Sunday, July 24, 2016

THE END OF THE ROAD: CHOKOLOSKEE

How does one get to Chokoloskee?  Follow the signs on east US 41 (Old Tamiami Trail), turn south on Highway 29, and when you get to the END OF THE ROAD, you are in Chokoloskee!

Looks like the way to the 'END OF THE ROAD'
Chokoloskee, FL
You'll pass through Everglades City, Everglades National Park, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge prior to arriving in Chokoloskee.
We are tempted to stop - but on we go!
We'll check this out on the way back!
Everglades City - Beautiful tropical city 
Everglades City, FL
All of this is a jaw-dropping experience and you arrive at one of the most historic fishing villages in the USA, Chokoloskee, FL.   Our friends told us about Outdoor Resorts RV Resort in Chokoloskee, and we had wanted to visit ever since.  Fishing, boats, birds and all Florida natural resources are in abundance.
Our destination - Chokoloskee, FL
Many RV sites have boat slips
If the mahi saw this they would probably take off!
Outdoor Resorts Marina
Chokoloskee, FL
Outdoor Resorts - Chokoloskee, FL
At the end of this blog you too will be eager to enjoy the variety of fresh seafood available from one of many famous local restaurants, such as City Seafood, Triad Seafood, Camellia Street Grill or the Oyster House Restaurant.....or Joe's Stone Crabs in South Miami Beach.

While visiting Chokoloskee we drove to Smallwood Store, a historic Indian trading post and general store, now a museum.  Smallwood is the "down and dirty" version of the true story of this area, not intended as a roadside attraction.  The descendants of Ted Smallwood now lovingly maintain and display the items sold, bartered and traded by the early pioneers which hold an important historical significance for this area.
Smallwood Store and Museum
Chokaloskee, FL
Smallwood Trading Post and General Store
Chokoloskee, FL 
Smallwood Trading Post and General Store
Chokoloskee, FL
Old Chokoloskee Post Office and
Havana Cafe - Chokoloskee, FL
Smallwood Store was opened in the center of the whole 10,000 islands in the early 1900's.  Items in the store museum date from the 1800's through the 1960's.  The old trading post is on the water so there is always a lovely breeze.  The history of this area of Florida started about 1,500 years before the arrival of the white man. The Calusa Indians, the original inhabitants, were eradicated when smallpox was brought by the Spanish explorers.

Everglades City is a small fishing town about 35 miles south of Naples and 80 miles west of Miami.  Today, the very skillful stone-crab fishermen live on the Barron River, as well as several, unpretentious seafood restaurants.  As a matter of fact, a favorite world renowned restaurant, Joe's Stone Crabs on South Miami Beach, acquire their stone crabs in Everglades City.

Unfortunately, we missed stone crab season,  October 15 to May 15.  This is so the crabs can grow back their missing claw, which should grow back in about 18 months.  You may already be aware these crabs are harvested, not killed.  The off-season helps protect the crabs from over-fishing.  We noticed in several places the barnacled traps in piles on the side of the road...much like the lobster traps you see in the Keys.


NOTE TO SELF AND RV:  Stone Crab Season is 10/15 - 5/15.

Chokoloskee Yachts
Part of 10,000 Islands near south end of Chokoloskee
In closing, Chokoloskee is a Seminole word that means "old home", and is a town in Lee County, Florida.  Chokoloskee is an unincorporated community started in 1874.  The earliest residents farmed, fished, caught turtles, and hunted alligators and local wildlife.

We made it to the end of the road....who's next?!


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