Sunday, February 03, 2019

Frogma Goes To Florida Day 3: Boca Grande Sightseeing

Day 3 found me back with my folks and my sister touring the lovely old town of Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island. This was one of the B's (the old friends of my parents, with my mom and Nancy being best friends going back to elemantary school) recommendations, I think we could've stayed for a month just seeing the places they liked, without even starting in on the recommendations I'd gotten from the Church of the Double Bladed Paddle facebook group.

It was a nice day for strolling, temperature had dropped a bit and it was pretty breezy, but with a fleece and a windbreaker I was pretty well set for whatever.

Our first stop was at the Boca Grande Historical Society, where we watched a very good video overview of the town's development. It's nice to get a sense of a place when you're there for the first time, and we enjoyed the stop. Development of the area started with a deep-water port for shipping the phosphates (used for fertilizers and other industrial applications) that were discovered in the area in the 1880's. A railroad was put in to make the transportation of the phosphate more efficient; some clever developers realized that with the area being absolutely beautiful and having some fantastic fishing (with the local rock star among the fish being the tarpon, nicknamed the "Silver King" by the locals), that train could also bring frozen northeasteners down for a winter thaw-out (yes, speaking as a now re-frozen northeasterner, that was a very good idea) and so they put in the inn that's still there to this day, and laid out the resort town around the train station.

Our next stop was the original Boca Grande lighthouse, which is now open as a museum. More history there, plus, yes, beautiful scenery. Interesting birds here, we couldn't figure out quite what they were - possibly swallows? -  but they were flying in from the gulf. We didn't really notice them at first, they weren't in close formation and so didn't make a huge and noticeable THING like that amazing Jones Beach dunlin dance, but as you stood there looking out at the inlet (like my sister and my dad in these pix) you realized that they just kept coming and coming and coming in a seemingly endless stream!

The last two photos are of the Gasparilla Inn, which was the original inn built to house the frozen northeasterners way back in 1911. Absolutely lovely, put me a bit in mind of the grande dames of Waikiki, the Moana and the Royal Hawaiian. Still coddling well-off Northeasterners to this day but very open to less-wealthy tourists wandering through their airy and expansive lobby. We went and wandered around there after lunch at Miller's Dockside. The B's had recommended the Eagle Grill but they only do dinner - the downstairs restaurant fed us very well, though, and there was a gorgeous old 1920's yacht for us to gawk at while we waited for our seafood, and I spotted a dolphin! You can see the yacht below, unfortunately the dolphin didn't hang around for photos. But at least I saw one!

We got home in time for my sister and I to run to see another sunset, followed by another good dinner with the B's at their favorite local pub (sorry, I forget the name).

All photos after this - click for slideshow view!


Rebecca Olkowski said...

I love all the photos. What a tranquil place to hang out.

bonnie said...

Oh, it was great. If I ever win the lottery... :)