POSTCARDS FROM FLORIDA

Fisherman or not, you can taste a bit of old Florida in Oak Hill

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The fishing pier in Oak Hill

Fishing on the public fishing pier is part of the fun in Oak Hill. (Orlando Sentinel / July 31, 2007)

"You're not a fisherman, are you?"

The guy who asked me that was laughing because I had walked past his fishing rod, perched against the wooden railing on the public fishing pier in Oak Hill, without noticing that it was bending slightly under the strain of a fish nibbling at the other end. My hands stuffed into the pockets of my jeans, I was busy looking at the birds across Mosquito Lagoon — when I wasn't staring at the endless blue sky.

"Nobody who was a fisherman would've been able to walk past that without reaching over to reel it in," my new friend said, laughing again.

Yeah, fishing is the main attraction in this tiny speck of a town in Volusia County, just a few miles north of the northern end of the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge along U.S. Highway 1. But while a fishing rod, kayak, canoe or other watercraft are recommended accessories for a road trip, you can still enjoy it with a book and an appreciation for a quiet skyline.

There aren't many touches of civilization here. No business district with antique shops.

But hit town early on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday and you can stroll the Oak Hill Flea Market (roaring-twenties.com/oak_hill_flea_market), which offers produce and secondhand surprises starting at 7 a.m. year-round.

I passed the market initially on the way to lunch and found that most of the vendors had left by the time I returned. One man loading plastic cases of CDs into his car told me it's best to get there at least by 11 a.m.

The lunch was a triumph. Goodrich's Seafood and Oyster House (goodrichseafoodandoysterhouse.com), along River Road on the Mosquito Lagoon, is a fine spot for breakfast or lunch by the water on the wooden deck out back. Breakfast is a specialty, but I opted for the fresh-caught flounder in an all-you-can eat special for about $10. The fish was delicious and so were the thick, golden-brown onion rings.

The restaurant is next to the pier, where I didn't help that angler reel in a big one. Go another 100 yards down River Road and walk off calories at Seminole Rest, home to Native American shell mounds dating from 2000 B.C. to A.D. 1565.
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