The first time that I visited Eatonville. I was in Florida to conduct Hurston-related research in Gainesville, Florida, and, having flown into Orlando, I felt compelled to make the pilgrimage the nearby town that meant so much to Zora. Having read and taught Zora Neale Hurston's books for more than 20 years--and read and head so much about Eatonville's history as one of the first all-Black towns to be incorporated in America, I found that It was just as I thought it would be: small, clean, quiet, and historically linked to the life and legacy of of the brilliant writer who spent part of her childhood there.
Because I arrived late in the early evening on a Sunday, I missed the congregants who worshiped at the churches on Kennedy Boulevard, and both the Zora Neale Hurston branch of the public library and the Hurston Museum were closed. During most of the visit, I was the only person on the street, and, in my solitude, I enjoyed taking photos of everything around me. After the photo shoot, I drove up the road a piece, and had dinner in Winter Park, Florida. Like many small towns, Eatonville is quite charming. I didn't encounter the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan museum community, but that was not the reason for my visit. I found what I was looking for, and I was not disappointed.
My only regret is that I was not able to meet the Hurston Museum's staff members, since they were so polite when I spoke with them by telephone before my visit. No worries, however, since I am planning a return visit -- during their normal, weekday business hours -- in October of 2015.
I visited Eatonville in June of 2013. I selected "June 2015" from the menu for this review, because I had to choose a date before moving on to the next section of this page, and I wanted readers to know that I visited during the off season, since the big Zora! festival is in January of each year.
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