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My Summer Vacation 2021 Road-Trip

It’s Part 4 of my multi-part Thursday blog series on my recent 77-hour / (4-day / 3-night) / 472-mile road-trip spanning Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, and Okeechobee Counties (in that order). It was my first extended visit ever along Florida’s Treasure Coast. While there I was always within about 5 miles of the Atlantic Ocean and the adjacent Indian River.

4 Thursdays ago was my 2ND full day exploring the treasure of Florida’s Treasure Coast. I awoke in my hotel room near downtown Vero Beach, and I drove over to First Watch for Breakfast. I could’ve walked over, but the skies were threatening with showers, so I played it safe. Over at First Watch they have an item known as the Floridian French Toast. Think French Toast topped with powdered cinnamon sugar and lots of fresh fruit – banana, kiwi, and strawberries. It’s amazing.

Time to work-off those calories. I visited Round Island Riverside Park – an Indian River County park off Florida’s State Road A1A (on the barrier island). It’s a fairly large park (83 acres) along the Indian River / St. Lucie County line, and I explored a small part of it via its nature trails, boardwalk, and observation tower. I would’ve explored more of it, but the mosquitoes were biting, and showers were in the area. This looks like a fun park to explore in the wintertime during a colder day when the mosquitoes are hibernating.

My next stop was the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum near Fort Pierce. I was their first customer at 10 AM, and I spent a full 2 hours there. Admission was $12 for veterans (surprisingly not free for a military museum). There’s plenty to see and do both inside and outside, and you can easily – especially if you have older kids (teens) – spend a half-day there. As for me I took a lot of photos (40) – nearly all of them outside. The parking lot of the museum is also the parking lot for the adjacent public beach, so families could spend a half-day there as well. That sounds like a full day’s worth of fun via a single parking space. (I didn’t visit that particular beach.)

So that’s my Thursday morning. It’s just past high noon now, and I’m checking-in at the Heathcote Botanical Gardens in Fort Pierce (inland) off U.S. 1. Admission was free as a veteran. I spent about an hour there. It’s a small park (5 acres), and there’s some interesting things to see. I actually wrote a short 5-star review for it on TripAdvisor, so you can look for it on there. (TripAdvisor is another social media site that I’ve been on continuously for a long time – over 9 years. I’ve posted 76 reviews on the site.)

My next stop was the hard-to-find St. Lucie County Regional History Center. (It’s their county museum.) It’s been there for over 50 years, and it looks it. Nevertheless looks can be deceiving from the parking lot.

This place was rather extensive – both inside and outside. It’s part guided tour and part self-guided. This place greatly exceeded my expectations for it. I had a nice 80-year-old man – a fellow veteran who was once stationed (some 60 years ago) at Homestead AFB (where I work today) – guide me at the start of my tour. He was very knowledgeable with local history. He checked-up on me a couple of times during my self-guided tour. He’s a volunteer for the county’s historical society. Once I’m retired and relocated in a few years I’ll very likely do something very similar – that is – volunteer as a museum docent for the local historical society. I think it’s my calling (past and future). Several years ago I volunteered as a museum docent for two full winter seasons inside Everglades National Park. I really enjoyed that unique experience.

Well it’s time for an early-dinner now in Fort Pierce. (Remember this was 4 weeks ago.) When I continue this road-trip recap with Part 5 next Thursday we’ll visit the beach. In fact we’ll visit 2 beaches – 14 miles apart. Looks like there will be a Part 6 on the following Thursday after next, so brace yourself for more fun !

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