Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Flagler Beach

Last year when we were driving back and forth between Hilton Head Island and Daytona Beach Shores we tried whenever possible to take highway A1A, the scenic north/south route along the Atlantic Ocean on the east coast of Florida.  It is primarily a two-lane highway and for the most part avoided by trucks so it appeals to us more than Interstate 95 for that reason alone.  The speed limit varies between a low of 25 mph in the towns and 55 mph on the straightaways between the residential areas.  Flagler Beach is one of the many small towns along A1A.  It is a mere 14 miles north of Daytona Beach.  We drove there today, a sunny but exceptionally windy day.

I remember thinking when we passed through Flagler Beach last year that it would be a good beach to visit when we were ensconced on Daytona Beach Shores.  Flagler Beach unquestionably has a beach atmosphere but it is decidedly smaller and more intimate than Daytona Beach.  It wasn't however until today that we made our return visit to Flagler Beach.  Our objective was little more than a Sunday drive so to speak but it turned out to be very enjoyable.

Like many of the beach areas in Florida it is the local pier which affords the centre of attraction.  Flagler Beach has a notable pier, singluarly one which levies a charge for admission ($1.50 for walking; $6.00 for fishing; and $1.00 for seniors over the age of 65 years).  We paid $2.50 for the privilege.  The pier is long.  The fishermen are mostly congregated at the furthest end.  On the boardwalk there are engraved memorials for people no longer whinnying among us, some rather poetic such as "He was loved as he loved the sea".  There are indicia throughout Flagler Beach that those who live there have an undeniable maritime bent (sometimes expressed rather tackily - for example a home which has manequins of seafaring pirates struting about an upper balcony of the house overlooking the Ocean).  But there is an unmistakeable authenticity to the nautical allure and it quickly envelopes even the casual interloper.

There is an outdoor bar and dining area attached to the pier.  We were tempted to check the supply of food provisions but chose instead to return home to use what we already have in the larder. Even though it feels that Flagler Beach is remote, it took us very little time to head south again to Daytona Beach Shores.  We had been out for a walk on the beach in Daytona Beach Shores earlier in the morning.  The high wind continued in Flagler Beach where we got a bit of additional walking exercise. The sand on Flagler Beach is slightly pink, apparently the result of the waves crushing the shells of mollusks of a similar tint and blending them with the sand.

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