Farther inland, a true jewel found within a growing urban landscape is the 100-acre Spruce Bluff property. Rich in both historical value and habitat diversity, the land is extraordinary. If you had visited Spruce Bluff in the year 1650, you may have smelled smoke from the wax myrtle and mangrove leaves being burned by the Ais Indians to keep mosquitoes away. Or you might have seen the fronds of the saw palmetto used as plates. Still, you might have been offered leaves of the red bay tree for your headache.
More recently, some 100 years ago, you might have come across a pineapple orchard or a sawmill. These were among the businesses of the pioneer settlers who named Spruce Bluff, perhaps after spruce trees which sand pines somewhat resemble.
Today, an interpretive trail yields a treat for nature lovers and history buffs, alike. Undisturbed natural communities, from scrub to marsh, await your exploration. And an ancient burial or ceremonial Indian mound is still mostly intact.
Boardwalks allow easy access to the marshes which usually offer a visual display of wading birds, including the endangered woodstork, feeding in the shallow waters. Be prepared for an aromatherapy session, of sorts, as you hike through the scrub with its characteristic, crisp "scrubby" scent. In between, discover the crunch of fallen pine needles and dried saw palmetto fronds in the mesic flatwoods community.
For More Information:
St. Lucie County conducts guided walks November through May. Limit 15. Call (772) 462-2526 for reservations. Visit www.co.st-lucie.fl.us/erd/preserve_opportunities.htm in the fall for the schedule.
- From I-95: Take exit 63A onto Gatlin Boulevard and go east to Floresta Drive. Take a right (south) onto Floresta and go 0.6 miles. Take a left onto Southbend Boulevard and go 0.3 miles. After the bridge, take a left on Peru Street. Dar Lane will be on your left.