An earlier post, Gonna Take . . . referenced a train ride in the context of a popular 1940s song, Sentimental Journey.
However, this recent trip was a 🎂 gift (thanks again for the well wishes) from my ever-so-thoughtful husband who said this was a shared birthday trip.
That it coincided with a ham radio event was just coincidence, he explained with a smile. He wanted to attend HamCation®, the second largest ham radio show in the U.S. at the Central Florida Fairgrounds & Expo Park in Orlando, FL, Feb 7-9 and suggested a train ride.
Last spring, he posed a similar query which led to an extended road trip after we went to Xenia, OH for Hamvention®, the largest U.S. amateur ham radio gathering. Afterwards, we traveled a route that took us through GA, AL, FL, VA to visit family and friends. Last spring, he posed a similar query which led to an extended road trip after we went to Xenia, OH for Hamvention®, the largest U.S. amateur ham radio gathering. Afterwards, we traveled a route that took us through GA, AL, FL, VA to visit family and friends.
Our travels took us from NH to FL and included a bus ride and two train rides each way. The bus trip was the shortest from NH to Boston, MA, at just over an hour. In South Street Station, Boston, we boarded a train to Penn Station NYC which was about 3-1/2 hours. And, NYC to Orlando, FL, was an overnighter at just under 8 hours.
Train coach seating is far more generous than a plane coach seat. Seats recline and have footrests. We opted to sleep in ours vs. paying extra $ for a sleeper compartment. That decision was based on our desire to see if we could do it and how comfortable (or not) it would be — it was not.
Going to FL and seated in the middle of the coach car, we slept or rather catnapped. But, on the return trip, we were seated near the doors which were
Admittedly, my interest in ham radio is zero. But, if a road trip of any sort is involved, then I'm a very willing travel companion. I've attended some local ham radio events in New England and can always find ways to keep busy while Grenville is at these events. I had a slight cold before we left for FL, so lounging in our room or the hotel lobby was OK with me. I watched several online movies and read 2 books previously downloaded to my Kindle. It was very relaxing.
Temps hovered in the mid-70s during our visit, so I spent part of an afternoon at the historic Orlando Train Station, a short walk from our hotel. We'd arrived here a couple of days earlier, but didn't look around while awaiting a rental car pick-up.
The Mission Revival style station was built in 1926 by M. A. Griffith and W. T. Hadlow for the Atlantic Coast Line (ACL) Railroad at a cost of $500,000. At the station’s opening in January 1927, more than 6,000 visitors came to tour the new facility
The stucco-faced station includes two domed towers that flank the entrance and a long arcade. The Orlando sign that bears the city’s name was hand-designed by Griffith, the station’s architect, and is considered one of its finest features. In 1978, the station was designated a historic local landmark representing Orlando’s history, culture and heritage. In 1990, the city undertook a major building renovation and repaired the tile roof, twin domes and stucco surfaces and restored original light fixtures, wood doors and windows. Replacement fixtures, windows and doors were crafted to blend with their counterparts. A new coat of paint was added, based on historic color schemes.
It became part of the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad after the ACL merged with the Seaboard Air Line Railroad in 1967. It's now served by Amtrak, the U.S. national railroad passenger system, SunRail, the commuter rail service of Greater Orlando, and local and intercity buses. It provides service to over 160,000 passengers a year.
Despite near several Florida theme parks like Disney, Universal, Epcot, Sea World, we had no interest (or time) to visit any. And, you would be surprised at the number of people who asked if we did go to any. (Our interest level is zero for any of these attractions.)
Instead on our last full day in Orlando, we went to Lake Eola, a public park in the heart of Downtown Orlando, with a nearly 1 mile long sidewalk that circles the artificial lake. The lake is actually a sinkhole that's now famous for its fountain.
In 1883, wealthy Orlando resident and hotel owner Jacob Summerlin, the first City Council president, donated land around the lake on the condition that it be beautified and turned into a park with trees and a "driveway" put in around the lake. To ensure that the city followed through with these stipulations, Summerlin put reverter clauses in the contract allowing the family to take back the property if the city failed to maintain it.
His sons named it Lake Eola, after a lady they knew. The area was officially declared as a park in 1892 and has since been home to a zoo, horse race track, tennis courts, and pier with a dance area.
The fountain was installed in 1912 at a cost of $10,000. This now iconic water feature is an official symbol of Orlando and is named the Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain. Allen was a banker, traveler, veteran of both World Wars, and a prominent figure in Orlando's early days. He persuaded the city to put a fountain in Lake Eola. It was named the Centennial Fountain marking the city's 100th anniversary of its name. After Allen's 1965 death, the fountain was renamed in his honor.
Lightning struck the fountain in August 2009, rendering it inoperable. The city had a $1 million insurance policy and not only repaired the fountain, but installed a state-of-the-art light system and water jets at a $2.3 million cost. It resumed operation July 2011.
The fountain, while striking, isn't the only remarkable sight at Lake Eola. There are various forms of wildlife including ducks, swans (five different species), geese, curlew, cormorants, egrets, herons and turtles. Food can be purchased at vending machines for feeding the wildlife as most can't digest bread. The swan and turtle in the photos below intently watched each other for quite awhile.
It's not unusual to see the birds very close to the lake's shoreline where they often nest. This swan was building a nest during our visit. Another nest already had several eggs.
Cards are always displayed on the bookcases in our apartment home. It makes me smile to see them every day. Do you also display cards?
Even though my actual birthday has passed, it doesn't mean the celebration is over. After all, there are 364 days until the next one — So celebrate a birthday year 🎈