Blogging Driving Home Travel

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

Blogging Driving Home Travel

Highlands County Florida

Welcome back to #TravelThursday. Last Thursday morning I actually returned home from a quick 2-day road-trip to and from Highlands County Florida – located about 3 hours from home.

A little over 101,000 residents call Highlands County home. Less than 23,000 live within the established limits of the 3 incorporated cities / towns of Avon Park, Sebring, and Lake Placid. (More than 78,000 residents live in adjacent unincorporated communities and rural areas of the county.)

U.S. 27 runs in a mostly NNW / SSE direction for about 48 miles through the county. U.S. 98 runs concurrent with U.S. 27 through the northern-half of the county.

So a little over 101,000 residents live within an 1,106-square mile county. By comparison – more people live within about 5 miles of me right now.

Highlands County is my future home, and on the first day I was there last week I met my Real Estate Agent for the first time at her office in Lake Placid. I followed her to 1 of her 2 Sebring offices, and then from there I got in her vehicle. We drove up the road (U.S. 27) to my future neighborhood (between Sebring and Avon Park). It was awesome to finally pass-through the front gate of that secure entrance. I got to check-out 3 separate condos currently for sale – a 2/2, a 3/2, and a 2/1 – in that order. The 2/2 was nice, but the 3/2 was wonderful. All 3 condos were fully or partially-furnished. I wasn’t sure I would like that. I loved it. They all had better furniture than I do right now !

I got to experience my future neighborhood for about an hour on that Tuesday. Before the experience I was about 98% sure that it was where I want to live (based on online research). Now I’m at 100%. We drove 1.2 miles clockwise around the neighborhood that surrounds a 10½-acre manmade oval-shaped lake. I loved everything about it. I’m looking forward to working with my Real Estate Agent early next year in the purchase of my future forever home.

My plan is to initially live (and work remotely) up there on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and live (and work on-site) my final year here in Homestead on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.

So I would do a 3½-hour commute early on Sunday mornings and late on Wednesday afternoons. That’s my plan for now (subject to change).

I had a fun (less than) 48 hours up in my future retirement area of Highlands County. I enjoyed Breakfast with my only known friend in the area – a former resident of Homestead who moved to the area nearly 15 years ago. I also met lots of new friends at different places that I plan to serve with during my retirement era.

Next #TravelThursday we’ll visit one of those places up in Avon Park. Let’s keep traveling together.

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