Valencia Lakes Mystery Trip 2017

The Valencia Lakes Travel Club does a mystery trip, in which, you sign up only knowing the dates and length of trip, which is usually 3 days and nothing further.  They then email out clues, one at a time, so you can guess. Here were the clues.

Clue 1 Edison
Clue 2 Springs
Clue 3 President Clinton played his saxophone   🎷 in this establishment.

Clue 4 President’s hearse
Clue 5 Mission Control
Clue 6 Founded in 1851, we’ll have lunch here.

Clue 7 World War 2 and the Civil War are featured
Clue 8 Fifty-eight years ago, Freddie had a good friend here.

This was my first trip with the Travel Club and my first mystery trip.  Everyone needed to be at the clubhouse prior to 6:15 AM to board a bus to who knows where.  I had some idea that it would be Tallahassee, based on the facts that wherever we were going, it needed to be reached by bus and within one day’s drive.  That coupled with I googled president’s hearse in FL, and got Tallahassee.  I didn’t get the mission control piece, but then again, I was in Hawai’i at the time the clues were being emailed with no internet and I didn’t want to use up my data on my phone.

This was a 3 day trip – but I am going to do this in one post – so it is long.

It was Tallahasse, and our first stop was FSU, Florida State University for a buffet luncheon club suite.  The school was founded back in 1851 – so that is the answer to clue 6.




The Unconquered Student stands in front of Doak Campbell Stadium at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. 1947 started a new era for Florida State.  This year was when Florida State would become a coed school and stay that way through today.  In 1957, the Seminole Tribe gained Federal status.  1958, a new mascot was introduced to Florida State University, Sammy Seminole. The Seminole Warrior, the character Osceola and his horse Renegade. The Seminole Tribe approved of everything Florida State did to represent the Seminole Tribe.  The Tribes Council is still in collaboration with Florida State University and will let them maintain the mascot as long as they continue to represent the tribe in an honorable manner.

After lunch, we were provided with a bus tour of Tallahassee and then on to our hotel. Our dinner that night was at Edison restaurant. Edison restaurant is the answer to clue 1.

Next morning after breakfast we headed off on our bus to Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. Here is the answer to Clue 2.


Here is Arlene in front of the sign.  Wakulla Springs is the home to one of the largest and deepest fresh water springs in the world.  Scientific interest in the spring began in 1850, when Sarah Smith reported seeing the bones of an ancient mastodon on the bottom. Since that time, scientists have identified the remains of at least nine other extinct mammals that date to the last glacial period, deposited as far as 1,200 feet back into a cave. Today, at a depth of about 190 feet, the fossilized remains of mastodons are in full view along with other fossils.

It is also the place where a number of films were made. Starting in 1938, several Tarzan films with Johnny Wiessmuller, Return of the Creature, Night Moves, Airport 77 and Joe Panther were filmed here. mystery-trip-5


While there we took a boat ride out to see some of the wildlife and the clarity of the water in the springs.


purple gallinule – also known as the yellow-legged gallinule.




semi friendly gator





beauty of the area – I can see why the films were made here.


Spider Lily


another gator


Those black dots are black vultures.


Juvenile black crowned night heron

From the boat, we went into the Lodge at the springs for lunch.  Initially, the lodge was built as a guest house and was turned into a hotel after his death in 1981 by the Edward Ball Wildlife Foundation. The ceiling in the lodge is unique and each picture on the 5,800 square-foot ceiling depicts historic Floridian scenes. The techniques are a combination of many, namely European folk art with Native American influences.


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while we waited for lunch, some people enjoyed a couple of games.


I had to put this in here – I had a hamburger steak, served on top of mashed potatoes, with a topping of brown gravy and grilled onions.  The gravy looked so much like frosting as the burger stood on the base of the mashed potatoes – looking like a big cupcake.
The lodge had a store which contained the normal stuff, but also, real old style candies, and mystery-trip-18

the mask from the creature from the black lagoon.

As we walked back to the bus, full from lunch, I stopped to get this gardenia –


We headed to our next stop – the Tallahassee Automobile Museum.  Boy is that name a misnomer.  If you look it up, it is listed as Tallahassee Automobile and Collectibles Museum.  Now that fits.  It has over 140 automobiles, toys, boating items, motorcycles, can openers, typewriters, cash registers, doll collections, and you name it. mystery-trip-29






Yes even cars – 1929 Auburn Boat-Tail Speedster

And pianos –


White House Gold Piano –

One of the most famous and ornate instruments created by Steinway & Sons, the first White House piano (serial no. 100,000) is the third instrument to be reproduced as part of the Legendary Collection –one-of-a-kind re-creations of the most historically significant Steinway pianos.

The magnificent painted lid was originally created by Thomas Wilmer Dewing, and was exhibited as a painting before completing the piano at the White House in 1903.  Paintings of 13 state seals and acanthus scroll encircle the case of this gilded instrument.


The Chihuly art case piano by Steinway & Sons, a one-of-a-kind design created by master American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly. The piano’s striking design features winter images, bright Promethean colors representative of the Olympic spirit, a clear glass piano desk and a translucent glass top, the first ever designed for a Steinway piano.


guns guns and more guns


Oh Yeah – and Abe Lincoln’s hearse – so that answers clue 4.

And outside the museum –



And a number of the ladies wanted their picture taken with Elvis – (he had left the building)








Kathy and Saida



From here we headed off to dinner (yes and I was still full from lunch)

at Andrews Capital Grill and Bar, where Bill Clinton once played Saxophone – the answer for clue 3.


Sistie, Kathy and Pat


Saida and Jane

From here we headed over to Challenger Learning Center and Imax theater.  It has a state-of-the-art Space Mission Simulator and space station laboratory, a 50-foot dome Planetarium and the area’s largest IMAX® 3D Theater. We were entertained by a High School Science teacher explaining how aurora’s happen.  So this is the answer to Clue 5.


and we saw a video on the auroras.



It was a jam packed day and now it was time to head back to our hotel for a little sleep.

Next morning, we were packed and back on the bus for our last day. We started off, heading to the Florida State Capitol.




The state seal which was included in one of the paintings in the lobby.

Then we went to the top to overlook the city.

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FSU in the distance


MFH Museum of Florida History building.

Then we went down to see the rooms for




House of Representatives


Then to the mezzanine to look at some interesting facts on Florida.


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As we departed the Capitol building, the Supreme Court was across the street.


And on to our final stop – the MFH Museum of Florida History.  This building contains some displays on the civil war. mystery-trip-59


I loved the detail in this set.

And finally to the World War II memorial outside the museum, which solves clue 7.



So that only leaves clue 8.  Well, I learned Freddy Cannon wrote and sang a song – Tallahassee Lassie, which I will spare you. I found out it was written by his mother.  While I enjoy a number of songs from the 1960’s this isn’t one of them.

A Mystery Trip to our state of Florida’s capital. It was quite a trip. We  settled in for the 4+ hour drive home.


















5 thoughts on “Valencia Lakes Mystery Trip 2017

  1. The ceiling of the Lodge is obviously pecky cypress and in the style that John Ringling used in the Ca D’Zan. And of course I love the brilliant colors of the piano. You documented everything extremely well for this mystery trip.

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