Tag Archives: Florida

Flagler Beach Fun on the way to The Nation’s Oldest City

The RS and I took a notion to travel on Saturday and headed out to St. Augustine for an overnighter. We usually travel south for Old World Florida fun but this trip took us a bit north. The highlight was a detour off I-95 across Hwy. #100 to Flagler Beach where local authors were having a book signing at Change Jar Books. All of these authors write their stories set in Flager Beach and are local celebrities. They should be regional or national celebrities. When they are, we can say, “We knew them when…”

The RS knows the work effort that went into writing and publishing Red Clay and Roses and he really appreciates independent authors. One of our favorite writers, Tim Baker was at the signing. We picked up a collection of Tim’s crime thriller/adventure books about Ike and Associates to gift a friend. We met Becky Meyer Pourchot and got a copy of the first in her Hungry Ghost series (which I’ll tell you more about later). I don’t think Becky always wears pink hair or dresses like the Snow Princess, but it was fitting for the season. (photo op)

St Augustine and Flager Beach 002

You can follow Tim Baker on Twitter @blindoggbooks, drop by and show some love. He’s almost at 10,000 followers. You can read my review on Eyewitness Blues and get a sneak peek about Path of a Bullet here.

We also picked up a shiny, colorful, hardback book for our grandchildren by Marybeth Jeitner and Heather Chalmers, Saving Libbie the Lobster. This is about one special lobster, and has rhyming passages that the kids and grandkids will cherish. Saving Libbie the Lobster is based on true events. In the back are some interesting facts. (another photo op)

St Augustine and Flager Beach 005

We left Change Jar Books loaded with good reads and gifts and then stopped into Flagler Beach Gifts run by Michelle, where the RS found a nifty boating hat, the kind he likes but can never find.  It fits the rocket scientist better than it fits Captain, the pug.

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While in Flagler Beach we couldn’t resist the opportunity to dine at The Golden Lion. If you have read any of Tim’s books you’ll know why this place is so very important.

St Augustine and Flager Beach 008

First, we wanted to cross A1A and get an uncluttered view of the beach. There’s nothing quite like the feeling that you get when you’ve been traveling and you come upon an ocean view, the breeze, open blue skies, and vastness of the water before you. Flagler Beach is one of those sleepy little seaside villages that’s not inundated by commercial enterprise. Independently owned and operated ice cream shops, cozy coffee cafes, beach bars, and quaint hotels are sprinkled along the west side of A1A, and the most gorgeous views of the Atlantic are to the east.

Then, back across A1A to The Golden Lion.

St Augustine and Flager Beach 012

Of course we dined on the upper deck so we could keep an eye out for Ike and Brewski possibly passing by on their Harleys.  It was a chilly day at 65 degrees, but that just served to keep the oysters cold. After the appetizers, we were served steaming crocks of delicious New England clam chowder. The soup warmed us up perfectly. If you’re ever touring Florida’s east coast, you’ll want to stop in here.

Flagler Beach is definitely one of my new favorite Old World Florida places.

Another day I’ll tell you about St. Augustine, the Nights of Lights, and Castillo de San Marcos.

Have you chanced to meet any of your favorite authors?

Do you have a favorite Florida place?

What did you do over the weekend?   

Book Review: Eyewitness Blues by Tim Baker and Path of a Bullet by Tim Baker and Friends

The rocket scientist used to ride a Harley. He made up his mind to sell it after an accident involving both of us which was too embarrassing to write about here. Suffice it to say, it happened in our driveway (nobody in the neighborhood was watching, we checked) and resulted in major neck surgery for the rocket scientist to prevent him from becoming a quadriplegic.

I poke fun at the rocket scientist because he’s not always the brightest rocket scientist at the bomb factory, but I love him dearly and he’s always been good to me. I introduced him to an author I had seen in an online interview who writes the sort of crime fiction/adventure Florida has become famous for, and the kind the rocket scientist loves to read.

Back in May, I mentioned this author whom I think is quite clever, Tim Baker. He had a short story contest and published one of the stories in the back of one of his books that the rocket scientist was reading. It made me laugh out loud. It also warmed my heart to see an author actively promoting the work of other authors. You can read about that here and get links to purchase all of his books.

After hearing a few excerpts from Tim Baker’s books, I was hooked and convinced that I needed to read all of them. There were six at that time. I immediately saw the rocket scientist’s appeal in this author and his characters. Eyewitness Blues is his latest full length novel.

Book Review:

I have had the pleasure of reading all seven of Tim Baker’s full-length novels and loved them all. Like all of them, this is a character-driven story. I do think Eyewitness Blues is one of the best. Like many, I have fallen in love with his iconic character. “Ike” is a Harley-riding, down-to-earth, charismatic, ex-Navy Seal who works for Ralph Donebedian.  Quickly becoming my favorite anti-hero, Ike is compassionate and honorable, but is quite capable of eliminating threats any way that becomes necessary. Ike says it best, “I always remember my friends…but my enemies never forget me.” Ralph, a wheelchair-bound bookie, Ike, and their “associates” deliver their own brand of justice in the seaside village of Flagler Beach, Florida.

In this novel, a terribly depressed young man, Martin Aquino, has become entangled with a mob boss in Rhode Island. His life sucks and he is at his wit’s end when he decides to report witnessing a murder to get enrolled in the witness protection program. Baker draws his characters with a deft hand and we see early on why Martin has to make the choices he does. In an action-packed series of events, Martin ends up on Ike’s boat, The Knight’s Mare, in St. Augustine. Almost immediately, Martin senses his life has turned around for the best…but has it? There is so much more yet to come.

Martin’s not always so bright, but that’s okay, Ike has his back! There’s a whole other cast of colorful characters in Flagler Beach for the mob to deal with. If you are looking for a fun read that will keep you turning pages just to see what craziness is going to happen next, this book is a great choice. There is a rare hilarity to the antics of Ike and his “associates” that is certain to keep you entertained.

5 of 5 Stars

An Added Bonus:

If, like many us, you quickly fall in love with Ike, there is an even newer book, a collection of short stories written by Tim Baker and a select few talented authors that tell all about what Ike does to keep himself busy between his full length novels. It’s a fun collection that can either introduce you to Ike and his Flagler Beach associates, or give you a little more to hold onto while you’re waiting for that next full-length novel. Contributors are: Rebecca Heishman, Susan M. Toy, Gi Arena, Anne Marie Vancas, L.F. Young, and Becky M. Pourchot. This is another book you will want to pick up. Your’s truly wrote the Foreword to Path of a Bullet and Seumas Gallacher wrote this blurb:

There are plenty of heroes in the world of crime-fiction, each with their own personality and style.

Ike has earned a seat at that table, but, being Ike, he prefers to find his own table…and let others sit with him.

A former US Navy SEAL, Ike’s current position as an enforcer for a local bookie often puts him in close contact with an element of society most of us fortunately never see. These encounters usually lead to trouble and Ike routinely inserts himself at the center of it all to make sure innocent people aren’t hurt. Ike has a tendency to…shall we say…bend some of the rules…and even break a few on occasion, but his moral compass is always strong and true.
It’s this very behavior that has readers of Tim Baker’s novels calling him “Robin Hood on a Harley” or “…an off-white knight in shining armor.”

Thirteen Stories.

One hero.

Path of a Bullet explodes from the barrel with the first tale about Ike’s encounter with a not-so-scrupulous Santa and follows a deadly trajectory until it hits a bull’s-eye with a Thanksgiving story that has Ike questioning his purpose in life.

Ike dispenses justice at a rapid-fire pace until the only danger in Flagler Beach is a traffic jam on A1A.

Happy Birthday Florida Style

I hate to start off a post talking about the weather, but really I must. The weather for my birthday weekend couldn’t have been better for what we planned to do. November and April are practically perfect in Florida.

Saturday, we took our new boat out on the intracoastal waterway at Indian River. The sun was shining, the air was refreshingly cool, but the sun’s warmth was felt to the core melting away any morning chill.

This was our first adventure to downtown Cocoa with a boat. Not a great idea. There is a lovely park with boat ramp in the middle of the historic district. I thought it would make for a nice walking tour when we returned. There are little al fresco diners, quaint shops, and boutiques along the way.

one way streets

Wrong. Getting to the park was next to impossible hauling an eight-and-a-half foot wide twenty-three foot boat and trailer. We turned left, then right, then left, again and again, swinging wide to avoid the cars and clipping the curbs on the narrow one-way streets.  After sweating bullets through downtown traffic, we finally made it to the park. I’m certain we were cursed at often.

Once in the water it was a gorgeous day. We motored upriver toward the lagoon. Coming under the A1A bridge, a barge about the length of a football field came blasting around the corner out of a canal to the east and I nearly wet my pants.  I had to turn the helm over to the more experienced captain.  The rest of the day was pleasantly uneventful.

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Breaking in the new boat, we had two hours of near idle time keeping the boat under 2000 rpms. Slowly, we meandered down the barge canal to Habortown Marina and had a leisurely lunch at a most obscure waterfront restaurant.

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Coming back west to the intracoastal we were surrounded by dolphins and manatees. The dolphins all seemed to have babies and the manatees were munching on seagrass. These are not my pics, because every time I tried to get a shot they disappeared into the waters. Osprey and pelicans were everywhere.

It was getting late so I knew a walk around cocoa was out of the question. The only bad thing about winter in Florida is that darkness comes too early.

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After our short day in the water we headed back through Cocoa. Coming around a corner, the rocket scientist swung wide to avoid a curb, but also had to avoid a parked car on the opposite corner. You know those cute little chalkboard signs that owners put out to advertise their daily specials (like the pretty pink one in this pic)?

Cocoa

Well, the RS clipped one perched on the curb and down it slammed. It sounded like gunshot hitting the sidewalk. A lady jumped off a nearby park bench as if she needed to take cover. I know we were cursed again, “Those damn boaters coming through here!” I can hear it now. Anyway, we made it home.

First order of business upon arriving home. No limes, but a lemon works just as well.
First order of business upon arriving home. No limes, but a lemon works just as well.

Sunday, we put in just north of the NASA building in Parrish Park, a much easier boat ramp to get to on the causeway to Merritt Island.  People were much friendlier today than on our maiden voyage.  It was a sunny day with very little breeze and a perfect temperature.  Much more boater traffic Sunday and I got some good experience at the wheel.

boats-on-intercoastal-waterway

Fun day. Happy birthday. Looking forward to many more. 🙂

This morning the wind was whipping the traveler’s palm leaves around, the air all balmy and tropically warm, and now it is pouring rain, lightning and thundering.

21 Facinating Facts About Florida

I am constantly looking up Florida facts and details for my regional writing. Sometimes these little tidbits end up in my books. I compiled this list from a variety of resources:

 

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  • Florida was not acquired by the U.S. until 1821

 

  • The Seminole Tribe of Florida is a Federally Recognized Indian Tribe, the only tribe in America who never signed a peace treaty.

 

  • The bridge to Keys was completed from 1909 to 1912. The Seven Mile Bridge, that crosses between Marathon and the Lower Keys, was built in 1982 – in pieces – then shipped to the Keys to be assembled.

 

  • The railroad to Key West was completed in 1912.

 

  • Key West has the highest average temperature in the United States.

 

  • Founded in 1565, Saint Augustine is the oldest European settlement in North America.

 

  • The name Punta Gorda, which means, “fat point” when translated from Spanish. The moniker was given to the city because a broad part of the land in Punta Gorda juts into Charlotte Harbor. The harbor itself is somewhat unique, as it is the point where the Peace River meets the ocean. (We have a sea-walled piece of property for sale there if you are looking to buy.)

 

  • Orlando attracts more visitors than any other amusement park destination in the United States.

 

  • The United States city with the highest rate of lightning strikes per capita is Clearwater, near Tampa, but it is also in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most days of sunshine.

 

  • Young aviator Tony Jannus made history on January 1, 1914 when he flew the world’s first scheduled passenger service airline flight from St. Petersburg’s downtown yacht basin to Tampa.

 

  • The Saint John’s River is one of the few rivers that flows north instead of south.

 

  • Miami installed the first bank automated teller machine especially for rollerbladers.

 

  • Nearly 80 percent of the states intake of sweet Atlantic white shrimp is harvested in Amelia Island waters. Two million pounds of shrimp are delivered to Fernandina docks annually.

 

  • Florida has 2276 miles of tidal shoreline and about 4500 islands larger than 10 ACRES, and  663 miles of beaches.

 

  • Greater Orlando is home to 71 skyscrapers. The Suntrust Building is tallest at 441 feet.

 

  • Highway patrol officers lose their bonuses if they are more than 15 pounds overweight.

 

  • There are 52 million annual visitors to Walt Disney World Resorts.

 

  • There are more than 400,000 hotel rooms and 37,000 restaurants in the tri-county area (Orange, Osceola and Seminole) , 144,125 of the hotel rooms are in Orlando.

 

  • Key West has more bars per capita than any other location in the country.

 

  • The deepest river in the world, reaching 90 feet of depth and only nine miles is the New River. It was named by native Americans the New River because at one time it flowed underground.

 

  • Florida produces half the United State’s winter vegetables.

Busy Weeks Ahead

Editing one project, jotting down little anecdotes for another, and outlining yet another, I am sort of between projects but feel as if I am busier than when I am in the throes of dedicated writing.

I am also doing some reading for other blogger friends/novelists.

If it seems that I am neglecting the blog, please forgive me. I read your posts and try to comment when I can, but I might seem a bit absent for the next week or two.

I also have several errands to run over the next two weeks and, if you know anything at all about Central Florida traffic, you know that driving five miles can take over a half hour, so driving twenty-five or thirty and back can be a half day event.

But there is so much beauty within an hour’s drive that makes it all worthwhile.

Gatorland and Crime Fiction Author, Tim Dorsey

If you have been to Orlando, but never stopped in a Gatorland, you are missing a real treat. Away from the Disney chaos you’ll find an attraction of a different sort. Started in 1949, by Owen Godwin, and owned by his family to this day, it was once more like a gator farm, but quickly became a tourist “must see”.

gatorland-entrance The infamous entryway still greets guests with a great roar. It’s located pretty far south on Orange Blossom Trail (OBT), the red light district, almost in Kissimmee, so you are away from the riff-raff that parades the Trail. I mention it in my crime novel.

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I have not been since the fire that destroyed the gift shop in 2006. The shop has been rebuilt as a two-story building. There you will find expensive gator heads for sale. (Found in any souvenir shop for six dollars less.) You’ll also find more gators located in one place than you’ll ever see anywhere in the wild. They have other animals as well, turtles/tortoises, snakes, lizards, birds and more. They pride themselves on their albino collection, including a white alligator.

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The Breeding Marsh area of the park was used in the filming of the 1984 movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. They have a new zip line feature where you can ride 1200 feet along a cable suspended over the gators and crocodiles.

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One of my favorite crime fiction writers, regional author Tim Dorsey, has a new book out, “Tiger Shrimp Tango”. If you are into crime fiction you’ll love this guy. To get the full story on Serge Storm and Coleman, two zany whackos who are bad guys but have antics that always catch other bad guys, you’ll want to start with earlier books.

Dorsey’s writing is tight as he takes the characters down OBT and come upon the gator mouth at the entryway. Of course, they’re high on mescaline, so it’s a pretty weird scene. It’s a side-splitting hilarious book. If this sounds like your thing, check him out.

 

A Day on the Space(y) Coast

Just got back from a trip we made into Brevard county. It is a short drive to the Space Coast from where we live in Central Florida. Home of the Kennedy Space Center. But away from the tourist attractions, you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in Florida. Beautiful, because it is unspoiled, which also means you have eco-friendly toilets and nowhere to shower off the sand. Playa Linda Beach and the Black Point Wildlife Refuge are isolated scenic places.

Some of the best kept secrets in Florida that the locals enjoy but many tourists overlook are the federal lands.
Some of the best kept secrets in Florida that the locals enjoy but many tourists overlook are the federal lands.
Before you get to the national seashore you have to cross the intercoastal waterways That separate the barrier islands from the mainland. . Early morning sunrise over the intercoastal waterway.
Before you get to the national seashore you have to cross the intercoastal waterways That separate the barrier islands from the mainland. Early morning sunrise over the intercoastal waterway.
Find a boardwalk across the dunes and before long...
Find a boardwalk across the dunes and before long…
...you are on the beach! Sunlight quickly burns off the clouds. Don't worry, they'll be back!
…you are on the beach! Sunlight quickly burns off the clouds. Don’t worry, they’ll be back!

 

No condos, no hotels, no commercial enterprises...just you and the beach.
No condos, no hotels, no commercial enterprises…just you and the beach.
A few people meander down the beach in early morning.
A few people meander down the beach in early morning.
A few fish and a few swim.
Some fish.
Shelling is popular because the shore is not so picked over as the crowded beaches.
Shelling is popular because the shore is not so picked over as the crowded beaches.
Families enjoy fun in the sun.
Families enjoy fun in the sun.
A trip across the boardwalk and you'll find an explanation on why the dunes are so important and why we need to keep off.
A trip across the boardwalk and you’ll find an explanation on why the dunes are so important and why we need to keep off.

 

You'll also find words of caution. This is Federal land.
You’ll also find words of caution. This is Federal land.

On a side note:

The Legal Scene

Is Public Nudity Legal in Florida?

by Marvin Frandsen

“Here’s what the Florida courts have to say about that. The following is from Florida Statute 800.03:

It shall be unlawful for any person to expose or exhibit his sexual organs in any public place or on the private premises of another, or so near thereto as to be seen from such private premises, in a vulgar or indecent manner, or so to expose or exhibit his person in such place, or to go or to be naked in such place. Provided, however, this section shall not be construed to prohibit the exposure of such or the person in any place provided or set apart for that purpose.

The Florida Supreme Court and lower courts have repeatedly ruled that mere nudity (as in sunbathing and skinny-dipping) is not in violation of this law. Nudity is not lewdlascivious, or indecent exposure. Clothing-optional recreation does not harm the public’s health, safety, welfare, or morals. There are no harmful “secondary contrary effects” of skinny-dipping or the sight of a person in the natural state of being unclothed on a public beach. The public has nothing to fear from a live nude body. (Emphasis added.)”

“Itʼs definitely cultural. It think we ought to be more like the French in most

everything, and the Germans as well. Weʼre way too uptight here; its a beautiful thing

over there.” (Rush Limbaugh, on nude beaches, from an Internet site).”

So, you might encounter scenes like this.
So, you might encounter scenes like this.
Or this. We nudists call these "cottontails".
Or this. We nudists call these “cottontails”.
Or this. Actually, mostly this.
Or this. Actually, mostly this.
The waters here create tidal pools. Fish and sea life get trapped in them,. They are fun to explore.
The beach and waters here create tidal pools. Fish and sea life get trapped in them. They are fun to explore.
Ibis hanging out on the beach with the nudies.
Ibis hanging out on the beach with the nudies.
There are sharks in the water  (and no life guards).
One reason you don’t see a lot of folk out far in the water swimming. Most only wade out into the shallows. There are sharks in the water (and no life guards).
Other fish also.
Other fish also.
But lots of sharks.
But lots of sharks.
Back across the boardwalk and you'll see that the locals ordinances are always at odds with the Feds. There are ongoing court cases, where locals and traveling Europeans  are fined anywhere from $25.00 to $500.00 for violating local nudity ordinances.
Back across the boardwalk and you’ll see that the locals ordinances are always at odds with the Feds. There are ongoing court cases, where locals and traveling Europeans are fined anywhere from $25.00 to $500.00 for violating local nudity ordinances.
As this guy proves with his willingness to pose, many nudists ignore the warnings.
As this guy proves with his willingness to pose, many nudists ignore the warnings.
Storms move in quickly and move along and out just as fast. You never know how the weather will hold through the day.
Storms move in quickly and move along and out just as fast. You never know how the weather will hold through the day. Often they threaten, with clouds, high winds, and lightening, but not a drop of rain falls.

Leaving the beach area you will find many little park and wildlife refuge areas like this one at Black Point on Merritt Island. There are boardwalks that let you get really close to the wildlife. The birds are spectacular.

The marshy brackish waters of the intercoastals and all around places like Blackpoint Wildlife Drive Park where you can do bird watching.
The marshy brackish waters of the intercoastals and all around places like Blackpoint Wildlife Drive Park where you can do bird watching.
White pelicans, American egrets, Hooded Merganzers, rosette spoonbills and more flock here.
White pelicans, American egrets, Hooded Merganzers, rosette spoonbills and more flock here. The sound can be deafening.
Ducks cover the ponds.
Ducks cover the ponds.
A nice way to end a day at the beach. The sky is constantly changing from bright to cloudy to bright again.
A nice way to end a day at the beach. The sky is constantly changing from bright to cloudy to bright again.

 

 

A trip into Titusville is never complete without a stop at Dixie Crossroads, a local dining establishment that has been around for decades. There are several indoor and outdoor dining areas connected by boardwalks and corridors.

Their specialty is shrimp. Any kind of shrimp, any kind of way. Not these guys though.

Get there early enough and you might be treated to a crawfish boil
Get there early enough and you might be treated to a crawfish boil
You can dine outside under the live oaks.
You can dine outside under the live oaks.
On buckets of roasted oysters from Apalachicola. I won't eat them from May to August. Only months with an 'R' in them.
On buckets of roasted oysters from Apalachicola. I won’t eat them from May to August. Only months with an ‘R’ in them.
Scallops, rock shrimp, and pink shrimp. The rock shrimp tastes like lobster, only juicer.
Scallops, rock shrimp, and pink shrimp. The rock shrimp taste like lobster, only juicer.
Seafood not your thing. They gotcha covered.
Seafood not your thing. They gotcha covered.
Carving station.
Carving station.
You will almost always find a row of these outside.
You will almost always find a row of these outside.

They draw a huge crowd come nightfall.

Last look over the waterway.
Last look over the waterway.
Here's a map of where we have been today on the Atlantic coast.
Here’s a map of where we have been today on the Atlantic coast.

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Tiffany Glass and Art

While the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum is awe inspiring, the history of Louis Comfort Tiffany and the founding of the museum are equally impressive.  Most famous for the Tiffany lamps designed by his students and himself, there is so much more to see.  A small sample of the most comprehensive collection of Tiffany’s work and a hint of the history behind it can be seen in this video:

Like a rock hound, I seek out Florida’s hidden gems.  This rare gem is tucked away behind the curtains of Spanish moss that drape a live oak shaded cobbled avenue in Winter Park. The museum and its impressive art nouveau collection is the crown jewel of the Winter Park shopping and historic district near Orlando.

If you are ever in the Orlando area the museum is simply a “must see”.  Its focal point, a chapel rescued from the fire that destroyed the Tiffany Estate, Laurelton Hall, in 1957, was designed and constructed exclusively for display in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition (also known as The World’s Fair) in Chicago. The chapel is made of mosaic glass tiles that reflect patterns of colored light from every angle. The cross shaped “electrolier”, as Tiffany called it, is suspended above.

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Another Tiffany masterpiece, The Daffodil Terrace, restored at the museum, is temporarily installed at the Metropolitan Museum and is larger than many Manhattan apartments. Its tall marble columns are topped with clusters of yellow flowers — daffodils — made of blown glass, the material in which Tiffany achieved his greatest eloquence.

The Daffodil Terrace once connected the dining room and the gardens at Laurelton Hall, the grand estate that Tiffany built for himself from 1902 to 1905 on 580 extensively landscaped acres overlooking Long Island Sound. Can you imagine the grandeur of such a place?

You can read more about the chapel and the museum founders here: http://orlando.about.com/od/museumarticles/a/tiffany.htm

Cape Romano: Our Secret Sanctuary

We have our very own “secret sanctuary” in sunny Florida.  A curious and interesting place, Cape Romano is at the southernmost tip of Ten Thousand Island (the uppermost of the mangrove islands). It is located just a few miles south of the luxury resort community of Marco Island, on the Gulf side. The sky is a lovely, brilliant blue, the sun is shining, the air is dry, and a cool breeze is blowing with temperatures in the mid to low seventies during the winter months.

sanibel-island-beach-shelling

Florida has both a cosmopolitan appeal in places like Jacksonville, Miami, and Orlando, as well as old world charm in places like St. Augustine, Marco Island, and Amelia Island.  All of these places are wonderful in their own way, but the most wondrous places in Florida are the most obscure.  Many people have come to love the beaches at Panama City, Sanibel Island, and Captiva, but there are a tiny few remaining beautiful beaches that are a bit more remote. The beach at Cape Romano is one of these places.

Accessible only by boat or Jet Ski, Cape Romano is a quiet place for reflection in the early morning or late evening, but it does get swamped by visitors from Marco on Jet Skis by mid-day on the weekends. During the week; however, in the twilight of dawn or dusk, it is as if you have transported into a surrealistic dystopian, sci-fi, or fantasy world.

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To travel to this location you will find yourself on the Tamiami trail, mentioned in many books set in Florida, otherwise known as “Alligator Alley”. The best way to approach the island is in a little flat bottom jon boat you can launch from the Goodland marina.  Goodland is a sleepy little fishing village located in the midst of the mangroves at the very beginning of the Ten Thousand Islands.  Their biggest boast is a visit from Donald Trump, back when he was considering installing a casino at Cape Romano.  I am glad he did not choose to destroy the splendor of the sanctuary, for it surely would have.

As you motor carefully through the shallows of the brackish waters of Gullivan Bay, the dolphins swim alongside your boat in playful pods teasing and tempting you to join in a swim as they guide you out to deeper waters. You won’t miss the Cape when you see the unique dome home that was established here by Bob Lee in 1980.  This is Bob with his fresh caught snook. You can read more about Bob, his adventurous project, and his family here:

http://www.coastalbreezenews.com/2012/09/07/cape-romano-uncovered/ in this article by Natalie Strom.

Once self-sustaining, powered by solar panels, with a 23,000 gallon fresh water cistern, the home is no longer habitable.

Hurricane Andrew came through in 1992 and stripped about 600 feet off the beach sending most of the dome dwelling, and a couple of other homes in the boating community, into the sea. The Environmental Protection Agency ordered the removal of the structure in 2007, (which has not been done and it is assessing the owners fines daily). Building on the sanctuary island is no longer allowed.  There is a cut through the middle of the island called Morgan’s Pass, also created by hurricane activity, where an estuary runs into a deeper pool of salt water. Fascinating sea life thrives here. Anemones, starfish, urchins and other small sea creatures abound.

On one side of the Cape, the seashore is two feet deep in shells. On the other side, there are miles of white sand and driftwood.  There are many little sandbar islands dotting the turquoise waters around the Cape that are covered with birds and are protected bird sanctuaries.  They feast on the abundant shell life. The birds nest here year round. Their calls can be deafening when they are disturbed.  Most all of the larger sandbars for bird sanctuaries are marked off-limits to humans.

Not my best pose in a bikini, but about the only one I would consider making public.
Not my best pose in a bikini, but about the only one I would consider making public.

Shelling is my favorite pastime here, collecting hundreds of samples over the years.

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There are certain currents at specific times of the year that bring King’s Crown and whole sand dollars washing ashore in great heaps.  I hope that civilization can preserve the sanctuary, and it remains as unspoiled as possible for future generation to enjoy.

Nudist Weekend Plans

CC_Logo

Many of you know my Aunt and Uncle started a Nudist Resort back in 1964,

when folk called them colonies. (Naturist, for my European friends.)

  Now it is a Sunbather’s Association, AANR recognized, 5 star, TNS “Resort”.

This is where I will be spending my weekend.

  Post to follow.

Fun, Fun

It is Biker Weekend and we are hoping to see some cool bikes.

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Biker_sm

Limited online or email interaction for the next couple of days 🙂