Sunset in the Virgins

Southpoint Anchorage, Stuart, FL

Just a day’s hop down the ICW from Vero Beach lies the St. Lucie River as it crosses from the St. Lucie Inlet, heads off to the west, and eventually becomes the Okeechobee Waterway. About five miles up the river is the mid-scale town of Stuart. That’s not to say that the homes along the river are anything but luxurious, but the town itself has less of south Florida’s opulence and pretension and more of old Florida’s graciousness and authenticity. A quarter-mile stroll along the Riverwalk can take one from downtown’s art galleries, restaurants, and specialty gift shops to the Southpoint Anchorage Marina. And if one happens to be a cruiser, the marina has been the starting point. Easily accessible around the St. Lucie’s third bend behind only one drawbridge, this mooring field is a gem off the beaten path. When we needed a protected and inexpensive place to leave Caloosa Spirit for what turned out to be an unexpected two month sojourn up north (six weeks longer than originally planned), we couldn’t have had a better spot. Harbormaster Buzz Billue was ever-so accommodating in giving us a lift to and from the dock with all our luggage, so that we could leave the dinghy on the boat, and we trusted that he would keep a watchful eye on her while we were away. All facilities were clean, neat, and functional, and the ambience lends itself to a kick-back cruiser style. Publix, Ace Hardware, and the post office are all a short walk away. On a previous visit to Stuart we also found a canvas shop within walking distance at which we got a timely and inexpensive bimini repair done. The only down-side to the Southpoint Anchorage mooring field is the nearby train bridge that gets heavily used. Sleeping through the nightly rail schedule takes some getting used to. Nonetheless, we highly recommend this town and this mooring field on Florida’s east coast. It is well worth the short side trip off the ICW.

Posted Sunday March 12, 2006

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