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Blog Cabin

Aug 19

Winter Haven: Water Sports Capital of the World

Florida is now known for its tourism and attractions, but in 1936 there was only one commercial theme park in the state, Cypress Gardens. This Winter Haven gem began as a botanical garden and was the setting of many classic films. It boasted a bevy of Southern Belles and perhaps most notably, hosted its first water skiing show in 1943. The rest is history, and has made the way for many water sports enthusiasts.

The Cypress Gardens Water Ski show would run for 66 years, while breaking over 50 World Records. These skiers were a cross between athletes and entertainers and first started as entertainment for returning soldiers.  The incredible performers would execute jumps, form pyramids and ski barefoot. Blog Cabin 2014 pays homage to this piece of the past in a few different ways. For example, this vintage water ski hangs proudly in the living room.

Vintage water skiing charm makes another appearance in the backyard. These chairs have been crafted from classic water skis. From their position, overlooking the lake, the lucky winner will have an excellent view of everyone enjoying Lake Hamilton.

The artwork in the living room is actually a reprint of a Winter Haven postcard. These sassy synchronized skiers act as sirens calling people from all over the world to come and visit the water ski capital of the world.

Sadly Cypress Gardens closed its doors in 2009, ending a splashy and spectacular chapter in history. Fortunately, however, the stunning botanical gardens have become part of Lego Land Florida and have been preserved. And thank goodness the wonderful tradition of exceptional water skiing has been protected by the Cypress Gardens Skiers. They have started their own independent Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team and the legacy lives on.

Browse more pictures of the lake life in Winter Haven >>

  • Posted at 10:53 am on August 8, 2014
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53 Comments

  1. what fun…..

    twoTERRIERs on August 19, 2014 at 11:02 am
    • Right?? I'm wishing for water skiis today :)

      Laurie

      Laurie_March on August 21, 2014 at 3:19 pm
  2. Laurie, there seems to be quite a lot of footage of the young men from the neighbors house on this fun video. Any comment? ;) ^_^

    AnniesOwn on August 19, 2014 at 11:35 am
    • My granddaughters will be more excited about the boys in the area, than the cabin, if I win!

      Hesitantly Excited on August 20, 2014 at 10:48 am
  3. Woot! Woot! Fun in the sun! Good luck everyone!

    memanbepa on August 19, 2014 at 12:01 pm
  4. Yet another way of preserving the local history, that was happening, when the original house existed.
    Sounds like a wonderful day trip.

    filanddell on August 19, 2014 at 12:22 pm
    • I love poking into the time our 'old house' saw – before it became Blog Cabin!

      So glad you agree.

      Laurie

      Laurie_March on August 21, 2014 at 3:20 pm
  5. Wonderful way to artistically incorporate this fun and colorful Florida history into the Blog Cabin.
    Well done, DIY team!
    This is some of the best "repurposing" items for creating a fun, regional historic feel.
    The winner of this year's Blog Cabin will be AMAZINGLY Fortunate!

    Lester3 on August 19, 2014 at 12:36 pm
    • I agree. Absolutely LOVE the water ski chairs!

      Hesitantly Excited on August 20, 2014 at 10:49 am
  6. Awesome! It was great to see the fun you can have on the lake. It is sad the Cypress gardens is gone (sad for me at least, since I never got there), but nice to know the gardens are still there. I love the idea of an outdoor life and hope I'll have that someday, maybe even at blog cabin.

    jensmithwiz on August 19, 2014 at 12:39 pm
  7. I have always enjoyed the water. Most of my "water life" was at the beach (Gulf of Mexico) and then our pool as I was growing up. The way I see it outdoor water life is wonderful. I always felt great after spending a day in the water. Yeah, fresh water lakes tend to have gators, and sharks, sting rays, etc are in salt water, but we show them respect and in turn they usually show us respect. I think ya just have to think smart, be smart then you can have a great time. Don't forget there is a wonderful boat and dock with all sorts of things to enjoy!!! I, for one, intend to win that amazing home and live life to the best of my ability. Anyone in the area will be welcome to stop by and go on a boat ride or sit at the dock and enjoy some refreshments. Blessings and good luck to all.<3<3<3 XXXOOO

    Sheri McNamara on August 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm
  8. Posted last night after the TV Mega Dens show. I commented on Grundy's Kilt, plus other things. Can not say that I ever saw a plain one of any color. Any help with this, Chris? It must take quite a while to do these shows not to mention you are actually building this cabin. I agree it looks like you are all having fun, but the "sweat and maybe tears" must be there too. We are lucky to get so many hints on how to do things.. I know, it is "DIY" . But the way you all do it spells "fun"! On today's post here, I enjoy the old stuff about the area. Thank you for sharing and all the research that goes into all that surrounds the Blog Cabin. We get a lot to enjoy, learn and then have a chance to win a beautiful home. Thanks is not enough but it is appreciated. Keep up the good work. my very best to all, Nan ;) <3 ;) <3

    Nan on August 19, 2014 at 3:25 pm
  9. You all make any "project" look like fun. Even for those like me that are challenged in this area. I remember going to Winter Haven on my honeymoon 35 years ago. Both my husband and I marveled at the surroundings. Such a beautiful area with so much to do! The blog cabin would be an incredible place to call home.<3

    bythebaydreamer on August 19, 2014 at 3:43 pm
  10. I just reread the posting. I love the Adirondack water ski chairs! I remember Cypress Gardens the belles and the synchronized skiers. My kids and there cousins grew up trying to "do the moves" of the swimmers. We used to get a chuckle out of the kids trying this. The swimmers at Cypress gardens were experts and thrilled us all!

    bythebaydreamer on August 19, 2014 at 3:55 pm

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Blog Cabin is the groundbreaking multimedia experience based on a very simple idea: You Design It, We Build It, You Could Win It! This truly interactive series asks Internet users to vote on the design features for a real vacation getaway. Expert hosts from DIY Network series will be on hand to rebuild the 1920s lakeside house that will become a luxurious home for a lucky sweepstakes winner. Plus, a one-hour Blog Cabin special, hosted by tool expert Chris Grundy, will highlight the incredible transformation.
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