SPRING COMES RIDING INTO MONTICELLO

Monticello Florida’s Annual Bike Fest

April 1, 2017.

This competition is routed around and through the unsurpassed beauty of rural Jefferson County, the heart of the Red Hills. Follow the curves of Gamble Road, surge along the Old Spanish Trail, idle past Lake Miccosuki or coast down the gentle slopes of Plantation Way.

Whether you ride for fun, feel a little competitive or are determined to win a trophy – this is it. You don’t want to miss the biggest happening scheduled for this Spring – APRIL  2017 — in North Florida.  

If you don’t compete, come and enjoy the race – watch cyclist curve along the round-about in front of our famous Historic Courthouse. Meet and congratulate race winners.

Wander along historic streets lined with amazing nineteenth century houses. Eat in great restaurants. Visit stores filled with a wonderful variety of furniture, antiques, collectibles and art.

Meet great people you will never forget. There’s nothing formal about it, just say you are enjoying the town and Monticello people will jump at the chance to talk about the hometown they love.

The Monticello Bike Fest is handled by the Monticello/Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce at info@monticellojeffersonfl.com or phone Katrina at 850-997-5552.

 

 

Is It Opinionnews or a Big Fat Lie

Is it Opinionnews or a Big Fat Lie?

Jefferson County Courthouse, Florida

Jefferson County Courthouse, Florida

There’s a new but insidious way of presenting “Facts” or “News” that is doing great damage in our society. The lead statement presented as a news story is true, then one or two words from that statement are artfully twisted and twisted again until it becomes unrecognizable – a lie. This is done so carefully and so well that the listener or viewer must be alert and watchful not to follow these twists and turns to be misled.

So called “Newscasters” on several television stations use this “opinionnews” constantly. Certain radio personalities have perfected the method and use it almost exclusively to make their opinion appear as real news. Each one of us must listen carefully and think hard as we follow these artful twists and turns so we will not be misled.

Recently opinionnews has crept into our daily newspaper. This story about Jefferson County Florida, presented on Feb. 21, 2017 in the Tallahassee Democrat on the front page above the fold, began in truth. The Jefferson County school system is a complete failure. This fact hurts our community in many ways. That does not mean however, as this story concludes, that we are a complete and dismal failure in every way.

Read carefully, and be aware that you are being led by this new opinionnews method to believe a lie in this piece. The City of Monticello and Jefferson County are not dying. We have several interesting and eclectic business districts. Downtown Monticello is thriving. We have businesses in all of our storefronts except one and that one is being remodeled for use. We have several outstanding restaurants and an active opera house.

Our town is full of beautiful historic buildings, some designed or restored by famous architects, others in the process of restoration with the help of Florida Historic Resources. We have great old houses, many large and elegant, but also streets lined with adorable cracker cottages, their porches shaded by big trees. People say hello to you on our streets.

People beside Opera House

People beside Opera House

Our City Council and County Commission are helping interested citizens improve our parking and infrastructure. Both governmental bodies support Monticello and Jefferson County’s progress. Our police force and fire fighters are hometown heroes.

Jefferson County’s natural environment is a pristine miracle in our modern world. You can really breathe here. The Aucilla and Wacissa River System, flatwoods, rolling red hills, deep forests and protected wetlands are precious to every Jefferson County citizen. Scientific studies are proving that Jefferson County is the home of the first settlers of North America.

On the Wacissa

On the Wacissa

We welcome visitors. Don’t be misled by opinionnews. Come and find out for yourself.

 

DUELS in Monticello Florida

Courthouse at EveningI’ve read of historic duels between several old families in Jefferson County. The stories always include the participants moving the actual event north about five miles to the “no-man’s’land” at the Florida-Georgia border. The story always further explains that the actual border had not been exactly pinned down at the time, so neither locale’s sheriff felt he had jurisdiction. Therefore the duelists did not worry that dueling had been declared illegal in both states. They were ready to fight!duel

It’s different now, in 2017 we still duel, oh yes, but we handle these contests in a legal way. Here are the rules: All antagonists must register with the Monticello/Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce. It’s located on West Washington Street. Then they must gather at the dueling grounds on the appointed day – that’s the Old Apron Factory on south Jefferson Street – (you’ll see a Simpson’s Nursery sign) Don’t pay any attention, it’s still the appointed LEGAL dueling grounds.

Most of the historical antagonists tried to keep their duels a secret according to Shofner, but nowadays every one of them blatantly advertises his fight. They ask people to come and watch! It really is a DO NOT MISS event for the whole area. We even invite people from north of the Georgia border.

Located - Pearl and Jefferson

Located – Pearl and Jefferson

All the duelists will congregate in the Old Apron Factory, South Hwy 19, Monticello, Florida on February 18 @ 5:00 pm11:00 pm United States + Google Map for the Monticello Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce  Chili Challenge,  2077 S. Jefferson (South Hwy 19), Monticello, FL Set-up 3pm to 4:30pm; Judging 4:30pm to 5pm; Open to the Public 5pm to 7pm –

BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY! Admission – Adults $8 (all you can eat) Children ages 5-12 $5; Ages 4 and under FREE! The Chaotics Dance 7:00PM to 10 PM – tickets $15.

 

Monticello Rotary Raffle Adventure

Tom Harmon guiding Paddle on WacissaMy friend Tom Harmon invited me to be his guest at a Rotary meeting. Well–knowing the food would be prepared by Mary Frances Dawdry, I said yes immediately because EVERYTHING she prepares is delicious. Besides that, the company at a Rotary meeting is always excellent and they invariably offer interesting speakers.

Another tradition at the Monticello Rotary meetings is a drawing. As their guest, I was asked to draw out a number. I scrambled the tickets around a little and grabbed one.  I didn’t have on my glasses (vanity) so I asked Tom to read out the numbers. He did and then checked my ticket for me and the numbers matched!

I won the prize! It was a canoe trip with Tom and Jeff Wilcox from the headwaters of the Wacissa to Goose Pasture.

The Wacissa is full of birds

This beautiful trip filled in a section of the Jefferson County Rivers I had never seen. I enjoyed the paddle to Blue Spring several times. Ed Green took me through the Slave Canal connecting to the Aucilla. David Ward treated me to a paddle on the north end of the Aucilla when it was in flood, entering at Snead’s Smokehouse landing.

With a larger group, David paddled so I could photograph a segment of the Aucilla from Lamont south to the site of a lost town called Cash Money. Back in 2010, Charlie Ward and Jack Carswell gave me a wonderful photographic tour of the lower Aucilla, Apalachee Bay and the Pinhook, entering the River at Mandalay in Taylor County. Someday I hope to photograph the section of the Aucilla referred to as the “Races.”

Another time I hiked the underground part of the Aucilla called the Aucilla Sinks. What are called “Sinks” are small and large windows into the underground river forming beautiful small ponds and lakes.  I look forward to seeing the “Races” and completing my photographic tour of the rivers.

Finding our way through the braided channels

TRAVELING BUTTERFLY IN MONTICELLO

 

After eating breakfast (vegetarian Quiche, of course) at Tupelo’s, talking to my friends for about an hour, I drove to the post office to pick up the Main Street mail. When I came back to my truck to drive home I found a butterfly resting against my windshield. Happy I had my camera with me, I shot several pictures of the apparently comfortable butterfly, put my camera away and started the engine.

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Traveling Butterfly

Fully expecting Mr. Butterfly to take off as soon as the engine started I was astonished and delighted to see he seemed to be content to stay where he was. I drove slowly across Jefferson and down Pearl to the corner beside Rancho Grande and eased along one block north on Cherry to turn right on High Street. The butterfly fluttered a little. I drove a slower yet, hardly moving. My pick-up barely rolling, I made it down High Street and turned into my driveway. Apparently Mr. Butterfly liked the quiet greenness of my yard and the overhanging branches of my orange trees.

He began to move around on the windshield as though checking out his new location, and with a couple of flaps of his wings flew off to disappear somewhere into the branches of my tall grapefruit tree leaving  me to hope he had found his home right there in my yard.

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Patriotic Butterflies

I haven’t seen Mr. Butterfly again, but a Monarch visited me although I don’t have any particular plants the books say that butterfly needs to thrive. I snapped several pictures and when I had one enlarged, he has hair (sort of red) and a scruffy little beard which I thought astonishing.

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Monarch

My sister, who lives in Virginia plants shrubs and flowers known to attract butterflies and it is possible to photograph several at once. I even shot a photo of two I call “Patriotic” butterflies. In all, I took more than 1,500 photos of butterflies that day.

Some of the best butterfly photographs and the easiest to obtain were the ones I shot during a trip to the “Butterfly House” at Calloway Gardens in Georgia. I was surprised to learn that some of them are not native to the United States. My favorite photograph is a native of the Great Britain.

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Monarch

Christmas Tour of Homes in Monticello, FL, 2016

CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES in MONTICELLO, FLORIDA

Pearl Street in Monticello

Pearl Street in Monticello Florida

The 2016 Christmas Tour of Homes in the City of Monticello in Jefferson County Florida is on Saturday, December 10, 2016 from 12:00 to 6:00 PM. This event includes a self-directed tour of nine (9) historic venues and is presented by the Monticello Area Historic Preservation Association.

The tour costs $15.00 and you can buy tickets in advance from Monticello/Jefferson Chamber and several other venues in the town of Monticello and Southern Friends Framing and Antiques in Thomasville.

The most fun however, will be to go to the Women’s Club building at 985 East Pearl Street (Monticello’s prettiest street). They not only have tickets for the tour, they have their famous holiday cakes and if you are hungry they also offer a light meal for sale. The sponsors of this event provide a phone number if you have questions – 850-997-6552.

This tour encompasses an area of Monticello that is often overlooked except by local residents. You will see several houses that are truly beautiful as well as interesting historically and culturally.

One other thing you should look for during the tour is the magnificent Monticello Avenue of Oaks. These wonderful trees are worth the tour alone. Ask someone to direct you when you visit the Women’s Club.

The tour sponsor, Monticello Area Historic Preservation Association, works with our Women’s Club, Monticello/Jefferson Chamber, Jefferson County Tourist Development Council and Main Street of Monticello to encourage the preservation of the treasured buildings in this tiny 1827 town.

Monticello’s tree lined streets are full of small and large historic homes, many dating from before the Civil War. They are an expression of the best of our culture and we welcome your visit.

JC #1 347

JC #1 248

Located - Pearl and Jefferson

Located – Pearl and Jefferson