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On Wednesday I had to run by a storefront I had seen before, but had not entered. That would be HobbyTown USA right next to BooksAMillion in the shopping center behind Seminole Towne Center Mall. What drew me in was the train model village in the window. I had to have a look after being with the ‘big guns’ over at Amtrak.
I wish these photos would do it justice, but the display is elaborate! The detail and time spent getting this set up must have been pretty tedious. There are details in this small scale set that include a fireman rescuing a cat in a tree.  The water fall, the landscape, just amazing. The whole display belongs to the owner of the store and the employee said it was very old.
The place itself has all types of hobby items from airplanes, to cars, to paint supplies. It is very orderly and well stocked. Kids must love it, especially the miniature car racing track. Have a look:
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DSC01641re DSC01637res This is no flat display, it has hills and valleys, a big dip where the water falls, this took a lot of planning. There were train sets of different scales and all the accessories too.  Anyone with children might want to check it out, and that includes adult children who have hobbies, like the model airplanes with motors – it looked like a lot of fun was just waiting to be had!  Here’s their link:  http://hobbytown.com/flsan
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DSC01653re So grab your spouse, child, grandchild, neice, nephew, neighbor and have a look. Gotta be something there of interest!

100_4582-1res Unless you are putting your car on the train, or picking it up, there’s really no need to go to the Sanford Amtrak Auto train Station.  But I wanted to see some trains and I have only passed by the train station two times in all the time I have lived in this area, (since 1985) and do love trains, so I figured, why not look up close.  The original station opened in 1971, and was taken over by Amtrak in 1983. This new terminal was dedicated in May of this year.  The colorized photos below are of the old abandoned station in the old location not too far from the new one.  I took several photos of it last April for a show called The Abandoned Florida exhibition at The Gateway this year. This is how the old Amtrak Station used to look.
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The new station is smaller and not much to look at, but first, I had to get someone to let me have permission take photos so they didn’t think I was doing something sinister. They have signs warning people that Amtrak is monitored 100_4587res and it is, the area is not large, they can easily monitor crazy, older ladies with a train fetish, or someone worse.
I started at the waiting area, 100_4580res a clean space under a tent.   So if you have to wait for your car, looks like you won’t have a problem finding a seat. At one time Sanford did take regular passengers, but they quit that a few years ago I guess to become the ‘auto-train” only station.  There is a gift shop too, and a very nice lady was busy with her work.
100_4581res I don’t know the arrival and departure times, but I did see one train come in with all the red flashing light, horn honking pagentry a train deserves upon arrival.
100_4577res 100_4591res I saw a funny sign  — was it for the passengers or the trains?  I guess trains are quite romantic when coupled, haha. 100_4578res

There were a lot of wonderful angles and lines in the shots. — Trains have such a wonderful feel and symmetry to them don’t they? To see more photos or ‘artsy’ trains, check out
http://offshoot2.wordpress.com
Later I stopped at Hobbyworld in Sanford and took photos of their wonderful train display that is very old and belongs to the owner, but by accident I deleted them. So tomorrow I shall have to pop over there and put them up tomorrow. It was quite an impressive display.
So Monday morning was fun feeling the largess of Amtrak trains and the tiny details of models. And thanks to the Amtrak people for letting me take pictures.  Now, I wish they would go all the way to Key West and I would hop on board!

My son and I had gone to the model train exhibit at the Lake Mary Historic Museum and when I came home I was gearing up to fish. I opened the door on the porch and saw Ringo in one corner and heard a ‘bang’ of the aluminum being struck and thought Ringo had a bird cornered. Upon closer observation, I saw a cottonmouth striking at Ringo.  snake-1
I grabbed a hoe and had my son grab Ringo and I tried guiding the continually striking snake toward the porch door. He was a devil too. I finally got him headed out the door, but he might be hiding in the bushes next to the porch. Now I am rather paranoid to step out on the porch without giving a good look in all directions! If that snake comes back on the porch, he will be toast!  Ringo is way too bold, he’s like Ricky-tickki-tavi. But it just takes one poisonous bite to make him really sick or worse. Ringo is guarding the door.  DSC09609res Thank goodness Frankie was already inside. I worry more about her being bit than Ringo. She thinks she is as agile as Ringo and also as bold.
Meanwhile, the Historic museum in Lake Mary had a few tables set up with model trains. Old model trains. There were a few young children and their eyes were bright as they watched the trains round the tracks and whistle.
It is on display Saturday afternoon too. Here’s a few photos,
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They had old railroad lanterns,  DSC09594res and postcards. Some stamps and other memorabilia. So if you have a fetish for history and model trains,  there you go. The museum itself is a small yet interesting place of all history relating to the tiny city of Lake Mary.
When we left we noticed that in the tiny and I mean tiny downtown of Lake Mary which encompasses only a couple intersections with no traffic lights, there were 4 beauty salons, so apparently the people of Lake Mary like to stay looking good.  DSC09580res There is also an auto repair on that same side street as the Barber shop and there was a cool looking old truck /thing  sitting in front.  DSC09578res
The city hall and Events center are both beautiful new buildings, but downtown Lake Mary is still stuck in a time warp for now. There were also a few empty store fronts for rent   DSC09606res
on both sides of the street, a sign of the times for sure. None of these spaces looked like good places for an co-op art gallery, too small a space, not enough wall area on all places that are available. Traffic is also pretty non existent. The signs of hard times are all over. The biggest sign of a hard time will be the axe waiting for that snake if it thinks he’s coming back for a visit!

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