Driveabout: Day 19
The Panacea RV Park has a cute little restaurant called the Seabreeze Cafe and we had a delicious breakfast there before continuing south around the Big Bend of Florida. Our destination was a place that had been suggested to me by mountain dulcimer grand dame, and all around sweet lady, Maddie McNeil.
Cedar Key is a slice of old Florida set far apart from the cares of the modern world. Maddie said it was magical, so I suggested it to Jae for an 8th anniversary getaway and she did a little research, coming up with the Low-Key Hideaway. With 14 rooms and four RV sites, it sits right upon the bay, features a tiki bar, and is all about the chill-out. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to head back that way on this trip a we made our way home.
Along the way, we passed through Perry, Florida and stopped at the Salem Cemetery. Perry has the dubious status of being one of a handful of places in the Sunshine State where deadly racial conflict took place. In the case of Perry, it was December 14th and 15th of 1922 when a black man, Charles Wright, was burned at the stake after the death of a white schoolteacher. Wright and Albert Young had been arrested for their alleged part in the murder but never saw the inside of a jail cell when a lynch mob took them from the sheriff and acted out their own brand of justice. Today, the town seems to have bounced back from that incident as most of the folks we saw there were of African descent. Just another reminder that the nature of race relations in this country are still tentative and always in flux.
We arrived in Cedar Key and headed for the cemetery. It turned out to be one of the nicest ones we've visited with a mixture of old and new grave markers that really had a ton of character. One, in particular, stood out. A big colorful Confederate flag adorned the front with a picture of Eddy Peters showing off a freshly killed deer and a raised middle finger. Definitely not your grandmother's tombstone.
We had lunch at fabulous Tony's, three-time world champs in the Clam Chowder game, and then checked in to the Low-Key Hideaway which is currently under new management. Maureen, the new owner, greeted me as I stepped out of Lucky. While visiting Cedar Key, she and her husband heard that the tiny resort was up for sale and, tired of her nursing assistant job, bought it up and traded a low-pay job for a low-key lifestyle. Good for her! (and us.)
We hung out in the Tiki Bar and chatted with everyone, met some extraordinarily nice folks and when it came to light that I was a musician, brought out the instruments and played a few tunes, all with the sunset smoldering behind us. The best way to learn about a place is to hang out with its locals and this evening certainly was enlightening.
Despite the relaxing nature of our driveabout, I realized earlier in the day that we had traveled almost 3,000 miles on this trip through seven states. We'd stayed in one spot on two occasions for a couple of days, but had really been hitting a different destination with the rising of each new sun; by the time we got back into Lucky, I was already starting to feel my eyes close involuntarily. But what fun we've been having! Jae's idea come to life had been all that we imagined plus so much more. And now, ready to retire before our final day of driveabout, we reflected on the experiences that we'd shared and planned to travel on Monday morning to our very last stop before bringing Lucky back to El Monte RV. One more campground before going home. I'm guessing that many of you out there already know where that's going to be.