We love getting off the interstate highways and taking the two-lane roads whenever we can. As I have said many times before, a Denny’s or a chain hotel at an interstate exit in Kansas is no different than one in Michigan or California. But the two-lane roads will take you to the real America. Small towns where you can sit in a diner on Main Street, where the waitress will call you honey or dear, and by the time you finish your lunch, you will know who is cheating on who, who just bought a new pickup truck, and who’s out of work. You will meet friendly people, see things you never imagined, and learn a lot about history in these small town gems scattered from border to border and coast to coast.
One of our favorite small towns is Inverness, Florida, located halfway between Interstate 75 and the Gulf Coast. With a population that hovers around 7,500 people, Inverness is a reminder of Old Florida, with its handsome 100 year old courthouse, quaint shops on the Square, and live oak trees draped with Spanish moss.
Located on the Tsala Apopka chain of lakes, which are popular with boaters and fisherman, Inverness and the surrounding area is laid back and friendly. A lot of snowbirds have found it to be a very affordable place to winter, and many who came for a one time visit have bought small homes or mobiles as their winter headquarters. While the community is small, it has everything you could want or need, from restaurants to a WalMart Supercenter, Lowes, a good hospital, and easy access to larger communities like Orlando and Tampa.
Built in 1912, the old Citrus County Courthouse is unique in that the building sits on a square lot at a 45 degree angle. Built in 1912, the building features a copper cupola topped with a belvedere, and if it looks familiar to you, it may be because the courtroom scenes from the 1961 Elvis Presley movie Follow That Dream were filmed there. The superstar and his entourage, including boat, RV, and Cadillac, spent six weeks in sleepy little Inverness.
Today County business takes place at a new courthouse a block away, and the old courthouse is the headquarters for the Citrus County Historical Society, which has an impressive local history collection. People here are proud of their history, and many of the old commercial buildings on the square have brass tablets that tell the history of the buildings and what businesses were housed there over the years.
We found an interesting little shop called Old Inverness Antiques tucked away in an alley behind the square and spent some time looking at all of the old treasures on display. Am I dating myself when I say that they had stuff for sale there that I remember using or having as a kid? Does that make me an antique, too?
It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with U.S. addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.
Thought For The Day – Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. – Benjamin Franklin