Before Hurricane Dora ripped up Florida’s northeast coastline, A1A ran right through Anastasia Park. Salt Run ended in a beautiful basin that often was full of youngsters learning to sail. A small trail over the wooded dunes took knowledgeable locals to The Cove and the playground and picnic area was a gathering place for both locals and tourists alike. Mom loved the beach and Anastasia Park was part of the neighborhood so we spent lots of time in the park and on the beach – anywhere from the artesian wells up to the jetties.
Dora changed all that. The stretch of highway from the playground to the pier was destroyed. The storm cut a channel into Salt Run and although that channel has since silted closed, what once was basin is now marsh. The playground and most of the picnic area is now a parking lot and Conch Island is closed to vehicles. The park is still a beautiful place preserving a piece of natural beach on an over-developed coastline, but it’s no longer the extended neighborhood we enjoyed as children.