On the Road Again!!! A Geocaching Road Trip Along the Florida Panhandle: Part 4, Tallahassee

Getting Back to Normal

Sunday, May 2, 2021

It was around 1200 AD when the Mississippian Culture of indigenous people built the earthwork mounds near what is now Lake Jackson.  Those mounds have survived and today they are preserved in the Lake Jackson Archaeological State Park of Tallahassee.  Now the fact is, even though humans have for centuries found this area an attractive place to live and work, that is not the reason Tallahassee was selected as the state capital.  Nope, there is a story behind that decision. 

In accordance with the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819, Florida became an American Territory in 1821.  The first session of the Legislative council of the Territory of Florida met in Pensacola, the former capital of West Florida, on July 22, 1822.  Council members from the former East Florida capital, St. Augustine, spent weeks traveling by water to attend the session.  Well naturally, the next session was held in St. Augustine—fair is fair!!!  It took the western delegation 28 days to travel around the peninsula to get there!!!  Immediately, two commissioners were appointed to find a convenient location for future meetings!!!  Easy-peasy, they chose Tallahassee, the halfway point—a capital was born!!!

In 1824, that first territorial government session held in Tallahassee was in a log cabin!!!  When Florida achieved statehood on March 3, 1845, the newly constructed capitol building was ready.  And then, on March 31, 1978, a new capitol complex was dedicated and the juxtaposition of the “old and new” became an intriguing visual!!!  But that’s not all that is interesting about Florida’s capital city.  From the state’s inception in 1845, the governors would come to Tallahassee from their home cities and stay in hotels or boardinghouses for the duration of their terms.  Finally, in 1907, a 14-room Governor’s Mansion was built!!!  By 1956, a new official residence was built.  The 30-room mansion was designed by Marion Sims Wyeth, a famous Palm Beach architect who also designed Mar-a-Lago.  Here are some photos:

This is one of the 6 (of 7 known) mounds at Lake Jackson just outside Tallahassee. Such mounds are not common. They seem to be ceremonial and unique to the Native American tribes of the Southeast. (Ebyabe, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0)
The positioning of “old and new” is eye-catching as you approach the State Capitol in Tallahassee.
The old State Capitol now houses a museum along with state offices. The new is a bustling complex of offices and departments. (DXR,Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International )
The old capitol is a charming Greek Revival style building.
Because Florida did not provide the governor with an official residence until 1907, the early state leaders found their own living quarters. Gov. William Bloxham, a wealthy plantation owner, chose to build a town house for use during his two terms.
In 1979, a dedicated preservationist purchased and restored the property.
Finally, in 1907, a Governor’s Mansion was built in Tallahassee!! This is the new and current Governor’s Mansion, built in 1956 and last remodeled in 2007. (Tim Ross , Public domain)
Tallahassee is a charming city with lovely neighborhoods. Doesn’t this particular view remind you of Philadelphia!!!(Urbantallahassee, CC BY-SA 3.0)
This is a neighborhood built around an old fortification of the civil war era.
The area is lovely.
And today, it is a tranquil park, surrounded by charming homes, in the middle of the city.

So, what about the geocaching???

Well, yes, we did a little geocaching in Tallahassee!!!  We spent quite a bit of time at Railroad Square.  This is an arts, culture, and entertainment district near the Amtrak station.  Situated on the site of the former McDonnell Lumber Company, the old warehouses are now home to artists’ studios and interesting shops, as well as cafés and eateries.  And you know we took some pictures:

Along the way from Apalachicola to Tallahassee, we came upon the world’s smallest police station in the city of Carrabelle, Fl. Yes, there is a cute story behind this. And we found the tiny geocache container without difficulty!!!
Because the public was using the police call box to make free long-distance calls, a retired phone booth was converted on March 10, 1963 as the Carrabelle Police Station. Problem solved!!!
In Downtown Tallahassee, the GPS co-ordinates brought us to this site near another police compound. Can you spot the anomaly that indicates a geocache???
This is a common cache. The container holds trinkets, usually traded by kids, along with the sign-in log to record the successful “find.” This particular site brought us to the Capitol Complex.
A log sheet and pen with trinkets for the kids are commonly found in this size cache..
This is a magnetic micro cache.
Big enough to hold a log sheet.
Small enough to be a challenge to find.
And then there’s Railroad Square.
Located at the site of the former McDonnell Lumber Company, these 1940 warehouses are now home to cafes, art galleries, studios, shops, and even a microbrewery.
The old siding tracks are still visible.
An old caboose has been converted to a café.
Many buildings are now artists’ studios or galleries.
We found several caches in Railroad Square, but this was the most clever, unique, and entertaining cache we had come upon–ever!!! And, no, I won’t show you any more of this cache. It has to be found and experienced. Kudos to the creator!!!

And what did we learn on our first road trip in over a year?!?

First and foremost, it is absolutely, positively, wonderful to be traveling again!!!  Ok, it was only a road trip; we didn’t go to foreign or exotic locales; we didn’t fly, or cruise.  But we did leave home.  We stayed in hotels and ate in restaurants, had seafood and drinks in bars; conversed with the locals.  We visited local attractions; and shopped in boutiques and stores both large and small, crowded and access controlled.  We wore our masks; socially distanced.  We are fully vaccinated.  But we noticed that others were still leery if we did not display precautions.  Sometimes, we rode in elevators with only our own group (complying with the guidelines of the management); sometimes, that was not an issue, depending on where we were!!!  Some stores required we ring a bell for entry as a means of controlling occupancy.  More often, we made our own decision as to whether we wanted to join a crowd or not.  In the resorts, maid service was limited to pre-arrival cleaning, sanitizing, and stockpiling of necessities like towels and toiletries.  We made our own beds, cleaned up the kitchen, ran the washing machine, dryer and dishwasher.  In hotel rooms, there was no maid service once we checked in—towels were a problem at the Coombs Inn in Apalachicola—we had to visit the main desk to swap out towels every morning because they did not have enough to stockpile.  Not a problem at the Wyndham in Tallahassee where the towels were stockpiled–ah but, the coffee pot had been removed due to Covid!!! Then we noticed the shower curtain needed duct tape to stay in place because maintenance had obviously been deferred during Covid.  And, naturally, we made our own bed there too.  

The restaurants all had staffing issues:  not enough servers; hiring signs were in evidence everywhere and even chefs were desperately needed.  We often waited to be seated and then waited some more for the food!!!  But, hey, cocktails or wine were prepared and delivered swiftly!!!  Priorities!!!  Florida no longer has a distancing rule, but we were often socially distanced from others just by virtue of the table we were led to!!!  Often, we were left to choose our own table.  Of course, we did run into popular eateries with a full-house, and it was up to us to assess the venue and make our own decision whether we wanted to stay or come back at a less popular time.  So we accepted the personal responsibility and looked after our own safety!!!   

And the bottom line???

We just can’t wait to do this again!!!  We have already planned the next trip and look forward to doing much, much more!!!  Road trips!!!  Flights!!!  Cruises!!!  Oh yes, we are ready to travel.

Join us on the journeys!!!

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