R and R in Revitalized Fort Pierce

 

 Driving into Fort Pierce on the A1A is lovely – we didn’t come in that way. We did leave that way, hence how we know it is lovely. We drove in from I-95 which is not so easy on the eyes. But a lot of towns on the way to the beach are like that; the outskirts aren’t exactly where we’re all pining to buy a beach bungalow any time soon.

 

As we got closer to the water we could see the historic quality of the town beginning to show itself. There was one, probably gorgeous in its day, grand old building – all boarded up now. I couldn’t bring myself to photograph that sad old dame.

 

But yes, YAY to Fort Pierce for their revitalization! The downtown was bristling with shoppers, people on bikes, moms pushing strollers, palm trees swaying and live music coming from somewhere as we pulled up.

 

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The big parking lot by the marina was hosting the weekly craft and farmer’s market. We should have stopped and bought some fresh healthy produce but instead we headed (after parking for free) to The Original Tiki Bar right on the water. Being in our Triple B Mode, we don’t let our thoughts rest for long on eating right!

 

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Original to Ft. Pierce, not the very first one ever in the history of the world

 

What a great tiki bar! Our nachos were delish, and the hostess, who was 25 even longer ago than we were, danced around shaking a tiny maraca, to the music of the young guitarist. I love her! You have to smile at people who dance around. And who could give a shit what other people may think. (I know, that word is crass and unladylike. I don’t use it often. But sometimes you just have to not give a shit!)

 

(Crass. Does anyone even say that anymore? Proper ladies probably do.)

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The Original Tiki Bar and Groovy Hostess

 

Despite his youthful looks, the singer Ryan Owens had a great range of songs that every age group could recognize and enjoy. Jack Johnson, songs from The Little Mermaid (the Jamaican sounding crab guy – Sebastian?) Sweet Pea by Amos Lee. And some standard oldies that older people like to sing to, written probably before Ryan was born.

 

The Original Tiki Bar (just original to Fort Pierce, not the first tiki bar ever) has a happy look, inside and out. All that random tropical stuff hanging from the ceiling.

 

The view over the water. Our nice bartender, Dave. And of course the dancing hostess woman. I’m still smiling about that.

 

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The Original Tiki Bar

 

ft.-pierce-waterfrontShops by the waterfront

 

Walking along the water you can see over to the south causeway bridge, and closer is the seawall they’re building to protect the town from hurricanes. It’s not beautiful – you can see it in the photo behind me.

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Me and the sturdy utilitarian seawall

 

But beauty isn’t important when you’re battening down your hatches and keeping your town safe, right? And I learned on mainstreetfortpierce.org, from their magazine called Focus (you can view it on their website) they’ve actually built THIRTEEN man-made islands to protect the marina and town. Hurricane Frances wreaked much havoc here in 2004.

 

Soon they’ll be planting mangroves around the islands, so it will be prettier, plus it will add to the health of the lagoon’s ecosystem. Genius! We should all be pitching in to help build this kind of structure, everywhere in coastal Florida. Fort Pierce does hope to become a prototype for other marinas.

 

After exploring the downtown you do have to drive to The Beach, The Bar and The Bungalow, but the beauty of it all once you get there is that you can park it and WALK for the rest of your Triple-B visit!

 

THE BEACH

South Jetty Park

End of Seaway Drive

beach-near-Dockside-Inn-Ft.-Pierce

  • PARK/WALK:  Free parking right there, and this beach is within walking distance of The Bar and The Bungalow, for the young and fit (or for the old and fit!) but it is a little over half a mile and dragging beach gear in the heat isn’t always fun.
  • GO/RINSE:  Public restrooms and rinsing.
  • CROWD FACTOR:  Delightfully uncrowded when we visited (and I’m thinking probably most of the time; it seems tucked away from the masses: JUST AS WE LIKE IT.)
  • GUARDS: No.
  • IMBIBE:  The verdict is still out on this one; my research is not finding the answer at press time.
  • BEST FRIEND: No, but according to www.tripswithpets.com, there is an off-leash dog beach north of here at 6501 A1A.
  • WE LOVE: The day we were there the waves ranged from tiny to small; great for just floating around like lazy bums.

 

THE BAR

On the Edge Bar and Grill

1136 Seaway Dr.

 

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  • VIBE:  Bamboo-ish and soothingly neutral, with the bright blue view beyond. The furnishings are somewhat industrial chic yet comfy at the same time.
  • ARRIVE:  You can arrive by car or by boat.
  • SIT:  This tiki bar is on the small side but there is seating indoors (there are stairs to climb, just fyi you oldies with creaky knees) and also outside below, right on the water.
  • SIP:  Happy Hour 2- 6 p.m. every day.
  • NOSH:  I ordered the Crab Caprese salad and CH had the Crunchy Snapper sandwich (locally caught snapper with RITZ CRACKER crumbs and corn flakes!) and both were outstanding.
  • LISTEN:  Live music Wednesday thru Sunday. Check out their facebook page for the music lineup.
  • WE LOVE:  The chill atmosphere and watching the boats go by.

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Outdoor seating. Right On the Edge!

 

THE BUNGALOW

Dockside Inn and Resort 

1160 Seaway Drive

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  • VIBE:  Not the Ritz (yay! for us budget-wise and off-beat seeking beach souls) but squeaky clean with a friendly and helpful staff. Lots of fishing and boating going on, a happy bustling crew.
  • WALK:  The shortest ever walk from The Bar, a little far to tipple your way down the street to the beach…
  • DECOR:  Some may say “dated” but if it’s spotlessly clean, then who gives a rusty? (As my dad would say!)
  • SLEEP:  The beds and sheets (says Ms. Sheet Freak) were fine.
  • EXTRAS:  5 fishing piers, 34 boat slips, PET FRIENDLY! Complimentary continental breakfast, 2 guest laundry rooms, free wireless, wet bar microwave and fridges, some rooms have stoves, 2 heated pools and whirlpool, bait and tackle shop, outdoor grill area. Sounds like you could settle in and LIVE here…! Or at least fish til you drop.
  • WE LOVE:  The spacious rooms and just the over-all welcoming and everyone-is-happy-doing-their-thing atmosphere.

 

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View of the docks from Dockside Inn

 

 

When the Beach, Bar and Bungalow are all within walking distance we call that a win-win-win Triple B. Park your car and swim, play, and stay in Fort Pierce!

 

Fort Pierce is on the east coast of Florida, south of Vero Beach and north of Jensen Beach.

 

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