Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Florida Carriage Museum -- Very Nice

We have been meaning to visit the Florida Carriage Museum in the Lady Lake area of Florida for several months and finally decided to take a look. We were amazed at the quality of this museum and the wonderful displays of all sorts of beautiful carriages. Not surprisingly, horses play a major role in the museum, so it is fitting that a sculpture of a horse ready to pull a carriage meets us as we enter.

Carriages were the main form of travel for thousands of years and the museum shows all kinds that are fully restored and in period display. It was easy to imagine living 150 years ago and climbing into this beautiful carriage for a trip to town.

Carriages were used in all phases of life, just as cars and trucks are today. This collection of commercial wagons was very interesting and showed how life was lived -- and indeed, these were the pickup trucks of the day.

Rick really liked this one -- the peanut wagon that was used in the Barnum Circus. It would have been fun to see these carts rolling down the street and smelling the wonderful oder of popcorn and peanuts.

This carriage was used in England as a stagecoach and was the mass transit of the era. The expensive seats were inside while the low dollar transportation was out on top!

Carriages all kinds of accessories, just as our cars have available today. This one, however, was unique. Called the "Urchin Guard", it is mounted on the back rail of this carriage as pointed out by Orinda. It consists of a number of gold-painted spikes to discourage kids (urchins) from hopping on the back of the carriage while underway. I have not seen one of those for our Buick!

This is everything the well dressed socialite might need. The classy dress, the formal carriage and no doubt, a spirited team of horses outside with the stable hands.

Rick liked this carriage. In the seat in front, and in several compartments on the coach, are golf clubs! Called the golf carriage, this transported the golfers to the course for a great round of play. Wow -- golf carts have sure changed!

We would certainly recommend the Florida Carriage Museum for a great trip back to the past. Who knows, as gasoline gets ever more expensive, maybe we will be using these carriages again someday!

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