After our exhilarating airboat ride and swamp buggy tour at Boggy Creek, we snaked our way north towards Orlando and decided to have a picnic lunch in the Orlando suburb of Kissimmee. This town is located at the doorstep of Walt Disney World complex and offers a variety of tourist class accommodations near historic downtown Kissimmee. The historic downtown districts feature walking tours, antique shops, shopping, dining, or sightseeing. According to the City of Kissimmee's web site"local historians have offered many variations of the origin of the city's name. Most agree that Kissimmee is a modern spelling of a tribal word. The book Florida Indians and the Invasion from Europe by Jerald T.
Milanich, links "Kissimmee" to a village of the Jororo, one of Florida's lesser-known tribes. Historian John Hann researched Spanish documents about missions estabilshed to convert the Jororo and other groups to Christianity in the late 1600's. Spanish records indicate that a mission was built near the tribe's main village, also called Jororo. Another mission was called Atissimi.
Milanich writes, "Hann suggests that the name Atissimi, sometimes given as Jizimi and Tisimi, may be the source of the modern place name Kissimmee." A 1752 Spanish map used the name "Cacema" which has evolved into today's spelling, Kissimmee." Kissimmee's main strip features a variety of local merchants and restaurants. The town was festively decorated and even the police department showed itself in a festive pre-Christmas mood: Kissimmee is located at the north end of Lake Tohopekaliga and one of its squares is appropriately named "Toho Square": We noticed several murals throughout town, illustrating the town's history.
My husband tried to check if he could blend into the mural without being noticed, I am not so sure that it actually worked: We decided to have a nice little picnic lunch and settled in on a bench right in front of the "Big Toho Pier": Here is another view of the Big Toho Pier, a serene place where we enjoyed the warm December sun: A gaggle of seabirds was congregating just on the other side of the pier: On a brief walk along Lakeshore Boulevard we discovered a war memorial that commemorates the Second World War: For more information about Kissimmee contact its Convention and Visitors Bureau. Call 800.333.
KISS (5477) or visit their website for more information. .
By: Susanne Pacher