Cedar Key offers island life, complete with ghosts, clams
Published: Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 at 1:40 p.m
Cedar Key — The first thing about going to Cedar Key is you have to want to go there. This island community is on no beaten path. There are only three ways in: by land, by sea and by that small airstrip over yonder.
From Gainesville, it’s a straight shot southwest on State Road 24.
“The Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street: The Way We Worked” opens Sept. 13, with a new event every Saturday through Oct. 18; contact the Cedar Key Historical Society at 543-5549 or Chamber of Commerce at 543-5600 for schedule
Labor Day Auction, 12:30 p.m. Aug. 31
45th annual Seafood Festival, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 18-19, City Park
Cedar Key Christmas Boat Parade, Dec. 13
51st annual Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, March 28-29. For details, visit http://www.cedarkey.org
By land, there’s just a single road — Second Avenue, aka State Road 24 — that runs nearly 20 miles through Otter Creek, Ellzey, Rosewood and a whole lot of nothing else between the Suncoast Highway (U.S. 19/98) and the No. 4 Bridge.
Once here, you’ll find Cedar Key is about as isolated as it can get. It’s also as Old Florida as you’ll find in a 21st century Sunshine State, a step back to a day when sand and salt water were the main attractions before a walkin’, talkin’ mouse.
There are no McDonald’s, no big-box business, not even a stoplight. There is only one grocery store, the Market at Cedar Key.
And that’s the way residents and visitors like it. The easy pace is one of the island’s biggest attractions, one that draws day-trippers from all points of Florida for romantic weekends, shopping, seafaring or even just a scenic seafood lunch.
Commercial clam farming began in 1994, according to the Cedar Key Historical Museum; by 2009, some 300 clam farmers held leases.