Thursday, November 24, 2016

2016-35 Saint Cloud Florida, Settling in for the Winter Season


Campground:  Shelter Cove Condominium. 

hibiscus flowers, native to Hawaii
bloom year round in Florida 

Osceola County, Saint Cloud Florida

Oldest building in St Cloud, a former bank
it is now the Chamber of Commerce

In my last report I shared some information about the Rv community that I purchased an Rv lot in.  Today I’ll share a bit more information on the surrounding community of Saint Cloud Florida.

St Cloud was founded in 1909 as a retirement community for Civil War Union veterans.  They were offered five acre lots for $50.  It was common in Florida to name the streets in a town after states.  The north/south streets in St Cloud were initially named after states that supported the Union, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, etc. later, as the town grew, other states were added.

antique shops

tea rooms

two hotels, this one will become an
upscale condo

another historic hotel and shops

the City hall sits at the end of the main street

the Hunter Arms will be renovated soon

Osceola County which is just south of Orlando is 90% rural farm land consisting mainly of cattle ranches and orange groves.  The St Cloud area initially got it’s start as a sugar cane producer and processing area.  But quickly died off and the plantation was sold.  St Cloud was incorporated in 1911 and has expanded dramatically since then.  Doubling in size in the past 15 years.  The size of the city is controlled by voluntary annexation based on supply of water/sewer availability.  Much like most areas in Florida, if they can get water/sewer/electric service to an area, the town continues to grow with little or no development plans other than, if we build it, they will come.

less than a half mile south of my Rv complex

how cool to have zebras as neighbors

and of course cattle ranches as next door neighbros

St Cloud:  Population 43,316
Osceola County:  Population 310,211
Income level:  low; $20,00 per capita, $49,000 per household.

downtown St Cloud

Shelter Cove is about a mile east of town off of I-192 and another two miles NE on Nova Road.  The two mile drive on Nova road consists of a new housing community current under construction, a couple of large cattle ranches, scrubby marsh forests and finally the entrance to my community on the left and an older established community bordering a chain of 5 lakes on the right hand side.  If you continued on Nova Road for another 20 miles, you would see a smattering of houses but mainly cattle ranches surrounded by forests and pine hammocks with the occasional canal linking the numerous lakes and wetlands.

I drove over to the seaside town of Melbourne 43 miles east the other day.  It’s pretty much a straight shot along I-192 along a four lane divided road with grassy median between.  Passing mile after mile of flat grassy planes dotted with long leaf pines and cabbage palms.  Cattle ranches and the St John’s river flowing north to Jacksonville.

A quick drive at 65 to 70 mph until one hit’s the town of Melbourne proper with traffic lights every other block, slowing traffic to a crawl.  The old part of town is a very active shopping/eating destination.  One I didn’t get a chance to explore near the noon day hour as every parking spot was filled along the 8-10 block stretch.  The beach side is divided from the town proper by an inter coastal waterway with bridges leading to the resort side with it’s miles of sandy beaches and the Atlantic Ocean.  A university, aerospace industry manufacturing buildings and an international airport take up large chunks of land in town.

Back in my neighborhood, the short drive along Pine Grove Rd heading towards my nieces house, I pass by a gentrified ranch along Lake Lizzie with separate paddocks for Brahma bulls and a heard of zebras.  All with views of the lake.  Expensive real-estate for some very contented animals.  White egrets, blue herons and tall sand hill cranes with their red patched heads can be seen along the roadside water ditches and lake side.  Driving through St Cloud the other day, a pair of sand hill cranes sauntered slowly across 4 lanes of traffic, stopping all traffic including a police car with flashing lights and sirens blaring in a hurry to get somewhere.  Needless to say the cranes took their time walking across the road.  They are a protected species and they know it.

I’ve attended two events in town.  The first is a monthly get together of bluegrass musicians providing free entertainment for a group of perhaps 20+ listeners.  It takes place at Peghorn Nature Park in one of their buildings recreating an historical farm community.  The musicians were a bit rusty in the onset of their playing, but quickly meshed together and provided some great bluegrass music.

Peghorn Nature Park

and yes bananas can grow in central florida

Peghorn Nature Park

a fun day listening to bluegrass music

the youngest member, played numerous instruments

The other event held at the St Cloud Civic Center was a Thanksgiving celebration and thank-you to the community.  Held a week before Thanksgiving, it was a great way to enjoy a “free” meal with locals from the community, meet the new major and a few council members.  A free raffle was held with numerous gifts given out, but I didn’t win anything.

Thanksgiving Dinner at the Civic Center

Many other events are held at the Civic Center and the next one I’ve got on my schedule is a free movie.

I described the drive east on I-192 heading to Melbourne earlier in this article.  Heading west thru Saint Cloud along I-192, traffic is busy through town but one is able to catch mostly green lights on a good day.  Once you are out of St Cloud, entering Kissimmee, you can forget about actually moving anywhere quickly.  With added traffic congestion and numerous traffic lights to stop your progress you are now in the midst of tourist haven.  Jam packed with all those tacky touristy gift shops, restaurants, hotels/motels and finally all of the Disney Worlds, Sea Worlds, gator world etc.  Not for the faint of heart or any sane person.   There are a few back roads, but at this point I’m not willing to share them with you the reader.  Preferring to keep those back roads as congestion free as possible for now anyway.

St Clouds two screen Theatre

along 10th street

the two screen theater

Living just 15 minutes from downtown St Cloud is a major plus.  It may be a small town as far as the historic part goes, but it has some great advantages.  Like the two screen movie theatre that plays current movies.  I went there the other day to see “Fantastic Creatures and where to find them”.  The movie has only been out a few days and anywhere else would have been super crowded.  Here in St Cloud, it was a small crowd and only $6 for seniors.  By the way, I loved the movie.

Happy Thanksgiving from St Cloud Florida.


Bluegrass Music and pics from around Shelter Cove

Saint Cloud Florida

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