We’d always heard about the St. John’s River, but never visited. This past weekend changed all that.
Earlier we blogged about our trip to Deland. That was a great time and we vowed to return. As we made good on our pledge it led us to the St. John’s River, It was one of the most rewarding trips we’ve had to date.
Our decision to make the trip came suddenly. We decided to go to the Friday night Deland Farmer’s Market. Fortunately, we keep our picnic basket and travel basket packed. In fact, our suitcase is almost always at the ready as well.
Upon making the decision, Mrs Funmeister hit TripAdvisor and began looking for lodging. She found one of the best facilities we’ve enjoyed since we have started traveling.
The Huntoon Landing & Resort
Once again we stayed off site. In fact, Huntoon Landing is just a few miles out of Deland but it is worlds away. Located on the banks of the St. John’s River, it literally is three driveways down from Huntoon Island State Park.
When we arrived we were impressed by the quiet. The only sounds were birds chirping and the crunch of gravel beneath the tires as we drove up to the office.
I must say, for the price this place is a steal. They have 18 rooms and suites spread over five buildings. We had a simple room with a queen-sized bed. However, there are some suites with fully equipped kitchens. Our room came in at less than a hundred dollars.
One of the nicest features for us was a shared deck that overlooked the beautiful St. John’s River. This elevated patio was equipped with a number of umbrella-covered tables. Moreover, guests are admonished not to use it between the hours of 11pm and 8am, so that everyone can enjoy the tranquility.
We had a wonderful little room. It had all the creature comforts including a refrigerator, coffee maker and television set. There also was a small table and even a work area for our computer.
But the real attraction was the great outdoors.
If you want to tour the river, the resort has boats for rent. For sightseers and bird watchers there are pontoon boats. You also can rent a fishing boat if you have angling on your mind. In addition, they have a 30-passenger tour boat. Known as “The Bill Flowers,” it takes groups for two hour “heritage tours.”
Hands down, the best part was the scenery. We sneaked out onto the deck early in the morning with coffee and sweet bread. Quietly we watched the sun come up. Again, we were struck by the absolute quiet – save the call of the egrets. We watched the birds fly languidly across the river in search of breakfast.
Every once in a while we would see a boater come by. It was unclear whether they were on their way in, or their way out. Sometimes they would stop for gas or breakfast, inasmuch as the Huntoon Resort apparently is a destination for such fill-ups.
Whitie the Great Egret
While we were there, we did make the acquaintance of Whitie. He is the mascot of the Huntoon Resort. He also apparently is the self proclaimed “bait manager” of the facility. This bird rather has the run of the place and more or less “oversees” the operation.
In fact, as a member of management, he apparently feels that the “no fishing” signs on the dock do not apply to him.
It’s not surprising then that as popular as he is, Whitie has his own Facebook Page.
But nothing beats the view. Walking out on the deck and getting a look at the St. John’s River at sunrise is something special.
Because you are at the end of the world, the owners of the Huntoon Resort & Marina have provided facilities so you don’t need to go into town to shop.
For instance, there’s the Dockside Deli for your breakfast, lunch or dinner needs. In the morning, there are breakfasts, omelets and breakfast sandwiches. For lunch or dinner they serve sandwiches, subs and salads.
Those wanting them, meat, cheese, fruit and vegetable trays are available at the restaurant.
Then there’s the Ship’s Store. They feature clothing, gifts and snacks in addition to bait & tackle and even fishing licenses are available.
It’s Worth the Trip
Our trip to Deland showed us a whole new getaway on the St. John’s River – just 10 minutes from downtown Deland. It’s not the coast, but it is waterside and every bit as wonderful. We will be back and report on our boat rides and other adventures.