The tours and dinner the day before our Statewide Meeting were arranged for us by West Volusia Tourism (Georgia Turner, Executive Director, sits on the board of River of Lakes Heritage Corridor.) Phase 1 of the tours was Lake Helen (see separate blog post) and Phase 2 was a visit to Cassadaga – the sister town to Lake Helen. Cassadaga is the “Twilight Zone” to Lake Helen’s “Mayberry” – a charming combination to visit!
The tour kicked off with an orientation from Dawn Medley in the back meeting and events room of the large bookstore facing the famous Cassadaga Hotel. Dawn is the activities director for Cassadaga, and had a concise yet profound overview for the group about the history of the camp and its connection to the Spiritualist Movement – curious? Maybe you should come take a tour as well!
The group then moved to the church, where services are welcoming to all denominations, and mediums will reach out to people they feel they have a message for during certain times. Dawn gave a description of different types of séances held in different locations. A key belief of Spiritualists is that we continue on, so many people visit the camp with a dream of communicating with a loved one either through an appointment with a medium or at an event or séance.
The church was peaceful, and Dawn was an enthralling guide. After the tour of the church was done, some rode in the van back to the Cassadaga Hotel, and some walked, hearing stories about historic houses on the way back up the hill. Some people bought some things in the bookstore (there are many books, but also crystals, clothing, and jewelry – it’s fun to browse.)
At 6:30, everyone who signed up for the dinner met at Sinatra’s in the Cassadaga hotel, where a special back room was set up for us. The light was lovely as the sun set and people enjoyed a delicious dinner.
A few adventurous souls stayed in the Cassadaga hotel – whose rooms will remind one of a historical bed and breakfast – all antiques. It’s a very atmospheric spot for a peaceful getaway. Don’t go there for the TV or WiFi!
Thanks to all in the byway community who attended these pre-events to get a taste of unique culture and history along River of Lakes Heritage Corridor, and many thanks to Georgia Turner for her part in setting up these additional events that the statewide program was prohibited from setting up on our own.
We offer thanks to great partners who help the byways collection thrive!