Capturing the Essence

Small town life in photos

White Springs

June 2024

So far, just some pictures of flowers.

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White Springs

May 2024

Around town

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Suwannee Hardware Memorial Weekend

May 2024

Suwannee Hardware and Feed hosted an impressive festival on the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend.

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White Springs

April 2024

Some pictures from April

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White Springs

December 2023

Getting ready for Festival of Lights, the new signpost, some high water images, and some flowers.

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Festival of Lights

December 2023

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park is in White Springs, and the staff there put on the Festival of Lights each December.

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White Springs

June 2023

Random pictures from June around White Springs

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Sugarcane Festival

November 2022

Suwannee Hardware and Feed put of this festival, bringing in many vendors and even more visitors to town

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White Springs

April 2022

Flowers and birds and insects and turtles and snakes and trees

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Birds

February 2022

Some birds on the wing around White Springs

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Lake City Air Show

April 2016

Lake City put on an Air Show with the Thunderbirds!

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White Springs

December 2015

Images of the Pink House, the Festival of Lights, and the river.

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White Springs

March 2015

Pictures of the river and life along it

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White Springs

April 2014

The river was high, and it was beautiful as long as you were about the flood line.

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White Springs

January 2014

A photo walk around town

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Friday Evening

March 2013

A Friday evening concert on Bridge St.

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White Springs Flora

October 2012

Some images of a natural cave, and water around town

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Bike a Thon

March 2012

White Springs

March 2012

Images from the last weekend on the month of town and the river

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Suwannee River

January 2012

White Springs is along the banks of the Suwannee River. Here are some images of the river,

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Festival of Lights

December 2010

Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park lights up in December.

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White Springs

December 2009

Christmas Breakfast with Santa at Nelly Blys

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Bicycling Fun

May 2008

Some images from the Suwannee Bicycle Association's Pedal 'n' Paddle Festival

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White Springs

March 2008

The river was high, the azaleas were blooming, and the paddling on the river was fun!

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White Springs

June 2002

My first visit to White Springs, we floated down the Suwanne on Sharon's tandem kayak, then rode the old Gar Pond trail.

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Gar Pond

Gar Pond is 11 miles of singletrack in Columbia County. The trail was rebuilt in 2020 after logging that removed all the short needle pine from just 4 miles. The trail was designed to be dry longer than the other trails.

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Fosters Hammock

Fosters Hammock is about an 8 mile trail in Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. Currently, the first four miles is singletrack along the river, a stretch of doubletrack on Camp Road, and then a final mile that is far more challenging than you would expect in a State Park!

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Bridge to Bridge

Suwannee Bicycle Association's oldest trail.

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Big Shoals

November 2023

Big Shoals is our longest trail. We usually access it from the Beavor Loop.

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Beast of Burden

The Beast is a challenging trail across from Gar Pond on the Columbia County side of Little Shoals.

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Beavor Loop

Beavor Loop is a two mile standalone loop that is a lovely ride all by itself, but it is also an excellent gateway to Big Shoals.

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Woodpecker Extension

The Woodpecker Trail is a 3.4 mile Paved trail in Big Shoals. In 2005 the plan was to extend it in two sections to Wesson Street in White Springs to provide a pedestrian and bicycle friendly route between Big Shoals and Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.

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Bell Springs Hike

November 2021

Bell Springs Trailhead is accessed from Lassie Black Road, it is a lovely section of the Florida Trail on the Columbia County side of Big Shoals.

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Gar Pond - September 2021

The Gar Pond Tract is Suwannee River Water Management District floodplain land with an eleven mile bike trail designed to be on dry land as long as possible as the river rises.

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Big Shoals - September 2021

Big Shoals Public Lands is managed by the State Park Service, State Forestry, and River Management District. The Big Shoals is unique in Florida, the only Class III Rapids in Florida when the river is between 56' and 59' above sea level

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Fosters Hammock - March 2021

Fosters Hammock is an 8 mile mountain bike trail in Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. Sometimes there is water on the trails.

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Designing Fosters

October 2010

State Biologists came to Stephen Foster to review the plans to build a trail in the park

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Bell Springs Eco Hike

October 2010

Images from hiking the Bell Springs section of the Florida Trail

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Fosters Hammock Dedication

October 2011

It took a while, but the Fosters Hammock Trail was dedicated on October 9, 2011

Georgia - July, 2024

A two week trip around Georgia and a visit to my brother's in North Carolina.

Click Here for Stops, with Photo and Notes links

Panhandle - November, 2023

Sharon nabbed some campsites, and did all the driving on an impromptu trip to the panhandle of Florida

Click Here for Photo Album

Mexico - November, 2023

We traveled with Howard and Joy and Josh and Jeanette for a week at the Sirenis resort in Akumal.

Click Here for Photo Album

Michigan - September 2023

Sharon and I drove our Sprinter van around Michigan, staying at State and National Parks along the Great Lakes.

Click Here for Stops, links to Photo Albums and Notes

Mexico - May, 2023

A trip to Grand Sirenis resort with friends Scott & Deb, and Tim & Peg.

Click Here to view the Photo Album

Paynes Prairie - February 2023

Paynes Prairie is less than two hours south of White Springs, far enough away for a short multi-day vacation, hiking and biking.

Click Here for Photo Album

Great Smokies - August, 2022

Western Loop - July August, 2021

Two months in our van, heading North to Wisconsin, then across to Washington, before dropping down to California, Nevada and Colorado before heading home via Kansas and Arkansas and Tennessee.

Click Here for Stops, Photos and Notes

Boulder - September 2020

The nominal reason for the trip was to be in Boulder to pick up my new e-mountain bike from Lennard Zinn, and see our friends there. And of course visiting my brother on the way out! Everything else was gravy.

Click Here for Stops and Photos.

Puerto Rico - November 2019

We spent a week in Puerto Rico, enjoying the natural wonders of the island.

Click Here for Photo Albums and Notes.

Newfoundland - July August, 2019

Our second trip to Newfoundland, and Labrador.

Click Here for Stops, Photos and Notes.

West Loop - May June July 2018

A grand tour of the West Coast, from FL to Prescott AZ to Port Townsend WA to Jasper and Banff Canada, then down to Missoula and Colorado, then back across the Badlands to the Northern shore of the Great Lakes to Watkins Glen before returning home via Assateague and Oriental.

Click Here for Stops and links to Photo Albums

Mexico - October 2017

Our annual  trip to Quintana Roo was split, a week with friends at Sirenis, and then some days at Sandos Playacar for a change.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Newfoundland - August 2017

This was our first visit to Newfoundland, where my Dad's parents emigrated from. We spent too little time on The Rock, so we returned for a month two years later.

Click Here for Stops and Photo Album links.

Baja - March 2017

We signed up for another week with Un-Cruise, this time in the Sea of Cortez. We started off with a few days in Cabo San Lucas before getting on the ship.

Click Here for links to some Photo Albums.

Mexico - November 2016

We spent two weeks in Mexico, and two couples joined us each week. It visited some xenotes, which are essentially sinkholes, but xenote sounds much cooler, and they live up to the expected coolness factor. The sea water was also clear, making for nice snorkeling pictures.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Alaska - May July 2016

We drove our brand new Subaru Outback from Florida to Alaska and back, along with a week with Un-Cruise,.

Click Here for our Stops and Photos.

Torreya SP - March 2016

We had a shakedown weekend for our new camping gear to Torreya out on the Panhandle. We were preparing for our trip to Alaska. It is a beautiful park.

Click Here for our Photo Album

Topsail NC - November 2012

Sharon and Sarah celebrated their birthdays together, Greg and Sarah were in Topsail for the month, and we visited for a week for paddling and hiking and relaxation.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

New York City - November 2015

We flew to NYC to visit Sharon's son Josh and Jeanette. They live in Brooklyn, and we ventured into Manhattan to see the Cloisters and the Museum of Modern Art, while also generally walking much more than we do normally.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Mexico - September 2015

A split trip to Mexico, first to Villa Del Palmar and then to Grand Sirenis where we met up with friends Vicki and Peggy. Fun in the Sun ensued.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Oregon - August 2015

Our friends Jon & Dori were moving to Portland, so Jon and I drove the moving truck across the country and then spent a few days seeing the sights.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

SE Florida - June 2015

We loaded our car up with bikes and boats and went South for an impromptu exploration.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Dominican Republic - May 2015

We spent a lovely week exploring the Dominican Republic, staying a few days South and North shores, and visiting in between.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Mexico - November 2014

Our first visit to Grand Sirenis in Quintana Roo, and a great time was had.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

New York - June 2014

We drove to the St Lawrence Seaway, where friends Greg and Sarah were staying on Zitka Island. We hiked, we paddled, we took a tour boat!

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Costa Rica - July 2014

Our return trip to Costa Rica, we stayed at some other resorts, and had a beautiful time in a beautiful country.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Crystal and Rainbow Rivers - March 2014

Brother-in-law Tim organized a second manatee paddle along the Crystal River, and even more SUPpers came out for the weekend. On Sunday we paddled the Rainbow River.

Click Here for the Crystal Photo Album, and Here for RainBow River

Everglades - January 2014

A short vacation to the Everglades, to Collier Seminole SP, and Middleton's Fish Camp for a one night stand!

Click Here for Collier Seminole, Rookery Bay, and Middleton's Fish Camp.

Oriental NC - July 2013

We drove to Oriental to attend Sarah and Greg's wedding, visiting relatives along the way, and having a fun time of it all!

Click Here for links to Photo Albums​Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Colorado - February 2013

Colorado in February is a great place for cross-country skiing, hiking, and attending my daughter's recital! And when the airport closed, some extra time with friends!

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Koresham SP - December 2012

Our Christmas - New Years camping this time was to Karesham SP, a fascinating Park with some great history.During the trip our Volvo kind of died, so we bought a new VW on New Year's Eve!

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Crystal River - December 2012

A weekend trip to see the manatees at the Crystal River, and then a visit to Junniper Springs SP, too!

Click Here for Crystal River Album, Here for Juniper Springs Album

Topsail NC - November 2015

We drove to visit Sarah and Greg in Topsail, and then in Oriental for paddling fun. Sharon and I kept out pictures separate.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Colorado - August 2012

This visit to Colorado included Boulder, Rocky Mtn NP, Grand Lake, hiking on the Divide, Winter Park and Jefferson County, a whirlwind tour visiting friends and family.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

SW Florida - December 2011

Rather than the Everglades, we stayed at Myakka and Oscar Scherer State Parks with friends, and a little roaming besides.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums​Click Here for links to Photo Albums

South Carolina - November 2011

A weekend camping with frinds along the banks of Strom Thurmond Reservoir and riding the trails at FATS, an IMBA-designed trail system.

Click Here for Photo Album

Colorado - September 2011

Friends make work easier. A week of work at Xilinx, I stayed with friends around Boulder, too.

Click Here for Photo Album​Click Here for Photo Album

Everglades - June 2011

We normally camp in the Everglades in December, but this time we decided to try it in June! The views and birds are different, but equally beautiful.

Click Here for the Photo Album

Mexico - May 2011

Our first trip to Mexico, we visited Cancun before staying at the Sandos resort in Playacar. This was our most touristy trip, hitting the big traps.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Miami - April 2011

We got a cabin at Oleta River SP at the northern edge of Miami to enjoy paddling and mountain biking, and attend my daughter Jennifer's violin recital.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

St Simons Island - March 2011

We spent a weekend on St Simons Island in Georgia to attend a wedding, but got in a nice paddle and some nice hikes.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Colorado - March 2011

A trip to Colorado visiting friends in Grand Lake and Winter Park, and a stop in at work.

Click Here for links to the Photo Albums

Everglades - December 2010

A week at Collier Seminole SP, we enjoyed day trips paddling and hiking.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums.

New York and Vermont - June July 2010

We drove our old Volvo with kayaks on the roof to the Adirondacks and then Vermont. We got a flat tire, stayed in a yurt at the Woods Inn in Old Forge before continuing on to celebrate the Fourth of July with old friends on Burke Mtn.

Click Here for links to the Photo Albums

Colorado - March 2010

Peter and Sandra are gracious hosts when we fly back to Colorado, and this trip was another wonderful experience.

Click Here for the Photo Album

Everglades - December 2009

This year we stayed at Collier Seminole SP, and really enjoyed the attractions nearby.

Click Here for the links to the Photo Albums


Key Largo - June 2009

Key Largo is where I met Sharon, and a great place for a short vacation.

Click Here for the Photo Album

St. Pete - May 2009

Visiting Sharon's relatives in St. Pete.

Click Here for Photo Album

Colorado - March 2009

Visiting friends in Winter Park.

Click Here for Photo Album

Everglades - December 2008

This year we were on the West side in the State Park.

Click Here for the main Photos, and Click Here for the Extras.

St. Lucia - November 2008

A week in St. Lucia was wonderful. It's a long flight but well worth it!

Click Here for the Photo Album

Orcas Island - September 2008

Bob and Lisa were kind enough to let us stand at their guest cottage on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands off the  Washington State coast.

Click Here for links to the Photo Albums

Colorado - March 2008

Sharon enjoyed another annual ski trip to Colorado with friends.

Click Here for the Photo Album

Everglades - December 2007

Another forced vacation, another week in the Everglades!

Click Here for the Photo Album

Oregon - April 2007

We flew out to Seattle and visited Lisa and Bob before a short tour of Oregon and then attending the wedding of my nephew Kakumyo.

Click Here for links to the Photo Albums.

Colorado - January 2007

Sharon was the downhill skier, while I has happier cross-country. She spent a week skiing with Beach friends.

Click Here for the Photo Album

Everglades - December 2006

The company I worked at shut down between Christmas and New Years, so we had to go somewhere, and we figured the Everglades was a great destination. Camping was colder than we expected, but fun nonetheless.

Click Here for the Photo Album

BVI Sailing - October 2006

Seven days sailing around the islands around Tortola, a wonderful experience.

Click Here for links to the Photo Albums.​Click Here for links to the Photo Albums.

Dominican Republic - October 2005

Sharon and I spent a week at a resort in Sosua, and rafted the river!

Click Here for the Photo Album of the trip

We also went snorkeling.

Whistler - March 2005

A whole crew of Beach friends went for a ski trip to Whistler in British Columbia. A great time was had by all.

Click Here for the Photo Album

Virgin Island Honeymoon - December 2004

We spent a week at Biras Creek Resort on Virgin Gorda, a beautiful little resort that alas is no longer operating. But we have our memories, and they are good.

Click Here for links to Photo Albums

Western Week - October 2003

Sharon and I flew to San Francisco to visit my sister and husband in Fremont, which is where we shipped our bicycles. We then explored Napa and Sonoma, Monterrey, and Lake Tahoe and Carson City where Sharon's Mom was living with her husband.

Click Here for links to some Photo Albums

Costa Rica - November 2002

Sharon and Sarah decided to visit Costa Rica together for their birthdays that are only days apart. Then I wanted to go, and so Sarah's boyfriend at the time go to go, too! Ten days, all well planned by Sarah, though Sharon and I had an extra day at Rosa Blanca to accommodate our later flight home.

Click Here for links to the Photo Albums.

Burning Man - August 1999

I participated at Burning Man as a Pedicab. A wonderful experience, highly recommended! The Playa dust did destroy my Nikon, so the album is limited.

Click Here for Photos.

Nigeria - July 1980

Sharon traveled to Nigeria during her teaching career. I scanned the pictures I found.

Click Here for the Photo Album

White Springs Historic Preservation Society

WSHPS is a non-profit with a mission to preserve the past and to grow the town's future. Their website contains useful information about the history of White Springs and its Historic District.

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Suwannee Bicycle Association

SBA is a non-profit in White Springs for over 30 years. They maintain 50 miles of mountain bike trails around White Springs, and hundreds of miles of road and gravel routes around the Suwannee Valley.

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Suwannee Hardware and Feed

Located in the old Adams Country Store building, the hardware store is an old country store brought to life. Located in the center of town, it also organizes monthly swap meets and other events for White Springs.

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Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park

Stephen Foster is in White Spriings, a 250 acre Park with 47 campsites with power and water, along with 5 lovely cabins with wraparound porches, a Museum, a Carillion Tower, a Crafts Village, and events every month.

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Big Shoals State Park

White Springs is home to two Florida State Parks. Big Shoals is located a mile out of downtown on County Road 135. It provides access to Big Shoals, the only Class III Whitewater Rapids in the state. The Suwannee River drops 9' over a 1/4 mile, due to the Cody Escarpment. The park also has the Woodpecker Trail, a 3.4 mile paved trail through the park, with a picnic area and bathroom at the river end of the trail.

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Florida Trail

The Florida Trail is a 1,500 mile trail beginning at Big Cypress National Preserve and ending at Gulf Islands National Seashore. About halfway along the trail it follows the Suwannee River across the river from Big Shoals SP to White Springs, and then continues through Stephen Foster SP on its way west.

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ABOUT
Mick Shea retired years ago, and is enjoying life in the small town of White Springs, Florida. He worked most of his career in software development.  He has lived in Connecticut, New York, Vermont, Wyoming, Colorado and Florida, enjoying good friends and bicycling.

Mick can be reached at mick@mickshea.com.