Blogging Driving Geography Home Humor Television Travel

Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote about the main campus of South Florida State College (#SFSC) near Avon Park – home of the 1,460-seat Alan Jay Wildstein Center For The Performing Arts. I got to see my first 2 concerts there last month. It’s just 2 miles away from my new home.

This week I’m about 100 miles away at a longtime favorite – the 1,874-seat Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall at Florida SouthWestern State College (#FSW) in Fort Myers. I’ve seen 8 shows / concerts there since 2011 including Chicago (the legendary band), Jay Leno, Brian Regan, and Frank Caliendo. I would’ve seen more shows there if I lived nearby, as it’s 3 hours away from my Homestead home – and 2 hours away from my now Sebring home. It’s my favorite small performing arts venue to see shows. A show at the #BBMANNPAH means a stay at a local hotel for the night – because – frankly – I don’t like driving long distances late at night. Scary things happen on the road in the dark.

Last Thursday night – after final closing of my new home 100 miles away – I saw Michael Carbonaro: Lies On Stage there. It was a great show. I’m glad I attended and experienced it. (I had thought about skipping the show and staying in my new home, but I decided to continue with my plans.)

Michael put on a fun comedy and magic show with lots of audience interaction. I was a big fan of his 2014-2020 truTV show The Carbonaro Effect. I saw every episode of it over the course of its 5 seasons. He essentially brought that show to our LIVE audience, and it was fun to see.

The show was actually postponed from an earlier date in mid-October – 2½ weeks after the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian. (The venue suffered some roof damage, but shows resumed about a month after the storm.)

Next #TravelThursday I’ll write about some delicious fried chicken I found close to my new home. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

1970s Blogging Driving Geography Home Music Radio Travel

South Florida State College

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. The main campus of South Florida State College (#SFSC) is located just a couple of miles away from my new neighborhood. It looks like a very nice campus from the exterior side. They even have an art museum on-campus (which I visited). I will be supporting the college. No – I’m not going back to school at age 56. I will be attending concerts at their 1,460-seat Performing Arts Center.

I usually attend about 5 concerts / live events per year, and I’ll probably stay at that same level into my retirement years. It’s good to have a place to see shows and concerts about 5 minutes away from my front door.

I actually saw 2 concerts on 2 nights when I was up there during Presidents’ Day Weekend to buy my new home. I saw MANIA: The ABBA Tribute and Evil Woman: The American ELO. Both tribute bands were awesome, and they put on great shows. I never saw the original bands in concert, so this was the next best thing. ABBA and ELO are two of my favorite bands from the mid-to-late-1970s. I was 6 rows from the stage for the ABBA show, and 4 rows from the stage for the ELO show. In fact – I’m in the photo below, and I’m in a prominent location. See the guy in the center with the microphone ? He’s the Musical Director – Nigel Holland. My head is right above his head. (My mouth is open.)

After the first show there – I got stuck in an unusually long traffic jam, as hundreds of cars tried to squeeze out of a single exit of the parking lot. I couldn’t believe what I was experiencing at such a small venue. I did my research prior to the second show, and I parked in a parking lot on the rear side of the venue. I was the only car in the parking lot when I arrived, but after the show my car was surrounded by dozens (not hundreds) of other cars. It took less than a minute to exit that parking lot. So – I now know the secret of parking at shows at #SFSC.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll write about another Performing Arts Center that’s located about 100 miles away from my new home, and I’m there tonight ! Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Blogging Driving Geography History Home Mail Travel

Sebring Historical Society

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. It is Day 21 of the closing process of my new retirement / forever home up near Sebring in scenic Highlands County Florida. 3 Thursdays ago I toured 5 condos in my dream 55+ neighborhood, and I selected the 5TH and final one as the best of them all (by far). So far so good with the entire process. I’ve reviewed and signed so many electronic forms over the past several weeks. That process appears to be drawing to a close. I’ll be physically present in Sebring for final closing day, and I’m sure that I’ll be signing even more documents on that day – retro-style – via “wet-ink” (pen-to-paper). Memo To Self: Don’t drink coffee that morning. (I want my signatures to be legible – not scribble.)

It’s no secret that I wish to be a museum docent when I grow up (retire), and I’ll be doing that with the Sebring Historical Society. I met with the Operations Director inside their main building a couple of days after I made that purchase offer on my condo. I actually walked over to their museum, and it was locked shut. I then walked over to the next historic building / house over that they also use (for socials and banquets), and it was also locked shut. So I had no choice but to head over to their main building to ask why.

I didn’t realize it at first, but the guy that greeted me was the same guy that greeted me exactly 2 years earlier during Presidents Day Weekend of 2021. (Read all about that remarkable day here.) It took him a little while longer to remember me. We talked for a good hour about my upcoming relocation and retirement, and my eagerness to become a member of the Sebring Historical Society. I wish to serve and participate in their regularly-scheduled meetings, events, and tours. He actually gave me a copy of the script for the closed museum. (It was closed because he didn’t have a docent available to work that day.) He told me to study it and personalize it to my own liking.

It was another great and impromptu meet-and-(re)greet, and when I walked away I was absolutely certain that I wanted to serve alongside the members of the Sebring Historical Society at my earliest opportunity (right after I start moving up there). I’ve already added some upcoming events to my schedule !

Several days after I returned to my current home I sat down at my computer, and I went “old-school”. I typed an old-fashioned letter to the Sebring Historical Society thanking the Operations Director for talking with me for an hour about everything. I reiterated my eagerness to serve to preserve, protect, and promote Sebring history. I also filled-out the application form to become a member, and I wrote out a check for the first year’s membership dues. It all went into an envelope – addressed and stamped – and placed in my neighborhood’s USPS mailbox. (Just like we used to do it “in the olden days”.) Writing letters is such a lost art form, but I continue to embrace it. Blogging is sort of like writing letters – the modern way.

In addition to regularly-scheduled monthly and quarterly events – the Sebring Historical Society also hosts all-inclusive day-trips around the local South-Central Florida region. Future #TravelThursday editions will highlight these trips, and perhaps my trip highlights may even appear on the Sebring Historical Society Facebook site.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll write about South Florida State College in Avon Park Florida. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp

Blogging Christian Church Driving Geography God Home Travel

Sebring & Beyond

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I revealed that I had recently spent 4 days and 3 nights up in scenic Highlands County Florida.

I activated the start of a dream that I’ve been dreaming (and blogging about) for the past 7 years. That dream is to relocate and retire near Sebring (the county seat). Shortly upon arrival in Lake Placid my Real Estate Agent and I drove to my dream neighborhood where we toured 5 condos. I selected my favorite one (which was the last one we toured), and I made a purchase offer on it. It was quickly accepted by the seller. I am now 15 days into the 30-day closing process, and everything continues to work out smoothly so far.

My new home is absolutely beautiful and clean. It was love at first sight upon entering it. I had to contain my excitement for it. It’s a 3-bedroom / 2-bathroom 2ND-floor condo in a 55+ active-adult gated-community. It comes fully-furnished, and the furniture is newish. I met the husband-and-wife owners of the condo. They bought it in 2022, and they refurbished and modernized it. They were pretty much done with that, so they put it on the market a couple of months ago. (I had been tracking it online since the start of the year.) They will continue to live in the neighborhood, buy vacated condos, refurbish them, and sell them for a small profit. (The husband is a retired Civil Engineer.)

The neighborhood’s homeowners’ association requires a background security check and vote before being accepted as a resident. (They will find absolutely nothing in their investigation of me.)

If all goes well then the final closing date should be during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, and I will drive back up there to be physically present for that, and be handed the keys to my new home. I’ll also have a trunk-load of personal belongings with me, as I will begin moving-in that same day.

It’ll be a slow and gradual relocation from South Florida (Miami-Dade County) to South-Central Florida (Highlands County). I don’t retire for another 9 months, so on most weeks I’ll live and work down south from Sunday mornings to Wednesday afternoons, and I’ll live and work up north from Wednesday evenings to Sunday mornings. My commuting distance will be 186 miles, and that’s about a 3-hour and 20-minute drive. Each drive northward will be another haul of my personal belongings. Eventually the drives will be less-frequent, and I’ll spend more time in Sebring than not.

I’m looking forward to the change in lifestyle, and the change in region. This will be the first time since I lived in the United Kingdom 35+ years ago that I’ll be living in a rural area (versus suburban). I’m moving to a 1,106-square-mile county with a total population of just over 100,000. Right now over 100,000 people live within about 5 miles of me. (Over 2.7 million residents call Miami-Dade County home.)

Sebring will also be the first time in exactly 30 years – and 2ND-time in my life – that I’ll be relocating to the city / area of my choice. Back in March 1993 I relocated to Melbourne Florida – because I wanted to. 30 years later I’m relocating about 100 miles away from Melbourne – because I want to.

I can’t believe that this is finally happening, and I owe it all to my Lord + Savior Jesus Christ. It’s easy to claim that these were my plans for many years, but these were really God’s plans for me. He guided and directed me to the Florida Heartland. I preached about that this past Sunday. “Sebring & Beyond” was the title of my sermon.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll tell you all about my 2ND visit to the main office of the Sebring Historical Society. I’ll be serving with them soon. Let’s keep traveling together.

All rights reserved (c) 2023 Christopher M. Day, CountUp