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Palmetto-Leaves

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Book Overview: 

After the Civil War, Harriet and her husband Charles bought an Orange Plantation in Mandarin, on the upper east coast of Florida, where they lived during the winter months. Over the years they expanded their cottage to accommodate many guests (now a museum open to the public). They opened schools to educate and churches to care for the recently freed negros pouring into Florida seeking refuge and opportunity. These charming essays, each describing a largely undeveloped rural land, became one of the first travel guides written about Florida and stimulated the first boom of tourism and residential development to that area. Stow describes its waterways, flora and fauna, the generosity of the people, the lush abundance of flowers, farmer's efforts to develop crops, Negro relations with whites, correspondence with famous persons, etc

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .nds to be a safe beast, and will certainly never run away with any of us.

As to the choice of excursions, there are several,—one to our neighbor Bowens to see sugar-making, where we can watch the whole process, from the grinding of the cane through the various vats and boilers, till at last we see the perfected sugar in fine, bright, straw-colored crystals in the sugar-house. We are hospitably treated to saucers of lovely, amber-colored sirup just on the point of crystallization,—liquid sugar-candy,—which, of course, we do not turn away from. Then, again, we can go down the banks of the river to where our neighbor Duncan has cleared up a little spot in what used to be virgin forest, and where now a cosey little cottage is beginning to peep through its many windows upon the river-view. Here a bright little baby—a real little Florida flower—has lately opened a pair of lovely eyes, and is growing 45 daily in grace and favor. In f. . . Read More