New Books Coming From Jolene

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Jolene, the Blog Writer (that’s me) is working on 2 new projects over the next couple of months. One is an updated version of her 2014 book about volunteering in Florida Parks. This one will be entitled Workamping in Florida 2018. I have created a “Members Only” website to go along with the new book that will have a searchable database of every single workamping opportunity in Florida. This year I am contacting all the private RV parks to be included in the database of information. There will be member’s only posts from real people who have workamped in those positions along with pictures of the volunteer campsites with tips about working in that park as well as the good and bad. For now, I am only offering two levels in the membership, a 1-year, and a Lifetime Membership level. Members will be notified whenever there is a new review or new place added to the database. This may turn into a series of books geared toward specific audiences to encourage more people to volunteer in our public land areas.

The second book is a history of the Hotel Blanche located in Lake City, Florida. The hotel was originally built in 1902 and has been the center of activities in the downtown area for almost 100 years. Although the hotel stopped taking guests sometime in the late 50’s or early 60’s the rooms were used by government and business people until the last 10 years or so. The building has been pretty much idle since then except for 1 small restaurant, a barber shop and a dress shop on the bottom floor. The building was finally declared a historical building in 1990 and around 5 years ago the Board of County Commissioners finally agreed to pursue plans for renovating the building now that the county owned it. In the middle of February of this year, the renovations have finally been officially begun and should take about 14 months to complete.

Enough of the backstory. I have always been fascinated by the building since my mom and I have been volunteering in this area the last couple of years. Now that we have settled into county park for a little while I thought I would research and publish a couple of books while I was stationary for a little while. I looked all over for a book that was ever published about Blanche Hotel’s history and couldn’t find one. I decided to do it myself. There are some challenges to researching a subject that has been around so long and almost completely vacant for most of the last 15 years. It will be hard to find first-hand witnesses to interview and over 100 years of newspapers to scour for more information, pictures would be nice and video even better. I have created a website to record my journey along the way. Hope you will share it with your friends and family. It should prove to be enlightening to those who would like to produce a similar book.

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