North Port, Florida Nostalgia
The other day I was driving to the Morgan Family Community Center in North Port, Florida and took note of all the little events my family has enjoyed at not only this place, but all around the area. We moved here from Sarasota just post Hurricane Charley when finding a home was difficult. You had the usual mix of homebuyers combined with people misplaced from the hurricane. We quickly found our money would go much further in North Port than Sarasota, yet we could remain in Sarasota County and take advantage of the schools. Good thing, considering we were expecting a baby within a month of closing on our new home in North Port. We have remained there for 18 years and this summer, that “baby” is getting ready to head off to college in the fall. My, time has flown. Hence, the nostalgia as I drive in and around North Port.
So, the Morgan Center. That place was the site of basketball games and our voting destination, where we always brought the boys to familiarize them with the voting process and to let them know it’s important. Later years saw us dropping kids off to work out with friends or to first jobs at the Aquatic Center next door. The soccer fields located just outside of the Morgan Center were the site of many Saturday soccer games and stopping in to watch baseball games. When nobody was utilizing the fields, we liked to shoot off rockets made by the boys and their dad as the fields mostly kept our blastoffs in check.
Heading back down Price Blvd and it’s the restaurants and ice cream parlors that kept us busy celebrating birthdays and enjoying Scouting meetings. Heading over to the Mullin Center where summer camps and meetings of all sorts took place there. When we wanted to check out basketball, we utilized their open gym time. And when football was our main game, much time was spent at the fields out back of the Mullin Center. Homemade signs honoring our favorite and cold drinks and snacks from the concession stand were always a hit after hard fought games. Many sunsets were observed as my kid played his heart out on the back practice fields. So many good times!
There’s Dallas White Park, where my son had the coldest 5-year-old’s birthday party in the month of January I can remember. My husband stapled plastic sheeting onto the pavilion walls to try to make it warmer. I don’t remember the kids minding at all. The year before saw my youngest there for his 4-year-old party. It brings back memories of the one time we made a homemade pinata and met my nephew’s future wife. We have so many pictures of kids and friends on that green swing that everyone vied for. Will never forget our introduction to sports with T-ball games on the Dallas White fields. Couldn’t keep my kid on the field and off the playground. And boy did that playground get better over the years. It was nice as a mother to see how much work the city put into renovations on not only that park, but many in the area.
Another great family landmark around North Port would definitely include Sweet Scoops, where grabbing a delicious homemade ice cream cone was made better by the fact they had ice cream with dog bones available for furry family members. As a newcomer to the area, I never really understood the line through their drive through that extended out onto the shoulder of 41 until I tasted my first mint chocolate chip ice cream cone there. Then, I knew and frequented often with the kids over the years.
Driving around North Port and appreciating all the memories we were able to make gives me hope the community continues to grow in a family-centered way. We also spent many hours over the years as a family carting kids to Sarasota or Venice to catch movies, indoor trampolines, and museums so at the time, it was a little frustrating to not have these amenities in our town. But all-in-all, we are grateful to have raised our children in little, old North Port.
Photos courtesy of City of North Port-Government Facebook page.