It was Friday November 19, 2004 and my wife's and my Thanksgiving vacation was fast approaching...
To ensure that things would run as smoothly as possible at work while I was gone that next week, I found myself forgoing my trip to the St. Petersburg College Planetarium that evening and getting last minute work assignments at the Florida D.O.T. completed. I left the office at 8:00 P.M. and headed home.
RITZ HISTORIC INN CAR SHOW
On Saturday morning, November 20, 2004, Karen and I gathered a week's worth of clothing and essentials and loaded them into "Phooka", Karen's 2002 Pontiac Firehawk. First vacation destination - - Ocala's Ritz Historic Inn where we would participate in a car show followed by a performance by Suncoast F-Body Association Elvis impersonator Mike Myers.
Outside of a sound glitch, Elvis wowed the audience with his thirteen-piece band, followed by a fireworks display. Afterward, the car club members then proceeded to the nearby Wing House to watch the University of Florida Gators defeat the Florida State Seminoles at Doak Campbell Stadium in an incredible game that had us glued to the tube in wild wonder.
A late fall afternoon as seen looking north toward Pine Island Sound from the water tower immediately adjacent to our cottage at the Cabbage Key Inn.|
The accommodations at the Ritz are outstanding, and if you are ever in the Ocala business for an extended period, or even for a night, I recommend that you consider staying there.
RETURN TO THE CABBAGE KEY INN
We left the Ritz on Sunday November 21, 2004 headed for the Cabbage Key Inn in Lee County, located on Pine Island Sound. This year we chartered a boat to the island resort and left from the marina at Bokeelia. The trip took about a third of the time that the Tropic Star did a year earlier as we went directly to Cabbage Key Inn, and the boat was considerably faster, sporting a 225 h.p. engine.
Although Hurricane Charley ravaged the island in August, the Cabbage Key Inn was opened for business and evidence of recovery and restoration of both the Inn and its natural surroundings was evident. The inn's nature trail showcased how ecological communities begin to recover after such a traumatic event. The trail displays an amazing diversity of both native and naturalized flora in a very short area containing amongst others, mangroves, Jamaica Dogwood, Gumbo-Limbo, Seagrape, Myrsine, Marlberry, Live Oak, Redbay, Dildo Cactus and Royal Poinciana. While walking it I also had the pleasure of seeing a large Gopher Tortoise tromp through the tropical underbrush, as well an Osprey perched in the limbs of a Jamaica Dogwood about twenty feet away from me - - you can't grasp how large such a bird is until you come that close to one.
The end of another perfect day in paradise is captured here as the sun sets west beyond Cayo Costa State Park out over the Gulf of Mexico, as again viewed from the water tower at the Cabbage Key Inn.|
This year at the Inn we stayed in an adorable two-bedroom cottage called the Mary Roberts Rinehart cottage. We were initially anticipating our friend Susan Hughes to join us at Cabbage Key Inn, but at the last minute she cancelled. Immediately behind the cottage is the Inn's water tower. The water tower is accessible by a series of stairs, giving the observer a breathtaking view of the island. I ended my first day there by grabbing my cameras and binoculars and watching the sunset over the distant Gulf of Mexico. As the stars begin to fill the sky, Karen and went to the Inn's restaurant for a fabulous meal.
Another full day at the Inn lie ahead, and I was already dreaming of having a cheeseburger in paradise as well as plotting out or trip to Key West. Next week, we will cover that territory in Nolan's Pop Culture Review, so stay tuned - - until then, have a safe and Blessed Holiday!
The Mary Roberts Rinehart cottage, where Karen and I stayed for our two day visit to the lovely Cabbage Key Inn in Lee County, Florida.|
Farewell to a Tampa Historian
After working 52 years at the Tampa Tribune, Florida Folk Hero, journalist and local historian Leland Hawes will be retiring at the end of this month. As Tribune writer Steve Otto eloquently stated in his Sunday December 19, 2004 column about Hawes's retirement:
"For decades Leland has been the 'institutional memory' of this town. He has written about everything from the green benches of St. Petersburg to the Green Hornet, the mysterious political gadfly. If there is a question about who or what happened here, the first and final resource here has been Leland. The loss of him is incalculable."
I couldn't have said it better myself Mr. Otto.
Although I wish him the best in his new life of retirement from Mother Trib, Leland Hawes's column will sorely be missed, as its author will now himself take his own well-earned place in Tampa's history.
Index of 2004 "La Floridiana" Columns
Issue #197 January 1- January 5, 2004: "Will and Karen's Excellent Adventure to South Florida- Part Three"
Issue #198 January 5- January 11, 2004: "Will and Karen's Excellent Adventure to South Florida- Part Four"
Issue #199 January 12- January 18, 2004: "The "Surrounded Islands, Biscayne Bay, Miami, Florida, 1980-1983, by Christo and Jeanne-Claude"
Issue #200 January 19- January 25, 2004: "A Condensed History of the Native Indigenous Peoples of Tampa Bay (or "La Bahia Del Espiritu Santo") Region"
Issue #201 January 26- February 1, 2004: "T.R.E.E. Inc.'s Florida Arbor Day Weekend 2004"
Issue #202 February 2- February 8, 2004: "Two La Floridiana's, Photographically Revisited"
Issue #203 February 9- February 15, 2004: "Book Review: The Houses of Key West"
Issue #204 February 16- February 22, 2004: "Book Review: Welcome to Paradise"
Issue #205 February 23- February 29, 2004: "Florida Indies Film Review:"Not Another Student Film"
Issue #207 March 8- March 14, 2004: "Florida Indies Film Review:"Untitled DVD Project, Volume One"
Issue #208 March 15- March 21, 2004: "Florida Indies Film Review:"Light of Blood"
Issue #213 April 19- April 25, 2004: "Book Review: Ghosts of the Air"
Issue #214 April 26- May 2, 2004: "Florida’s Commuter Airlines from the 1960's to the 1980’s: Part One"
Issue #215 May 3- May 9, 2004: "Florida’s Commuter Airlines from the 1960's to the 1980's: Part Two – Air Sunshine and Florida Airlines"
Issue #216 May 10- May 16, 2004: "Florida’s Commuter Airlines from the 1960's to the 1980's: Part Three – Executive Airlines, Gull Air, Mackey and Mackey International Airlines, and National Florida Airlines"
Issue #217 May 17- May 13, 2004: "Florida’s Commuter Airlines from the 1960's to the 1980's: Part Four –North American Airlines, Shawnee Airlines, Sun Airlines and Vero-Monmouth Airlines"
Issue #218 May 24- May 30, 2004: "Florida’s Commuter Airlines from the 1960's to the 1980's: Part Five –Atlantic Gulf Airlines, Dolphin Airways, Florida Express and Marco Island Airways"
Issue #219 May 31- June 6, 2004: "Florida’s Commuter Airlines from the 1960's to the 1980's: Part Six - - Air Florida, Charter Airlines, PBA/Naples Airlines, Southeast Airlines"
Issue #220 June 7 – June 13, 2004: "A Fall Preview Look at Dr. Paul Bearer and a Few Other Bay Area Fright Features 1972-1994"
Issue #221 June 14 – June 20, 2004: "Will's Key West Adventure - - Part One"
Issue #222 June 21 – June 27, 2004: "Will's Key West Adventure - - Part Two"
Issue #223 June 28 – July 4, 2004: "Will's Key West Adventure - - Part Three"
Issue #224 July 5 – July 11, 2004: "Book Review: "Totch - - A Life in the Everglades"
Issue #225 July 12 – July 18, 2004: "A Visit to the North Florida Patron Saint of Pop Culture"
Issue #226 July 19- July 25, 2004: "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties A to B"
Issue #227 July 26 – August 1, 2004: "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties C to D"
Issue #228 August 2 – August 8, 2004: "Book Review: "Cadillac Beach"
Issue #229 August 9 – August 16, 2004: "Book Review: "Florida's Miracle Strip; From Redneck Riviera to Emerald Coast"
Issue #230 August 17 – August 25, 2004: "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties E to G "
Issue #231 August 24 – August 30, 2004: "Book Review: Skinny Dip”
Issue #232 August 30 – September 5, 2004: "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties H to I"
Issue #233 September 6 – September 12, 2004: "Double Book Review - - "Tangled and Dark" and "Florida Curiosities"
Issue #234 September 12 – September 18, 2004: "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties J to K"
Issue #235 September 19 – September 25, 2004: "Book Review: Seasons of Real Florida"
Issue #237 October 4 – October 10, 2004: "The Return of a Local Television Legend (well, almost)" and "Where the U.F.O.'s in Florida Are: 2004"
Issue #238 October 11 – October 17, 2004: "Book Review: The Florida Night Sky"
Issue #239 October 18 – October 24, 2004: "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties L to M" and "The Prodigal Son Returns to the Stars"
Issue #240 October 25 – October 31, 2004: The Paranormal in Florida Part 28- "I Married the Dead!" and "A Visit with A Comic Book Hero"
Issue #241 November 1- November 7, 2004: "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties N to P"
Issue #242 November 8- November 14, 2004: "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties Q to T"
Issue #243 November 15- November 21, 2004: "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties U to Z", Musings on "Miami Vice" the movie, and the new "Dukes of Hazzard" movie
Issue #244 November 22- November 28, 2004: "Will's Miami Madness Part One"
Issue #245 November 29- December 5, 2004: "Will's Miami Madness Part Two"
Issue #248 December 20- December 26, 2004: "Will and Karen's Cabbage Key and Key West Kraziness, Part One"
Issue #249 December 27- January 2, 2005: "Will and Karen's Cabbage Key and Key West Kraziness, Part Two"
"La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty. Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.