MomStuff Road Trip: Zora Neale Hurston's Florida

Cristen Conger

Since Molly and I were already in the South, we decided to keep driving down the map into the southern-but-not-to-be-confused-as-Southern state called Florida. The Sunshine State is home to Disney World Harlem Renaissance author Zora Neale Hurston. Although born in Alabama, Hurston grew up in Florida and returned there to Fort Pierce, where she died in 1960. Florida is also the setting of her best-known novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, which she published in 1937.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hurston's death, the New York Times plotted out a ZNH travel guide around Florida. Washington Post followed suit as well.

Or you could even follow the Florida guide written by Hurston herself in 1939 for a project commissioned by the Federal Writer's Project as part of its American Guide series. The main stop on the trip is Eatonville, Hurston's childhood home nestled in the central region of the state. The town is also the backdrop of Hurston's autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road.

Sure, Eatonville doesn't have beaches or strips to cruise, but it was a life force for one of America's most treasured writers. In 1932, Hurston wrote about her recent return to Eatonville: "The air is sweet, yes, literally sweet. I am renewed like the eagle. The clang and clamor of New York drops away like a last year's dream."