A visit to Florida’s Lake Griffen State Park

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As some may know we purchased our new, 2018 Roadtrek Class B this past December but due to some medical issues we were unable to schedule our first trip to check out all of the systems until now. I am happy to report that we did finally get away for a couple of days to test out all systems in our “Sunset Princess” and our shakedown cruise went off even better than expected. All systems operated efficiently with the exception of the on-demand hot water heater which I need to research but with the temps in the 90’s here in Florida the cold water tap was actually warm enough for our needs this time!

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Our Class B is a completely self contained 19′ vehicle for camping, sightseeing or escaping the paths of looming hurricanes. It has a generator on board, full bathroom, sofa that makes into a queen-sized bed, microwave, two burner stove, furnace, refrigerator and a 24″ color TV with surround sound. We purchased it because with two bad knees Niki can no longer negotiate a car seat in a standard Detroit automobile. This has swivel seats making life a whole lot better.

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We set-up at Lake Griffin State Park located between Ocala and Orlando. Not really a destination Park but serene and quiet especially in the middle of the week. The Park has full hook-ups which is our preferred way to travel and makes a Simplicity SRT our perfect choice.

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The lake itself is about a mile from the campground with a canal that connects the two. The campground rents canoes and kayaks and there is also a Ranger guided tour of the waterway probably available on weekends.

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The restrooms, shower section and laundry area were spotless, brightly lit and well maintained.

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This Park has 40 campsites including seven pull-throughs of varying lengths. All sites have electricity and water and seven have sewer hook-ups with ten having 50 Amp service. We chose site 9 but would recommend sites 10 and 11 as being longer and more spacious and also having full hook-ups.

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There’s a beautiful boat ramp, dock and picnic area where canoes and kayaks may be rented. It’s located at the head of a 1,000′ canal that leads to the Dead River which empties into Lake Griffen. There are massive old oaks dripping Spanish moss throughout the Park including a mammoth old oak near the entrance and said to be the second largest in the State.

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I have attached some photos taken in the Park. Their are several Nature Trails and the children’s play area includes a swing for wheelchairs that I had not seen before. They do a lot with and for children including camps in the Summertime. We found the staff to be most courteous, conscientious and smiling. It’s apparent they love their jobs.

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One of our favorite things is to visit the locals favorite restaurants when we visit a new area. Our first was a visit to the “Original Stavros Pizza Restaurant” nearby in Leesburg at the suggestion of the Ranger on duty. It is a beautiful restaurant inside. Though some of their dishes may be excellent the Italiian subs we ordered were not. They were wet with dressing to the point of puddling and the taste was not up to par.

Another evening we tried the La Palma Mexican Grill and the outcome wasn’t much better. Niki and I both had the Chimichanga dinners. The refried beans had a burned taste and the chicken chimi’s were tasteless. The rice was pretty good. All in all we should have patronized the American Legion Post only a short distance from the campground.

Lake Griffen State Park is located at 3089 Hwy 441-27 in Fruitlnd Park, Florida.
Website: https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/lake-griffin-state-park

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Sunken Gardens – the must-see roadside attraction that may well live forever!

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Located in the heart of St. Petersburg, Florida is a leafy oasis and one of the longest running roadside attractions in the Country. In 1903 a plumber named George Turner, Sr. bought this four acre parcel that included an ancient sinkhole and a lake. He drained the lake to use the nutrient rich soil beneath to pursue his love of gardening and ornamental horticulture.
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By 1924 his amazing gardens were attracting visitors at 25 cents a head and has continued to this day and visited by tourists from around the World.
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Now owned by the City of St. Pete it’s a local destination for school children and tourists to visit as well as the perfect setting for many weddings. It brings a bit of the tropical forest with plants, birds and other animals to this sub-tropical paradise.
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I was fortunate to visit The Gardens with our local Photography Club where I assure you there is no shortage of photo opportunities.
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It’s a place you might like to add to your “must-See” list when you visit the Tampa, St. Pete, Clearwater Beach area. It’s located at 1825 4th Street North in St. Petersburg, Florida. More photos on our Suncoast Visitor’s Guide at https://www.facebook.com/TampaBaySnowbirdGuide/. -Jack Armstrong

Planning that next RV trip

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Our website averages at least one or two emails a week asking us for help plotting an RV route. Usually it’s either someone with a brand new RV or often an RVer just asking for suggestions as they plan a trip into parts unknown to them.

You may have heard or seen us mention before that the only thing we like better than an RV trip is talking about RVing. The problem is that to plan a trip correctly or at least the way that has proven tried and true for us there are a number of questions that need answering up front to do it right.

That being said we have updated our “Planning Page” (http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/research.htm) on our website and outlined the steps we take in planning each new voyage into uncharted territory. We always chart it beforehand!

A big part of the fun of a trip for us is the planning. On our page you’ll find all kinds of information and resources that we use to keep our RVing about the fun of the trip and not the worry that can accompany tackling the unknown.

Have a look. If it helps you with your trip planning we’re happy. Many people like to fly by the seat of their pants which is fun for them but that’s just not us.

After you try our suggestions for planning and if you have any questions we’ll be happy to try and answer them. We do answer all emails. You’ll find our email address also on the Planning Page.

Safe travels and always enjoy the journey,

Jack and Niki
snowbirdrvtrails.com

4 Season Campgrounds in the Northeast

We had a reader just send in a new addition for our list of campgrounds that are open all year in the Northeast. Our list includes campgrounds in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York State, Rhode Island and Vermont.

View the listings at http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/offseason.htm

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The newest listing is in Pilesgrove, New Jersey.

If you know of any “Open All Year” campgrounds in the Northeast that we
may have missed please send us a note.
-Thanks, Jack

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Send us an email to
snowbirdrvtrails@gmail.com
with your question or a comment
We will respond

Work Campers – South Carolina is Calling You!

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SnowbirdRVTrails.com just received from the Park Manager 3/13/18:

Little Pee Dee State Park is looking for Campground Hosts.
The host program helps run the campground and many day use operations. We are looking for people who want to make a difference and create lasting memories. We are a nice, small and quiet campground right off of highway 95 and a little over an hour from Myrtle Beach. If you are interested, please email James M. Revis at jrevis@scprt.com for more information.
Website: https://southcarolinaparks.com/little-pee-dee
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A State Fair in the middle of Winter??

In February when much of the Country is buried in snow and freezing temperatures it’s nice to visit the Florida State Fair in sunny Tampa with blue skies and temps in the 70’s. It’s rides, food, entertainment and attractions – musical acts, racing pigs, zoo, circus, flying dogs, dancing bears and all of the cuddly baby animals you can take!

Join me as we take a photographic tour of this year’s 2018 Florida State Fair on my Pinterest page at https://www.pinterest.com/snowbirdrvtrail/this-is-the-florida-state-fair/.

Keep current on Tampa and Suncoast Area happenings on our free monthly Snowbird Visitor’s Guide at http://www.tampabaysnowbirder.com/.

Work Camping Job Posting – North Georgia

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ENOTA MOUNTAIN RETREAT
Received: 2/14/18
We are a highly rated retreat facility & campground in the North Georgia Mountains. We are seeking dedicated, reliable and committed couples or individuals. We are currently staffing for all positions including front desk, bookkeeping, housekeeping, landscaping, cooking, mechanic, maintenance, construction, carpenter, plumber, electrician, farm operation, & animal care – no camp hosting positions. We are also seeking a qualified experienced management couple.

We operate as an educational, sustainable 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We offer a great working atmosphere and a beautiful nature experience with 4 waterfalls, 5 streams, and certified organic garden and farm surrounded by 1 million acres of national forest at the highest elevation in the mountains of north Georgia. Enota is rated in the top 100 places in the nation for camping. Full hookups or lodging and other benefits are included.

Make sure to visit our website to view our videos including TV specials, property & farm tour, and educational programs for youth to get a better sense of our property.

If you think we may be a good fit for you, please complete the short application on our website. http://www.enota.com/

You can email us at enota@ enota.com

We look forward to hearing from you!
PH: 706-896-9966

Posted by: http://www.snowbirdrvtrails.com/

 

February on Florida’s Suncoast – Things to Do!

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Okay, what do an Italian-American Festival, a concert band, community chorus, running in your underwear, Mardi Gras, a State Fair and a Flamingo Festival have in common?

To find the answer to this and other more serious conundrums check out Jack and Niki’s Tampa Bay – Suncoast Snowbirder. Our new February issue of things to do and places to go on Florida’s West Coast – the Suncoast and Tampa Bay area – is free and online at http://www.tampabaysnowbirder.com/.

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