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Matlacha walking tour a step back in time

By Staff | Dec 24, 2014

The “Flavors of Matlacha” is a 75-minute walking tour of Matlacha Island offered by True Tours of Fort Myers, one of the attractions in the beautiful and many-storied river district of downtown Fort Myers.

This delightful history, public art, eco and taste tour combines Matlacha’s salty history, its story-telling public art, and glimpses of its tropical wildlife with the signature tastes of this Cracker fishing village-turned-artist-colony. At the Matlacha Olde Fish House Marina, you will discover what fish fresh out of the Gulf really tastes like, and at the CW Fudge Factory across the bridge, you will receive your just desserts-a heavenly morsel of fudge infused with any one of the ambrosial fruits of paradise.

The story of Matlacha is stranger than fiction; it is the story of motor-boating drug dealers and squatter pioneers, of famous writers and of fishermen in rebellion. The history of Matlacha is less than a hundred years old, but the human comedy and drama packed into that brief history have inspired best-selling novels and at least one motion picture.

Matlacha is the quirky little town that a bridge built, a bridge known as “the fishingest bridge in the world.” Even the name is peculiar, of disputed origin, and difficult to pronounce while you’re looking at it because the “cha” is pronounced “shay.”

The home of pioneering Florida “Cracker” fishermen, of latte-sipping artists and guitar-strumming, beer-drinking bikers, poets and world-class photographers, Matlacha is also the home of many other varieties of exotic and tropical wildlife. True Tours guests may sight an osprey in its nest or a great blue heron at the water’s edge. If you are very lucky, you may catch a glimpse from the Matlacha Park pier of one of those unlovely but loveable manatees, a sea turtle or a frolicsome dolphin.

This little fishing village that has lately transformed itself into an artists’ colony and tourist attraction, has been dubbed by some, “the new Key West,” and the True Tours historical walking tour of the island will acquaint you in fascinating detail with how it came to be that way. This flavorful tour may be the best 75 minutes of your quirky day in Matlashay.

Tours begin at the famous Lovegrove Gallery and Gardens, 4637 Pine Island Road, Matlacha, every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Reservations and advance ticket purchase is required. Tours are $13 per person plus tax. For reservations and more information about True Tours Historical Walking Tours, visit www.truetours.net or call 239-945-0405.