Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

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Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park-whew!

Friday April 11, 2013
White Springs, Florida



Friday April 11




We take our time about moving a whopping 30 miles from Suwannee River State Park to Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.  Boy is that a mouthful.  Hereafter known as SFFCC or Stephen Foster but not to be confused with the Stephen Foster State Park in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia the source of the Suwannee River and from whence the flooded river comes to us.




Of course Murphy shows up just as we are doing the last thing on our departure lists, checking the lights.  

It seems sometime in the past 4 days the brake lights have decided not to work.   We check fuses and bulbs, nada.  We are at the limit of our check out time so since our drive is only 30 miles, I follow Winnona in Ruby so her lack of tail lights won’t be a problem.  The long red light in the middle of the back of the RV works but the tail lights themselves do not.  Most of the drive is on I-10 and we arrive without incident. 


The park was created in the 1950’s to honor Stephen Foster who made the Suwannee River, which he had apparently never visited, famous with his song “Old Folks at Home (aka Way Down Upon the Suwannee River). The song is Florida’s state song since the 1930’s.  Of course like Virginia and Kentucky’s state songs it has some politically incorrect lyrics that have since been changed.
Foster was from Pittsburg.  He apparently only left the area once to travel to New Orleans although he lived some time in New York and died there.


The park has a real southern feel about it.

SFFCC is a lovely well groomed park with a very nice campground which has large sites, nicely separated by big mature trees and vegetation.  The sites are actually huge.  Our backyard is endless, forest as far as you can see.  I’m not sure we’ve ever stayed in a nicer more quiet and peaceful campground.  Can’t vouch for that on Festival week-ends.




Nearly every month the park has a festival of some sort.  Last week-end was the antique tractor & Engine show.  I guess that’s folk culture.   They also host a Primitive Arts Day in February, a Wild Azalea Festival in March, the Florida Folk Festival in May, have an Old Time Music Week-end in September, a Dulcimer Retreat in November, a Festival of Lights in December which  I imagine is really beautiful given the southern plantation feel of the park.  There is at least one festival every month, sometimes two.   We are here on a very quiet non festival week-end.  However there are several weddings.  Apparently SFFCC is a very popular place to get married.  I saw a wedding taking place at the Gazebo over looking the river, one in front of the Bell Tower, one behind the Museum.   There were two on Saturday and two on Sunday. 



Bell Tower2






After we setting up we set out to get the lay of the land.



As you can see from the map, the park has miles of trails most of them mountain biking and hiking trails.  The Florida trail comes through here as well.  More about that later.

In addition to the Bell  Tower and the Museum, there is a “Craft Square” with cute little houses in which artists demonstrate crafts such a rug making, quilting, spinning, weaving, blacksmithing, basket making. I enjoy seeing the herb garden in which the plants are quite small at this point.  Of course there is also a gift shop in which you can buy these goods.  Cousin Thelma Boltin’s Gift Shop actually.  I have no idea who Cousin Thelma was.  Don’t think she was Stephen’s Cousin though.  He was from Philadelphia.







The boat launch is closed of course. 


No kayaking again.  The river here is now over 70’.  Twenty feet above “normal”.  Like everything here, even the boat launch road and its closing gate are elegant.








The Florida Trail runs for 4 miles through the park. 

In the park, naturally enough, it is along the river and I don’t go very far before it goes right into the water and out the other side.  With the water so dark, it’s hard to see how deep it is and who knows how many more times there would be water crossings.  It looks like a lovely hike but I’ll have to pass on this one.  Maybe we’ll try some of the interior trails.  The nice thing about the Florida trail is you don’t have to worry about mountain bikers flying around a corner.  It’s hikers only.








We missed the Azalea festival in March but there are still some lovely flowers in the park.





It feels like a relaxing place in which to slow down and breathe.  A very Southern place.   And with temperatures predicted to be in the mid and upper 80’s, I think that’s just what we will do.


  1. We had a tour of the SFM that I still talk about today. Did you notice the portrait hanging? It's 53 square feet in diameter. Why did he glamorize slavery even though he grew up in Pennsylvania? It's because he used Ethiopian verbiage. And, may I point out the moving parts in the dioramas?

  2. Did Annie tell you my mom owns half of those falls you were looking for? Did you find them?

  3. Now that's a nice site. It looks like you can't even see your neighbors. Don't know if the present storm here is heading your way, but if it is forget 80 degrees.

  4. Oh, I just figured out that you're leaving tomorrow. Forget what I said about the storm.

  5. SFFCC is one of our favorite Florida State Parks. We hope to return one day and finally kayak the Suwannee!!! Enjoy your down time...you pick a great spot:o)

  6. A very nice place and even better without any festival activity. There sure is something special about peace and quiet.

    I guess you're getting pretty tired of washed out hikes. Too bad there is no way to send all that water to Texas. :c(

    Hope the brake light problem is quickly resolved. Murphy never sleeps. ;c)

  7. We accidentally came upon the SFFCC park last spring when we were looking for a place to put in our kayaks. It really does have a beautiful southern feeling. I love that there are spring flowers like azaleas in that part of Florida. Too bad about all the flooding. We had hoped to kayak near Homosassa Springs last week; the water there was probably too high also. I know you two will make the best of it regardless of the river conditions or the weather.

  8. Looks lovely and quiet. How nice.

  9. I like the looks of this park. Too bad your paddling is getting washed out!

  10. You have definitely covered quite a few Florida State Parks this year! Can't wait to see where to next :-).

  11. Did you put that photo of the fiber arts sign on the blog for me? You do know how to earn points! Why no photos of inside? Were they closed :-((

  12. Love this park...we spent several hours exploring a few years ago after spending the night at a quaint B & B in Folkston, GA and on our way to Flagler Beach, FL. It was a lovely day in very late December and we were about the only people in the park. Would love to go back as a RVer on day! Enjoy your warmth - we have a Freeze Warning for tonight. That's going to be painful after the perfect weekend we just had.

  13. Lovely indeed! All those festivals - definitely an active place. Unreal that the water is 20' above normal. That really does curtail activities greatly :( But, can't complain about pretty and relaxing :)

  14. You and David relax? I'll believe it when I see it!

    We love that park and have made reservations there on two different occasions, but have had to cancel for one reason or another. We have spent the day there though and it is a great park.

    Sorry the boat launch is closed. I guess it will force you to relax some.

  15. That site looks like you're just stopped in the middle of the road.

  16. We need to put this on our list of parks- we have blown by it many times but never stopped.

  17. Sounds like Mother Nature and Murphy may be teaming up to enforce some down time......will be interesting to see what you two got up to over the weekend! Looks like a lovely park with a nice variety of things to see and do.

  18. I thought the same thing Erin did on the photo of your site:)

    Boy, this area of the country sure has had enough rain. The pond on the golf course over flowed its bank on a corner. The only way to get to the green on the other side was get wet to your ankles or take your shoes and socks off (our way). After we were through I thought of a photo, darn! Now we are having another day of rain!

  19. hiss on Murphy … that boy is cloned!

    wow the flooding … we almost had one here! unbelievable .. the rain ~ we had flash flood warnings and let me tell you … if my yard flooded? we're all going to die because I am high up… Yates went to the little around the corner convenience store to get milk and he was afraid he had done water damage to his car the water was so high! what?

    I tell you this weather… AND then it went down to freezing with all the little bulbs getting their letting ready to bloom heads beat back down… oughta be a law

    Ohhh great pictures of the Azaleas.. sooooo pretty! We should be seeing those around here by now! but noooooo

    Beautiful Park, Sherry… I'm 99% sure I went there.. but my CRSing is really CRSing… these days...

  20. Looks, and sounds, like a lovely place. Too bad everything is in flood.

  21. Uh oh, we're going to be there on a weekend in October. I checked their Events page but only this month's events are listed. Guess we'll be surprised!


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