Blogging Driving Geography History Military Travel

Miami Military Museum

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. A couple of Fridays ago I visited the Miami Military Museum for the first time ever. It’s located about a mile west of Florida’s Turnpike off SW 152ND Street in South Miami-Dade County Florida next to Zoo Miami. In fact if you reach the parking lot of Zoo Miami – then you’ve gone too far. Make a right-hand turn just before the parking lot at the sign that leads you to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum. (They share the same parking lot.)

At the present time the museum is only open for 3 days per week – Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – from 10 AM to 4 PM. They prefer that you call them in advance to schedule an appointment to visit the museum.

I did that, and I got there at around 10:30 AM on that Friday. The Executive Director of the Museum and one of the museum docents greeted me downstairs. The former proceeded to informally interview me about my military and civil service history. He then picked-up a microphone, and he proceeded to announce my grand arrival military-honors-style through the entire building’s sound system – like I was a V.I.P. That was an extra special nice touch.

After that welcome the museum docent took me upstairs (via elevator), and he guided me through all of the various rooms of displays. The museum has only been open for a couple of years, so they are a work in progress. It looks like they are constantly receiving new items for display, and they are trying to figure out what to do with them all. I had a good conversation with my docent, and he displayed many qualities of a docent that I wish to have when I do what he does elsewhere. He opened-up more as he went along, and he even extended the tour outside around the perimeter of the property. They have big plans for good stuff inside and out !

If I were not moving away and retiring next year then the Miami Military Museum would be a great place for me to serve. It’ll be a great place for me to visit in the future when I come back to Miami-Dade County for visits.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll stay in Miami-Dade County, and I’ll try to figure out what other tourist attractions I wish to visit before I move away from here. Let’s keep traveling together.

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

Blogging Driving Food Geography History Travel

Henrietta Texas

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I revealed that I spent quality time with family in and around Wichita Falls Texas. It’s an annual tradition for me every late-September to visit for a few days, and celebrate the wedding anniversary of my Aunt (by blood) and Uncle. This year was their 66TH !

Following an early Lunch at a local Mexican restaurant (another tradition) we went on a short road-trip (another tradition). This time we headed 20 miles ESE along U.S. 287 into Clay County and the small city of Henrietta (the county seat and population center). A little over 3,000 residents call Henrietta home, and it’s one of the oldest settled areas in the region – going back to the mid-19TH Century.

We visited the Clay County 1890 Jail Museum & Heritage Center – presented by the Clay County Historical Society. For those of you who have been following my #TravelThursday posts for awhile – you’ll know that not only am I a big fan of local historical societies and museums that they run, but I also plan to be a member and volunteer at a few upstate here in Florida once I retire and relocate.

Me, my cousin, and her husband were treated to an excellent docent early on a Friday afternoon. The museum is only open for 8 hours per week (4 each on Thursday and Friday), and we exclusively occupied 2 of those 8 hours. The docent showed us everything in the museum. (There’s a lot to see inside downstairs and upstairs.) I was studying our docent intently. I hope to be as good as her when I resume being a museum docent. She definitely enjoyed her museum, and she absolutely loved to talk about it. That’s the type of docent that I like !

On this visit to the Wichita Falls area we also drove over to Archer City – the county seat of Archer County (south of Wichita County). We visited a church lot where they were selling pumpkins and gourds.

We also drove all around Downtown Wichita Falls – the county seat of Wichita County. There’s a lot of history downtown – much of it mere memories with the original buildings left behind vacated. There are plans to continue to revitalize it with new cafes, bars, restaurants, events, and opportunities.

This was my 11TH visit to the Wichita Falls area to visit family over the past 9 years (since 2013). Each visit brings family love, good food, and pleasant surprises. I always look fondly back – and forward to – my next visit.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll present a tribute to a place that I visited 9 times and spent 17 nights from 2011 to 2020. It’s an island that will never be the same again due to the catastrophic destruction of Hurricane Ian. I’ll look back at those fun times on #FortMyersBeach on the Southwest Florida coast. Let’s keep traveling together.

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

Blogging Driving Food History Shopping Travel

Naples Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last week I wrote all about the first-half of my short one-day road-trip to and from Naples. This week – it’s the second-half of that fun day some 2½ hours away from home.

My next stop on my museum tour was the Naples Historical Society Historic Palm Cottage a couple of blocks from the beach along historic 12TH Avenue South.

Here’s what I wrote about it on TripAdvisor:

This was my 4TH of 4 museum stops in Naples on this day, and it was the highlight of my day. I was the only participant for the 1 PM tour, and the docent was still eager to give the tour. Very admirable. He was very knowledgeable on the history of the house and the surrounding neighborhood. The house was beautiful and interesting. After the 45-minute tour I watched the 25-minute video, and that was very informative. I then looked around the house one last time on my own before emerging out into the front porch. I talked to the docents out there for a little while about the house, the neighborhood, and my own plans for next year when I’ll transition from a long career into retirement and serving as a docent in a few museums in nearby Highlands County Florida. GREAT experience at the Palm Cottage !

This visit almost didn’t occur. Parking is at a premium in this area. Nearly all of it is for the nearby beach and pier. It costs money ($3 per hour), and vacant spaces can be rare or non-existent – even during low-season in July. When I arrived no spaces were available. I drove over to the nearby shopping center where there was plenty of available parking, but signs were also posted stating no beach or pier parking. I drove back over to the “legal” parking area, and I stumbled across a vacant parking space right in front of the Historic Palm Cottage. I paid $7.50 for 2½ hours of parking, and I’m glad I did, as I spent nearly 2 hours at the cottage itself enjoying the tour (guided and self), watching the video, and then talking to the docents.

My final stop in Naples was Tin City – a historic and quaint shopping and dining village right along the banks of the Gordon River. It’s been there for over 100 years. Nowadays it’s a small collection of mom-n-pop shops selling antiques, knick-knacks, souvenirs, clothing, candy, and food. They also have a few larger restaurants there. I enjoyed an early-Dinner at Pinchers (a local Southwest Florida seafood chain). I then picked-up some monkey bread from Mon”Key” Bread Factory.

It was a fun day in Naples. 2½ hours to get there. 7½ hours of fun while there. 2½ hours to get home. 230 miles total. I need to do it again – maybe when the weather turns cooler in the dry season. I definitely want to visit the Historic Palm Cottage again. They also do guided walking tours of the immediate neighborhood. They look very educational. In conjunction with my next visit to Naples I also want to visit nearby Marco Island and Everglades City.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll head to the beach – 1,100 miles up the coast in Ocean City Maryland. Let’s keep traveling together.

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

Blogging Driving Food History Military Travel

Naples Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last Friday July 08TH 2022 I did something very rare. I drove out of the local area for a short one-day road-trip, and I returned home later that same day !

The fun started at the crack of dawn, or near the end of nautical twilight for you astronomy buffs. That was at 6 AM local time. That’s when I got on the road with no bags – no luggage – just exciting plans for my day in Naples.

I got on Krome Avenue (Florida State Road 997). Its origins date back more than 100 years. Up until just a few years ago it was a narrow 2-lane rural road that ran along the western fringes of Miami-Dade County. Starting in 2015 and continuing for the next 6 years it was modernized and widened to 4 lanes with a median. Now it’s a major thoroughfare with heavy rush hour traffic northward (towards Miami) in the morning and southward (towards Homestead) in the afternoon. On weekends it’s congested in both directions.

I picked-up U.S. 41 (Tamiami Trail) from Krome Avenue, and I also picked-up a yellow box truck right in front of me. This was definitely a test of patience for me, as for exactly 58 miles it never quite reached the posted speed limit. It stayed about 5 MPH below, and occasionally as much as 10 MPH below. I never passed it, but dozens of other drivers behind me didn’t have that patience. Every single one of them passed me and that truck. Even an 18-wheeler truck passed us by. As for me – my day-trip to Naples didn’t necessitate a death-defying act of passing on a narrow 2-lane rural road. I am thankful for patience – produced by the Holy Spirit within.

The truck turned left at Collier County Road 29 towards Everglades City, and I continued westward into the Naples area. Naples is quite unique in that it’s 1 of only 3 incorporated cities in Collier County. It’s the most-populated of those 3, but that’s not saying much. It’s got less than 20,000 residents; yet, the Naples metro area (essentially the entirety of Collier County) has a population of over 375,000. Naples contains the downtown area that serves much of the county, but it’s not the population center, and it’s not even the county seat.

So out of every 20 people that call the Naples area home – 19 live outside of the Naples city limits.

I’ve been visiting Naples for over 30 years. It’s about a 2½-hour drive from Homestead. Usually I visit (or drive through) Naples on the way to and from Estero or Fort Myers Beach in neighboring Lee County. There are a lot of attractions and parks and museums in and around Naples. I’ve probably visited the Naples Zoo more than any of them.

After a hearty Breakfast at Perkins (the closest one to my home at 109 miles away) – I ventured over to the Collier County Museum at Government Center. I’ve been there a handful of times, and it’s always interesting, and there’s always something new to see. It’s an interior and exterior museum with displays outside in a city park-like setting.

My next stop was a small military museum located inside the terminal building of the Naples Airport. It’s got a small footprint, but there’s a lot of memorabilia packed into it. I think that most of their visitors are waiting for a flight, or arriving from a flight, or waiting for their rental car. I don’t think that they get too many visitors who go out of their way to specifically visit the museum.

My next stop was the Naples Depot Museum – another Collier County-operated museum. It was my first visit in just a little over 10 years. It’s the former Naples train station – with lots of exhibits inside, and a train car and a caboose that you can walk through outside in the rear parking lot.

Next #TravelThursday I’ll continue my recap of my day-trip to Naples with the highlight of my day (another museum), and the finale of my day at a historic shopping and dining district along the riverfront that’s been there for over 100 years. Let’s keep traveling together.

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