I hate to admit this as a history-lover, but in the almost-three years that we spent in Charlottesville, VA, we did not visit Monticello once. Sure, I ran the hill leading to Thomas Jefferson’s historic home a few times, but we never made it to the storied property – despite being so close to it. Worst of all – we never really had an excuse NOT to visit!
Now, Historic Spanish Point might not have quite as much name recognition, but as the signature attraction of Osprey, the census-designated place we call home, but I knew from the moment we moved here that we ought to make sure we didn’t make the same mistake.
It’s funny – I probably drive by Historic Spanish Point at least four days a week, but it was not until a few weeks ago that we finally paid a visit. You see, as I was returning home from errands one afternoon, I caught a glimpse of a banner being displayed in front of the main entrance for their annual “Fairy House Festival.”
I thought that could be something fun for the whole family (the property allows dogs on its grounds – just not in the indoor areas) and so, that Sunday (3/6, the second day of the Fairy House Festival) we made the 7 minute drive over!
The Fairy House Festival event was included in the $12/pp admission fee, so after I purchased our tickets in the visitor’s center (pro tip: if there’s a line at the main desk, you can also purchase in the gift shop to your left) we got in line for the tram/golf cart over to the main part of the property. On a regular day (not special event), you can proceed in your vehicle from the entrance area to the main parking area, but since it was busier that day, riding the tram was a requirement (note: you CANNOT walk from the visitor’s center to the Gazebo).
After the short tram ride, we walked the path over to Lychee Field and the Butterfly Garden, where there were vendors, a band, food trucks, and even a photo booth.
After perusing that area, we took to the trail toward the Guptill House. This structure, which has been restored and furnished the reflect the Florida Pioneer era, was built back in 1901. The house itself is very simple, yet grand, as it gracefully looks over the water.
Dug and Cosmo had a great time sniffing around the green space and the boat yard before we took the Jungle Path and checked out the aqueduct. The lush greenery was gorgeous, and the shade from the trees was really welcome as the temperature began to rise!
Walking along, we followed our map across Cock’s Footbridge, which the dogs really loved walking across. It was definitely a fun adventure for them!
On the other side of the bridge, we came upon the Sunken Garden and Pergola, which was very stunning! Later, we discovered that many special events, including weddings, are held there to this day.
After enjoying the gardens, we started on our way back to the Gazebo area – but not before passing Mary’s Chapel and a historic cemetery, and finally, down the path lined with beautifully detailed fairy houses. Reading the many plaques around property, we learned quite a few interesting facts about the history of Sarasota – I need to return just to finish reading them all!
Our visit took about 2 hours – and though we were able to cover the majority of the 30 acres, we certainly did not see everything. I am glad that we were able to experience this attraction – and the fairyhouses were the icing on the cake! Many younger visitors were even dressed as fairies (there’s a special fairy parade that we did not see), and staff were festively adorned as well.
I’d definitely recommend a visit to Historic Spanish Point – and I look forward to experiencing some of the other fun events they host, including recreational activities, speaker series, and more.
What’s the coolest place to visit where YOU live?