The day we were there was one of those perfect Florida winter days. It was breezy, and not too hot or too cold. The water was another story. It took a minute or two for our feet to get used to it. We set up our folding chairs by the water and took a little walk to the south end where we watched boats of various kinds going in and out through the breach way. We went back to our chairs and watched the waves for a while – just basking in the beauty of it all – just listening to the calming surf and calls of the shore birds.
Written by Lucy Noe
1707 1st Street, Bradenton, FL
Written by: Tom Noe
I visited Robinson Preserve in Bradenton recently and was rewarded with beautiful sights of a variety of plants. There are trails for bicycling or hiking across wide fields, marshes, and small wooded areas. There is a quite tall observation tower next to one of the lagoons, which is where I took the photos above from. If you have good eyes, you can see the Skyway in the distance.
The usual animals were around, including dragonflies, ospreys, ibises, fiddler crabs, and lizards. I also saw a rabbit. Something strange was going on that day with the bees. There were a lot of bees throughout the park everywhere that there were flowers. People say bees around the world are dying out, but I think they have just been hiding in Robinson Preserve. No matter where I went I could hear their distant roar. I did not know what I was hearing at first before I found them. I even saw a hive at the base of Tern Trail. I decided not to go that way. Another mysterious sound was an occasional bark I would hear throughout the park. It sounded like a cross between a honking goose, a very confused seal, and a human child screaming in mortal terror. I finally discovered that the ibises were making this noise. Every so often they would look up from poking in the mud and bark. I had never heard ibises make noise before. This is a strange place.
Along the northern edge of the park there are breaks in the vegetation separating the trail from the bay. These lead to small, secluded beaches. The water remains incredibly shallow far into the bay. I could see ibises and herons walking on the mirror-like surface of the sea as far as a hundred feet from shore. On the southern edge of the trail there is a narrow channel of water that connects the sea to the water bodies inside the park. This runs like a river when the tide comes in or goes out. I could see it branch as it cut through the trees into places where I wasn’t allowed to go. What goes on inside there?
Here are some more pictures from my adventure:
1704 99th Street West, Bradenton, Florida
In 1939 the Mixons bought a twenty-acre citrus farm and have been selling oranges and other fruit ever since. They now ship all over the country and have expanded the gift store to sell other products. Part of their land is used as a wildlife refuge and for educational purposes. Tractor-drawn tram rides are available three times a day for wildlife tours. I knew this was a place I needed to visit on my way to Robinson Preserve. Unfortunately I missed the ride, so I checked out the gift shop instead.
The gift shop is larger than most and filled with eclectic gifts and souvenirs of all kinds. Many are Florida-themed or orange-themed. There are doormats, wind chimes, soap, and purses. There are books and toys. There are local wines, including pineapple and mango wines. There are salad dressings, salsas, jellies, and countless candies. There are a wide variety of honey products, including honeycomb. They have cheeses flavored with horseradish or maple. They have crystallized ginger, sausages, chocolate-covered potato chips, and gummi centipedes (just like gummi bears, but with more legs). They even have pretzel dips that come in flavors such as Pub Beer, Raspberry, and Key Lime Honey Mustard. Inside the shop is also a café, serving pizza, subs, soups, and Cubans and other sandwiches. Of course they still sell fruit, including star fruit, pomelos, and gigantic ponderosa lemons (just like lemons, but with more…lemon). I just had to go around and look at everything. The staff was very friendly and I felt like I could just hang out there a while. I can see why it has become a popular destination. They tried to tempt me with fudge, but my eyes were bigger than my wallet. I ended up buying peppermint bark instead.
Even with everything else, oranges are still the focus of what they do. They sell orange fruit, orange juice, and orange ice cream. They even have my YouTube hero Annoying Orange. Hey!
2525 27th Street East, Bradenton, Florida
Written by Daniel Noe, InkDoodler.com