My wife and I just returned from a short weekend visiting old friends in the Florida gulf coast town of Cedar Key, where our friends annually spend the winter. Cedar Key is a tiny burg that sits more than 20 miles from anything resembling a main road, and more than 60 miles from Gainesville, anything but a sprawling metropolis itself.
Cedar Key boasts a mere 700 residents, and I seriously doubt many more could fit in this tiny island town. That being said, the town swells to several times that size when tourists and snowbirds arrive, and even more so when they hold various festivals throughout the year. The town is certainly not top of mind when the average person begins planning their vacation to the Sunshine State. When considering fun-filled beach activities or theme park extravaganzas, Cedar Key doesn’t sniff a chance when compared to Miami, Orlando, or any number of beach towns up and down Florida’s coasts.
If your aim is to get far, far away from the noise and madness of daily life, however, I can’t suggest a better place than Cedar Key. It is vacation towns like Cedar Key that allow you to escape the lunacy that our world has become. In a place like Cedar Key, you may have to sacrifice TV, internet, and cell service…but you won’t care. Sometimes it’s a blessing to be deprived access to “the world.”
Places like Cedar Key allow you to slow down and appreciate real things, like sunrises and sunsets, nature, simple food and drink, and best of all, people. You won’t find anyone in Cedar Key’s handful of restaurants with their eyes glued to their phones. There, you actually talk to and get to know the people around you.
Hideaways like Cedar Key force you to appreciate the simple life, a life that for all intents and purposes doesn’t exist anymore. But maybe it should. Spending time in a little paradise like Cedar Key, and then having to return to the “real world,” makes one wonder if Cedar Key shouldn’t instead be the real world.
The temptation to make it so, to dump it all and move there permanently, is a real dilemma every time I leave.