71 Days

What I did during my summer vacation…

Day 2: Atsena Otie

Atsena Otie (Creek Indian for Cedar Island) was our first stop on our almost day-long exploration of Cedar Key with our excellent guides Carla and Ray. Carla is possibly a cousin of mine, but my people grew up with her people is possibly the best way to explain our relationship. I’ve only known her in a business kinda way since we began clam farming and Carla and Ray own Island Bags which makes the bags we use to grow our scrumptious clams (™ pending).
But before our balmy boat ride, we stopped at a local restaurant where my dad says a cousin eats breakfast every Sunday. He even told me where she sits, and I was hesitant to go. The last time I saw Helen I was a 24-year-old new bride. Jeff and I had just returned home from our honeymoon trip to Key West and Disney where we saw manatees. Helen told us very sweetly in her lovely, Southern way that she would love to eat a manatee again before she died, as they have wonderful, white, lean meat. I was a little taken aback as they seemed so gentle and docile (a lot like a cow….hmmm) but that conversation has remained a memorable and favorite one. Despite that memory, try as I might, I could not bring her face to my mind; it’s been a while. Until I rounded the corner of the restaurant and saw her sitting there. Hey, I know that lady! So I introduced myself, Bill’s daughter Kim and she said to tell my family she loves them and me too. And I was so glad we went and said hello. Seeing her reminded me of my grandparents and lots of fond memories. A
We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at Annie’s Cafe (no manatee) met at Carla and Ray’s house and visited several of the islands off of Cedar Key including Otsena Otie Key where the original town was built and the cedar pencil factory was. Very cool.
After a picnic lunch (grilled hotdogs and silver queen corn) we tried some fishing (not much success) but saw the local clam leases, lots of dolphin and a turtle. I applied about 49 layers of sunscreen but not sure if I’ll be able to see the sun tomorrow as I am a lovely shade of burgundy now but what a great day.


Loved this wire bushel basket at Annie’s full of coffee cups. you can’t see in the pic., but on the back side, S hooks hold bags full of straws and other items – Martha Stewart would be impressed. Salty, simple organization.


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