It was the site of the drafting of the first Florida constitution in 1839. Located on the shores of St. Joseph Bay in the Florida panhandle, St. Joseph’s was the most populated city in the territory of Florida in its heyday. It boasted one of the first newspapers in print in the nation, one of the first operational railroads, and was prized for its deepwater natural port and resort climate.
Several thousand permanent residents enjoyed an affluent lifestyle by early 19th century standards, fueled by a brisk cotton market. Yet, by the time Florida was admitted as the 27th state in 1845 the town had disappeared almost without a trace.
In truth, the village was all but destroyed when a Spanish freighter docking in the town in 1845 brought yellow fever. Within a month seventy percent of the population was dead, plummeting to less than 400, and then the town was pummeled by two subsequent hurricanes.
Today, the charming coastal city of Port St. Joe sits two miles north of the ruins of the lost city. Sitting on the edge of one of Florida’s pristine bays, Port St. Joe is a destination where visitors can explore a rich history that joins with a fragile environment and spectacular scenery to make this one of the most intriguing places in the Sunshine state.
It’s the witching hour of dusk and Blackjack has the urge to run. A dozen alpacas fall in line.
They start with a rhythmic trot then break into a sort of canter along the fence line of a former riding ring. Moving smoothly and noiselessly, the long-necked creatures make their way from one field through a chute into another, zip into a barn and race out the back non-stop. Round and round they go for twenty minutes.
“Once one starts they all follow, they are so herd-oriented,” says Barbara DuVall, who has operated Briar Rose Alpacas since 1999. “That’s why you just can’t raise one alpaca.”
On a sun-drenched morning a couple of guests are introduced to a cluster of the gentle animals: Fancy Pants, Aurora, Evening Star, Snickerdoodle, Ginger Snaps, Black Pearls and Silvery Moon. Under a spreading elm tree they mill sociably around us-- quizzical, big-eyed creatures with the luxurious fleece, those oh-so-cute faces, the big ears, the comical hairdos, and the improbably long lashes.
FollowHorseRacing.com The Jockey Club Website January 14, 2013
He was the founding father of Florida horse racing. James Harrison Bright bred the first Florida thoroughbred at his farm in Davie, and later teamed up with a friend in starting a thoroughbred farm near Ocala. Today, the region is one of the nation’s top breeding centers.
A native of St. Louis, Bright arrived in Florida in 1907. Five-feet, seven inches and 130 pounds, “Uncle Jimmy” as he was known, was typically seen in a dapper blue suit with a little collar and a bow tie. Bright was operating a cattle ranch on 3,000 acres to the west of Miami by 1920 where he rode his pony all over the property. Familiar with quantities of black marl, Bright reckoned the soil could provide good footing for a racetrack. When his friends heard his theory, old Jimmy was thought to have truly lost his mind.
Bright and partner Glenn Curtiss gave the land-- 160 acres carved out of swamplands-- to the Miami Jockey Club for a nominal $10, provided that it was earmarked as a racetrack. Their daring gamble succeeded.
An ancient wall of sturdy fieldstones and beautiful stone barns have often been the brick and mortar of the nationally recognized artist’s meticulous watercolors and richly painted oils that over the years have captured the essence of the Brandywine Valley.
Sculthorpe’s work is a dialogue of man and nature. Even the smallest details convey a message. Moonlight pours down on a rustic stone barn. Light peeks through a stone wall forewarning its demise.
On the flip side, over the past fifteen years Sculthorpe’s sharp eye and gifted hand have captured the primal coast of Newfoundland in Canada and the glacial seaside ledges of Monhegan Island, Maine where he captures the enduring raw power of the waves crashing against the rocky shoreline.
FollowHorseracing.com The Jockey Club & NTRA Racing Website December 8, 2012
He proved to be one of a very small number of top-priced yearlings to earn more on the racetrack than his purchase price. A big, muscular, and mature colt, A. P. Indy was easy to spot on the track with an unorthodox running style in which he kept his head low, almost like a greyhound, with that distinctive long, rhythmic stride.
A son of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew and dam Weekend Surprise by 1973 Triple Crown winner Secretariat, he was the star attraction at the Keeneland July auction in 1990. Back then A. P. Indy was known as Summer Squall’s younger half-brother by Seattle Slew, who had just won the Preakness after running second to Unbridled in the Kentucky Derby.
That was a huge boost to A.P. Indy’s Keeneland catalog page. Noel O’Callaghan of British Bloodstock Agency Ireland, bidding on behalf of Japanese businessman Tomonori Tsurumaki, outbid trainer D. Wayne Lukas’s client at $2.9 million, the most expensive price of the year in a depressed market.
“We figured we’d have to be brave and bid fast,” said O’Callaghan.
For the past two decades she has been showing miniature Italian greyhounds at dog shows across the country. The smallest of the family of gazehounds (dogs that hunt by sight), they compete in the "Toy" group due to their slender bodies. True genetic greyhounds, their bloodlines extend back more than 4,000 years. These canines can achieve a top speed of up to 25 miles per hour.
Owner/handler Reed brings her three-year old Hunter into the show ring this weekend at the National Dog Show at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa. Duncan, now 14, earned a third in the toy group at the show in Philadelphia in 2001.
“It’s a very hard show to get a ‘Best of Breed,’” observed Reed, a Colwyn resident. “I’ve won and lost there. But it’s also about interacting with other handlers and spending time with the spectators who will meet and greet Hunter, and telling them all about the breed.”
Saturday, Nov. 17, marks the 10th anniversary of the National Dog Show, Presented by Purina. More than 2,000 of America’s top show dogs and 170 different breeds (including the world's largest, smallest and most exotic) will take to the show rings in a pair of all-breed, benched dog shows at one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious dog shows. The competition (1-6 p.m.) will then be produced into a two-hour special to be aired on NBC Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22, (noon – 2 p. m.) after the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
On a visit to Betty Moran’s glorious Brushwood Farm in June 2004, I first met Hard Spun. A spirited five-week old bay colt with a splash of white on his forehead he skittered down a hilly paddock with his mare Turkish Tryst.
Leaning on a paddock fence I watched the colt move effortlessly across the ground.
“If all goes well, he’ll be one of Danzig’s final colts running at the racetrack,” Moran said that day at her farm near Malvern, Pa. “Wouldn’t it be something if he could turn out a little special like his daddy?”
Hard Spun’s sire was born and raised at Marshall Jenney's Derry Meeting Farm in Cochranville. Danzig’s racing career (3-for-3) was cut short by an injury, but then he blossomed into one of the most important sires of the second half of the 20th century. Danzig topped the general sires list from 1991-’93 and a stunning 18 percent of his colts and fillies were stakes winners. He sired 107 graded stakes winners and 10 champions. His progeny earned $101 million.
On the racetrack Hard Spun carved out his own niche. In the group of top-tier three-year olds in 2007, the speedy colt was as tough as nails. He danced all the major dances and ran consistently well. Runner-up in the Kentucky Derby and the $5 Million Breeders’ Cup Classic, Hard Spun won six of 11 lifetime starts, earning nearly $1.4 million. The colt scored his Grade-1 stakes victory in the King Bishop at Saratoga.
For the past fifteen years I’ve been a contributing writer to a variety of national & regional magazines, prominent daily news-papers and websites. I have written about an array of topics such as arts & culture, chefs, food & drink, business entrepreneurs, travel, history, thoroughbred racing, and the animal and natural world.
I'm currently a regular arts & culture contributor to WFIT's website (the NPR radio station in Melbourne.), Vero Beach Magazine and Florida Today newspaper on a number of topics. Over recent years my work has been published regularly in Blood-Horse, Long Island Boating World and The Hunt and PA Equestrian magazines.
I am a regular contributor to the websites JustLuxe.com and SeeTheSouth.com. JustLuxe is an online magazine featuring the best of luxury lifestyle and travel, while SeeTheSouth features truly unique southern destinations. My travel articles also regularly appear in Florida Today, Long Island Boating world and the Delaware County Times, a major daily newspaper just outside Philly.
I've also contributed a variety of articles to the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News, the Delaware County Times, and the Montgomery County Newspapers. I have been an Arts & Culture correspondent for Newsworks, the website for WHYY-TV (PBS in Philadelphia). I have been a correspondent to ESPN.com, America's Best Racing, the Paulick Report and Thoroughbred Racing Commentary.
After spending the past two decades in Wilmington, Delaware, my wife Jane, our Toller retriever Smarty and I have moved to Melbourne Beach, Fla. Located on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian River, Melbourne Beach sits on the southern end of Florida's "Space Coast." The famed coastal highway A1A runs directly along the Atlantic. Melbourne Beach (pop. 3,000) offers unspoiled beaches with sparkling blue-green waters and thousands of beautiful seabirds and long-legged shorebirds.
Head north 35 miles on A1A and you arrive at Cape Canaveral, for decades our nation's gateway to exploring and understanding our universe. Today, Cape Canaveral is a hub for many of the most exciting new private space projects such as SpaceX, the rocket and spacecraft company founded by Elon Musk (manufacturer of Tesla vehicles). Upwards of 30 launches are planned in 2017.
Back down to earth traveling on two-lane A1A south from Melbourne Beach's compact business area brings you to a series of secluded and undeveloped natural beaches. Bonsteel Park's two-acre beach provides an excellent vantage point to catch glimpses of passing dolphins, while the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is recognized as the most important nesting area for loggerhead turtles in the western hemisphere. It's also home to the gigantic leatherback turtles.
Nearby is Sebastian Inlet State Park which connects the Indian River Lagoon with the Atlantic Ocean. Its jetty break is recognized as one of the surf world's high-performance hot spots. Three generations of world-class surfers have surfed here, including 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. The 600-acre park is also celebrated for world-class fishing, and plenty of seabirds and wildlife.
Through my writing over the past decade I have traveled to spectacular destinations such as Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. and Sun Valley, Idaho; Cody, Wyoming/Yellowstone Park; Saratoga Springs, the Adirondacks, Saratoga Springs and Rhinebeck, New York; Port Clyde and Monheghan Island, Maine; Avalon and Stone Harbor, New Jersey; Middleburg, Charlottesville and Richmond, Virginia.
Other travel adventures have included Tampa and St. Petersburg, Anna Maria Island and Longboat Key, Florida; and St. Simons and Jekyll Island, Georgia. My travel articles thoughtfully explore the history of the region along with museums, music and the arts, chefs and restaurateurs, wineries and craft breweries, outdoor and sporting adventures as well as profiling intriguing personalities of those regions.
In addition to my writing career I owned a marketing company where I represented a diversified list of clients in the areas of publicity, marketing and business development-- such as the famed Baldwin's Book Barn, Thoroughbred Charities of America and the Kahunaville restaurant chain. In another life I was the founder, publisher and editor of Life Sports Magazine.
Along with Jane and Smarty I look forward to writing about new adventures in Melbourne Beach, the "Space Coast" and other Florida destinations. That's Smarty below with his pals Willie and Nelson.