Keeping Up With The Joneses - Barb & Greg travel blog

Unable to get into Stephan Foster State Park we scored a reservation...

They had very strict rules. Here the campground manager makes the guy...

On to Stephan Foster Cultural Center & Museum

Inside is a portrait of Mr. Foster

They had pictorial displays of his songs. This was 'My Old Kentucky...

Take a close look at this piano. It has a very rare...

A scene from another one of Fosters songs - "Old Black Joe"

Whoah - this one had Mother of Pearl keys.

The bell tower plays Stephan Foster Songs throughout the day.

The Suwannee River flows through the park. It's actually black.

Info on the river.

The gift shop.

The park.

And peaceful campground.

Surprise of all surprises - our friends from Kansas were at Stephan...

We met at the Walmart parking lot then had breakfast at the...


Moving further north, we tried to get reservations at Stephan Foster State Park, but it was full due to the annual Christmas light festival. So we scored a spot in the nearby town of Lake City at Oaks 'n Pines RV Park.

It's always interesting how various campgrounds operate. The host at this one had to have everything in order - Barb got chewed out for not parking right behind me as he led us to our sight. Later, we were amused when we noticed our neighbors had parked crossway behind their rig. Sure enough, he soon showed up and they also got in trouble for the same thing :)

The next day we hopped over to the Stephan Foster Cultural Center State Park just a few miles away. It was a quiet afternoon - we almost had the museum to ourselves. Inside they have lighted scenes set to Stephan Foster songs.

They also had several antique pianos from that era. One had a very rare Janko keyboard. It appears to have six rows of keys but they're interconnected. In otherwords depressing 'C' in row one also depresses 'C' in row 3 & 5 etc. The theory was the pianist could play whichever key was nearest. Thank goodness it didn't catch on.

There was also the traditional memorabilia and we ended up getting through the museum rather quickly, moving on to the Bell Tower. It plays Stephan Foster Songs off and on throughout the day. It's very soothing as you walk through the park.

Past that lies the Suwannee River. It flows from the Blackwater Alapaha River and it is black. In fact it's nothing to write home about. It was suggested that Stephan Foster never even saw the river. He had asked a friend for the name of a river in Florida that had two syllables and the friend with his thick southern accent gave him 'Swannee'.

Between the river and the bell tower is a nice gift shop that was fun to browse through. Before leaving we drove through the campground. The sites are good sized and very private. Throughout the park they were setting upwards of a million lights for the annual Christmas Light Festival. We may have to return another year.

We left about 3:30 toward town to grab a late lunch. Now here's the shocker..later that evening I was on Facebook and noticed that our friends Pam and Randy Stapleton had also visited the park just minutes after we did.

We met Pam and Randy on our first visit to Mission, Texas, then again when we crossed paths and met in Bentsen, Arizona. Now it's one thing to be nearby and plan to meet someone, but to actually cross paths at the same exact location without trying after not seeing each other for four years is just short of miraculous.

They were in another town and we were both leaving the next morning, but we made plans to meet for breakfast at the Waffle House. It was 18 miles up the road in the same direction we were heading so we packed up and parked the RV in a nearby Walmart. Yet another coincidence as their rig was parked right next to us.

We both have cars that our wives drive and follow so they were up at the Waffle house where we met in our car and spent almost two hours catching up. You just NEVER know what or who you're going to run into in this wonderful lifestyle.

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