Early Christmas Shopping

IMG_3576For over thirty years I’ve driven past the corner of SR 40 and Railroad Avenue in Barberville gawking at the metal works at the Handmade Pottery stand, but last weekend we stopped and shortly after entering under the legs of a 30 foot tall giraffe, I realized this may be the perfect place to purchase Christmas gifts.

The fist item to catch my eye as a potential Christmas gift was a knight for Meghan and Jon, UCF alum.

IMG_3549Then the Jeep sign jumped out…perfect for Sarah and Daniel, since they’ve been Jeep shopping.

IMG_3554As I turned the corner, I  found great furniture for Emily and Brian for their back porch.

IMG_3556And since John’s been asking for a goat, I’ve found just what he needs.

IMG_3568A lighthouse for Carol and Dan since they got married at Ponce Inlet, a dragon for Dad, the Silver Creek Dragon, a heron for mom, the bird watcher, a giant chicken for Jeff and Carole…just because it would be such a statement piece in their front yard. And if anyone’s looking for a gift for me, there’s a nice turtle!

My only problem…these items are pretty pricey! But, I’ve got another eight months to save up.

Skunk Ape Research Headquarters: A Florida Roadside Attraction

Last May I wrote about some of the unusual roadside attractions like The Grave of Flipper and the Airstream Ranch in Dover. Well, I’m proud (maybe I should say embarrassed) to say that we stopped by the Skunk Ape Research Center in Ochopee while traveling across Tamiami Trail last month.


This spot may take the prize as the worst attraction in the state. Thankfully, admission is not charged to enter the research center, and we decided not to part with $10 to pay for admission to the “research center’s” reptile and bird exhibit, located behind a black curtain in the back of gift shop.


The Headquarters are located in Ochopee next to the Trail Lakes Campground operated by the Shealy brothers who have been tracking the Skunk Ape in the Everglades for decades. Proof of their success can be seen or purchased in the form of books, postcards, and pictures. Of course, the gift shop offers items including T-shirts, key chains, caps, and skunk ape field guides for sale; but we somehow managed to leave empty-handed.

Less than a mile east of the Skunk Ape Research Center, we made a second stop at another of Florida’s weird roadside attractions…the Ochopee Post Office, a tiny shed, that’s officially recognized as the smallest post office in the U.S. Imagine…two attractions in Ochopee!