In 1988 Ron and Patty Wilson (right) were looking for something different to do one weekend. Ron suggested to his wife that they travel to the Ocala area from their home in Sarasota.
Patty was not enthused with the idea, but kept an open mind. Before the weekend was over the couple had discovered many “Secrets” that Florida has to offer. Among their findings on that first trip were: Micanopy, “The little town that time forgot”; Marjorie Rawlings Cracker Homestead; the majesty of horse country and Rainbow Springs.
For the next several years Ron & Patty criss-crossed the state on weekend trips, staying in Bed & Breakfasts and historic hotels. On an excursion to the Tallahassee area they were told about caverns located about one hour west. The visit to the Florida Caverns made up their mind to write a book about the lesser-known “unique destinations” in the state.
Various names were considered for the guide book, including Florida Pathfinder, Florida Adventurer, and Florida Companion. Florida Secrets Bed & Breakfast & Beyond (right) was produced in 1997 and published in 1998 with the help of graphic designer and artist Alec Trapheagen. Alec created a “Treasure Map” that folded out of the back of the book with captivating artwork and a quick-find reference.
The book was picked up by Barnes & Noble and other bookstores. With this, the Wilsons began giving lectures and doing book signings. The book sold out in one year. At that time it was decided to create a Web site www.floridasecrets.com
The Wilsons again called on Alec T. for the graphic design and set-up of the Web site which was rolled out in 1999. Later that year the Florida Secrets Journal, a printed quarterly was introduced as well.
In 2000 Phil Lieberman (right) brought his talents and enthusiasm to the project and became our editor. Like the Wilsons, Phil and his wife Rosalind have a wanderlust that is a prerequisite for anyone involved with the “Insider’s Guide to Florida”.
The book is now out of print but it may have a second issue in the future. Alec T. has moved on; Kevin Bodo is now providing the Web site graphics.
Florida Secrets continues to seek out those interesting and unique gems that are just around the bend in the road.