Five reasons to visit St. James City, Pine Island
The 14-mile drive to St. James City, south from the 4-way stop at the Pine Island Town Center to the end of the island, is a drive in the country. You have left the palm tree nurseries behind you. Here are the original pine woods of Pine Island.
- First stop, the Pine Island Feed Store. Trust me. It’s on your left, 2.2 miles down Stringfellow Road. You have entered a Western movie set in the Twilight Zone. A barn-like place. Hay smell. Chickens clucking. If you had on boots, they’d clunk on the wood floor boards. Feed for pets, pigs, chickens, ducks, goats, cows, horses. Fresh eggs for sale. Gardening tools, plants, paint, hardware. Say hey to Peaches, the owner. Saunter back out to your car. Nice to know places like this still exist.
- Since you’re in the mood, might as well stop at the Ragged Ass Saloon next. It’s just 5 miles down the road on your right. The standing invitation here is to “Come by boat, come by bike, come buy beer.” Do as your conscience dictates.
- The lunch bell is ringing at the old school house. Follow Stringfellow to its end, literally to where it stops, without ceremony, at the water’s edge. On your right is the Waterfront Restaurant. The large, windowed (bar) section was the second school in St. James City, built in 1912. Plenty of fresh seafood choices, including alligator.
- The Potter’s Workshop & Gallery, 2 miles back up Stringfellow Road on your right, is the redeeming cultural experience of the day. The potter is Ingeborg, an artist from the Pacific Northwest whose work is prized by collectors. She will show you works, including architectural pieces, in progress. Browse the gallery for a beautiful keepsake.
- Now go take a hike. Less than a mile back up Stringfellow is the Galt Preserve, a 2.2-mile hike through bird-watchers’ heaven and a refreshing end to a rather unusual day.