Cocoa Village and Cocoa Beach

When we left our anchorage we didn’t realize how rough it was out in the larger open bays.  I was glad we only had 15 miles to navigate to Cocoa City Marina.  I made sure all the windows were shut as water was splashing up on the boat.

Yes the boat got a bath after we were docked.  I should know not to where black pants when traveling in the ocean.  The marina we are staying at is very nice, clean, and friendly.  We are only a block to down town historical Cocoa Village.

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This is the lounge open to all boaters until closing each day.  We are staying for three-day and have rented a car (but they gave us a truck) so we can travel to the Kennedy space center, Cocoa Beach, and Cape Canaveral.

Cocoa was founded by fisherman with the first arriving around 1860 and was called Indian River City.  The name was changed to Cocoa  in 1884 and was forwarded to Washington DC where it was approved.  Hidden in the midst of hundred year old majestic oak trees is a riverfront community dating back to the 1860. In 1885 Colonel S. F. Travis had a sailboat going up and down the river delivering items and taking orders. In 1892 Travis purchased an existing store and used it as a warehouse.  The business grew into a retail store it even had a gas station at one time.  Travis still ran a barge up and down the river delivering parts until 1955.  They were the number one suppliers for the space center and still are for contractors.

The old-fashioned standards of customer service are still in place and you will not find a computer everything is still done by hand.  The store is clean and in perfect order and the people who work there know where everything is.  There are seven different levels or areas. I don’t think there is anything you want they don’t have. These are just some of the pictures I took.  They even had new wagon wheels hanging up.

This is the Historic Derby Street Chapel built between 1916 and 1920 as a Seventh-day Adventist church was sold 1955 to First church of Christ and then sold in 1964 to first Baptist.  Cocoa main street now has a 25 year lease, renovated the building and is now a venue for wedding, memorials and small events.

Cocoa Village Playhouse established as the “Aladdin” theater open its doors to the public on August 18th, 1924 showing silent movies.  Later Brevard’s first “talkie” movie house became known as “the showplace of the Indian River.  In 1984 Brevard Community College trustees acquired the building for a $1.  Through donations the playhouse was restored operational and began producing community based musicals in 1989 featuring local volunteer performers.  In 1991 was named The Historic Cocoa Village Playhouse. I really wanted to see a performance but once again I was unable to. The picture doesn’t capture the beauty of the building.  I so wanted to go inside I just love old theaters.

The Blair building was originally an alleyway between two buildings neither of which are still standing. The alley was covered around 1910 and soon became an art store, gifts shop owned and operated by Luke Blair.  This was a quaint area with outdoor restaurant seating, waterfall, and many small stores.  I could see Anita and Patrick having lunch in this court-yard.

Sur le Parc Building is the oldest commercial wooden structure in Historic Cocoa village which means on the park in french.  It was built-in 1880 by dressmaker Julie Roberts who is known to have been a very good businesswoman.

Pettee House/Parrish Grove Inn was built-in 1891 and took over a year to be completed because of the ornate wood work and indoor plumbing .  The Pettee family from New York were the first owners and then sold the home to John Derby in 1920.  The original location for this historic home was on Rockledge Drive a half mile to the south of Cocoa, but it was moved from there to its present location in 2002 by barge.  It changed hands many time and saved from destruction and the home is now Parrish Grove Inn, a thriving bed and breakfast with a wine bar.

Edward Porcher came to this area as a young man in the late 1800s from his home in South Carolina.  Construction on the Porcher home started in 1914 following Mrs. Porchers’s design and was completed in 1916.  Her love of the card game Bridge prompted her to have stones cut to represent the suits of cards and placed in the front of the house.  The Porcher house is an excellent example of 20th century classical revival architecture. The house was originally built with ten bedrooms, four and one half bathrooms, and made from native coquina rock. The porter family lived in the home until after World War II. The city obtained the home from the family in the early 1950 and became city hall, then a hotel, and then a home for boys.  The house was vacant from 1980 1988.  The house was restored and is now available for rent for special occasions.

IMG_6265The Masonic Temple also known as the Village Tower is a three-story brick building which began construction in 1919. There was also a large three faced clock located at the front of the building. This building also was rumored to have housed a very popular speakeasy during he days of prohibition.  This is not the original clock but they have one near the building.

There is so much history, small shops, up scale restaurants, and then you have the beautiful river front view in Cocoa Village.  I have spent hours just walking around visiting all the historic sites I can walk to and taking pictures.

Kent and I stopped at Ryan’s for a beer on the roof top and to take in the great view of the Indian River. The weather has not been the warmest so a jacket was need on the roof top.

That evening we were invited to join some loopers Evelyn, Clark, Joan, and Mark at Ryan’s and have their famous pizza.  The pizza was very good and George was our server was very funny.  I think he really likes his job.

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Wednesday we drove across the bridge to Cocoa Beach a historic landmark on Florida’s space coast.  The world-famous Cocoa Beach pier stretches 800 feet over the Atlantic ocean and is home to restaurants, bars, gift shops and live musical entertainment.  Cocoa’s reputation as a residential community garnished further fame by becoming the setting for the sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie”.  Cocoa Beach is known as the surfing capital of Florida.

Cocoa beach pier offers fishing equipment nice colored chairs to relax in while fishing.   You can tell that Mr. Pelican is use to having his picture take he poised so nice for me.

The beach was not very crowded due to the cool weather and wind. There were some brave souls in the water and sunbathing on the each.  We had lunch at Pelican’s Bar & Grill but we ate inside due to the wind.

Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral is a captivating architectural land mark that provides visitors with seven floors of exhibit and interactive activities.  There is access to the indoor and outdoor observation decks along with a recreation theater, gift shop and much more.

Cape Canaveral lighthouse witnessed the launch of the capes first rocket Bumper 8 in 1950.  This is the second lighthouse built, the first was in 1847 and was a sixty-five foot brick tower. The light house was built to warn mariners of shoals that extended for twelve miles off the cape. The original brick lighthouse was blown up and used as fill material at the new site.

Cape Canaveral lighthouse was automated in 1967 and later that year its keepers dwellings were demolished .  In 1993 the first order Fresnel lens was removed from the tower. The lighthouse became property of the U.S. Air force in 2000.  Public access to the lighthouse was halted in 2013 due to heightened security and in January 2016 it was reopened to the public on weekends. I really wanted to see the Cape Canaveral lighthouse, however its only available on weekends and we will not be here.

Thursday morning at 2 a.m. Kennedy Space Center launched the Space X Falcon 9, Echo Star 23 communication Satellite off pad #39A.  This pad hosted most of Apollo moon mission liftoff and space shuttle launches.  Echo Star 23 will provide direct-to-home television service to Brazil.  The satellite is designed to operate for at least 15 years.   Kent and I watched the launch off the back of our boat.  I know staying up until 2 in the morning is crazy but it was so worth it.  Seeing the bright rocket exhaust and hearing the sonic noise when it was launched, was something we will always remember.

Thursday morning with out much sleep, Kent and I went to Kennedy Space Center for a full day of NASA Space history and future.   Kennedy Space Center visitor complex is the place where we celebrate where humankind first left earth to explore the heavens.

IMG_6349The John F. Kennedy Space Center is one of ten National Aeronautics and Space Administration field Centers.  President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 goal of a manned lunar landing before 1970 required an expansion of launch operations.  Since December 1968 Kennedy Space Center has been NASA primary launch center of human spaceflight.

We took the Kennedy space center bus tour and got a glimpse of the entire working space flight center. We saw the pad that the Space X, Falcon 9 was launched from this morning.  The bus driver told us there was a three-mile minimum safe distance for a Saturn 5 launch, the ones used to go to the moon.  If you were to close the sound waves would be so loud it would stop your heart and mush your brain.  In other words death.

IMG_6307We toured the Apollo/Saturn V Center and drove by the Vehicle Assembly Building.  From 1967 through 1973 there were 13 Saturn V launches, including the ten remaining Apollo missions after Apollo 7.  At the Apollo center we got to touch a moon rock, watch a video lift off of Apollo 8, and stand beneath the largest rocket ever flown.

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Heroes and legends celebrates the brave men and women of Americans fledgling space programs.  We experience the dawn of the space age with astronaut pioneers through a mix of 4D I max theater and actual artifacts including a Red stone rocket suspended overhead. We relived the stories of NASA pioneering astronauts and discover why they chose to launch into the great unknown.  Their stories are very powering while serving as a compelling prologue to the space center.

We walked among the giants in the Rocket Garden and appreciate the technology that taught us how to defy gravity. IMG_6304We walked through the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and learned more about the nearly 100 astronaut inductees.

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Space Shuttle Atlantis is a Space Shuttle orbiter is the fourth operational and second to last space shuttle built. It lifted off on its maiden voyage on October 3, 1985 on mission STS-5d1-J. Atlantis is a space shuttle launched like a rocket and landed like a glider while transporting astronauts to space and back for thirty years.  The space shuttle Atlantis landed for the final time at the Kennedy Space center on July 21, 2011.  By the end of its final mission it had orbited the earth 4,848 times and traveling nearly 126,000,000 miles or more than 525 times the distance from earth to the moon.

I am so glad we had the opportunity to tour the Kennedy Space Center.  The information was powerful and moving.

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