It was such a pretty day yesterday that I decided to walk my errands instead of drive them. Really there were just a few things I needed to do, the library, the pharmacy, lottery tickets and them the local outlet store. Easy Peasy. It's kind of a big circle. I walked past the library on the way to the pharmacy which is in Publix where I also got the lottery tickets and then stopped at the Beall's Outlet store which was in the direction of home. Nothin' to it. And even better, everything I bought fit into my purse which I can sling cross-bodied and then I was hands free. Nice!
As I pointed my toes toward home, about half way there, I caught sight of the Venice Avenue Bridge out of the corner of my eye which reminded me that I have long been meaning to check out something that is just off the east side of that bridge. I had nothing pressing on my agenda so, why not! Instead of going directly home, I took a little detour.
Up and over the bridge I went and came down the other side to the Venice Train station.
While it no longer serves as an actual train depot, it is still in use today but as a bus station instead. I like that. Re-purposing! They do give tours though I have not yet taken one but I know that the original train station was kind of the advent for the development of the town which was less than 100 years ago! Yes, Venice is a relatively young town but for a small town, it has a very big history!
One of the interesting parts of this charming, vintage building is it's connection to the Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey Circus. In the 1960's, the circus decided to winter right here in Venice so they would pack up their costumes, their equipment and their animals and the entire kit and caboodle would disembark a the Venice Train Depot. Then everyone and the animals would come up and over the bridge where the town's people would line the roads, cheering and welcoming them back "home" for the winter months. It stopped sometime in the 1990's but until that time, it must have been quite a sight! I'm sorry I missed it.
There is a statue of Gunther Gebel-Williams at the station to commemorate those days. It is my understanding that the historic society has acquired one of the old circus train cars and is working to reno it and at some point in the future, it too will be added to the train station grounds. I think it's a great idea!
There is a train car already on the grounds actually, just not a circus train. Still very cool. It's shiny and red and very pretty. I like that they have a theme going :)
There are also lovely gardens and big trees and grassy open areas with picnic tables, and benches and a playground and very nice clean bathrooms (always a plus in my book). I spent a bit of time walking around it all.
Of course the area is also an access point for both the Venetian Waterway Trail (Park) and the Legacy Trail. One heads South and the other, North.
Both trails are intended for both walking and biking but honestly, it's mostly biking. Lots and lots and lots of biking. Venice is a very bicycley place. Some bicyclers are very kind and just call out, "On your Left" so as to not startle you when they come zooming around you. Others very quietly nearly run you off the trail so I am very cautious about walking on either trail.
I have biked both however and they truly are great biking trails. By the way, I am the bicycler who not only tells people that I am on their left but I also usually slow down a bit when passing people just in case someone accidentally steps into my path. It happens. The Legacy trail I believe goes all the way to Sarasota. I haven't done that. In fact, it is unlikely that I ever will do that. Bike to Sarasota I mean. That's kind of a long haul on a bike and I'm pretty lazy.
I also checked out something new down there. It's the VABI Urban Forest " What's that", you ask?
Well to start with, the VABI is Venice Area Beautification Inc. This is the organization that goes around making sure that there are lovely flowers and pretty, healthy, green, growing things all over town. They are very dedicated to the prettification of Venice and I applaud them. The idea of the Urban Forest is to repurpose the old CSX Railroad Right of Way into a forested area for people to walk through, for birds and animals to shelter in and to further protect our environment! What a wonderful idea! It's only just been begun, but eventually it will fill about 34 acres. Awesome!
At that point, I guess I had been walking for about three hours so it was time to head home. What I didn't realize is that the wind was starting to pick up and the walk back to the island over the bridge was a lot breezier, which means unsteadier and when I stopped to take a picture of the water, I could feel the bridge swaying a bit beneath me. A little disconcerting. I confess that I was holding tightly on to the railing the entire trip back (except when taking these two photographs). I do kind of have a thing about heights but it's good for me to do things that make me uncomfortable. Wasn't it Eleanor Roosevelt who suggested that we should do something that frightens us every day? OK I'm covered for today.
At one point I looked off to my left and there was this very large bird sitting on top of the Seaboard Office Park sign and I swear to you he was laughing at me.
We have now lived in Venice for almost 3 years and I'm still discovering new things! I think that is just dandy :)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.