Tuesday, September 22, 2020

The Famous Tiny Houseboat

My husband and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary and were looking for a relaxing getaway. We also wanted to avoid air travel during the pandemic so I was thrilled to discover the Famous Tiny Houseboat on Airbnb just a two-hour drive away. 

It earned the name, "Famous Tiny Houseboat" when it was featured on the HGTV television show, Tiny House Hunters. 

We've stayed in a lot of weird and interesting places all over the world but this was our first time staying on a houseboat. I was extremely excited about this trip especially since we've gone so long without being able to travel due to the pandemic.

This adorable floating house is in the perfect location. Located in the Monroe Harbour Marina in Sanford, Florida, it's just a short two-block walk to Historic Downtown Sanford. I liked that it was in the center of everything but also in a very quiet location.

Historic Downtown Sanford is a quaint and charming little town packed with bars, restaurants, art galleries, vintage shops, and performing arts theaters. 

A free trolley will shuttle you up and down the cobblestone streets or you can rent a golf cart, bicycle, or scooter. 

If you're a sporty person like me, you can go for a run or a bike ride along the pedestrian-friendly Riverwalk Trail. If you feel like relaxing, you can take in the view of Lake Monroe while sitting on one of the Riverwalk's fun bench swings. 

We took advantage of our prime location and brought our stand-up paddleboards with us and explored about 3 miles of the 15-square mile Lake Monroe. If you want a day out on the lake that requires less physical activity, boat rentals are also available.

The houseboat exceeded my expectations. It was clean, spacious, and had everything we needed, including a kitchen with a full-sized refrigerator and a dishwasher.

Measuring 500-square feet, it was twice the size of the average hotel room. We lived in a cottage in Hawaii for two years that was the same size as the houseboat so it didn't feel tiny to us at all. 
 It was nicely decorated and the living room even had a record player and a fireplace. 

The house also had Wifi and a small workspace. 

Though I can't say I'd be too motivated to do much work with this gorgeous view.

Unlike most tiny houses, you could easily stand up in the upstairs sleeping loft.

It even had a walk-in closet that was large enough to fit seating so you could relax and read a book or watch the boats passing by outside the tiny window. 

 This houseboat experience was unique, relaxing, and really fun. I fell in love with the Famous Tiny Houseboat and the city of Sanford. I would definitely do it again and my only wish is that we could've stayed longer. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Oxbow Eco-Center

The Oxbow Eco-Center is an environmental learning center located in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. Situated on a 225-acre preserve on the North Fork of the St. Lucie River, the Eco-Center has a series of trails totaling about 3.5 miles. 

mosaic art
The center houses an Exhibit Hall and Discovery Room which are currently closed due to COVID-19. However, the hiking trails, butterfly gardens, and picnic areas are free and open to the public, offering a safe and healthy activity for the whole family.

frog sculpture made from tires
It was nice to be out in the fresh air surrounded by nature and art. The grounds are peppered with an eclectic mix of art installations and kid-friendly sculptures like this funky frog made from upcycled tires.

theater at the Oxbow Eco-Center
They also have a little outdoor theater for special events. My ukulele club was supposed to play in their Earth Day concert but unfortunately, it was canceled due to the stay at home order. On a positive note, there was a banner on the front of the building announcing that they will be open for summer camp.

hiking trail at the Oxbow Eco-Center
The South Florida Water Management District and St. Lucie County purchased the lands to preserve and sustain its native wildlife.

Trail head at the Oxbow-Eco Center
Boardwalks, bridges, trails, and observation towers have been built from either recycled or recyclable materials to allow visitors to fully experience nature without disrupting it.

Canoe Launch
You can launch your canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard from the canoe launch and paddle down the St. Lucie River.

Saint Lucie River
It has more species of fish than any other river in the state!

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
Along the Florida Heritage Trail, you will discover many delightful art installations.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
These folksy animal sculptures are made from wood.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
These endearing scenes made me feel like I was in an enchanted forest.
I couldn't get enough of them so I actually hiked this trail twice.   

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
The scenes are numbered but there was no interpretive signage and I couldn't find any information about them on the trail map.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
I can only assume that this trail normally offers a guided experience when the Eco-Center is open. The mystery of it all has made me even more intrigued.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail
I can't wait to go back to the Oxbow Eco-Center when it is fully operational again. I am curious to know more about this special place. I will add a Part 2 to this post with photos and information about the Exhibit Hall and Discovery Room when they re-open.

Oxbow Eco-Center Florida Heritage Trail

In the meantime, I hope you visit the Oxbow Eco-Center and enjoy it as much as I did!

"The Oxbow Eco-Center cultivates knowledge, nurtures a sense of wonder, and inspires stewardship for the natural world through education, artistic expression, collaboration, volunteerism, and celebration."

5400 NE St. James Drive
Port St. Lucie, FL 34983

Admission is free

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Fishing exhibit

Today is April 15th, 2020 and you don't need me to tell you that the world is in the midst of a global pandemic. Museums are closed and all non-essential travel has come to a stand-still which makes writing a blog about museums and travel a bit tricky. 

I can't travel or visit new museums right now but I can give you a sneak peek at the new fishing exhibit I've been working on for the Children's Museum of the Treasure Coast in Jensen Beach, Florida. 

This is a concept rendering I made for the new exhibit. Children will have the opportunity to explore inshore and offshore fishing while learning about fishing and boating regulations, boater safety, invasive species and much more.

I'm very excited to be working on this project and will keep sharing updates as things progress. In the meantime, stay home and stay safe! 

Monday, February 10, 2020

Mobile Museum!

This past weekend was the 33rd annual ArtsFest in Stuart, Florida. ArtsFest has been named one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society for 5 years in a row. 

"Chopped" Cooking competition

Located in Memorial Park in downtown Stuart, ArtsFest brings artists from all over the country representing the visual, culinary, and performing arts. 

This year was especially exciting because the Corning Museum of Glass brought a 46-foot-long, 50,000-pound Mobile Hot Shop to the festival for a glass blowing demonstration. This brilliant museum on wheels contains a fully-equipped glass studio! 

In one 30-minute presentation, we watched Team Leader, George Kennard create a unique piece of glass art from start to finish.

The studio is equipped with video cameras and two large television screens that allowed us to experience the process from all angles including a view from inside the furnace! 

Here George is working together with Glassblower, Katie Hubbs to sculpt the vessel while Helen Tegeler narrated each step of their process and answered questions from the audience.

 I held my breath during this final moment when they separated the vessel from the blowpipe. As someone notorious for breaking any and all glass objects that I come into contact with, I was utterly mystified by their skill. This stunning piece and all of the others they created throughout the day, were raffled off to some very lucky festival-goers.

This was an incredible and unique experience that was the highlight of this year's Arts Fest. The Mobile Hot Shop travels around the country to events and conferences so I truly hope you'll check it out if they come to your town.