Monday, April 26, 2010

Photos of Condo Loft Rental Unit 327

In April of 2009 we were in Cedar Key directing the refurbishing of the condo unit in Park Place. The entire unit has been repainted, the old carpeting has been replaced, and all the furniture is new -- sofa sleeper, a pair of recliners, entertainment center, large screen television, DVD/VCR player, stereo, floor lamps, Euro-top mattress set, drapes, and bathroom furnishings. Ellen has also been adding decorations, "tchotchkes," and decorator items to give the place her "signature" and make the unit feel more "like being at home" to guests.

The split-level unit is on the third, or top floor of Park Place, and has a loft bedroom on the fourth floor. The condo offers about 700 square feet of living space and endless views out to the Gulf of Mexico. The unit is air conditioned and heated, and cable television and high speed wireless Internet are provided.

The living area flows into the kitchen area and both flow out to the balcony which overlooks the park and ocean front. The queen sofa couch and two recliners offer a conversation area, reading area...

... or a view of the new entertainment center with 32" Sanyo television and DVD/VHS player for your viewing pleasure, with a selection of DVDs and VHS tapes included. There is also a stereo CD player and radio, books to read, decks of playing cards, and board games...

The kitchen has a dinette set, refrigerator/freezer, stove cooktop, cooking utensils, microwave, coffee maker with coffee, creamer, and sugar/sugar substitute, toaster oven, double sink, and the necessary flatware, utensils, cutlery, plates, bowls, cups, pots, and pans. Daily maid service helps keep it tidy.

Park Place has 2 wooden decks at ground level -- one at each end of the building -- and both have charcoal grills for your use. In addition, City Park across the street has pavilions, picnic tables, more grills, and wonderful views.

Also on the main floor is the full bathroom, as seen here, which includes a hair dryer...

The loft bedroom has a retractable privacy screen if someone is using the sofa couch below, and the queen bed sports a new Eurotop mattress set by Serta. You'll find plenty of countertop space, drawers, and a closet for your things, and the television with VHS player and window mounted air conditioner both have remote controls,

Here's the loft over the kitchen, as seen from the balcony...

...and the view of the living area from the loft...

The hall closet has room to hang clothes, room for storage, and also has an iron and ironing board.

The balcony offers a relaxing locale to sit, catch the cool Gulf breeze, and savor the views of the park, beach, and beyond...

The map below shows the Location of Cedar Key. Click on the "X" to remove the word bubble, and click on the "+" or "-" to zoom in or zoom out on the map.

View Larger Map

The sidebar to the left has info on this quaint and friendly Florida community and an idea of activities available in the area.

If you visit our homey condo, please read the comments that guests have written over the years in the guest books -- and please sign it, too!

Park Place has a website here that provides info on the rental arrangements, or call them at 800-868-7963. You can also ask questions be email:


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Postings left in our comments book…

A few entries from the Room 327 Guest Book.

This is our 6th time here and we love it! My husband and I just got married in March and we started coming here when we were dating 6 years ago. This is the best little get away and we look forward to coming back soon. Thanks for the great stay and the wonderful hospitality!
PS: Love the TV
-- Sara and Roger C.

Super place, had the most relaxing stay. Everything was perfect. We WILL be back.
--Wendy & Les M.

Great as always. Love the room. We have been in all 3 levels and this was the best.
-- Tim and Jill S.

We had a great weekend getaway to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Everything here at Park Place was nice! Love how the unit is decorated, the recliners are so very comfortable! The staff was very friendly & helpful. We enjoyed eating @ Frogs Landing and Tony’s. The chocolate truffles bites were amazing! We enjoyed being here and hope to come back again soon. Thanks for having such a nice place to stay!
-- Jim & Chris

Thanks so much for making your place so beautiful and comfortable. This is our first time @ Cedar Key. We absolutely loved it. I did not think places like this existed anymore. I am a Brooklyn girl and my husband is from Bushnell and this was a place we could truly enjoy.
-- Mr. and Mrs. McC.

We had the most amazing time in Cedar Key…This condo is wonderful…So bright and cheerful and clean. Thank you for sharing with total strangers. We would love to come back…and hopefully right here in 327.
--The McGs.

Thank you so much for letting us stay in your beautiful condo!! Today is our 23rd anniversary. We definitely intend to come back to this beautiful area – and we will be requesting 327 ;-) Thanks
--Tim and Debbie M.

We’ve been coming to Cedar Key for 40 years. We were in awe when we entered the unit. You have done a beautiful job and we will surely be back.
-- The B's.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Video Introduction to Cedar Key

Cedar Key is on Florida's Nature Coast, west of Gainesville and Ocala. The city is actually several Gulf of Mexico islands connected to one another and the mainland by bridges and causeways. If you dislike the commotion and crowds of other Florida seacoast towns, this might be the place for you to rest and relax. It is 28 miles from the nearest large town, Chiefland, and much of the land surrounding Cedar Key is state or federal preserves and wildlife refuges, so it will forever remain pristine,wild, and sparsely developed. Here's a short video I made to "introduce" you to the town...

Cedar Key is one of very few places where can you watch a sunrise over the shoreline along Florida's west coast. Here's a short HD video at 12 times normal speed ...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Cedar Key Museum State Park

Cedar Key State Park Museum is a Florida State Park located at 12231 SW 166th Court. The museum building has displays and dioramas explaining the Hurricane of 1896, the railroading days, the industries of Cedar Key (cedar for pencils, palmetto for brushes, and shipbuilding), Cedar Key's involvement in both the Civil War and Seminole Indian War, manatees, the wildlife refuge, and more.

The St. Claire Whitman house, which depicts Cedar Key life in the 1920s and 1930s, is a focal point of the museum. It commemorates the life of Whitman (1868-1959) who lived in Cedar Key most of his years...

...and is furnished as when Whitman lived in it from 1930 to 1959...

It features artifacts collected by Whitman during his life in Cedar Key, including exhibits on the Timucuan Indians, antique glassware, old bottles, an immense collection of seashells, artifacts from the pencil manufacturing days as well as the fiber broom and brush manufacturing days, and photographs and documents of old Cedar Key.

There is a short nature trail where you might view gray squirrels, doves, mockingbirds, Blue Jays, woodpeckers, and green tree frogs. John Muir ended his "1000 mile walk to the sea" in Cedar Key, and his bust is on the grounds.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Cedar Key -- Love at First Sight!

In 2003, I drove to Florida during the winter. I hadn’t visited Florida for 20 years and I had planned the trip as a one-shot, final vacation in that state because the deserts of the southwest had greater appeal to me. But those lovely weeks in Florida’s warmth revised my thinking and I have since wintered in Florida for five of the last seven years. I guess that makes me a snowbird. During these visits, I've driven much of Florida's immense land mass (it’s 22nd in land size and 3rd in square miles of water) from coast to coast and all the way down to America’s farthest southern point, Key West.

I mostly shun the largest cities, preferring the back roads and smaller burgs. I've hiked, camped, and paddled in two of Florida’s three national forests and visited all three of her national parks and numerous state parks. I've paddled two dozen Florida's rivers, snorkeled in several of her 700+ natural springs, and biked a couple dozen of her wonderful bike trails -- paved and unpaved. The last two years, Ellen has joined my explorations, and together we've experienced dozens of towns, inland and on both coasts, and had numerous enjoyable experiences, but in all those places, no one locale had overwhelmingly captured our affection.

The seacoast towns are the most alluring to us, but some seem downright dingy and too many others are overly froufrou -- expensive and touristy, evidently aiming to be tony and chic rather than real. Such places are often cute to behold but leave us cold, so we either drive through and keep going, or sometimes spend the night, walk around a bit, and then resume our explorations down the road, remembering them as places we’ve been to but won’t return to.

Not so with Cedar Key (photo above), a series of islands hugging the mainland and named for its once-abundant Eastern Red Cedar trees. It is halfway down Florida's Nature Coast (the Gulf coast area around the bend of the Panhandle and down several hundred miles), rugged land so named because its remoteness hinders development, thereby allowing Nature to predominate as it has over the eons. Few roads track its course and public lands are rife -- mainly natural springs, state parks, state forests, and wildlife refuges -- guaranteeing that much of the land will remain natural.

As we drove into Cedar Key, its magic immediately struck us. Only one road enters the town, a town that encompasses several small islands called keys. The closest major highway is 21 miles away and the nearest large town in 28 miles away. Astronomers revel in Cedar Key’s lack of light pollution. Other than clam aquaculture, fishing, and tourism, there is no industry. Its population is about 900, many of them multi-generational families. A hundred years ago, the Faber Pencil Company and the Eagle Pencil Company used its cedar wood for their pencils, but they are long gone. A century ago, the Florida Railroad ended its run here, but it is long gone. In 1867, John Muir ended his 1000 mile walk to the Gulf here and raved about the community. And we, too, seem to have ended our quest here, at the park on the Gulf shore...

We arrived in 2009 to participate in an Adventures in Florida kayak program, and the Park Place rental condos served as our home base. Arriving early, we walked the one block Gulf shore downtown, and the history and sea breezes invaded our souls. As the week progressed and we kayaked and hiked the nearby islands, paddled the meandering backwater estuaries and bayous, visited the museum and the ancient shell mound and a clam farm, and drove through neighboring towns, our affection grew, and by the seventh day, we had a realtor take us through the condo units that were for sale in our building.

One condo really impressed us. It is on the top floor, occupying the third and fourth floors, with a total of 800 square feet. It has a full kitchen with dinette area, a full refrigerator/freezer, cooktop, microwave, toaster oven, cookware, cutlery, etc. as seen in the photo below (Note: all these photos are "before" shots. See the more recent post for photos after the renovations.)

The spacious loft bedroom is above the kitchen and overlooks the comfortable living room. It includes built-in drawers and storage, a counter, night stands and lamps, a closet, a television, and clerestory windows along the full back wall. Even the wall hangings and knick-knacks were included though we added many more in decorating it.

The living area (seen from the loft above) has a ceiling fan, sofa couch for guests, lamps, two arm chairs, wall hangings, bookcase, cable TV with DVD/VCR, and stereo system. The wall of glass bathes the room in natural light and allows the Gulf views to tantalize you. Wireless Internet is also provided in the unit.

The full bathroom by the kitchen is completely stocked and decorated and daily maid service changes the linens for rental guests. The large window on the upper rear wall keeps the bathroom well lit all day.

The covered balcony has a table with chairs, lounge chairs, and views of the city park, beach, and beyond that, the Gulf of Mexico extending to the horizon.

The sunrises occur to your left as you look from the balcony, and the sunsets to your right, but a one block stroll to Dock Street’s new fishing pier, replete with dozens of pelicans, offers the best sunset views -- every night! Or you could dine at one of several oceanside restaurants at dusk and watch the sunset from your table.

The plan is to occupy the unit ourselves during several winter weeks to help defray the costs, with breaks to allow the unit to be rented as we travel to other adventures around Florida. The rest of the year will be to generate income from rentals as we live at home or travel elsewhere.

So are we officially “snowbirds” now? Snowbird is often defined as a retiree who maintains a second home in a warmer climate, so I suppose we are. At any rate, I’ve always liked the Canadian singer Anne Murray and am not afraid to heed the advice she proclaimed in her hit song, “Snowbird”:

"Spread your tiny wings and fly away
And take the snow back with you
Where it came from on that day.
So, little Snowbird, take me with you when you go
To that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow..."

May we for many years be able to “go to that land of gentle breezes where the peaceful waters flow....”