Cocoa Village, Florida

Saturday, June 15, 2019

 

Fishermen were settling along the Indian River very early in Florida’s history; but the first families didn’t arrive in this area until 1860.  The first commercial building, establishing the downtown area, was erected in 1881.  And the city was incorporated in 1895.  Citrus was the economic engine of the area.

However, Cocoa Village came into its own in the 1960s when the space industry developed.  Tourism became a booming business as thousands came to witness the launches from Cape Canaveral.

Last weekend, we toured Cocoa Village to witness its history and Southern charm!!!

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Cocoa Village sits along the Indian River. Today, that river is part of the Intracoastal Waterway system.
There are many charming homes along this waterway also.
There are many charming homes along this waterway also.
Not to mention the cute and compact houses in town.
Not to mention the cute and compact houses in town.
Some of the late 1800s homes are quite large.
Some of the late 1800s homes are quite large.
Some are large enough to be bed & breakfasts!
Some are large enough to be bed & breakfasts!
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This is the grandest house in Cocoa, built in 1916 for Edward Porcher, a citrus grower and inventor. There was a large packinghouse on the riverbank behind the house to process the citrus boated over from their groves on Merritt Island.
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In 1945, the city of Cocoa purchased the Porcher House and used it as City Hall. The packinghouse came down and this park was built along the river. Today, Porcher House is rented out for special events.
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These early commercial buildings are like an early representation of a strip mall!
They are still in use.
They are still in use.
Much more attractive than the strip malls we usually see today!!!
Much more attractive than the strip malls we usually see today!!!
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The historic Derby Street Chapel was built in 1924 for the Seventh Day Adventists. In 1955 it was bought by the Church of Christ. By 1964, it was the First Baptist Church.  Finally, in 2005, it was saved from demolition by the city and is now a community center.
This is the new First Baptisit Church.
This is the new First Baptist Church.
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At this point, we decided it was time for lunch! We chose Murdock’s, founded in 2001 by three school teachers. They purchased what had once been the 1940s Murdock’s Grocery Store.
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When constructed in the early 1940s, Murdock’s was built using salvaged doors and windows from the old, demolished Brevard Hotel (now replaced by the Oleander Point Condos and Marina.
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Once known as the grocery for Quality Foods, Murdock’s is now home to Quality Meals.
We began with Fried Pickles accompanied with Horseradish and Ranch Dressing.
We began with Fried Pickles accompanied with Horseradish and Ranch Dressing.
Rog ordered a Warteiner German Pilsner.
Rog ordered a Warsteiner German Pilsner.
Sandy ordered a Benzinger Sauvignon Blanc to go with her Patty Melt Sandwich.
Sandy ordered a Benzinger Sauvignon Blanc to go with her Patty Melt Sandwich.
Rog had the Shrimp Po'boy Sandwich.
Rog had the Shrimp Po’boy Sandwich.
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As we returned to sightseeing, we made it a point to look at the Oleander Point Condos now enjoying the riverfront location of the old Brevard Hotel.
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We drove over to the S. F. Travis Hardware Store, founded in 1895 by a Civil War veteran. Colonel Travis would sail up and down the Indian River delivering supplies to his customers as far to the north as Jacksonville and to Ft. Pierce in the south.
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Today, the store is run by his great-grandson, Travis Osborne. This is a must -see establishment for every man on the planet!!! It’s like a museum of tools, hardware and fixtures. It may be an old-fashioned store, but it supplies the likes of NASA, too!
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The downtown area is quite charming. Quaint buildings, interesting shops and enticing eateries abound!!!
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There are cool consignment shops, galleries, jewelry artisans, and even a Barkery for man’s best friend!
Obviously, many of the old buildings have been repurposed to great advantage.
Obviously, many of the old buildings have been re-purposed to great advantage.
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Ossorio’s Cafe is located next door to Cocoa’s version of a mall–it’s really more like an arcade!
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Across the street is the Myrt Tharpe Square where a farmers’ market is held every week.
There are charming boutiques.
There are charming boutiques.
You can find lots of beachwear.
You can find lots of beachwear.
Fine Jewelry
Fine Jewelry
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And there is even a beautiful theater that is still in use!!! This is the Cocoa Village Playhouse, housed in the old Aladdin Theater. Today, they produce an entire season of live concerts, plays, and musicals.
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Next door to the theater, we discovered the Belair Courtyard. Built in 1926 around an open-air patio, it was designed to be a modern two-story office and retail complex. It still is, with the addition of a quality restaurant.
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We were nearing the end of the day.  We walked along the river for a final look and gazed  across to Merritt Island.
We gazed at the river as  the sun slowly set.
We strolled as the sun slowly set.
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And we admired the bridge from Cocoa to Merritt Island. One of my uncles, as a young civil engineer in the 1950s, was involved in its construction!!!
Heading back to the Belair Courtyard, we stopped for dinner at Cafe Margaux.
Heading back to the Belair Courtyard, we stopped for dinner at Cafe Margaux.
Our sever, Jimmy, at The Cafe Margaux in Cocoa Village took good care of us.
Our sever, Jimmy, at The Cafe Margaux in Cocoa Village took good care of us.
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Jimmy has been awarded a golden Hockey Stick by the owner of Cafe Margaux. It indicates Jimmy’s talent for fast and reliable service as well as an agility for response to any and all situations.
And so, he quickly delivered a Canyon Road Moscato, California, 2017.
And so, he quickly delivered a Canyon Road Moscato, California, 2017.
And a Melange of Fresh Seafood:  a trio of seafood with unique sauces.
And a Melange of Fresh Seafood: a trio of seafood with unique sauces.
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Ribeye Au Poivre Vert, an 18 ounce Prime, Boneless, Ribeye with brandied Green Peppercorn Sauce, Greek Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus.
For dessert:  Creme Brulee.....
For dessert: Creme Brulee…..
.....and Pistacchio cake.
…..and Pistachio cake.
As we were leaving, I took a quick photo of the extensive bar.
As we were leaving, I took a quick photo of the extensive bar.
And a peek at the fine wines.
And a peek at the fine wines.
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This mural, spotted on the side of a local bank,sums up the spirit of our visit to Cocoa Village: happy, tropical, and historically interesting.

 

We have not yet planned the next excursion.  Let’s just see where curiosity and interest take us next!!!

A Weekend in New Orleans

Memorial Day Weekend 2019

 

We were attending the unveiling of Fredric Arnold’s sculpture, Lest We Forget:  The Mission, at The National WWII Museum over the Memorial Day Weekend.  Realizing that it was, at least, 15 years since we had last been there, we decided to stay a few days and reacquaint ourselves with the city.

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This is the reason we traveled to New Orleans! “Lest We Forget: The Mission” is an amazing sculpture created by an amazing man! Fredric Arnold, not only an artist and aviator, was also an actor, entrepreneur and inventor of the aluminum folding chair!
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We were here for the exhibit’s unveiling. Check out the prior post (June 6, 2019) for details. But now, let’s take a look at New Orleans!!!
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First thing upon arrival was a stroll along the Riverwalk. The mighty Mississippi River pulled at our memory. We were last here to board the Delta Queen–that was a truly enthralling voyage–and we were eager to recapture the excitement of that visit!
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We don’t remember where the steamboats boarded back in the day, but today this is the cruise ship gangway at the Riverwalk.
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The nostalgic Algiers Ferry (operating since 1827) is also along the Riverwalk. Algiers Point is an historic neighborhood with village charm, cafes, pubs, and boutiques–all for only $2.00/ow. A short ride with great views of the city!
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And next to the ferry dock, you’ll also find the The New Orleans Aquarium at the foot of Canal Street.
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Deciding it was time for lunch, we headed over to Gordon Biersch for sustenance and a libation.
They have an impressive in-house brewery.
They have an impressive in-house brewery.
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Rog ordered the sausage platter with mushroom spatzle accompanied by mustard and homemade pub sauce.
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Sandy chose Bavarian Pretzel with sausage skewers accompanied by cheese fondue and mustard.
Rog's afternoon libation was a Maibock Lager.
Rog’s afternoon libation was a Maibock Lager.
Maibock is on tap.
Maibock is on tap.
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After a very nice lunch, we continued to the French Quarter, only a short stroll away.
Bourbon Street is always a sight to behold!!!
Bourbon Street is always a sight to behold!!!
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There’s a lot of charm; a lot of gritty; and some downright tacky in New Orleans. And you’ll find it all along Bourbon Street.
But the architecture is noteworthy.
But the architecture is noteworthy.
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The Musical Legends Park is cool. Live jazz everyday starting at 1:00 pm; Cafe Beignet at the back serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; cast bronze statues of New Orleans musical greats; and it’s right on Bourbon Street!!!
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Musical Legends Park is all about the music. Those tables are for listening, and the Cafe Beignet uses them for dining, also!!!
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But it’s Cafe du Monde we gravitate to for their famous beignets. The lines at the French Quarter cafe are long. But there are now “branches” around town. From experience, we know there are long lines there, too!! Good thing, we’d had our coffee and beignets earlier!!
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Continuing our trip down memory lane, we found our way over to Crescent City Books where I found a treasure trove of books by Frances Parkinson Keyes, a favorite author from my youth, who lived and wrote in New Orleans.
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From the bookstore, we crossed the street to the Roosevelt Hotel where, in 1949, a group of women stormed the Sazerac Bar (where women were only allowed on Mardi Gras Day) demanding the RIGHT to a stiff drink! They’ve been welcome and served ever since!!!
We stroll Fulton Street....
We stroll Fulton Street….
.....with a little diversion along the way.....
…..with a little diversion along the way…..
.....and head back to Riverwalk.
…..and head back to Riverwalk.
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We were unfamiliar with the Riverwalk Outlet Mall. But once found, shopping ensued!!!
We ended the day at Mulate's Cajun Restaurant.
We ended the day at Mulate’s Cajun Restaurant.
This is a fun place with a great Zydeco Band.
This is a fun place with a great Zydeco Band.
And a wonderful display of artwork by George Rodrigue!!!
And a wonderful display of artwork by George Rodrigue!!!
The food is pretty good also:  Shrimp Platter with Mushroom rice and cole slaw.
The food is pretty good also: Shrimp Platter with Mushroom rice and cole slaw.
French Muffaletta wiith fries and slaw.
French Muffaletta with fries and slaw.
Accompanied by Lucifer Beer.
Accompanied by Lucifer Beer.
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The next morning we take another quick look at the “Lest We Forget: The Mission” exhibit.
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We take a last look at the Robert E. Lee monument–of course, without the statue of Robert E Lee. Sometimes, history is ignored or re-written!!!
We enjoy the view of the Misissippi River as we take off for home.
We enjoy the view of the Mississippi River as we take off for home.
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This was a very moving and satisfying trip!!! Time to start planning the next one!!!

 

We’ll Keep you posted!!!