I know a couple of people who went to Disney World to celebrate a birthday.  These kids have no money and the birthday girl got a free admission.  During the day they split a Caesar salad and a Coke.

They left the park two hundred dollars poorer.

They should have gone to Williston instead.  Sure, Williston has no thrill rides or laser shows or water parks, but it does have two water towers and a sensational antiques shop that is also a garden store and a farm supply headquarters and a pigeon coop.  I spent two hours wandering around it, as did a group of gray-haired ladies from the UK who couldn’t believe the splendiferous array of merchandise.  It was, one remarked, just like being at home.  Since England is the home of the eclectic, this was a high compliment.  Whoever merchandises this retail compound is a genius.

A history lesson in early sewing machines in the form of antique Singers would be a wonderful field trip for a Home Ec class, and anyone who feels that exercise is punitive might like to take a wobble on a primitive torture device that vibrates the fat off the gluteus maximus.  Farm wives’ crumbling quilts and embroideries are rural abracadabra for the cultural anthropologist, and military historians will puzzle over the omission on curious folk-art totem that displays two-thirds of the Marine Corps insignia.

A day in Williston can–and probably should–be absolutely free.  Walk away feeling the reward of spending nothing.  Take a picture of the local goats on the way home and be glad that you live in that part of Florida where you can still spell “fun”  in the lowercase.

Williston, Florida:  ****

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