I recently drove over to Fisheating Creek for a paddle with the alligators and planned on stopping in at an interesting rural country store/restaurant for a late lunch in nearby, very small, Palmdale, Florida (population just under 600). The Florida Backroads Travel website calls the place Not Near Anything.
The Palmdale Cracker (“A country mall and social club”) opened about a year ago in an historic, 1920s-era building and had been gathering decent comments from customers. It ranked 4.5 out of 5 with TripAdvisor, which called it #1, in a town that had just one restaurant.
Alas, I got there too late. It burned to the ground about two months ago.
The building had been over the years a post office and a general store. As the only place for miles around, it was a welcome break for truckers and motorists traveling on U.S. 27. And, as a genuine Old-Florida-flavored attraction for tourists, it fit in nicely with the still-open Gatorama (“Fast Hands or No Hands”), just south of town. The nearby Cypress Knee Museum, another of those hundreds of places that dotted the roadside along U.S. 27, is long gone unfortunately.
Larry Taylor, who says he spent years getting the government approvals needed to get the store and restaurant off the ground in the old building, has launched a Go Fund Me page with an eye on raising $150,000 to rebuild. To date he has $225.
Before and after photos below:
The word cracker, by the way, originally referred to the Florida cowboys of the 1800s and today mostly just means a Florida native whose family has lived in the state for many generations.
And thinking of crackers leads me easily back to Fisheating Creek, a piece of natural Florida that’s been around for a long time and one I hope stays just the way it is for a long time to come. It was long owned by Lykes Brothers Inc., which attempted to close it to the public in the 1980s, but a 1998 court ruling that it is a navigable waterway and therefore owned by the state kept access open for the public.
Enjoy the photos.