Ever Glad in the Everglades by Stacy Hoff


Recently I guest-blogged in BTS eMag (Book & Trailer Showcase E-Magazine) about how writers tackle story location http://bit.ly/1HkpC3o & http://bit.ly/1Sx9tK7. I’m glad to say that just a few days ago I was able to re-visit one of the locations I spoke about in BTS—Florida’s Everglades. The last time I had traveled here I was a teenager. Back then, my parents took me, a New York City girl, on the adventure of a lifetime. The impact of that breath-taking experience stuck with me strongly enough that I set the scene for my very first published novel, DESIRE IN THE EVERGLADES, right there. A good portion of this book was based on my memories. Ones that, even thirty years later, never faded.

This year, my husband and I had a unexpected opportunity to take a family trip. My kids, who are raised in New England, had already ventured as far South as Florida, but only to Orlando (not too surprising a location, I’m sure). This time I was determined that we do something quite different during our Florida trip.

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My kids are old enough now (ages fourteen and ten) that they don’t need to be dependent on a theme park to have fun. I wanted them to appreciate the raw (and sometimes intimidating) beauty of Florida itself. More importantly, I wanted them to live the same awe-inspiring experience in the Everglades that I had as a child. As an extra bonus prize, I would also get to watch my husband’s reaction, because he had never been to this area either.


The first thing we did in Florida was to book a tour company for an airboat ride. Airboats are really the best way to get around the Everglades. They are surprisingly fast for things that look like aluminum siding slapped together with a giant fan shoved on the back. Our airboats had headphones that allowed us to hear the tour guide over the sound of the boat’s movement and fan noise (which is really quite loud). The minute our boat took off I watched the faces of my family light up. This included my teenager who typically dons a “too-cool-for-you” attitude. I’ve got to say their awe-struck expressions left me feeling very gratified (if not outright triumphant).


The amount of animals we saw on the tour was as wondrous as all the breathtaking scenery. Some of the “residents” we saw were countless alligators (from tiny to frighteningly large), rare Great Blue Herons, cranes, red-winged blackbirds, and woodcocks. Everywhere we turned new animals were either popping up, submerging themselves, or flying off into a distant cluster of “cabbage palms.” We even saw an unexpected animal – a hog that was the pet of the tour company. Seeing this “pet” was remarkable to me, since hogs (albeit wild ones) play a very crucial role in my story. They are rare to find in Florida, but yes, they do live there.

I’ve included some of the pictures I took on this unexpected escapade. Including the one below of a dragonfly that landed on my husband during our airboat ride.


I hope you enjoy seeing them as much as I enjoyed taking them. I truly felt like I was living the life of Stephanie, the heroine in my book, instead of just Stacy—regular, plain ‘ol me.

What’s the most unusual place you ever visited?



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16 Responses to Ever Glad in the Everglades by Stacy Hoff

  1. Anne Cleasby says:

    The Everglade sounds amazing. I hope I get the opportunity to visit sometime. Do you find it’s changed since your childhood visit?
    The most amazing place I visited was Zanzibar, years ago, and that’s played a role in much of my writing – my Son’s of Poseidon trilogy . . . Place is one of the interesting things about being a writer, even if all the research is done from an armchair . . .

    • stacyhoff says:

      I do think my childhood trip changed me, Anne. I had never seen raw wilderness like this before. It changed my world view. Life beyond cities, and even civilazation. Seeing a place where only animals dared to live was beyond my comprehension.

      Glad you had a fabulous experience in Zanzibar. It sounds amazing!

  2. stephaniequeen says:

    I’d love to try one of those airboats in the everglades–you made it sound terrifically fun! I’m afraid my vacations are very conventional. The coolest place I’ve been is the Grand Canyon. I walked right up to the edge and it was so enormous and gorgeous I felt like I could reach out and touch it like a painting. It didn’t even look real in person!
    Thanks for sharing your alligator pics–keeps it real. SQ

    • stacyhoff says:

      The Grand Canyon is on by “bucket list.” I love trying the unconventional, but it was my folks who got me hooked on exploring. I highliy recommend the Everglades & its airboat rides if you get the chance. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my family so enthralled, and think the impact would be the same on you.

  3. I love the Everglades or any other part of Florida. Ah, to be in the warmth…

  4. gailingis says:

    Loved your post Stacy. There’s nothing like being there. The most unusual place I EVER visited was Bangladesh. It is a country of oxymorans, with mud huts and TV antennas, logs for building being sawed by hand with bulldozers tarring the roads. Oxen hitched up to pull and turn the wheels to mix ingredients that makes bricks. Strange . . . I enjoyed being a guest of the nationals, in the town of Malumghat, where they have an amazing hospital run by missionary doctors, who teach the nationals about medicine and take care of the people. Of course there are bigger cities that are somewhat more sophisticated, like Chittagong and Dhaka. The Parliament building in Dhaka was designed by architect, Louis Kahn, where marble tiles surrounding the exterior of the building is kept shiny and clean by women on their knees washing them by hand. Guess I could write a book about it! What do you think?

  5. AmesGrace says:

    I have never been to the Everglades. Really I haven’t been much of anywhere. LOL. But the photos from your trip look amazing! Thanks for sharing. 😀

  6. Great blog! Loved hearing about your Everglades adventure.
    Tema Merback
    Writing as Belle Ami

  7. sueberger3 says:

    Love the pictures. Thank you. I am going to NYC next month and hope to pick up some current atmosphere for my book.

  8. Kathryn O. says:

    Love your pics, stacyhoff, and after reading Desire in the Everglades, I see the inspiration. As a traveler to exotic locations, I enjoy reliving and translating my experience to words. Thanks for sharing and adding this unique dimension to your writing. My most unusual place? Hmm, tough call. First to mind are the Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey—could have been a landscape in a Star Wars film.

    • stacyhoff says:

      Glad you liked my pic’s Kathy. I’ve never seen Turkey, but am fascinated with your description of the Fairy Chimneys.

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