Streamsong & Megalodon “A Land Remembered” in Florida’s Bone Valley!
If you are a golfer or watch the Golf Channel, like my husband, you probably have heard of Streamsong and it’s challenging Black, Red and Blue golf courses. I, on the other hand, the non-golfer of the family had not but was happy to accompany him to Florida’s Bone Valley to experience this luxury golf & spa resort not just for the spa treatments but also to get away from my I-phone and to read a good book.
Streamsong is located off the beaten path in Bowling Green, Florida, a 60-minute drive east of Tampa and roughly 90 minutes southwest of Orlando. The area is affectionately known as Florida’s “Bone Valley” due to the abundance of prehistoric fossils. We took the road less traveled and enjoyed a delightful ride through citrus orchards, most with harvest ripe fruit.
We stopped at “Bone Valley ATV Park” where the Battle of the Brands (a SXS Demo) was in full force. Adventurers that we are, we naturally signed up for a test-ride. Fun to be sure but I am now convinced that my husband isn’t into ATVs and likes golf better. Imagine discovering a resort of the caliber of Streamsong and finding ancient Megalodon teeth, all in the same place. Remarkable!
Never heard of Megalodon? Not only was it the biggest prehistoric shark that ever lived, it was also the largest marine predator in the history of the planet. Its teeth were 7-inches long. About 15 million years ago, what is now land in central Florida was submerged in warm waters sheltering prehistoric marine life. This was the home of Megalodon, hornless rhinos and hump-less camels. Their bones settled into deeply layered sediments, creating massive phosphate rock deposits that were discovered in the 19th century. The Mosaic Company mined the phosphates, a critical natural resource and crop nutrient used by farmers. The 16,000 acres replete with natural lakes and 100-foot dunes were reclaimed in 2007 to build Streamsong, a luxury resort where even mastodons once roamed.
Before the resort came into sight we wondered: “Are we really in Florida?” We both agreed that these sand dunes reminded us a lot of Montauk. We were looking forward to discovering this unusual place that Interior Design Magazine had described: ….Streamsong has “Concrete columns that lift this hotel off the ground and pay homage to the petrified stumps bearing witness to the region’s primeval landscape.”
We were excited but totally unprepared as Streamsong rose quietly between the windswept hills of Bone Valley and pulled us into its stunning, sleek, open lobby with breathtaking views over a wide lake glistening in the late afternoon sunlight. Awesome. The lodge itself features over 200 luxurious guest rooms, a terrific spa, a fitness center, several restaurants, a stunning rooftop lounge and a lakeside infinity pool with cabanas. Our accommodations turned out to be a comfortable 2-bedroom suite on the third floor with views of the untamed land. Alberto, the architect and designer had effectively married a structure of exposed concrete accents with natural textiles, rich wood and some of his own hand painted artwork. The custom-built wood furnishings, especially the bookshelves were a whimsical surprise. Alfonso’s creative genius was felt in every detail down to the bookshelves where he dedicated a slot for a collection of legendary novels. But one book was set apart to the right, as if the people occupying the suite, be it for a night or for a week, were enticed to solve a riddle, if they were so inclined to do so.
The next day as soon as my husband took off for his long-anticipated golf game on the Black course, I entered The AcquaPietra spa. I knew I was in for a treat. Described as a co-ed European-style grotto with unique dipping and whirlpools, steam, sauna, and wet suite. The repertoire of European style spa and salon treatments, from a traditional Shirodhara to a Bio-Energy Re-mineralizing, Microdermabrasion facial with mild extractions, exceeded my expectations. My Alpine Arnica Deep Tissue massage with Naturopathica’s Alpine Arnica Oil by Ms. Edith was simply amazing! I am a spa aficionado; who isn’t? I have experienced spa treatments by some of the most talented therapists from all over the world and can assure you that my husband can take this non-golfer to Streamsong, anytime, and hope that Edith is on the schedule.
The lovely Spa Desk attendant who gave me a tour of the spa facilities upon my early arrival had mentioned that it would be worthwhile to read “A Land Remembered” and that there was a copy in our suite. Sure enough, I found the book. Turns out that the special slot on the right of the bookshelves that had been set aside for travelers was now home to a hard copy of the book she recommended… It was the only book that fit the slot. Riddle solved!
It’s “a fictional account that feels like Florida history…. in a way this is what Mosaic has done with Streamsong, recasting and repurposing 16,000 acres in the center of the state to tell a new story, with Bone Valley palpable just beneath the surface”. Alberto Alfonso (the architect) insists that all visitors be encouraged to dive into the hard-knock tale of the MacIvey family’s relationship with the land.
And so, returning that afternoon, after 18 holes on BLACK as part of a foursome, with a caddy & golf cart, my husband found me tucked away in a cabana overlooking the infinity pool reading “A Land Remembered”. I was deeply immersed in Patrick Smith’s historical novel and completely oblivious to the breathtaking views all around me. The book’s main character, Tobias MacIvey, had moved his wife Emma and infant son Zechariah to a land like this and as their story unfolded, I couldn’t leave them.
My husband’s eyes were wide open and bright; the look of a man who’d found golf nirvana! Streamsong Black was recently voted the #1 new course to play by Golf Digest. It’s set on rolling terrain with abundant sand, native grasses and picture-perfect panoramas. The course, which will play to par 73, sits on land dominated by a long sand ridge and natural elevation changes. It’s situated about a mile from the clubhouse that serves the Streamsong Red and Blue Courses and is somewhat isolated on the southeast portion of the property. As Florida’s premier 54-hole luxury golf resort, it is also the only location in the world where players can enjoy 3 distinct courses (Red, Blue, and Black) designed by 4 legendary architects – Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw, Tom Doak, and Gil Hanse.
That night we celebrated at “Fragmentary Blue”. Nothing can top a handcrafted cocktail and a view, and the 360° panoramic views atop the Lodge’s 6th floor, were as breathtaking from inside the floor-to-ceiling windows as they were al fresco. Here we inhaled the sunset along with a burger and a craft beer overlooking the tinted red lake, and then hung out with a group of golfers and watched the Golf Channel on a big screen TV above the bar. They all agreed that the Streamsong Challenge, which melds golf, bass fishing, sporting clays and archery, is one to remember. Streamsong features 4 unique restaurants. We also tried the P2O5 Restaurant with a casual-elegant backdrop for dinner. After 18 challenging holes, my husband ordered the savory Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Chicken Gravy with a Lager, and I ordered the Roasted Vegetable Quinoa with Seasonal Vegetables, Tomatoes and a fabulous Balsamic Reduction after a relaxing afternoon at the Spa. We both agreed we’d like to return some day and already on the way home, I ordered my own copy of “A Land Remembered”. http://www.streamsongresort.com/
Until next month from another interesting location!
~ Love, Ingrid