Now that Summer has unconditionally surrendered to Winter’s invasion without the slightest defense by Autumn, folks are busy around here. The Manatee are being drawn to the local springs as the Gulf waters chill. Snowbirds flock here as winter’s frozen mantle blankets the northern states. For the Manatee, sanctuaries are being cordoned off to give them protected resting places in the warm spring water they require. For the snowbirds, local festivals celebrate their return and lure them to spend more dollars here. I decide to make my way to the highly recommended Seafood Festival in Homosassa to inspect the preparations.
Booths lining the festival entry offer lessons about protecting the waters and wildlife here. The timid, but informative Scallop Shell presentation by a local Girl Scout captivates me. Crafty booths tempt me with colorful wares and I finally ultimately succumb to the wily salesmanship of two local vendors. I purchase a handmade hat and a colorful woven shawl. The shawl’s designer assures me that her creation can be used to conceal unsightly body parts if, for instance, I choose to wear too tight yoga pants and need to disguise the results. Her other suggestions for using this unique wrap are too graphic to share as I am sure you do not want those pictures in your head. But I promise you they are enough to make me cough up the sales price she desires.
Seafood Festival Photos
Thinking I might get some exercise, I head over to the Salt Marsh Trails in Homosassa on Veteran’s Day. Turns out the trails here are short and a tad uneven for any serious cardio.
I make a loop along the birding trail. Each perilous step risks the loss of a shoe in the muddy bog requiring total concentration on the ground in front of me. As a result, I do not see any birds who I assume are overhead somewhere. At the trail’s end, I climb the 2-story tower for a great view of the marsh and a chance to watch mullet jumping in the adjacent canal. The mullet bring two questions to mind. “How do they jump 4-5 feet in the air?” and “Wouldn’t ‘The Jumping Mullets’ be a good name for some sort of team?”
For a longer, more strenuous walk, I drive about 15 miles to Inverness and pick up a section of the 46 mile long Withlacoochee State Trail. The fraction of this trail that I perambulate is paved, wide and connected to a brand new and feature filled city park just off the Courthouse Square in Inverness. Courthouse Square host several restaurants making this a perfect location to refuel after a nice stroll.