At least I got the blog into February before it was gone. Still trying to catch up to real time after my 2 weeks of weak internet.
Well Murphy has struck again. When I left Myakka River, my brake controller would not come on despite having charged it for 2 days. Something is wrong. I drive the 95 miles with no controller – very carefully.
I get to Koreshan safely. I get the car off, drive it to the site and find the neighbor’s guest has their car parked in my site. There are no “extra” parking places near the campground so I don’t know where they go but when I get back with Winnona, they are gone but the site is just simply too narrow for me. This is the major problem with Koreshan. Many sites are plenty long but they are SO narrow. The good side of that is they are cozy and lots of wildness between me and my neighbor.
Back I go to the ranger station to plead for something easier for me alone to get in to and they are able to provide a site just a few up from my original one. An available site in late January in south Florida – amazing – luck is really with me here. Murphy must have taken pity.
I try charging the Patriot over night again but no luck. It doesn’t even come on so the next day I talk to the Patriot folks about the brake controller and they email me a UPS paid label. For $110 they will “service it” and return it to me. Great, I guess. This thing is not small. I have no box. So I take it to a UPS store and pay $18 to have them pack, box and ship it. And I start waiting. Hope it’s back in 2 weeks so I can use it on a longer move to Kissimmee Prairie.
David and I have been to Koreshan several times. It is a unique park in that the land was once owned by The Koreshan Unity. Its leader was Cyrus Teed. I don’t want to go in to all their beliefs and life style here but if you are interested, here is a link to the post I did the first time we came in 2012. Google Cyrus Teed or Koreshan Unity as well. It’s all VERY interesting and amazing what people will believe. But then we all know that from the last few months don’t we.
Usually there are tours of the unity buildings but covid has put an end to that. Usually there is a wonderful farmer’s market on Saturdays inside the park but covid has put an end to that. Usually there are music programs and well just lots of things that aren’t happening here any more.
What’s left are many buildings, a couple of trails between the campground and the settlement as well as the original landing which was the only way to get to the community before US 41 was built. Now there is also a boat launch onto the Estero River. The trails are visible on the map above . This photo is of the start of the trail in the campground.
I walk the trail to and from the settlement every day. It’s a really lovely walk along the river. I’m standing in front of some of the extremely tall bamboo that the members included in their original gardens. You know what happens to bamboo. It’s all over Estero now.
How tall is this bamboo? Take a look here.
There are openings to the river all along the way.
This I thought was hilarious though unkind. A bad example but there is no end of bamboo here.
Did you know bamboo is hollow?
The followers created the Unity beginning in 1894 by back breaking work clearing the south Florida jungle and turning it into a landscaped gardens. With Teed’s death in 1098, things began to change and with a policy of celibacy, the community ultimately withered and died.
By the time the state took it over in the 60’s with the death of its last member, most of the plants were gone and many of the buildings seriously deteriorated. The state took some buildings down, there is great controversy over that now, but has done a nice job of maintaining the buildings that remain. I believe volunteers maintain the plantings that are left but the gardens have not been restored to their original state. The yellow building above is known as the Planetary Court and housed the nine women that over saw the workings of the community with Teed as their head. Interesting huh?
The oldest house on the property is the original dwelling of the man who sold the land to Teed and for a while joined the community.
There are other buildings on the property, I have not pictured them all.
These two are the bakery in the foreground and what is known as the Vesta Newcomb cottage in the background. Vesta’s mother joined the community 1892 in Chicago when Vesta was 14 and in 1894 they moved with them to Estero. She lived her entire life here and died in 1974.
You can see these two buildings in the far distance from the grave of the last remaining Koreshan Hedwig Michel who, at her death in 1982, left the property to the state which lucky for us turned it into a very interesting state park. The graveyard for the other members is not open to the public.
When you enter the community from the campground you are actually at what is now the back near the river. This area was originally the front and entry was from a fairly grand dock and by boat until US 41 was built years later.
The steps above lead to the dock below. Coming to the community you would enter from this dock and walk up what they hoped was a grand entrance way.
Here’s how you would see it from the river.
My first day at the campground this time is a Sunday and when I walk over, I find photo shoots taking place. The first one is a little girl’s first birthday. That’s a real cake and she’s really putting her hands in and eating the icing.
Not too far away on one of the beautiful bridges designed and built by the original settlers is this photo shoot. Not sure what it is but that’s a seriously gold dress she’s wearing.
You never know what you’ll see.
I’ve never been to Koreshan during the summer so I have no idea how many of the plants are blooming but then I have read that the state is unable to care for more than a handful of what was here.
During my stay, these are what I see. No idea what they are just that they were in bloom. If you know, tell me. One claim to horticulture fame is that they have a night blooming cereus that is tended very carefully I understand. It is original to the settlement I am told, blooms only once a year and has an amazing fragrance.
I was surprised to see on this visit that there were so many gopher tortoise holes roped off on the property. Previously there had only been two or three. There are lots of tortoise here and they are easy to see.
This pair was particularly interesting.
I noticed a volunteer standing back from but watching one of the burrows. I trained my camera on it, took the above pictures of this pair and then turned on the video. Here is gopher tortoise courtship.
Coming into the historic area I always come over the natural bridge. And leaving it I always go over the even more ornate white bridge.
All paths lead to the bridge.
I’m not sure what the two mounds were/are for. On previous visits they had tortoise burrows but I didn’t see any there this time. But burrows were everywhere else.
The stunning Live Oak tree that towers over the bridge makes a gorgeous setting for it.
Really love this bridge.
As I said, I did this hike every day, over and back.
One day winding my way back to Winnona I find this huge seed pod on the ground. I have no idea what plant it belongs to. Do you recognize it? Don’t think it’s bamboo but it sure is big. I wear a size 7 1/2 shoe and it was as long as my shoe.
Next post will be the water side of Koreshan. I do love the Florida state parks with docks on a river so I can take my boat down, lock it up and go out every day the weather permits. Also next time, what am I reading and what about all the hydraulic problems. Hope to see you then.