Winging It in West Volusia
Take a “Wings of the West” Tour and See the Best of Volusia County
West Volusia County, Florida is where many visitors come to find what they consider the real Florida. Then they come again and again because they love it! The “Wings of the West” trail gives visitors a flight path to follow in seeing not only some of the most popular classic attractions of the area but also a fresh infusion of the kind of creative and quirky elements that make this destination unique.
The original DeLand Wings mural, created by DeLand native and artist Erica Group, has become an iconic photo spot in downtown DeLand. Now there are wings located throughout the destination at some of the area’s most popular spots for visitors to West Volusia.
Downtown DeLand – The downtown wings mural, located on Historic Downtown DeLand’s Persimmon Lane, was the original creation in the series. What started as a chalk design used in a photo shoot for a local business has turned into the #DeLandWings social media sensation. There is a new vibe in this classic Florida downtown as artisans, retailers, brewers and restaurateurs share their wares, creativity and hospitality. It is home to art galleries, live theatre and museums as well as a slate of annual events. Also home to Florida’s first MainStreet program in 1985, DeLand was named “America’s Best Mainstreet” for 2017 and has been ranked as Florida’s best downtown outside Orlando.
Skydive DeLand (1600 Flight Line Boulevard, DeLand, FL 32724) – At one of the busiest drop zones in the world, many of the favorite selfies are being taken by visitors with their feet firmly on the ground. Nearly 100,000 people a year take the plunge here. Tandem jumps for beginners, Accelerated Free Fall (AFF) training and advanced jumps are all part of the program offerings. Near the on-site restaurant and gear store, Group’s second set of wings, fittingly painted as biplane wings, can be found.
Barberville Pioneer Settlement (1776 Lightfoot Lane, Barberville, FL 32105) – This is home to one of Florida’s premier living history demonstrations, a popular spot for history buffs and school groups and most recently, to a peacock wings mural. “Peacocks reside in the settlement and were the perfect muse for this set of wings,” explained Group. “The scale of this set of wings falls somewhere between adult and child size to please the generations that frequent the settlement.” The village includes several structures set on its large grounds within a moss-draped oak hammock. On guided or self-guided tours, visitors learn of life in rural Florida in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Cassadaga (1112 Stevens Street, Cassadaga, FL 32744) – The Cassadaga Spiritualist Camp is a 122-year-old community of spiritually-minded people located in rural West Volusia. Visitors come for readings from resident mediums, for church services or just to take in the peaceful energy of the community. Many also attend tours, classes, workshops and, of course, visit the fabulous gift shop. Group’s Cassadaga-inspired creation is a set of life-size fairy wings, free-standing in clearing at the end of the camp’s Fairy Trail on Chauncey Street.
Lyonia Preserve (2150 Eustace Avenue, Deltona, FL 32725) – This 360-acre scrub habitat is home to nearly 100 Florida scrub jays, dozens of gopher tortoises and many other species that thrive in the Central Florida ecosystem. It is also home to the Lyonia Environmental Center, with its engaging and educational displays offering insight into this ecosystem, its flora and fauna. A tour of the center offers an understanding of the county’s environment, natural heritage and ecological challenges. Visitors can also take to the three hiking trails of the preserve for a first-hand look. While there, they can also admire another of Group’s creation, a mural of scrub jay wings, completed in October of 2018.
Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge (2045 Mud Lake Road, De Leon Springs, FL 32130) – The 22,000-acre Lake Woodruff NWR, was established in 1964 as a migratory bird refuge, Bordered by the famed St Johns River on its western boundary, the refuge contains natural habitats including marshes, swamps, creeks, hammocks and uplands. Manmade dikes form pools that attract waterfowl year-round and bald eagles, deer, marsh rabbits, otters and gopher tortoises are common sights, as well. The final installment on the Wings of the West trail can also be viewed here. The swallow-tailed kite wings are tucked away at the very end of Mud Lake Road, park in the Live Oak parking lot. Past the gate and to the right, the wings are situated down the trail, under a big oak tree.
This trail of wings makes a unique travel itinerary for Central Florida visitors, combining some of West Volusia’s classic attractions with an extension of that “new vibe” so prevalent in downtown DeLand. So far, the combination is sending visitation soaring to new heights.
“Erica’s new wings in the area have left a positive impression, not only on her canvases but also on the community in which they reside,” said Georgia Turner, executive director of the WVTAA. “Thousands of people have been photographed in front of the original wings and now they have other sets of wings to add to their collection.”
The Wings of the West trail is a collaboration between Group and the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority.
ABOUT WEST VOLUSIA:
West Volusia region, a destination with stories to tell, history to share and fun to have. Nestled between Orlando and Daytona, West Volusia encompasses fourteen communities with an eclectic collection of accommodations and attractions. The authenticity travelers are looking for is here. From top-rated downtown DeLand to the scenic St. Johns River, this is real Florida. And what variety it offers! Start your journey at www.VisitWestVolusia.com.
West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority
116 W. New York Avenue
DeLand, FL 32720