My last full day in Florida was a Thursday. During the previous five days I’d had fun, walking and hiking and seeing manatee, but the hoped for cycling and kayaking and swimming didn’t take place. The weather was cold and windy by Florida standards. The kayak rental shop we went to didn’t want to put me on the water due to the weather conditions. And so it continued Thursday.

Early that morning I was distracting my host, Sayre Kulp, from his work on a show. (Mr. Kulp is on the board of Florida Marching Arts, and has serious drum corp habits.)

“Sayre, I want to do a longer hike.”

“Ok, where? You find a place and let me finish this horn part.”

After searching online and discussion we decided on Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, north in Flagler Beach. And once my friend got further on the horn part, we left.

Bulow is actually two separate parks. The Plantation Ruins connect to Bulow Creek State Park and the latter’s Bulow Creek Trail, a six mile walk. Our visit consisted on an hour at the ruins, and then hiking the long trail.

Not that there wasn’t hiking at the ruins. We parked a short distance from the visitor center and foundation of the plantation house, but the actual sugar refinery ruins, the largest in Florida, required a longer walk. But it was worth it.

Sayre reading on the other side of the ruins.

As for the plantation house and slave huts, they were long gone, having been burnt in the same Seminole attacks that destroyed the sugar mill. But we may have an image of them, taken by a previous visitor from Pennsylvania.

John James Audubon traveled to Florida researching and making sketches for The Birds of America. The Bulow family hosted the French-accented frontiersman, and its believed the background of his illustration of the Greater Yellowlegs shows the Bulow home and slave cabins in the background.


After walking around the ruins of the mill and plantation, and the connecting short trails, we headed on to the big hike of the day – the Bulow Creek Trail.