|Re-enactors bring history to life in the Spanish Quarters, St. Augustine, Florida. (Photo: VISIT FLORIDA)|
If you haven't completed your travel bucket list for 2013, you may want to add Florida to the list of destinations you plan to visit this year. The Sunshine State is celebrating the 500th anniversary of it's first tourist visit - the landing of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon (arrived in 1513).
The anniversary campaign - "Viva Florida 500" - will be showcasing the rich history of the state, it's native heritage and British, Spanish, African and Caribbean influences.
Florida bears its name from "La Florida" meaning land of flowers - it was so named by Ponce de Leon because of the beautiful flora of the land as well as the timing of the landing, around Easter time, called Pascua Florida (Festival of Flowers). The exact location of landing is unknown, but many believe it could be in St. Augustine, Ponce de Leon Inlet or near Melbourne Beach.
So much rich history! For those who has a passion for the past, a place like Florida is more than beaches and fun in the sun.
I've never been to Florida - my parents never took us to Disney World when we were little, nor did we vacation in the sunny south. As a kid, that would have been what attracted me to to visit, but now, as an adult, I'm more intrigued by the history, culture and food scene than anything else. Reading about the celebration activities, with their focus on the Spanish influences, makes me think I should add it to my travel bucket list and visit sooner than later.
A few of the many things to do according to Visit Florida:
- Explore the Spanish influences by driving the Spanish heritage trail.
- Dive to see historic shipwrecks.
- Tour the Colonial Spanish Quarter in St. Augustine.
- Visit Mission San Luis, a reconstruction of the mission whose inhabitants were native Apalachee and the Spanish missionaries (similar to Ontario's St. Marie-Among-the-Hurons in Midland, Ontario).
- Explore the various types of cuisine full of history: Pensacola’s celebrity chefs present history on a platter with foods and wines from the City of Five Flags, site of Florida’s first settlement attempt. St. Augustine’s Spanish Wine and Food Festival will raise a toast to Old Spain. The Miami Wine and Food Festival is an international draw.
The inspirational promotional video is short and sweet:
And if nothing else attracts you about Florida... think of the juicy, fresh oranges you can enjoy! Orange picking, anyone?
|(Photo: VISIT FLORIDA)|