Monthly Archives: September 2016

White Gate Court

Road Trip: Puppy love in the Florida Keys

For years I’ve wanted to stay at White Gate Court in Islamorada. The idea of a dog-friendly — truly dog-friendly, as in, “we love dogs everywhere on our property” — appealed to me. So, this May, we piled the hellhounds in the Xterra and forced them to enjoy themselves in the Keys.

Calypso — White Gate Court
Calypso takes a break from paradise.

It worked out well for all of us and, it turns out, even though dogs matter more than humans at White Gate Court, it’s still a pretty awesome place for people.

Also, Calypso has a boyfriend.

I wrote more about this for Creative Loafing Tampa back in May; here’s the link.

Skunk Ape

Road Trip: Desperately seeking the Skunk Ape

If you’re from New York, you may call him Bigfoot.

Every culture has one, and in Florida, we have two. In the north end of the state, he’s the Bardin Booger. Towards the southern edges, we call him the Skunk Ape. I wrote this about trying to find proof of the latter.

Read more about my adventures with the Skunk Ape and the swampy pockets of southernmost Florida in this Road Trip I wrote for Creative Loafing Tampa.

Backroads of Paradise by Cathy Salustri
The great Florida road trip, in book form.

Like what I wrote? I have a whole book about my great Florida road trip, and you can buy it from Inkwood Books, which is a lot like Amazon, only they’re local and nothing at all like a massive local-eating website, except they can also usually shop in two days, so please show them some love, OK?

Oranges in central Florida

Road Trip: Cross Creek, sour oranges and a lawsuit

I love pie, and I love Florida.

Some people would tell you the quintessential Florida pie involves key limes and well, I’m not about to argue. I will, however, suggest a forgotten pie, one that, while less universally known than key lime, has a more distinctive Florida taste: The sour orange pie.

For half a millennia — let that sink in — sour oranges, not the juicy Valencia or eminently snack-able honeybees (also called minneolas), were the order of the orange day in Florida. Now, if you love the sweet tang of a morning glass of OJ, this was not the orange for you.

However, it makes one hell of a pie. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find.

Unless you know where to go.

Want to know more? Read more in my June 2016 Road Trip for Creative Loafing Tampa.

Hiding place

Road Trip: Two eggs and many Indians

I hate Andrew Jackson.

Is that treason? Am I going to jail now? Look, I’m not a fan of the guy. One of the main reasons? His treatment of Florida’s indigenous folk. Now, I know we had a period of time in our history when “killing Injuns” was trendy, but really, Jackson took this trend to new levels of historical douchbaggery. He didn’t care that Spain had rule over Florida, because he was damn sure going to come down here and kill himself some locals anyway, treaties and such be damned.

Florida Caverns State Park
Florida has dry air caves. Really, we do.

Of course, the locals tricked him. It’s one of my favorite stories. It has caves and indigenous folk and, as a nice side trip, eggs. Go ahead, read it and see in my March 2016 Road Trip for Creative Loafing Tampa.

Road Trip: DeSoto National Memorial

DeSoto National MemorialIn July, my Road Trip for Creative Loafing took me to the DeSoto National Memorial.

If you’re thinking, ugh, no, not another historic site, hold on. I like how… well, how Florida this is. First of all, although everything  there insinuates we know DeSoto landed on that spot. The park ranger even admits that bullshit. Second — and I love this part — is how the big-ass cross is not actually park property. The Catholic diocese owns it and the property on which it stands. EXACTLY that property. At the base, the property becomes county property, and then, a few feet out from that, property of the Department of the Interior.

Made me laugh and think of how well sharing property worked out in the ‘glades.

Read the whole thing here.

Road Trip: In the Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Tiki, Room

Tiki Goddess at Trader Sam's Grog GrottoSo I’m a little behind in updating my travels. Late last year I accepted the Arts and Entertainment editor position at Creative Loafing Tampa and in January, I started. It’s taken some time toadjust to the new position, so I haven’t posted like I want to post. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been traveling and writing about it. Once a month I take a road trip and write about it in the not-so-subtly titled Road Trip feature.

Here’s my August Road Trip,  about Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the Walt Disney World Resort. Why here? Because the bar — and it is a bar, make no mistake — has artifacts from the old Enchanted Tiki Room at the Magic Kingdom. It’s a pretty cool story. You should read it. Seriously, click here and read it.