“Getting there is half the fun!”
I’ve always put lots of credence in this old adage of travelers from ages past, and our recent journey from Sarasota to Ormond Beach proved just how true it remains.
Our wonderful couple of weeks at Sun Outdoors Resort in Sarasota had ended, and we were off to the last leg of our Florida winter vacation: The Cove on Ormond Beach, over on the Atlantic Coast, right up next to famous Daytona Beach. And as is our preference, we wanted to avoid any and all major highways and/or Interstates (I-75 & I-4) in getting over and up to Ormond. Besides, there were so many roads and towns and countryside we’d never passed by or through on previous trips, so what better reason than to wend our way through those places on this trip?
And so on this sun-splashed February Florida morning, we set out on a drive that Maps indicated would take about 4 hours. Not bad, since we couldn’t check in before the late afternoon, anyway.
Soon, we were northbound on nearby Lakewood Ranch Road, through one of the newer developments in the Sarasota/Bradenton area. So much of the previous cattle and horse country has been swallowed up into residential communities, and this is just one of the major ones.
Before long, we were on U.S. Highway 301 and continuing on past Ellenton, Sun City Center, and Riverview. A quick stop for coffee and a light breakfast “to go” and we were headed on toward the outskirts of Tampa, where we’d split off northeasterly toward Zephyrhills and hook up with Highway-471 north through country that I call “Old Florida.”
Clicking off the miles, we entered an unexpectedly delightful—arrow straight—stretch of road that took us through Colt Creek State Park and not far from Green Swamp Wilderness Preserve. Traffic was light, and all was right on this day!
Our drive up to a small town named Bevilles Corner passed quickly. There, we worked our way eastward on Route-27 to Leesburg and enjoyed the many lakes of all sizes. No wonder this part of Florida is such a popular area for sporting folks!
About 11 miles out of Leesburg, we connected with Highway-19 and rolled on through Umatilla and Altoona and joined State Highway-40 near the town of Astor a short time later. This, we soon figured out, was the “homestretch” of today’s trek.
We reached our destination within the hour, and The Cove on Ormond Beach was an easy find, after we crossed over the bridge on Granada Avenue with a welcoming view of the blue Atlantic beyond.
Our studio apartment on the 7th floor was perfect for the two of us, and our week sailed right on past, to say the least. Walking the beach, sitting by the pool, and eating at some wonderful restaurants were definitely highlights. One day we kept our Florida tradition alive by spending it up in St. Augustine, just an hour away.
Like every other part of our Florida vacation, time went way too quickly, yet we were both “ready” to get back home to Illinois, taking our wonderful moments and memories along to remember forever!
Sitting here on a cold and rainy and dreary afternoon in May, I realize that all of the places where we stayed and spent time on this trip were all terrific, but the getting there was still half the fun!
See you on the road…