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Fa-la-la-la-Florida

Florida is a great place to be in the winter – not a hint of snow in the forecast and lots of fresh Vitamin C and natural Vitamin D almost every day.

Yep, Florida is awesome in the winter and especially here at Avon Park AFR, in south central Florida where we are surrounded by lakes. Beautiful Lake Arbuckle is directly across from our Volunteer Village and there are several other large lakes nearby.

We have been able to check out some of the local area since we’ve been here. The two closest towns are Avon Park (10 miles) and Sebring (16 miles.)

Between us and the town of Avon Park there is a little place called Maxwell’s House of Fruit.

At Maxwell’s House of Fruit we tried orange juice samples and some delicious orange flavored soft serve ice cream. Maxwell’s has been around since the 1930s. They sell fruit, juice, jellies and just about anything citrus. Their front porch with the orange rocking chairs is a great place to slow down, relax and take time to smell the orange blossoms.

Sebring is a little bit larger than Avon Park and has lots of stores, restaurants and interesting things to do. It has its own beach and a large cement fishing pier behind the public library. Lake Jackson is located in Sebring and the town is built around a central town circle.

One of the shops on the town circle is Sebring Soda and Ice Cream Works. We spent some time there one afternoon and tried a chocolate milk shake and some cotton candy ice cream. They have a large selection of unique soda flavors; Lemon meringue, peach cobbler and many vintage soda flavors can be found there.

While exploring the local area we also made it to MacDill AFB in Tampa, about 2 hours Northwest of us. MacDill has a nice FamCamp and their own beach.

Temporary Lodging at MacDill AFB
MacDill AFB Beach – right beside their FamCamp

We were happy to meet up with one of Mark’s High School Classmates, Jamie. She, her husband and their friend met us at Bahama Breeze for dinner while we were in Tampa.

After spending the day in Tampa we headed toward Clearwater the next day. We had been told that Clearwater and Frenchy’s were “must sees.” There is more than one Frenchy’s and “the original” is a charming little diner near the beach. We tried the Grouper Sandwich and the Cuban Sandwich and then enjoyed a little walk along the beach. It was a little cool and windy but any day is a great day to be on the beach.

Beautiful Clearwater
The Original Frenchy’s in Clearwater

While in Tampa we discovered Cafe con Leche, or Cuban Coffee with milk. This is a new love and will definitely be something we seek out whenever possible.

Along with learning about the area, we are getting to know our co-workers. Every week the volunteers at Avon Park AFR get together to eat and spend time together. Here we are at Sonny’s Bar-B-Q in Sebring:

We all come from different states, different backgrounds and even different decades. Yes, we are the youngsters – and appreciate our wiser, more experienced new friends! It’s ok if we all have to speak a little louder to be heard sometimes.

One volunteer, Dee, does a great job organizing our volunteer social gatherings. We had a volunteer Christmas get-together that included a fun game of dirty Santa. Brenda, the Avon Park AFR Assistant Ranger, gifted us the Christmas pizza and we each brought our own drinks as usual.

We have been passing around our volunteer “elf on the shelf,” Sparkleberry McIcicle, this month. Each couple has been in charge of her for a few days and we post the mischief she gets into on the volunteer message group.

A lot of our friends from Moonshine Creek live in Florida. We were fortunate enough to be invited to dinner with John and Lorinda at their home in western Florida – only about an hour from us. It was good to see them and see that they are doing well. They fed us an amazing meal and we enjoyed visiting with them for a bit before heading back home to Avon Park AFR.

So to all our blog readers- Merry Christmas from Florida and a Happy New Year too. May your Christmas be full of love and light and may 2020 bring you lots of opportunities to serve others and love life.

God is good all the time and we are so thankful for the chance to see His creation in new and exciting places as we live in our RV. The Workamping phase of this adventure has been a good fit for us. Thank you for following our story, stay tuned for the 2020 chapter…