POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

More ideas for roadside exploring

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The Last Resort Biker Bar

Trading on its notoriety, The Last Resort in Port Orange is a funky spot worth a look. (Orlando Sentinel / October 4, 2002)

Readers of the Postcards column offered lots of feedback about last week's column on my favorite roadside stops.

Most of the letters were friendly, equipped with plenty of suggestions about other homegrown eateries and attractions worth taking the long way on a future road trip.

For instance, the next time I'm in South Florida, I'm pretty sure I'll find a way to swing by Shorty's Bar-B-Q (9200 S. Dixie Highway, Miami), which comes highly recommended from Postcards reader Bill Read, who reports that reading last week's column made him hungry.

There were other recommendations for barbecue restaurants as well as a shout-out for Chamblin Bookmine (chamblinbookmine.com), a mammoth used bookstore in Jacksonville. Reader Alan Becker favors the Chamblin store south of the city, rather than the smaller one downtown.

I'll be reporting on some of these spots in future columns.

Not all the responses were so positive:

"Your roadside stops column in yesterday's paper was at least right about one thing," writes Al Varasdi of Kissimmee about my endorsement of Buddy Freddy's buffet in Plant City. "Buddy Freddy's is not even the best restaurant you can find at that I-4 exit. I realize we all have different opinions, but Buddy Freddy's is bad."

As I mentioned, it's more of a sentimental attachment, Al.

Quirks go a long way with me. In that spirit, here are a few more unlikely blips to add to the roadside radar.

In Port Orange, intrepid barhoppers will want to experience The Last Resort (5812 S. Ridgewood Ave.), the biker bar made famous after serial killer Aileen Wuornos was arrested there in 1991. That notoriety resulted in a face-lift for the bar, which was used as a location for "Monster," the 2003 movie about the case that starred Charlize Theron.

It's still plenty earthy inside, so I'd recommend taking your beer out to the grassy yard behind the bar, decorated with motorcycle parts dangling from the trees on my visit a few years back.

I like unmarked historic landmarks. The Derry Down, the Winter Haven coffeehouse where country singer Gram Parsons first performed, is now a warehouse across Avenue D from Carlton's Music Center. Nearby, his name is etched in the driveway of his childhood home at 941 Piedmont Drive. Take his music along.
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