My Florida !!!

Now far away in my new neck of the woods, the Morbihan Breton,sunny and clear reminds me of my Florida, The old Central and South Florida of my family and birthplace of my 3 sons, and I am nostalgic enough to update this older post with family trivia and less history of the place. After doing the trajects America ,Europe, America , and back to Europe, I like to remind myself of one special place ; the title is simple but the meaning is huge for us, this my story in Florida, the Sunshine State !(see other posts). Hope you enjoy it as I.

I had a brief visit in 1974 on the old National airline to visit my aunt (dad’s sister) in Miami Lake, However, it was my searching for an University to go to, saw one of my liking and trade in Daytona Beach, Florida and went there for 4 years Bachelor of Sciences degree.  This was ERAU or Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, simply the best in its field ; the Harvard of the Air ! Liking it so much or rather liking Daytona Beach so much, once back to worked in New Jersey could not remain there so decided to moved back to DB to live to the surprise of my parents. The independant boy was a determine young men and the beaches and bikinis was it lol!!!  This was the beginning of a beautiful story as was said in Casablanca, the movie.

daytona-beach-erau-dorm-bridge-1977-1978-year

I convince my parents to buy another home in Ormond by the Sea , north peninsula area while working in Daytona Beach, Volusia County, My parents did not took long to follow me within a year ) welcome, really we were very close and are with my Dad still with me. Growing up there made me visit other lands ,mostly in the Caribbean and Central ,South America, However, at the time Daytona Beach  was the spring training site for the baseball team of the Montreal Expos (French Canadians). French taken as a language in High School stayed with me and friendly with French students at the University.  For a shorter story,as already told in other post, as time went on and while traveling met a young French girl (Martine) working in Paris,born and  living in Meaux ,Seine-et-Marne dept 77 of the Île de France region in 1989.  This was quickly followed by visits to her family and hers to mine and before I knew it, this independent young men was married on December 26, 1990 at City Island municipal courthouse in Daytona Beach, deciding to live there. We went all over together, visiting France every year  then moved south to live and work at  North Miami, then Hialeah,in Miami-Dade county, and last Miramar in Broward county , While living in Silver Lakes division, Sapphire Bay sub division I became a  French citizen at the French consulate in Miami in 2000 , Eventually, moving permanently to France me in August 23, 2003, and after the house sold ,the rest of my family on December 13, 2003.  My parents again followed me and were given residency status immediately in France, We had 3 wonderful boys, one older (born in DB) and then identical twins,(born in Hialeah); the moved was not without sad events as my dear late mother Gladys passed away on December 27 2007 while living in Versailles, and with my dear late wife Martine passed away on April 30 2018,in our current home of Pluvigner, of my beautiful Morbihan dept 56 of the lovely region of Bretagne , The saying goes we cannot have it all, sad and still sad and will always be sad, there is no words. My blog posts sweeting the pain a bit.Thank you all for reading my blog all these years since 2010.

I like to tell you briefly, really short as too many towns and places in dear Florida, a State will never forget the experiences and which have many family members still living all over.  I will go into nostalgia lane to tell you of places we lived for 18 years ! I am used by now on Europe to use kilometers ,but below anything in km to miles is equal to 1 km = 0,621371 miles.ok.

Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Florida is a peninsula of 700 km and a narrow part in the form of a narrow “stove tail” (Panhandle).Climate change from North (cold really) to South (warmer) The coast of Florida extends for some 1 930 km. Considering the bays and capes, the cumulative length reaches about 13 600 km. No other U.S. state, except Alaska, has a longer coastline then Florida with as well more than 4 500 islands. Florida ; with almost 18% of its area under waters , it has nearly 1 700 courses of water, 7 800 sweet water lakes, 700 springs, 44 500 km2 of wetlands;  Florida has the largest concentration of  springs/water sources in the World. Okeechobee is the most extensive with more than 1 800 km2; It is shallow ,between 4.5 and 6 meters, like most Floridian lakes. Florida has five geographical areas such as the East Coast, West Coast, Central Florida, Panhandle (North), Southern Tip (Keys), and 12 National Park Service parks. The main highways are Interstate 4, Interstate 10, Interstate 75 and Interstate 95. The U. S. Route 1 connects Key West to the Canadian border. This section of the US Route 1, in the Keys, called Overseas Highway, is about 150 km long and has 42 bridges including the Seven Mile Bridge, the longest in Florida with 10.8 km . It has four international airports which I have used two,Orlando, Miami, with Fort Lauderdale and Tampa as well. A bit of history I like.  Since its discovery, in 1513, by the Spaniard Juan Ponce de León who baptized it “La Pascua Florida” (“Easter Flowers” in reference to Palm Sunday), Florida is an issue for the European colonial powers before integrating  it into the United States in 1845. The Pánfilo de Narváez expedition discovered the West coast of Florida, but he is killed in an Amerindian attack in 1528. In 1539, Hernando de Soto landed near the present day Bradenton near Tampa Bay and explored the interior of the land. The French Huguenot Jean Ribault approached the eastern coast of Florida in 1562 and took possession of Florida in the name of the king of France. He built the Charlesfort fortress to defend the new colony of French Florida. In 1564, René de Laudonnière founded a second fort in French Florida, Fort Caroline (Jacksonville).  In 1565,  after a great battle with the French at Fort Matanzas (massacre of the French…)  the Spanish colony of San Augustin was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés: It thus became the oldest colony of the United States occupied continuously by Europeans. The Treaty of Paris (1783) gave Florida back to Spain, without specifying its borders. The United States wants the old pre-1767 limit to be resumed. The Treaty of San Lorenzo ratified this choice in 1795. Florida was ceded to the United States by the Adams-Onís Treaty, signed in 1819, and formed a territory in 1822. The capital is located in Tallahassee, halfway between Saint Augustine and Pensacola. On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the United States. The Cold War (1947-1991) intensified the development of the military-industrial complex; Florida is becoming a major issue because of its proximity to the communist island of Cuba. It accommodates thousands of Cuban refugees. Due to this immigration, Miami gradually became one of the major economic centers of Latin America. During the Missile crisis of 1962, the region could be directly threatened by Soviet nuclear missiles. As part of the competition with the USSR and because of its geographical location, Florida hosts the Patrick Air Force base and the launch base of Cape Canaveral (NASA).

My dear Volusia County stretches between the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean. Volusia County was named after its largest community, Volusia, when the Florida legislature created it by dividing Orange County on December 29, 1854. The county is geographically divided into East Volusia,  also known as the Greater Daytona Beach Area, or the Halifax Area;  Southeast Volusia,  also known as the Greater New Smyrna Beach Area, and  West Volusia,  also called Saint John’s River Country (named for the Saint John’s River which lies nearby),  Adjacent counties are on the north ,Flagler , on the south Brevard, also south is Orange, and southwest is Seminole, west is Lake ,and northwest is Marion and Putnam counties. Interstate 95 is the main south-to-north interstate highway along the east coast of the state (an up to Canada)  as well as in Volusia County it has eight interchanges  or exits, three of them in Daytona BeachInterstate I-4 is the main west-to-east interstate highway through Central Florida (going from DB to Orlando to Tampa), however it also serves as the westernmost interstate highway in the county. It has  seven interchanges and becomes State Road 400 east of I-95. US 1.is the main local road through eastern Volusia County, running south to north. This one is more city central and slower traffic. US 17  is the main local road through western Volusia County, running south to north. US 92 (can go to Deland and Orlando)  west-to-east route shares a concurrency with US 17 further south in Polk County until branching off onto the International Speedway Boulevard in DB. Florida A1A.is the scenic coastal alternate route to US 1, which also includes some county road spurs and extensions. It goes parallel to the Atlantic Ocean.  SR 40, a west-to-east road in northern Volusia County enters the county from the Astor Bridge over the St. Johns River and heads east towards Ormond Beach or towards Ocala and west Florida on the other direction.

coming-out-married-in-daytona-beach-civil-court-dec-1990

My glorious little town of Ormond by the Sea boundaries include the Volusia/Flagler county line on the north, the city of Ormond Beach on the south, the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Halifax River on the west. The area has traditionally been called the North Peninsula, although other nicknames such as OBC or OBTS are sometimes used.  My oldest boy was born in Halifax Hospital in nearby Daytona Beach. There are two principal roads, State Road A1A (also known as Ocean Shore Boulevard), which runs along the Atlantic Ocean, and John Anderson Drive, which runs along the Halifax River. A bit of history I like . The Timucuan Indians, who in the 16C occupied a large village called Nocoroco, located at the site of Tomoka State Park. Another nice area which I used a lot is the North Peninsula State Park, comprising approximately 800 acres (3.2 km2) along the A1A Atlantic Ocean road facing the sea! This is where I lived most. The wonderful  Bicentennial park facing the ocean we love , and then some more later on, The city we live is not a city but an incorporated area of the county of Volusia, however, our services and leisure activities like the park most were done out of the city of Ormond Beach.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

daytona-beach-halifax-hospital

And we came south to the newly name Miami Dade County . The old Dade County was created on January 18, 1836, under the Territorial Act of the United States. The county was named after Major Francis L. Dade, a soldier killed in 1835 in the Second Seminole War, at what has since been named the Dade Battlefield. On November 13, 1997, voters changed the name of the county from Dade to Miami-Dade  to acknowledge the international name recognition of Miami. Adjacent counties are north, Broward, southwest Monroe, and northwest Collier. It has great wonderful National Park Service such as the Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park, and Everglades National Park.  Miami International Airport, located in an unincorporated area in the county, serves as the primary international airport of the Miami Area. One of the busiest international airports in the world , Miami-Dade County has 10 major expressways such as  I-75,(to go home!) ,  I-95, I-195 / SR 112,  I-395 / SR 836,  US 1,  US 27,  US 41,  US 441, and  SR A1A(ocean).

key-biscayne-bill-boggs-beach-cafeteria-faro-aug09

Our first foot on Dade County or later Miam-Dade county was North Miami, The city lies on Biscayne Bay.  Originally the town of “Arch Creek”, the area was incorporated as the “Town of Miami Shores”, which was renamed the “Town of North Miami” in 1931. It was reincorporated as a city in 1953. The city is also home to the Oleta River State Park, which is the state’s largest urban park. The park contains one of the largest concentrations of Australian pine trees found in a Florida state park. The Arch Creek Park  opened in 1982. Today, Arch Creek is an 8-acre (32,000 m2) site at the junction of N.E. 135th Street (right where our apt was!!!) and Biscayne Boulevard, and offers many opportunities for botanical, historical and archaeological study. It has a museum/nature center modeled after an early Florida pioneer home, displaying Indian artifacts dug from the grounds, and live animals from the nearby hammock. Remains of the original coontie mill are still visible across the creek, and the park exists as the only preserved archaeological site in the County.

And memorable close Hialeah ,the sixth-largest city in Florida and is the only place in the county, other than Homestead, Florida, to have its own street grid numbered separately from the rest of the county (which is otherwise based on Miami Avenue at Flagler Street in downtown Miami, the county seat).  Hialeah has the highest percentage of Hispanic population in the USA with almost 98% . My twin boys were born in Hialeah Hospital! The city’s name is most commonly attributed to Muskogee origin, “Haiyakpo” (prairie) and “hili” (pretty) combining in “Hialeah” to mean “pretty prairie”. Alternatively, the word is of Seminole origin meaning “Upland Prairie”. The city is located upon a large prairie between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Broward County Its county seat is Fort Lauderdale. It was founded on April 30, 1915. It was intended to be named Everglades County, but then-Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Ion Farris amended the bill that established the county to be named in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, Governor of Florida from 1905 to 1909. In 1915, Palm Beach County and Dade County contributed nearly equal portions of land to create Broward County.  Adjacent counties are north Palm Beach, south Miami Dade, west Collier, and northwest Hendry. The Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport serves as the primary airport of the Broward County area. The airport is bounded by the cities Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Dania Beach;  three miles (5 km) southwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale  and 21 miles (34 km) north of Miami. The airport is near cruise line terminals at Port Everglades and is popular among tourists bound for the Caribbean. Te major roads passing by it are the Interstate 95, I-75 ,I-595 (Port Everglades Expressway), Florida’s Turnpike (SR 91) Florida’s Turnpike Homestead Extension (SR 821) ,and Toll State Road 869 (Sawgrass Expressway).

And our last foothold in the USA was Miramar in Broward county, and it was name after the city of Miramar in Havana, Cuba (also near where I was born). The city has adjacent towns such as Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, West Park ,and  Miami Gardens. To the extreme west you find the Everglades! Miramar (en. seaview) was founded by A.L. Mailman to serve as a “bedroom community” for nearby Miami and Fort Lauderdale. He bought the original property he was to develop from H.D. Perry, Sr. in 1953.  The city was incorporated on May 26, 1955 bordered by the following cities,Pembroke Pines to the northwest and north,Hollywood to the  northeast, east West Park, and south Hialeah, Hialeah Gardens, and a bit of Miami Lakes. My sons went to school here at Silver Lakes Elementary School, memorable last school in the USA and they fondly remember it as well as their teachers! We lived at Silver Lakes Division west of I-75 interstate road on Sapphire Bay sub division our last spot in the USA and very fondly remembered it.

miramar-silver-lakes-elem-school-last-for-kids-aug09

pedmar-front-of-our-home-in-florida-2003

There you go folks , now you got all you need on Florida,and heck even me lol !! We fondly remembered the Sunshine State, and love it. We made a decision to move to France and we do not regretted either as it has been a roller coaster of fun and memories. Now ,the French reason is gone, but we still very much attach to France thanks to her courage and determination. My Martine, never to be forgotten. For now hope you enjoy my Florida.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: