Wednesday, February 8, 2017

December 14, 2016 - Fellsmere, Vero Beach & Melbourne Beach, FL

It was a very beautiful morning.  We had made plans to go out and enjoy today as much as we can because we will check out of Melbourne Beach, FL two days from today.
We did not have time to make breakfast because the airboat tour is at 10:30 am and it takes about an hour drive from here to Fellsmere, FL.  When we were ready to head out it was already past 9 am and we had to hurry.  On way we stopped at Citgo to get gas fill up for the Jeep, then to Dunkin Donuts to get donuts.  Not a decent meal! 

We arrived at the boat ramp at the Blue Cypress Recreation Area that is off County Road 512. There were two airboats already out.  Florida Cracker Airboat arrived about 5 minutes after we got out of the car.  Captain Chandler introduced himself, then told us he was waiting for 3 more guests.  It was about less than 10 minutes before the guests arrived.  Chandler briefly explained about the tour, give us life jackets and earphones.  Edith did not need one, but the engine is loud, as loud as an airplane engine, so it would be better if Edith wears it to drown out the noise.
We were on the back waters of the St. Johns River.  Chandler explained that at one time there was a road there, also a raceway, but all disappeared under the water. He spotted few alligators, ospreys, herons.  Only two of several alligators did not scamper/bolt into the water from the bank.  There was a large group of cormorants.  Chandler was very knowledgable about plants, wildlife, etc.  
Erwin and Captain Chandler
The airboat ride took over an hour.  The fee is $45 per person (only cash, no credit card or check).  If you are in town check Florida Cracker Airboat out.  It is ranked #1 out of 40 tours in this area.

By the time we were ready to leave the recreation area there were more than 5 airboats docked at the boat ramp, waiting for guests to show up. 

We decided to check out one more place before going to McKee Botanical Gardens.  How Sweet It Is Chocolate Factory. What caught our eyes as we drove past it on way to eat lunch was the unique/antique showcase outside. Inside the building there are collector items.  There were also Christmas display throughout.  There are mouth watering chocolates, fudges, ice cream you can buy.  Did we buy anything?  No, we did not. We were still too full from lunch.  Next time, perhaps? 
We went south on Old Dixie Highway to look for something to eat for lunch before visiting McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach, FL  (remember it was closed last Monday we came by).  After looking up a list of restaurants that are not too far from the garden Edith decided she wanted to try Mrs. Mac Fillin’ Station (ranked #13 out of 229 restaurants).  Everything inside the restaurant is car themed.  There is an old style gas pump on the entrance door.  They use shop rags for napkins! Waiters wore shop uniforms.  There are lots of vintage license plates on the wall.  The menu is between old license plates.  Edith had Steak Hoagie Cruiser (Philly steak with sautéed onions, melted cheese, lettuce and tomatoes) and Erwin got steak quesdillas.  Erwin said he was glad he ordered it because it was the BEST quesillas he ever had!  Reasonable priced meals.  We will definitely come eat there another time if and when we are in this town.
Steak Hoagie Cruiser

Steak Quesadillas
At McKee Botanical Garden there was ongoing lego exhibition going.  Admission fee was $11 for Seniors.  When Erwin found out that to cover the park by walking it will be about a mile.  He was not too enthusiastic about walking because his heel was still bothering him.  They had scooters and he requested one to get around.  The garden was beautiful and there were lots of lily pads and flowers.  There is a map that shows where lego exhibits are.  There are cypresses, banyan trees, tropical plants, bamboo shoots, etc..  The garden is on the National Register of Historic Places. There are thirteen Lego sculptures built with over 300,000 bricks ad were built by world-renowned artist, Sean Kenney.  The display will continue until May 7, 2017.  There is a giftshop and restrooms on the property.  The Cypress Stump, across from the entrance, is over 2,000 years old and was 100 feet tall before it was cut.  We enjoyed our time there and were glad that it was not crowded.  

Hidden in the undergrowth for 20 years, this
historic cypress tree is still in the exact spot where
it was planted in early 1930's
We needed to do the laundry before going back home.  We found one that was not too far. Sunshine Coin Laundry was very clean and had mega washing machines ($6 for a load).  After the laundry was done we went to Publix to pick up breakfast items.
After getting back home and unloading groceries Edith took off and went to the beach to get pictures of the rising moon.  Even though the moon was not full as it was last night she wanted to see if she can get one rising just above the ocean horizon.  Nope!  The clouds were in the way.  it was not until about few minutes after the moonrise that Edith finally saw a sliver of orange moon, but the boat, with navigational lights on, was in front of the rising moon.  She managed to snap few good ones.
Sebastain Inlet Bridge

Because we had a good lunch we did not feel like eating something hearty, so Erwin fixed a baked potato.

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