Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | January 11, 2011

The “Real” Florida

It’s interesting…whenever I used to think about Florida, I would get a mental picture of white sandy beaches, huge expanses of water, sunny skies, and orange groves. Always, the weather was balmy, and everyone was wearing Hawaiian shirts, flip flops and shorts – if not bathing suits!

Of course, that is what it’s like if you hug the southern Florida coast, but there is so much more.

Now that we have been here for two months, the mental picture has changed, or should I say, been revised to include the rest of the state that lies within the borders created by the sandy beaches. Expanding my horizons, you might say.

Of course, the “ground” in Florida IS white sand, but most of the time you can’t see it because it’s covered with pine needles and leaves.

It is incredible how much of Florida is forested.

Huge live oaks with branches that extend outward to cover a half-acre of ground; tall pine trees, towering cypress, giant magnolias, all manner of palms; and magic ferns, to name a few. And the forests stretch for miles on end, in between little towns spaced intermittently along the road.

It actually appears to be just an extension of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, which makes perfect geographical sense, but I really had never thought about it like that.

I don’t know what I expected…Florida is in the south…but it was a totally separate world from “the south” in my mind.

People here even talk with a southern accent – especially in north Florida ~ and most sentences are sure to include the phrase “y’ all”.

And, people eat southern food… fried greens served on fried cornbread (made without sugar)…actually it was tasty!

Experiencing the winter weather in Florida did require another paradigm shift…we were expecting those summerlike balmy tropical temps were the year-round norm for the state…simply dropping a few degrees come winter.

The reality is that Florida is not Camelot – it is “real”, and it does have seasons, though they are more subtle than in other parts of the country. We’d heard in the past about orange groves being threatened by cold weather, but we didn’t really pay close attention.

However, now that we are living here, we’ve experienced Florida winter, and it does get chilly overnight at times.

The “real” Florida may not have turned out to be what we had imagined at first, but we will take it any day…especially when we are sitting here in 45 degree dry weather when it’s 6 degrees back home, and snowing!



  1. I just saw on the news that Florida is the only state at this time that doesn’t have snow on the ground. Lucky you!

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