Monday, August 7, 2017

A Little Drive to Lorida

Close to the middle of Florida, in land best suited for tough creatures, like gopher tortoises and Florida Crackers, is the town of Lorida, close to Lake Istokpoga. Yes, you read that right, Lorida, pronounced Lor-ee-da. Here's what Wikipedia says about why it's called that.

Along the way. Tropical Storm Emily dumped a LOT of water around here.
Lorida was first named Istokpoga, a Seminole name, but it was afterwards changed because the U.S. postal authorities refused to accept that name, there being another post office in the state with a similar name. It was then named after an abbreviated form of Florida.[1]
A post office was established under the name Istokpoga in 1924, and the name was changed to Lorida in 1937.[2]

Yes, that makes sense. Don't call it Istokpoga because it sounds like a post office nearby but call it Lorida. Why not just call it Florida, Florida? I have no idea. But I had to find out, that seemed crazy.

And that's why there is Google! A story about Lorida gives a lot better explanation. First it was called the Cow House Settlement. Then it was called Sunnyside. And then...

"By 1930 a train station had been established in the town as part of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad. The station bore the name “Lake Istokpoga.” To make things more confusing a station was established on the west side of the lake called “Istokpoga,” as part of the Atlantic Coast Line!

To distinguish between the two, they began to refer to them as “North Lake” and “South Lake” stations. However, it didn’t help much. Mail and other goods (which were brought in by train) kept ending up in the wrong place! The station (and community) needed a new name.

I don't know if this is really old or just looks that way but I like this wall mural.
A lot.
"At that time Mary Stokes ran the post office out of their family’s general store on Bay Street. Previously spending time in Cuba, she fell in love with the word origin of her home state. Florida comes from the original Spanish meaning “full of flowers,” having the pronunciation “Flow-ree-dah.”

With this as her inspiration, she opined that the town should be renamed Lorida (which is Florida, minus the “F”). Her suggestion was well received. The rail station took her cue and the postal service followed suit, officially changing its name in 1937." 
From Lorida, Florida: Origins of a Cracker Town

Now you know the rest of the story. And so do I.

Sorry, I don't know who to credit for this photo, but
except for being a bit more beat up,
that's pretty much what the sign looks like now.
Well, you don't drive around someplace and not find out about it, at least if you are driving with me. And my brother. To his plot of land out in the scrub brush of Lorida. 

We went to plant a couple of new plants, a pineapple and a dragon fruit cactus. He heads up there every couple of weeks or so to plant something new and see how the rain is taking care of whatever is in the ground already. Keeping the place mowed down in 100 degree weather can be challenging, but worthwhile, so that's what he does. This would be a quick trip, it was hot. Really hot. 

I planted the pineapple. Grow, pineapple! Be happy!
It was too hot to do much more, so we headed to the lake.
Still in a little bit of mental culture transfer, it was nice to get out of the lanes of traffic and have green and space around. Vultures soared, looking for clean up projects and I kept my eyes open for sand hill cranes, a bird I've come to love over the years. Spoiler alert: we saw some along the road, but no photos. This time.

This is a pretty well known bass lake and very pretty too.

We could hear the rumble before we saw the airboat.

With a friendly wave, he went on his way.
Just in case you want to practice saying Lake Istokpoga
We went to look at a home a friend of Jonny's is remodeling on another part of the lake, but I felt weird taking photos. All I can say is that the rooms are big, the porch is huge, the tubs are amazing (I think there were 5 or 6 bathrooms, I can't remember, but a lot of them!). It's an older home, and will feel like an older time in Florida when it's done, except for the modern kitchen with all sorts of fun toys in it. 

On the way down the long drive, we saw two deer, but I wasn't fast enough with my camera. After that I kept it in my lap, ready.

There is a cool mini farm just getting started nearby. This is their dragon fruit section

I didn't know that's how they grow. 

There are a few of these spaceship homes around's one of them!

This massive oak is near the beginning of one of the hiking trails
that can be found around the state.
Somehow, the idea of pushing through scrub on a super hot day didn't draw me.
But the tree was very nice. Too bad the trail isn't lined with its cousins.
Of course there has to be a local country store in the mix and there is, the aptly named Cracker Trail Country Store. A little of this, a little of that and you can get your deer and/or boar dressed out while you sit on the porch, sipping your sarsaparilla. I just made that up. About the sarsaparilla.

And then it was time to head back to the city. After picking up some smoked fish dip, smoked chicken salad and Royal Red Shrimp from the fish dip guy. He makes hot sauce too. And if you order clams or salmon, he's your guy around those parts. Captain Rusty's is the name, in case you're passing through. It's worth a stop and he'll throw in some crackers because waiting to taste the dip and salad is pretty much impossible. 

So long cows! 
Have a mellow Monday. Do something moooving.


  1. Oh boy oh boy!! It's that time again, MJ's TravelLog Blog. And away we go, off into the wild blue yonder!