Yankeetown – Shell Mound – Cedar Key 2022
February 11 – 13, 2022
Photos below…click a photo to open the photo gallery.
Yankeetown is reminiscent of a small southern town that’s draped in a Spanish moss, tree canopy, along a scenic natural winding river, the Withlacoochee River. The river serves as a birthing area for manatees, a foraging area of dolphin and at night you hear the sounds of owls rather than traffic. As of 2020 the population was 588. There is no other place quite like Yankeetown, in the entire state of Florida.
Shell mound was constructed starting 6,000 years ago, by Native Indians over a period of 3,000 years. It is six miles outside Cedar Key on the Gulf Coast. It is believed to be the location of special gatherings for Native American groups across the broader region. Excavations by archaeologists have uncovered discarded oyster, clam, and whelk shells, bones of alligator, turtle and other animal life and the remains of large feasts that took place in the summer – likely celebrating the Summer Solstice.
Cedar Key is a 200-year-old waterfront village and is part of the Big Bend Shellfish Trail (the 80-mile trail from Steinhatchee to Yankeetown) The population is approx. 702 and it encompasses a total area of 2.1 sq miles. The “main street” is probably the most “urban” of our trip. There are mom-and-pop stores and restaurants that line the street with colorfully decorated murals on all the buildings.
Clams are a big deal in Cedar Key. They say they are the sweetest in the world. We made sure we stopped into Tony’s Seafood restaurant to sample their clam chowder. Tony’s is a tiny restaurant with about 10 tables and 2 waitresses who have been there forever. Tony’s clam chowder won three consecutive championships in the annual Great Chowder Cook-Off in Newport, R.I. The competition is judged by tens of thousands of attendees. Cary and I each had a bowl and OMG! It was delicious!