• Cara Van Leuven

Google Maps on Crack

I wasn't entirely heartbroken when I discovered the House of Plenty was under contract. To be entirely honest (omitted from the last blog), I woke up in a sheer panic wth the thought of needing water in the middle of the night. Navigating 4000+ sq feet starting with a long upstairs hallway, a twisting staircase and quiet parlor rooms all shared by "friendly ghosts" caused the sweats.

Unfortunately, the House of Plenty evoked a new home itch. My least favorite best friend pointed out that every place Tom and I visit we want to move to. First there was San Pancho in Mexico, then the House of Plenty, and most recently, northern Florida.

Every year Tom and I share a trip Florida that began six years ago, less than three months into our relationship. I was a carriage driver and had a little flexibility. It was March and Tom was headed to Daytona Beach for Bike Week when he suggested I tag along. The initial trip was magical -- we learned so much about one another and discovered we really really liked each other.

As our now intwined lives have been reshaped, so have our interests slightly. We began incorporating the HITS Horse Show in Ocala to our agenda as the Bike Week crowd seems more like a geriatric playground. There we were in the Sunshine State wondering what to do next ... and so with days to spare we explored Northern Florida water towns - whether on a river, bay or ocean.

After some exploring it was determined the west coast offered fishing towns that spoke to us. We were in Suwannee when we decided to make one more stop up north to Horseshoe Beach before checking in for the night. There were two routes to get there - one was 45 miles and about 45 minutes, the other was 18 miles and 45 minutes. Clearly Google Maps was smoking crack. We took the shortcut.

This shortcut was a slice through the Everglades on a one-lane sand road with standing water on either side. We had the bike strapped to the bed and my palms were sweaty as I pictured it tumbling off into an alligator's mouth. The sky was growing dark, but we somehow made it to Horseshoe Beach renting the last room out of four total.

Meanwhile, back in Illinois: Tom has me watching YouTube videos outlining living on boats as a second home option. We are returning to Florida in several weeks for a little more head scratching. The farmhouse is still my favorite place on earth.


This has nothing to do with the farmhouse or anything for that matter, but it's like discovering the space under your oven is actually a warming/heating rack. Here you go: if you buy pillow inserts, buy them 1" larger than the slip cover if it's a light fabric, and 2" larger if the material is heavier. This prevents the cover from looking saggy. You're welcome.