Saturday, September 21, 2019

An Unplanned Trip: Heading out into the Everglades

Check out the Skunk Ape exhibit! PHOTOS BY JEANE BRENNAN

Check out the Skunk Ape exhibit! PHOTOS BY JEANE BRENNAN

On the nearest tourist brochure there are usually a dozen activities from which to choose, and filling up the day with planned events seems to be what it is all about when one organizes the day or even a vacation. In this busy and goal ridden life we lead there are times when not having a plan of action tends to be just as, or more, relaxing, productive, and fun.

Allotting time for a frivolous day outing, heading east onto Tamiami Trail, is possibly just the answer replacing the busy mind with one focused on beauty; and even, spontaneously, recognizing solutions to one’s day to day concerns. Crumpling and flinging an itinerary into the nearest recycling bin might be just the solution for a renewed outlook to the day’s, or life’s, issues.

The planning and structure of Marco Island, the largest of the ten thousand islands is beautiful. There are unique shops and great restaurants. Well maintained parks and paths are available to

Rounding the bend, Port of the Islands Resort is and oasis of beauty and comfort. PHOTOS BY JEANE BRENNAN

Rounding the bend, Port of the Islands Resort is and oasis of beauty and comfort. PHOTOS BY JEANE BRENNAN

all and there are many activities from which to choose. Our white sandy beach, with its several access points, is a picture of paradise. However, to know and to feel southwest Florida, to see the beauty and the colors and the peace, one just needs to drive 30 to 60 minutes east. That hour can open the door to a world that tells a totally different story.

There is much to embrace in driving into the Everglades, whether it is just the drive that is tranquil and satisfying, or uncovering an adventure right around the next bend.

Port of the Islands Resort and Marina on the south side of US-41 is always a great stop. I look forward to just walking into the lobby of the resort and love the sense of history and serenity. It is reported a ghost resides in one of the rooms on the second floor but I need to investigate further to find out the rest of that

 

 

story. Go to www.poihotels.com for specific times the bar and restaurant are open. The Port of the Island’s Marina and Ship Store couldn’t be nicer, and the waterway, home of many manatees, has direct access to the gulf.

Across the way, on the north side of 41, is the Port of the Islands Gun Club; a Skeet, Trap, and Sporting Clays Shooting Club. On Sunday, June 6th, the club is hosting a NSCA sanctioned sporting clay tournament. The Swamp Divas is a shooting team of friends who compete in another venue and there is rumor of a women’s league forming which sounds like fun and, also, very appealing.

Continuing on Tamiami Trail, Fakahatchee Boardwalk in Big Cypress is a gorgeous example of a subtropical strand swamp, exquisite as the sun streaks down through the trees, highlighting the fern, bromeliads, orchids, and scurrying animals. There is an active “alligator hole” at the end of

The flavor and pioneer spirit is evident as one drives on US 41 to Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe.

The flavor and pioneer spirit is evident as one drives on US 41 to Joanie’s Blue Crab Cafe.

the boardwalk with adult and baby alligators, turtles, and many species of birds, including woodpeckers, owls, hawks and in the swamp forest there is a bald eagle’s nest.

Continuing the drive, tempting airboat excursion opportunities are available on the south side of the Trail. Just stopping in to say “hi,” checking out these unique places of business, can be very interesting, and can cement and instill the Everglades experience.

Driving past the turnoff to Everglades City and continuing east on US-41, imagine life and the Indians living and surviving in this rugged land. Imagine the early settlers and wonder why they choose to journey to this remote and tough southern point. The smallest post office in the U.S.; Joanie’s Blue Crab Restaurant; the Skunk Ape Headquarters; and Clyde Butcher’s Studio are at our fingertips less than an hour away.

Without a timetable the choice is yours to do whatever you want. Enjoy the spontaneity and the drive into the Everglades. To your day’s agenda add exploration for untold adventure and beauty.

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