I have migrated and I love my new migration destination! I know that I will return by some sort of internal instinct – perhaps a primal hunger for steamed clams and a tiki bar? Sadly, it is my last day in my new migration place and I must return North – even though all my internal instincts say “Nooooo!” – but not before sharing with you some of the charm of Cedar Key, Florida.
Let me first explain how I arrived here. I studied the many patterns of migrating birds and the majority end up here! Not really – I am not that much of a scholar – but it sure does seem that all the birds come this way: Plover, Limpkin, Willet, Dunlin, Ibis, Pelican, Cormorant, Osprey, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Great Blue Heron, American Oystercatcher, Roseate Spoonbill, Royal Tern, Kingfisher and even Frigate! I have seen all of these, many for the first time, during my short stay. Cedar Key is a little penisula that juts out into the ocean and there are many back bayous that are wonderful to kayak – as it turns out I have paddled in my first kayak as well! When the tides breathe, many shore birds take advantage. (If ever you find yourself migrating this way, I highly recommend guide Mandy Davis of Hidden Coast Outdoors!)
We, my husband, dog Mojo and I, arrived here because several years ago Budget Travel published a list of the top ten coolest towns in America. My Northern home town of Clayton, NY was on that list and so was Cedar Key. We figured we love Clayton, so we would probably love Cedar Key – boy did we figure right! Not only is it warmer here but Cedar Key is extremely dog-friendly! I can vouch for that – Mojo has been welcomed everywhere and is having almost as much fun as we are! (As a dog owner, I know it is difficult to find an area and accommodations where dogs are welcome.) But let me just say this, Cedar Key is a small, albeit a cool town – we like small. There aren’t any clubs or Disney rides and there may not be a restaurant open after 9pm. There are small, individually owned restaurants and cafes – not a Hard Rock Cafe. All boast Cedar Key clams which are farmed here. Yum! There is only one main street and Cedar Key itself is surrounded by the Sawanee National Wildlife Refuge. If you favor biking, hiking in nature, and kayaking over shopping, beach baking and clubbing, then you might also enjoy Cedar Key.
I digress. I enjoy walking the small, sleepy streets of Cedar Key. I have so many pictures, but little working internet, still I am going to try to take you on a walk through Cedar Key street side. Each house and garden is unique and full of character. I find myself imagining creating a garden here. I don’t know the plants, I don’t know what’s native, and I am certain there are some big, scary spiders out there, but it doesn’t matter. I am captivated by these tiny, personal pockets of plantings! Many have details indigenous to the area – sea shells, limestone … and Florida Box Turtles! (I am guessing on that last ID – just to the left of the tree trunk).
There are many butterflies fluttering around (way better than snow flakes!) at Cedar Key’s slow pace including Florida’s state butterfly, the Zebra Longwing – one of the coolest butterflies I’ve ever seen! (To find out your state butterfly, click here.)
Get your coffee or wine and tour with me through these spontaneous photos taken as I’ve bummed around town.
Cedar Key is a walking (or biking, or even golf cart) kind of town, which is why I am able to enjoy all of its street side details. I don’t want to leave and trade my flip flops back in for boots and a snow shovel, but I take comfort in knowing I will be back! I hope you enjoyed this tour as much as I have.