Lone Cabbage Fish Camp

Lone Cabbage Fish Camp

If you live in Orlando and go to Cocoa or Cocoa Beach very often, you’ve passed Lone Cabbage Fish Camp, no doubt.

There are several ways to get to the Cocoa area from O’do and I’d venture to say that SR 520 is the most common route if you’re not fond of tolls. The Beach Line Expressway has them, but SR 520 does not.

Lone Cabbage is that little outpost of civilization on your right as you’re crossing the St John’s River and entering Brevard County.

If you don’t turn in at Lone Cabbage in search of an air boat ride–yes, they certainly do those–you’re most likely on a quest for good, local seafood and a beer or two to wash it down.

I had lunch at Lone Cabbage yesterday after about a thousand trips to Cocoa Beach over that well-travel road and I’m glad I did.

I ordered the Catfish Dinner, took it just the way it comes–with hushpuppies, their seasoned fries and slaw and chased it with a Coors Light. (No beer taps in this well-worn and very authentic joint, but about 15 different bottled brands.)

The Catfish was good and the fries were above average. They had lived under a heat lamp just a few moments too long by my standard, but when you sit down in a busy eatery at straight-up noon, that’s how it usually goes.

I love a good, freshly-made cole slaw and theirs was tasty and not overly-sweet. When the sugar kicks all the other ingredients into the back seat–something that’s far from rare in many home-style restaurants–I don’t like it!

I’d like to think that an establishment with cabbage in the name joint would have amazing slaw and although that’s not the case, it’s certainly not a situation where this often under-appreciated side dish warranted “points off”!

Yikes! I’ve become a “slaw snob”!

My impressions of Lone Cabbage Fish Camp are just fine so far. To have a more complete picture, I’d like to have more than only one dish and check out the air boat rides as well. But based on poking around the site and the County Park next to it a couple of times and patronizing it once, I certainly can recommend it. It’s well-known around the East Central Florida region and has been busy the times I’ve stopped by.

The next time you’re breezing down SR 520 mid-way between Cocoa and Orlando, stop in at Lone Cabbage and take in this landmark. You’ll pass a small Brevard Co. Park, James Bourbeau Memorial, where there is a public boat ramp and public rest rooms.

LoneCabb-airboat-rides-sign

And right next door, you’ll find Lone Cabbage. The basic boat ride does not require a reservation, but the bigger packages do. The minimum wait is 30 minutes. The perfect time to grab a quick lunch!

To visit their site and see more about LCFC, including the menu, just click on this link.

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

 

 

Mr. Gator Hangin’ Around at the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Brevard County

Mr. Gator Hangin’ Around at the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands in Brevard County

Saw this gator playing peek-a-boo among some aquatic plants. Had my trusty camera at the ready, so I got off a shot or three. I’m liking ’em and thought I’d pass some of them along.

Before too long I had a chance to get Mr. Gator up close and personal as we used to say. Here’s one that I think fits into this post quite well.

IMG_6455

 

And, of course, when I say “up close and personal”, I’m talking about the magic of my zoom feature and NOT about me creeping through the wetlands hoping to get much closer to my scaled, reptilian friend…

I got quite a few shots today at this cool spot and some of them are totally blog worthy. I’ll be posting later with more of those.

One of the things that made this trip especially fun is that I wasn’t trying to get to this “new” spot at all. (Of course, by that I mean new to me.) I just happened to stumble across it while cruising on a stretch of Wickham Road which was unfamiliar to me.

Ol’ Bulldog is so set in his ways that he rarely does things in that fashion; but he liked the way it all turned out, so he’s all about spontaneous fun now! Well, okay, he’ll try to do a bit more of that, at least…

I hope you’re doing some outdoor stuff. Here in the Sunshine State, it’s pretty damn hot, but there are still plenty of cool things to do all up and down this state. You just have to make sure you bring along the goofy straw hat, sun block, shades and something to drink. Yeah, that’s the formula!

And, of course, be sure to bring along your camera!

 

“Bulldog Ben” back home in Orlando

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

Latest Adventure: Manatee Hammock in Titusville. Nice Park, Horrible Weather!

This was my first foray into a very popular park and campground in Brevard County. That would be Manatee Hammock  Park in Titusville. T’ville is a little north of Cocoa on US 1, for those of you who aren’t too familiar with East Central Florida.

Very nice park. Old school. Allows folks to stay up to six months out of the year. That’s very unusual here in Florida, at least for a county park. Not talking about private RV Parks, that’s a whole ‘nother thang, as the saying goes…

Just to mention a couple of features real quick: lots are small-ish. There is laundry, that’s always a plus. No grill or fire rings on site. That surprised me. Many folks bring a grill, I will next time out. Not the end of the world for me, I’m mostly a propane guy.

I sincerely wish I could have tried this well-known spot for the first time under better conditions. The weather was awful. Just awful. Only a little rain, but the wind was savage. I’ve been in Florida for well over half a century, so strong winds are nothing new for me. But the last two days have been ridiculous. And, as many of you know, I’m a real  camper — meaning a tent camper — not an RV’er, so strong winds are NOT my friend!

I hasten to add that miserable conditions have nothing to do with the park or its management. This place is as popular as any camping spot in the Sunshine State, but we just got off on the wrong foot. I will try her again. I promise.

Are you inclined to ask, “Ben, how windy was it?” Well, I’ll tell you how windy it was: I didn’t fire up a grill or any of my propane stoves for the whole two days. I’ve never done that before. Or NOT done that before, I suppose I should say. Never fired up my Tiki Torch brand skeeter keeper-away device, either. I love that thing and it works. Way better than citronella and all that other stuff. But I was afraid it would get blown over…

The soil — if I can call it that — on my site was so rocky it was next-to-impossible to drive a stake into it. I bent three stakes before I gave up and used gear and gallon water jugs as improvised stakes. Sorta like snow stakes in the winter or using sand anchors for a beach shelter. Kind of ironic that the worst winds I’ve ever had camping came when I was at a site where your tent stakes were unusable. Mother Nature does like to f*ck with you now and then! But I do love my Mother, nevertheless!

Breaking camp and putting away my tent this morning was quite an ordeal. Not even gonna go into that! But I promise to go to Manatee Hammock again before long and get passed this not-so-great first impression.

By the way, this park’s claim to fame is that it’s the one that gives park goers and even some members of the public (for a fee) an amazing view of space launches! Yeah, it’s THAT park! It was very hard (impossible) to book in the Shuttle Era, but now with private launches not quite so hard.

One other thing that was a bit of a surprise to me: they do not have an alcohol prohibition. Read the rules three times. First State or County park I’ve seen without such a rule. Not that I’m complaining, mind you! Just surprised me. In a good way.

Try Manatee Hammock Park if you’re anywhere in or near Florida’s Spacecoast. And tell me what you think. I will be booking again in the near future. There’s nowhere to go but up!

Sequestered safely inside now, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Fave Fotos – Pete the Pelican Makes a Star Appearance at Melbourne Beach Wednesday

Fave Fotos – Pete the Pelican Makes a Star Appearance at Melbourne Beach Wednesday

Had a very nice time at Long Point Camp down at the very southern tip of Brevard County. Great campground, I’ll be headed back that way before too long.

The only thing I did off the site was hang out for a while at one of the nearby beach access points. Got some photos I really like. This one is my fave. Pete was in rare form.

I may post a few others, but here’s one for you nature lovers.

I  hope your week is going well.

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

Hurricane Matthew: I’m Not Your BFF!

I’m doing what all Floridians are doing today: hunkering down in my apartment, waiting for Hurricane Matthew to pass.

I starting preparing a few weeks ago. I’ve always stashed batteries, candles and that sort of thing; I’ve got battery-powered lanterns aplenty, a good digital radio and something most folks here never get: battery-powered fans.

And food. I’ve got lots of canned food. And plenty of bread, buns and bagels, all of them whole grain. Butter, jams, cream cheese. Pre-cooked sausage, a fair amount of lunch meat and cheese and ten day’s worth of brown rice cooked and ready to eat. (I love my version of vegetable fried rice; believe it or not, it works quite well with brown rice.)

I’m certainly not going to starve! Did I forget to mention peanut butter? No pantry is complete without some!

We’ve lost power five times so far but got it back within four or five minutes. And even though I’m about as well-prepared as one can be, I am hoping we’ll dodge the bullet and not end up using all that battery-powered stuff we’ve stashed away! I guess we’ll see…

I lost power for three days when Charley came calling twelve years ago. Didn’t lose it with Frances or Jeanne. Whoa! Just lost it again! Okay, it’s back on now. That was for 30 seconds or so…

I think I better publish this post, as my laptop will be fine for a few hours if we lose the juice and don’t get it back, but I’d have no internet connection, of course! I’ll do that in just a moment.

If you’re here  in the Sunshine State, too, I hope you’re riding out this storm in fine style. If you’re in Brevard County or the other parts of our Peninsula where folks were told to evacuate, I know this sucks even worse for you and yours. Here in Orange County, we’re not doing too badly.

Stay safe! And remember, another calamity will strike the citizens of our fine state in about 72 hours from now: we’ll all have to show up at work on Monday morning! Yikes!

Battening down the hatches in Orlando, I am,

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

Bulldog Ben Really Loves the Beach

Bulldog Ben Really Loves the Beach

It’s so very true. I’m just not myself if I can’t see it, hear it and smell it at least once a month. Nothing promotes serenity quite like a trip to the beach.

I’ve got my fave spots on the Atlantic coast. Daytona Beach bills itself as “The World’s Most Famous Beach” and I think they can back it up. New Smyrna is a lovely destination, I’ve been there many, many times. The white sands of our Gulf Coast beaches are hard to beat; don’t get to them that often, but they’re among the very best the Sunshine State has to offer.

But for the last four years, Cocoa Beach in Brevard County has been my get-away spot. At some point in my beach-hopping I realized that I had been to Cocoa Beach enough times that I was beginning to know the town more in the way that a resident might as opposed to a casual visitor. And then it happened.

Something truly did change in that remote corner of the brain where one’s beach preferences are stored. For me it was Cocoa Beach. Cocoa Beach and no where else.

It’s entirely possibly that I’ll retire to Cocoa Beach one day in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, I often escape to serve–if only for a few hours–as one of Neptune’s loyal subjects. It’s a role I relish. And I don’t have to stay all day. Just long enough to get in my beach fix; a little sand in my shoes, a little beer in my belly. Life is good. Then, batteries fully charged, I head back to Orlando and dream of my next seaside excursion.

 

Photo credit: Benjamin Lawrence Basile