Bike ride, anyone?
Outdoor activities such as “social distancing” bike rides are all the rage now. They have to be! Our entertainment and workout options have narrowed down considerably.
But there’s no need to wonder where to find a great trail, because we are blessed, right here in DeLand and the surrounding cities, with one of the most amazing and extensive multiuse trail systems in the country for safe year-round cycling and walking.
This may be just a reminder of what you already know, but what you may not know is about the installment of a small-but-uniquely-interesting parking area for one section of the trail, which really needed a place for cyclists and walkers to park.
It’s located off of Grand Avenue on Humane Society Road — a dirt road that leads to New Hope Animal Shelter, formerly the West Volusia Humane Society.
The rest area and parking for the trail can be seen from Grand Avenue.
What you’ll find there is a small covered pavilion with a couple of picnic benches and some simple indigenous landscaping to beautify the area and to attract butterflies and birds. The native plants will continue to grow and flourish.
But the real gem is found next to the pavilion, and the area is worth a visit just for that.
It’s a historical board created as a team effort by Volusia County Parks, Recreation and Culture Director Tim Baylie, project manager Christopher Lessig, and historian Tom Baskett, along with their subject, my mother, Mrs. Nadine Fichter. It was completed in November 2019.
Mrs. Fichter moved to DeLand from Homestead, Florida, with her husband, George S. Fichter, in 1983.
Mr. Fichter, who passed away in 1993, was an accomplished author and editor of many books and articles primarily in the subject of science.
He came to DeLand semiretired, but had an office at Stetson University with the title of “writer-in-residence,” where he continued his writing.
He was also available to students who wanted to learn more about becoming a professional author, or to gather writing tips for their area of study.
Nadine was born in 1923. Imagine being born in 1923, and still being alive (and healthy) today!
Imagine growing up in a small town before TV and indoor plumbing.
Imagine going through the Great Depression, living in tiny military housing with your spouse during World War II, working for the FBI in the fingerprinting department, and seeing Lucille Ball, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland in a parade!
See yourself going from humble beginnings in a small Midwestern farming town, working hard to put you and your spouse through college, having a family with three children, and starting and running one of the only “work-from-home” businesses at that time — necessary for a mom with three kids! — growing avocados on 5 acres.
Imagine putting your kids through college, and filling out the American dream by building a custom home in South Florida.
Nadine was also a community leader who was named Citizen of the Year in Homestead, and, along with her husband, George, spearheaded a bicycling phenomenon in the 1960s.
That is the subject of the historical board at the rest area on Grand Avenue in Glenwood.
Not only will you thoroughly enjoy reading and seeing the story and photos, but this section of trail is truly beautiful and, for Floridians, challenging with its rolling terrain.
To learn more about the trails, go to https://bit.ly/vctrails.
The county also has a phone app for all the county parks, with details about everything you could want to know divided into four categories: Do, See, Know, Services.
To learn more about the app, visit https://bit.ly/vctrailsapp.
— Vaughn, a DeLand resident, is one of Nadine and George S. Fichter’s daughters.