Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Exploring the Ochopee Post Office

Ochopee Post Office

Ochopee Post Office

So many of us deny ourselves adventure and excitement. Swept into the trappings of duties, other people’s dreams, or soft manicured living and ease of lifestyle, we forget to embrace life. Sounds tough, doesn’t it?

What is tough is not experiencing the luscious air and beautiful colors and freedom driving into and across the Everglades. There are dozens upon dozens of magnificent places to which one could be lured: places on which not even your dreams would dare to tread. Today, though, we are taking it easy and safe.

The Ochopee Post Office, said to be the smallest post office in the United States, is only 30 plus minutes away from Marco Island.  A mere stone’s throw.

Turning east at the Iron Rhino Saloon at CR92 and U.S. Hwy. 41, put your car on ‘auto-pilot’ and take a long, slow and deep breath in preparation for pure pleasure and enjoyment.

Sure, there are many places along the way that will tempt you to stop.  Go ahead, stop. Take that picture. Check out those ‘gators sunning or egrets, spoonbills, and herons nesting or winging across your vista.

However, the destination today is Ochopee, Florida and that smaller-than-a -closet- sized building, that used to be an irrigation pipe shed for a tomato farm. The Post Office building measures approximately 7×8 feet, is dwarfed by its huge flag waving overhead, and has all the comforts that a U.S. government building would be expected to have (except a bathroom): air-conditioning, phone, computer, and a sliding screen customer window to keep out the mosquitoes and other miscellaneous critters.

This nondescript shed was transformed into an historic building when a fire in 1953 destroyed the Ochopee general store where the previous the post office was located.

How does anyone find out about places like this? Visitors from all over the world stop, take pictures, and purchase pre-stamped post cards as souvenirs.

The address is US Hwy 41 (Tamiami Trail), Ochopee, Florida.  Phone is 239-695-4131.  Take Hwy. 41 east from CR92 and continue on 41 about 3 miles east of Hwy. 29. On the south side you can’t miss the sight.  Joanie’s roadside restaurant is around the bend, and that is a story for another day.

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