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My Titusville Experiences

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New York
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My Titusville Experiences

I live in New York State. I first visited Titusville about 12 years ago. I was staying at a friend's condo in New Smyrna Beach for a week. A space shuttle launched and I saw it from the beach in New Smyrna. I later decided to take a drive south and see what's happening around the Space Center. I found the Haulover Canal manatee deck (with manatees that day!), Playalinda (beach) and the Merrit Island preserve. I loved them all. For the next 10 years I vacationed there in April or May for a week. I stayed in most of the hotels over those years. The Hampton Inn was the only decent place, but it was pricey for me. I have also stayed in the Ramada, Best Western, Super 8 and Days Inn -- some once or twice -- but mostly I stayed in the Best Western. All except the Hampton Inn were bad or horrible rat holes. The bad reviews seem to be honest. I guess the Brevard County Health Department doesn't "do" hotels.

A year ago I bought a condo in Titusville during the Florida Real Estate bust, so now I have a decent place to stay when in town.

I really like Titusville. I love the nature preserves and the great natural beach. I don't really care for drinking and carousing all night. I think the Dixie Crossroads restaurant is a decent place to get local seafood. The new bakery downtown is excellent. This past February I bought some fresh shrimp at the downtown farmers' market and whole wheat pasta from the bakery and made the best shrimp and pasta I ever ate anywhere.

I am in the process of learning more about the local artist scene. My sister is interested in the downtown antique stores. It seems to me that Titusville has been trying to go more upscale in the past couple of years. I hope it's successful. It's got a lot of potential. Now that I am a property owner, I want the housing to get really expensive!

One thing I never understood is the buying of tickets to see a shuttle launch. There are loads of places along US1 to watch for free. Twice I have watched from the Max Brewer causeway (just east of the bridge, near downtown Titusville, which goes to Playalinda.) From some of the other places along US1 you can also see the actual launch pad towers. Just look north of the huge Vehicle Assembly Building. The pads are easy to see during night launches because of all the searchlights on the launch pad. You can see the launch towers in the daytime, too. If I was coming for a launch, I would stay in the Hampton Inn or Fairfiled Inn, drive down to US1 and find a grass strip along the Indian River.

I hope this is helpful. Titusville is a nice place and it's getting better.

NW Ohio
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344 posts
116 reviews
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1. Re: My Titusville Experiences

Thank you for your post! We just decided to stay in Titusville and (hopefully) see the shuttle launch in Nov. We're already booked at the Fairfield Inn (thank you TA reviewers!), but your post gives me a few great ideas of other things to do.

I will take your advice on launch day.

Thanks again.

New York
8 posts
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2. Re: My Titusville Experiences

One of the best free places to see a launch and one that is convenient to the Fairfield Inn, is on US-1, on the rough grass field across from the JC Penney. I am pretty sure that the city owns the land. For especially popular launches (sunny days, school holidays or weekends) the city sometimes tapes off the field so that cars don't park there. Other times you can drive right onto the field. If parking is a problem, the JC Penney "Miracle Mall" parking lot is more than enough and it's right across the street. There are probably bathrooms in the mall, but I have only been in the JC Penney itself a couple of times. Buy something there, if you need anything, to thank them for the free parking.

From the Fairfield Inn, drive underneath I-95 on FL-50 to the FL-405 intersection. (The Ramada is on the left at the intersection.) Take a left onto FL-405 (South Street). Go about 2.25 miles to Fox Lake Road and take a right at the traffic light. Follow that road all the way to US-1. The road name changes to Harrison Street near the YMCA, but keep going on that road until you cross the railroad tracks. US-1 is straight ahead, the JC Penney is on your left, and the grass field is straight ahead, across US-1. Cross US-1 safely with the traffic light. The distance from your first right turn onto Fox Lake Road to US-1 is about 2.5 miles.

The grass field is right on the shore of the Indian River, so your view to the east is generally unobstructed. Directly across the river is the big Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB). Both launch pads are to the left (north) of the VAB, farther in the distance, and much smaller than the VAB. The northern launch pad, 39B, now has 3 big radio-type towers surrounding it (probably for lightning supression). The other launch pad (39A) is to the right and has no new towers (as of July '09). The launch pads look the same, except for the big towers. All the remaining shuttles are scheduled to launch from 39A. 39B (with the towers) is being remodeled for the new manned space program.

Return to the Fairfiled Inn by the same driving route. Any left hand turns have traffic lights and the main highways can get really jammed up with people driving back to Orlando. Traffic will probably be backed up near the Fairfield Inn. Once the rocket launches, everyone leaves.

Wave to me when you pass the Winn Dixie grocery store on Harrison.

The nice bakery in downtown Titusville is the Sunrise Bread Company:

http://www.nbbd.com/bakery/index.html

An entrtance to Caffe Chocolat is from the same parking lot:

http://www.caffechocolat.com/

I have been told that the manatees in winter look for warmer waters -- just like we do. They hang out down near the two electric power station water outlets, south of Titusville. The power stations are big and are on US-1, south of the FL-405 bridge into the Space Center and north of the FL-528 bridge to Canaveral/Cocoa Beach. A county park in that area may be a more reliable place to see manatees in November, but I have not yet been there. I'd still check the Haulover Canal manatee deck, just north of the canal bridge. Here's the county park south of Titusville, near the power plants:

www.nbbd.com/godo/prec/ManateeCamp/index.html

Remember that Playalinda (beach) is closed for 3 days before a launch, but you should be able to drive to the Haulover Canal manatee deck the last full day before a launch, then that road also closes for the launch. Playalinda reopens the day after a launch. From Playalinda you are only about one mile from launch pad 39B, so you can see it really well. 39A is about a mile farther away. Small paved parking areas are on the sides of the road to Playalinda, inside the park gate. Watch out for alligators. I have seen them sitting on the side of that road to Playalinda near wet areas. You can also see the launch pads from the high dune crossovers in the first few beach parking areas. Playalinda only has parking lots and bathrooms. No food concession stands or even water fountains are there. It's a beautiful beach in a near-natural condition. That's why I like it.

I hope you have a great visit to Titusville and I hope the shuttle launches on schedule!

NW Ohio
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344 posts
116 reviews
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3. Re: My Titusville Experiences

Thank you so much for the very specific info on parking and viewing the shuttle launch. We have decided to stay in the area until the morning of Nov 14th, hoping to also see the early A.M. rocket launch. My husband loves all things NASA and it has been over 20 yrs since we have been to KSC or the Cape Canaveral area, so we plan to make the most of it. We also love the manatees. We've snorkeled with them in Crystal River and visited the very nice Visitor's Center at the power plant at Apollo Beach, so I especially appreciate your info on where we might see them on the Atlantic side.

Tavares, Florida
Destination Expert
for Daytona Beach
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6,124 posts
20 reviews
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4. Re: My Titusville Experiences

Very good iinfmation John. We lived in a condo in Titusville for 2 years moving from Kentucky for a job with Brevard schools. We loved our view of the space center and the launches, my interest in the space program grew after living there.

We loved our weekends at Playalinda and winter drives out tthrough the nature preserve. Biolab road was one of our favorite drives after checking Haulover for the manatees. We would see lots of gators sunning on cooler days on the drives.

We would see dolphins and manatees off our balcony. With the launch of the Aries rocket scheduled this morning I find myself missing our view of the launch pads. I wish we were stil there to experience it.

Thanks for posting such valuable information.

michigan
3 posts
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5. Re: My Titusville Experiences

Hi: I also have a nice opinion of Titusville, the nature preserves, and the abundance of fine country parks all along A-1. It seems that the city has taken great pains into preserving lots of park areas and am impressed with what i have seen. I like the traffic in the area, less than down by the tourist trap areas of Cocoa Beach. The solitude and raw beauty of the Atlantic Ocean preserved in the vast amounts of wildlife preserves and the solitude of Playalinda beach makes in my humblest opinion a very nice place to relax or play. Bountiful opportunities exist for freshwater fishing, saltwater with world class fishing on Mosquito Lagoon & Indian River.

I was so impressed with the area, bought a condo in the area to take in this beautiful area and all it has to offer

michigan
3 posts
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6. Re: My Titusville Experiences

Hi: I also have a nice opinion of Titusville, the nature preserves, and the abundance of fine country parks all along A-1. It seems that the city has taken great pains into preserving lots of park areas and am impressed with what i have seen. I like the traffic in the area, less than down by the tourist trap areas of Cocoa Beach. The solitude and raw beauty of the Atlantic Ocean preserved in the vast amounts of wildlife preserves and the solitude of Playalinda beach makes in my humblest opinion a very nice place to relax or play. Bountiful opportunities exist for freshwater fishing, saltwater with world class fishing on Mosquito Lagoon & Indian River.

I was so impressed with the area, bought a condo in the area to take in this beautiful area and all it has to offer

michigan
3 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: My Titusville Experiences

Hi: I also have a nice opinion of Titusville, the nature preserves, and the abundance of fine country parks all along A-1. It seems that the city has taken great pains into preserving lots of park areas and am impressed with what i have seen. I like the traffic in the area, less than down by the tourist trap areas of Cocoa Beach. The solitude and raw beauty of the Atlantic Ocean preserved in the vast amounts of wildlife preserves and the solitude of Playalinda beach makes in my humblest opinion a very nice place to relax or play. Bountiful opportunities exist for freshwater fishing, saltwater with world class fishing on Mosquito Lagoon & Indian River.

I was so impressed with the area, bought a condo in the area to take in this beautiful area and all it has to offer

8. Re: My Titusville Experiences

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