Florida Spectacular

Florida Spectacular

Take a weekly trip across Florida with authors Cathy Salustri and Rick Kilby and discover a side of Florida you never knew existed. From the scallops in Panhandle bays to the Hemingway cats in Key West, every week's a Florida adventure. Twice each month, Florida Keys historian Brad Bertelli joins Cathy for premium episodes available to subscribers focused exclusively on the Keys.

Episodes

February 21, 2024 39 mins

People love pirate lore — but what did it mean to be a pirate in Florida? According to Cathy, a lot more bureaucracy than you'd think. Rick and Cathy talk about pirates, real and imagined, and make a few Florida detours along the way.

Links We Mentioned

Legend of Jose Gaspar

Sir Francis Drake and privateer Robert Searle

Florida Pirate Festivals

Pirates in St. Augustine

A history of pirates in Florida

Sir...

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Subscriber-only episode

Did the Florida Keys have pirates? Brad and Cathy debate. Brad unearthed an 1829 Keys newspaper and talks about an article warning of land sharks and advertising a house for rent for $20 a month in Key West. 

They also chat about the San Carlos, the Key West Firehouse Museum, and Carysfort Reef.

Links We Mentioned

Key West Firehouse Museum

San Carlos Institute

Carysfort Reef National Marine Sanctuary

The U.S.S. Sch...

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Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings made Cross Creek famous through her writing, and if you want to experience Florida as she did, there's no better place. From free-range venison starters at a Cross Creek restaurant to paddling the same creeks she did, immerse yourself in the world of Cross Creek. Here's how!

Spoiler alert: Cathy gives away the ending of The Yearling at the start of the podcast, because she says everyone ...

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Ryan Smart, the executive director of the Florida Springs Council, joins the podcast to talk about threats facing springs, some recent victories for Florida's environment, and how people can support the work that protects Florida springs.

Image of the Profanity Manatee courtesy of Florida Springs Council; used with permission.

Links We Mentioned

Manatee Profanity t-shirt and other merch that supports Florida Springs Council

Become...

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Subscriber-only episode

Brad and Cathy take a deep dive into two of the best Florida State Parks in the Florida Keys: Bahia Honda and Long Key. 

Links We Mentioned

Florida Keys Eco-Experience Trail app for exploring the Florida Keys.

Bahia Honda State Park

Long Key State Park

Support the podcast! For $5/month, you get premium Florida Keys history and travel tips with Brad Bertelli and Cathy Salustri.

Subscribe to The Florida Spe...

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Today's guest, Charles Ellis, who serves as the Fort Mose Historical Society president, talks about the reconstruction of the Fort, what’s happening in February, and Florida's place on the Underground Railroad. 

Links We Mentioned

Fort Mose State Park

Flight to Freedom

Fort Mose Historical Society

Jazz and Blues at Fort Mose

Support Fort Mose and Black History in Florida

Gullah Geechee Heritage Trail

What is a "ring shout&qu...

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If you want to explore Sarasota, Rick and Cathy have plenty of favorites. 

Places to Eat

Owen's Fish Camp

Yoder's of Pinecraft and The Gabber Newspaper's feature on Yoder's

Bali Hut Tiki Hut

Outdoors and Nature Experiences

Myakka River State Park

Warm Mineral Springs

Selby Botanical Gardens

Mote Marine Aquarium (kayaking and the February Farm to Fillet)

Venice Beach and Shark's Teeth

Roadside Attraction: Sarasota Jung...

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Subscriber-only episode

Flying into Key West is super-convenient, but people who fly into Key West miss one of the best parts of the Florida Keys: The Overseas Highway, which connects mainland Florida with the Florida Keys. The road didn't always look the way it does today, however. Brad and Cathy explain it all. 

Florida Keys Extras

No Name Pub on No Name Key used to be a brothel

The Pineapple Express? Yup, pineapples in the Flor...

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It's January! It's cold! It's the best time to see manatee! Where can you see them? 

Rick and Cathy name their favorite spots (see the links) and talk about whether manatee resemble sea potatoes or zaftig mermaids, manatee flatulence, and manatee nipples (when an animal has armpit nipples, you have to mention it.)

Links We Mentioned

Is it a manatee or a mermaid? 

How smart are manatee?

The year almost 800 manate...

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A reader question about hiking shoes leads to a discussion about best places to hike in Florida. The Florida Madcaps' Chelsea Stevens joins to talk about hiking and water shoes, that time she stepped on a copperhead, and her favorite hikes. 

Links We Mentioned

FloridaHikes.com

Shoes for Hiking Florida Trails

Altra shoes

What are shoe gaiters and do you want them?

Fit2Run

Track Shack

Astral hiking shoes

Hikes in Central Florid...

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Subscriber-only episode

Florida does an amazing job with state parks, and perhaps this is best showcased in the Florida Keys. In the inaugural episode, take a tour of some of Brad and Cathy's favorite state parks in the Upper Keys.


State Parks to Visit in the Florida Keys

Dagny Johnson Key Largo Botanical State Park for hiking and the chance of seeing the endangered woodrat. 

Windley Key Fossil Reef State Park for the hik...

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Take a hike in the swamp! Cathy and Rick talk about hiking in Florida swamps, venomous snakes, and other things you might find as you experience Florida's wilderness. Also, Cathy talks about the time she got lost in the swamp and almost stepped on a venomous snake.

Pictured is the juvenile cottonmouth from Cathy's hike in Big Cypress. No, it's not a Magic Eye; look closely and you'll see him. Or her. Cathy didn&a...

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Rick and Cathy talk about Florida places they want to visit in 2024. Unsurprisingly, many of the trips involve kayaking.

Quick Travel Guide to St. Augustine
Meehan's Irish Pub
Osteen's
Casa de Sueños

Quick Travel Guide to West Volusia Heritage Corridor
Cassadaga
DeLand Memorial Hospital Museum
Main Street DeLand
Hontoon Island
The Forgotten Mermaids: Jacques 

Quick Guide to Paddling Ocala Nat...

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Rick and Cathy talk about places they want to visit–or revisit—in 2024. Below, find guides to two not-often-visited places in Florida. 

Visit Sanford

Visitor's Guide

December's St. Lucia Festival

Celery Soup—a folk life play

Hollerbach's German Restaurant

Pico Hotel (similar to the Tampa Bay Hotel, now University of Tampa)

Henry's Depot

Folk Artist Alyne Harris at Jeanine Taylor Folk Art

Maya Books

Suffering Bastard

Visit ...

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December 13, 2023 36 mins

Jacki Levine joins Rick and Cathy today to talk about Once Upon a Time in Florida, a gorgeous coffee table book celebrating 50 years of essays about Florida. Jacki edited the book, which includes essays from Stetson Kennedy, Michael Gannon, and Rick Kilby.

Links We Mentioned

Once Upon a Time in Florida (with discount code XM23) for sale

Review of Once Upon a Time in Florida

Find a talk about the book in your neighborhood.

Florida books ...

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This week, the "Florida Spectacular" welcomes back a familiar voice — Brad Bertelli, an early and super-popular guest. Cathy, Rick and Brad talk about where to find hidden springs in the Florida Keys, an old manuscript that mentions a "fairy grotto" by Robbies, and how people are "reverse snowbirding" north of Florida.

Links We Mentioned

Robbie's

Last Local

Support the show

Support the podcast! For $5/...

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This week, Florida Spectacular hosts Cathy and Rick celebrate the work of Tim Dorsey. Dorsey created the lovable serial killer Serge Storms, who served vengeance with a side of history... or perhaps history with a side of vengeance. From there, they talk about Florida books for everyone on your holiday shopping list. 

Links we Mentioned

Florida books for every reader

Tim Dorsey books in order

A History of Florida Through Black Eyes by ...

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If you thought the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in the present-day United States in Plymouth, well, you've been lied to. Cathy and Rick talk about the first and second Thanksgivings, both of which happened in Florida, and why the 16th-century French Huguenot Thanksgiving — celebrated in what is now Jacksonville — may be the only of the first three that didn't celebrate the darkest parts of our national origi...

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This week, Cathy calls BS on Turkey Day and scholar Jeremy Carnes helps us understand the connection between art created by American Indians imprisoned at Fort Marion and the art produced by contemporary indigenous people. The trio also offers their perspective on how they attempt to respectfully observe the fourth Thursday in November.

Ever heard of Ledger art?

Links We Mentioned

Ledger Art and Comics: The Talk

Away from Home exhibit ...

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Rick and Cathy talk about the evils of beach renourishment — not only why it's a no-win situation, but how great Florida beaches could look without renourishment. It's a controversial take — especially for beach property owners. 

Links We Mentioned

Fort De Soto

Canaveral National Seashore

St. George Island State Park

Anastasia Island

Anna Maria Island public beach

Washington Oaks State Park

Army Corps will not renourish Pinellas ...

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