Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Seagulls and chocolate


The thermometer reads 55 degrees. With a brisk wind blowing at about 10 mph, it is too chilly to fish. (We tried that the last two days, with cold hands and zero results.) So, instead of fishing, today we continued our exploration of the Ormond Beach-Daytona Beach areas.

A scenic drive that followed the Halifax River took us from Ormond Beach to Daytona. After leaving a residential area of charming old houses, we found ourselves on a stretch of city street in Daytona. A sign said “dog park.” But beyond the obvious frontage of the park we could see an island linked to the mainland by a footbridge. Curious to see if it was possible to fish from the island, we parked and made our way over the footbridge.

The island was called Manatee Island. On it, there was, indeed, a fenced-in dog park with areas for small dogs, big dogs, and bad dogs. (Only only little pooch was running around in the little dog area, with its owners. He didn’t care for us too much.) Apparently this little island, which also had a children’s recreational area, was home to manatees, although we didn’t see any today. There was also a broken-down fishing pier. No one could use the pier, but seagulls made it their home. Neither of us had ever seen so many earth-bound seagulls at one time.
Seagulls warmed themselves on the abandoned fishing pier on Manatee Island, a small islet in the Halifax River in Daytona Beach. The island, most likely built from river-dredging material, is home to a dark park as well a kids' recreational area. A footbridge links it to the mainland.

After leaving the dog park, we kept traveling south to the old city center of Daytona Beach. We found a large library, a baseball field (minor league play), and a variety of shops. We were in search of one in particular—Angell & Phelps Chocolate Factory.

Yum! The smallest shop was filled with all sorts of delectable handmade chocolates. At 11 a.m., one of the clerks led us on a tour of the factory. Actually, the “tour” was an explanation of how chocolate is made and what each of the chocolate workers (observed through several large windows) was doing. The tour ended with each tourist sampling two pieces of chocolate. Each person could select the type of chocolate s/he wanted. I picked chocolate-covered bacon (yes, it is real and tasty!) and a turtle. (They have another name for those chocolate-covered pecan-caramels, but I don’t remember what it is.) Jim chose a chocolate-covered potato chip (true!) and chocolate-covered bacon. (The shop says these two are its top sellers, in that order.)
A chocolate worker prepares a raspberry filling, which will be cooled then cut into squares, and finally coated with chocolate. (Who knew that filled chocolates were made in that manner?) Before the guide told us this was raspberry filling, I thought it was taffy. All of the chocolates in this small factory are handmade and hand-boxed. 

Need I say that we did not leave the chocolate factory empty-handed? Before the tour, we had sampled its fudge. We left with a half-pound each of chocolate fudge, chocolate-peanut butter fudge, and (because it was “buy two, get one free) orange-vanilla fudge, as well as a package of chocolate-covered bacon.

After the chocolate factory, we continued our tour of the area, just to see what this part of Florida is like. Would it be somewhere we might want to live? (Whenever we visit a new area, we take a “gut-feel reading” of the area.) Ormond Beach, mostly yes. It is actually quite nice, especially away from the beachside area with the usual surf shops. Daytona Beach? Mostly no. Near the beach, you would think you had stepped into the last century, specifically in the 1950s. I wasn’t too impressed with other Volusia County beach communities, either, including Port Orange, Daytona Shores, and Ponce Inlet.

Tomorrow it is supposed to warm up a bit, almost to 70. I hope the wind dies down and the fish get hungry.

Until later,

Your Reluctant RoVer,

Linda

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