Friday, April 27, 2012

Cruising the Back Roads of Florida

As I’ve mentioned several times previously, we just love cruising the back roads.  In addition to the USA, we’ve spent a lot of time in Canada and we’ve gotten off the beaten track in Scotland, Australia and New Zealand.  The good news is that the USA is so large that we will never run out of byways that we haven’t seen before! 

In this instance, we were slowly working our way north from Tampa/Clearwater toward the Georgia border…

Talk about ‘old’ Florida…  This may not look like a town…but it is!  Welcome to Yankeetown Florida.  Narrow streets, big old trees and Spanish moss, with homes sprinkled along the ‘main’ thoroughfare.  Yankeetown was founded in 1923 by a prominent politician and attorney from Indiana.   He bought 2,000 acres and began developing the area.  As of the 2010 census, there were 589 citizens in town.

Yankeetown is just upriver from the Gulf of Mexico.  Take US 19 to Inglis Florida, then turn west on Levy Country Road 40.

Yankeetown is situated on the banks of the Withlacoochee River.  In 1924, the town’s founder also built the Izaak Walton Lodge…an operation that is still in business.  It comes complete with a restaurant named Ike’s Old Florida Kitchen.  There must be some money in the area because the menu is a bit upscale…with items like Buffalo Ribeye Steaks, Quail and Ostrich Filet.  For more on the Lodge and Restaurant, go to 

Yankeetown is located just north of the infamous and discontinued Cross Florida Barge Canal.   The 600’ lock built nearby as a part of that project is now derelict.  If you were wondering how the town got its name, locals had derisively called it Yankeetown for many years.  In the 1920’s, the Florida Legislature described the place as a “Northern beachhead on the sacred shores of the south”…and they made the name permanent with an official charter.

 As we moved north along US 19, we came across this roadside railroad display.  This is old “Three-Spot”, a ca. 1915 2-8-0 locomotive used by the Patterson-McInnis Sawmill until around WWII.  It used to haul 30 – 40 car loads of logs to the mill on a regular basis.  In 1969, Patterson-McInnis donated this relic of days gone by to Levy County Florida.

Moving north from Cedar Key Florida, first up US 19 and then along US 129, we came to Trenton Florida and this nice looking old railroad depot.  The depot was built by the Atlantic Coast Railroad in 1906.  The track was abandoned by the Florida West Coast Railroad in 2004.  The Trenton Depot now serves as a trailhead for the 30+ mile Nature Coast Biking and Hiking Trail.  The Trenton Community Farmers Market also sets up shop here on a regular basis during the growing season. (Note: the train mural on the building wall behind the depot)

Between Cedar Key, (my next blog posting), and Yankeetown Florida, I'm convinced that this area of Florida deserves further exploration on our part.  Also, from what I have been able to learn, fishing is really excellent along the Gulf in this area of the state.  We’ll be back!
Just click on any photo to enlarge it…
Thanks for stopping by and sharing our back roads adventures with us!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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