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Backroads of Paradise: A Journey to Rediscover Old Florida – Book Review

Backroads of Paradise is a real-life account of the part of Florida that is seldom visited today. It is told through Cathy Salustri’s poignant and informative narration. We hopped onto this journey as the writer takes us back to the old and forgotten paradise of Florida.

What is the Backroads of Paradise book about?

Florida is a curious, colorful and culturally rich state. It has often caught the fancies of writers and poets. Writer Cathy Salustri has also been smitten by the love for this state. And the part that has captured her attention is the old Florida. She takes the readers to the backroads that were once famous among bikers and road trippers. The roads now lie almost deserted as people are busy roaming around the more stylish and developed parts of the state. In this book, the writer aims to reintroduce and rekindle the love for the romance of the old route.

Salustri takes us through the journey via her 5000-mile road trip in the state, zipping past historical and environmental wonders and malls and restaurants. She starts the journey from US 98 going through the coastal towns of Florida/Alabama state line rich with sugar sand beaches and seafood. Then she goes on to US 41 admiring the retired carnie town and fruit farms dazzling with springs, swamps, and rivers.

US 17 makes her stop for a delicious snack of hamburgers and milkshakes at Florida’s oldest diner and to gaze at the delightful series of springs interconnected by underwater mazes flowing through white spongy limestone. Moving on to Arcadia she spots cattle auction men, gators- the city’s famous apes and more.
Salustri then brings out the much-awaited part- the forgotten corners that include nude beaches, a rattlesnake cannery, Devil’s Millhopper in Gainesville and also ones in most popular places like Kennedy Space Center.

This book is much like a delightful road journey and also a guide to old Florida.


We give it 4/5 stars. Extremely well written and featuring a beautiful journey through the old and new parts, Backroads of Paradise: A Journey to Rediscover Old Florida is a stunning travel memoir. It is recommended for avid travelers and for people who like to discover lesser-known and explored places of popular destinations.