The Florida State Park Plein Air Painting Tour – Painting each of Florida's State Parks on location
I spent a quiet Sunday morning on the streets of old Ybor City near Tampa. The air was cool and dry (for a change!) and the streets empty of cars and people. The most activity was from the chickens wandering the street, and the roosters belting out their morning cock a doodle doo’s! Hard to believe I was just a block over from Ybor City’s busy main drag of historic buildings and restaurants.
The Ybor City Museum State Park is housed in an old bakery just a block from the main drag of the Ybor historic district. The Ferlita family operated La Joven Francesca Bakery from the 1890’s to the 1960’s. The huge brick oven takes up most of the rear of the building. When the bakery was operating they could bake 5,000 loaves of bread a day – a toasted cuban sandwich is nothing without good bread!
Next to the bakery are some restored “casitas”. Ybor was founded as a company town to manufacture cigars, and thousands of people worked in the factory. To house the workers, these small homes were built all around Ybor. Be sure to take a tour of the furnished casita to get a glimpse of how life was for the early residents of Ybor.
Between the bakery and the casitas is a shaded courtyard with fountains and tropical plants. Among the plants are many chickens. The chickens are wild and free, left overs from the old days when the chickens provided dinner and eggs. Today they manage to survive in the urban environment. They are quite friendly and constantly came by to check me out while I painted. In this case, the chicken crossed the road to see if the painter lady had any food!
For more information about this park visit their website