“Old Florida” Really is Old
On a tip from one of Bart’s favorite coffee house baristas in Lido Key, FL (population 12,525), Rorie and Bart headed North to New England to and through the “Old Florida” town of Micanopy (population about 600). Its town center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to a number of antique stores, a large used book store and several restaurants.
According to Wikipedia, “Micanopy is believed to be the state’s oldest inland town and is named for Chief Micanopy of the Seminole Nation”.
The sign’s arrow points south along Cholokka Boulevard and is located a few yards from the start of the Micanopy Historic District.
Continuing our journey, we decided to take it easy the first day (travelled a mere 340 miles) and motored on to Brunswick, GA, (pop. 15,583). It was an uneventful 6 hours in the car, where we spent our time rocking out to music from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s and tried to best each other in a spirited and loud game of “name that tune”. Sadly, the game ended in a tie so nobody could be declared the one true winner – not that we’re particularly competitive by nature (hah).
Though we didn’t go there this trip, historic Brunswick is home to a fabulous restaurant called Indigo Coastal Shanty (http://www.indigocoastalshanty.com). Great food, cool atmosphere. Owner/chef Kate Buchanan is warm and very friendly. If you’re ever passing through the area be sure to stop in and enjoy this nearly 5 star (Yelp) eatery – http://www.yelp.com/biz/indigo-coastal-shanty-brunswick.
After checking into our hotel we hopped back in the car and headed to nearby St. Simons Island (pop. approximately13,000). Crossing over the bridge leading to the island, we were treated to a view of beautiful low-country marshlands with curving, vivid blue waterways as far as you could see. Rorie is not a huge fan of bridges (OK, she hates them) but the scenery on both sides of this one was a good distraction.
Part of Georgia’s famous Golden Isles and the largest of these barrier islands, St. Simons is a beautiful small community. Everywhere you look there are majestic oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and an amazing array of architecturally diverse homes (and of course mansions!). This is where some of the 1%-ers live.
The island’s village center is chock full of shops, restaurants, boutiques, candy and ice cream stores (no we didn’t imbibe) locals and tourists. After a brisk power walk through the neighborhoods, we strolled past the village to the pier. This is quite the gathering place with lots of people fishing, sitting on benches eating lunch, or like us, just out for a little exercise.
Next to the large, t-shaped pier is a park, children’s play area, miniature golf course, public swimming pool and walking paths. It’s a great place to relax, fish, and “people watch” – one of our favorite past times!
St. Simons is steeped in history. The Fort Frederica National Monument, built in 1736, protected the island from the Spanish. The Fort’s remains have been preserved and it is designated a national historic site. And those beautiful, massive oak trees that are all over the island? Well 2,000 of them were used to build warships including the USS Constitution, knicknamed “Old Ironsides” because cannon balls bounced off of its oak planks.
The St. Simons Island Lighthouse, located near the village and pier, guards the Sound with a beacon that flashes every 60 seconds. It is a grand old structure, open to the public and definitely worth a visit, especially if you want to brag about how you climbed the 129 steps to the top! The original structure was built in 1811, destroyed in 1861 during the Civil War and rebuilt in 1872. The light keeper’s home, a Victorian brick structure, is now a museum.
There are many historic sites here, so if you visit allow plenty of time to explore. Whether you’re a Civil War buff or into Maritime history, St. Simons Island has something for everyone.
Next up? Who knows. We’ll let the road tell us. Stayed tuned for some more Discover Small Town America Tour surprises…