“In 1933, Palatka, like most other communities in the U.S., was amid the Great Depression. Local paving contractor, Thomas Byrd Gillespie saw what he described as a “prosperous community transformed by a depression into a section having many actually hungry and in dire distress. He recognized that tourism was becoming an important economic force in Florida, noting that that several parts of Florida were attracting hundreds of visitors where they “had something worthwhile for them to stop and see.” Out of this observation, the concept of Ravine Gardens was formed. The gardens were officially opened on July 4, 1933. At the time over 270,000 plants were planted in the formal gardens and along the slopes of the ravines.”
A 1.8 mile paved road winds through the park offering great views of the ravines and the many plantings. The park has bike and hiking trails, camping, boating, cabins, picnic areas and meeting rooms, but we are here to see the Azaleas. This is the peak season for the hundreds of azaleas left and it should be gorgeous.
We’ll meet by the Deercreek pool at 9am to form carpools. It costs $5 per car to enter and we need to go through the park on foot, so wear comfortable shoes . Then we will drive over to have lunch at Corky Bell’s at Gator Landing, overlooking the St. Johns River.
Please let Brenda Edwards know you are coming so she can make reservations at the restaurant (629-0133).Membership questions? Ask Julie Howell at 519-8005