Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year 2014


It is hard to believe this is the very last day of the year 2013.  This year has galloped along and is now almost over.  There is something very touching about that!  But, I love the fact that tomorrow we will begin a whole new year with no mistakes and another opportunity to do the very best we can.

A special thank-you to all of you who have stopped by Sweet Southern Days during the year 2013.  I have had a fun time seeing the countries you are visiting from.  How special we can all link together in this great big world we live in, if only through a blog visit.

I wish you and yours good health, happiness and wonderful blessings in the coming New Year of 2014.  And, Lord willing I hope all of your hopes and dreams come true.

Click the link below for a Happy New Year message from our family to yours.



Sunday, December 29, 2013

Tour Of The Florida Governor's Mansion

If you are in the Tallahassee, Florida area for a visit, or if you live here, I would highly recommend taking a tour of the Florida Governor's Mansion.   It is necessary to schedule the tour in advance by calling the Mansion.  That phone number is: 1-850-717-9345.  Admission is free.

Our tour began at 10:00 AM and was scheduled to last about one-half hour.

After parking in the parking lot, one must walk through the Entrance Park on the way to the Mansion entrance gate.  

Entrance Park

As you walk through the park you see the 
sign in the below photo.

And, then, you see this enchanting, eye-catching sculpture of 5 life-size children and their dog walking across a large fallen tree.  The children are playing "Follow the Leader."

The statues were completed in 1998, during the time Governor Lawton Chiles was in office. The sculpture reflects the governor's high regard for the children of Florida.  A major focus of his career was helping Florida's youth.

Florida's artist W. Stanley "Sandy" Proctor was commissioned by the Florida Governor's Mansion Foundation to create this sculpture. Sandy Proctor is a native Floridian and is a talented artist in many other areas as well. Sandy is a local artist who lives and works in Tallahassee

Sandy has captured the whimsical days of childhood 
in all of his statues here in the park.

I loved the attention to detail with all of the children.

Mr. Proctor,  the artist, came up with the original idea and gave the work it's shape and form. 

I love this dog statue.  You can feel his enthusiasm and excitement being with "his children."

It was so much fun trying to capture the essence of this amazing group of statues with my camera.

Walking on past the statues we cross over the street out in front of the Mansion and we are suddenly standing at the entrance gate to the Mansion.

Florida Governor's Mansion
700 N. Adams Street
Tallahassee, Florida
    Home to the Governor of Florida and his family.

We rang the bell at the gate and in no time we were greeted by the Curator of the Mansion.  She introduced herself and guided us on into the entrance door of the Mansion.

I loved the way the Christmas wreath on the front gate represented Florida so well with it's Starfish from the sea decorations.

It was a bright, cool and beautiful day in Tallahassee.

    The three flags seen here have a special meaning. 

The United States flag is the middle flag.  

The US flag on the left has 27 large stars and represents Florida's admission to the union as the 27 state,  in the year 1845.  

The flag on the right features the Great Seal of the State of Floirida 
and was designed in 1868.

The Starfish Christmas design was continued in the  decorations 
over the entrance door of the Governor's Mansion.

There were beautiful Christmas Poinsettias in the front porch planters.

Entrance Hall

As you enter the front door of the Governor's Mansion and look to the left, you will see this interesting painting of a " Seminole Medicine Man."

The Seminole Indian tribes have been in the State of Florida for well over 12,000 years.

Also in the below photo on the entrance table,  you will see Viva la Florida, which is a cookbook released by the current First Lady Ann Scott to mark the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Florida.  

Also, celebrating the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's discovery of Florida are three paintings displayed in the Entrance Hall of the Governor's Mansion.

Three triptych paintings called:
La Florida

Christopher Still is the artist who created these symbolic paintings to commemorate Florida's 500th anniversary.  His masterpiece includes symbols of our state's unique history and natural beauty.

Below is one of the three paintings showing explorer Ponce de Leon, who landed on Florida's eastern shore very close to St. Augustine in the year 1513.

Unfortunately the third painting is hidden behind the Christmas tree.

The antique clock seen in the Entrance Hall is a 1790 Chippendale.

From the Entrance Hall of the Governor's Mansion docents escorted us into the beautiful State Dining Room.  It is hard to miss the beautiful chandelier above the dining table. We were told the chandelier is an antique which was originally gas and had to be re-wired.

The dining room table can accommodate 24 guests. 
You will notice the scenic wallpaper surrounding the dining room walls. 
The lush foliage and exotic flowers is thought to represent an island in Italy.

The large silver punch bowl is 102 years old
and is part of a 47 piece silver service.  
It is among the most impressive of all the objects in the Mansion.

The twelve gallon punch bowl shows 
the Seal of the State of Florida.

The punch bowl was carefully crafted to show motifs of Florida.  
You will see alligators, oranges, seashells and these large pelican handles.

China cabinet in the Dining Room.

Another part of the silver collection is this cup with the alligator handle,
which was in the Dining Room china cabinet.  

Walking through the double doors at the end of the State Dining Room,
 we enter the Governor's Library.

The Governor's Library

The collection of books in this room include state history, politics, nature,
 and other topics related to Florida.

In the below photo on the top shelf are two olive-oil jars 
that belonged to Christopher Columbus.

Leaving the Library we walk through the double doors
 leading into the Living Room of the Mansion.

On the day of our tour, there was a group of school children touring the Mansion. First Lady, Mrs. Ann Scott was talking to the students.  She was so patient and took lots of time with the children and answered all of their questions.

The Living Room was decorated for Christmas.

In the below photo there is a fireplace decorated for Christmas which is hard to see 
because there is a speaking podium in front of the fireplace.

In the below photo you can see the Seal of Florida.  which was on the podium.  The Seal shows a Seminole Indian woman with Hibiscus flowers and there are two state Sabal Palm trees.

The other end of the Living Room looking back toward the Governor's Library.

Leaving the Living Room we walk through the double doors leading into the Florida Room which is completely surrounded by ceiling-to-floor windows.  This is the room which gives the most genuine feel of the Sunshine State of Florida.

The Florida Room is a favorite spot 
among guests of the Mansion.

In the below photo is a collection of small paintings showing the wives of Florida Governors.  Known as The Miniature Portrait Collection of the First Ladies of Florida.  These little paintings are in a cabinet on the right side wall of the Florida Room.

How appropriate!  A cute little alligator setting on the coffee table.
He is all decorated for Christmas.

From the Florida Room,  a view looking 
out to the side patio on the left.

Greeting us at the exit door was this cute little pelican,  also all decorated for Christmas.

As we walked through the double French doors leading outside we spotted the focal point of the outside garden area.  In the distance you can see the bronze sculpture of five graceful manatees.

Manatee Courtyard
This area is often used for receptions.
Manatee Dance is a bronze sculpture created by local Tallahassee artist, Hugh Nicholson.  Dedicated in 1990

How pretty!   
I think manatees are such cute creatures with their sweet faces and gentle personality.  
They are also known as "sea cows."
Florida manatees are an endangered species.  
This sculpture is a tribute to Florida's official state marine mammal.

From the Governor's Mansion garden looking back toward the Mansion,
 seeing the Florida Room and the side patio.

Side patio.

Cute little statue on the back patio of the Mansion.

Walking out from the side garden of the Mansion we see the side-front of the Mansion.

The original Florida Governor's Mansion was built in 1907.  Due to structural issues, in 1955 it was decided the house needed to be replaced.  The current Mansion was completed in 1956.

Original Florida Governor's Mansion

As we left the Mansion we enjoyed seeing the beautiful old Oak trees on the grounds.

That concludes our tour of the Florida Governor's Mansion on a beautiful December day shortly before Christmas.

I hope you enjoyed visiting along with us as I tried to capture some of the beauty of this old Historical home with my camera.

I hope you had a very nice Christmas and are enjoying these last couple of days before the New Year.