Author Archives: Kat Summers

Blue Spring State Park & Hontoon Island

Tranquil Kayaking Adventures

Blue Spring State Park’s exceptional Florida views and crystal clear waters offer swimmers, kayakers, fishermen, and guests an outstanding experience. Guest Services is honored to have now offered our services for over a year at this amazing destination in Orange City. Recently, we sat down with the new GM to discuss his background, the property’s exciting new developments, what it’s like on-site, and what the team is looking forward to.

Welcome to Blue Spring State Park & Hontoon Island
Discover these awesome parks, their concessions, kayak tours, boat tours, and all our offerings.

Two Hidden Florida Gems

Our operations management at Blue Spring State Park also expands to the neighboring Hontoon Island State Park. Located in the center of St. Johns River in Volusia County, the island is only accessible by private boat or park ferry that we also maintain and operate. It has a small museum, playground, retail shop, fishing spots, and 10 slips for boats to park.

Both of these outstanding properties feature great experiences that align with many of our other Florida properties. From the refreshing and awe-inspiring waters to the recreation classics like boating, canoeing, and fishing, our guests enjoy a wide variety of Guest Services premiere offerings.

Meet Ron Nance
General Manager at Blue Spring State Park and Hontoon Island
Ron tells us more about his background, his family, and his experience we Guest Services so far.

Manatee Festival

An annual festival in celebration of the adorable sea cows is held annually at Blue Spring State Park. The return of this exciting event last month saw a massive turnout due in part to its absence during the pandemic. “It went very well,” says Ron. “Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t really agreeing with us but the turnout was still fantastic. We had food, a beer garden, and ten or so vendors set up. It was terrific seeing so many come out to enjoy themselves.”

What’s Next?

The team looks forward to completing the construction of a pavilion and a deck as well as the addition of bike tours and various other upgrades. April 1st is the first day back for the season where they will be welcoming guests for tubing and swimming. The upcoming Firefly Festival is also a local favorite during which visitors enjoy the unique cascades of fireflies that light up the park.

The Horizon and Beyond
Learn what the team at Blue Spring is looking forward to, including finishing construction and a local partnership.

Meet the Team  

Stacey Tyson – AGM  

Nathanial Cook – Retail/Dock  

Grace Dickinson – Retail/Dock 

Angela Hatfield – Supervisor 

Kennedy Dixon – Retail/Dock 

Soren Anderson – Retail/Dock 

Tonya Scott – Retail/Dock 

Jonathon Perez – Dock 

Jacob Seago – Retail 

Zachary Sisk –  Dock 

Kimberli Kulik – Retail                         

Verania Sosa – Dock 

Evan McElhaney – Supervisor 

Debra Wood – Retail/Boat Tours 

Susan Toner – Retail 

Shane Fox – Supervisor Dock 

Rebecca Keith – Boat Captain 

Albert Thibodeaux – Ferry Hontoon 

Ronald Woxberg – Boat Captain 

Drake Neese – Supervisor Hontoon 

Casey Meyer – Retail/Dock 

Mariah Newcomb – Retail/Dock Hontoon 

Thank you Blue Spring State Park and Hontoon Island team members for all you do!

Women’s History Month

Women are under-represented throughout history.

Around the globe, we are present in every industry and facet of life.

We’ve had to fight for our rights.

Thanks to the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women for celebrating the first “Women’s History Week” in 1978!

Then in 1987, Congress designated March as “Women’s History Month,” and since then, the National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme.

2020’s Women’s History Month theme is Valiant Women of the Vote.  The theme honors women who fought to win suffrage rights for women and for those who continue to fight for the voting rights of others.

Treat Yourself

  • Bear Mountain, NY: Be kind to yourself – feeling stressed? Take a breathe and slow down

Traveling to escape the city? Bringing your pet? Celebrate 2020 with 20% off your lodging accommodation for two or more nights and 20% off one lunch or dinner in Restaurant 1915, located in Bear Mountain Inn. Room discount available on accommodations in the Overlook Lodge or Stone Lodges. To reserve, please call the hotel directly at 845.786.2731 or Bear Mountain Inn.

  • The Lodge at Wakulla Springs, FL: Prioritize time with yourself, organize your to-do list

Enjoy a unique stay beside the world’s deepest freshwater spring. Hiking trails, boat tours, swimming. Visit The Lodge at Wakulla and book now!

  • Big Sur, CA: Spend time alone – journal your thoughts, walk in nature or enjoy a cup of tea

Use your vacation day to unwind and experience nature. Take a weekend out to visit “mini-Yosemite”! As a Lodge guest, you receive a complimentary day pass to all three state parks in Big Sur: Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Andrew Molera State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Check room availability here.

Facts about Females

  • The world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji, was published in Japan around A.D. 1000 by female author Murasaki Shikibu.
  • The first country to grant women the right to vote in the modern era was New Zealand in 1893. It wasn’t until 1920 that women got the right to vote in the USA.

Valentine’s Day

Here at Guest Services, Inc.

We appreciate your time

Be our valentine

Valentine’s Day, or St Valentine’s Day, is celebrated every year on February 14. It’s the day when people show their affection for others by sending cards, flowers, or chocolates with messages of love.

But where did valentine’s day come from?

Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. In jail, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February, he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine.”

Enjoy a Sweet Treat!

  • Traverse, Breckenridge, CO

Take a trip to the Centennial State! You’ll be surrounded by breathtaking mountain views and spectacular romantic sunsets as you dine on delectable dishes that are prepared fresh daily. Make a reservation today 

  • Restaurant 1915, Bear Mountain, NY

Not interested in the big apple? Keep on going past Manhattan, past Yonkers, and you’ll reach the wooded Bear Mountain State Park. Enjoy a tasty piece of locally sourced meat at Restaurant 1915 & Blue Roof Bar.

  • Homestead Restaurant, Big Sur, CA

When you dine at our Restaurant and Bar, you dine surrounded by redwoods. You can enjoy either inside or while relaxing with a glass of local California wine or craft beer on the outdoor patio that overlooks the Big Sur River. Redwoods are waiting!

  • Sculpture Garden, Pavilion Café, DC

Come hungry, leave happy. Whether you’re hungry for snacks, meals or shareable plates, we have it all! Come and grab a bite before you walk around the National Mall. Call us at 202-289-3361

Valentines Around the World

Wales – Residents of Wales celebrate St. Dwynwen’s Day on January 25. St. Dwynwen is the Welsh patron saint of lovers, and men traditionally gift women with hand-carved wooden spoons. The tradition is based on the notion that Welsh sailors carved designs into wooden spoons while at sea to bring back to their lovers at home.

Japan – In Japan, women make the first move on Valentine’s Day. They give men gifts; a popular gift being honmei-choco, homemade chocolate. Men return the gesture on March 14. Known as White Day, men give women white chocolate and other white gifts as a sign of their affection