Homosassa is a laid-back community on Florida’s Nature Coast. Old Homosassa isn’t exactly a place; it’s more a state of mind, the heart and soul of the community. Many people come here to fish or hunt scallops and other shellfish. Boating is very popular. The young at heart explore the rivers and creeks in canoes and kayaks searching for manatees. Guided manatee watching tours that supply snorkeling gear are also available. Paddlers have the best chance of encountering wildlife because their craft is quiet and capable of reaching areas of shallow water. They may come across river otters, dolphins, many species of wading birds, and other creatures.
The spiritual center of Old Homosassa is Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park, easily one of Florida’s smallest. The ruins are the remains of a once-thriving mill used for the production of molasses, sugar and sugar syrup from sugar cane. The absentee owner, David Yulee, took advantage of slave labor to grow crops and process the sugar cane. It was abandoned during the American Civil War. A series of placards describe the processes that once were employed here.
A popular gathering place is MacRae’s, which offers boat rentals, various fishing and boating supplies, motel lodging, a restaurant and other services. The public boat dock next to the bait shack is in use every day, all day long. Old Homosassa has attracted several artists. Each year, in early March, six galleries host Luminary Art Nights, inviting the public in for refreshments and an opportunity to view the artworks. My favorite is the Glass Garage, which features original blown glass pieces. Many visitors take the opportunity to visit the art shops and stop for dinner at one of the local restaurants. There are a few special events during the year, but for the most part, Old Homosassa is just a quirky, quiet place where people enjoy outdoor pursuits.