Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Great Outdoors Restaurant High Springs, Florida

On February 17, 2018 I had the opportunity to visit Mill Creek Farm the retirement home for horses in Alachua, Florida with my daughter and her hubby and friends from California who took a break from blitzing all the Disney parks to enjoy a leisurely day in the country.  After our visit to the farm we headed over to High Springs, Florida to have a late lunch at the Great Outdoors Restaurant. 

The drive from Mill Creek Farm to the Great Outdoors was a little over 7 miles.  Our group of six was seated in a booth that had two side chairs.  This was perfect for my wide body as most booths are two small to sit comfortable in.  We were given advanced warning about how good the food was because daughter Becky and her husband Nigel had eaten there two times before. 

Our appetizer was  an order of home made chips with blue cheese.  For our main courses we had the Portobello Burger, Shrimp Poor Boy, BLT, ToFu Salad, Fried Green Tomatoes with Grits and a Parmesan Encrusted Grilled Cheese Sandwich with 4 different cheeses.  Wow, our table was overflowing with food. Each of these dishes had its own unique flavor profile. For beverages we all had water with lemon.  Four of use had ale and cider.  I had a pint of hard cider and my wife had a Irish Red Ale along with our friends from California, Mike and Kelly.  

Diane was our server. When she came to ask about deserts I told her that restaurant guests needed to be warned about the size of the appetizers and main courses.  I said that if you wanted desert you needed to order it first. We were so full we passed on deserts.  All and all this was a great end to fun day in central Florida horse country.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.  

Mill Creek Farm - The Retirement Home for Horses

I had the opportunity to visit Mill Creek Farm the retirement home for horses in Alachua, Florida with my daughter and her hubby and friends from California who took a break from blitzing all the Disney parks to enjoy a leisurely day in the country. 

What a pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  The farm is just a short drive off US I-75 at exit 414 at highway 441.   It took us about 2 hours and 20 minuted to make the trip from Champions Gate just off I-4.  We arrived around 1:00 PM.  

The Mill Creek Farm is a 501-C-3 non-profit.  The farm is 100% funded by donations and volunteer help.  It was established in 1983 and was started with 140 acres.  Today the farm is composed of 335 acres and is the home for more than 135 horses.  There is no charge for admission but you can make a donations at the main entrance point when you arrive or leave.  All donations, no matter how small or large, are greatly appreciated.

The highlight  of our visit to the farm was to walk around the 335 acres along the well groomed paths to meet and feed the horses.  The horses can eat raw carrots, bananas and sliced apples.  If you do not being your own carrots, you can purchase a bag at the main entrance point stand where donations can be made.  If you walk the entire path to meet all the horses, you will need a big bunch of carrots.  I saw a family with children pulling a wagon with a huge bag of carrots.  Looked like 25 pound or more.  

Because you can easily spend more than the two hours we spent there, you need to get there when it opens at 11:00 AM.  The farm is only open on Saturday from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.  They close the front gate at 2:45 PM and want you out of the farm by 3:00 PM.  In fact we were the last visitors on the path.  We were followed by a volunteer riding a golf cart the last stretch of the main path back to the main entrance point.  

We had a great day.  Check out my video of our visit  posted to Outdoor Recreation In Orlando.  Until next time, be safe in the sun  and  have a great day in the great outdoors. 

Mill Creek Farm The Retirement Home for Horses

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Made in America Surfing Lifestyle Apparel

Have you checked the label in your board shorts or any of your other surfing clothes to see where they are made?  Would you be surprised to learn that most of what you wear is not made in America but made in sweat shops all around the world.  According to the Textile Fashion Study, China, Hong Cong, Italy, and Bangladesh are the top four. There is a good bet that your surf shorts came from one of these countries.  But if you do your homework you might find great surfing apparel made in America.

At the 2018 Surf Expo, Birdwell Beach Britches and Katin were two exhibitors who make apparel in America.  Birdwell apparel, hats and bags all carry the "Made in the USA" tag.  The Katin brand has some "Made in the USA" label on some of their products.

The reason this caught my attention is that I watched a cable news documentary the other night about the fashion industry which surf lifestyle apparel is part of.  I learned a new term, Fast Fashion.  What is Fast Fashion you may ask.  Fast Fashion is when the fashion industry produces cheap disposable clothes with new fashion season / styles coming out instead of a few times a year to more than ten times a year.  Cheap clothing where styles change often has a big impact on the environment when all these disposal clothes are tossed in the trash or donated. 

Did you know that most of the clothes you donate never, never get worn again.  The internet is filled on articles on this subject.  The documentary I watched showed how much used clothing ended up in Haiti.  Used clothing is shipped out in 1,000 pound bails. Click HERE to read one of these articles from Fashionista.

With Surf Expo being a two times a year event, that appears to me to be perfect.  But Surf Expo is not the only apparel trade show where new styles are rolled out.  I am not sure with America's appetite for new clothing styles can anything be done to stem the tide of throw-a-way clothes. 

All that being said, I would hope that surfers all over the world would be more conscious about the surf lifestyle apparel purchases they make and do their part to reduce the amount of used clothing  piling up in warehouses and landfills around the globe.

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

ecoboardin at 2018 Surf Expo

I started attending Surf Expo and ICAST about 10 years ago.  Over that time period I have seen the slow but deliberate change in fishing kayaks and surf boards by  watermen and surfers.  Kayaks have truly been transformed to where the fishing kayak is today with amazing seats and all sorts of peddle / paddle drives.  Surfboards have not changed as dramatically as kayaks.  Surfboard materials like the foam cores, stringers, fins, and fiberglass have changed with time but the surfboard is still a shaped composite board with a curved up nose with one to three fins on the back.  Even Stand Up Paddle Boards (SUPs), which are very big surfboards that are wider and longer than your average surfboard, are constructed using the same components as surfboards. Instead of using the wave action action to propel the surfboard, a SUP rider uses a specially designed paddle. 
Radical innovation did not affect the SUP market until last year when BOTE rolled out their Rover. The Rover is a redesigned hopped SUP with a real cutout for a small out board motor.  In Europe a company called Aquanami has both a jet ski motor operated kayak and SUP.  They have not set up a distributorship here in the USA.  So where am I going with this.  

At this year's January Surf Expo a new exhibitor showed off their battery powered surf board. The company is ecoboardin. They are located in Fort Pierce, Florida.  At their booth I spoke with Carla Elicondo about their battery powered propulsion system in their innovative surf board.  They had a video running in the booth I could not take my eyes off of.  My bad I did not take a video of their long video.  Check out the short video clip from their website I posted today.  Ecoboardin has two models, the Carver and the Manta.  The list price is $5,390.00.  An extra battery costs $1,980.00.  These prices are good for each model.  The battery life for the Carver is 20 minutes at full speed.  But you can get more battery life at slower speeds. The Manta is designed for slower speeds.  The battery life for the Manta is about 2.5 hours.   I really like the concept. 

The price will not scare first adapters away because you can easily spend up to 5 grand on an extremely tricked out kayak. So why not spend that much on an electric powered surf board.  Only time will tell how the surfing market place reacts to this new surfing technology.  If the reaction is like what happened to kayak propulsion systems, hang on to your hat it will be a fun ride.  

Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.  

The Carver by ecoboardin

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Sunshine States Goods Rocks 2018 Surf Expo

From being a producer on the Oprah Show to a Florida surf lifestyle entrepreneur, any task Chelsea McMillan sets her mind to becomes a success. Sunshine State Goods is an up and coming Florida surf lifestyle apparel brand.

I met Chelsea in an odd way at the 2018 January Surf Expo.  While I was sitting at one of the round tables in one of the eating areas, Chelsea was walking around the showroom floor dropping sales and marketing cards on the table.  We acknowledge each other and she went on her way to the next table. At Surf Expo, the center of all the round eating tables were used as a depository of surfing stickers, rack cards and other forms of brand advertising. Well sometime later when I was sitting at another table at a different location on the expo floor, low and behold here comes Chelsea still making her rounds. Below is the marketing piece she was placing on each table. 

We smiled and recognized the fact that we have crossed paths again.  From that point on, I decided to stop by her booth to see what Sunshine State Goods was all about. 

When I arrived at any expo booth I am always wary not to interrupt any sales discussion with potential customers. If a booth is very busy I always swing back later when the booth is less busy.  Upon arriving at the Sunshine State Goods booth there were no potential customers to contend with. 
Chelsea greeted me with a smile that said we meet again.  Meeting people at surf expo is such a blast.  At that time I dove right in and ask about the history of the brand.  She explained the company history. She said she started the business because she saw an opportunity to develop a line of Florida themed apparel.  Click HERE for a great article about Chelsea McMillan on the Erwin Shaw Street website.  Their interview of Chelsea tells the whole story.  

I have been doing graphic design since the early 1980 when Corel Draw first came on the market. During these 35 plus years I have designed hundreds of tee shirts so when I am given the opportunity write about surf lifestyle apparel, especially tee shirts, I have a sound basis for my comments.  

As Chelsea showed me different shirt styles with different designs I asked her who did her artwork.  She said she used local Florida artist.  I commented that I like the simplicity of the artwork on the Sunshine State Goods apparel.  I said that because I am not a fan of tee shirt designs with a 1,000 colors with very complex  designs.  The art work Chelsea is using clearly shows off the Sunshine State in simplistic terms.  During our short talk, Chelsea mentioned that they supported Florida with a special Hurricane Irma tee shirt design and they were a big supporter of Florida Wildlife Corridor.  According to the Florida Wildlife Corridor, "it is a statewide network of lands and water that supports wildlife and people".   

You can find Sunshine State Goods at neighborhood stores located in many of Florida beach side cities.  Click HERE for a list of their retail partners.  If you do not live close to any of these retail partners, you can order online from their website.  They also have a Facebook page, a Twitter page, a Pinterest page and an Instagram page.  From one Floridian to another, pick up your Sunshine State Goods tee shirt today.

Until next time be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors.