Sunday, January 26, 2014

Photo-of-the-Week #143 - Whidden's Marina, Boca Grande, Florida, January 2014

Here is another very current photo for this photo-of-the-week series. This one dates back to yesterday. My vandweller friend, Tommy Head, took me out to a place known as Boca Grande. Boca Grande is on Gasparilla Island on the Gulf of Mexico at the mouth of the Port Charlotte harbor. This is one of the many barrier islands along both costs of Florida. They are also, often referred to as keys, the most famous chain of keys, of course, being those at the southern most tip of Florida extending out to Key West, reported to be the southern most part of the United States.

Boca Grande is a laid-back play land for a wealthy group of citizens (some part-time, others full-time) and upscale clientele. In its earlier days it could only be reached by boat and then railroad. Currently, there is a single, privately owned bridge that provides access to this idyllic location. In many ways, driving around this island is like stepping back in time to an earlier period. I might even suggest it's like a breath of fresh air away from the hustle and bustle of life on the mainland.

This photo I took of the sign for Whidden's Marina is for real. The marina and the accompanying building have been around since 1925. Walking on the dock and going into the building is like going back to 1925. I doubt that much has been done to the marina building that houses the store and what appears to have once been (and may still be) the living quarters of the owner. The only three signs of modernization I saw was an older air conditioner compressor outside the building, a modern, commercial ice storage freezer like those seen at modern convenience stores and a large, flat screen TV inside the store. I didn't see any signs of a modern cash register or even the ability to accept credit cards. Oh yeah, I did see the relic of an older (probably about ten years) Apple Mcintosh tower computer sitting in a pile of junk outside the store.

Now, I do remember places similar to this marina when I was a kid growing up some 60 years ago (plus or minus a few). But, this place really is full of all kinds of treasures, probably dating back to nearly 90 years ago. Just another day in paradise, folks and another small reminder of the Americana that was.

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