicians and dance companies.

artfest 2 200x300 Downtown Festival & Art Show, November 14 and 15, 2015

artfest 1 300x200 Downtown Festival & Art Show, November 14 and 15, 2015

The festival weekend will kick off with a free Downtown Blues Concert on Friday, from 7 to 10 p.m. featuring three incredible blues performances. Local artist Barbara Paul will open the evening with 20th century finger style and slide blues, as she shares her love for the historical stories found in music and the emotions the songs bring forth. Next, The Bridgett Kelly Band conjures up an electric blues vibe that blends classic blues with elements of guitar-driven Texas and Memphis blues. Closing out the evening is, headliner Mac Arnold and Plate Full ‘O Blues with their mix of blues, soul and funk. Mac Arnold was nominated for best Traditional Blues Male Artist at the 2012 Blues Music Awards.

Great Kayak Fishing Access at Rocky Creek, on Dixie County’s “Road to Nowhere”

rockycreek 6 300x225 Great Kayak Fishing Access at Rocky Creek, on Dixie Countys Road to Nowhere

Rocky Creek’s boat ramp is the perfect spot to being a great day of fishing on Florida’s Gulf Coast

At Casey’s Corner Store, on Highway 358, in Jena, on the way to Steinhatchee, you can veer left onto the “Road to Nowhere”, CR361.  About 5 miles south you’ll cross Rocky Creek, but just before you reach the creek, you’ll see a sign marking “Rocky Creek Boat Ramp Road”.  If you’re a small craft boater wishing to fish the shallow coastline here, the Rocky Creek boat ramp is an excellent start.  The shallow dirt ramp onto Rocky Creek is only a short run to the Gulf of Mexico and some terrific fishing for seatrout and redfish.

rockycreek 7 300x225 Great Kayak Fishing Access at Rocky Creek, on Dixie Countys Road to Nowhere

Rocky Creek is scenic and worth a sightseeing trip.

rockycreek 4 300x183 Great Kayak Fishing Access at Rocky Creek, on Dixie Countys Road to Nowhere

An aerial view of Rocky Creek, on Florida’s Dixie County coastline.

While Rocky Creek is the perfect “launching spot” for anglers, it’s also a great place for sightseers in airboats, kayaks, canoes and other small craft to launch.

rockycreek 3 300x258 Great Kayak Fishing Access at Rocky Creek, on Dixie Countys Road to Nowhere

The rocky coast of Dixie County is known for it’s great fishing!


Join The Fun at the Wood and Swink Preservation Society “Paint Out”, October 19-24, 2015

Evinston WoodandSwinkMoon Join The Fun at the Wood and Swink Preservation Society Paint Out, October 19 24, 2015

“Wood and Swink Moon” by Charles Dickinson, 2011 Evinston Plein Air Paint Out

The Wood and Swink Store and Post Office in Evinston, FL is a cultural landmark in Alachua County, Florida.  Located in the southern part of the county, almost adjacent to Orange Lake, the building is considered by many to be one of the few remaining examples of “original Florida architecture”.  In recent years, the building has gone into a state of disrepair and neglect, and the upcoming Paint Out, October 19-24, is a benefit to help in the restoration.

evinston 6 300x200 Join The Fun at the Wood and Swink Preservation Society Paint Out, October 19 24, 2015

evinston 7 300x200 Join The Fun at the Wood and Swink Preservation Society Paint Out, October 19 24, 2015

Here’s what the Wood and Swink Preservation Society has to say about the upcoming event:

“The small town of Evinston has one of the best preserved historic store/post office buildings in the United States. People from all over the world stop by to see this structure and business that has changed little from more than a century ago. They listen intently to the stories from the local historians and town residents, and enjoy seeing the well preserved counters, cases, and displays still showing some of the older products that were sold years ago. Realizing the importance of the store and post office to this small community, efforts by a number of dedicated towns people and local historians are continuing to see that this valuable historical asset is preserved for future generations. This is the sixth Evinston Plein Air Paint Out event. The event as those in the past, brings a number of the state’s best painters to the community to produce exceptional works of art that sell with a percentage of the proceeds used for the preservation efforts of the historic structure. The October event also brings many people to the community who are here to experience the ambiance of the autumn season and see the beautiful environment of the North Florida area.  

Our artists will begin producing works on Monday the 19th and will continue through Saturday  the 24th. The works will be available for purchase during the weekend at our Patron’s Gala on Saturday  the 24th.  Tickets for the gala may be purchased at the Wood and Swink and are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.  The ticket price will be credited to any art purchases made.”