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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Spring time!: Florida's high springs

Published June 8, 2008
The purity of the water at Ginnie Spring has attracted the Coca-Cola Co., which has a permit to extract up to 600,000 gallons a day from a deeply placed well there and bottles some of it as Dasani water. And with water temperatures a cool 68 to 72 degrees, these alluring springs are unlikely spots for a meeting with an alligator.

At Rum Island Springs, a cabin can be rented for the weekend beside a turquoise pool of water twice the size of a large Jacuzzi. Poe Springs, in a 200-acre Alachua County park, has concrete steps leading into clear blue water. Blue Spring, Naked Spring, Johnson Spring and Kiefer Spring are all accessible from the privately owned Blue Springs swimming area in High Springs. More springs are preserved in more than a dozen state parks, including Troy, Manatee, Ponce de Leon and Wakulla Springs.

Ginnie Spring is in High Springs (population 3,600), a town with a historic district, craftsman homes and antiques shops that has also become the state's unofficial natural springs capital, a base for weekenders and vacationers. The town has two dive shops, canoe and kayak outfitters and tube rental establishments. The Great Outdoors, a new restaurant, bottles a beer called Naked Ed Ale, named for Ed Watts, who for 20 years has greeted visitors to the lovely Lilly Spring clad in only a necklace, wire-rimmed glasses and a loin cloth.
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