Cave Dwellings: Found a real gem in the middle of nowhere.
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Found a real gem in the middle of nowhere.

Last week, Dennis and I waded through the muddy moat surrounding our camper to go for groceries. We put on sandals and rolled up pantslegs to get to our truck. One of the peeps at our park told us there was a new Publix in a little town called Ave Maria, South of Imokalee. Sometimes I get so fed up with WalMart I have to go somewhere else, so off we went. Following the sign to Ave Maria, we got a real surprise when we came upon it…The whole “town” is built around a The Ave Maria Catholic Church..What a gem in the middle of the Corkscrew Swamp area!!


The town was planned with the large Ave Maria Oratory church in the center, the facade of which displays sculptor Márton Váró's 30-foot-tall (9 m) sculpture of the Annunciation, depicting the Archangel Gabriel greeting the Virgin Mary with the words "Ave Maria" (Hail Mary).  Váró's "Good Shepherd" sculpture is also featured inside the Oratory, also carved in marble from Cave Michelangelo in Carrara, Italy.”

“Ave Maria is a planned college town currently under development in Collier County, near Immokalee and Naples. It is an unincorporated community that was founded in 2005 by Ave Maria Development Company, a partnership consisting of the Barron Collier Companies and the Ave Maria Foundation led by Roman Catholic philanthropist and activist Tom Monaghan, founder of Domino's Pizza and the leader of Ave Maria University at the time.  Monaghan served as president of Ave Maria University until February 2011.  The development of the town was made possible when the Florida legislature created the Ave Maria Stewardship Community District, a limited local government whose purpose is to provide community infrastructure, including community development systems, facilities, services, projects, and improvements.   The town is home to various institutions and businesses, and local events are covered by a local online newspaper called the Ave Herald.   Ave Maria is one of the top-selling master planned communities in the USA. Ave Maria is known to have an enormous mosquito problem and has been sprayed more than 30 times via airplane with pesticides by the Collier Mosquito Control District in 2015 making it the most sprayed area in Southwest Florida.”

I did some copy and paste to make sure I got all of the facts right. Here are some photos of the Sanctuary…



After Dennis and I got done taking photos of the church, we came outside and it had FINALLY quit raining ..I told Den we should have gone to church a few days earlier and maybe we wouldn’t have had to pole vault into our truck this morning…However, it began raining again shortly there after, squelching any “devine intervention” ideas I had about us two sinners entering that church..At any rate, this “downtown” area circles the plaza where the church is..


Wow!! This is a very “high rent” district. Lots of boutique like shops and many empty shops. And…we went to the Publix and I could only afford to buy some  79cent gravy mix..Iceburg lettuce was $2.59..I kid you not!! Here is a photo I snagged off the internet..It is an aerial view of the town…


This whole thing made me feel like the movie “The Stepford Wives”..way too perfect and almost too quiet. There is quite a bit of controversy surrounding the building of this community…I will give you a link and suggest you read it..very interesting stuff..Ave Maria

As it turned out, MacGyver and I opted to save our money and stop at the Winn Dixie in Imokalee, but we were very glad we drove to Ave Maria, if for no other reason than to see that beautiful church!! Oh, and I  have one more photo..


This is what we waded through beginning last Tuesday night and ending…Snakes and frogs and gators, oh my!!


  1. Your site is likethe site I had near Rockport last spring, felt like the RV was parked in a lake. When it was timeto leave, the parks maintenance guys came wearing rubber boots to unhookmy utilities for me.

    The church is pretty

  2. yep we stumbled upon that intriguing little town a few years back...

  3. You never know what's around the next bend.