Monday, July 7, 2008

A Tourist's Guide To Sebastian, Florida

In the little town of Sebastian, along the eastern coast of Florida, we live imbalanced existences. The nature of our trades and daily lives are bipolar, running from one extreme to the other without ever finding a natural equilibrium. From busy to bored and back again.
During the summer the town of Sebastian’s population is cut to roughly one quarter of its normal amount during the cool balmy winters. Life for the locals slows to a crawl. Business dries up and the hardy “townies” as they are called look for any spare work they can get. They cinch their belts a bit tighter, waiting out the sticky baking summer heat calm in the knowledge that these times will pass just as they always do.
Things speed up in late September as front runners from the north descend upon the town to escape the cold, snowy northlands. The town’s population quickly swells. Store fronts that had boarded up for the summer are quickly aired out and made ready for new custom. The many tourist locations are cleaned and fully staffed as the torrent of “snowbirds” arrives once again. What was once a barren and boring wasteland devoid of entertainment metamorphoses into a happy, thriving, and vibrant place to live and play.
Captain Hiram’s Inn and Restaurant is popular among tourists looking for good seafood, cold drinks, and live entertainment. They’re located right on the Sebastian inlet leading directly out into the ocean and host music of a Caribbean flavor nightly. Their free docks and sandbar means they are frequented by yachts and sail-boating fun-lovers constantly.
Just down the road is the Mel Fisher Museum. Inside a gigantic and detailed collection belonging to one of the most successful treasure hunters in American history can be found. Mel Fisher was a skilled diver enamored with the allure and mystique around many of the ships carrying valuable cargo that sank centuries ago off the Florida coastline. The silver, gold, ivory, and jewels he pulled from the depths time after time made him a very wealthy man. After his death the majority of his collection was put on display at the Museum he had constructed just for that purpose several years earlier. Charter boats are also available to take tourists to the sites of many of these shipwrecks as well.
Sebastian was primarily a fishing town when it was first founded. Unfortunately many of the regulations regarding inland and river fishing have shrunk the commercial fishing industry in the area to a fraction of its former glory. But touring fishing enthusiasts can capitalize on this by hiring out a fishing boat for the day, complete with guides who’ve been plying the waters of the Sebastian River for generations. Our fishing grounds are world class and draw avid sportsmen from around the world regularly.
Eco-friendly tourists are amazed by the McKee Botanical Gardens. There, tourists will see many rare and endangered species of plant and wildlife. This is a sub-tropical garden and nature walk through many acres of cypress swamp that have been preserved completely untouched by man for hundreds of years. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
For tourists more interested in history, they can admire the life-sized bronze statue of Paul Kroegel. Nearby plaques will explain his life story focusing on the fact that he was the first warden of Pelican Island, a nearby island which became one of the first Wildlife National Refuges in the country. The statue is on the coast overlooking the island and guided tours of the area are available.
Please keep in mind that this is just a few of the many site of this old and historically rich town that keeps bringing back eager tourists and vacationers year after year. To list them all would require a novel, many of which are available to those who inquire online or at the Sebastian Chamber of Commerce.

No comments: