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

Henry David Thoreau

We Have Visitors!

Monday February 9, 2015
Koreshan State Historic Site
Estero, Florida





For those of you who know Mike and Terri Young and haven’t seen or heard from then in a LONG time, we can report that they are in fact alive and well.

We spent today with them visiting our respective campgrounds.  They met us at Koreshan where we took a rather mediocre tour I thought.   The guide is a local resident who only does Mondays so my advice is avoid Monday.  The other guide Mary, whose tour we only heard part of,  was much better.   Other information about and pictures of the park were in yesterday’s post if you missed it.

Along the tour, I catch a pair Peeping Toms looking in a Koreshan Member’s cabin. 


I also manage to get a shot of new potential members climbing the entrance steps to the community from the bamboo landing on the river. 




We cross the bridge to the sunken gardens which aren’t sunken anymore but have very interesting trees and a few exotic plants.








We are greeted by the oldest living resident of the community.   She says her right side is her best profile.






Because we are on a tour, we are able to go into the Planetary Court Home.  The Planetary Court House clearly the most elegant building on the grounds and was the home to the 7 women (the planetary court) who did the business of the Koreshan community and pretty much ran the Koreshan Unity as Dr. Teed traveled a great deal. They were called the Planetary Court by Dr. Teed for the 7 known planets at that time. He was the sun and his chosen right hand woman Victoria was the moon. You really do have to come and hear this story, it’s pretty amazing.   The good doctor’s portrait is hanging in the entry hall.


Dr. Cyrus Reed Teed (aka Koresh)


These seven Victorian Planetary sisters lived in the house with one man who was the brother of one of the women. He lived in the cupola. His job was to take care of repairs, firewood etc for the house and to act as the “business man” if people from the nearby community came to do business with the Koreshans. Local officials would not deal with women as decision makers. The Koreshan Unity was way ahead of their time in terms of equal rights for women.





I particularly enjoy the Victorian Bedrooms.
















Off of the porch which wraps around the entire house, wooden barrels for sisterns provide drinking water.




At the rear of the Planetary Court House is a large “sausage tree” (kigelia africana). Supposedly Edison’s garden is a source for these trees even to this day. Mike said he would love to have one of those in his yard until he got a closer look at the “sausage”.



The tour ended at the 5 building machine and tool area where the guys enjoyed seeing the generator which provided electricity to this community beginning in 1905 and the belt driven saws and drills still in use today.  




The pulleys are large but the generator is enormous.   They fire it up for the Ghost Walk and every Wednesday morning.  David is anxious to see this.  Too bad Mike won’t be here.






On our way back to the trail to the campground we stop at what David calls the picture frame tree.  Mike does a better job of taking one of us than I do of theirs.  Darn!





On the walk back to Winnona the river, they get a look at the bamboo.  





We have our picnic  lunch and then take the other trail back to the parking lot.





Terri mentioned earlier in the day that she had never seen a Zebra Swallowtail butterfly, Florida’s state butterfly.  On this section of the trail, there are several and after the first one we point out to her, she’s seeing them and pointing them out to us.

David finds some tangerines and gives everyone a taste.  They are the “little bit on the sour side ones” unfortunately.

It has been spitting rain all morning long but we manage to be inside, under palm frons or under Winnona’s awning for most of it.  The afternoon is looking clear so we drive up to W.P. Franklin where they treat us to a tour of the very nice volunteer campsites which come complete with their own banana tree. Koreshan is remiss in not having one of these.  Isn’t this flower just the most interesting thing ever?   Wish I were going to be around when those bananas ripen up.








The visitor center is a small two room building packed with extremely educational exhibits.  Some environmental educator/museum curator did a terrific job with this small space.

We get to see and compare animal scat from mammals that share the Okeechobee habitat.   There is also an exhibit on larger birds eggs.  Isn’t this osprey egg one of the most artistic things you’ve ever seen.   It looks like it was painted.





There is great  information on the invasive species in the area.  It too is well done.  They have pictures of plants, animals, snakes, spiders and under each picture it tells you whether this is a friend or a foe of this ecosystem.

We watch the informative film about the history and creation of the canals and locks.




We walk up and look at the lock.  There are no boats coming along so we don’t get watch the lock in action.   We can see the campground on the other side but we can’t walk across.  So Mike and Terri drive us over to see first hand this campground where reservations are impossible to get.  Thanks to them, we now know what we are missing.  There aren’t many trees or any foliage buffers but every site is on the water.  Now that’s sweet especially the site you were in Rick and Gail.  I neglected to get a picture of the lock or the campground and I had the camera on my shoulder.  SIGH!

We ended our day together at Steak N’ Shake were we had, of course, burgers and fries and milk shakes.  David skipped the milk shake and Mike had onion rings.  Wish I’d done that.  I’ll remember next time.   Most of you know David and I don’t eat out much and eat primarily a vegan diet but at least once a month we splurge on something that we really enjoy but know is not good for us.   This is our February treat.  And who better to share it with than Mike and Terri.   We’ll see how much it affects David’s lipid levels which will be tested on Wednesday morning.  HA!





It was great seeing you two and spending the day together.  It seemed to just fly by.  Hope it will be sooner next time that we can again attest that you are alive and living a wonderful life.


  1. Great shot of the tortoise! Looks like a beautiful spot.

  2. Love those kinds of tours through history as you obviously do too. Nice to run into old friends and share the good times.

  3. you could practically build a log cabin from some of that bamboo. . .wow!

  4. We have seen the "sausage" trees when we were in Namibia, they are pretty neat to see. I love that osprey egg, I never had any idea that they looked so pretty.


  5. Oh what fun! Mike and Terri are so fun to be around. Glad you were finally able to "visit" WP Franklin and in particular, site 10 :) It was a great 2 week stay. We could "almost" wave to Mike and Terri from there :)

    Now those milkshakes look almost as big as you and Terri! Did you finish them all???

  6. Nice to see that Mike and Terri are still alive and kicking! ;)

  7. Love the tour, the tortoise and that great looking milkshake!

  8. I think the "picture frame tree" would be my favorite part of the tour.

    I've always wondered what in the world would ever cause a woman to leave the "civilized" east and become a pioneer with all its hardships and deprivations. I think I'm beginning to see why - when woman were treated as not having a brain in their heads and unable to do anything -- to go to a place like Wyoming would have been heavenly for those who were seeking an equal chance, and a chance to be equal.

  9. The tortoise is such a character.

    I'm baffled by what that picture frame tree, as you put it, does to split its trunk in that fashion.

  10. Thanks for sharing the Mike and Terri sighting with us:o)) The four of you looked like you had a great day and love that February Treat!!!

  11. Looks like a very fun day with friends. That's a great picture of you guys in the "picture frame" tree, and the osprey egg is beautiful! Thanks for the tour of Koreshan -- we're definitely going to go there next winter. Hmmm --- I guess I'd better get busy and make reservations!

  12. Perhaps we should have more bloggers visit Mike & Terri so we know how they're doing :) What a fun day you four had! We love Steak & Shake as well. Their shakes are wonderful.

  13. Mike and Terri seem to be popping up in everyone's blog but ours. They are such social butterflies. Hope they get here to the COE soon so they can appear in our blog. :c)

    You really had a great day, great pix and interesting sights, as usual!

  14. I wonder if you noticed Sherry, but the date of this post is December 9, 2015. We missed the Koreshan while there as we focused more on the Edison-Ford estates which is also worth checking out. Thanks for taking us to this neat tour.
    You look so cute on the tree picture frame, well posed.
    We make the banana flower into a salad in the Philippines and it is delicious.

  15. What a fun day! That banana tree flower is unlike anything I've ever seen! Those milkshakes look delicious and big!! Sounds like a very informative museum. As for the house, I love the natural light and wood floors in the Victorian bedrooms.

  16. That Sausage Tree is rather...strange! What odd looking things hanging from it.

    Love the "picture frame" tree!! It does make the perfect frame.

    The zebra swallowtail is beautiful. What a great shot:)

    Love that interesting flower on the banana tree. Almost looks fake!

  17. Well now you've done it -- you blew our cover. Yes, we're alive and kicking. ;-)

    That was such a fun day! And it was a special treat to have you and David as our personal tour guides since you knew more than the Koreshan tour guide. Of course the grand finale was Steak 'n Shake, and yes Gail we drank every drop of those yummy shakes! :-)

  18. I find the Planetary Court fascinating - even the name is cool! It must have been a very interesting life for the "business man". Ms Tortoise has been around long enough to know which is her good side - great pic! Banana flowers and osprey eggs capture the rare creative beauty of mother nature, both new for me. Thanks for sharing a great day with good friends at two unique locations. I'm completely changing my opinion of Florida with every post :-))))

  19. Love that tortoise! Nice that you got to spend time with some friends- The sausage tree......look like turds to me. The flower on the banana tree is amazing! Keep having fun. It's spitting snow here. xxxooo

  20. Another fun filled day in what I see as paradise. Really liked the guy who did the tool shop tours - he knew all about how they did everything back in the old days and does repairs on the equipment too, mush of which still seems to be in working order! Great to visit with Mike & Terri too.


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