Kent and I had planned on staying at Cabbage Key on our way to Fort Myers but didn’t so we went back to visit it with Paul & Linda. One small detail, you can’t get to Cabbage Key by car only by boat. We took Tom Thumb water taxi from Pine Island Marina. The captain and owner of the boat is Tom LoGuidice.
We got a nice 12 minute boat ride each way. Had an excellent lunch and walked around the beautiful island. The day was warm and sunny a good day for a boat ride.
Here is Captain Kent relaxing and letting somebody else worry about navigating.
Here is some history about Cabbage Key. In 1936 Alan Rinehart & Gratia Houghton Rinehart purchased the island for their winter estate on what is now known as Cabbage Key for $2,500. The couple and Alan’s mother (mystery writer) Mary Roberts Rinehart invested over $125,000 on the amenities which still exist today. The main focal point is the Cabbage Key Inn & restaurant, which sets high on a Calusa Indian mound.
The restaurant has a collection of famed dollar bills taped to the ceiling and walls. A server reported there are over 70,000 dollar bills on the walls, with written names, sayings and graffiti.
The tradition started years ago when a commune racial fisherman, flush with cash taped a few bills to the wall ensuring he would have enough money to return for more libations. Famous celebrities are reported to have tacked their dollars such as John F. Kennedy, Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Carter, and others.
Cabbage Key is a laid back paradise Jimmy Buffet made famous when he met the perfect cheeseburger, a piano and a cold beer after a day of awesome fishing. Cabbage Key is an “old Florida” island where the inspired Jimmy Buffet reported to have written the famed song “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”
Spotted along the harbor are old white wooden cottages and a few private homes. There are five different cottages that you can rent. Each one has a name, different style, and price. The one on the left is called Harbor view and the right is Snook. Old House & Cottages were first opened to the public in 1944 when Larry and Jan Stults owned the island. Then in 1969 Jimmy Turner purchased the island as a wedding present for his wife Terry. In 1976 the island was sold to Rob & Phyllis Wells. For almost 40 years, the Wells family has maintained and preserved the “Old Florida” charm, historic structures while protecting the natural tropical surroundings.
Cabbage Key got its name because of the abundance of cabbage palms. Royal Poinciana trees and lovely palms dot the landscape.
Historic Cabbage Key wooden water tower is the last standing original water tower in the area. Years ago many neighboring islands had water towers some were steel and others were wood. This was the only water tower that was not destroyed by hurricanes. The wooden water tower was damaged by hurricane Charley in 2004. The water tower was built-in 1930 and it’s 60 feet high and holds 6,000 gallons of water. There are 41 stairs to the top, where you get the most beautiful view.
It was worth walking up the stairs for this great view.
The Gopher Tortoise is a species of the Gopherus genus native to the southeastern United States. The gopher tortoise is seen as a keystone species because of their ability to dig large deep burrows that provide shelter for at least 360 other animal species. They have shovel-like front legs that help them dig and their back legs are strong and sturdy. The Gopher Tortoise spend most of their time in long burrows up to 48 feet long and 9 feet deep. When they are in their burrows they are protected from summer heat, winter cold, fire, and predators. Except during breeding season gopher tortoises are solitary animal, inhabiting a small home range. Females lay their eggs 3-14 of them in the open on a sandy mound very close to the entrance of their burrow. They are then incubate underground for up to 100 days. The Gopher tortoise can live more than 40 years and reach maturity in 13 yrs. They weigh about 9 lbs. They are threatened by habitat destruction.
They hiss when you get to close and Kent found that out. There are so many that you have to be careful when walking on the island paths.
On our way back from Pine Island you need to drive past this very beachy looking town. We stopped and Linda and I checked out a few of the shops. They had some really nice jewelry and clothes.