Tampa Florida

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

Photography by Gary Wonning

Tampa is a city on Tampa Bay, along Florida’s Gulf Coast. A major business center, it’s also known for its museums and other cultural offerings. Busch Gardens is an African-themed amusement park with thrill rides and animal-viewing areas. The historic Ybor City neighborhood, developed by Cuban and Spanish cigar-factory workers at the turn of the 20th century, is a dining and nightlife destination.

The Tampa waterfront is beautiful in the evening.  The Hillsborough River runs through downtown with many restaurants, nightclubs, and hotels on either side.

Twilight in Tampa

With its perfect mix of historic architecture and modern landmarks, Cuban and Spanish culture-infused flavor, vibrant business districts and beautiful waterways, Tampa is a wonderful place to work, play and unwind.

Tampa Bay Front

Tampa is  a great city for all ages and tastes, offering hotel accommodations that fit any budget and catering to everyone from the families to outdoor adventure seekers to foodies and wine connoisseurs. Once known as a melting pot, Tampa remains a welcoming place for those seeking fun, opportunity and a chance to try new things.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

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Warm Mineral Springs The Fountain of Youth: North Port Florida

Photography by Gary Wonning

To see more beautiful photographs of Florida, please click on the photos below

The City of North Port is home to Warm Mineral Springs Park. The natural spring maintains 85 degrees year round and contains an estimated 51 minerals – one of the highest mineral content of any natural spring in the United States.

At Warm Mineral Springs Park, you will find a day full of relaxation. A variety of spa services are available to those who book in advance.

The Warm Mineral Springs is a water-filled sinkhole .  The primary water supply is a spring deep beneath the pool’s water surface. Warm Mineral Springs is the only warm water mineral spring in Florida. It is an important site, containing many American Indian remnants. It functioned as a small natural spa since the 1960s, and people traveled from all over the world to soak in the mineral-rich waters. The waters are believed to have extraordinary healing powers and some believe it was the fountain of youth sought by Ponce de Leon.

Warm Mineral Springs

In the late 1950s  scuba divers found artifacts and human bones from at least seven individuals in Warm Mineral Springs. A partially burned log found in association with some of the human bones was radiocarbon dated to about 10,000 years ago. If the bones were the same age as the log, then the bones are the oldest known evidence of human occupation in Florida. 

Warm Mineral springs, North Port Florida

One skull recovered from under sediment about 40 feet  under the present water level in the sinkhole contained organic matter. Hospital medical staff who examined the contents of the skull observed that it looked like a brain. 

Prehistoric man lived here

Warm Mineral Springs has been described as the “burial ground” for the prehistoric residential community at nearby Little Salt Spring.

It all began as a cave

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Lake Okeechobee Florida

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

Photography by Gary Wonning

For more beautiful photos of the Sunshine state, Pleas click on the photos below.

Lake Okeechobee , also known as Florida’s Inland Sea,is the largest freshwater lake in the state  of Florida, It is the  tenth largest natural freshwater lake in the United States and the second largest natural freshwater lake (the largest being Lake Michigan) contained entirely within the contiguous United States.

One of the old pumps used to pump water out of the lake

 

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

 

Punta Gorda Florida

 

 

 

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

Photography by Gary Wonning

To see more photos of Florida, please click on the photos below

The thriving little city of Punta Gorda enjoys a pleasant year-round climate, relaxed lifestyle, and many recreational opportunities. The friendly hospitality, year-round planned activities, shuffle board courts, great restaurants, golfing, fishing, and miles of sandy beaches make Punta Gorda an ideal vacation destination.

Ponce De Leon 

Located on the western edge of the City at 3400 Ponce de Leon Parkway, Ponce de Leon Park overlooks the vast expanse of Charlotte Harbor.  The parks amenities include a boat ramp, fishing piers, mangrove boardwalk, small playground, open air chapel area, and picnic pavilion.  The park also has a sandy beach area that is popular for watching the sunset and the boats cruising in and out of the channel into Punta Gorda Isles canal system.

The fishing pier near Ponce De Leon Park offers an opportunity to view Charlotte harbor from a different angle.

Located at 120 Laishley Court, Laishley Park is a pet friendly park that contains seventeen  acres with amenities that include a 400 foot fishing pier, parking facilities, interactive fountain, concert area & event lawn,  and walking paths.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

History of Bradenton Florida

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

Written and photographed by Gary Wonning

One of the best kept secrets of Bradenton is the memorial park dedicated to Hernando De Soto early explorer to Florida.

Located off Manatee avenue on the northwest corner of Bradenton, the park is a quiet refuge from the rigors of modern day life. 

 

Sunset on Anna Marie Island

Anna Marie Island offers a beautiful sunset and a view of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

Key West Florida: A World of it’s Own

photo of Siesta Key beach

A photo story of the sunshine state, Florida

Photography by Gary Wonning

For more beautiful photos of Florida, please click on the photos below.

Aside from the beauty of the Florida Keys, they have a unique history. Many have forgotten they actually tried to seceded form the union in the 80s. 

Back in the early ’80s, the U.S. Border Patrol set up shop at the top of Highway 1, roadblocking all traffic leaving the Keys and checking cars for illegal drugs and immigrants. This negatively impacted tourism to the area and locals felt it cast an ugly shadow on the free-spirited islands. They demanded this roadblock be removed, and when it wasn’t, they took matters into their own hands. Then-mayor Dennis Wardlow declared war on the U.S. by throwing up a Conch Republic flag in Key West’s Mallory Square and hitting a local Navy officer over the head with a loaf of stale Cuban bread. But within one minute of the tongue-in-cheek bread beating, he surrendered and demanded one billion dollars in foreign aid. While they never received the aid, the roadblocks were soon removed. Each year, Key West still celebrates the anniversary of the Conch Republic independence. What’s more, the Conch Republic adopted the motto, “We seceded where others failed.” 

 

Secession plaque

As you can imagine, the Keys are an important port city. However, you may not know that they used their southernmost positioning differently during the Civil War. Unlike other southern U.S. states, including Florida, Key West rebelled against the Confederacy and remained part of the Union. In fact, it was the only southern city to remain in Union hands during the Civil War. The heavy number of Union supporters at the military base of Fort Zachary Taylor were enough to extinguish any naysayers, and eventually, they held celebrations for the passing of the Emancipation Proclamation. 

Fort East Malatto

Robert Eugene Otto – or Gene, as his family called him – was just a young boy in the early 1900s when his family’s maid gave him a strange, straw-filled doll to play with. Gene loved his life-sized doll and brought it along everywhere, even naming it “Robert” after himself. It wasn’t long, however, before people began noticing signs of Robert the Doll’s evil and mischievous nature

As rumor has it, the Ottos and their servants would often hear Gene in his bedroom, having conversations with himself in two entirely different voices. Furthermore, the Ottos would wake up in the middle of the night to Gene’s screaming, only to find the frightened boy in bed, surrounded by overturned furniture. Gene would blame Robert the Doll for messing up the bedroom, while Robert would glare at Gene from the foot of the bed.

Soon after, mutilated toys and mysterious happenings would appear in the home, only to have Gene proclaim each time: “Robert did it!”. Though the Ottos didn’t quite believe Gene, it was reported that they could hear the eerie sound of Robert giggling around the house, and passersby even claimed to see a small doll moving from window to window. Robert was eventually moved to the attic, where he remained for a number of years.

Robert the Doll

Robert the Doll now lives at the Fort East Martello Museum in Key West, Florida, where some believe his hair color – and soul – are both slowly fading. Visitor beware, though, as Robert’s current favorite mischievous act involves casting curses on those who take his photo without first asking permission. To date, the walls near his glass case are covered in numerous letters from previous visitors and naysayers, begging for Robert’s forgiveness and asking him to remove any hex he has cast.

 

For a period in the 19th century, Key West was the country’s most prosperous city, per capita. During this time, the island collected their riches from the numerous shipwrecks off their coast.

During the time when fires were built on the coast to guide the ships away from the reefs, there were some unscrupulous entrepreneurs who would build the fires in the wrong places so the ships would crash on the reefs, thus creating a cash flow for the scoundrels. 

And while all the treasure may be gone, you can still snorkel and dive several of the shipwreck sights. There’s even a Florida Keys Shipwreck Trail, maintained by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Here, you’ll find nine historic underwater shipwrecks and artificial reefs extending from Key Largo to Key West.

Ship wreck Museum

The Florida Keys collectively make up a chain of more than 800 islands, though a road trip is fairly convenient thanks to a 113-mile, 42-bridge Overseas Highway that connects all the major Keys. There used to be an Overseas Railroad that connected all above-ground Keys, but it was destroyed by a powerful hurricane in 1935. 

Ship Wreck Museum

The Keys hold the title for the highest year-round average temperature. At a balmy 77.8-degree average, you can almost always count on packing a suitcase full of shorts and dresses. 

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.

 

The Beauty of Sarasota Florida

Photography by Gary Wonning

Located on the west coast of Florida, about an hour south of Tampa, Sarasota is a beautiful city. Aside from the white quartz crystal sandy beach, it has much beauty to offer. 

A view of the sunset behind sail boats and the John Ringling Bridge taken from Island Park near downtown Sarasota

 

The ever popular dolphin fountain in Island Park lit up by colorful lights at dusk.

 

A photographer taking advantage of the sunset behind Ringling Bridge.

 

Marina Jacks is  a popular restaurant/bar where you can have a sandwich or a complete meal. There are also lunch and dinner cruises available.

 

A view of downtown Sarasota from across Sarasota Bay.

 

The daylight version of the popular dolphin fountain.

Growing up on a dairy farm in southeastern Indiana, Gary traveled very little until midlife, when the opportunity became available to him.

Grabbing his camera and a bag full of equipment, he began his vision quest traveling to most areas of the United States and several countries abroad.

Along the way he collected several thousand photographs that he wants to share with everyone.

http://www.travelnsnap.com

Gary decided the best way to accomplish his goal was to publish photo documentaries on the various areas of the world he has visited.

What will follow will be several photography books, who knows how many will wind up in his collection.

To contact Gary:

journeysthrulife@gmail.com.

http://www.journeysthrulife.com.