Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | March 25, 2011

Suwannee Springs

Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by fairies.

I loved the idea that we shared our world with these tiny, often invisible creatures filled with mischief and fun.

It was easy to disregard the darker side of fairy lore and concentrate on the kinder, gentler side, especially after experience with famous “good” fairies like Tinkerbell and the Tooth Fairy as I was growing up.

Like many other children with active imaginations, I wanted to meet a real fairy, and would hang out under trees and around natural places where fairies might live, in hopes of catching just one glimpse of these ethereal creatures.

One day in grade school, we were given an assignment to write a story on the topic of our choice.

It was an exciting prospect, and after hours of careful contemplation, I chose to write on fairies….the result “The Pink Dream Fairy”…a sweet and naive story of a fairy, dressed in pink (of course), who makes your dreams come true.

For some reason I still have the original handwritten story tucked away…a tiny remnant of the innocence of childhood, where anything can happen, and all stories have a happy ending.

Somewhere along the path of life I learned of an interesting, fairy-related custom designed to bring about a good relationship with the wee folk, and to assure personal protection from fairy mischief throughout the coming year.

In early Spring, you were to take sweet treats and other offerings of your choice to the local spring and leave them, along with good wishes, for the fairy folk who hang about such cool, moist, life-giving places.

This act of kindness was an impossibility in my childhood world, as I lived in suburbia, and had never even seen a spring.

But, as I grew older, there were occasions when I happened to find myself near a spring at the appropriate time of the year, and even though I knew better, (or did I?), I would visit the spring, leave an offering, relax and enjoy the natural setting.

As it turns out, Keith shares this fascination with fairies, which made it easier to carry on the tradition when we got together.

Last year we visited several springs on the Marais de Cygne river near our home in Ottawa, Kansas, and this year, we took our offerings to the beautiful Suwannee Springs in Live Oak, Florida.

Suwannee Springs is just a short twenty minute drive from our campground, and we made the trip last Monday, on the first day of Spring.

The spring is on the banks of the Suwannee River, somewhat enclosed in the crumbling foundation of an old bathhouse, popular in the mid 1800’s when the spring was visited for its healing properties.

The approach to the spring is spectacular…grey stone pathways wind through a canopy of live oaks and pines, draped with Spanish Moss.

Pathway to the Spring

The scent of sulphur hangs heavy in the air as you approach the spring, which bubbles up from underground to flow over moss-covered rocks into a large pool, and then  through arched windows in the old bath house foundation, to the Suwannee River.

The setting is surreal. We felt as if we were in ancient Rome or somewhere in the Mediterranean, as we made our offerings, then sat with feet dangling in the water, enjoying the scene and a picnic lunch.

The water is cool and refreshing, and we were soon joined by a trio of fearless twenty-something’s who gave us quite a show by jumping from the top of the rock wall into the deep water below.

Suwannee Springs Bath House Ruins

We spent the afternoon watching swimmers, reading books, listening to the spring bubble up and flow across the rock, and basking in the energy of this very special place.

Just outside the walls of the old bath house, is a gorgeous stretch of the Suwannee River, with pristine “sugar sand” beaches perfect for sunbathing and cook-outs.

White Sand Beach on Suwannee River, Just Outside the Old Bath House Walls

It was difficult to tear ourselves away at the end of the day, but a promise to return ~ soon ~ made it possible to pack up our gear and head back to camp, and I must say that Suwannee Springs, in all its ancient glory, is truly an enchanted place….and if I were a fairy, you can be sure this would be one of my favorite haunts!

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Responses

  1. We want to read your childhood fairy story!

    • It’s in a bin at Laurie’s house, so the next time you visit, you can ask her to dig it out for you 🙂

  2. […] while back, in my post on Suwannee Springs, I mentioned a lifelong fascination with […]


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