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Avon Park Depot Museum

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote all about my recent 2-day visit to my future retirement area – Highlands County Florida – located about 3 hours from my current home of nearly 35 years.

I plan to visit the area on a fairly-regular and increasingly-frequent basis going forth, and every time I visit I’ll think about my upcoming purchase in my future gated neighborhood less than 3 miles south of Avon Park, (but with a Sebring address). I’ll also visit some of my favorite places that I’d like to volunteer at during my retirement life.

One such place is the historic Avon Park Depot Museum – operated by the Avon Park Historical Society. It’s located about 4½ miles from my future neighborhood. I actually visited the museum on a previous trip to the area in February 2021. I arrived at the museum. I took a couple of exterior photos. I walked-up to the front door, and it was locked shut. #COVID

What a disappointment. I immediately returned southward to Sebring. That disappointment actually led me to a big “reveal” with the Sebring Historical Society that will lead to additional volunteer opportunities. I’ll write about that experience next week.

So I finally entered the main door of the Avon Park Depot Museum. I and 2 other guests who arrived just before me were greeted together by a friendly volunteer docent. She stopped everything she was doing, and she went out of her way to give the 3 of us an extensive tour of all of the rooms of the museum. She knew her material, and I was eager to absorb it all as she was telling the history of the once-bustling Avon Park train station from the late-1920s through the mid-1970s. (It’s been operating as a museum since 1981.)

She even gave us a bonus exclusive behind-the-scenes tour inside this railroad dining car (acquired in 1986) that last saw action as part of Amtrak’s Auto Train. It’s now used for special catered dining events by groups of 16 to 36 (by reservation only).

After the tour, and after the other 2 guests went on their way I stayed behind just to talk with our docent – Elaine. (She’s the Museum Curator.) I thanked her for the wonderful job that she’s doing. She made history come alive inside that historic building. She was a model docent that I’ll use as an example in my future docent opportunities. I told her that I’m interested in serving at the museum once I move up to the local area next year. I believe that I can help the museum out and contribute in many different ways. I’ll definitely visit again the next time (and probably every time) I visit the area. I told her that I’m a blogger (which she didn’t really understand), and that I’d be writing about the museum (and her) on a future blog post. Next time I visit I’ll share this blog post with her.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll share my unexpected experiences with the Sebring Historical Society – both in February 2021 as well as this most recent visit to the area. Looks like I’ll be very busy working inside Historical Society museums during my upcoming retirement life. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2022 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

By Chris M. Day

I'm 55 years old. I've been online for the past 29 years - starting with my own dial-up bulletin board system in 1993 - and continuing with AOL, my own dot.com web site, Myspace, Wordpress, Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook.

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