The end of the year brings its own unique challenges when it comes to getting together with friends for day or weekend trips. Work, holidays, and weather all factor in. We managed to find one perfect Sunday not too long ago in which me, Rob, Olivia, Chris, and Randy were able to get together before we got caught up in all that other stuff. Where to go, though? I decided on the city of Cedar Key, where two state parks are located.
Our first stop was the Cedar Key Museum. The lobby of the museum was showcasing the city's Festival of Trees, in which local nonprofit organizations decorated Christmas trees and museum visitors voted for a favorite. The one shown above is from the Cedar Key School (and the one I voted for). Here are the others:
The tree with the picture frames on it was pretty neat. You could see inside it, which I really liked, but I couldn't resist the fishing-themed tree created by children. The contest is ongoing, and I will call the museum after the first of the year and post the winner when they announce it.
The Cedar Key Museum shares the history of the area, including the logging of the cedar trees from which the name is derived. Remember the Faber-Castell pencils you used in school? That's where they're from. The region has been inhabited for centuries, and archeological artifacts abound. Cedar Key is also a fishing village, if you will, and there is quite a bit of information on the local trade.
St. Clair Whitman was a local man and historian who lived in Cedar Key a hundred years ago. He championed the region and created the first museum in the area. It showcased the artifacts he discovered, as well as thousands of seashells picked from area beaches. As a tribute to him, St. Clair Whitman's house was restored and is located on the property of the Cedar Key Museum. A few photos:
Behind the house is a small trail that leads down to the Gulf of Mexico. We wandered the trail and then the rest of the museum grounds:
After seeing as much of the museum as we possibly could, it was time to head down the road. Our journey led us past the Cedar Key School and a road sign with some interesting graffiti on it. We all had a good laugh at the proximity of the misspelling of the graffiti to the local school:
Our next stop was the Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve. The plan was to grill out and have a nice picnic lunch, and then hike some of the trails at the reserve.
The weather was mostly in our favor, except for a biting wind. We picked our grill, unloaded the car, and quickly got down to the business of feasting:
After filling up our bellies we decided to hit the trails. There is an extensive trail system in the park, and we opted for about a 3 mile hike. It was Sunday, after all, and we still had a long drive ahead of us. A few highlights from our hike:
Our trip was wonderful. It was kind of soul satisfying for me, because I had been wanting to take a day trip in which we accomplished what we set out for (referring, of course, to our failed attempt at paddling to Anclote Key but having Honeymoon Island as our consolation prize). I wish, however, we could have spent more time in the city of Cedar Key. It struck me as a quaint fishing village, something that exists in the New England in my brain, since I've never been there. It is a completely different world than the one I live in, and that's what makes our family adventures so cool.