A Hidden Gem Into the Heart of The Real Florida...Homosassa
|An Old Cracker House|
The journey into the heart of …The Real Florida took me to neighboring Homosassa after my encounter with a couple of manatees. Into “cracker” lifestyle I go to dig out the authentic self of The Sunshine State. Desolated roads, banyan trees & houses stretched out from US 19 was something you wouldn’t necessary see if you just continued south on 19 headed for St. Pete. Citrus County is big, but got some real charm to the place.
Like Crystal River, Homosassa is home to a large number of “migratory” manatees, which frequent there for the warm spring waters in the Homosassa Spring Wildlife State Park. Also, the Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins State Historic Site is the other big attraction. David Levy Yulee established the Mill back in 1851 & it was a working sugar plantation. The crops were sugar cane, cotton & citrus; the Yulee Groves were one of the first in Florida to grow sweet oranges budded from sour orange stocked. After the Civil War the mill that was famous for the production of sugar, syrup & molasses was abandoned. Don't forget that it's the oldest standing historic structure in Citrus County.
|Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park|
The main stop in Homosassa was to go to the Freezer a Tiki Bar located on The Homosassa River. It was a funky place situated in an old fish freezer. The menu is very limited with not much on it besides good old American potato chips, chips & salsa, smoked mullet dip, peal & eat shrimp, blue crabs & Maine lobster. There is plenty of beer, both on tap & in bottles, not to forget the bucket of beer too. It’s basically in the in rough type of restaurant that you would find back in New England. At this place you just place your order with the bartender & the food is brought to the table, don’t forget to give your name or else you won’t be getting your food. I was a wee bit of surprise to find out that the half dozen blue crabs that I actually order were streamed whole crabs served in a beer carton of all things with a mallet to smash them & a plastic fork. I do enjoy picking at crabs with my hands after I get them open rather than using a fork to be polite. It’s basically a hand on food. They did have wee bit of a kick with them with, something was added to the Old Bay seasoning, I could taste it.
It was a pretty enjoyable town to check out by the riverfront. A few seafood shacks offering fresh fish, bay scallops, Maine lobsters & Alaskan salmon to name a few of the specialties. Another hidden gem, it’s definitely worth your time to take the time & explore!