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.


January 25, 2023 38 min

A special guest this week as Stacey Matrazzo, Executive Director for the Florida Wildflower Foundation joined the show. She is the co-author of Native Plants for Florida Gardens, which she wrote with botanist/restoration ecologist Nancy Bissett.

Stacey has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rollins College, where she is also an adjunct professor. A native Floridian and certifie...

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Downtown St. Pete has exploded with growth, people, and food – but that's not what we're talking about this week. Instead, Rick and Cathy talk about places in St. Pete not in the downtown area that most tourists never see. Take a listen, and get started planning your next road trip to explore Hidden St. Pete!

Things to Do

freeFall Theatre

Sunken Gardens

Parrot shows and Bird Shows around Florida.

Places to Eat

Mullet's Fish C...

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Think Orlando is mostly Disney, I-Drive, and theme parks? Think again! In this episode, Rick and Cathy explore the heart of Orlando. They have must-see museums, walkable cultural areas, and places to eat. Planning a trip to Orlando? Don't miss this episode!

Spend the Day in Orlando


Tamales in the Hourglass Social District or Daybreak Diner or Zaza's Cuban Comfort Food


Art & History Museums Maitland



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The Everglades is a series of connected ecosystems that runs from right by Sea World's front door south to the Florida Keys. Today, Cathy and Rick talk about some unique Everglades experiences, lodging, and roads. They end with a top five "must do" when you visit Everglades National Park or the surrounding Everglades. 

Places we mentioned:

Rod & Gun Club

Everglades National Park

Camping in Everglades National Park


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Every year, people make resolutions for the new year. In this episode, Rick and Cathy talk about resolutions for Florida — and how you can help protect the state's natural beauty, waters, and wild places as you travel (and even if you don't!)

Links we mentioned:

Cathy's quest to remove single-use plastics from her home, RV and office

Blue Highways

Alachua Conservation Trust

Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park

Sweetwater Wetlan...

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Cathy turned 50 this month, and it made her think about all the things she still wants to do in Florida, so this week she and Rick reviewed some (mostly) South Florida bucket list items. Take a listen, and watch for our Florida panhandle bucket list in 2023!

Here's what's on our bucket lists:

Rick: Fort Jefferson & Dry Tortugas

Cathy: Coral Spawning in the Florida Keys

Rick: Airboat ride in the Everglades

Cathy: Milky Way in...

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Christmas in Florida hits different, but that doesn't mean you can't find a spectacular winter event. Cathy and Rick talk about some only-in-Florida Christmas and holiday experiences.

Links we mentioned

Snowcat Ridge

Margaret Tolbert

Iche Nippy Day

Nights of Lights

About Christmas, Florida (an Orange County park)

Orlando Wetlands Park

Fred the Tree

Earnest Saves Christmas

Find Rick on Twitter @OldFLA and online at RickKilby.com.

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December 8, 2022 46 min

Did you know Florida has dry air caves you can explore, even if you don't have any experience spelunking? This week, Rick and Cathy explore Florida caves – virtually, of course. They also talk about underwater caves, and while they both strongly advise against attempting to explore underwater caves, the show notes contain a link to a great video, Water's Journey.

Florida Caverns State Park

Ocala Caverns

Sharkansas Women's ...

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Rick and Cathy talk about iconic Florida restaurants, past and present, and others that are just plain fun. This episode focuses mostly on Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area, but look for a future episode about the best restaurants in South Florida, the panhandle, the Keys, and other parts of the Sunshine State!

Links we mentioned

Bubble Room

Sci-Fi Dine In Theater Restaurant

Boathouse at Disney Springs

Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar...

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November 23, 2022 63 min

This week Cathy Salustri and Rick Kilby talk about their favorite beaches (and why they love them) and what makes Florida beaches unique.

Among their favorite beaches mentioned were:

Little Talbot Island State Park

Egmont Key State Park

Fort De Soto Park

St. George Island

Have a favorite Florida beach? Let 'em know!

Also mentioned were:

Old Florida Facebook group

Sandbar on Anna Maria Island

White Gate Court

Long Key State Park

My Octopus ...

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We welcome Rick Kilby as The Florida Spectacular's new co-host, and he and Cathy talk about the first two Thanksgivings celebrated in North America, which – spoiler alert – both happened in Florida. Learn the short history of the French Huguenot Floridians who celebrated the first Thanksgiving on North American soil – in 1564. The second Thanksgiving, celebrated by the Spanish in 1565, takes us to St. Augustine, where there'...

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This week Cathy sits down with Davida Breier and talks about her novel, "Sinkhole," growing up as a GenX in Florida, and how she came to write this particular delicious book.

Davida Breier's Fun Stuff

Reader's Guide for Sinkholereaders-guide.pdf

Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up with Cathy's travels at greatfloridaroadtrip.com

Have a Florida question or comment? Love t...

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Welcome to fall in Florida! Cathy and Jon talk about how real Floridians know fall has arrived, the best reason to travel to the Keys in September, and what the season looks like in different parts of the state.

Links we mentioned

On This Day: 1933 gas prices in Key West 

Hidden Gem: King Seafood, Marathon

Holderness Family's Fall Expectations vs. Realty

Want more Florida? Subscribe to
The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up...

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This week, Cathy and Jon debunk famous Florida history myths, stepping on all the cherished legends they learned in grade school. 

Some myths we discussed

Fountain of Youth

Gasparilla Myth

First Thanksgiving

History that isn't fake

Discover Florida Tours – (Sacred Lands)

The Seminole Tribe of Florida's origin

Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up with Cathy's travels at greatfloridaroad...

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In January, Cathy decided she'd get rid of single-use plastic in her home, RV, and at the newspaper she and her husband own – all by Dec. 31. Her travels through the best parts of Florida motivated this decision, because everywhere she went, she saw plastic litter. 

She and Jon talk about the Florida road trip that cemented that decision, what she's doing to make earth-conscious swaps, and why she doesn't recycle. They a...

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Today Jon and Cathy talk about hurricanes in the panhandle, UFOs in the Florida panhandle, and hiking the Florida National Scenic Trail through Eglin Air Force Base.

Hiking through Eglin

Carnivorous pitcher plants at Apalachicola National Forest


Ulee's Gold

DeFuniak Springs

Wewa RV Park

Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up with Cathy's travels at greatfloridaroadtrip.com


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This week Cathy and Jon talk about the Clermont area of Florida, including Lake Louisa State Park, Citrus Tower, and a few other places of note in the area, including the Presidents Hall of Fame.

Links we mentioned

Lake Louisa State Park

Citrus Tower

Presidents Hall of Fame at Atlas Obscura or on Facebook, or on Florida Traveler

Clermont Brewing Company

Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up with ...

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August 17, 2022 36 min

In this episode of The Florida Spectacular, Jon and Cathy talk about the best beaches in Florida (well, some of them), beach renourishment, and each of their favorite beaches. They also mention a secret sidewalk in Pass-a-Grille, Mike Huckabee, and the not-so-great history on Egmont Key (that not that many people know.)

Fort De Soto Park 

Caladesi Island State Park

The concentration camp on Egmont Key 

American Beach

Mike Huckabee and b...

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August 10, 2022 40 min

This week, Cathy and Jon talk about a pair of water shoes Cathy's worn for 21 years as she paddled, snorkeled, waded, swam, and hiked through Florida. (Her Teva protons have seen more of Florida than most Floridians.) They also talk about other essential Florida gear, places they use them, and read a letter from a fan.

Links we mention

Gator "harassing" paddler at Silver Springs

Cathy's post about her Teva Protons

Want ...

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This week, The Florida Spectacular takes you to Cedar Key, a tiny island along Florida's Nature Coast. Jon and Cathy talk about the island's award-winning clam chowder, the tragic history of nearby Rosewood, and the legendary headless horseman of neighboring Seahorse Key. 

Links we mentioned

Cedar Key Events

Cedar Key Seafood Festival

Tony's Clam Chowder (Hey, it beats New England chowder at contests – and he also has a res...

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