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Congress 2023 in Orlando, July 13-20

SAR Magazine
Vol. 117 No. 2, Fall 2022, pp. 6-7

  • Visit Florida’s website for information on the event, hotel, tours, and schedule.
  • An overview of the Congresses — their purpose, structure, and protocols — is available here.

You may not drink from the Fountain of Youth, but upon arriving in the Sunshine State for the 133rd Sons of the American Revolution Congress, you may feel like you have discovered the fountain. Florida is known for alligators, oranges and the space program, and there is much more awaiting your arrival. Centrally located in Orlando, The Rosen Plaza is a three-minute walk from the Orange County Convention Center and nine minutes from Florida Mall. This hotel is 3.5 miles from Universal Studios Florida and 7.6 miles from the Disney Springs shopping area.

The 800 guestrooms feature refrigerators and flatscreen televisions. Most have two double beds, but there are some kings, and, of course, ADA-equipped rooms as well. Complimentary wireless Internet access and cable programming are available.

Don’t miss out on the recreational opportunities, including an outdoor pool, spa and fitness center. Grab a bite to eat at one of the hotel’s five restaurants. Press this link to book at the hotel (or call 1-800-627-8258). To get the SAR rate, the group is NSSAR2023.


French, Spanish and British history abounds in the area of Florida known as First Coast, Atlantic North Florida. It was the first coast colonized. Jacksonville was founded as the French colony of Fort Caroline in 1513. St. Augustine was founded by the Spanish in 1565 and is the oldest continuously inhabited European established city in the continental United States. French adventurers prompted Spain to accelerate its plans for colonization. Pedro Menéndez de Avilés hastened across the Atlantic, his sights on removing the French and creating a Spanish settlement. Menéndez arrived in 1565 at a place he called San Augustín (St. Augustine).

The English, also eager to exploit the wealth of the Americas, increasingly came into conflict with Spain’s expanding empire. Spanish control of Florida was not diminished.

When English settlers came to America, they established their first Colonies well to the north at Jamestown in 1607 and Plymouth in 1620. English Colonists wanted to take advantage of the continent’s natural resources and gradually pushed the borders of Spanish power southward into present-day southern Georgia. At the same time, French explorers were moving down the Mississippi River Valley and eastward along the Gulf Coast.

Spain’s adversaries moved even closer when England founded Georgia in 1733, its southernmost continental colony.

Britain gained control of Florida in 1763 in exchange for Havana, Cuba, which the British had captured from Spain during the Seven Years’ War (1756-63).

The British had ambitious plans for Florida. First, it was split into two parts: East Florida, with its capital at St. Augustine, and West Florida, with its seat at Pensacola. The British tried to develop relations with a group of Creek Indians migrating down from the North; they called them the Seminoles. Britain attempted to attract white settlers by offering land on which to settle and help to those who produced products for export. This plan might have converted Florida into a flourishing colony, but British rule lasted only 20 years.

The two Floridians remained loyal to Great Britain throughout the War for American Independence (1776- 83). However, Spain participated indirectly in the war as an ally of France and captured Pensacola from the British in 1781. In 1784, it regained control of the rest of Florida as part of the peace treaty that ended the American Revolution.

Merritt Island memorializes the Last Naval Battle of the Revolutionary War with a monument and a military museum. NASA provides the more recent history of aviation and space travel. A must-see NASA tour is planned for Saturday.

For Congress attendees who visit the state parks and natural wonders in different states, the Florida State Park system provides interest for every visitor.


One of the most iconic road-trip experiences in the USA is hopping in your car and exploring the West Coast Parks of Florida. With world-class beaches, remote islands, trendy downtowns, lush state parks, mangrove forests and everything in between, this 660- mile route offers something for everyone. Starting in Pensacola, in the northwest of the Florida Panhandle, and following the Gulf Coast south to Everglades City, the sites provide a perfect blend of culture, beach and city life. Rocks, sediments, landforms and water across the state tell a fascinating story of lakes, springs, beaches and sinkholes. The dissolution of limestone forms springs. As their cool water flows to the earth’s surface, springs offer a window into the Floridian aquifer, which provides more than 90 percent of the drinking water.

See the waterfall in a cave system at Falling Waters State Park. Explore the exquisite mineral formations at Florida Caverns State Park. Stand on the edge of a giant ancient sinkhole at Devil’s Millhopper Geological State Park. Stand inside a fossil coral reef at Windley Key Fossil Geological State Park.

At Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, more than 100 million gallons of groundwater flow from the spring daily. Visitors watch the park’s famous mermaid shows, take a scenic riverboat tour, or splash into the clear water. Everglades City is located south of Naples. The west side of Everglades National Park offers boating, kayaking, airboat riding and swamp-buggy adventures around the 10,000 islands into the Big Cyprus National Preserve for a view of alligators, pythons, wild boar and many species of wild birds.


Crystal River is the jewel of the area. Beautiful springs, rich indigenous history, and plenty of wildlife make it both exciting and enjoyable. Hundreds of manatees seek protection in the warm spring waters during the cold winter, and you can swim with the manatees. Sunset on Siesta Key is the place to be when the sun sets. Miles of gorgeous white-sand beaches set the perfect stage as the sun melts into the water.

Ar Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the stunning collection of orchids will awe you. This is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytes; being part of the Smithsonian Affiliate Network means this place is popular.

There is no better place to search for shark teeth than Venice Beach on the Gulf Coast. Before heading to the waters, purchase a sifter and scoop to help find the fossilized shark teeth on the beach and in the water. JN Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place for walking with nature, seeing wildlife, and bird watching while visiting the 6,400 acres. A one-way-drive option allows pull-offs to observe what catches your eye anywhere along the way.

A day trip to Cayo Costa, located 24 miles from Fort Myers and only accessible by boat. Treasures of the island include starfish, sand dollars, and almost every variety of shell Florida has to offer.


Florida offers many fascinating museums and cultural interest destinations. The Ringling Museum, located in Sarasota, is dedicated to the history of the circus on what was once the massive personal estate of John Ringling. The grounds feature the circus museum, the private residence of John Ringling called Ca’ d’Zan, a gigantic art museum and several acres of lush gardens.

The Dali Museum houses the most extensive collection of artist Salvador Dali’s work outside of Spain. He was a surrealist known for his technical skill and bizarre images. This museum offers extensive, tall ceiling galleries with ample room to observe and reflect on the pieces that are on display.

The Sarasota Ghost Tour trolley provides tales of ghosts as you cruise around the city on 90-minute tour cruises. Edison and Ford Winter Estates is a lovely estate in Fort Myers. Here, you can immerse yourself in the lifestyle of two famous inventors. Thomas Edison purchased the property in 1885 when he relocated to southwest Florida for the winter. A visit includes the opportunity to tour the grounds and houses and learn more about the people.


Raffle tickets for a Minuteman bronze sculpture and a reproduction Pennsylvania longrife are available to benefit the Florida SAR 2023 Congress Fund. For information, visit Florida congress website and click on “Raffles” at the top of the page.

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