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Letter: Myakka

Welcome to Florida and another day in paradise. Today, instead of complaining about all the bunnies and turtles that the developers buried alive (I am not a Karen), I am going to tell you about Myakka and how it is a unique and eccentric place.

Not Myakka City. Myakka.

Myakka is a "geographic region." It is the 225 square miles that comprises the Myakka River watershed. Myakka is a land island. That means high ground in Florida. In some places it is over 70 feet above sea level. Myakka River head is across the street from Charley Snyder's tree.nursery on SR 64. Myakka touches three counties: Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte.

Myakka is wild and beautiful. We proudly speak of our gated community. Not the guard shack kind, the farm gate kind (not that there is a thing in the world wrong with a guard shack). In Myakka we know our neighbors. We know where our milk and cheese comes from -- the award winning Dakin Dairy. Myakkans also know where their beef comes from --Kibler Ranch. As an added benefit, the beautifully managed pastures of Kibler Ranch act as a carbon sink (in case you are worried about carbon). Pastures provide open spaces for the wildlife in the area. In a complimentary fashion, Faulkner Farms grows the cucumbers that make the pickle chips that go on your Kibler burger.

You know those horses you see at Anna Maria Island? Yup, they are from Myakka.

Myakkans meet for coffee and good food at either the Silver Star Restaurant on SR 70 in Myakka City or the Myakka City Grill (not a city - a single flashing yellow light, feed store, post office, you know). On any given day, I may see Sparky Baxley, our local IT lady and social director. She organizes the Myakka Moonlighters free concerts. They are held behind the gas station at the flashing yellow light the third Saturday of every month from 6-9 pm except during the summer.

Her husband works at the feed store. Or maybe I see Carol Felts. She is our local BOCC bulldog. Maybe Judy Rudd walks in. She is everybody's go-to when in need and our conscience when in trouble. Alicia Fretz likes to eat there. She is the president of the POWER group (preserve our wildlife, environment and resources).

But it's not all coffee and people. There is more entertainment to be had in Myakka!

Myakka's Gold Apiary is also you-know-where. They chose a pithy name for their honey.Ask an old timer about Myakka Gold. It's a great story. And it's not about HONEY!

There are native plant nurseries. Crowley's, Florida Native and the famous Snyder and Son Tree Nursery. All great destinations for a gardener's day trip.

Additional reasons to visit Myakka are the Myakka River State Park and Lake Manatee State Park. Another entertainment option is Hermann's Royal Lipizzans. When they are not touring, the lipizzan stallions perform for locals at the stable on Singletary Road. You can even walk through the stable and visit with the horses before performances and during intermission. Google it! And come spend a fun day in the country.

Dakin Dairy is another Myakka TREASURE. Open to the public weekdays, tours can be scheduled. Or come on your own and have lunch in the Dakin Cafe. Take home Dakin ice cream and cheeses. Their chocolate milk is a cult favorite. You can even schedule a photo session for your child with a newborn calf. Just precious!

The Myakka Elephant Ranch also offers educational tours. For a little extra $$$ you can even help wash an elephant. I don't know about you, but splashing around in the water on a hot day with a pachyderm sounds like fun.

And just when you thought you heard it all, there are even bears! Monica Welde's Bearadise Ranch also offers private tours. You won't get to wash a bear though. Bearadise is also a unique venue for private events.

Sunsets in Myakka are as beautiful as at the beaches. There is NO LIGHT POLLUTION (yet). The night skies are much appreciated by local astronomers.

So you see (and I did tell you so), Myakka is ECCENTRIC AND UNIQUE and much deserving of preservation.

So, for the third week in a row, I am asking you, dear reader, to loudly argue against further intrusion by subdivisions into the Myakka countryside. We must not allow Rangeland and 44th to be extended any farther east.

Thank you for reading, and come out east and make some new friends.

Cathy Strong
Myakka City


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