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Original Florida
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Original Florida
  Orlando Travel News ( Press Release )

Original Florida-Abundant ancient oaks decorated with lacy Spanish moss line the highways and byways, spreading an emerald welcome mat. Lazy rivers meander through the region, criss-crossing roadways as though in competition for the attention of passersby.
A countryside speckled with cracker homes and wildlife greets a brilliant morning sun, and small busy cities dance in the colors of a Florida sunset. Bubbling springs, verdant woodlands, and vast prairies dot the region often explored by hikers and cyclists, campers and birders, and divers and fishermen.
The Natural Route to an Original Vacation
Original Florida attracts those seeking a less traveled road. The region stretches from Lake City on north, southward to Gainesville, west to the Gulf of Mexico, and up to Tallahassee. This laid back destination speaks to the historian, the antique collector, the festival enthusiast and those who relish in the great outdoors, resplendent with rivers and springs.
Rich in historical sites and offering scores of museums, this area treasures the past. Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto traveled a route near Live Oak; Oloustee Battlefield resonates with reenactments of a nation's division; and restored depots and historic homes tell stories beyond the books.
Displays and demonstrations of folk crafts at both The Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park in White Springs, the Museum of Natural History in Tallahassee, and the Forest Capital Museum in Perry provide early Florida ambiance in a setting among magnificent live oaks. Private museum collections and those of three state universities bring unique cultural opportunities to the region.
Plantation homes such as the Wardlaw-Smith Mansion in Madison or the modest Cross Creek home of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (author of The Yearling) in Micanopy stand tribute to a time that marched more slowly. Rawlings' home is open year round.
Antique buffs won't want to miss the shops in downtown Micanopy and High Springs. And don't forget the red brick antique shops in Waldo, an old railroad town. Flea markets are fun fare throughout the region and festivals and gospel sings provide inexpensive diversions.
The true gem of Original Florida remains its natural side. Tubing on the Ichetucknee River, fishing the Ochlockonee River or Lake Lochloosa, diving in Branford or at Ginnie Springs-one of many in the area, and swimming with manatees just offshore in the Gulf of Mexico highlight the destination's real sparkle. Canoeing the Steinhatchee and the Santa Fe River or house boating the Suwannee present a pastoral view of Florida's natural north.
The Gulf coast shoreline, with hidden coves and bayous, offers up the scent of salt air and gentle sea breezes. Quaint fishing villages and sheltered waters are perfect for that catch-of-the-day...whether you're eating it in Keaton Beach or casting for it with that favorite plug. Some of the state's best scalloping can be found near Steinhatchee.
Manatees (also known as sea cows) play in offshore waters and area springs in winter months. Boaters must be especially careful not to injure these lumbering creatures whose numbers are dwindling each year.
State parks highlight nature's playgrounds. Crystal clear springs cool tired toes or whet appetites for a refreshing swim, streams gently guide canoes, and lush live scenery bounces to and fro with an energy felt in the air.
Wildlife abounds in the Apalachicola and Osceola National Forests. Cyclists and walkers can enjoy trails through shady hammocks of piney woods. Bird watching is ever popular-everywhere, and October brings the migration of the monarch butterfly to the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.
Another version of wild life invades both Tallahassee and Gainesville when football season welcomes fans from far and wide. The Original Florida is the home to the Florida State University Seminoles (Tallahassee) and the University of Florida Gators (Gainesville). Both cities offer family diversions that include art museums and science centers. Tallahassee's newest family attraction is the Challenger Learning Center-complete with IMAX movie presentations and a space simulator.
Live performances can also be seen daily in the fresh clean waterways, in fields and pastures, along wooded pathways, and under starlit skies.
For a front row seat, make your reservations now.
For area and accommodation information, call Original Florida at (386) 758-1367 or write: The Original Florida, Columbia County Welcome Center, PO Box 1847, Lake City, Florida 32056-1847. Visit us on the Internet at www.OriginalFlorida.org.

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