The Nature of Peace 

Find tranquility and peace at Florida’s Forgotten Coast. Nature softly beckons you to this peaceful wonderland. Picturesque rolling hills dotted with grazing cows usher you into Florida’s Forgotten Coast less than an hour’s drive from Tallahassee. Low lying clouds frame this idyllic setting along a winding quiet country road. This trip is easy on your eyes and your wallet. For the less than $20 a car, you can visit two of Florida’s hidden gems. 

Kayaking, hiking, camping, angling await you at Wakulla County. There’s an abundance of outdoor recreation and wildlife at Edward Ball State Park and St. Marks National Refuge at Apalachee Bay on the Gulf Coast in Wakulla County. 

Edward Ball State Park is home to Wakulla Springs. Take a refreshing dip in the swimming area and enjoy a relaxing cruise along Wakulla Springs. Get a glimpse of manatees, alligators and other wildlife in their natural habitat. The State Park also offers hiking trails and outdoor benches with grills. Stay the night at Wakulla Lodge and grab some ice cream at the parlor inside the lodge. 

Climb a beautiful lighthouse; witness a breathtaking view at St Marks.

Established in 1931, St. Marks is a habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife. During a hike, you may see deer, wild turkeys, owls, amphibians, reptiles and more. The lighthouse constructed in 1831 is on the National Register of Historic Sites. The light keeper’s house is attached to the 88 foot tower. Recently restored to its former glory, St. Marks Lighthouse reopens to the public in September. 

Your visit to Wakulla County will leave you with postcard memories and peaceful experiences and a bundle of cold cash in your wallet. 


Breaking the Sound Barrier

I visited the Pensacola Lighthouse with my family after attending a reunion in Mississippi. This would be the fourth and final lighthouse to sketch during our trip. I was happy to end the trip with a lighthouse I had longed to paint. Located on the western most tip of Florida, the lighthouse seemed to be unreachable. 

Although rain had been forecasted for the day, we decided to visit the lighthouse on a cloudy day. After clearing security, we headed to the lighthouse. The National Naval Aviation Museum was in eyesight of the museum. Although I’ve been to many air shows, the sight and sounds of the Blue Angels flying near the lighthouse captured my imagination. 

To see more of my art and to learn more about lighthouses,  visit my website Elaine Marie Artist

Charting a new course in London

I traveled to Trinity Buoy Wharf to sketch London’s only lighthouse, Bow Creek or Trinity Lighthouse, a day before my visit to see the paintings of JMW Turner in the Tate Museum in London. I admire the art of Turner and was excited about my upcoming visit to the Tate Museum. There was much to see-Turner bequeathed over 300 paintings to museum.

But first I was headed to the lighthouse. As we got off the Tube, we followed the directional signs to Trinity Buoy Wharf. Once there, we happened upon a lightship, in addition to the lighthouse. Two light vessels at one stop! Amazed, I hurriedly sketched the lighthouse. As the wind flipped the pages, I quickly sketched the lightship while my daughter took shelter in a nearby restaurant.

As I sketched the lightship, I thought about Turner and pondered how I could pay tribute to him. Pausing for moment, I became spellbound by the lightship that was now converted into a studio. It seemed pregnant with stories of its past.

Back in the United States, I looked at my yellow foreground and became inspired when I read how much Turner used yellow. According to the book How to Paint like Turner, “Some of Turner’s most daring and experimental innovations centered around his use of yellow. It seems to have been his favorite color and he used it liberally…For more than thirty years his use of yellow became one of the most frequently mentioned aspects of his art, with critics variously accusing him of ‘yellow fever’…”

TGIF: Florida Lighthouse Day Getaway

Enjoy a day of fun in the sun. This lighthouse getaway features a day of celebration at two of Florida’s evocative lighthouses and much more. Experience snorkeling, shellings, swimming and exploring nature. You’ll discover shaded pavilions along unspoiled pristine beaches. 

Don’t miss this special opportunity. Limited spaces are available for climbing Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and the historic Gasparilla Lighthouse on April 21. Only 108 people will be permitted to climb the Gasparilla Lighthouse and the Port Boca Grande lantern room is open only on this one day a year. 

Savor cake and lemonade and join in on a host of festivities. Children nine and under are free but must be 44 inches. The cost to climb each lighthouse is only $5 per person. Cost for parking at Gasparilla Island at Florida State Park is only $3. 
For more information visit

TGIF: Florida Lighthouse Celebration begins April 7

You will pristine beaches and swaying palms at this idyllic island. Explore the Sunshine state’s scenic shores and magical beaches while visiting lighthouses. The remote locations of lighthouses have been transformed into idyllic  getaways. From coast to coast, Florida’s 29 evocative lighthouses offer intimate encounters. 

 Gasparilla, Boca Grande and Ponce de Leon lighthouses host festivities in recognition of Florida Lighthouse Day in April.

Celebrate Ponce de Leon Inlet’s Florida Lighthouse Day on April 7 from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Discover Florida’s rich maritime and lighthouse history through family friendly activities and workshops. 
Ponce de Leon Inlet Light is the tallest lighthouse in Florida and the second tallest on the east coast. It stands head and shoulders above Florida’s other lighthouses in statue and possibly in what it offers the casual visitor. This large campus has so much to explore. Step into the world of lighthouses and the lives of lightkeepers. 
Enjoy a delightful introduction to the lighthouse at the Woodshed Video Theater. Firewood and other supplies were once kept in this building by the Second Assistant Keeper’s family. 
Explore the original Keepers dwellings. See exhibits on the lives of keepers and their families. Race fans will revel in the exhibits on the history of Beach racing.

 View an amazing collection of lighthouse lens. The magnificent rotating first order Fresnel lens from Cape Canaveral Lighthouse is on display here.

Brace yourself for a spectacular view as you scale Florida’s tallest lighthouse. 
For more information, visit Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

Visit my Lighthouse Art Gallery to see more of my art. 

TGIF: Travel beyond the ordinary 

When most people think of Florida, they think of its stellar attractions. With the cost of inflation, the average family could sink a cool $1,000 for a vacation. Florida offers more than attractions. I stopped by the coastal town of Tarpon Springs before a cruise to an island where Anclote Key Lighthouse is located. I arrived early in the day and found all-day parking for only $3. Tarpon Springs Historic District is adorned with quaint shops and Greek restaurants. The prices at the restaurants are modest and the dining varies from simple wraps to full course meals.

 I was impressed that the area wasn’t a tourist trap but seemed authentic. It’s a great place to stroll and spend a few hours without getting ripped off. There are monuments to guide you through local history and boating tours for more in depth tidbits on the local culture and folklore.

I caught Odyssey Cruise Lines from Tarpon Springs with a group for the reopening of Anclote Key Lighthouse.  The tour guide navigated through calm seas and narrated located history. We learned about the once thriving sponging industry and saw locations where movies were filmed.

After a short boat ride, we arrived at Anclote Key State Preserve and debarked at a pristine beach. A scenic nature trail led us to Anclote Key Lighthouse. I drew several sketches and took photographs of the area and fuel house before scaling the 102 ft. lighthouse.  The steel framed lighthouse built in 1887 offered a panoramic view of the tiny island. I was delighted to be able visit during the reopening. The lighthouse had been closed a few years and was restored through funds from the Florida Lighthouse Association and Friends of Anclote Key Lighthouse. It was money well spent. 

Ring in the Holidays

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse near Palm Beach, Florida.

Ring in the holidays at Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse’s Holiday Shop and Sip Social on Dec. 6 from 5:30-7:30 pm. Enjoy holiday shopping with wine, tasty treats and free gift wrapping. Special discounts benefit the lighthouse. Purchase unique gifts for the kids and that hard to please someone on your Christmas list. Get a free Lighthouse ornament when you become a member of Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. RSVP at 561-747-8380 x101

St. Augustine Lighthouse in North Florida.

St. Augustine Lighthouse in North Florida.

Join the Luminary Night celebration at St. Augustine Lighthouse, Dec. 6 from 6-10 pm. Get free admission, visit Santa and witness over 1,000 dazzling candles. Catch the Christmas spirit while enjoying holiday music. For more information, call 904-829-0745.