Maybe it is because it has been cold here recently.
Maybe I just want to remember what it feels like to have warm sun on my bare skin and brightly colored flowers blooming.
Maybe it is because my screen saver popped up a few of these photos and I just felt like sharing them with you.
I wrote the majority of this blog post about this time two years ago and never posted it for whatever reason. Apparently, I was suffering from the never-ending winter blues, kind of like today. It was 19 degrees when I got up this morning, wet weather is expected tomorrow, snow or either more rain that we don’t need. I’m feeling the need for sunshine and flowers, and sandy toes.
Back last fall when the cottage family vacationed at our little place in the sun in South West Florida we went for sweet tea fried chicken. Over the bridge to Pine Island and south to St. James City.
At seventeen-miles-long and two-miles-wide Pine Island is the largest island on Florida’s west coast. It has a definite small-town old Florida feel. Located on the southern tip of the island is St. James City.
We drive past the brightly colored shops and restaurants/bars all the way to the southernmost tip of the island. Our destination is a funky little fish shack, it’s lunchtime! The Waterfront restaurant, is a quaint old fish shack, nothing fancy – old style ease. Many folks come by boat and dock right along where the fishermen unload the fresh seafood.
The building dates back to the 1920’s and was originally the local schoolhouse. Today it is all about their sweet tea fried chicken – chicken marinated in sweet tea and then fried, it is a bit of a wait as it is cooked to order, but very much worth the wait. While you wait you can entertain yourself, out back on the deck watching dolphin and manatees, that swim around the docks.
The old building is surrounded with lush tropical flowers and swaying palm trees. I always stroll around taking photos of the flowers and pick a frangipani bloom to tuck in my hair.
There is a colony of cats on this end of the island that are looked after by the restaurant owner and employees, they provide bowls of food and water.
Shops and restaurants in St. James City.
St. James City is anything but a city, a small community with a handful of brightly painted shops, restaurants/bars, and seafood processing warehouses. Everywhere you look are beautiful flowers and amazing water views, oh and very friendly people.
Yes, that’s father cottage, officiating the sand crab races.
Galt preserve features 2.5 miles of hiking trails and boardwalk, a kayak and canoe launch, fishing pier, picnic pavilions, and restrooms.
The preserve is made up of three separate land acquisitions. The final parcel of land was acquired in 2007 with assistance from a Florida Communities Trust grant and a donation from the Calusa Land Trust.
Galt Preserve consists of twelve plant communities, including mangrove swamp and mesic flatwoods. The preserve is also home to a variety of bird and animal species, including bald eagle, bobcat, and American alligator. One of the big success stories of this preserve is that a pair of bald eagles began to nest following the removal of the invasive exotic plant species, melaleuca.
The preserve is open daily during daylight hours. It is small, and isolated, and very rugged and natural. There is a small section of boardwalk but most of the trails are natural paths.
The isolation is quite nice, but also a bit intimidating too when I’m walking alone. I’ve been here a handful of times, each time it was blistering hot, and I pretty much had the place to myself. I spotted lots of butterflies and dragonflies, bear scat and bobcat prints in the sand as well as signs of gators. Birds are everywhere, an occasional turtle and lots of sand crabs.
We have owned our place here in Florida for ten years; when we visit I am amazed at discovering how little I know about the flora and fauna. It all seems so foreign to what I know, and that is for me the thrill of discovery and makes me want to go back each time and see more, learn more experience more.
I hope a sunny post, helped chase away the winter blues for those of you feeling it, like me.
That’s all for today.
10 thoughts on “St James City and Galt Preserve”
Thanks for sharing the sunshine and flowers! Yes some warm sun on our faces would be lovely here!
How all of us long for some sun and fun and to enjoy the beauty that the warm weather brings … it seems so far out of reach for us, the Winter weary, doesn’t it? These are beautiful photos Kim … I’m ready to succumb to the tag line on the postcards that say “Wish you were here in the Sunshine State!” Take care and breathe deeply – the calendar says Spring is a mere two weeks away. Sigh.
The flora is so unfamiliar. Some looks like that of Southern California, but some is completely strange.
My goodness! What a paradise you have there. I am not too familiar with Pine Island but I like all I see. With the winter you’ve had in Virginia, you might want to start packing for a little break under the sun.
It was a nice break from snow to see your photos. I hope you can visit your other home soon, and soak up some sun!
Your eye (and amazing camera) always capture such beauty… from the small to the panoramic… and Florida does have so much natural beauty. Hope you will have sandy toes again before too long… your ‘travelogue’ was so interesting to read… the FL Chamber of Commerce should hire you!! Spring is just around the bend, Kim, hold on!! xo Debbie
That first picture reminds me of the ‘Flower Power’, sixties-themed flower show I just attended. That was my winter escape and taste of spring. Your pictures are stunning. P. x
Wonderful. The photos remind of of home ( Saipan) ….. although I can’t complain here in Kyushu where our weather is usually bearable. But, yeah….it’s been chilly here and I’m ready for open window weather.
St. James sounds like a wonderful place to retire. Imagine living on the water! That’s the first time you’ve mentioned Father Cottage in a long while. I’d like to know what sweet tea fried chicken tastes like.
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St James is a wonderful place to visit, for sure. Retirement maybe. Sweet Tea fried chicken is divine. I’m convinced someday our paths will cross and maybe the chicken will be on the menu. xo kim
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