Having gone through my formative years (puberty, the rest are irrelevant to males) in south Florida, I see it as my home, my life's point of reference. That's probably why I kept returning to it after living in other parts of the country. After years of bouncing around the country, I found a nice place to retire here in what I call southwest central Florida.
Sebring is a small city, famous for a little known annual event. Sports car enthusiasts may know about the 12 Hours of Sebring but it seems precious few others do. I knew about it even when I was unsure just where it was. But, at the time, I was a teenager with a fascination for something I could not afford: sports cars. Now I am an old guy who still can't afford them. Some things do not change.
Sebring is more than a city wrapped around a single event. It is an anachronism. It appears to be stuck in the 50s or maybe the early 60s. And it is not too interested in getting unstuck. This is one of its charms.
Sebring's median age, as of the 2000 census, is 42. Which, oddly enough is also the answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything.
(If the reference mystifies you then click on it)
I think the median age fluctuates in Sebring. You see, the population here grows and shrinks with the seasons. Around mid-October it begins to grow. By the end of November, it has pretty much expanded to twice its summer level. I would guess, since maybe 95% of those coming in are retired, that the median age jumps to something above 55. To be crude, we are an Old Fart's Town.
(click on the pictures to get a larger image)
Here are some landmarks...
Harder Hall, currently owned by the city, optioned out at least twice. A story in itself.
The City Pier. It sits on Lake Jackson, a large but shallow lake. At its lowest during a drought, it has been walked across.
The Highlands County Courthouse. If you look carefully, you will see a boarded up window on the top floor (third from right). Probably broke during one of the hurricanes three years ago.
A strange phenomenon occurs about the time that it gets difficult to get into restaurants during the early bird meals, traffic slows. The main road here is US 27, a 6 lane divided highway that runs north-south. The speed limit is, for the most part, 55 MPH. This is the posted limit (it actually is 50 MPH just after entering the city limits and goes back up within 2 miles). The average speed, during the summer, is about 40 MPH through that stretch when you figure in traffic lights. In the winter, that drops to 20 MPH. For some reason, the newcomers can't seem to go over 45 MPH and they love to drive side by side by side. This amounts to a rolling blockade.
This is okay, really, because nothing I have a need to go to is more than 15 minutes away from my house in winter (10 in summer). That's one of the joys of living in a small city. That's tough on our cars, though, since they don't get to warm up properly.
I can deal with that.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago