Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rainy Day Adventure

After we went swimming a couple of times in Manatee Springs, and ate lunch and read the paper, we decided to go canoeing. Right when we reached the car, though (to retrieve the canoe), the rain that had been sprinkling on us off and on since we had gotten to the park began pouring down in earnest. I've never really minded getting rained on (unless I'm stuck in an inner tube on the Ichetucknee River), but the thunder and lightning were not reassuring. I called off the canoe trip.

Rob, always laid-back, suggested an adventure. "Should we go to Cedar Key?" He asked. I acquiesced.

We drove away from the storm with the windows down, listening to Neil Young.

Believe it or not, although I grew up only an hour away from this old port town, I've only been to Cedar Key once, when I was twelve years old. I've been missing out.

It's located on an island on the Gulf of Mexico, surrounded by tidal flats.

Downtown is really -- and I want to emphasize that I normally avoid this word -- quaint. Cedar Key used to be a pretty bumpin' port back in the day. Some of the buildings are over one hundred years old -- old as heck for our humid, hurricane- and termite-infested state!

One old building didn't exist. Someone had simply left up the facade -- windows and all -- in front of an empty lot.

Granted, summer is actually the off-season in Florida -- all the Yankees and snow birds go back up to their native climes for the dog days -- but the pace in Cedar Key seemed relaxed even by slow season standards. Golf carts are an extremely common way to get around the island. This companion waited patiently outside a bank for his owner.

As in many beach towns, many artists seem to settle in Cedar Key. That makes for random art around town and art galleries run by artists.

This sculpture was in the yard next to the building that had the mosaic around its front door, pictured above.

I couldn't resist -- the resemblance was uncanny.

At one end of downtown is a little park with this view of the gulf. The pontoon boat was returning from a tour.

We went for a drive around the island. Next to an old cemetery was a reeeeeally long boardwalk out into the flats. We saw tons of birds.

Cedar Key is actually one in a chain of keys, or islands. The keys are federally protected sanctuaries and serve as nurseries for aquatic life and important stops for migrating wildlife. Much of the land in the area is also state preserves. This is why Cedar Key doesn't look like Daytona Beach! Conservation works, people.


Emily said...

I can't believe you've only been to Cedar Key once!! You have been missing out.

Wicked Gardener said...

I got an impromptu walking tour of Cedar Key when we were locked out of our hotel room and the front desk closed. We had to walk around the island until we could find a police station who had to call the owner and get him out of bed. “Quaint” is an understatement.

sarah said...

Em -- I already said that! Haha.

Wicked -- That sounds like a fun adventure. Did the police officer have the hotel owner's home phone on speed dial? They were probably brothers-in-law, or something.

lara said...

I always like seeing pix of Ceder Key--my aunt and uncle still live there and it's always been a part of my life. I have to say my favorite time in CK was when Hirko flew us there and we landed (DROPPED) about a foot off the ground! All's well that ends well though!

sarah said...

Lara -- I've been meaning to call Lirko. Thanks for the reminder. I wish I had relatives in Cedar Key! It's be great to hang out there for a few days for free.