Sunday, December 23, 2018

Cedar Key

Dave and I made the long trek yesterday from Jacksonville to Tampa, and we made it even longer by taking a little side trip to Cedar Key.

Cedar Key is a rustic little fishing town in Florida's "Big Bend" area, and it's a long, long way from everything. I hadn't been there for about 30 years, so I wasn't sure what we'd find. There's a lot of history there, and now it has a sort of artsy vibe too.

We popped into the historic Island Hotel, which the proprietor said dates back to the 1850s. And there we found...

...a manatee playing the piano! And I had my camera!

We walked around town, popped into a gallery and bought some local art, and then walked out to Dock Street, on the waterfront, to have lunch.

The Gulf water there is heavily stained by tannins from the cypress swamps and rivers that flow nearby. We sat on the upper deck of a restaurant, listening to a guitarist playing Johnny Cash songs. I had a grouper sandwich, which cost an appalling $14 but apparently grouper isn't as easy to come by as it once was.

Afterwards we hopped back in the car and headed for Jacksonville. Driving back on the rural roads through the swampy interior, we saw...

...belted kingfishers perched on the power lines. I have never seen one before, at least not that I can remember, but they're unmistakable with that crest. Photographing them was hard -- they're very shy and every time I slowed down the car they flew off. This was the best I could do.

We got to my brother's at about 7 p.m. last night. Whew!


Ms. Moon said...

All my years in Florida I have been to Cedar Key one time.
I think I feel more at home in Apalach.
So funny- you're virtually in my neighborhood and I am so far away!

jenny_o said...

That manatee playing the piano is very funny! I'm glad you got the shot :)

At one time there were so many lobsters to be had in the waters off Nova Scotia that they were considered a "garbage" species. Only poor families sent lobster sandwiches to school with their kids. Now lobster is a delicacy and costs an arm and a leg. It's a strange (and sad) situation.

robin andrea said...

Love that manatee playing the piano. Cedar Key looks like a wonderful place. I'm glad you stopped there and had a good look around.

Sharon said...

What an adventure you had. You got to see a lot of interesting things not the least of which was a piano playing manatee. I'd call that a successful trip.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

I have been to Cedar Key. We also took that long side road when travelling from Apalachicola to Orlando. I liked that quirky place.

Linda Sue said...

What a cool little town, it does not take itself too seriously, actually looks like a set up in some kind of theme park. Awesome little place. Good adventuring

Catalyst said...

I like the looks of Cedar Key. It looks (to me) like Old Florida and kind of reminds me of a beach town we used to go to in Mexico when we lived down there. Almost solely Mexican visitors there and very few gringos. Anyway it looks like you had a good visit and I like the picture of the kingfisher.

ellen abbott said...

I love beach towns. and no picture of the art you bought? I've only seen a kingfisher once and that was on the Rio Grande in Big Bend.

Steve Reed said...

Ms Moon: As you may remember, I've never been to Apalach, but I always imagine it to be a lot like Cedar Key. Except (slightly) bigger.

Jenny: I've heard that about lobsters! I felt guilty eating the grouper, but there were two other fish options and they seemed equally questionable from an environmental perspective. It's hard to know what to order anymore unless it's tilapia or catfish.

Robin: It IS wonderful! I wish we'd had a little more time.

Sharon: There's a history museum I wish we'd had a chance to check out, but we just couldn't fit it in.

YP: You are indeed an intrepid Yorkshireman to make the journey all the way to Cedar Key! I'm impressed it even registered on your radar as a destination. A lot of Floridians have never been there!

Linda Sue: You would really like it, I'm sure. All the little galleries are so interesting and yet not overly cute or commercialized as in some towns farther south.

Catalyst: It is VERY Old Florida. Definitely a rarity in this day and age.

Ellen: Maybe I'll shoot a pic of the art when we get it to its destination. It's all wrapped up now. :)

Red said...

You had a great tour.

Marty said...

Looks like I'd better put Cedar Key on my Florida list. We're headed there in a week. Right now just waiting for the family horde to descend! Merry Christmas to you and Dave, Steve.