Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Winter in Florida

This has been our third winter in Florida; the last two here in Bushnell and the first winter in Ocala.  We’ve decided wintering in central Florida suits us.  There are various reasons, of course--in the scheme of things it’s not so far from Nashville, there are some trails for hiking, we enjoy the Escapee park, and Bushnell is conveniently located to the bigger cities of Tampa, Orlando, and Ocala.
A sampling of our winter in photos.
Longleaf Pine and blue skies.
There are a lot of other places we like better than Florida, but all of those places are cold in the winter.  We want some place warm and Florida has that.  So does Texas, but Texas is several hundred miles farther from Nashville.  That’s important to us because we want to be able to see family about every three months.  On a few of our trips we’ve been away from family for six months or so.  We found we didn’t like that so much.
Withlacoochee River
Since we love to hike, it’s important to us to have trails in the area.  There are a lot of trails around central Florida.  They’re sandy and flat, which is not our favorite, but the area still offers some decent hiking opportunities.  Summerdale, Alabama would be another option for winter, but besides not being quite warm enough, there are almost no trails in the area.
Walks on the Van Fleet and Withlacoochee State Trails

Speaking of Summerdale, Rainbow Plantation Escapee Park there is wonderful.  The campground is nice and they offer almost nonstop activities at the clubhouse.  As nice as Rainbow Plantation is, we like Sumter Oaks here in Bushnell better.  It’s a much smaller campground and we like that.  The selection of activities is much more limited, but we’re off doing our hiking thing anyway.  It’s a quiet, cozy little park and we’re beginning to think of it as our winter home.
Fellowship with friends. This one at Mike and Peggy's place.

Bushnell, as a city, has very little to offer, but an hours drive will get you to Tampa, Orlando, or Ocala.  An hours drive will also get you to the Gulf coast or the Atlantic.

For all these reasons, we’ll likely be back to Florida for several winters to come.
How about all those trail lunches in Withlacoochee State Forest

As far as this year goes, we’ve really enjoyed our stay.  Because of family issues in Nashville, we didn’t get down here as early as we had hoped, but next year we’re thinking about coming down early in December--really spend the winter here.  Our hiking has been good.  We’ve hiked about 80 miles since arriving in the middle of January and didn’t do the same hike twice.  We didn’t do a lot of sightseeing this time like we did the past two winters, but next year we may slip away for a couple weeks to the Everglades.  The best part of this winter has been the time with friends.  We had a great week with Mike and Peggy, and six weeks with Tony and Diana.  We’ve renewed our friendships with several folks who make this their winter home and we’ve made a few new friends as well.  How can it get any better?
Whether Dairy Queen, Twisty Treats, or Plant City
 we could always find something sweet to eat.

We’ve been busy today preparing to move.  Anytime we sit for very many days in a row I have to go through every cabinet to be sure things are secured for travel.  I also got all the laundry done.  Escapee parks usually have the cheapest laundry facilities around.  Gene washed the dust off the motorhome and the car.  They sure look pretty.

Everything is ready so it looks like we’ll be pulling out in the morning heading up to Valdosta, Georgia for the night then on to Perry Friday.  We’re anxious to be on the road again.  But, we’ll be right back here next winter I’ll betchya.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. Darrell and JudyMarch 8, 2012 at 7:29 AM

    Happy trails and safe travels. We've been talking about spending December in Sumpter Oaks before heading to Tennessee for Christmas. However, we hope to see you before then.

  2. Great blog on why you love wintering in Florida - all pretty good reasons. Especially that nearby Dairy Queen!