CEDAR KEY FLORIDA – JACQUI’S BOATING EXPERIENCE – WILL THEY ALLOW US BACK?

Deck at Harbor Master Inn Over the Cedar Key Bay Enjoying a Cohiba and a glass of Chianti wine

Jacqui and Max Fly just returned from a short vacation in Cedar Key, Florida, named after the Eastern Red Cedar trees that once were abundant in the area until they started using them to make pencils. In fact, from 1866 until the early 1900’s, Cedar Key was a major center for pencil manufacturing.

We posted some of the great pictures we took so you would have an idea of how idyllic the area is. Kids would be bored after about 5 minutes time spent on the key and that is one of its enduring features. They built this Key for fishing and that’s just what they do.

And restaurants? Well, let me say this, the drinks are good and the establishments open and close when they darn well please. Immediately to the left and across the water from the room we stayed in, is the back deck of the Black Dog Beer-Wine-Cigar Bar. As I was sitting on the deck, enjoying my morning coffee and watching the dolphins swimming about in a feeding frenzy, the guy who owns the bar stepped out on his deck for a smoke and I started up a conversation with him.

Black Dog Beer-Wine-Cigar Bar

“You normally won’t catch me up at this time of day, but I have some work I’m finishing up inside and I wanted to get it done,” he told me.

I asked him if his place was open now. The last time we were in Cedar Key it wasn’t.

“Yeah, it’s open, stop by between 4:30 or 5:00ish.”

Back Deck of the Black Dog Beer-Wine-Cigar Bar

We found out that all restaurants and bars on the key operate on “ish” time, or according to Jimmy Buffet, they are on island time. In fact, our bartender at Steamers said that most of these guys don’t even open the next day if they brought in enough money the previous night. They don’t care about the money, it’s the fish.

We stayed in the Harbor Master Inn, a place that features rooms built over the Cedar Key Bay. We were virtually surrounded by water with windows that gave us a fantastic view of the sunrise. When we sat outside on the deck, we were virtually over the water and the launching area for all the boats was right next to us so we were able to watch all the fishing boats as they came and went each day.

As mentioned, Cedar Key is a small fishing village. The population is about 750 people and all the residents know each other. By the time we left, they all knew Jacqui as well.

While there we rented a pontoon boat for a day. I thought I finally found a place where Jacqui could drive without having to worry about hitting something – the ocean; however, I was soon to find out that wasn’t so, as she barely missed a couple of the channel markers before getting hung up in some crab traps in a restricted area of Cedar Key Bay. We knew it was a restricted area because the guy standing on his deck, blowing a whistle and yelling at Jacqui to get out of there, let us know so – in a not too friendly voice, I might add.

The lovely Jacqui Hesse, a Pirate’s Mistress
Former Pirate Captain Max Fly

 We were in about 1.5 feet of water. We knew that because of the map of Cedar Key Bay, that the boat rental people kindly provided, indicated this. The problem was,  Jacqui ignored the map.

It was at this moment that she relinquished her captainship to Ol’ Max Fly, noted Private Eye and an old sea captain in his younger days. After trimming the motor and jockeying around all the crab traps, he was able to get the boat into the deeper water and out of shooting range of the irate man on his deck.

Big Deck Bar & Grill

 

Big Deck Coconuts

After our sea adventure, we needed some refreshment and Max decided to treat his lady to some island drinks at the Big Deck, a little bar and grill across the street from the Harbor Master Inn. The Big Deck features a picture of two big coconuts in a bikini top painted on the ceiling over the bar. It was placed there for all the old salty dogs who fall off their bar stools.

We spent the evening jawing with some of the locals, who still hadn’t heard about Jacqui’s little seafaring misadventure. Evidently, rumors don’t travel fast on Cedar Key.

 

The Three Amigo Cheeseheads Ride Again!

Sunday, June 25th was another exciting day for local Cheeseheads, Max Fly, Private Eye, and his main squeeze Jacqui and fellow cheesehead, Cynde Hesse-Prodgers. They fired up the ol’ Ford Tractor and headed north to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and of course Rocco’s Pub in Jasper, GA, home of the World’s Best Chili Pie, as well as the friendliest wait staff north of Tampa Bay. One of the pleasures of living in Georgia is the opportunity you get to meet people from all over the world and today we started out meeting a waitress who moved to Georgia from the Seattle, Washington area and she was friendly and a very efficient server!

Dancing Girls Now Performing at Rocco’s Pub, Jasper Georgia

We ordered some wine and a little brandy to put out the fire and wash down the Red Hot Chili Pie while listening to the Blackwell Country Jam Band play some of the Outlaw country songs of David Allen Coe, Merl Haggard, and George Straight (Is he an outlaw?) as well as tunes from other great country artists. We were able to enjoy this music with a local motorcycle club while a young dancing girl provided some lively entertainment, twirling as the music played.

Harley’s at Rocco’s Pub, Jasper GA

 

We then piled in the tractor, weaving our way around all the Harley’s scattered about Rocco’s parking lot and headed east to Ball Ground. They said I was driving. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Feather’s Edge Vineyards. Proprietor, David Boone was still there, pouring his magic nectar. It is obvious that David has done it right, setting up a comfortable porch and backyard area to taste his great wines while his guests engaged in a little “Toe Tapping” to the gentle sounds of Surrender Hill. There was even some cigar smokin’ going on in the back.

David Boone Proud Proprietor of Feather’s Edge Vineyards, Ball Ground Georgia is busy serving one of his satisfied customers, Cynde Hesse-Prodgers, one of the Three Amigo Cheeseheads

Now I have to tell you something, if you haven’t heard this duo, Surrender Hill, sing, you are missing out on a real treat.

Surrender Hill performing in the hills of North Georgia at Feather’s Edge Vineyard, Ball Ground Georgia

The couple, Robin Dean Salmon and Afton Seekins,  met in 2013 in Northern Arizona while performing music in many of the same clubs. Both are singer-songwriters.

Their paths crossed often and a friendship ensued which led to a collaboration not only in music but in life. In March of 2014, Robin and Afton started writing and performing together and figured they might as well get hitched. Find out more about them at www.surrenderhill.com. By the way, Max couldn’t leave without buying one of their CD’s which he now plays in the Ebony Pony while he is blowing down the highway, doing things his way.

It wasn’t long before Jacqui said, “Something is smoking behind us and it’s smelling mighty good, and, no Max, it’s not you.”

Smokin’ Tony’s BBQ. The best BBQ in the North Georgia Mountains.

Pretty soon we located what was causing all the smoke. It was none other than North Georgia’s Smokin’ Tony’s BBQ!!! Tony and wife, Brenda Sweatt, were putting together some mighty delicious fixin’s for the folks sittin’ around drinking the best wine in Georgia while tapping their toes to the mellow sounds of Surrender Hill. Tony said he’d be happy to cater your event no matter how small. Well, he did refuse to deliver two sandwiches to my house, but, anything a bit larger than that, and he can accommodate y’all! Go to their website at www.smokintonysbbqga.com. You’re gonna drool on your keyboard, I guarantee it!

Didn’t I say somewhere that one of the pleasures of living in Georgia is the opportunity you get to meet people from all over the world? Well, Mr. Robin Dean Salmon started his life’s journey in South Africa and Ms. Afton Seekins started kickin’ and squalling up yonder in Alaska. They are now splitting their time between Atlanta and Nashville. Of course Ol’ Tony and Brenda live right down the road in Ball Ground and, of course, the Three Cheesehead Amigos are from Wisconsin.

As usual, the Three Cheesehead Amigos had a superb time enjoying great wine, food, and entertainment in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in good ol’ Georgia, US of A! We plan on making this trip a bit more often now that we have the tractor up and running again. See y’all soon, your friend, Max Fly, Private Eye

Feather’s Edge Gift Shop 10061 Ball Ground Hwy, Ball Ground, GA 30107 (770) 735-6923