It’s that time of year to embrace the weird. The quirky. The funky. Whatever you want to call it, they definitely have it in Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches. In honor of Halloween, here are a few of the most wickedly weird, yet beloved, local curiosities.
1. The Stone Face at Washington Oaks Gardens State Park
As you stroll through Washington Oaks Gardens State Park on a quiet afternoon, a strange, uneasy feeling washes over you. You’re surrounded by beautiful flowers and towering trees, but…you feel it. You’re being watched. But, who? Where? Suddenly you see it—a moss-covered visage staring up at you from the foliage. A sigh of relief. This little guy isn’t stone-faced. He sports a happy grin. The mischievous mug is a cute little mystery that is wonderfully weird.
2. Pete the Pelican
ATTENTION ALL AUDUBON SOCIETY MEMBERS! There’s a rare bird right here. Grab those binoculars because you’ll want to take a gander at Pete the Pelican. He’s the cutest bird on the block, not to ruffle any feathers with #5 on the list. He is, however, definitely the best dressed (easy to win when the competition (#5, again) is perpetually stork-naked). Pete treats A1A like his personal runway, always modeling his latest fashions: a football jersey, police uniform, a construction vest, a Santa suit. He’s got more costumes than the Village People! To see what Pete’s sporting, be sure to drive by his house at 1408 S. Ocean Shore Blvd on your next trip. Just remember to steer clear of his nest—it’s private property, after all!
3. Carla Cline’s Sunglass Cemetery
You could say Carla Cline has an eye for the unusual. For years, the owner of Flagler Surf Art & Stuff has combed the beach each morning for abandoned treasures. One of her most common finds: sunglasses. Either lost to the waves or buried in the sand, the glasses are forever parted from their dear owners. Cline lovingly collects each pair and gives them a more dignified (albeit weird) resting place—the entrance to her shop. Perched on branches and bushes, they’re truly a spectacle to see.
4. The A1A Pirate House
Ahoy there! If ye are cruising down A1A one glorious day for a look at the high seas, ye be sure to see a crew of wayward plunderers atop a deck along the way. Aye, these life-size scoundrels peer from their perch at 1608 S. Ocean Shore Boulevard, scouring the road for any wayward travelers. A hardy crew of nearly a dozen, the resin ruffians be a favorite of landlubbers. Use ye compass (or Google Maps?) to set eyes on these local treasures. But remember, this be a private residence. No trespassin’! Savvy?
5. The Chicken Pantry’s Giant Red Rooster
What the cluck did you just see? You’re equal parts bewildered and amused by this giant red yardbird that guards the Chicken Pantry Restaurant in Bunnell. You don’t quite get why he’s there? Is he warning his feathered friends that something’s a-fowl inside? They are serving up some of the tastiest, most succulent fried chicken around. Or is he just a fun, kitschy way to pull in peckish passersby? Either way, crow with delight whenever you see this bright red bird.
6. Florida’s First In-ground Concrete Swimming Pool at Princess Place Preserve
Weird claim to fame, but okay. Let’s take a not-so-deep dive into this random little fact. The spring-fed pool was constructed in 1887 as a part of Henry Mason Cutter (a wealthy New Yorker)’s Adirondack camp-style lodge. Cutter’s lodge (which you can still tour) touted stables, tennis courts, and of course, the now-dormant pool. It might not look like much compared to today’s custom creations, but this baby was state-of-the-art in the 1880s. There’s also a little debate about whether the pool is actually the first—but no use wading into that.