We didn’t know anything about Crane Point, except that I thought it would be a wildlife preserve for cranes. So when we missed the turtle tour, we opted for Crane Point.
Cranes had little to do with it; instead, the museum and nature center was filled with interesting information about this area of the Florida Keys in the days of the Indians and first Bahamian settlers.
The land was originally inhabited by one George Adderley who built a house in the early 1900s where he and his wife dug for sponges and made charcoal to keep themselves alive. The house still stands today and reminds one of how difficult it must have been to survive one hundred years ago.
In the mid-1950s, Francis and Mary Crane bought the land (which is where the name of the point really comes from) and built a house in the typical style of the era. We came upon its pink outer walls, its window air conditioners, and its turquoise railings and felt transported back to our childhoods. And, while life had become easier for the Cranes than for the Adderleys, it was still amazing to imagine how this house was built in the middle of a mangrove thicket with no road to it.
The 63-acre preserve also has a bird sanctuary where rescued birds are rehabilitated in the hope of eventually being released into the wild. Earl and I met a peregrine and an osprey, but they can never be free since their injuries were so severe they will never fly again. Today they are nature’s ambassadors to school children and self-guided tourists like us.
Crane Point isn’t Disneyland; it’s rough and natural and shows signs of needing much more financial support that it receives. Yet, both Earl and I were glad the turtle tour was filled so that we could enjoy something completely local.