Taste of old Florida thrives at The Lodge in Wakulla Springs State Park
2020欧洲杯正规平台I’m sure many of you have been to Wakulla Springs State Park, but it had been five years since my last visit, and it seemed like a perfect destination for my son and daughter-in-law, visiting from New York City. They welcome the chance to enjoy the outdoors, away from the cityscape.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Even though it was a cloudy day, we recently took the 25-minute ride to Wakulla. We happily walked around the grounds, watching brave teens — and one reluctant dad — jump off the top level of the observation deck despite the brisk breezes into the gleaming springs. Just thinking about it now still makes me shiver.
We took the scenic boat ride — no longer the glass bottom boat but still fun — where we saw a few manatees (at least their tails) and a few gators (including 12-foot Joe Jr.), lots of birds and moss-covered trees, then headed to The Edward Ball Dining Room at The Lodge.
Built in 1937 by industrialist Edward Ball, the Lodge is a lovely, relaxing place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Kids will enjoy gobbling an ice cream cone while sitting at what’s dubbed the “world’s largest marble soda fountain.” You can also order hot dogs and other casual food.
We decided to have a heartier lunch in the dining room instead. The setting has a refined sophistication but it’s not stuffy and the menu has a good mix of appetizers, handhelds and entrees (priced from $14 to $28).
2020欧洲杯正规平台My family was impressed at the start with our order of raw oysters, a cheesy tomato pie and large wedge salad (with bacon, cherry tomatoes and blue cheese dressing).
The Lodge is known for its homey fried chicken for good reason. My dish brought half a chicken — juicy and flavorful with a golden crisp crust — mini beignets and two sides. I had a feeling the mini beignets would disappoint because it’s hard to recreate the iconic New Orleans snack. They were OK but indeed denser than true beignets. But both of the classic comfort sides I picked — creamy mashed potatoes and perky coleslaw — were a taste of old-fashioned goodness.
We also liked our entree of jambalaya, with chicken, sausage and crawfish, crushed tomatoes and okra in a vibrant sauce.
We were stuffed but couldn’t resist the delicious, decadent coconut cream pie. Another treat: the hot chocolate with a hefty dollop of whipped cream.
Here’s a bonus: the dining room is open daily for three meals a day from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Buffets are available on Easter, Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Breakfast is served in the Edward Ball Dining Room daily from 7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
But the Lodge is more than a place to dine. It’s a stately hotel with 27 rooms overlooking the scenic springs.
2020欧洲杯正规平台Whether you’re a local or a visitor, the Lodge at Wakulla Springs is an oasis, a place that melds, nature, history and good food.
Rochelle Koff writes about food and dining at TallahasseeTable.com, on Facebook@TheTallahasseeTable and Twitter @tallytable. Reach her at TallahasseeTable@gmail.com.
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Where: The Edward Ball Dining Room at the Lodge at Wakulla Springs, 555 Wakula Park Drive