Last weekend the kids and I took a trip out to Sam’s House at Pine Island on Merritt Island. It’s a place I’ve blogged about before. However, in the past I only got to take pictures of the outside of the buildings. After a lot of digging I found out that the houses weren’t open to tours except on Saturdays between 9 and 4. That’s still the case by the way.
So we finally made it inside, and found, well, nothing; Yet. The man (I regretably do not know his name) who was inside told us all about the houses and the plans. It sounds like it will be nice. The only thing I’m confused about is why they didn’t make the big house the museum and the small house the bunk. I guess it was just easier to modernize the bigger structure that had been inhabited up until about 10 years ago. The rest of the facility is nice, with outdoor restrooms, wheelchair access, a screened in porch and attached kitchen, and soon to be trails through a mosquito infested, but beautiful walk. The trail will eventually connect both sides of this EEL’s property with a mile and half long boardwalk. That’s awesome.
In case you don’t know about the significance of this property, Pine Island is a culturally and ecologically important site. The native Americans who inhabited the area (presumably Timuncuans and Tequestas, maybe Ais) had utilized this site for time immemorial before they disappeared and blended into other cultures. Artifacts have been found in astonishing quantities. Sam and his family settled here in the late 1800’s. Artifacts from their inhabitance are also still found about. The family actually used the property until late in the 1990’s when it was granted to the Brevard County EEL’s Program.
Wildlife that is found here includes all the usual suspects; gators, herons, turtles. But there is also an opportunity to see Bald Eagles, and any myriad of migrating species. This property is one of my favorites. For me, I can feel the history here. Sometimes, I think it infects me, and I feel a part of it. I imagine life before AC, radio, my ancestors, what the conquistadors saw, and have to wonder why anyone would have wanted to settle in such a buggy, dangerous land. I think sometimes that if our ancestors could see us now, they would chastise us for being such a bunch of pansy-asses. Seriously, imagine being a woman in these conditions. Heat, humidity, bugs, alligators, panthers, bears, snakes, pregnancy, 100 degree weather, and 12 layers of clothes. Yeah, I’d say we’re pretty much a bunch of pansies now.
The “man” said that the displays would be up by fall, and the trails will be started sometime around then too. The cuts to the EELS program have taken a toll on the schedule. It might be worth a trip anyways. It’s neat to see the Gopher tortoises, the giant oak tree, and I’ve been told a bobcat is often seen walking by.