Saturday we went to De Leon springs, famed for possibly being the ‘fountain of youth’ and also for pancakes. More on that in a minute.
In Florida the ‘hot springs’ are not hot at all but sit at a balmy 72 degrees. This one is actually walled off from gators that would be averted by the cool temperatures anyway and has a couple of lifeguards to keep chaos at bay. The pool ranges from 2′ to 30 feet deep where it bubbles up forcefully from a cave that sinks over 60 feet deep.
But more than that it is an old school tourist site. The crumbling ruin of the original sugar mill on the site and a paved nature trail that wanders in the swamp. When tourist traps began this place in the middle of the Florida swamp sprung to life with folks looking for a bit of adventure this place came into it’s own as a natural attraction. Now, the locals bring their corn hole sets and hillbilly horseshoes to pass the day barbequeing and swimming and honing their skill tossing ‘bean bags’ filled with corn and golf balls stapled to strings.
What attracted me was the promise to make my own pancakes. The site boasts a new Spanish Sugar Mill where they grind their own grains into a heavy mix which is delivered to your table in jugs and you fry your own cakes on griddles set into the tabletops. Three types of toppings are left to try and include raw honey, molasses (gross, I tried) and maple syrup. The heat emanates fiercely from the tables but the experience of cooking your own breakfast is enticing and the place was packed and the wait long. A little slice of old time Florida and the adventure and possibility of the unknown.