If you drive 10 miles out on Fruitville Road until it ends at Myakka Road and you turn right, you will find yourself meandering down a pleasant country road.
Keep driving three more miles and on the left across a bridge, is Crowley Museum and Nature Center, nestled gently in the woods.
As you slowly drive over the cow crossing rails, open fields, horses, old barns and weather-beaten houses beckon you to park your car and start exploring.
Museum director Laney Poire and Folk School director Deb Blount greet you with smiles a mile wide and you just know you are in for an interesting adventure.
Poire and Blount have been busy this summer. They have harnessed some of the best local instructors and teachers for their new Folk School, which opens this weekend with a variety of classes and workshops to capture everyone’s interest.
“Many folks are interested in learning the basics of living off the land and demonstrating thrift and conservation. Crowley Folk School is harnessing the energy of teachers who are livers of the back to basics lifestyle. Come learn both traditional and modern “homesteading skills and experience the arts in the process," says Blount.
The Folk School has a staggering variety of classes ranging from sustainable agriculture to camping 101, making your own rain barrel, storytelling and visual arts workshops to name a few.
In celebration of it’s school opening, Crowley is offering a 50 percent off incentive to anyone who registers for classes taking place from Saturday, Sept. 15 to Sunday, Sept. 30. Poire wants you to “bring your family and friends and spend the day with us,” so she is happily offering this incentive.
This opening weekend there is an inspiring lineup of classes and workshops:
Sept. 15: DIY Solar Electric Charger—$65
Making a Native American Medicine Bag—$15
Growing Herbs in Central Florida—$18
Storytelling Concert—Adults $7/Children $5
Story Theatre for Adults—$12
Sept. 16: Build A Composter—$99
Digital Photography Exposed—Call for price
Making an Indian Pump Drill—$10
SoulCollage for Women—$20
To register for classes call 941-322-1000 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org at least three days in advance of these classes.
To see a comprehensive list of classes being offered by local instructors and teachers, please visit the Folk School site.
Browsing through the houses and barns on the vast property truly takes you back in time.
There are nature trails, a zip line, a children’s discovery path and plenty of room for you to picnic. Bring your blanket, lunch and drinks (and bug spray), and commune with nature for a bit. I’ll bet you come back to town with the mile-wide smile and some stories to tell.
Crowley is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until sundown. Admission is $6.50 for Adults, $4.50 for Students and Seniors, $2 for Kids 5 – 12; under five are free. Fees are waived for this weekend if you are taking a class or workshop.
By the way, Save the Date for two huge events coming up at Crowley on Saturday, Dec. 8, and the Southwest Florida Heritage Festival coming up on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2013. More details coming soon.