13 or 58 mph? America chooses

As snowbirds are speeding down modern Interstates consider that in 1923 the Dixie Highway had just reached Tampa. It would be three more backbreaking years before the Tamiami Trail would cross the Everglades and finally reach Miami. The speed on the Dixie Highway in 1923 averaged 12.9 mph. A trip from Chicago to Miami would take two weeks in those early years.

 

13 or 58 mph? America chooses Florida Vacation Homes
As the Dixie Highway pushed South it would be a few more years for standard signage

As late as 1910 good highways eluded most Americans and nearly all southeners. People rode trains if any distance was involved. Locally, they traveled by wagon, buggy or city streetcar. Dirt roads were all local – from the farthest farm to nearest railhead. “Improved roads” were graded dirt, clay or gravel. And when it rained, mayhem.

13 or 58 mph? America chooses Florida Vacation Homes
Counties paid farmers to grade the roads and pull the joy riders out

 

13 or 58 mph? America chooses Florida Vacation Homes
Dixie Highway went thru phases in surfacing

Beginning in 1914, Carl G Fisher proposed a route that would connect or merge hundreds of short roads into interstate roads that looped from the Mackinac MI ferry to Miami and back. The story of struggle to create the Highway, and later a Federal highway system, ignited debates about federal power and local control between many stakeholders – automobile brands, farmers, the Goodroads movement, and in the south prison commissions (chain gang labor) and with increasing post WW I automobility, racial control.

By 1880 railroad mileage (250,000 miles) exceeded travelable roads. Railroads had a monopoly! Express trains were the fastest way to travel averaging 58 mph.

By 1900, under pressure from Progressive reformers and lobbying by Sears, Roebuck and Co, Mongomery Ward the push for Rural Free Delivery (RFD) pitted over 77,000 small town postmasters against Home Delivery and the Railroads were deeply admired.

At the same time the number of auto manufacturers soared. Between 1900 and 1908 some 485 automobile companies had formed. Barely half survived by 1909. Henry Ford’s Model N in 1906 sold for $600. His Model T was selling for $345 in 1916. By 1918 HALF of the cars sold in the U S were Model T’s. Ford offered an affordable means of travel, but Fisher knew the missing ingredient- roads that could withstand heavy rain.

13 or 58 mph? America chooses Florida Vacation Homes
The Florida map of the Dixie Highway by 1926

Fisher had begun developing Miami Beach and wanted an easy way for people with a car to travel. Initially this proposed road was called the Cotton Belt route. By 1915 when construction began it was changed to the Old Dixie Highway, all part of an effort to promote a romantic image of the old south as warm, inviting southern hospitality.

13 or 58 mph? America chooses Florida Vacation Homes
By the 1920’s vacationing in FL was growing exponentially

If you are driving on I-75 and want to track the Dixie Hwy

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Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal

Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal

Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal Florida Vacation Homes

November kicks off the winter cruise season, which is the busiest time of year for Port Tampa Bay and Erehwon Retreat’s more complicated booking season. Each season we host a few cruise line passengers for a week’s visit preceding or following a cruise out of Port of Tampa.

From our historic perspective, the Port’s single largest embarkation took place in 1898 when Tampa received 30,000 troops bound for the Spanish American War. The initial wave, which included Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, departed on June 7 with 16,000 troops bound for Cuba. The Tampa Bay Hotel was used as the Officer Quarters. The Rough Riders were recruited mainly in the Menger bar in San Antonio and trained in front of the Alamo. Coincidentally, in my prior life managing the NY City Joffrey Ballet, whenever the company played San Antonio we stayed at the Hotel Menger next to the Alamo. I knew the story that they departed for the east by train, but that’s where the story stopped until I opened Erehwon Retreat. But that’s another blog post.

Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal Florida Vacation Homes

Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal Florida Vacation Homes

Port of Tampa Cruise Services

Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal Florida Vacation Homes

Carnival’s ships operate year-round four- and five-day cruises to the western Caribbean, including the popular destination at Mahogany Bay. Currently, the line also sails seven-day itineraries during the winter season and these will be offered year-round commencing January 2018.

Royal Caribbean’s two ships will provide four-, five- and seven-day cruises in the winter. And, for the first time, Royal Caribbean will operate four- and five-day summer cruises when Empress of the Seas begins sailing from Tampa on 30 April.

Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade, will offer itineraries ranging from four to 12 days that will include a stop at its new island destination, Harvest Cay in Belize.

Rounding out Port of Tampa’s passenger offerings, Holland America has increased its passenger capacity by replacing a long favorite among Erehwon Retreat guests, the Veendam, with the Oosterdam.

2017 saw a 6% growth in passengers to a total of 813,934 over 188 sailings.

September 22-23, 2018 Port of Tampa celebrated it’s 1 millionth cruise passenger.

Unique Accommodations for Cruise Passengers

Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal Florida Vacation Homes

Erehwon Retreat is located just 4.6 miles from the Port of Tampa Cruise Ship Terminal; we coordinate our two properties during winter cruise season to turn over the same day arrival/departures of Saturday and Sunday. This allows cruise ship passengers to easily enjoy an evening show at The Straz Center for the Performing Arts, visit Ybor city, the historic Cigar District discover Disney or Harry Potter

With a host who is a sailor and ex US Navy, one of the subtle differences of staying at Erehwon is having special amenities for guests preparing for sea or returning to land. There are adjustments to avoid land sickness for some, and we know how to prepare our property so that guests rest peacefully in our 1920’s environment. Old Seminole Heights is Tampa’s first suburb (1911) and has been designated as a National, State and local Historic Landmark District.

Holiday Homes

Holiday Homes Florida Vacation Homes

Visit Tampa and Discover

Our 2 bed + pull out couch/2 bath Bungalow is great for families. And with early planning, extended families may coordinate booking both our Guest Cottage and Bungalow for the same dates. Lots of families give Grandparents or in-laws our Guest Cottage less than 150′ away from the Bungalow for a quiet spot. Even larger families ask our on-site Concierge to identify other nearby holday rentals within a few blocks walk in our historic neighborhood.

We have hosted families in our Holday Rentals from Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Helsinki, Johannesburg, Essen, Dorncaster, Bithoven, Enschele, Skieve, Vellinge Schleusingen, Glengowie and in a few weeks Buenos Aires. Ocassionaly we link reservations with family members living in the US with other members living in Europe. Each reunion is unique and over and over I plug in my own world travel experience to ensure the little details are considered.

As well as elegant rooms you can find amenities and services you expect of a hotel. Complimentary Wi-Fi. Free off-street parking, linen service, Children’s beach toys, Beach Umbrella and beach towels, Yoga mat(yoga studio one block away), visiting massage therapist, expert on site Concierge.

There is a rich history in Tampa that is still being made to this day. Whether you are visiting for a weekend, a week or a month make sure to use our traveler resources under the Location tab.