A January 2003 trip
to Florida by Irishdancer
Quote: Do you believe in pirates and buried treasure? Ever been to a Frog Leg Festival or seen endangered West Indian Manatee? Like to spend time walking along pristine, uncrowded beaches? The Treasure Coast of Florida has all this and more.
You'll be pleasantly surprised to find less densely populated towns, barrier-island beaches, wildlife refuges, and some of the largest swells for the best surfing in Florida.
MUST-SEES:Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival - the 12th annual festival held in mid-January for 4 days. It advertises itself as the "Home of the Guinness Book of World Records for Frog Leg Dinners".Grant Seafood Festival - This was their 37th annual 2-day outdoor celebration, held the third week of February, featuring all forms of fresh seafood a la carte as well as seafood dinners.Meg O'Malley's Restaurant and Irish Pub (reminiscent of the pubs in Galway and Dublin) - we attended the Third Annual St. Patrick's Day Street Party, held for 2 days. Saturday, March 15 was the street party with a great parade. Monday, March 17 (official St. Patrick's Day) started off with an Irishman's Breakfast Buffet followed by traditional Irish music and food - ALL DAY! (You'll notice they skipped a day in between so we could all rest up!) As you probably know, the Irish are official partiers.Pelican Island - We were fortunate to be in Sebastian to participate in the Pelican Island Centennial. It was a week-long celebration of President Theodore Roosevelt's creation of the nation's First Wildlife Refuge. We saw an exhibit of wild birds of prey, took a boat tour of Pelican Island and the spoil islands, and witnessed the release of a rehabilitated brown pelican.
Also, try U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Their site provides a listing of all national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries and specifics of each one. Invaluable for outdoor lovers.
AIR TRANSPORT: Palm Beach International Airport is your best bet economically, as it is served by most major airlines. Also, it's closer to the southern end of the Treasure Coast. Contact: Phone 561-471-7400 or go to Palm Beach International Airport. Closer to the northern end of the Treasure Coast is Melbourne International Airport. You don't get the best deals price-wise, as this airport is limited in terms of major carriers. Contact: Phone 407-723-6227 or go to Melbourne International Airport.
RAIL TRANSPORT:Amtrak travels to Florida's east coast cities and the northeast daily. Contact: Phone 800-872-7245 or go to Amtrak.
Upon arrival, driving is the best way to explore and see to see all the Treasure Coast has to offer. Utilize the A1A for your beach adventures and US l to go from town to town. ENJOY AND RELAX!
Restaurant | "MEG O'MALLEY'S RESTAURANT & IRISH PUB"
MEG O'MALLEY'S is located in historic downtown Melbourne amid trendy gift shops, boutiques, and antique shops. They've earned a reputation along The Treasure Coast and beyond for their excellent pub grub and traditional Irish music.
Directions: Take Exit 71 off I-95. Go east onto US 192(New Haven Ave.) to intersection w/East New Haven Ave. Go right onto East New Haven Ave. Meg O'Malley's is on your left. Parking is available along East New Haven Ave., directly behind the pub, or down the side streets. Allow extra time to find parking, especially on the weekends and when O'Malley's is having special music events.
WEBSITE: Go to MEG O'MALLEY'S PUB & RESTAURANT.
THE LAYOUT:Three entrances - two at the front and one from the back. You enter the front of the pub from East New Haven Ave. and are in the main room which houses the large, dark mahogany bar, several bar stools, tables, booths, a stage area, TVs, and road signs (see photo). There's another dining area to the right and bathrooms to the back of that room. If you enter from the rear, you walk thru a narrow hallway, past the kitchen door, and find a cozy table for eight or so in a corner.
MENU SUGGESTIONS & PRICES: "Lovely Beginnings" - Several of these appetizers, which range from $4.25 for O'Malley's Chips & Gravy (my favorite) to $6.25 for Ale Battered Onion Straws, can be very filling. You might want to wait to order from the "Main Plates" to see if you can finish your appetizer.MAIN PLATES- Many choices, but only one "must have" for steak lovers - Jameson Cracked Pepper Sirloin. Cost: $14.25 for 10 oz., very juicy charcoal grilled sirloin steak(any way you like) w/rich, thick cracked pepper gravy made with Jameson whiskey - it's heaven-like..."SANDWICHES" - Standard offerings priced from $6.50 to $7.25. KIDS MEALS - Similar to the pubs in Ireland,, O'Malley's encourages families to come and enjoy. For only $4.95 children 10 years and younger, have their choice of open-face turkey sandwich with gravy, grilled cheese, clam strips, or chicken tenders. Included in this low price is a choice of mashed or french fried potatoes, applesauce, beverage AND dessert. OTHER OFFERINGS - Interesting desserts, i.e., Irish Wake, which they claim will "knock you dead", is a double fudge cake served w/Bushmill's cream sauce w/whipped cream for only $4.25.
HIGHLIGHTS: ST. PATRICK'S DAY - We attended their 3rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Street Party on Sat., March 15th(see photos). Took the next day off to recuperate. Mon., March 17th, we drove back for the Irishman's Breakfast Buffet and enjoyed traditional Irish music, many choices of draft beers(Guinness,of course)and bottled beers, and more food all day long. IRISH PARLIAMENT BEAN SOUP - If you order nothing else at this pub, you must try this soup. The price is right - <<b>$.18! Enjoy a cup of thick homemade soup w/ beans, vegetables, and beef stock that will warm your innards!
NOTE: All major credit cards accepted.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 28, 2003
Meg O'Malley's Restaurant & Irish Pub
812 East New Haven Avenue
Melbourne, Florida 32901
Restaurant | "RJ'S PUB"
HISTORY:Prior to RJ's Pub, RJ had several years experience working in some of the best local establishments and elsewhere in different capacities, i.e., chef, business manager, beverage manager, etc. In October of 1992, RJ LaFlamme and Julie Burke purchased this "biker bar" and changed the name from Channel Marker 42. In just 23 days they accomplished a massive clean up and started making immediate improvements:
- Boat Dock for customers-Fans on screened in porch -High, comfortable bar stools-Raised platform for dancing on back lawn-Dart Board-TV's-Greatly expanded menu
THE LAYOUT:As you enter thru the front door on US l(see photo)one, you'll see a few tables, dart board, two-sided bar(one facing river and the other facing into the pub), and lots of bar stools. There are two, clean bathrooms(separate for Ladies and Men, not unisex) to the left of the inside bar, separated by RJ's colorful mascot(see photo) hanging on the wall. Next, you'll enter the screened in porch from which you can overlook the Indian River and access the outside porch. Several picnic tables are randomly scattered on the lawn below offering a pleasant seating option for warm nites and good music.
PARKING:It's not real plentiful in the front, back, or off the driveway to the side of the pub. However, additional parking is available across US l at a vacant Shell Gas Station. CAUTION:Cross carefully - this is a VERY BUSY, fast paced highway.
SAMPLE MENU:BREAKFAST - From Country Ham and Eggs for $4 to Steak and Eggs at $5.25. Both orders include home fries or grits and toast. Add coffee, tea, juice, or bottled water for $1.25. Also, 10 oz Mimosa for $2.25. LUNCH & DINNER- "Munchies" include Fried Mushrooms for $5.99 to Shrimp Jammers at $6.75."Time To Get Serious Sandwiches", i.e., Sausage Patti & Pepper Sandwich w/provolone cheese is $6.75(includes fries and cold, homeade salad of the day). This became my brother-in-law's favorite - accompanied with a pint of draft beer, of course!Salads- Range from House Salad w/fresh greens, tomato, and cuke for $2.75 to Caesar Salad w/Steak at $8.75.NOTE: Specials are offered daily for lunch/dinner. Our favorite is the Monday Nite Special, a bowl of Steamed Mussels for $3.99. It includes a few dozen mussels cooked in garlic and butter with diced tomatoes. Crusty bread is served on the side for dipping in the juice.
PUB DRINKS:Beer - Domestic $2, Imports $3, Pint Drafts $l.75(domestics), and $2(imports).Wine By The Glass - Between $3 and $3.25.
ENTERTAINMENT SCHEDULE:Mondays and Tuesdays, 4-8pm; Sundays, 3-7pm. Jeremy, one of the bartenders, sometimes joins the entertainers by playing a mean acoustic guitar.
CUSTOMERS- Include locals, bikers, boaters, "snowbirds", and even Brides & Grooms. One Saturday afternoon a newly married couple, dressed in gown and tuxedo, came in with their parents to have a beer before proceeding on to the reception. !
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 25, 2003
R J's Pub
6097 U.S. Highway One
Attraction | "THE ELLIOTT MUSEUM"
As our friend drove into the uncrowded parking lot of this lovely pink-and-white museum, our eyes immediately focused on an antique green car with the sign "Elliott Museum." A perfect photo op not to be missed (see photo).
HOURS: Open daily 10am-4pm. Closed for all major holidays.
EMAIL ADDRESS: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WEBSITE: Elliott Museum.
SAMPLE OF UPCOMING EVENTS AT THE MUSEUM: October thru November 2003 - "The Highwayman": Florida's African-American Traveling Artists in collaboration with the Treasure Coast Minority Arts Alliance.November 28, 2003 thru March 8, 2004 - "Holiday Gallery" and the "Woodblock Art" of children's literature illustrator, Mary Azarian.
HISTORY: This museum was built in 1960 by Harmon P. Elliott, a winter resident of Stuart. He built it to honor his father, Sterling Elliott, a successful turn-of-the-century inventor. Currently, it pays tribute to both father and son with seemingly limitless displays of vintage automobiles, collectibles, and American antiques.
Also housed in this museum is The Historical Society of Martin County. If you're a history buff, be aware that this museum is partnered with Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is located just 1.5 miles from the Elliott Museum, 301 SE MacArthur Blvd., Hutchinson Island.
HIGHLIGHTS:-"The Quilt Room" contains many unusual yet exquisite quilts made by locals. The "fireman" quilt was made by a mother for her son, who was a volunteer fireman. My favorite is the "sailfish" quilt (see photo), which is displayed as a wall-hanging. "Marie's Quilt Shop" is a miniaturized depiction of an authentic quilt shop created by Walter Raisch for his wife, Marie."The Barber Shop" has a real, old-fashioned barber pole as well as its history. Did you know that "the red and white colors on a barber pole symbolize blood and bandages"? "The Dress Salon" - Period furniture and clothing bring the early 20th century into focus. The lifelike female statues dressed in shimmery "flapper" dresses, flaunting their cigarette holders, depict the "naughty girls" of the Roaring '20s (see photo). Can't you just see them dancing that wicked dance, the "Charleston"?"Automobile Gallery" - This is the last area you will view. This museum advertises that they house "the most exotic car collection in Florida and perhaps the United States." We saw antique cars that ranged from a 1903 Cadillac to a 1909 Hupmobile. Also, they have antique motorcycles, i.e., 1911 and 1915 Harley-Davidsons. What really made this gallery so special, however, was our guide. He was a delightful 92-year-old gentleman who knew about every car displayed. He had, in fact, driven several of the vehicles when they were NEW!
NOTE: If you're a true museum lover and want to see lots more of them while in Florida, just log onto Florida Association of Museums.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on September 26, 2003
825 NE Ocean Blvd
Stuart, Florida 34996
DIRECTI0NS: From I-95, take exit 156. Go l mile west of I-95 on County Road 512 to Fellsmere.WEBSITE:www.froglegfestival.comHISTORY: Twelve years ago, the first Frog Leg Festival was held outdoors, and it sold out with 400 frog-leg dinners. In the next couple of years, it was moved to the Fellsmere school basement, but it just kept on growing. This year, for the first time, it was held at the Mesa Park grounds to accomodate thousands of attendees. FESTIVAL FACTS: - all work done by volunteers and local organizations - 80,000 pairs of frog legs were sold this year - most of the frog legs are imported (droughts have greatly reduced the number of locally harvested frogs)- cooked frog meat is a tasty cross between fish and chicken- this festival made it into the Guinness World Book of Records as: Largest Frog Leg Festival Selling The Most Frog Legs Within the Space of One Working DayUNIQUE HIGHLIGHTS: - "Joe Public Bike Contest" for motorcycle lovers. A $10 entry fee qualifies you to compete in categories such as: "Best or Worst," "Best Hog in the Yard," or "Best Rice Rocket" (anybody know what this last one means?).There are NO JUDGES. Anyone who pays $1/vote can vote as many times as they want!- "Hot Legs Contest". Just pay $5 and line up to compete for three money prizes of $150, $50, or $35.- "Stage Jam" is open to anyone who brings a musical instrument and wants to jam onstage. All ages and types of music welcomed.MEMORABLE MOMENTS: - Observing and photographing "Skunk Man" (see photo). By the way, the skunk he’s holding is live.- Sampling frog legs and hush puppies, plus many other forms of less healthy "fair food."- Enjoying dance routines by a local swing-dance troupe.- Unusual crafts produced and displayed by crafters from several states.- Dancing to band music all day long (in between eating, of course).SUGGESTION: If you’re going to be in or near the Treasure Coast next January, access their website and experience The Frog Leg Festival for yourself!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 25, 2003
Fellsmere Frog Leg Festival
12198 County Road 512
New York, United States