My cousin, Scott George, is the VP over a fantastic automotive venue in Naples called the Revs Institute. He oversees a priceless collection of vintage race cars and historic automobiles known as the Collier Collection and took us on a private tour of this incredible facility. I am not a car guy but I do appreciate nice cars and love learning about the history of different things. Cousin Scott is a true car buff who loves to build race car engines and he has worked hard to reach a high level executive position during his long career at Revs Institute. Bonnie and I were blown away by the sheer number of rare vintage cars that Scott showed us on a tour. I would say that if you like cars or have any interest in automotive evolution that you should make the trip to Naples and visit the Revs Institute. Here are photos of just a handful of the priceless cars and a link to the Revs Institute website so you can see what is offered at this fantastic facility… https://revsinstitute.org/
Cousin Scott and his lovely wife Mary invited us to join them for a nice Italian dinner and we enjoyed some great wine while catching up. Earlier that day, we had dropped our Airstream trailer off at the local RV dealer so some minor warranty repair work could be completed. We ended up staying overnight at Cousin Scott and Mary’s beautiful new home and thank them for the generous hospitality they showed us while visiting Naples !!! Check out the pic of our solitary Airstream sitting among some RV giants…
We got our Airstream trailer back in excellent condition and North Trail RV even washed it for no additional charge. I would like to thank Brett Howard, Matt Baker, and Danielle Beckman in the North Trail service department for taking such good care of us !!!
Koreshan State Park near Naples, was established from the estate of an eccentric pioneer group that chose to make its home on the banks of the Estero River. In 1893, the Koreshans, a religious sect founded by Dr. Cyrus R. Teed, moved to Florida and built a settlement based on communal living and a belief that the universe existed on the inside of the Earth (call it a little crazy). The Koreshans were not only known for their unique belief system but also their innovative use of electricity. Thomas Edison attended several social events at the settlement and the Koreshans agreed to have his company install a power plant built there. They provided electricity for the residents of the settlement and also for their neighbors in the area at a time when electricity was very new and still feared by many people. The enterprising Koreshans established a farm, nursery, and botanical gardens within the settlement but eventually ceded control of their property over to the state on condition that their buildings and culture be preserved as part of a state park. We stayed for a couple of days at this unique park and noticed that it had nicely maintained camp sites and was home to several tortoises. As a matter of fact, Bonnie had to coax a tortoise into crossing the road when we were pulling our trailer over to the dump station prior to leaving the park. I didn’t know that she spoke the “tortoise” language but she somehow got that tortoise to move out of our way. Here are some pics of this interesting place…
We left Koreshan and headed towards the panhandle of Florida on our way westward out of Florida. Along the way, we stopped at a couple of Harvest Host farms that allowed us to stay overnight in exchange for purchasing some of their produce. The first farm we stopped at was Far Reach Ranch in Tavares, FL that grows acres of blueberries and hosts various seasonal events. It was pouring down rain when we got there and the staff welcomed us and showed us to a nice overnight parking spot. This farm produced a lot of blueberry jellies and jams and blueberries is one of Bonnie’s favorite fruits. We purchased several jars of blueberry lemon spread (incredibly delicious) and the farm foreman, named Brent, offered to pick us some fresh blueberries the next morning. It rained pretty hard all night but we slept well at Far Reach Ranch with my lovely wife dreaming about eating lots of blueberries !!! True to his word, Brent arrived the next morning with a huge container full of blueberries and said there was no charge for them since they were winter berries that often aren’t as sweet. Talk about a nice guy and a great place to camp overnight for a blueberry preserve purchase !!! Here is a link to the farm’s website if you want to check out some of their delicious products or visit the farm to buy or pick your own: http://www.farreachranch.com/
The next day, we continued our drive northwest and stopped after another 225 miles of travel at Golden Acres Ranch in Monticello, FL. Bobbie and Fred Golden raise sheep and goats, board pets, give farm tours and make jelly from native Mayhaw trees that grow on their property. I didn’t know what a Mayhaw was but this fruit makes an excellent jelly !!! We petted and fed a couple of cute little donkeys (according to my wife it was three if you include me) along with a miniature pony. This farm is home to a herd of Tennessee Fainting Goats which are named for their tendency to go stiff-legged when startled that causes them to fall over. This is a genetic trait due to what is known as a “myotonic gene.” They also raise sheep and use them to produce wool for clothing. Last but not least, the industrious couple who own this ranch with help from their daughter Christine board dogs and other family pets. Below is a link to the ranch’s website if you want to explore a possible visit to this unique place: https://goldenacresranchflorida.com/
The time in our adopted home State of Florida was drawing to a close as we left a very comfortable “Harvest Host” site at the Golden Acres Ranch. We left Florida and traveled through a narrow strip of Alabama until we reached Gulf Seashores National Park in Mississippi.