A capital adventure in Tallahassee

Tuesday, Mar 01, 2022 0

by Graham McKenzie

The capital of Florida is somewhere that you shouldn’t bypass if you are touring the sunshine state.

I last stayed in Tallahassee almost 25 years ago when I was invited to watch Florida State take on the might of Georgia Tech at College Football. Things have changed! Yes, a lot of the city is dedicated to government and education but out of that has sprung lots of discoveries, positive development and a few surprises along the way.

A relatively new area of development is Cascades Park where I was staying at the AC Marriott and was the original site for the Capitol. Originally Pensacola and St Augustine were the oldest and biggest settlements in Florida, but the elders thought that both were too far away from the centre.  Romantic legend would have it that both cities sent a man on horseback, and they ‘bumped into each other’ at the waterfall in Tallahassee and decided that this was as good a place as any to run the government.

From thereon Tallahassee has been the capital and nearby the waterfall was the site for the Capitol building. Today the area has been regenerated and cleaned up after many years of neglect.  A modern take on the waterfall now exists (Cascades) flowing into a lake which itself has hiking trails around it, an interactive fountain, restaurants, plus an amphitheatre where concerts are regularly held. The area also serves quite nicely as a drainage point for storm waters. It’s modern but  nice.

Further afield lies activities to keep amused such as golf. I played at the super friendly and none too challenging Southwood Golf Club which was designed by Fred Couples. I went zip wiring at the Tallahassee Museum which despite its name is a fifty-two-acre wildlife and adventure park with a café that sells one of the best BLT sandwiches known to man.

The supreme activity however which is a must-see wherever you are in your tour of Florida is a visit to the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs Park, part of the network of state parks. In short it is magnificent. It has one of the largest natural springs in the country which in turn is part of the famous Florida Aquifer system of water. Every day on average 200–300 million US gallons of freshwater emerges from the spring and gives rise to the River Wakulla. The water is around the 70f temperature all year round and in winter is enough to attract manatees which can be seen quite easily from the riverbank. These fertile conditions also attract alligators and a massive variety of birdlife.

You can hike for miles, cycle, observe or, like me, take a boat ride down the river. As I was early, and it was freezing cold I had the privilege of being solo on the boat but was guided by Tom the skipper. Meandering down the river with its overhanging trees, Spanish moss, eerie quiet and mist rising from the warm water in the winter’s air I was informed that in the past it had doubled up as a location for the filming of Tarzan and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Neither emerged from the undergrowth but the experience was Hollywood-like.  The park also has accommodation and had I allowed myself more time it would have been dedicated to Wakulla Springs.

Food is an important part of capital life and given the proximity to Georgia and Alabama much of the influence is Southern. Indeed, this could also be said of the way people ‘tork’. If somebody starts addressing you with ‘Bless your heart’ beware because they think you are as somewhat stupid.. Equally you may hear the occasional ‘DADGUMMIT’ which is as strong an expletive as you are likely to hear in polite company.

Getting back to food, another amazing discovery for me was boiled peanuts. How come I have never had these before?  Basically, they are what the British would call Monkey Nuts, boiled for several hours in salty water. Sounds awful but they are delicious. You bite through the exterior and as you do so you get that tang of saline, next you get through to the nut which has been softened to an al dente state but, and this bit is important, without the horrid brown skin that one normally has to spit out in cowboy fashion. Ideal with a few beers whilst watching sport.

I ate at two superb restaurants that made a feature of local, traditional and seasonal. It’s the new Floridian way of cooking. Both were purveyors of ‘mah tee fan pee-nuts’.  Table23 and Food Glorious Food are establishments I would highly recommend as you should make time in your touring schedule to Visit Tallahassee, capital of Florida.

Graham’s visit was organised by Visit Florida

Related News Stories :   Illinois launches Fall Colors Trip Planner     BTS showcase Seoul for tourists     Exploring New England fall foliage by train     Canada set to drop vaccine requirement at border     Japan to allow visa-free, independent tourists     UKHospitality hails National Insurance reverse  

Learn more about :   Visit Tallahassee ( United Kingdom )     Visit Tallahassee ( N. America )     Visit Florida ( United Kingdom )     Visit Florida ( N. America )     Visit Florida ( Asia Pecific )  


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