Spending a month on the Indian River has allowed us to learn quite a bit…including how it was that the river’s name came about. More on that later….
Part of being a fulltime RVer is having to be able to deal with not having your tried and true services you are used to from back home. While ‘experiencing new things’ is what we are hoping to accomplish on the road, there are some things we need and want that require us to think outside the box. First and foremost is food. That can be divided into two categories: groceries and restaurants. In the grocery column, we had a great selection of supermarkets in Grand Rapids. Out on the barrier island, our one and only large supermarket that is convenient to us is Publix. That is a good thing, as Publix is a first rate chain.
In fact, our Publix store gained national attention when it sold one of the three winning Powerball tickets in the recent big jackpot. While we weren’t the winners, we did find it amusing to see all the satellite trucks in the parking lot that day. All of the major networks and news organizations were there. 🙂
One thing we are enjoying here are a few specialty markets. Our friends Rod and Mary pointed us in the direction of these gems. The first (and most convenient) is the Melbourne Beach Supermarket. While not truly what would we would call a ‘supermarket’ in the traditional chain store sense, this mom and pop store is a culinary dream come true.
If you like wine…which we do…this is your place! There are three aisles devoted to it, along with weekend wine tasting. 🙂
While their selection of common dry goods is limited, their choices for specialty items like spices, oils and seasonings is outstanding!
They have a wide selection of olives; more than we have ever seen in one place.
There is also a great selection of meats and seafood available, including a weekly special that is unbelievable. Two weeks ago, we purchased whole boneless, skinless, fresh chicken breasts for $1.59 a pound. They were delishhhhh…
The other place Mary and Rod pointed us to is Downtown Produce. This market is located in West Melbourne, so it is more of a destination than a convenient store for us.
And while they do have a lot of fresh produce, that is certainly not their only focus.
They have a well stocked deli. The day we were there, we saw a couple of firemen who stopped in to grab lunch, and there were several other service workers in the lot, so we assume they were dong the same.
Or maybe a pastry?
They also had an extensive wine and beer selection, along with one of the better gluten free aisles we’ve come across. Truly a delightful place.
With my food allergy, we tend to cook at home a lot. But with eating out being a social experience, I’m usually able to find something at most every restaurant. It’s not a big deal at all. The reason I even bring it up is because of the delightful place we found in Melbourne called The Bald Strawberry. It is a dedicated gluten free restaurant, complete with allergen free alcoholic beverages.
This may sound odd, but they make their sandwiches and pizzas on gluten free waffles. They are yummy! It is a family run eatery that seems to have a loyal following.
While we are on the subject of restaurants, we learned that friends from Michigan, Terry and Diane, were going to be in Orlando this week. Diane and Diana used to teach together…and there was another friend (and Diane’s sister-in-law) named Diane who taught with them, just to confuse things. 🙂
Both Terry and Diane are recently retired, and they are here to share a Harry Potter weekend at Univesal Studios with their grandchildren. We met in Orlando at Bahama Breeze for lunch. Before we left Michigan back in December, we met for breakfast in Byron Center. We decided to aim for dinner in Vegas sometime in the future. 🙂
Another challenge for fulltime RVers is finding health care. Dentistry has come up with a solution to this with the nationwide chain Aspen Dental. We’ve yet to try them, but we know others who have with decent results. Prescriptions are easily handled for us through Walgreens and CVS, and we know many people who use Walmart. We have yet to come up with a nationwide system of medical doctors (an opportunity exists!) but Diana came up with a solution for being away from our chiropractors back in Michigan.
The Joint is a nationwide chain of chiropractic offices that do not require appointments or X-rays. They do not take insurance, but offer very low prices. We found the Melbourne office to be very professional and modern, and the doctors were outstanding. They are open seven days a week. We each received a barcoded key tag that allows us to go to any clinic in the country without filling out new paperwork. Check them out at thejoint.com.
So, back to how the Indian River got its name. Diana was talking with her cousin Duane the other day about the lack of traffic on A1A on our barrier island, as compared to Gulf Boulevard on Estero Island at Fort Myers Beach on the other side of the state. After she got off the phone she asked me, “What is the name of our barrier island?” That little question led to a very interesting internet search. It turns out that this island had been inhabited by an ancient tribe of natives for the 4000 years prior to Juan Ponce de Leon stepping ashore here on his expedition from Puerto Rico in 1513. The tribe was named Ays (pronounced Ah-ees) by the Spanish, although it is believed that Ays was the name of the chief. It turns out the Ays and the Spanish didn’t gel, and the natives were eventually wiped out by the conquistadors….but not before Juan Ponce himself was the recipient of one of their poison arrows, eventually claiming his life. Fast forward to the 21st century. With the celebration of the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon’s landing coming up in 2013, a local resident was pushing to have the yet unnamed barrier island hold the moniker Ponce de Leon Island. When it came up to a vote in Cocoa Beach, one councilman asked the gentleman if he had given any consideration to the Ays people who preceded the Spanish. He said he had, looked to both sides and said, “I don’t see any Indians standing here asking you for anything.” The councilman retorted “That’s because the Spanish killed them all.” Thus began a contentious period, resulting in the island’s communities and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names stepping away and leaving the island without a name. In the process of researching all of this, I discovered the origin of the name ‘Indian River’. When the Spanish mapped the area, they named the water on the west side of the island ‘Rio de Ays’. Roughly translated, it’s the River of the Ays Indians…or Indian River.
So next time someone sends you a box of Indian River citrus, you will know the history of the name. 🙂
Buy Indian River fruit from Amazon here
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