Everglades from the west side

Nov 6th, 2008, 09:57 AM
  #1  
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Everglades from the west side

We are going to Ft. Myers for a concert next Friday and spending the night. The next day we want to go to Clyde Butcher's studio and hopefully see a bit of Big Cypress Swamp/Everglades before heading back up to Bradenton late that afternoon. I know about the two scenic drives in Big Cypress and wondered if people had a favorite. Also, would we be close enough to anything a little farther east that would be fun/interesting? We will have our teenage boys with us, so anything out of the car and walking around would be nice - it's going to be a long day.
bellhouse is offline  
Nov 6th, 2008, 10:05 AM
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Butcher's gallery is a treat if you enjoy black-white photography.

You're not too far from Shark Valley, which would be good for the boys. You can even rent bikes there and cycle around the loop, I think it's around 17 miles or something like that ... burn off some teenage energy.

Bill
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Nov 6th, 2008, 05:37 PM
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You're right about it being a long day, especially with the drive back to Bradenton the same day.

I'm unsure what your scenic drives are in Big Cypress.

I'd strongly advise going to Corkscrew Sanctuary out Immokalee Road to do the boardwalk in the preserve, then head down SR. 29 to get to 41 way out to the east of Naples and on to Clyde Butcher's.
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Nov 7th, 2008, 05:56 AM
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There is one scenic drive in the Big Cypress. We drove it frequently when we lived in South Florida. Its off US41 and one end is at Monroe Station and the other Forty Mile Bend near the Miccosukee Reservation and the Shark Valley unit of the Everglades NP. Its road #94, Loop Road and is about 17 miles long. It runs thru the back woods areas of the BC. The road is unimproved, at least it was the last time I drove it several years ago. It will require some driving skill, a high clearance vehicle or an suv is also a plus. You may want to inquire at the BC Monroe Station Visitors Center on the Tamiami Trail (US41) prior to driving the road.... Your chances of seeing dear, Otters and various water birds are good. We even got lucky once and saw a Florida Panther.
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Nov 8th, 2008, 06:09 AM
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Thanks all. The scenic roads I was referring to, which I got from the NPS site, are Loop and Turner roads. It sounds like Loop road might not be for us - we'll be in either a minivan or a Camry. We will check though, once we're there. Corkscrew Swamp and Shark Valley both sound like what we're looking for - I appreciate the suggestions. I'm especially excited about Butcher's gallery. We have some of his work at my family's business headquarters and I had always admired it - it made me think of a Florida Ansel Adams. Not long ago I went to a meeting at a neighbor's house and it was full of Butcher's work - that was when I found out who the photographer was and that he had a gallery near the Everglades. Since we were going to Ft. Myers for a concert, I thought it was a perfect time to keep going south and visit the gallery. My older two sons are both taking photography courses at school and I know they will enjoy it.
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Nov 8th, 2008, 06:21 AM
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Clyde also has (or a least had) a gallery in Venice, in case that's on your way down to Ft. Myers. But I liked the one at BC better ... gators sunning in the parking lot create a better ambiance for Clyde's images

At Shark Valley you can put the boys on bikes to do the loop road while you take the tram around the same loop (opposite directions), takes about the same amount of time riding or biking.

I've driven both of the loops you mention and didn't really see anything extra (we were mainly photographing birds on our visits). We saw the most wildlife at SV, especially early. Corkscrew is also nice early (we saw a black bear on the walkway one morning when we were the first people in), but it felt crowded mid-day (you are limited to walking on the boardwalk) and you won't see as many birds etc.
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Nov 9th, 2008, 10:07 AM
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I think we will plan to get up early (I already hear the boys' groans!) and do Corkscrew on the way south, as NeoPatrick suggested, and then do the gallery and bike/tram trip (good idea - guess it will depend on how energetic I feel). The neighbor with all the photographs told me about the Venice location, but suggested Big Cypress if we were down in that area - he liked it better also. There really were gators in the parking lot!?!
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Nov 9th, 2008, 04:21 PM
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There really were gators in the parking lot!?!

If you are lucky ... here's a photo of the Big Cypress gallery ... http://www.clydebutcher.com/clyde-butcher-galleries.cfm ... the parking lot is the white stuff, there are gators living in the water and last time we visited some up to about 6 ft were sunning on the green strip of grass right beside parked cars
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Nov 10th, 2008, 09:46 AM
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That would be fun. We kept hoping to see a bear in Yosemite last summer and never did - maybe a gator that close would make up for it.
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Nov 10th, 2008, 10:00 AM
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Don't get to friendly with the gators. They may look like a log with legs but they can run fast for the first couple hundred feet.
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Nov 11th, 2008, 04:47 AM
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No problem. I grew up on a creek with a couple resident gators. Mom had the county relocate the one that liked to sun on the bank near our house once I was old enough to go outside by myself, but the one farther down the creek stayed and we knew to watch out for it.
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Nov 11th, 2008, 12:45 PM
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We have one, that I know of, in the canal out back of the house as well... We were in the Everglades NP several years and there were a couple of guys jumping over one that was sunning on a board walk. They were taking pictures and having a good old time....
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Nov 11th, 2008, 01:11 PM
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'We were in the Everglades NP several years and there were a couple of guys jumping over one that was sunning on a board walk. They were taking pictures and having a good old time."

Are those the guys that now go by the names of Hopalong and Lefty? Or do they just call them "hey, Stupid"?
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Nov 12th, 2008, 05:04 AM
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You just wonder about people.....We went out to Myakka State Park last weekend and people in canoes were paddling up to gators - not all the way, but close enough. I would have been headed in the other direction.
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Nov 25th, 2008, 06:02 PM
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Just wanted to help you all for your help. Unfortunately, our middle son came down with the current bug the day before the trip - so he and I stayed home. However, DH and other two boys had a great time. They all really liked Corkscrew Swamp - lots of wildlife and beautiful scenery. I didn't know about it until I read NeoPatrick's post - so thanks very much. Butcher's gallery held up their very high expectations - I'm so envious! That was as far east as they got - they got a later start than they counted on and spent more time at Corkscrew than they thought they would. However, we can hit that another time. Middle son is now well, and needs one more cultural/art event for his humanities class, so we're thinking about driving to Venice to see Butcher's studio there - at least it will keep us away from turkey and other leftovers for a few hours! Happy Thanksgiving!
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Feb 17th, 2010, 04:38 PM
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I'm resurrecting this post - DH and youngest son are taking off on a boys-only spring break trip in a couple of weeks, the middle son will be at college, so the oldest and I are going to do a March weekend trip to Corkscrew Swamp, maybe Clyde Butcher's studio, and as far down as Shark Valley. I'm thinking of spending Saturday night in Everglades City - any suggestions where? Also what about a place to eat? I need a place with seafood (me) and non-seafood (son) - hopefully a fish house type of place.
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Feb 17th, 2010, 06:06 PM
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More fun for dinner would be Stan's or the Little Bar both in nearby Goodland instead of Everglades City.

I haven't been down to Everglades City in a while and not sure where there is to eat these days. The general opinion is that the famous old Rod and Gun Club has gotten pretty bad and terribly overpriced.
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Feb 20th, 2010, 04:57 PM
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Definitely not the Rod and Gun - this is a fairly low-budget trip, or at least I hope so. Goodland is about 1/2 an hour away, right? Both places sound fun, but with all the driving we're going to be doing, I might take fun picnic goodies and a bottle of good wine in a cooler.
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Feb 20th, 2010, 06:47 PM
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If you want to do picnic -- go to a seafood wholesaler (there are a couple in Everglades) and get stone crab claws and some mustard sauce and go to it.

Meanwhile, I thought of this. Nothing fancy motel and a pretty decent restaurant last I knew in Everglades City:
http://www.captainstablehotel.com/
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Feb 21st, 2010, 09:41 AM
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Take a drive out into the Fakahatchee Strand (SR-29 Copeland)... We were lucky enough to get a glimpse of a Florida Panther once while driving there.
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