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New Year. New Day.

Happy New Year! With the holidays behind us, and also 2020, we look forward to getting back on track and doing what we do best. Promoting this beautiful area we call, The Hidden Coast

As of now we know of five local festivals that are planning to hold events in the first part of this year. BrewFest in Perry, Fiddler Crab Fest in Steinhatchee, Spring Fest in Horseshoe Beach, Lower Suwannee Art & Nature Festival in Suwannee and the Arts Festival in Cedar Key. What great news for everyone, and please make plans to attend one, if not all of them. All are outdoor events and venues so you can take advantage of Florida’s beautiful surrounding while supporting these local communities and the hard working people who make them happen. We plan to be at all of them as well, so please stop by our tent and say hello! 

We have a 32-page magazine filled with great information and tidbits. This includes are usual articles submitted by our wonderful local writers, fun things to do and great places to grab a bite. We also welcome The Rusty Hook and Steinhatchee Bait and Tackle into our magazine and thank them for their support. Both of these places are for the serious fisherman in the house and they can steer you in the right direction, with the right bait, to catch “The Big One.”

Look for our blue racks throughout the region and also our social media pages online. Follow us on Facebook to keep up with our weekly posting of events and advertisers in the area. Also, listen for our radio spots on local radio stations and don’t forget about our online store carrying the “ Last of Old Florida” Apparel and promotional items. 

Thanks and hope to see you soon!

How I spent 2020 in 100 words or less.

How do you define a year like this? Better yet, how I spent 2020 in 100 words or less. Not a story you can tell your neighbor or kids because we all lived it, but boy what story it will be for their children’s children. Looking at the unknown is always somewhat scary, but we pulled through it, like this country always does. Even with our TV’s yelling back at us we, as a people, knew what was right and how to act. It’s quite extraordinary how the media has divided this country. Yes I said it. The media has indeed divided this country – or at least tried to. And if you take a minute and really think about it. Webster defines it as: “noun 1. a person who reports, especially one employed to report news or conduct interviews for newspapers or broadcasts.” Where does it say “news-maker”? Where does it say “opinion-maker”. Folks, these people are just like you and me. They are trying to make a buck and live a good life. If you think there is an allegiance to any of the top, so-called networks, today I am afraid to say, “you are wrong.” I believe any one of them would jump ship for the next network if the amount of zeros were to their liking. Remember that. Educate yourself and listen to all sides of the story. For goodness sakes, don’t get your information off social media. All things and every thing can be tainted. Read, listen and make up your own mind. Don’t let someone else do it for you. As I read on social media over the summer, “Don’t believe everything on the internet just because it has my face next to it.” – Abraham Lincoln. With that said, I will leave it alone. 

The year started out very strong for our magazines. We hit our magical sales goals in March and then the sky fell. We pulled back, pulled forward, went up and went down. We did all we could for our advertisers but by September many of them had pulled the plug on the year and planned to start again in 2021. Who can blame them. We appreciate all of our advertisers who stuck with us through the year. I know it was a tough decision to keep advertising especially when every dollar counted and not many of them were coming in. My old boss in this business once told me, “In bad times advertising is always the first to go, but we are always the first to come back.” 

We ended the year at 24 pages for this edition. The page count may be down but the content is perfect. We have have everything you will want. Articles on history, fishing, the outdoors plus a wide variety of unique shopping and excellent restaurants in the area. When you come to the area, and we hope you do, please let our advertisers know you saw them in our magazine or on our website. 

Finally, take a minute to browse our online store. We have a wide selection of shirts, hats, decals and magnets to chose from. One-of-a-kind gifts for that hard to buy person on your list. We plan to offer some great deals, so keep an eye out as we get closer to the holidays. 

As bad as 2020 was, in the end I am grateful for the good health of my family. I am blessed for the gifts I have been given and I thank the Good Lord for them often. We’ve made great memories over the years (including this year), and I look forward for what the future holds for us. Friends have come and gone in my life, but family is consistent. And as my wife says, “Never turn your back on your family.” No better words. From our family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas and happy and healthy new year. 

A Big Bounce.

I was driving home last week, after a day of selling, and drove through a tremendous thunderstorm. Plenty of rain, wind, thunder and lightening. 15 minutes down the road, it was sunshine and a beautiful sunset. Mother Nature’s way of saying, the journey will not be easy, but the rewards will be great. I always told my kids, it’s the best free entertainment you will get all day – a sunrise and a sunset. Seems like we all have lost sight of that anymore. So addicted to our TV’s, computers and cellphones that we are letting the world go right by us. I’ve said many times that I feel so lucky to have grown up in this beautiful state and have so many things close. The beautiful beaches of the Atlantic Ocean, the great fishing and outdoor activities of the Gulf of Mexico, tubing down the world renowned Ichetucknee River and of course the theme parks of Orlando. I feel even more blessed to have been able to stay in this area and raise a family and start this business. We will never be able to say thank you enough to all of our advertisers and readers who have made it possible. Incredibly enough, our next edition for November/December will begin our fifth year in print.

We were a little uneasy going into this current issue. July/August had been very slow and our page count dropped to 24 pages. No fault of anyones for sure, as we are all traveling this road together. This round, I am happy to say, brought a big bounce. We are back to 32 pages and we have some old friends who have joined us again with advertising and also contributing articles.

Toni Collins and Jeff Cary lead the pack with excellent articles on history and a spoof on the local critters thoughts on COVID-19. Rhonda Rogers-Bardsley has again sent us some articles regarding the latest happenings in Steinhatchee and how they fared through the summer. The Cedar Key Historical Society sent us an informative article on how you can help support this great organization, and I happy to say we have Mike Farmer, Salt Addictions, back in with us as well. Mike is a heck fisherman and he shares his knowledges of fishing over the years in the waters off Steinhatchee. Finally Natalie Stephens, of UF/IFAS NCBS gives us a great overview on the creation of the Living Shorelines in Cedar Key.

Cedar Key Canvas, Anglers RV Campground and Pelican Realty are back in with us for this edition. In addition Cedar Lakes Woods & Gardens gave us a great cover shot and The Lower Suwannee Art & Nature Festival is starting early looking for vendors for their event in March, 2021. We thank all of them for their continued support of our little magazine. We know it has not been easy.

Be on the lookout for our last edition of the year in November. I, for one, will be happy to put 2020 behind me. We look forward to 2021 with guarded optimism and hope for a return of some type of normalcy.

Back in print.

I didn’t think hitting the “send” button would ever feel as good as it did last week. What was sent was files to our printer to “print” a July/August edition. What a long spring and summer it has been so far. Our region, our state, our country and our world has been turned upside down. Inundated with bad news everywhere you look is enough to turn even the most positive person a little blue. We have turned off the TV in our house, and although it doesn’t make the world all better, it does make our household and well-being a whole lot better. Try it for a week, maybe even two. Turn off the TV, radio and disconnect (as best possible) from any social media. I will guarantee you will be amazed by the beautiful scenery around you and the wonderful people in your life. Contrary to what you see and hear, it is a wonderful world out there. And we are showing our little piece of it with our new issue.

All of our regular advertisers are back with us – plus some new ones and old ones. We have Toni Collins and Jeff Cary giving us insight on the area with their articles about local history and the outdoors. We also have the Steinhatchee Chamber showing off all their new culinary choices with the invasion of food trucks in their town. See, there is a plus side to this mess already!

Of course, scalloping season is in full swing this month. A huge part of local economies that so desperately need a shot in the arm right now. I say it every year, if you have never been, please make plans to do it. It is a fun time for the whole family that you do outdoors and in the Gulf of Mexico. What is better than that? All you need to bring is a mask and some flippers. UF IFAS has a great article regarding the dos and don’ts. So make plans now!

We look to continue our expansion of racks over the summer as well. Marion, Sumter and Alachua counties are on the radar. The Florida Welcome Centers opened last week, so we will be filling our rack there as well. We also plan to introduce some new items to our apparel line for “The Last of Old Florida.” Keep an eye out for these to arrive in July!

We thank all of of our advertisers for picking right back up with us. We also thank you, the reader, for your continued support of our little magazine. It’s good to be back in print!

Until September, enjoy our magazine and enjoy the world around you.

They shake off adversity.

Our last printed edition dropped the first week of March and it seems so long ago. Since then we have learned the words social distancing, flatten the curve, pandemic, and quarantine. All new words to our vocabulary. We watched our country come to a halt almost over night. No restaurants, no bars, no churches, no beaches, no parties, no Easter, no haircuts and no sports. The last one hitting our home particularly hard.

In our portion of the world we saw businesses close and cancel advertising immediately. We were in Cedar Key the day the Arts Festival was cancelled and that was just the beginning. One after another festivals and events cancelled throughout the region. A ripple that turned into a wave. No visitors, no money – simple as that. A majority of the area we cover is consisted of small towns and communities. These events, scheduled once or twice a year, are relied on by many businesses and individuals. To lose one is hard, to lose all of them is devastating. But I have faith.

This is a tough part of Florida and these residents work hard. They shake off adversity and keep going. We know that because we started our magazine back in 2016 (right after Tropical Storm Hermine). Although it was barely a tropical storm the area was hit hard by flooding. What transpired afterwards was that the region banded together to help each other out by cleaning, feeding and rebuilding. It was an amazing sight. That spirit is out there, not only on The Hidden Coast, but in our great country. Its been a long two months, but I know we will all come together, like we have done countless times before, and help each other to the finish line.

We will not print a May/June edition. Instead we will continue to promote this beautiful area all online. We will keep updating our website and social media and creating AdWord campaigns to let people know “we are ready, when you are ready.” Our fingers and toes are crossed that we will be back out on the streets in July with our next printed edition (Just in time for scalloping season).

In the meantime stay safe, stay well and we will see you soon.

Hello Spring!

Turn off the TVs and computers. Put down the cell phones and newspapers and just unplug for the day or the weekend. Give yourself a chance to see that world is not as bad as it seems. This a beautiful area to recharge and clear your head and your lungs. Like the rest of the world around us, this area is made up of hard working, friendly people who welcome you to discover this beautiful and indeed “Hidden” part of our state. Come see it and come experience if for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Spring is here and with it comes several outdoor events and festivals in the area. These are the 18th Annual Florida State Bluegrass Festival and Chili Cook-off (on our current cover), The Big Bend Brew Fest, the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, The Trenton Quilt Fest, The Lower Suwannee Art & Nature Festival, The Horseshoe Beach Spring Festival, the Cedar Lakes Woods and Gardens 6th Annual Garden Show and Spring Festival, The Taking the Crown Kingfish Tournament, The Cross City Airport Fly-In Cruise-In and Business Expo and The Cedar Key Pirate Invasion. Each event has it’s own unique identity and you can find information on all of them in our current edition.

The Levy County Historical Society has a new home and Toni Collins has an informative article about where it is and how it all came to be. We congratulate this group and wish them well. Toni has been a big supporter of ours since day one, and if you are familiar with our magazine I know you have read some of her wonderful articles about the rich history of this area. Jeff Cary brings us an in-depth article on the Cross City Fly-In later this month and Jason Bryne gives us another interesting look at history in Central Florida.

We welcome some new advertisers to this edition. Smokin’ Jay’s BBQ Shack in Steinhatchee and Chiefland Billards Sports Bar off U.S. 19 in Chiefland. We also have two Cedar Key pages promoting local businesses in conjunction with the Arts Festival happening in April. We thank all of them for their support of our little magazine, and please let them know you saw them in our magazine!

2020 has been extremely busy for us, and we proud to bring you another edition of our magazine. Stick around and see how we do this year. We are growing leaps and bounds into new areas of this state, and with that comes new businesses, new stories and new friends to meet. We currently have 40+ racks throughout the region and we just reached an agreement with six restaurants that will have our rack on location! These are located up and down U.S. 19 and of course we still have our rack at the official welcome center on I-75. This along with racks at the Sun Stop Food Store locations on the I-10 & I-75 and a strong online presence gives you plenty of options to find us.

Finally, don’t forget our Hidden Coast apparel! Summer is coming and we have a wide selection of shirts and hats.

Thank you again for reading our magazine and we will see you in May!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We closed out 2019 with several new additions to both magazines. Additional racks, online advertising, a new apparel line and new territory. It was a very good, and a very busy, year. We succeeded in printing 18 magazines in 2019, with the addition of our real estate magazine, and I am very proud of the products we produced. We met several new friends along the way and we look forward to working with everyone in the new year and new decade!

The new year always kicks off with the several events going on in the area. They are the Steinhatchee Fiddler Crab Festival, the Trenton Quilt Festival and the Cedar Key Arts Festival. These are all wonderful events for both young and old! The organizations that put these events on are quite impressive and we tip our hat to all the hard working volunteers involved. Make plans to attend one, if not all of them, this year.

We have several new advertisers in this edition thanks in part to the Fiddler Crab Festival. We offered a festival page, similar to the one we did for the Seafood Festival in October, and the response was overwhelming. We sold out the two pages in one day! A big thanks to all of these businesses for supporting our little magazine.

Our regular article contributors bring us some great reading for this edition as well. All types of outdoors reads plus a couple of interesting articles on “The Great Hot Springs of Sebring” and the “155th anniversary of the Civil War skirmish at Station No. 4 in Cedar Key.” The reenactment takes place next month. The weather in warming up and they give you some excellent ideas for getting out and enjoying the beautiful North Florida Winter!

A final thank you to my family for all the help in 2019. As mentioned earlier we produced 18 magazines last year, and I could not have done it without their support and help. We are going on our fourth year and it has been not only a fun journey, but an easy one thanks in part to my wife and my kids. Look for our next edition in March and in the meantime be on the lookout for our sister publication, The Hidden Coast Real Estate Magazine.

End of a year. End of a decade.

Our last issue for 2019. The end of the year. The end of the decade.

There is so much going on during the holidays in this area, that I felt it wouldn’t be fair to single out one particular town for the cover. I contacted Rory Brennan and asked him if he had a photo that would express the holiday message for the entire area. Boy, did he deliver! Our cover shot was exactly what I was looking for and I can’t thank him enough for sending it over. He does great work and you can find some of his photos online through the Cedar Key Chamber and the Cedar Key Lions Club.

Speaking of Cedar Key, the Historical Museum has a schedule of events through the first of the year in the edition. Our special two pages promoting Cedar Key businesses is in again as well. We enjoyed ourselves again at the Seafood Festival in October. So glad the weather passed quickly and they were able to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this great event. Total sales of “The Last of Old Florida” apparel showed that we had sold over $300 worth of hats and shirts! Thanks to all who stopped by our tent to say hello.

We have two new customers in this issue, Twice the Ice | Cedar Key and Yellow Jacket RV Resort in Old Town. Denise McMeekin and her husband have the perfect site for Twice the ice in Cedar Key and Bibi oversees the beautiful Yellow Jacket RV Resort on the banks of the Suwannee River. Welcome and thank you being part of our magazine!

Two festivals are getting the word out early in the edition. The Lower Suwannee Art & Nature Festival and the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts both will be taking place in early 2020. See dates and information for both in this month’s issue. UF | IFAS nature Coast Biological Station also has an ad with us for this round. An amazing facility in Cedar Key. They are open every Friday 1-4pm and house a number of local species.

We have our usual article submissions in the edition highlighting rich history and loads of outdoor entertainment to keep you busy. This includes A Victorian Christmas in Thomasville, Georgia and The Kayak Experience in Horseshoe Beach. Jeff Cary also details another great adventure in his article, Day Tripping the Hidden Coast.

As the holidays approach don’t forget some of the great shopping available in the area. You will find the perfect gifts in your hunt throughout the region! Some of our advertisers are promoting holiday deals and gift ideas, and I am sure you will have success finding something for that “hard to buy” person on your list.

We celebrate our fourth anniversary this month. Amazing that it’s been that long already. We have produced over 20 magazines in that timeframe and learned much along the way. Tips and tricks that I brought with me in my years of publishing, but most I had to learn by “on the job training.” Design comes easy to me – Sales not so much. At least in the beginning. I now feel more relaxed in the role and proud to go and sell the product we have created. Many thanks to ALL our advertisers over the years. Many have been with us since the beginning and we are very grateful. We appreciate their trust and support in our magazine and look forward to serving them for a long time to come. We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year (and new decade). See you in January…

September already?

September is here, and where the summer went I have no idea. We stayed
very busy throughout July & August and we are now in a position
to announce our big news from the last post. We are expanding south into
Citrus and Sumter counties starting with this edition. This is a
beautiful area of the state and that is growing leaps and bounds! If you
have never been to the area I urge you take a day trip and explore the
surroundings. Homosassa, Crystal River, Inverness, Dunedin, Hernando,
Beverly Hills, Lecanto and The Villages are all located in this area.
With this we are tripling our rack presence throughout the North Florida
area. Although we cover the seven counties of The Hidden Coast we
distribute our magazines well beyond those county lines. In fact, you
can currently find us in 15 counties, from the Gulf to the Atlantic! We
continue to have our rack at the Florida Welcome Center on I-75 and we
also have our partnership with S&S Food Stores along the I-75 and I-10
corridor. These are valuable tools to help spread the word about our
publications.

It has been a lot of work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am
blessed to have a family that pitches in whenever there is a need and I
am truly blessed to be living and working in this part of the country. I
sometimes don’t even notice the incredible scenery I drive by daily
since I have so much on my mind. I am reminded of that when I tell people
what I do for a living and their answer is always the same, “Wow, are you lucky!
What a job.”

We are excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Cedar Key
Seafood Festival on our September cover. We took part in this event last
year and plan to be back again this year. The Cedar Key Lions Club puts
on quite a show and they are a super bunch to work with. We teamed up
with the chamber in late spring and summer and worked on a couple side
projects in addition to our magazines. In return they helped us create a
two-page special section promoting strictly Cedar Key businesses.
The feed back was tremendous and both pages sold out quickly! A big
thanks for Sue and Nancy for all their time and effort.

We also have our usual advertisers and article contributors in as well.
Leslie Noel Sturmer and Savanna Barry, both from the University of
Florida IFAS program, contributed an informative article on the
Big Bend Shellfish Trail that spreads throughout the area. Jeff Cary
submitted another great article about his diving expeditions and
some of the treasures, and friends, he finds below the surface.
Toni Collins has the first of a two part series in this edition, detailing the
end of the Civil War and the collapse of the Confederate government.
Interesting piece of history, for sure, that all came to an end just up I-75
in South Georgia.

As mentioned earlier we will be at the Cedar Key Seafood Festival in
October. Please look for our tent and stop by and say hello. We will
have giveaways along with some other goodies! We will also be doing the
the VisitFLA Fall Showcase at the I-75 Welcome Center in November. Like
last year we don’t do a lot of trade shows, but these fall within 10 days of
one another again in 2019.

Finally, our 2nd big announcement. We are now selling “The Last of Old
Florida” apparel on our website! This comes in the form of shirts and
hats with much more on the horizon. We thought that tagline was perfect
when we started our magazine four years ago, and we decided to take it a
step further. Please take a moment and take a peek at what we have – and
keep checking back! The holidays are coming… hint, hint.
Thehiddencoastmag.com

Enjoy the fall and the beautiful change of season we have locally. Until the next
time… thank you for reading our little magazine.

Dog Days & Summer Time!

The dog days of summer are officially here, and what a hot summer it has been already. I swear it’s getting hotter but my kids continue to tell me I’m just getting older. We are over half way through 2019 already and time continues to show us no mercy. It will be back to school, halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas before we know it! We hope you have time to revel in the summertime months, and our July/August edition is filled with ideas and information to help you explore and enjoy this beautiful area we call, The Hidden Coast.

The scalloping season kicked off last month for parts of the area, we have already been out to try our luck. My wife’s family from Georgia came down and we spent one weekend in June doing our best to hunt them down. We went way north out of Steinhatchee and finally hit the jackpot near Dekle and Keaton Beach. We had close to 20 people in our group and everybody was able to find at least one from the Georgia crew. It never fails at the end of the day, no matter how many people go out in the boat, they all scatter when it’s time to clean them! My son and I enjoyed taking care of it on the dock of the new Steinhatchee River Club and spoke with several people about their day’s fortune and misfortune.

Seahag Marina is on our current cover along with several other businesses and contributors from the Steinhatchee area. Our charter captains have written some excellent articles about the do’s and dont’s of the season and IFAS gives a great overview of the scalloping experience. Brian Smith gives a first hand encounter of facing a summer storm last July and it’s quite a read! Finally Toni Collins gives us her usual great historical stories with two articles, and we welcome Jason Bryne as one of our new contributors. Jason gives us the story of an unexpected train passenger from the early days of the area. Welcome Jason, and we thank you for being part of our publication!

All of our wonderful advertisers are back in with us for July and we can’t thank them enough for their continued support of our magazine. We have added 12 outside racks to the area now, and we will soon be placing indoor wire racks throughout the area as well. We have two big announcements coming later in the summer, so keep checking back with us!

We thank you for reading our magazine and we are looking towards our next edition for September already. This will be a big deal for Cedar Key as they will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cedar Key Seafood Festival. We took part in this fun event last year and we are looking forward to attending again this year.

As always, please let us know how we are doing. If you like what we are doing let us know. If there is something we can do better, let us know. If you have an idea for a future story, let us know. In the end, this book is all about promoting this area and making your, the readers, experience a good one while you are here. Thanks and happy summer!