Monday, February 22, 2010

Evinston General Store and Post Office

Upon the advise of our friends, Bill and Helen, we drove north about 20 miles today to the very small community of Evinston.  We were in search of the oldest post office in Florida.  What we found was a real treasure.

This is not just a Post Office, it is also a grocery, thrift shop, library, and art gallery.  It is one of those places where you just have to linger.  In fact, there are chairs surrounding an old wood burning stove which invite the guests to “sit a spell”.  We didn’t sit; there was just too much to feast our eyes upon.

The Post Office is at the front of the store and the long-time postmaster, Wilma Sue Wood, was on duty today.  I guess she is used to folks coming in to see the place.  Four other tourists were just leaving when we got there and someone else came in while we were there.  Wilma Sue just went about her business and let us roam around the place taking pictures.

A wood burning stove was sitting in the middle of the store surrounded by easy chairs.  It was too warm today for a fire, but I think I could have kicked back for a while during the colder days this month.

The old wooden shelves were loaded down with everything you can imagine from canned good to old toys; baskets to farm tools.  In the back of the store was fresh produce grown in the garden out back. There was a small section of used items--well worn from days gone by.  LP records were on sale--buy 4 and get 1 free or something like that.  There were a few children’s movies and used books.  Freddy Wood of Wood and Swink is an author and his books on Evinston history were available, complete with autograph.  Freddy, by the way, is the one who keeps the garden out back.  In addition to these things that we often think about associated with General Stores, Wood and Swink’s had a large selection of paintings and prints by local artists.

The community of Evinston is located about half way between Ocala and Gainesville, just off US 441 not far from Lake Orange.  This is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area, but go during the week.  The store is not open on weekends.

We never did get to Gainesville to the museum.  Neither Gene nor I were too enthusiastic about going, so we marked it off the list.  After our tour of Evinston, we came home to chores and the pitter patter of raindrops on our roof.

We don’t have a plan for tomorrow.  No telling what we’ll get into.  It’ll be hard to top today’s find.

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