Unique Florida: Solomon’s Castle

“A man’s house is his castle”

Florida, the land of retirees. Everyone dreams of retiring to the sunshine state and building their own castle made of aluminum in the middle of nowhere…oh wait, that was just Howard Solomon.

snapseed-23

While it may seem kitschy, it was built out of passion and love for art.

Using other people’s trash, he built a treasure for himself, and his art. The outer walls, made from the repurposed aluminum printing plate of the Wauchula news, shine in the sunlight. Printing plates were only used once and then discarded, but Howard Solomon saw a use for them when constructing his fortress. You can still read the Wauchula news on the backside.

Inside many of the art pieces were constructed out of old rusty gears, car and lawnmower parts and various other items you would most likely find in a junkyard, including beer cans which he crafted a chair out of, as well as various vehicles.

He was a master at recycling, that’s for sure. He couldn’t sit still and thus was always working on something to keep his hands busy, like the figurines below. He carved these while watching TV at night.

img_5663

My favorite part of the castle, the stained glass windows. You’ll find 80 throughout the castle.

img_5694

The picture window

img_5608

It was one of the most random places I’ve ever visited, but also fascinating and beautiful at the same time. The tour guides play up Howard Solomon’s “punny” humor throughout the tour and then encourage you to wander the grounds after. Like our guide mentioned, the area is a little behind the times, one thing that drew Howard Solomon to this part of Florida, also the fact that it was cheap. That being said, it’s peaceful, quaint and quite picturesque. There is also a restaurant adjacent the castle, The Boat in the Moat. Literally, it’s a boat in a moat, with its very own lighthouse.

img_5729

Tours are available October – June for $12.50 per person, but be sure to call ahead before making the trek. Dean will answer the call.

img_5667

Howard Solomon

img_5826

Solomon’s fencing behind me

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 8.27.06 PM

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Travel

Poking Around at Florida Cactus

I’ve put my nurturing skills to the test.

A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to Florida Cactus, a nursery devoted to cacti and succulents. I first learned about this place on Instagram, of course. However, Instagram did not prepare me for how expansive it was. Row after row of succulents, cacti and various other plants filled 20 large greenhouses. If you are a lover of succulents, you will love this place.

snapseed-6

We checked in at the office where we were handed a map and sent on our way, basket in hand.

snapseed-6

The first greenhouse was mostly succulents and baby cacti. I eagerly began picking up one by one and placing them in the basket. They were just so cute, but word of advice, pace yourself; there are still 19 greenhouses to go after this.

The only other time I’ve purchased a succulent was from East End Market, and let’s just say, that didn’t end very well. I must be the only person on this planet who has killed a succulent. Why does everyone say they are so easy to maintain?

Well, I’m giving myself another chance, eight more to be exact.

snapseed-20

I am open to any suggestions on keeping cacti and succulents alive.

Hours for Florida Cactus are Monday – Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed on Saturday and Sunday

4 Comments

Filed under Life, Like a Local

Tips for Conquering Epcot Food and Wine

In my last post, I listed some of my favorite fall events and festivities in Orlando, one of them being Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. If you’ve been to this event, or just attempted to eat and drink around the world, you probably noticed how popular it is among the bachelor and bachelorette parties. Well, I was one of those a few weeks ago.

img_2467

Seems like nowadays you can’t go to Epcot Food and Wine without making some sort of costume, no matter the occasion. So, if you are thinking about doing a bachelorette at Food and Wine, or just a Disney park in general, here are a few tips I recommend:

  1. Buy your tickets before you go to the park. When you get to the park, everyone is pumped and ready to go in, don’t waste time waiting in a long line under the hot Florida sun.
  2. Put money on a Disney Gift Card to track your spending throughout the day as well as eliminate the need to pull out your wallet at every pavilion.
  3. If you are staying at a local hotel, take advantage of the shuttle service. This saves time and money parking at the theme parks, plus why would you want to drive when you could potentially be drinking all day? Uber works too.
  4. Take water!!!!!!! Yes, you can take water into the theme parks, and it also helps save some pennies.
  5. Pace yourself. It’s not a race, and the pavilions aren’t going anywhere. Take your time and enjoy.
  6. If you think you are going to want to ride some of the rides, look into reserving fast passes a few days before or first thing in the morning when you arrive at the park (passes for the popular rides go fast).
  7. SUNSCREEN!!!! Just like water, take my advice.
  8. Make fun shirts or Mickey Ears, or both like we did. Not only was it fun, but it also helped me locate the whole group when I got lost (I tend to wander sometimes when taking pictures 🙂 )
  9. Don’t be intimated by the length of the food lines; they move quick.
  10. Have Fun!!!!

BONUS: If you are an annual pass holder, you have access to the photo pass which means you can download the high-resolution images taken by photographers throughout the park. This is one of my favorite perks of the annual pass, as it makes the day even memorable.

img_2411.jpg

Hurry up! Time is running out to experience Epcot International Food and Wine Festival this year. It ends November 13th.

Have a magical day!

Leave a comment

Filed under Life, Like a Local, Travel