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Along the Space Coast

Old Feb 16th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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Along the Space Coast

This is a brief trip report from some days along the Florida Space Coast visiting our daughter just north of Melbourne. Allegiant Air has bargain fares from various secondary cities to vacation spots like Vegas and Orlando. And we went with a car rental package. Stayed in a bargain motel not worth mentioning...but contact me if you want more. Since we didn't want to spend any time in that stuffy motel room or our daughter's cramped apartment we did travel around seeing the area. This part of Florida features sandy beaches and surfing which we didn't do.

Top spot to see was the Kennedy Space Center Complex which has a bus tour around the facility. This includes the huge building where they assemble the rockets and capsules. We could see the rocket ready for launch which did blast off later in the week. There are stops along the way telling the story of the moon launch and landings and the space station. Remarkable technology getting to the moon and that was 40 years ago! People in the area are worried about future programs being suspended. We also had a good talk by astronaunt Worden who piloted one of the moon landing crafts. And we had an Imax show of the moon explorations but didn't have time for some of the other things to do. Dinner that night at Thai Fuji.

One day we drove around the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge where you can see lots of birds in the marshes and lakes along the road. Our daughter is something of an expert birder and familiar with places where you see birds. Near their home is a good bird sanctuary used by the town of Viera for waste treatment which we have seen before.
Also she is a volunteer in the bird sanctuary at the Brevard County Zoo and that is worth a visit. Speaking French (husband Quebecois) she is hoping to serve as a birding guide for Florida visitors. Though a recent transplant from Massachusetts she surely knows the area. On Merritt Island you could see the space launch in the distance. Real treat was eating rock shrimp, a speciality at Dixie Crossroads in Titusville.

Several times we walked around Cocoa Village which is the old quaint downtown with shops and eateries. So we wandered in and out of antique and gifts shops and dined at The Vault, a former bank, and Oleander Bakery, also snack at Amish Bakery and ice cream at Ossorie. On Friday noon was the jazz trio in the pavilion. It was a bit cool without a jacket and Florida isn't warm and sunny everyday in February. But what a contrast to blustery snow that week back home in Missouri or worse blizzards where some of you live.

In that Cocoa area is the Brevard County Natural History museum....nothing special but something to do and trails to walk. We did trace some history of the area...such as cattle raising, so e.g.,the term "cracker" comes from the whip cracking. Early settlers had to put up with mucho mosquitoes and crocodiles. It wasn't a vacation destination till well into the 20th century. Also one evening we were back in Cocoa for a show at the Planetarium at Brevard College.

more later

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Old Feb 16th, 2010, 01:05 PM
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What did you think of the Vault? Did you feed the giraffes at the zoo?
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Old Feb 16th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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Well, The Vault is more of a lounge but has OK lunch.
To continue...let me back up with a few websites... www.kennedyspacecenter.com has info for visitors.
www.spacecoastbirding.com for the birding
www.fws.gov/merrittisland for the refuge
www.spacecoasteco.com for eco sights
www.brevardzoo.org (you can kiss a giraffe!)

One day we drove south near Vero Beach to the Barrier Island Sanctuary with a little museum, walks along the seashore, and learned of an emphasis on saving the endangered sea turtles. It is south on A1A at Floridana Beach. One thing noticed...how many properties for sale or rent all along A1A coastal road. Lunch recommended at Conch Key Grille in Rockledge. We had the specials...clam chowder with a special recipe and conch fritters. www.barrierislandcenter.com

Also headed south of Melbourne another day we went to the art museum at Vero Beach. Not much there I thought. En route an interesting detour to Fellsmore, kind of a frontier town, to eat at Marsh Landing Restaurant. Good place. This building was once a company land office among other things. Across the street is a church destroyed by a storm in 1955 now called F.R.O.G. a non-denominational church: Fully Rely On God.

We went to Hope UCC church in Rockledge on Fiske Blvd. down from our motel and enjoyed good food several times at nearby Domenicos. And there is culture in the area...a concert by the Brevard Symphony Orchestra in Melbourne. What else did we don? TV and DVDs of course.

I would recommend from a previous visit the Holiday Inn-Viera Conference Center on Wickham Rd. although no breakfast.

Well, we didn't go to Disney World but lots of people do. Some with kids love it despite the cost and some don't We just did things along the Space Coast with family. We'll go again during Winter no doubt.

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Old Feb 20th, 2010, 04:11 PM
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Just to add a note about the most delicious strawberries ever. Along U.S. 1 headed north we stopped at a roadside stand and got some big red strawberries which came from Plant City. I do see they have a festival with Roy Clark performing March 1. Wish we could go. Anything else to note?
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Old Feb 21st, 2010, 07:02 AM
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Fellsmere has a Frog Leg Festival in January every year; if you're ever around then, don't miss that. It's a taste ( ) of old Florida.
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Old Feb 21st, 2010, 08:12 AM
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It sounds like you got to do some interesting things Bill. Oh, and Plant City strawberries--the best! Someone on these boards once suggested I stop in Plant City on the way from Orlando to Tampa for strawberry shortcake there--I did, and it was so good!

Thanks for sharing the visit information.
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