HomeOur JourneyOn the RoadRevisiting Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

Funny, after our return to RI last Spring, we said that on next year’s trip (2015) we didn’t want to move around as much, perhaps staying at places for at least a couple weeks at a time. Well, besides December that hasn’t worked out too well, has it? Little did we know that reservations would be harder to come by this year, especially on weekends.

After our three night stay, we left Williston Crossings RV Resort on Monday, January 26th, heading to another favorite state park, Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park located in historic White Springs, FL, about 76 miles away. Taking a right onto FL-121, we traveled about 16 miles before merging onto I-75 toward Lake City. After 57 miles, we took exit 439, turning left onto FL-136E. Another left onto Spring Street, then another left onto Lillian Sanders Drive and we were there.


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IMAG0116.jpgCamping fee here is $20/night but as a Florida resident and senior it was only $10/night, quite a difference from the rate at Williston. After stopping at the ranger station and checking in, we made our way to site #34 which was a IMAG0135.jpglarge 100′ pull thru on the Suwannee Loop. Large it was but it had a fairly steep bend so positioning the coach took a bit of extra time. But after some minor maneuvering, we were finally exactly where we wanted to be. This is a great site with good privacy and we would definitely try and get it again. I think it is even better than site #5 that we really liked last year.

With 45 sites, this campground offers oak-shaded sites with electricity, water, picnic table and fire ring (no sewer). Our particular site only had 30 amp but there are a few sites here with 50 amp. With the cooler temps this time of year and no A/C required, only having 30 amp wasn’t a problem as long as we were careful with the number of appliances we were IMAG0143.jpgrunning at any given time. We did pop the campground power breaker once when Rob turned on the clothes dryer (we dry the towels after our morning shower) not realizing the electric fireplace (heater) and electric water heater element were also running. Newer Entegra’s (and many other brands) now include a built in Energy Management System that will automatically shed loads (like the water heater element) as the 30A limit approaches and save those nuisance trips outside to reset the breaker.

This state park Honors the memory of American composer Stephen Foster, IMAG1157.jpgwho wrote “Old Folks at Home” and other American classics. A museum features exhibits about Foster’s most famous songs and a 97-bell carillon plays his music throughout the day. The 200′ tall carillon was constructed in 1957 and is the world’s largest tubular bell instrument. In Craft Square, there are demonstrations of quilting, blacksmithing, stained glass making, and other crafts by skilled volunteers as well as a gift shop. And then there are miles of trails within the 800-acre park that are very popular for hiking, bicycling and wildlife viewing.

During our stay we had one little snafu – yours truly messed up on our reservations. So how did I do that? Well, long story short is that I keep a Google calendar showing the arrival date and the last night of our stay. For this stay, I entered the last night of our stay as the 30th instead of the 29th which impacted the arrival date for the reservation I made for our next stay. Since we were checking out of Stephen Foster on the 30th, not the 31st, that left us without a place to stay on the 30th. Whoops!

Luckily I realized this on the 28th so I called the next campground to see if the site I had reserved there was available on Friday night, the 30th. Darn it wasn’t. So then I checked Reserve America to see if site #34 was available here at Stephen Foster – nope, no luck there either. But whew, there was one site available here which happened to be #35, a back-in site right across the road so I quickly made that reservation. That was lucky!

IMAG0204.jpgSo on Friday morning, we had to do our usual pain in the butt (but less extensive) prep to move across the street to site #35. Luckily the people who had been there left early that morning so we had moved by 10:00 a.m. after making a trip to the dump station to empty the tanks. Not a bad site but only a 42′ IMAG1238.jpgdriveway and not as wide so it was a little cramped. But that was okay, it was just for one night and at least we had a place to stay. What was annoying though was all day Friday and all that night, our previous site #34 remained empty. What’s with that? Do people make reservations, then just blow them off without cancelling?

After we were settled once again on the new site, a couple, Pete and Laura from St. Louis who had an Entegra Cornerstone coach on a nearby site stopped by to ask us if we wanted to get IMAG1239.jpgtogether that evening (we had met Pete earlier in the week). Of course, what a silly question! They previously had owned a 5th wheel and had only recently purchased the Entegra so they were full of questions. What a good time we had that night – such a fun couple! Maybe it was a good thing that I messed up our reservation after all. Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend more time with them since both of us were leaving on Saturday morning – they were headed to the Entegra rally at Lazy Days near Tampa and we were headed further north. Perhaps we’ll get to see them at some Entegra function in the future.

During our previous stay here in 2014, we visited all the sights within the park and since we enjoyed it so much during the first visit decided to see it all over again this year. Besides the familiar sights, we also had time to do some other sightseeing. More about what we did in an upcoming post.

 


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