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Welcome to the Blogs of the Historic Towns of the Rock Ridge Trail

Posted on Nov 13, 2018

Meet our bloggers
Welcome to the blog for the Historic Towns of the Rock Ridge Trail. We have bloggers on this page sharing their adventures along the trail! Stay tuned for exciting posts from Mary on a Roll, Lisa Malone and Bloggers on Bikes.


Hernando Farmers Market by Lisa Malone

Posted on Dec 05, 2018

Blogger Lisa Malone at the Hernando Farmers Market

The Hernando Farmers Market is a great place to go and explore local produce and products from farm-fresh honey, tomatoes and greens, to boiled peanuts, popsicles, local soaps, birdhouses, jellies and preserves! This bike-friendly market has the trail running right behind it, and bicycle parking. It’s a great place to stop while out walking or riding the trails, to grab a water, an apple, or an orange for some added energy. But be sure to go back, though, to stock up on healthy fresh produce, baked goods, eggs, Artisan cheese, breads, seafood and meats. It’s a great way to start your week!

The produce is provided by the Path Homeless Shelter’s Farm Project. The Path's Farm Project, "Harvest Hope," consists of farming 15 acres to grow seasonal vegetables nearly year-round using environment-friendly resources like worm castings, river muck and other nutrient-rich resources to grow nutrition-packed, pesticides-free vegetables. Every morning they bring the fresh, in-season vegetables to the Farmers Market. If you are looking for farm-to-table organic and naturally grown produce, this is the place!

The owner, Chris Burns, strives to give you the quality and variety of fresh produce at the competitive prices you’re looking for! They also have an assortment of organic and sometimes hard to find seasonal produce. And the shelves are packed with all the awesome Farmers Market extras like handmade birdhouses, raw honey made from bees right across the street, handmade soaps, homemade butters, fruit jams and preserves, artisan sauces and roasted coffee. I haven’t even mentioned the refrigerators stocked with fresh cheeses and milk products or the freezer stocked with local prime cuts of meat and fresh catches from the sea.

I’ll defiantly be back for the Pop Fusion popsicles; gourmet ice pops that are created using locally sourced real fruit, flash frozen to bring you a farm-to-stick experience. Made by the Pop Fusion folks right here in Crystal River! All of the ingredients used are bought fresh and locally and made with 100% real fruit (and vegetables). You can’t regret eating healthy with this delicious treat!

 

With every trip to this magnificent little roadside market, I always end up getting more than I planned because you never know what exciting item you’ll discover. Right now, you’ll find juicy watermelon, broccoli, buttercrunch and romaine lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, tomatoes and kale, just to name a few of the fresh locally-grown seasonal items. I think The Hernando Farmers Market is doing a great job of helping people eat healthy while helping those in need within our community. Keep up the good work!



Day-Tripping in Dunnellon by Mary McNeece

Posted on Dec 05, 2018

Grumbles House Antiques & Garden Shop attraction in Dunnellon

There’s something to do for everyone’s taste in Dunnellon.  Let me describe one possible scenario of activities – please know these suggestions are mine alone, and there are a lot of other options available to visitors.

If you haven’t had breakfast at home, you can order a generously-sized meal at The Front Porch Restaurant and Pie Shop or the Purple Sage Cafe, both on the south side of town. That gets you close to the historic village shops along Cedar Street north of Pennsylvania Avenue.  Several century-old homes have been converted into antique, craft and gift shops.  The biggest is the 1908 Grumble House Antiques & Garden Shop, which spills out into a nursery with pavers and statuary, clothing in their Cedar Street Boutique and food in their Sweetie’s Café and Bakery.  If you can’t find something to buy there or at one of the other cute little shops, you’re not looking closely enough!

 Once the morning is spent -- and youhave undoubtedly spent-- then consider grabbing some lunch before getting out on the beautiful Rainbow River.  Swampy’s Bar and Grill offers outdoor dining along the Rainbow River, or you might simply have a sandwich (and dessert!) at Sweetie’s Café.  Make reservations ahead of time with Rainbow River Canoe and Kayak; they only run shuttles to the starting location at KP Hole Park until 2 pm.  They’ll provide the necessary equipment and get you settled in a canoe or kayak, or on a paddleboard.  You should plan on about spending 2-3 hours on the clear waters of the Rainbow River looking at birds, turtles and other wildlife – longer if you paddle up to the headsprings first.

 

After sun and watersports, it may be time for a burger and beer at Swampy’s, or a country-style dinner with sweet tea at The Front Porch.  If you are in the mood for something quick and sweet, try Just a Cupcake Bakery & Café or get a slice of homemade pie from The Front Porch.

 

I’ve suggested shopping first, but many people would prefer to spend the majority of the day on the Rainbow River.  As an alternative, if you happen to be in Dunnellon on a Sunday and some of your party wants to try the Rainbow River and some do not, there’s an option for a High Tea at Grumble’s Sweetie’s Cafe.  They provide the clothing and fancy hats, as well as a full spread of tea and finger food.    

Be sure to check the days and times the places you’d like to visit will be open.  There’s a lot more to see and do in Dunnellon, so explore this Rock Ridge Trail web site for more ideas.  Dunnellon is about 25 miles southwest of Ocala, 85 miles northwest of Orlando and 100 miles north of Tampa.



Pudgee's by Food Bloggers on Bikes

Posted on Dec 05, 2018

Pudgees famous dogs

Has one hot dog stand ever been surrounded in so much controversy…?  and LOVE?

We came off the Withlacoochee State Trail for a hotdog and burger.. But left with something unexpected.. A Pudgee’s history lesson!

Somewhere during its 17 years roadside, Pudgee’s became Floral City landmark. A little stand with some BIG taste! However, in late 2017 Pudgee (aka Owner, John Sterling) says he was forced to close up shop because of financial reasons.

Bottom line: It would take a miracle to save Pudgee’s.   And some say, a miracle is what happened next!

Once word got out that the beloved little stand would be forced to close, the people rallied, (and ate) and rallied some more.  Pretty soon, the news trucks showed up, and so did Pudgy’s savior.

 A new Strip mall was being built just blocks away, “Stage Coach Square”  and the owner a Floral City native, thought Pudgee’s would be a great fit for his new plaza. After a conversation and a handshake.. the rest is history!

In March 2018 Pudgee traded the outdoors for a brand new indoor site at Stagecoach Square, on U.S. 41. The Plaza fits in perfectly along the Phosphate Trail! It resembles Old Florida. The facade looks like something out of Floral City’s phosphate-mining boom in the years of the late 19th century.

Ok class, that’s it for the lesson. Time to eat!!!

The Smack Your Mama Burger starts with fresh, never frozen, angus beef, doused with Sweet and Tangy BBQ sauce, then topped White Cheese and Grilled Onions.

The Original Coney Footlong is equipped with a Hatfield dog, beanless Chilli, cheese mustard and onion.

 Simple Ingredients, and simply loveable. We understand now why so many fought to keep Pudgy’s alive!