Located between Vero Beach, FL and Port St. Lucie, FL, Fort Pierce,
Florida, was established by Col. Benjamin Kendrick Pierce during the
Seminole Indian War as a well-placed outpost. It was strategically
important because it was located very close to the Indian River Inlet, a
natural inlet providing access between the Intracoastal Waterway, aka the
Indian River, and the Atlantic Ocean. It became a permanent settlement
in 1842, with its economy heavily tied to citrus production and fishing.
Today, Fort Pierce is a quirky little town with a lot of culture and art east
of US1, and a lot of crime west of US1. East of US1, you'll find the
A. E. Backus art museum, the power plant water outlet (a great place to see
manatees in the winter), the marina, and a few really nice
restaurants. But once you go west of US1, you'd better not stop or have
your windows down after dark. Ft. Pierce has a higher per-capita murder
rate than Miami, which is frightening given its small size.
Of course, the biggest attraction here, and the reason it isn't an utter shithole,
is the sea. There are great beaches--North Hutchinson Island's inlet is
one of the better surf spots in Florida, and Pepper Park is another
excellent beach. And you've also got the great food--the marina/downtown
area boasts bars such as the Mana Tiki, Max & Meg's, and Gately's Grill,
while further from the city's epicenter are such places as Ian's Tropical Grill
(my personal favorite), Archie's on the South Beach, and Dale's Barbeque, one
of the better barbeque places I've been.
The first Friday of every month, there's a huge carnival known as
FridayFest down at the marina--where open beer containers are allowed and
encouraged-- and after that's over, the bars are usually packed.
Or, if you prefer the quieter Saturday mornings, there are always the
winter's farmer's markets, with all sorts of arts, crafts, food products, soaps,
plants, and the like for sale.
Right now, there's a big movement toward city improvement--as the behemoth
that is Miami, FL engulfs everything in a northward direction, the city is
expected to become richer (particularly as a result of its deep-water port and
excellent beaches). Investors have been buying up beachfront property left