There’s this place: Alderman’s Ford Park

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

Mitch Traphagen photos.

Mitch Traphagen photos.

Just down the road from Goodson Farms just off County Roads 672 and 39 lies a little slice of paradise that most people don’t consider when they think of paradise in Florida.

Alderman’s Ford Regional Park is the place where the Alafia River branches into its north and south prongs. But it is so much more than that: It is a place of peace and tranquillity. It offers a return to nature, the real Florida, a short distance but a long way away from the hustle and bustle of urban life. There are trails for hiking and biking, there are picnic shelters, and there is the incomparable natural beauty of Florida, most of which is shaded, offering a cool respite from the summer heat. Well worth the drive, stop by (and step back in time) at the Picnic Grocery on County Road 39, only a few miles from the park, for cold beverages and freshly made sandwiches. Or, if coming from Sun City Center or points south, stop by the Fort Lonesome Grocery — or maybe both. A visit to the park is a mini vacation, after all. Go on foot or ride your bicycle to enjoy the trails and the boardwalk.

4aldermansfordpark_wildJust an FYI: As of press time, the canoe launch was temporarily closed. But walking through the park is a treat enough for the senses. Feel your blood pressure drop. Enjoy the cool shade on a balmy summer day. Have a sandwich under a tree laden with Spanish moss. And realize just how beautiful and accessible the real Florida can be.

Alderman’s Ford Regional Park is in eastern Hillsborough County located off the intersection of County Road 39 and Thompson Road. There is a $2 entrance fee for vehicles containing up to eight people. A visitor center and restrooms are available. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/observer-park.

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