Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

My Favorite Ocean Front Spot - Gamble Rogers

Thursday-Wednesday                                                                                      Most Recent Posts:
November 17- November 23, 2016                                                          Last Looks at Anastasia For Now
Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area                                  Ever Heard of Fort Mose? Me Neither, but What a Story!
Flagler Beach, Florida



IMG_2508_thumb3For those who care about such things, with this post I am officially posting from where we actually are at this time. The post isn’t totally current as in the exact day but it’s only a few days behind rather than weeks.

I’m sad to leave Anastasia but it is made a bit less paintful by the fact that our next stop is equally wonderful. We drive 34 miles down coastal highway A1A to Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area and pull in to our ocean front site for 2 weeks. How exciting is that? Winnona’s front windshield faces the ocean. We can see the waves rolling in from every seat in the house but the bedroom.



We have been here several times since it is one of my very favorite Florida parks. I do love having a site on the ocean and don’t think there is really any where else in the state parks outside the panhandle you can do that. If there is, please be sure to let me know.

The next morning we are both up for the not so early sunrise at 6:55 am. The moon is still high in the sky. Gamble Rogers like the town of Flagler Beach sustained damage from Hurricane Matthew. There were formerly 3 sets of stairs down to the beach in the park. One was in the day use area, one is right beside our site as you can see and one is at the bath house further down the campground road. Only one of them is open and it’s the one right by us which is way convenient but also means we have more traffic going by than we’ve had in the past. That’s OK, being right by the walkway gives us a wider front view since we have palmettos all along the side and part of the front of the site.



The clouds have gathered at the horizon but the sun manages to peek through them for our first of 14 sunrises here.



Even David is down on the beach for the event. But then it is almost 7:00 and right out his front door. <grin>



When we come back from a short walk at sunrise, this is the view out our front window.



The state park is 3.2 miles from the center of the town of Flagler Beach. I know this because we bicycle up there for the farmer’s market.




It too has far too many wholesalers to suit me. However delicious it may be, it hardly seems “local” to me. Are there no rules any more for what makes a farmer and who can sell at a farmer’s market?



This is more like what we are expecting but looking behind this very long booth filled with every produce thing you could possibly want, not just what is in season now in this place, it is clear that the big refrigerator truck is a wholesaler. I can’t see much benefit in buying here as opposed to any supermarket but we’re here and we do.



Now here’s an authentic local business. Not at the farmer’s market but David checks it out on his way home and comes back with some seriously good Russian bread.





I spend some part of every day on the beach either sitting and reading or walking when it’s really too windy to sit and read.








For all the folks who recommended that I get a kindle, notice I am actually using the Kindle I got as a gift last year during the holiday. I’m still finding it hard to locate books I want to read that I don’t have to pay the price of a paperback for to get them on the kindle. I have tried book bub and have found a few things for $1.99 but mostly I use my hometown library which seems unfortunately to have the things I want on audio or an EPubEbook which at least my Kindle doesn’t do. Yes I’m picky about what I read. But I’m stretching my willingness to include things that heretofor would not have made the cut.






And if the book can’t keep my interest, I can always be spellbound by the rhythm of the waves.




Having the surf as dinner music is another added feature of our site.



Other than the winds, the weather has been fantastic. On walking days it is the birds that keep me entertained.





I watch this little fellow take a bath in the waves as they came on shore. He was dipping and flapping his wings, running in and out of the waves. Great show.



At one point along the beach walking south there seemed to frequently be large gatherings of gulls, terns and others. It’s fascinating to watch them flying in and out, jockeying for position and then for no reason I could ever discern all taking to the skies, flying around and coming right back to the same spot or one a short distance down the beach.








Of course we do have chores to do including laundry. Gamble Rogers has two washers and one dryer at its bath house so one morning I make good use of the two washers and becasue it is SO sunny and windy, I bring the clothes back and string them out on our make shift clothes line – no tying anything to bushes or trees in state or federal parks. Yes Bill it does look very messy but it’s only temporary and it works. I love the smell of clothes and especially sheets dried on a line in the sun.




While they are drying we hang out again on the beach. I think we have turned into Floridians. We both have long sleeve shirts and I have a towel draped over my legs. Notice the temperature from my phone.




Meanwhile, I’m watching these folks whom I’m pretty sure must be from Quebec.



Not all our sunrises are spectacular but it’s still really nice to have it right there every single morning.




We did drag ourselves away from the beach one day for a scouting of potential kayaking put ins. We went north up A1A to Bing’s Landing County Park and found a difficult kayak put in but we could use the regular boat ramp into the Inland Waterway. We’d have to go down the waterway a distance to find one of two entrances to Long Creek. Not sure how I feel about that but next we’re going to look at the put in at the other end of Long Creek so we’ll see.

You have to lift your boat over the side rails into this thing and then roll down into the water I guess. So how do you get back out?



I think I’d opt for the regular boat ramp down at the other end here.



Walking back from looking around the “marina” we see this giant open sided fenced area with a roof. What in the world is it we wonder. So we walk all around and come to this ramp leading up. The sign tells us this is an archeological preservation site, Mala Compra Plantation.



In the early 19th century Mala Compra was one of the barrier island plantations. The Atlantic was its eastern edge and the Matanzas River now part of the Inland Waterway was its western border.





It was one of 3 plantation in the area owned by Joseph Hernandez. They grew sea island cotton, sugar and oranges. Hernandez was a powerful planter of the region and the first Hispanic person to serve in the congress in 1822 as a member of the House of Representatives of the United States. A fun fact I learned here was that Hernandez invited John James Audubon to visit. While at Mala Compra Audubon is said to have “immortalized Mala Compra in his illustration of the American Coot” which he found in “every ditch, bayou and pond” on the plantation. Even more amusing was the statement that “Audubon considered Hernandez a provincial Spaniard and Hernandez saw Audubon as an uncooth backwoodsman engaged in a useless project.

A rather spurious mark on his conduct is his being commissioned by President James Monroe as a General in the Indian wars of Florida mustered into active service in 1835. He led 250 troops to a conference with Seminole leaders five miles south of St. Augustine. US General Thomas Jessup ordered Hernandez to ignore the Indians’ white flag of truce and capture them. Hernandez captured Osceola and 80 others. Floridians were delighted by the capture “but Americans beyond the fighting area were scandalized at what they considered dishonorable behavior by the army”. Hernandez and Jessep were court martialed but not convicted. I applaude that they were scandalized but wonder what happened to these people when the Indian Wars moved west.

Hernandez and his wife Maria had 14 children and this is what is left of their coquina plantation. Not much.

The hearth.




The coquina well.





Bing’s Landing is also the home of Captain’s BBQ which David was very interested in. He tells me they were rated top 10 BBQ joints in the nation 2 years in a row on trip advisor. He’s lobbying. They advertise 60 different craft beers. Luckily it’s not lunch or dinner time and we have another stop to make. Pretty sure we’ll end up here on another day before we leave the area.




Next stop is to look at the put in at Long Creek Nature Preserve. The Long Creek preserve is about 9 acres and was acquired by the city in 2008 to save it from development into condos.  It now connects to a network of 26 miles of salt water canals and Long Creek, which is the 225 acre basin we’re walking out to see.  This is all due to a couple of amazing local and state programs, Flagler County’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program and the State of Florida’s Forever Program.   Hats off to them both!!

We park the car and head toward the trail to the kayak put in. You’d have to have a cart to reach this but the path is well kept. Before we even get there we find a terrific bicycle station. Check this out.

Need to inflate your tires. No problem.


Need tools for whatever? They are here too. Pretty sweet!





From here we hike on down the path to the put in.  At the beginning of the dock out into the water there is a map.






This looks like a fantastic paddle.  We would start out at the star at the bottom which is where we are now and paddle 6 miles to the top which is ……… Bing’s Landing.  COOL!
Now all we need is a friend to provide a shuttle.  Hmmmmm….   Where are you Nancy and Bill, Laurel and Eric?   South Carolina and Oregon.  Oh Dear.


And then we reach the floating dock…….which has been a victim of Hurricane Matthew.  No put in at this time or for who knows how long.  DRAT!  OK this is a next time is FOR SURE!



So much for that. 

One thing we’ve noticed a lot of this week are clouds. Every morning and much of many days.



At times they seem to be sitting on the sunrise.



Different days, different clouds.





The clouds don’t seem to affect the waves.






They don’t seem to affect the cold water swimmers either. These aren’t surfers with wet suits they just have those water boards we used to call boogie boards for riding the waves and they’ve got some strong ones to ride. I guess it’s my advanced age (is that what we try to call wisdom?) that causes me to be more cautious of the power of the ocean and its ability to toss you around and slam you down.



Gamble Rogers State Recreation Area is on both sides of coastal highway A1A. There is an ocean front campground and one on the other side of the road called the River Campground which is close to the boat launch and the Intercoastal waterway. Right by the boat launch is a great spot for watching the sunset which we do frequently. It’s a nice 5 minute walk from our site.




Sure can’t beat a park with both sunrise and sunset views.


I know this was a VERY long post and I thank you so much for sticking it out.  That’s what it took for me to be able to say “I’m caught up”.  It took me many times longer to write it than it even took to read it.  HA!   Hope you’ll comment to let me know what you thought.   That’s my reward

It’s been a great relaxing first week. We are in Gamble Rogers right now and with my next post I’ll be totally caught up in real time.  Upcoming,  I’ll take a look at some of the damage and on going repairs from Hurricane Matthew here in Flagler Beach.