Cabbage Key in Florida
Imagine landing boats on the island pier only twice a day and unloading a handful of passengers spending a few hours on the island - that's like the rush hour between 11.00 and 14.00. Before and after, it is quiet on Cabbage Key, a small island in the Gulf of Mexico west of Cape Coral and north of Sanibel Island. Cabbage Key is one of the barrier islands on the west coast of Florida and can only be reached by boat. Nevertheless, people live here all year round, albeit few.
From the Florida of the super-rich in Fort Lauderdale, the young and beautiful in Miami and the clam collector on Sanibel Island we are far away. Whoever comes here, seeks the silence and the closeness to nature. And there are plenty of them on this little island. There is no supermarket, no roads and very few houses on the island. We are aboard the Lady Chadwick We drove here from Captiva Island, a small excursion boat heading to the island daily.
We leisurely chug through the island world north of Sanibel Island, accompanied by a group of dolphins, who take pleasure in riding on the bow waves of our boat. This seems to be a daily treat for the animals as the boat barely takes off and picks up speed, popping up next to us. Fueled by the calls of the passengers, they jump out of the water in pairs, three or even four, and seem to watch us as we do. In general, the wildlife on this boat trip is not shy: we see pelicans dipping like arrows in the water hunting for fish. A cormorant is stretching its plumage to let it dry in the sun and warm wind, and an osprey is slowly circling over our heads.
After a good hour we dock on Cabbage Key, where few people leave with us. Great is not the range of activities we can do here - a path leads from the jetty up to the main house, which boasts some celebrities. It was built in the 1930 years by Mary Roberts Rhinehart, a successful American writer and journalist. She wrote numerous crime novels and was one of the highest-paid authors of her time.
Today the Cabbage Key Inn and Restaurant, which offers the “best cheeseburgers on the island” - ie the only ones - is located in their house. Here Jimmy Buffet is also said to have received the suggestion for his hit song "Cheeseburger in Paradise". However, we don't go to the restaurant either for the food (although we treat ourselves to it) or for the Jimmy Buffet. We want to see the 70000 dollar bills that guests have left here over the years. Indeed, the restaurant is more reminiscent of a stalactite cave than an inn. Everywhere, from the ceiling, on the walls, over the windows, on the columns hang and stick dollar bills. This tradition started with a fisherman who wanted to ensure that his cheeseburger was served again the next time he visited. He was followed by numerous imitators, including famous ones such as Buffet or Julia Roberts, John F. Kennedy, Jr., Kevin Costner or the family of George W. Bush. We were able to locate Jimmy Buffet's dollar bill among the tens of thousands that paper the walls here.
Well-fortified after our cheeseburger, we set out to explore the island. A duck family gets their lunch from a tin trough in front of the restaurant. Just behind the inn is a lookout tower that provides a good overview of the island and its surroundings. The island itself is densely overgrown with the original vegetation of Florida: cypress trees, whose branches cling to bromeliads, palms and palmettos and the Spanish moss, which gives the dense vegetation an unreal look. On sandy paths we descend from the highest point of the island: a clump of Calusa Indians who once lived here. This is also one of the highest places in Florida - just a few meters above sea level. The further we get away from the main house, the quieter it gets. Here we only hear the whirring of insects and the scream of the osprey above our heads - pure nature.
But time flies and we have to get back to the jetty so as not to miss our ship. Once again dolphins accompany us on our way back Captiva Island, almost as if they were waiting for us. A trip to Cabbage Key is a detour to another world, away from the hustle and bustle of modern technology into a time when the clocks were running even slower.
Captiva Island, Florida 33924
(239) 472-6405 FAX
Accommodation on Sanibel Island * You can book here.
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Source: own site research courtesy of The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. Our opinion remains our own.
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline