Weird Florida

25 Years of Weird Florida – Thoughts and Pictures by UseppaGin – …. Useppa Islanders gathered on January 6th for the first 2024 program of the Barbara Sumwalt Museum 25 Years of Weird Florida. Eliot Kleinberg’s 1st book Weird Florida started it all in 1998 with tales of cows in the Intracoastal Waterway, haunted airlines, celebrity sex scandals, and more… stories of Florida shocked and amused. Kleinberg challenged “Is Florida one of the weirdest places on earth?” His second volume in 2006 Weird Florida II: In a State of Shock continued the scandalizing sagas. In a night at the Museum, Useppans loved hearing them all. What does that say about us?

Year End and a New Year

A Year Ends and New Beginnings – Thoughts and Pictures by UseppaGin – Three meetings were held on the last two days of 2023. On December 30th surrounded by history, Sandy and Chauncey Stilwell spoke in the Collier Inn dining room about a possible new direction for Useppa Island. On December 31st in the Firehouse, the Useppa Property Owner’s Association held its annual meeting discussing Stilwell proposals and its view of Useppa past, present, and future. Then the Fire Department held its meeting with the Board officially introducing new Chief Marc Mascarelli and discussing continued updates to Useppa Fire and Rescue operations.

Croquet Round Robin 2023

Croquet Round Robin ’23 – Thoughts and Pictures by UseppaGin – 9 Wicket Croquet on Useppa over the holidays is an annual tradition. But this year with the lawn in rough shape and high tides on the beach, an informal Croquet Round Robin was played. Experienced players were matched with newbies, and the fun began. Impossible shots were made. Easy shots missed. It was a morning of laughter and head shaking. Some things never change.

Scavenger Hunt 2023

2nd Annual Useppa Scavenger Hunt/Poker Run – Thoughts by UseppaGin and Pictures by UseppaGin, Maisie and Anna Street – Teams old and young scattered across the island on Useppa’s 2nd Annual Scavenger Hunt/Poker Run. Beginning at the Tarpon Bar players fanned out from the Collier Inn, down the beach, to the Village and the Marina. It was an afternoon of fun and fellowship. Another Useppa tradition has begun.

Christmas Eve Carols 2023

Christmas Eve Caroling on Useppa – Thoughts and Pictures by UseppaGin – Once upon a time the Island family dressed up in formal holiday attire. We sat in the formal dining room at the Collier Inn. A wassail eggnog lubricated our voices. Our conductor led us with a piano player keeping us on tune. Each of the Twelve days of Christmas was acted out with panache. This year the Inn is closed. We sat outside on the patio wearing comfortable clothes to stay warm. An open bar, but no eggnog. New conductors led us in an old-fashioned night of a cappella caroling. Two brave folks conducted us in the Twelve Days. We ended our night with Silent Night. It wasn’t showtime. It was old-fashioned neighborhood family time. Just what we needed.

Santa on Useppa 2023

Santa Visits Useppa – Thoughts and Pictures by UseppaGin – It was a lazy Christmas Eve afternoon on Useppa and not a creature was stirring except… the kids on Useppa and their families. They all met at the Fire House and got on the wagon for a hayride down the beach to meet Santa. The Firetruck and a parade of golfcarts were close behind. It was a cold day but not cold for someone from the North Pole. Santa couldn’t wait to get off the boat and walk down the dock to meet his young friends. While the reindeer waited on ancient Pine Island Calusa Indian mounds, Santa listened to children, enjoyed some cake and ice cream, had his picture taken with everyone, and then….. back to work. Thank you, Santa, for coming. Thank you to the Useppa Fire Department for making it happen. Thank you to Useppa Island Club for the treats.

Employee Christmas Party 2023

Useppa Island Annual Employee Christmas Party – Pictures and Thoughts by UseppaGin – Music playing, delicious food, good company, and thoughtful words by Sanae and Donald Beckstead describe Useppa’s 2023 Employee Christmas Party. Pete Frazetta is Employee of the Year. Reina Escobar is Employee of the 3rd Quarter and Dean Stern is Employee of the 4th Quarter. Raffle tickets made some folks $50.00 and $100.00 richer. Other gifts rewarded years of employment. A new camera was given to Island Picture Taker UseppaGin. Gifts were given by Employees to Sanae and Donald thanking them for their years of support and kindness. It was a celebration of Useppa behind the scenes.