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Suwannee Riverhaven

Way down upon. My folks had known for years that somewhere in the piney north Florida woods lay their retirement. My dad had loved his hobby farm in Louisiana. He wasn't interested in animal husbandry, but he wanted the rest: vegetable garden, orchard, and forest land to improve via selective & creative planting, thinning, cultivation.

My mom hated heat and bugs. Nairobi had been just her kinda place, neither cold nor hot, and bug-free; kinda like Seattle if it were a bit warmer here. But she wanted to be near family, which meant Florida; better north Florida than south.

Here it is on the map. They found a choice spot on the Suwannee River with lots of riverfront. Extend 185th Rd south to the river, and Running Springs Dr west to the river and you have the boundaries of Suwannee Riverhaven. The name Riverhaven occurred to me soon after I first walked that lovely tract of riparian forest. Rather than asking them what they thought of the name, I went to a guy who made custom wood signs with his router and had him make one that read Suwannee Riverhaven. I gave it to them for Xmas. Luckily for me, everyone loved the name. Dad put it up where you'd park if you came to visit.

Their driveway was that left turn you see on the map, going southwest from Running Springs Dr, angling toward the river. Legally, their driveway started back at the intersection marked Peacock Recreational; they bought an easement to there and had a road built paralleling the existing road because the ownership of the existing road was unclear.

All the land along the river would flood when it got rainy in the Okefenokee Swamp. But it never flooded up to the house; Dad chose a spot above the 500-year flood. I visited them during the only 100-year flood while they were alive, and most of the drive was underwater. We had to canoe in from that intersection.

Zoom in and you can see the buildings at the end of the drive: the house, flat & shed grouped together, and down next to the river, the river house. The river house became illegal when they started enforcing the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, but it got grandfathered in. Zoom all the way in and switch to Satellite View to see how things look now.

She loved the place. The flat, as they called it, is a house trailer they lived in while they built the house. The AC worked cuz it was in the shade. That's where I slept when I came to visit. I slept there with Sally during the years we were together. Since I wasn't about to get married, they made do with a girlfriend. That's unfair; they were really quite gracious, welcoming her as a family member. I'm sure she loved that, and I did too at the time.