Cedar Key Daily Photo

Relocated to a quirky little island off the west coast of Florida and I'm in my element. Well, I'm a Pisces afterall. Surrounded by water and nature makes each day a gift. Our little town of 900 permanent residents is special, so visit here for photos and I'll share it with you.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Another Southern Sight

A large amount of trees in the south are enveloped with a covering of Spanish Moss. Many times it resembles cobwebs and other times it's delicate whisps cling to the tree reminding one of a finely webbed lace pattern.
Yes, it can choke a tree from further growth but the mystical sight it provides is one of beauty and a slice of the true south.

Monday, January 30, 2006

A Southern Tradition

I grew up in the northeast and years ago rockers on the front porch were traditional. It enabled neighbors walking by to pause and talk with those sitting there. Unfortunately, with more and more people living in condos, this quaint past-time has all but disappeared.
However, in the south, rockers on the front porch is still a common sight and in small towns it gives us a chance to get to know our neighbors even better.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Our Island School

Our island school is the focal point of many events which the community participates in. Reading night for the younger children, a pie auction before Thanksgiving to raise money for the Jr. class and it's refreshing to see even adults without children participating. We have grades Pre-K through 12 and the graduating class normally hovers around 16 students.

Cedar Key Highschool is the smallest public high school in the state of Florida and many graduates go on to Florida University in Gainesville, one hour west of the island. Appropriately enough, the school mascot is the shark.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Tin Can Tourists

The Tin Can Tourists arrived on the island for a Rally a few days ago at Sunset Isle RV Park. They're an organization committed to the celebration of classic trailers and motor coaches through annual gatherings of owners and friends.
I did a tour of the Park this morning and here's a 1957 Airstream with a 1950 Mercury. Very vintage.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Olde Boarding House Restaurant

We left the island today and stopped in Trenton, which is about 40 miles east of Cedar Key, for lunch at the Olde Boarding House Restaurant.
An authentic southern restaurant with southern cooking, the buffet was mullet and catfish. Very appropriate for a Friday with so much fish readily available.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Dakotah Winery

I visited the Dakotah Winery in Chiefland, 25 miles northeast of Cedar Key, a couple weeks ago and although it's not my favorite (and superb) French or Italian wine, I have to say it's enjoyable. They have a nice selection at affordable prices. They also offer a Grapeseed Garlic Roasted Oil (which I also purchased) that's great on salads and also to cook with. It's a family run winery and the grounds are beautiful to walk around. The wine tasting was fun and enables one to try the different wines before purchasing. Pay them a visit at this link.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Salt Marshes

The entire island of Cedar Key is surrounded by salt marshes looking out to the Gulf. This is just one such view. Depending on the weather or time of day, the view is a constantly changing panoramic slice of paradise.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Stilt Houses

According to FEMA code, any land on the island below 18 ft. elevation requires the house to be built on stilts. As a result, many of the homes here are quite high. These two are on Rye Key on the west side of the island. Although the stairs could be frustrating, I must say the views from these homes are spectactular. Surrounded by salt marshes and the Gulf, it's an artist paradise.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cedar Key Railroad

To connect the Atlantic coast with the Gulf had been the dream of David Yulee, Florida Railroad pioneer. The dream became reality in March of 1861 when the 155 miles of track from Fernandina to Cedar Key was completed. Travel reached a new high in 1881 when the company started running two trains a day into the city. The tracks ran out to a large loading dock where goods could be loaded directly from ocean-going ships which docked at Cedar Key. After the turn of the century, sawmills in Cedar Key gave out and the boats began docking at other ports. Later a road was put through to Cedar Key and finished off the railroad in 1932.
Conductor, Clyde Coulter, donated the uniform he wore on the railroad and it's now preserved at our Historical Museum.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Hale-Johnson House

This is one of the homes in the Historic district downtown. Built in 1880 By William Henry Hale, Sr. a local builder, tax assessor and merchant, the house is now privately owned. Among it's outstanding features is the widow's walk, gingerbread trim and lovely stained glass windows.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Apothecary Jar

Since medieval days, hanging globes or tall, ornamental, jars filled with red or green solutions were used by apothecary shops as symbols.
Medical lore claims that a globe filled with red solution warned people and stage coaches of a plague or contagious epidemic. No driver stopped until the apothecary had switched to a green one.
This jar hangs in our Historical Museum on the island.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Double Fireplace

This is the previously named White Hotel on Second Street and is now privately owned by Joy and Bob Witman. The house required a major renovation when purchased, but as much of the old as possible was left intact.
A focal point on the second floor is this double fireplace, which was originally hidden by a wall of plaster but now adds charm and a feel for what the room looked like when built between 1885 and 1890 by the Railroad Development Company to house train workers on the island.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Artists on the Island

Cedar Key isn't just a quaint fishing village. We're noted for the many artists that live and visit here. Bill Roberts recently conducted a class outside and is shown here working on his current project. Surrounded by nature seems to provide the inspiration needed for both artists and writers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Honeymoon Cottage

What used to be an old fishing shack is lovingly referred to as "Honeymoon Cottage." It sits just off shore on Cedar Key and is one of the most photographed places on the island. Having grown up on the Northshore of Boston, it always reminds me of Motif #1 in Rockport, Mass. which attracts artists and photographers from around the world. So this is our own Motif #1 right here on the island.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Future Hotel

Our little island is in the process of restoring a portion of our downtown area. One of the projects will be developing a new hotel. The artist rendering above shows what the future Magnolia House will look like as part of the historic restoration. Construction is due to begin late March and will be a combination of historic restoration/new construction.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Fiber Brushes

The Standard Manufacturing Co. was in operation on the island from 1910 to 1952. There were only three of these fiber factories in the world and all were in Florida. Standard was the largest and the only one to make brushes.
The source of the fiber was the young Sabal Palm (Florida State Tree) which grew and still grows abundantly throughout Florida, especially in the coastal swampy areas. The process of extracting the fiber was complicated and labor intensive, from cutting the trees in the field to the finished product.
These are some of the finished products.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Back Bayou at High Tide

This photo was taken looking out to our Back Bayou on the island. Being a fishing village, you seldom see working boats near shore. Their days are spent further out in the Gulf catching grouper, red fish or whatever is in season. Our offshore water surrounding the island is extremely shallow, causing boaters to stay in the channel. Before moving here and purchasing a boat, the tides wasn't something I gave much thought to. However, unless one wants to take a chance ending up on a sandbar, reading the tide schedule is mandatory.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Children's Room

I'm a docent and member of the Historical Society at the museum here on the island. Yesterday I had the opportunity to tour three of the historic houses, now privately owned. This photo was taken in the Hale-Johnson house and is the small, three foot entrance to the Children's Room. One must bend over to walk inside to a bedroom with a peaked roof and filled with vintage toys and large collection of Barbie dolls. Stooping down to enter, I had a feeling of Alice in Wonderland falling down that rabbit hatch.

Friday, January 06, 2006

View From the Cemetery

Our cemetery here on the island is more of a park and lovely to walk through. This is one view taken from there. The back bayou, salt marshes and our water tower in the distance. It's not a bad place to spend eternity.
Based on a comment from Eric, I guess now is a good time to give you a bit more info on Cedar Key. Contrary to what many of you might think....we are not located in south Florida or part of Key West. Rather, we are located on the Nature Coast, one hour west of Gainesville and 150 miles southwest of Tallahhassee in north, central, Florida. Located 24 miles from the highway, one travels over 4 bridges from the mainland and then is on the island proper. We're a small (800/900 permanent residents) fishing village and Cedar Key boasts the distinction of being the #1 place in the USA of farm raised clams. We're also noted for our delicious crab. Many of the locals here are part of families that go back 4 and 5 generations. Living here surrounded by Mother Nature and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico is indeed a slice of paradise.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Cemetery Entrance

On our morning walk to the cemetery this morning, Holly and I were greeted with this sign. Prisoners from the Levy County jail are sometimes brought here to our island to do clean up and gardening at our cemetery. It's exercise and fresh air for them and it keeps our cemetery looking very nice.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Widow Walk

Growing up in Salem, Mass. I have always loved the widow walks, especially on the old sea captain homes along Chestnut Street. As a teen, I'd romanticize about the woman waiting up there, looking out longingly to the sea, waiting for her love to return.
This widow walk happens to be on the home next door to me. The house is made entirely of cypress and a spiral staircase inside leads up to the walk, with a view out to the salt marshes and bayou's. And yup, I still think these things are romantic.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

January On Cedar Key

Holly and I walked this morning along Andrews Circle (another of my favorite walking routes near my house) and I found this orange tree heavy with fruit. The sweet, elderly, lady that lives in the house saw me taking the photo and came out to say good morning and tell me to help myself to some fresh oranges. But I only left with the photo. With bright color and fresh fruit hanging from the trees, it's difficult not to love Florida in January!

Monday, January 02, 2006

House Signs

Similar to the French and English countryside, many of the homes on the island have been named by their owners. IE: Canal House, The Lighthouse, Rose Cottage, MarshMellow
Here's ours.......

Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Years Eve 2005

New Years Eve at the historic Island Hotel. Joel Benefiel is playing jazz on keyboard, along with Ali Cheree on Bass and Billy Bowker on Drums.

2006 has arrived on Cedar Key.