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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 99: Florida's Water Playgrounds

This week, The Florida Spectacular welcomes CJ Oliverio, who talks about Florida springs, how to enjoy them, and which ones are his favorites. Cathy and Rick also celebrate the 101st episode and talk about why it's ill-advised to scuba dive with gators. CJ Oliverio is the CEO and founder of Play Hard Florida Adventures, a team of tour guides who offer adventures across the state. His business has a mission to support Florida environmental nonprofits. Links we mentioned Play Hard...


Episode 98: Florida Fallacies - Mythbusting Florida

This week Rick and Cathy explore a few "truths" about Florida, from the Seminole Tribe's origins to the real story about Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth. Things we mentioned Seminole Tribe of Florida Fountain of Youth Florida: The forgotten colonies during the American Revolution What does it mean to be a cracker? Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. Find Rick on Twitter @OldFLA and online at RickKilby.com. Support the showWant more Florida? Subscribe to The Florida Spectacular newsletter,...


Episode 97: Explore Winter Park - Casa Feliz, Turkish Food, and Mr. Rogers

This week, Rick and Cathy take a trip to Winter Park, talking about their favorite places, things you should do (and eat!) while you're there, and why, despite all the changes, Winter Park's still a special Florida place. Links we mentioned Eat Bosphorous Turkish Food Austin's Coffee Stay Alfond Inn Experience Casa Feliz History The Langford Hotel El Cortez Apartments Winter Park Library Read what Cathy and Rick have written about Winter Park. Art at the Alfond Barnie's (and...


Episode 96: These Are a Few of Our Favorite (Florida) Springs

This week, Florida adventurer, springs advocate, and all-around good guy Ryan Worthington joins Rick and Cathy once again to talk about Florida's springs. The trio talks about challenges facing Florida Springs, how to enjoy the springs without doing any harm, and, of course, a few of their favorite springs. Find Ryan on Instagram, and check out his podcast, The Florida Madcaps. Links We Mentioned The Florida Springs Council Has Our Love of Springs Become a Fatal Attraction? HB 359 Bill...


Episode 95: Angola, Maroons, and Florida's Underground Railroad

The Angola settlement along the Manatee River lasted for roughly 50 years. Uzi Baram, a professor at New College of Florida, speaks about the enslaved people who escaped to Spanish Florida in search of freedom. They settled near the Manatee River. Here's some of what we know of their stories. Want to know more? Visit Reflections of Manatee, Bishop Museum, and watch this video with Uzi. Rick's post, Celebrating Sacred Ground Links We Mentioned Looking for Angola Back to Angola...


Episode 94: June 18, 1964: The Civil Rights Movement Starts in Florida

Meet Bernadette Reeves, who, as a teenager in Lincolnville, marched for civil rights. Today, she gives tours and talks about the civil rights movement – and how what happened in St. Augustine led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Links & Places we mentioned The Corner Market More about taking a civil rights tour with Ms. B. Lincolnville Museum Google map of Lincolnville Rick's post about the Civil Rights movement in Florida and the Quadracentennial Find Rick on Twitter @OldFLA...


Episode 93: Top Five Places To Find Unusual Florida History

Rick and Cathy talk about some off-the-beaten-path places in Florida that have not-often-discussed historical significance. Here's their Top 5 places to visit where you can soak in some unusual Florida history. Ma Barker HouseNew Smyrna Beach & The Turnbull ColonyRosewoodMicanopyA Concentration Camp at Egmont KeyLinks we mentioned New Smyrna Museum of History Sugar Mill Ruins The Turnbull Colony Cedar Key Museum State Park Cedar Key Historical Society Museum Rosewood marker Ocoee...


Episode 92: Visit Winter Garden: Bougie and Back to Nature

Cathy and Rick take a road trip to Winter Garden, which has a definite back-to-nature-meets-bougie vibe that only a Florida city can have (and we mean bougie in the best possible way!) Take a listen, then grab your keys and go explore Winter Garden on your own! Eat Plant Street Market Food Hall (including Crooked Can Brewery!) Thai Blossom Yellow Dog Eats See Winter Garden "Marina" Trailer City (next to the "marina") Do Central Florida Railroad Museum Lake Apopka North Shore...


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...