We have truly fallen in love with biking on these little islands, so when one of my pickleball friends recommended Gasparilla Island, we decided to check it out.
The island has a bike path created from a railroad right-of-way that once ran the length of the village. This provides almost seven miles of bike paths and is the best way to really see the island.
We did not see any of the iguanas that inhabit the island, but ever since a resident released some in 1970 they have gone forth and multiplied. There were many egrets and pelicans along the route, however.
We parked in Boca Grande which is located in the center of the island and headed to the southernmost point first.
On our way back we stopped at the South Beach Bar & Grille for lunch.
This is the only public restaurant in the area for dining on the Gulf of Mexico. Left Brain had a grouper sandwich and I opted for the seafood strudel, a blend of various seafood and cream cheese wrapped in phyllo dough and topped with a lobster sauce....yummy!
After lunch we strolled along the beach and enjoyed the view of the ocean.
|some of my shell loving friends have asked for shell photos|
|not sure what this was, but it was pretty and called out to have it's photo taken|
After remounting our bikes we ventured to the northern tip of the island and found this cool tree. It resembles the banyan trees but is actually a Cuban laurel tree. I just had to crawl inside of it and look around.
We got through most of our ride before the sprinkles started. I made my camera as safe and secure as possible and we waited under a thick leafed tree during the heaviest part of the showers.
Most of it were just light sprinkles and didn’t interfere with the fun of biking at all.
Since we were parked right next to Banyan Street I had to go and see if for myself. This street is shaded by a canopy of Banyan trees and is a popular venue for island weddings.
The original trees were planted in 1915 and have since then intertwined to a point the trees blend together.
Banyans are ficus trees, nature to India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. The “banyan” comes from the Hindi word “banian” which means trader. That’s because many in India did their business, buying and selling wares under the shade of the banyan tree.
It is considered a sacred tree in their culture and is often planted around Buddhist and Hindu temples. You can feel the spirituality of the trees as you walk beneath them. They impart a feeling of harmony just being in their company. It was a great way to end our 13 mile bike ride.
Long Live the Queen of the Banyans