Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What art offers is space - a certain breathing room for the spirit. ~John Updike

"Royal Palm Manatees" painted by Scott "Scooter" Thompson.

My first home was a boat.  My birth father was a frustrated fisherman who worked for the phone company during the day but fished every other waking breathing moment of his life.  We lived on a small charter boat that he finagled a slip for at a small city-owned marina in Clearwater back in 1958.  I learned to swim before I could walk.  For reasons beyond my control I have always had an affinity for the smell of diesel fuel, bait buckets, & men that...shall we say.. have potential.  Between Jesus & Dr. Phil I pretty much have all those issues under control except I just can't pass by a marina full of boats without stopping and taking a look around. 

Imagine my delight at stumbling upon this little treasure right in my own backyard.  I was told by an Englewood resident that the restaurant Zeke's had the best hamburgers in town.  You just have to find the darn place.  Zeke's is located in the back of Royal Palm Marina so the first time I tried to find it I didn't drive far enough to the back of the complex. I have now eaten there at least once a week for a month but not just for the food. 

 Zeke's Bayside is a little hole in the wall of a restaurant but a treasure of a hole in the wall.  The views of Lemon Bay & the Intercoastal Waterway are spectacular.   The ambiance is quaint old-Florida charm.  But my favorite thing about Zeke's is the seawall that wraps itself around 3 sides of the building that has been divided up by local artists and nautical murals have been painted on each 7' slab.  What a great idea for a contest and where was I?? So Zeke's is my new favorite eatery where I can get my diesel fuel & bait bucket fix and have a nice relaxing lunch with the Hubbs. (who btw does not fish) 

Some marina's just paint everything a bland marine gray but not the Royal Palm Marina.

Every artist was assigned a 7' slab of seawall that contained the accouterments of any marina - pvc drain pipes, fire extinguishers, ect.

Artist Deborah Teachout Bailey captured the camaraderie of the local redneck yacht club.

Rows of redfish, snook, mullet, & tarpon were Artist Nichole Moranda's first attempt at an outdoor mural.

Those junction boxes just blend right into the mangroves.

The fish's eye is actually a pvc drain hole.

This mural is entitled "Boca Grande Treasure".  Artist Kelly Reark studied art & biology.  Her mural captures the look of the water with a fisherman's eye.

The walkway is skinny so be careful backing up to take pictures.

Artist Linda Lancaster had to incorporate a length of pvc drain pipe and the seawall is missing a big chunk on the top left.

This mural is titled "Feeding Time".

"Pirate Sunset" by Artist Melody Wright smack dab in front of the bait tanks.

Notice the water feature on this mural. "Dolphins" by Artist Sally Milne

"Sophie's Song" by Artist Cindy Reynolds

Zeke's is a dog-friendly restaurant.  "Dog Days at the Royal Palm Marina" by Artist Marsha Banas.

"Turtles" by Artist Michelle Walker sits below the bike rack.  Royal Palm Marina is within walking distance of the Historic Downtown Dearborn shopping district.

Untitled mural by Artist Devin O'Sullivan.

The Royal Palm Marina welcomes you to visit anytime they are open to view the seawall murals for yourself.