Nope. I didn’t sail off the edge of the Earth. I’ve just been swamped finishing up my latest book, Seafood Lover’s Florida for Globe Pequot Press. I also put up a new blog, SeafoodLoversFlorida.com where I’ll be showcasing excerpts from the book and announcing signings and appearances, after it releases. In my seafood-seeking travels this year I have found some fascinating small-town Florida fodder so I’ll be covering some of it here.
Along the way I’ve also come across some interesting off-the-beaten-path spots that happened not to be strictly seafood-related. That was the case when good friend and author of Umatilla, Images of America (Arcadia Publishing 2010) Becky Dreisbach took me to the Lake Harris Hideaway, not far from Tavares. Scenic Lake Harris fills the space in between Tavares and Leesburg. We had been at the Mount Dora Seafood Festival nearby when it began to turn stormy, and Becky knew the perfect place to go get out of the rain. Lake Harris Hideaway does have a roof, but it’s still an open-air bar, grill, and live entertainment (country, classic rock) venue; and it’s a popular biker joint. It sits on a picturesque little cypress-shaded cove with boat docks and a view out across the lake. Ice cold beer, giant juicy burgers, and home-made chili are the mainstay menu items, but they also have some seafood: peel-and-eat shrimp, crab cakes, and clams, and they do a Friday fish fry.
Yes, that’s an alligator (just a little guy, a 5-footer) swimming up to the Hideaway to see what’s up.