October 13, 2011

Grandeur in ruin {traveling adventures}


When you’ve vacationed in the same place for your entire life (in my case Ormond Beach, Florida) it can often be challenging to find new and different things to do. This most recent trip (last week) I managed to experience two new things…one of which I had dreamed about since childhood and the other I’d only recently discovered.


The childhood dream was visiting a certain landmark restaurant, but I’ll share more about that a little later. The other new thing we saw was an historical site we’d never heard of: the Calle Grande colonnade and arches.


In 1926, Walter C. Hardesty developed and built a luxury subdivision in Ormond Beach called Rio Vista on the Halifax. Hardesty made his fortune in manufacturing, creating arts and craft-style furniture in Dover, Ohio. By 1927 Rio Vista had a large hotel, 38 homes and more than 15 miles of paved roads. Hardesty wanted the experience of driving up to the site to be breathtaking so he constructed a set of formal marble arches as well as 20 columns on either side of the entrance, strategically positioned by a small canal.


We couldn’t believe the effort that must have gone into creating these gorgeous structures. If you’re wondering what happened to Rio Vista and Mr. Hardesty’s dreams as a real estate mogul, everything pretty much halted with the stock market collapse and the Depression. But these ruins still serve as a reminder of a grander time. And to think they have been there all these years right under our noses.

Do you venture out and find new sights to see even when visiting a beloved, well-known locale?