Ask any Ormond Beach native over the age of, say, 50, about the Tomoka Lights, and expect a quick smile and a slow nod. It seems most people in that category have seen them (or at least know someone who has). If you're lucky, you'll get an "I know the sister of a guy who died chasing them!"
Just what are the Tomoka Lights?
Depends on who you ask.
First of all, let's set the scene. Surely all of you reading this have driven the Loop. If not, call a friend and invite them on an outing. It won't take long to travel these 24 miles, and once you have, you'll never think of developers the same way.
For those who haven't experienced the Loop lately, here's a refresher. I hope you'll find the description I used in my historical novel "Where's Capone's Cash?" helpful:
".the Loop (was) a faded, two-lane road encircling one of the few remaining stretches of Old Florida. Here the world looked much as it had for the Timucua Indians hundreds of years before. To the east of the Loop wound the Tomoka and Halifax Rivers, to its west simmered the Florida wetlands, and directly overhead, ancient oaks linked their limbs together into a long, continuous canopy. This Sunday drive was a favorite with bicyclists and motorists, resulting in frequent mishaps as the two jockeyed for a position on the narrow pavement."
Mishaps have also been blamed on mysterious red or silver lights streaking across the pavement at night, startling drivers and motivating the reckless to pursue them down the dark, narrow road. Sometimes, to their death.
Next week we'll consider some explanations.
Day trip: The Loop. Start at the corner of John Anderson Drive and Granada Boulevard (aka Highway 40) travel north on John Anderson until it dead ends into High Bridge Road. Turn left. Follow High Bridge Road until it dead ends into Walter Boardman. Turn left. Follow Walter Boardman until it dead ends into Old Dixie Highway. Turn left. Old Dixie Highway turns into North Beach Street and will bring you back to the Granada Bridge (on the mainland). Take a camera, and drive slowly-this is a special place!
Marian Tomblin is the author of "The Mystery at Hotel Ormond" and "Where's Capone's Cash?" both selected for community-wide literacy campaigns. Her latest book, "Bull on the Beach!" is a compilation of historical anecdotes discovered while researching her novels.
For more information, call her at (386) 615-0493 or visit the Web site at www.MarianSTomblin.com.