A taste of old Florida’s southern charm.
I usually look for authentic locations where I can disconnect and connect both with nature and interesting locals. Places were I can learn and experience how others live and understand what they value and why. In searching for a place to stay in Ocala I found the Griffin Ranch in Fort Mc Coy.
Beware of dog: sweet Red Bailey protecting the ranch!
Carl Griffin, a practicing attorney from Orlando Florida is the host and owner of the Griffin Ranch. An outdoor enthusiast and nature lover as well, Carl spends most of his weekends at the ranch (a working ranch). Carl is known for his wilderness classes and for sharing the real old Florida experience with his guests.
Along with a small team, he has built several cozy and quaint cabins and cottages. I stayed at “Dad’s place”. I was sold on the deck overlooking a cluster of bamboo trees that reminded me of my childhood days when I built hiding places from similar bamboo trees…
The mornings started with homemade breakfast. My favorite was the old fashion biscuit bread, also called hoecake. yes, its spelled hoe-cake! I loved me some hoecake, it was moist, warm, and it was fried in bacon drippings and topped with local sugar cane syrup.
Carl and his girlfriend Patricia both gave me suggestions as to what to do in the surrounding areas. Additionally, Carl taught me a few things like: how to navigate without a compass, how to identify which plants I can eat when in the Everglades and why the natives always set up their teepees facing East.
While at the ranch, I enjoyed watching the horses run free, be fed, and roll around on the sand. I was also able to go for a ride along some trails straight out of a scene on “The Notebook” riding towards my beloved Noah but in reality, the only thing likely for me to ride into in the trail was a gator or a Florida black bear!
The Ranch was a perfect escape from the city’s hustle and bustle and it allowed me to sit back, relax and enjoy God’s and man’s creations gracefully coexisting in one place.