Okay, so I’m trading a house at the beach for one in the country. My first thought was, “How does that work?” What will replace the constant background murmur of surf tumbling to spill itself on the beach, the slushy rumble of collapsing waves? In place of the blue and white outside my windows now what will greet my good morning eyes in this new home twenty-one miles south and marginally inland?
Oak Hill, on the Atlantic and southern edge of Volusia County is home to barely 1,800 souls. An early sixteenth-century map shows it as the site of an Indian village called Surruque el Viejo. Before the long-running Seminole Wars starting in 1814, northern timber cutters arrived and named their camp Oak Hill. The name stuck but the timber cutters were eventually driven off by the Seminole. At one time commercial fishermen and citrus growers found the area promising but these days most residents of the town commute either north or south for work.
My current knowledge of the area is slim, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of study to see that Oak Hill’s biggest draw nowadays is fishing. Looking for a grocery store, or God forbid a bookstore, Starbuck’s or McDonald’s is a waste of time in a town no more than a blink along the side of US 1. On my first visit there I spotted the local library, a quaint little building along an oak-shaded lane, but it didn’t require a look inside to tell me that it likely houses fewer books than my at-home library. But there is a hardware store and a weekend flea market, along with a Dollar General and the Country Kitchen Family Restaurant. Among the scatter of bait shops and fish camps is another restaurant named Goodrich’s Seafood & Oyster House. This one has a good reputation and attracts diners from areas outside of Oak Hill. Uncertain if it is still the case, but at one time the restaurant was owned and operated by Larry Csonka, a well-known ex-fullback for the Miami Dolphins football team.
The thing is, I am not exactly moving to the Oak Hill described above. Leave all the excitement behind, head south for another seven miles and at the bottom edge of the county make a left onto a dirt road leading off into nowhere. Somewhere down that road is another left turn and another dirt road leading to Indian River Lagoon. A few hundred feet shy of the lagoon is the place I will soon be calling home sweet home.