If you have the good fortune (and good sense) to drive along Highway 98 that skirts along the Gulf Coast in Northwest Florida, you’ll notice after a while that the pace here slows down and becomes distinctly Southern.
And when you reach Point Washington (east of Santa Rosa Beach) and enter 161-acre Eden Gardens State Park, there’s an even larger reflection of the Deep South.
In fact, as you explore the park you’d expect to see Scarlett O'Hara eating barbeque on the lawn of the two-story antebellum Wesley Mansion. With its grand columns and old-fashioned (although at the time it was built, modern) wraparound porch, it harkens to a bygone era. After touring the home, which includes the second-largest known collection of Louis XVI furniture in America, stroll the grounds which are accented by moss-laden live oaks.
This is a perfect representation of Old Florida, and it's a perfect setting for a picnic.
Bring some barbeque and maybe Scarlett will join you.
If You Go
East Route 395
Mansion tours $4
Open daily 8 a.m. til sunset
Mansion tours hourly Thursday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.