Jupiter Inlet

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Highway 1 Drawbridge over Jupiter Inlet

It’s been a stressful week.  Laura’s mom fell on Friday and broke both legs.  She had surgery on Saturday, and is looking at a long recovery time.  Laura had flown down to Florida so she could drive back with Amy and her mom and some time with us.  Her mother fell as they were getting ready to go to the airport to pick her up.  So, with Laura in Florida with no way back and not enough supplies for an extended stay, I packed more gear for her and clothes for me and drove down Sunday.

Monday was spent in the hospital. Tuesday I had a bit of a break. Amy and Laura stayed with their mom, and I headed ab hour down the road to Jupiter, where my niece, Katie, and her husband, Aaron had just moved. My sister, Glynda, had come down to help them get settled in, and it was also their son, Jack’s first birthday.

Apparently first birthday cake smashing is a thing. If you buy the first birthday cake from Publix, they throw in a “smashing cake.” Katie thought that the small one was too small and wouldn’t show up in photographs well. She bought a larger one. She had a little set in place, so we put Jack in front of the cake…

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Jack was not impressed. He wanted the balloons. He wanted the balls. He wanted everything EXCEPT the cake. He started crying when Katie kept putting him back in front of the cake.

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The cake survived mostly intact. Jack, on the other hand, was worn out. He settled down for a nap, while Glynda and I headed out for lunch. We found ourselves at the Square Grouper, overlooking the Jupiter Inlet.

The Square Grouper is a tiki bar, plain and simple. You order everything from the bar and take it back to your tables – no wait service available. We ordered beers and burgers. Since we were in Florida, and since they had them on the menu, I ordered conch fritters as an appetizer. These arrived fairly quickly, and were delicious – some of the best burgers I’ve had.

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We watched boat traffic out on the inlet, guessing the cost of each boat. There were also quite a few paddle boarders out on the water. Apart from the exercise component, I’ve never seen the appeal of stand up paddle boarding. I’d like to give it a try, just to see, but I can’t imagine trading in my kayak for one of these.

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We didn’t know it at the time, but this is the bar that appears in Alan Jackson’s “Five O’Clock Somewhere.” Apparently he lives in the area, and his boat, Hullbilly, stays at one of the nearby marinas. Here’s the video:

We left and I took Glynda on back to Katie’s for more birthday celebrations. I decided to take the long way home and explore a bit more. I headed back to US 1 and crossed the inlet, then turned at the sign for Jupiter Inlet Park. There I found the museum and tour for the lighthouse. I decided to go for it.

I browsed the little museum for a bit. The displays looked very much like the ones I’d seen in all of the lighthouse museums in Oregon. After awhile these all tend to run together. Our tour was leaving soon, so I didn’t get a chance to browse much.

Our little group had some amazing small world connections. Our tour guide lives just a few houses down from Katie, and the other couple in the group are good friends with Furman University’s chaplain. The tour guide pointed out several signs, and described the amazing banyon trees on the property.

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We were led through a traditional “cracker” house used by Florida farmers in the area.

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Our path led up a brick trail toward the lighthouse. One of the brick pavers was donated by Jimmy Buffet. Along the way there were lots of photographic opportunities.

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We had to wait for a group to descend the lighthouse before we were allowed to ascend. Another group of three joined us. As we entered, I began to question the wisdom of climbing 108 feet on such a hot and humid day, especially in such a stuffy, enclosed space. I made it, though.

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There were landings with windows at various intervals, and these allowed a breather, as well as views around the inlet.

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When we got to the top we were allowed out onto the outside walkway. We were greeted with a glorious cool ocean breeze, a welcome relief from the sweltering interior.

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The light itself is still in use. It is a first order Fresnel lens that has a rotating pattern. The prisms were casting amazing spectra all over the interior. Of course, I took tons of photos.

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One of the other tour members was into artistic photography. We talked shop for a bit, and enjoyed trading ideas about shots at the light.

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It was tempting to just hang out up there, but soon we were prompted to descend. At the bottom of the light was a seating area shaded by an amazing banyon tree. This is where the lighthouse keeper’s house had once been located.

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It had been a great tour, and I met some nice folks, but it was time to continue on my trek. I headed up US 1 and connected to A1A in Stuart. I took the scenic route up A1A along Hutchinson Island until I got to Fort Pierce, then headed on back to Amy’s house.

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