Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Spanish Treasure and Manatees

As Promised, today I am going to take everyone on a leisurely trip along the coast to learn a little more Spanish history at the McLarty Treasure Museum, then we will go onward to the Sebastian Inlet State Park.  This is an easy day trip that can be done in one morning and followed by a lunch on the river.  

I'm going to base our trip out of Melbourne Florida.  This is a central location from which to base explorations of the Space Coast as well as the Treasure Coast.   We currently do not have any bed and breakfast listings in Melbourne, but I'd suggest Crane Creek Inn, 721-768-6416 or The Old Pineapple Inn, 888-776-9864.

The McLarty Treasure Museum is located on State Road A1A, two miles south of the Sebastian Inlet Bridge.  The entrance fee is $1.00.  The museum hosts treasure and is the site of the survivor's camp from a 1715 Spanish Plate Fleet.  Eleven ships loaded with gold and silver went down in a hurricane.  The treasure was forgotten for 250 years until treasure hunters relocated it.  For background, take a look at:

After leaving the museum head up the coast until your see the sign's for the Sebastian Inlet State Park.  Take the second park entrance.  There is a parking fee of $5.00.  Take a walk on the pier to view Manatees, dolphins, and other fish.  I like the second pier as it is less crowded.  Take a walk on the beach and see pelicans and other tropical birds.  If your are more adventurous, you can also rent kayaks from the Inlet Marina 1-800-952-1196.

I would be looking for lunch next.  We usually stop at Mike's Hula Grill on 806 Indian River Drive.  It is casual dining and offers seating with views of the river.  To get there from the inlet, continue south on Indian River Drive until you see the signs for US 1.  Take this exit, and turn north on US1.  Turn right on Coolidge St.  The restaurant will be on your left.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Plan a Bed and Breakfast Escape in Florida

As I sit and relax in the warm spot of the US today, I thought I'd share some local tips for travel to the Sunshine state. When most people think of Florida, they automatically think about all of the Orlando Parks. When I first moved to Florida, I was under the same perception. However, Florida has a great deal more to offer visitors.

We had guests in town this past weekend with no interest in doing the parks or going to the beach. They are both history enthusiasts, so we decided to make the trek to the St. Augustine area. We were coming from central Florida, so this entailed a drive. We got up bright and early and started our trek. Our first stop was Fort Mantanzas, which is located about thirty minutes South of St. Augustine on SR A1-A. Admission is free. Fort Mantanzas was originally built in 1742 as a way to hold off the British from St. Augustine. You have to take a 10 minute boat ride to get to the fort, but the ride is pleasant and we have often seen dolphins and in the spring large amounts of jelly fish. A guide accompanies you and always provides some historical background on the fort and Spanish history. If you want to do a little background research, check out

After stopping at the fort, we continued on SR A1-A and followed the signs to the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Admission is is $8.00 for adults. We climbed 218 steps to the top and learned a lot about about the lighthouse keepers lives and families. It took about an hour to see everything. Then we were on to St. Augustine.

Our first stop here was the Castillo de San Marcos or the Star Fort. Again, admission is free. The construction of the fort began in 1642 and includes 20.5 acres. There are guides and tours to provide background on the fort's history. You can also take a look at Castillo de San Marcos From the fort, we could see the town and structures of St. Augustine. We spent about an hour looking through the exhibits of the fort and then headed through the original gates of the city to explore the historic city area. We took a walking tour of the city viewing all of the historic buildings and wandering in and out of shops. The city is interesting as it has gone through many renovations. First it is the oldest European settlement in the United States. It changed hands from Spanish, to British, to Spanish, and finally to the US. The architecture reflects the change of hands in that you can see both Spanish and British influences. In 1883, the Oil Tycoon Henry Flagler invested large amounts of money towards making St. Augustine a resort town. He added a number of impressive buildings. A great place for background on the city is St Augustine History.

We decided to head back to our home in Central Florida. However, you could easily make this area a 3 day stay. The city is known for its restaurants and night life. You can spend a day playing on the beach, go on an evening ghost tour, or take in a play. St. Augustine has a number of boutique hotels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts. If you want to be in the mix of it all, choose lodging in the historic square. Our guide offers five inns and bed and breakfasts to get you on your way. Check out: St Augustine Oh, yes. Can you tell them that we guided you to them?

Next up, Sebastian Inlet and 1715 Spanish Fleet McLarty Treasure.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Traveling To Bed and Breakfasts

Hello B&B Travelers -

I've been thinking about putting a blog up on for awhile. I started ibbp back in 1995 because I love staying at bed and breakfasts and traveling. Hotels are great, but I have found that B&Bs offer visitors a unique view of the location that they are exploring. When traveling to England, I found great pubs and historical sites that were not posted in the travel books. When traveling locally in the US, I have found the great local eateries and activities that may not be posted anywhere else. How about you? I'd love to hear your bed and breakfast experiences and any travel tips for locations that you have visited. Did you stumble upon a castle that many people would not know about? Did you visit a city that we might overlook? Let us know. I'll also post places I've visited and interesting sites that we all may overlook. Happy travels.