(see photo gallery below)
As many of you know, I began a project last year I called, “Florida Backroads.” Florida Backroads is all about the natural Florida, the paths less travelled in the sunshine state. Basically, anything EXCEPT the major theme parks and attractions – with a few exceptions such as certain smaller attractions that have been around in Florida since the dinosaurs (so to speak lol). Not bashing theme parks here. I still work as a freelance photographer for Disney and a few others. I’ve just always been more of a purest and naturalist. I hail from old New England and have that heritage instilled in me. Henceforth, mother nature, wildlife and similar have always been my first loves.
All that being said, I made a trip to a place folks have been telling me for years to go check out: Cedar Key, FL. Cedar Key is located northwest of Gainesville, FL on the Gulf Of Mexico. It’s not quite in the Pan Handle section but close. In my humble opinion, Cedar Key is definitely one of those “Florida Backroads” places. As I drove into the town, I was so taken aback by the quaint charm and old fashioned look & feel. As I said above, I hail from New England. I spent a lot of time on Cape Cod, Massachusetts when I was younger. Cedar Key reminded me so much of Cape Cod it was uncanny. But it was still visibly / noticeably different as you can see by the photos I captured for this blog post. It’s kinda like being in the movie, “Jaws,” but with out the man eating great white shark ;). The architecture is classic, old ‘Jimmy Buffet’ style. You just wait for someone to bring you a Margarita and a cheeseburger (in paradise). The townsfolk also remind of New Englanders in that they may not have that classic southern style hospitality. But they sure do have the approachability and kindness as well as a genuine-ness characteristic also resembling that Cape Cod personality. For the short time I spent there (About 3-4 hours), I was stopped by at least 4-5 people or couples who just wanted to chat and ask me why I had 3 cameras hanging around my neck and shoulders. But after I answered them, they just started conversing with me like we already knew each other previous to my coming to Cedar Key. When I work at Disney, you come across that scenario constantly. But (and I hate to say this) when I’m outside of Disney on the surrounding city streets, let’s just say that doesn’t happen too often.
If you’re a fisherman or love seafood, ya’ well – you need to come here. You can fish off the docks or go out in a private chartered boat – and not the big commercial style boat. They still have the “Captain Quint” style wooden boats built for just a few. And those rigs are all very seaworthy, too by the way.
Even the Florida summer heat that I hate so much (which may sound odd being a Floridian for 20 plus years now) isn’t as bad as in Central Florida. The trade winds blowing off the Gulf Of Mexico make it nicer and bearable. The humidity also tends to be lower as well. I know I keep making reference to New England and Cape Cod. But – – – it’s like a rare hot Cape Cod day in Cedar Key.
I think if I retire and STAY in Florida, Cedar Key would be one of only two places I’ve ever visited that I’d consider living. The other place, by the way, is Micanopy, FL. I’ve done a blog post on Micanopy in the past and plan to do another one soon.
Peace – Mike T.