In 1984, after nearly 20 years of ownership by outside corporations, W.S. “Billy” Stuckey, Jr., son of Stuckey’s founder W.S. Stuckey, Sr., repurchased the brand and once again a Stuckey held its reigns. However, this time there was a bit of a twist. Billy had the idea for “Stuckey’s Express” – a store-within-a-store concept that resulted in over 165 licensed Stuckey’s Express stores in 17 states. A typical Stuckey’s Express. . One of those stores is the Stuckey’s Express located about 20 miles south of St. Augustine at the intersection of U.S. Route 1 and I-95. Here you can get your fill of Dilly Bars, burgers, gasoline, and of course, all of the Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls you need for the road trip ahead. In fact, take a couple with you and drive over to the other side of the intersection where you’ll find the Florida Citrus Center located in a familiar building with a certain slope to its roof. Yep, that’s right – that’s the former stand-alone store once known as Stuckey’s of Marineland. (Marineland opened nearby in 1938 as the “World’s First Oceanarium”. It’s now known as the dolphin conservation center called Marineland Dolphin Adventure.) Now, sit there in the parking lot, open one of your pecan log rolls, take a bite, and reminisce about the all of those Stuckey’s stops you and your folks would make on your family vacations of summers past. Maybe you can even start planning a few road trips of your own. And since you’re in the neighborhood you can start here by checking out these other things you can see and do near the Stuckey’s of Marineland. (Oh, and you should probably buy a couple of oranges, too, before you leave so the people at the Florida Citrus Center don’t think you’re some kind of weirdo for parking in their lot and staring at the store for an hour. Just saying.) ANGEL’S DINING CAR / Palatka FL Okay, so we know that we just told you to eat a couple of pecan log rolls while you stare at an old Stuckey’s store, but just think of them as appetizers as you head over to our first destination – Angel’s Dining Car in nearby Palatka – because you really don’t want to miss what’s on their menu. Image courtesy of Angel’s Dining Car Touted as “Florida’s Oldest Diner”, Porter Angel opened his eponymous dining car in 1932. After Porter’s death, it was bought by current caretakers John Browning and his ex-wife, Diane, who apparently found that there was something more important than love – FOOD! Angel’s Dining Car is not really one of those diners devoted to the 50’s look (or any other decade, for that matter). Think of it rather as sort of like your grandmother’s kitchen – it’s got some modern appliances and a couple of things that have been remodeled, but even more, it still has things that have settled there over the years just to remind you of things come and gone and the journey it took to get where it is today. Sure, you can still get curbside service, but trust us on this one – go inside for the ambiance alone and enjoy a menu that includes a little bit of everything from local down-home cooking (deep-fried green beans, okra, and frog legs) and traditional diner fare (burgers, fries, and hand-battered onion rings). And of course there’s always their great breakfast for you early risers. Image: courtesy of Lauren McPherson’s YouTube channel Lauren Tries THE CHICKEN PANTRY RESTAURANT / Bunnell, FL “What? Another restaurant?” you may be thinking. “What is this, a food tour?” Well, while we see nothing wrong with you going in and trying some of the delicious chicken appetizers and entrees on this 4-star rated restaurant’s menu, we’re here for another reason entirely – the big red chicken that sits out front. We mean, c’mon, it’s a really BIG red chicken and one of the things modern road warriors like us just have to take a selfie with. THE PIRATE HOUSE / Ormond-by-the-Sea, FL ‘Ay you scurvy dogs, ye might want to see this here landlubber attraction while it be still around. It all started when Griff Detrick, recently retired from the Seminole County Plannin’ an’ Development Department was at Flagler Beach watchin’ local woodcarver Jerry Stringham carve a gentleman o’ fortune out o’ wood with a chainsaw. Detrick was so fascinated by the work, ‘e knew ‘e just ‘ad to ‘ave it. So, ‘e bought it, named ‘im “Gaspar” an’ put it in ‘is fore yard. Image courtesy Pirata Clothing Grabbin’ notice o’ the wooden gentleman o’ fortune, Detrick’s neighbors an’ mates started tellin’ ‘im where ‘e could find more an’ the next thin’ ‘e knew ‘e ‘ad a ‘ole collection. On the rooftop ye’ll find Cap’n Morgan. Nearby ‘im be Morgan, Jr. an’ Balcony Bob. Who’s that there climbin’ the chimney? Why, that be Swingin’ Susie. She be a real fun lass. Unfortunately, earlier this here year, Griff announced ‘e been puttin’ ‘is pirate playland up fer sale in this here April 29 Facebook post: “It’s time.. the Pirate House has served me well, brought so much joy, and helped me believe in myself. She’s officially on the market and looking for the next person to share her magic with.” So, ye better get o’er there an’ see it while ye still can before the new owner decides that Ormond-by-the-Sea be no place fer gentlemen o’ fortune. CHIEF TOMOKIE STATUE / Ormond-by-the-Sea, FL Postcard c.1960’s /Public Domain Another Florida roadside attraction that might be vanishing soon is the Chief Tomkie Statue in Tomoka State Park. Unveiled with a lot of foofaraw on March 21, 1957, the 45-foot-tall monument “The Legend of Chief Tomokie” was designed by the nationally famous local sculptor-muralist-architect Fred Dana Marsh. Whether the life of Chief Tomoki is legend or myth, we’ll leave that up to decide, but here’s the gist of the story that the statue was based upon. Supposedly, Chief Tomokie of the local Timucuan tribe wanted to live forever so he committed the profane act of drinking the Water of Life out of the Timucuan tribe’s Sacred Cup. When the tribe sees what the chief is doing, all of them gather together, including Oleeta, the warrior princess, to kill him. The chief, thinking he now invincible, picks up a spear to defend himself and knocks the Sacred Cup over, spilling the Water Life all over the place. Thus, he is not immortal after all and they kill him. The statue is made up of cement, brick dust and bamboo rods and, when first erected, stood in front of a large reflecting pool. However, since its dedication 65 years ago both the elements and vandals have plagued the statue. The spear that Chief Tomokie held in his hand went missing years ago. In 1974, the reflecting pool dried up and in 2002, two men from North Carolina plead guilty to stealing Oleeta’s head and were subsequently jailed. Efforts have been made to restore the statue, however, as it still remains a local landmark. Nonetheless, Florida Governor Jeb Bush vetoed a bill that allotted $100,000 to restore the statue in 1999. Since then, Mother Nature has continued taking its toll on the statue, so better visit now before it lost forever to time and the elements. FAIRCHILD OAK / Ormand-by-the-Sea, FL Located in Florida’s Bulow Creek State Park the Fairchild Oak is one of the largest live oak trees in the South. The tree has been a silent witness for more than 400 years (and some say possible up to 2,000 year) to human activities that took place along Bulow Creek. It has seen and survived both the Second Seminole war and the elements of nature. Image: Djngsf, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons However, if the tree could talk, there are some secrets it would still likely want to keep to itself. You see, under the branches of this mighty sentinel two tragic deaths occurred more than a century and a half ago. The first was on Sept. 4, 1829, when James Ormond II died unexpectedly while resting under the shade of the tree – his cause of death unknown. All we know about him is that he was supposedly an honest man, because that’s exactly what his nearby gravestone reads: “An Honest Man”. The second death was even more tragic when, in 1880, the property owner found himself deep in debt and saw no way out of his situation but to take his own life under the Fairfield Oak. They say his ghost still walks the land. Today, the tree witnesses brighter days, however, as people picnic on the nearby spacious lawn, hike along the Bulow Woods Trail and taking in all the other flora and fauna that make the gorgeous grounds of this popular state park such a lovely place to spend the day. Well, that about wraps up today’s blog post. Of course, this is Florida, and though we already said a lot about a handful of things to see and do near Stuckey’s, there’s still plenty more to see and do in the rest of the Sunshine State as well. Let us know some of your local favorite places to visit. — By the way, you don’t have to wait until your next road trip to Florida to enjoy all of the pecany goodness that Stuckey’s has to offer. In fact, you can have it all sent right to your home before your next road trip by ordering from our website. Why not start with the Stuckey’s Welcome to Summer Gift Box that’s chock full of all of your favorite Stuckey’s road trip snacks including 2 oz. Pecan Log Rolls (2), 1.7 oz. Pecan Divinity Bars (2), 1.5 oz. Pecan Pralines (2), a 12 oz. Salt Water Taffy (1), an 8 oz. Hunkey Dorey (1), a 4 oz. Sea Salt Pecans (1), a 4 oz. Kettle Glazed Pecans (1), a Candy Shoppe Coffee Mug (1), and a plush 12″ Squirrel (1) to keep you company if your traveling alone. Get all of these delicious Stuckey’s snacks and more from stuckeys.com. Stuckey’s – We’re making Road Trips Fun Again!