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.


  1. Beautiful sunrises. The surf does look quite rough at times.

    There are a good number of my fellow Canucks who scatter to southern climates as quickly as they can when the first hint of frost comes.

  2. I don't think you'd catch me in the water even in warmer weather! The last book I got from the library was called something like "The secret lives of trees". It was new and I had to wait several months for it, and I thought of you when I started reading it, as I know you would enjoy it. I may as well give up on reading now because it's just too much for me to get through many pages at a time. I have always loved to read, and it's sad to see that part of my life fading away.

  3. That is a very nice site! I would enjoy that too. Thanks for all your hard work on the blog. your pictures are beautiful. And it is nice to see David enjoying himself too.

  4. Glad you get to spend another couple weeks at the beach!! We hope we didn't bring that wind with us as we headed north from the Keys. But regardless, the beach is still a great place to hang out. Love the sunrise/sunset scenario at at Gamble Rogers...not many place you get that opportunity!!!

  5. That is really a prime site you have there! For some reason we never made it to Gamble Rogers in all the years we lived in Pensacola.
    I will send you a private email about your Kindle problem.

  6. Much to comment on here. Indeed, Gamble Rogers is one of my favorite parks too, and having such easy access to sunrise & sunset over water is part of the charm no doubt. I too wonder what has happened to the farmers at Farmer's Markets, a sad trend. Learning about our first Hispanic congressman at Bing's Landing was a special surprise. More unknown American History! Looking forward to revisiting Bing's Landing for the Captain's BBQ & a brew! I also love that public bicycle tool station! I hope to see more of those - especially when I might actually need one. ;)

  7. You two are really pretty close to me all about an hour and 45 minutes south in Melbourne... I'd love to run up there and visit with you I've never been to that state park... but this weekend I'm headed over to Silver Springs State Park to RV with my women RV friends I don't know where you're going next but if it was close I would love to meet up with you guys even if it's just for a few hours ...I just got done reading a book called A Land Remembered by Patrick D Smith it is a historical novel of Florida in the 18 hundreds it is a great book.. I think anybody that lives in Florida... Love's Florida or.. just visit Florida should read this book... anyway you probably have already read it but I thought I would mention it just in case...donna

    1. Donna, I tried to find an address to email you but was unsuccessful. I so appreciate your comments and am sorry we will miss you. We will be gone by the week-end. Thanks for the book recommendation. It is really one that anyone who spends time in Florida should read as we have.

  8. You may have been sad to leave Anastasia but an ocean view like this can hardly be beat. Especially with the waves and birds for entertainment. I might even make sunrise there. Below 75F is chilly to me, and more so if there's wind. Some markets are better than others and everybody is just trying to make a buck yet such a shame it's not locals. Think I'd go back to the Russian place for something really different. I am impressed that you are almost in real time blogging, not something I find easy to do. And I love your FL travels and photographs.

  9. Oh what I would give to be sitting there. Beautiful site you have

  10. Lovely place to come home to, Gamble Rogers and that site! You two are lucky to be able to have it there. That's the temp here in California most days.

  11. I have followed you for several years now. Have been watching and may have missed your plans for the near future. But I know sometimes you venture into the Keys, and I just wanted to offer you the site we are cancelling for 5 nights at John Pennekamp Christmas week. I have it posted on RV.net forum, but not getting much interest. Reply to the post if you think you may want to reserve as we cancel.
    Really enjoy your blog!

    1. Dear Anonymous, we won't be able to use your keys reservations. I'm sorry you have to cancel them. I wish you'd have signed your name. I'm happy that you have followed for several years but wish you'd comment so I'd know you are out there.

  12. You won the FLorida Parks lottery with that site! And you got it for two weeks? You must be in heaven. :cD

  13. I love this spot and somehow always picture you in that one when you're on the beach anywhere :-) Paying $9.99/month for Kindle Unlimited is the best thing I've done as I read about four books a week. Have found some great new authors, and of course a few duds. I highly recommend Until I Met Her by Natalie Barelli. Very different, hard to put down. The sunrises are beautiful, and I especially love the sunset reflecting on the water. I too wish farmers markets were required to offer local selections rather than just being an outdoor grocery store. At least the little roadside stands are still offering small farm produce in some areas. You got caught up fast! Fun to see where you are "in the now".

  14. Oh, I so wish we were there to do that paddle with you! I love winding waterways. No paddling for us right now in chilly Oregon. Lucky you in that gorgeous waterfront site at Gamble Rogers—I know you work hard for those prime sites! We had 10 days reserved there in January but had to cancel. Next year! I wonder if you could get a temporary library card in some of the places you travel? We do that when we're on Lopez Island and it gives me lots more Kindle options.

  15. Wonderful site and way to get up to real time!! Beautiful sunrises, waves and clouds. Can't imagine swimming when it's 67 out!! 14 children...I cannot imagine...! So much to see around there..unfortunate that the kayak couldn't happen.

  16. I, for one, am so happy to find you somewhat caught up. My OCD likes to have a vague notion. Thanks.

    Agree completely with your take on the Farmer's Market situation. We found that to be the case this summer with most of the FMs we visited, even in Amish Country. The refrigerated trucks were sitting right onsite. So then, it's not truly a fm. . .right? It has now become a wholesalers market. . .ah well. . .off the soapbox.

    Look forward to enjoying Florida via you blog and pics.

  17. The sunsets were very pretty and I love the photos of the birds. Nothing better than sitting on the beach reading! How cool is it that you can see the ocean from your site! Have fun! Towards the end of next week, the temperature high will be in the 40's and down in the teens at night.... Brrrrrrrrr!


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