Cedar Key for the Holidays

I’m not the first one to say it, but there’s Something Special about Cedar Key, FL.  Originally, we were planning on just Christmas, but after hearing about the place from online friends and realizing we had the opportunity to meet a community of other travelers, we decided to stay for an extra week. We’re glad we did.

Cedar Key is a sleepy little fishing town.  Being from the Keys, Eric & I decided that Key West must have been like this 80 years ago.  It has a great energy, great restuarants, and some really cool bars.  Natural beauty is everywhere too, with huge grassy tidal flats and creeks, and offshore islands scattered like jewels all around.  We biked, we hiked, did some 4-wheel exploring in the Jeep, and took an awesome Christmas Day boat ride out to Seahorse Key.  But the people we met were by far the best thing Cedar Key had to offer.

Water over the trail in the Goethe State Forest. Take with Google Glass.

When we pulled into the Sunset Isle RV Park, we were both a little nervous: we usually camp in State or National Parks with more views of nature than of our neighbors.  Space is tight in Sunset Isle, and you’ll get to know your neighbors whether you want to or not.  Our previous experiences with similar Parks has not been great, so we were both concerned that we wouldn’t be happy here.  Boy were we wrong.  There’s some kind of magic going on in Cedar Key.  We were staying at Sunset Isle because we had joined the NuRVers Facebook group and some of them were going to be there over the holidays.  They all turned out to be great people (and we’ve stayed in touch with almost every one of them), but everyone we met was warm and friendly and welcoming, and some of them have become great friends as well.  Nearly every night was happy hour: either on a dock at the campground (with the most consistently incredible sunsets ever), next door at the Low Key Hideway (most awesomest tiki bar ever!), or in town at the Black Dog.  There was a great Christmas Day potluck dinner and a huge New Years’ campfire.   Nearly every night there was either music in the clubhouse or at someone’s campsite.  One of those campsite get-togethers was a perfect example of Cedar Key Magic.  Our friends Clark and Lynn had invited us to the gathering, but they hadn’t arrived when we wandered over.  We didn’t know a single soul, but several folks quickly hopped up & made room for our chairs in the circle.  A few minutes later as the moonsine jug was being passed, I had a conversation with a total stranger that went something like this:

Cindy: So where are you folks from?

Me: Down in the Keys – Big Pine Key to be exact.

Cindy: Really?  I knew somebody who moved there years & years ago, but we lost touch & she got remarried & I don’t know how to find her.  She lived across the street from us back in Maine.  We practically grew up together.  Used to show dogs together and I even dated her brother for awhile.

Me:  Ummm, that wouldn’t have been her twin brother, would it?

Cindy:  Yeah, Bruce.

Me, after closing my mouth which had fallen open:  Oh my God.  She’s been one of my best friends for 15 years!  Oddly enough, she was just at the Eukanuba dog show in Orlando last week.  Our husbands have become best friends & the 4 of us hang out together all the time!

And so I got Cindy’s contact info, passed it along to my friend, and they had a teary reunnion after nearly 30 years.  Beyond “small world” or crazy coincidence.

I also lost a special bracelet in downtown Cedar Key.  It wasn’t expensive, but I’d gotten it on a trip to Britain and it was irreplacable.  I didn’t realize it was gone until after dark, so we went back downtown the next morning to look for it, but I was sure I’d never find it.  We retraced our steps, and low & behold, it was lying in plain site not 8″ from the sidewalk along the busy harbor, perfectly unscathed.  I’m telling you, there’s some kind of magic energy here!



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