Florida Spectacular

Storytelling Podcasts

Take a weekly trip across Florida with authors Cathy Salustri and Rick Kilby and discover a side of Florida you never knew existed. From the scallops in Panhandle bays to the Hemingway cats in Key West, every week's a Florida adventure.


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Take a weekly trip across Florida with authors Cathy Salustri and Rick Kilby and discover a side of Florida you never knew existed. From the scallops in Panhandle bays to the Hemingway cats in Key West, every week's a Florida adventure.






Episode 91: How to do Gainesville - what to do, see and eat!

This week Cathy and Rick take a virtual road trip to Gainesville, talking about their favorite things to do, eat, and see when they're in town. They also delve into the history of Waldo/Archer Road (SR 24) that runs from Yulee to Cedar Key, how to stay in an on-campus hotel at UF, and where you can find an elevator with an honest-to-god elevator operator. Links we mentioned See & Do: History & Nature Haile Homestead Homes (and its talking walls) Florida Museum and the Butterfly...


Episode 90: Native Wildflowers

A special guest this week as Stacey Matrazzo, Executive Director for the Florida Wildflower Foundation joined the show. She is the co-author of Native Plants for Florida Gardens, which she wrote with botanist/restoration ecologist Nancy Bissett. Stacey has a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a master’s degree in liberal studies from Rollins College, where she is also an adjunct professor. A native Floridian and certified Florida Master Naturalist, she spends much of her free...


Episode 89: Explore Hidden St. Pete

Downtown St. Pete has exploded with growth, people, and food – but that's not what we're talking about this week. Instead, Rick and Cathy talk about places in St. Pete not in the downtown area that most tourists never see. Take a listen, and get started planning your next road trip to explore Hidden St. Pete! Things to Do freeFall Theatre Sunken Gardens Parrot shows and Bird Shows around Florida. Places to Eat Mullet's Fish Camp Nueva Cantina Atwaters Baker's Hogley Wogley El...


Episode 88: Hidden Orlando, Discover Lake Eola

Think Orlando is mostly Disney, I-Drive, and theme parks? Think again! In this episode, Rick and Cathy explore the heart of Orlando. They have must-see museums, walkable cultural areas, and places to eat. Planning a trip to Orlando? Don't miss this episode! Spend the Day in Orlando Brunch Tamales in the Hourglass Social District or Daybreak Diner or Zaza's Cuban Comfort Food Museums Art & History Museums Maitland Sports Catch a UCF game or Orlando City SC Theater: Dr. Phillips...


Episode 87: How to visit the Florida Everglades

The Everglades is a series of connected ecosystems that runs from right by Sea World's front door south to the Florida Keys. Today, Cathy and Rick talk about some unique Everglades experiences, lodging, and roads. They end with a top five "must do" when you visit Everglades National Park or the surrounding Everglades. Places we mentioned: Rod & Gun Club Everglades National Park Camping in Everglades National Park Camping & Cabins in the Everglades on the Big Cypress Indian...


Episode 86: Sustainable Florida: New Year's Resolutions for the Sunshine State

Every year, people make resolutions for the new year. In this episode, Rick and Cathy talk about resolutions for Florida — and how you can help protect the state's natural beauty, waters, and wild places as you travel (and even if you don't!) Links we mentioned: Cathy's quest to remove single-use plastics from her home, RV and office Blue Highways Alachua Conservation Trust Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Gainesville Lyonia Preserve in Volusia...


Episode 85: Florida Bucket List - What's on Yours?

Cathy turned 50 this month, and it made her think about all the things she still wants to do in Florida, so this week she and Rick reviewed some (mostly) South Florida bucket list items. Take a listen, and watch for our Florida panhandle bucket list in 2023! Here's what's on our bucket lists: Rick: Fort Jefferson & Dry Tortugas Cathy: Coral Spawning in the Florida Keys Rick: Airboat ride in the Everglades Cathy: Milky Way in the Everglades and Big Cypress Rick: Art Basel Cathy: Hobe...


Episode 84: Christmas Celebrations in Florida

Christmas in Florida hits different, but that doesn't mean you can't find a spectacular winter event. Cathy and Rick talk about some only-in-Florida Christmas and holiday experiences. Links we mentioned Snowcat Ridge Margaret Tolbert Iche Nippy Day Nights of Lights About Christmas, Florida (an Orange County park) Orlando Wetlands Park Fred the Tree Earnest Saves Christmas Find Rick on Twitter @OldFLA and online at RickKilby.com. Support the showWant more Florida? Subscribe to The...


Episode 83: Explore Florida Caves

Did you know Florida has dry air caves you can explore, even if you don't have any experience spelunking? This week, Rick and Cathy explore Florida caves – virtually, of course. They also talk about underwater caves, and while they both strongly advise against attempting to explore underwater caves, the show notes contain a link to a great video, Water's Journey. Florida Caverns State Park Ocala Caverns Sharkansas Women's Prison Massacre Water's Journey with Wes Skiles Devil's Den Blue...


Episode 82: Vintage & Iconic Central Florida Restaurants

Rick and Cathy talk about iconic Florida restaurants, past and present, and others that are just plain fun. This episode focuses mostly on Central Florida and the Tampa Bay area, but look for a future episode about the best restaurants in South Florida, the panhandle, the Keys, and other parts of the Sunshine State! Links we mentioned Bubble Room Sci-Fi Dine In Theater Restaurant Boathouse at Disney Springs Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar at Disney Springs 94th Aero Squadron Kapok Tree...


Episode 81: Florida - Find Your Beach

This week Cathy Salustri and Rick Kilby talk about their favorite beaches (and why they love them) and what makes Florida beaches unique. Among their favorite beaches mentioned were: Little Talbot Island State Park Egmont Key State Park Fort De Soto Park St. George Island Have a favorite Florida beach? Let 'em know! Also mentioned were: Old Florida Facebook group Sandbar on Anna Maria Island White Gate Court Long Key State Park My Octopus Teacher The Soul of an Octopus Cathy's...


Episode 80: Why You Should Celebrate Thanksgiving in St. Augustine

We welcome Rick Kilby as The Florida Spectacular's new co-host, and he and Cathy talk about the first two Thanksgivings celebrated in North America, which – spoiler alert – both happened in Florida. Learn the short history of the French Huguenot Floridians who celebrated the first Thanksgiving on North American soil – in 1564. The second Thanksgiving, celebrated by the Spanish in 1565, takes us to St. Augustine, where there's plenty to discover outside the Spanish Quarter. Links we...


Special Episode: "Sinkhole", Gen X in Florida, and Davida Breier

This week Cathy sits down with Davida Breier and talks about her novel, "Sinkhole," growing up as a GenX in Florida, and how she came to write this particular delicious book. Davida Breier's Fun Stuff Reader's Guide for Sinkholereaders-guide.pdf Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up with Cathy's travels at greatfloridaroadtrip.com. Have a Florida question or comment? Love the show? Hate it? Let us know – email us at...


Episode 79: Yes, Our Seasons Change, Part I: Fall in Florida

Welcome to fall in Florida! Cathy and Jon talk about how real Floridians know fall has arrived, the best reason to travel to the Keys in September, and what the season looks like in different parts of the state. Links we mentioned On This Day: 1933 gas prices in Key West Hidden Gem: King Seafood, Marathon Holderness Family's Fall Expectations vs. Realty Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up with Cathy's travels at...


Episode 78: Wrong Florida History (Rumors, Urban Legends, and Fake Pirates)

This week, Cathy and Jon debunk famous Florida history myths, stepping on all the cherished legends they learned in grade school. Some myths we discussed Fountain of Youth Gasparilla Myth First Thanksgiving History that isn't fake Discover Florida Tours – (Sacred Lands) The Seminole Tribe of Florida's origin Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up with Cathy's travels at greatfloridaroadtrip.com. Follow Jon's road trip adventures at Don't Make...


Episode 77: Save Florida - Don't Recycle and Ditch Single-Use Plastics

In January, Cathy decided she'd get rid of single-use plastic in her home, RV, and at the newspaper she and her husband own – all by Dec. 31. Her travels through the best parts of Florida motivated this decision, because everywhere she went, she saw plastic litter. She and Jon talk about the Florida road trip that cemented that decision, what she's doing to make earth-conscious swaps, and why she doesn't recycle. They also talk about which Florida beach town is fireworks-safe for people...


Episode 76: You Have to Go North to Get South - Florida's Panhandle

Today Jon and Cathy talk about hurricanes in the panhandle, UFOs in the Florida panhandle, and hiking the Florida National Scenic Trail through Eglin Air Force Base. Hiking through Eglin Carnivorous pitcher plants at Apalachicola National Forest Wewahitchka Ulee's Gold DeFuniak Springs Wewa RV Park Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up with Cathy's travels at greatfloridaroadtrip.com. Follow Jon's road trip adventures at Don't Make Me Turn...


Episode 75: Lake Louisa, Clermont, and a Presidents Hall of Fame

This week Cathy and Jon talk about the Clermont area of Florida, including Lake Louisa State Park, Citrus Tower, and a few other places of note in the area, including the Presidents Hall of Fame. Links we mentioned Lake Louisa State Park Citrus Tower Presidents Hall of Fame at Atlas Obscura or on Facebook, or on Florida Traveler Clermont Brewing Company Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and keep up with Cathy's travels at...


Episode 74: Our favorite beaches

In this episode of The Florida Spectacular, Jon and Cathy talk about the best beaches in Florida (well, some of them), beach renourishment, and each of their favorite beaches. They also mention a secret sidewalk in Pass-a-Grille, Mike Huckabee, and the not-so-great history on Egmont Key (that not that many people know.) Fort De Soto Park Caladesi Island State Park The concentration camp on Egmont Key American Beach Mike Huckabee and beach renourishment Want more Florida? Subscribe to...


Episode 73: Tevas, Travel and Florida

This week, Cathy and Jon talk about a pair of water shoes Cathy's worn for 21 years as she paddled, snorkeled, waded, swam, and hiked through Florida. (Her Teva protons have seen more of Florida than most Floridians.) They also talk about other essential Florida gear, places they use them, and read a letter from a fan. Links we mention Gator "harassing" paddler at Silver Springs Cathy's post about her Teva Protons Want more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter, and...