Why Highlands County?
Last week was Tourism Day for Youth Leadership Highlands. We started the day by arriving at the Chamber of Commerce building in Sebring at 8:00, and getting on the bus shortly after. Our first stop was to the Sebring International Raceway. We got to see cars in the process of getting ready for the races coming up in March, as well as, learn some interesting facts about them. One thing that really caught my attention was that the race cars have built in water compartments, and if the driver gets thirsty during a race, all he has to do is press a button and water will squirt into his mouth! After learning about the cars, we got to sit on bleachers and see cars practice racing around the track. We had a front row seat and were as close as you can get to the cars without a ticket. When we got on the bus, our tour guide was nice enough to give us all free shirts. After this, we drove around the airport, and got to see the Air Expo that was happening. It was very interesting to see all the people that came out for the expo. Then we stopped at Maxwell Groves in Avon Park. If I would have known this place was there, I would have started coming to it a long time ago! We got to talk to the longtime owner of the store, and got to sit outside and enjoy some delicious orange ice cream that was made with real orange juice. From there we headed over to the Jacaranda Hotel for lunch. The buffet and dessert was delicious! After lunch, we got a tour of the hotel. We got to see everything in the hotel except for the rooms, since no rooms were vacant due to the Air Expo. I didn't even realize that the hotel had a pool and hot tub! It was very interesting to see what the hotel looked like, hear the history of the hotel, and hear some ghost stories. Next we headed over to Barben Fruit blueberry farm. Here, we learned many interesting facts about how blueberries are grown, and how challenging it can be to grow them. After a nice visit at the blueberry farm, we went to Sun N' Lakes Country Club & Golf Course in Sebring. We got were given a tour of the country club, golf course and restaurant. It was interesting to see how many northerners and others are regulars at the country club. To me, the most interesting thing about this was that there are over 90 personal golf carts parked in a neat row at the golf course. We ended our day with heading back to the chamber building where we did a few team building activities. It was very interesting to see all of the different places around Highlands County that tourists enjoy. Before Tourism Day, I wondered why people came to Highlands County, and what it had to offer. Now, I have some insight on why tourists come to Highlands County, and how many interesting things it does have to offer.