Author: Photography by Denise Ritchie

Joey's Seafood Shack

Naima Rauam painted watercolors of it in her make-shift smokehouse studio; Joseph Mitchell crafted his 1940s' novel Old Mr. Flood around it and Vero Beach fishmonger and restaurateur Joey Fenyak remembers it as the first place he sold his freshly dug clams. New York’s Fulton Fish Market, the largest wholesale fish market in the United States was where Joey began his 30-plus-year career in the seafood business.

A Most Unusual Print Shop

It may be the county’s best-kept secret. For sure, it’s one of Sheriff Deryl Loar’s smartest decisions since his 2009 election. And while it’s the only one of its kind in the entire state, practically nobody knows it exists. Just what is it? It’s the print shop at the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.

Collaborating For The Kids

From a national perspective, Indian River County has an interesting group of kids. While we are one of the 100 wealthiest counties in the United States, the children born here are notable in that their demographic makeup – economic, racial and cultural – is surprisingly similar to the national average.

Hiding In Plain Sight

Nick’s Family Restaurant at 1453 20th Street in the heart of downtown Vero Beach. Located in an unassuming strip of shops on the south side of west-bound State Road 60, you might miss it completely if you didn’t know it was there. Since the only parking is in the rear and the traffic is normally traveling at a fast clip, you might just drive right by this little gem of a place.

Out Of The Shadows

Historically, the topic of mental illness has been overlooked, shunned and stigmatized by our society. The stories of those suffering from mental health issues have been largely left unspoken. However, thanks to increased media coverage and education, that paradigm has begun to shift along with our cultural perceptions.

Jeweled Impressions

Linda Drinkard didn’t realize what was coming when she walked into Shells & Things about seven years ago. She’d left her house wearing the first necklace she’d ever made – a simple shell coated in silver clay, accented with a starfish. When she walked into the beachside boutique, the owner wanted to know where her new customer had bought her necklace, and Linda shyly revealed that she’d made it.

Telling The Story Of Old Florida

Wandering through the quiet streets of Fellsmere, you might be forgiven for thinking you had gone back in time to the old boom and bust era of the 1920s and ΄30s, such is the topography and flavor of this small Florida city. With just over 5,000 denizens residing in an agrarian landscape, you are just as likely to see cowboys on horseback as businessmen behind steering wheels.

A Game That Sharpens The Mind

According to German chess master Adolf Anderssen, “Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.” Ellen Gezork knows just what Anderssen, once considered the world’s top player, is talking about. “Chess is so good for the brain. You have to focus, concentrate, understand the moves and look ahead. You have to know that if this happens, then so-and-so can also happen,” says the lifelong player whose father introduced her to the game when she was nine.

A Flair For Fashion And A Love For Vero Beach

After a decade-long absence, Sharon Batten, well-known for her couture collections and trunk shows, has returned to Vero Beach. For 22 years her boutique in The Village Shops featured clothing created by the fashion world’s top designers, among them Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beene and Carolina Herrera. Sharon knew all of them personally and frequently invited them to her fundraising events in support of the Indian River Medical Center Foundation, Riverside Theatre and the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

A Bit Of Decadence

Why this history lesson in purses in the “Local Flavor” section this month? Well, as it turns out, one of the most tantalizing and versatile gastronomical creations was inspired by that 14th century drawstring purse and became a popular feature on a menu right here in Vero Beach. But first another bit of history.

Winter Wonderland

Since the Blanco family opened Kendall Academy in the early 1990s, pre-schoolers ages 10 months to five years have experienced a Christmas miracle. Each year Administrator Maggie Lemoine Blanco chooses a theme and then works non-stop – sometimes into the wee hours of the morning – installing appliances, decorating Christmas trees and occasionally painting the walls to accent her creations. With no formal training in design, Maggie says “everything is from the heart,” and every hour spent is worth the elation of 167 children.

"Great Scot!"

Wasting no time, Joyce and Mac placed a small ad in the Press Journal inviting the public to a Saturday morning meeting at the Doctor’s Clinic. Thinking a dozen or so individuals might come, they were delighted when 66 people showed up. Their enthusiasm was contagious, and by the end of the meeting the Scottish Society of the Treasure Coast was born.

At The Top Of Their Game

It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since Chef Leanne Kelleher first opened her beachside restaurant, The Tides, on Cardinal Drive and that it’s still wildly popular for its outstanding yet deceptively simple preparations, first-class service and consistently good food. Much lauded by locals and visitors alike, this fine dining establishment has been showcasing Chef Kelleher’s mastery of textures and tastes since opening its doors in 2000. Named one of the Exceptional Restaurants of Florida by Gourmet Magazine, winner of the Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence six years in a row, and First Place honoree in The Homeless Family Center’s Top Chef Challenge in 2012, The Tides appears to be at the top of its game.

Fabric, Thread and Imagination

Move over traditional quilt patterns and make room for contemporary expressions of a centuries-old craft. Thanks to members of the Treasure Coast Modern Quilt Guild, last year’s Quilt: Beach 2014 exhibit held at the First Presbyterian Church provided a showcase for what can happen when fabric, thread and imagination soar beyond perceived boundaries.

Old Riomar Tales

Serendipity plays a part in many a life, perhaps none more so than the lives of the Fitch family of New York City. Our story starts in 1919 when three doctors from Cleveland wanted to find a location in Florida to escape the cold Lake Erie winters. They explored the coast until they came across the small town of Vero.

In Good Faith

From the beginning, Saint Edward’s School was defined by an extraordinary fidelity. Most people don’t know that the independent day school with a nine-to-one, student-teacher ratio and a 100 percent college acceptance rate faced debt that could have closed it down in its first year – and that it was rescued by a 25-year-old headmaster. Or that a group of parents bought Saint Edward’s its first school bus, a VW Wagon, so its students from Fort Pierce could commute together. Or that the first graduation was conducted in a tent that nearly collapsed during a rainstorm. The fact is, there have been points in its 50-year history when Saint Edward’s has operated solely on blind faith.

Good Taste

A recent study conducted by Sasaki Associates, a Massachusetts design and planning firm, found that Americans rank a city’s culinary offerings high on a list of priorities when choosing a place to live. According to the study, restaurants were voted the number one reason to visit another part of the city with traffic being the least desirable component.

See Rock City

In 1978 Ed and Hilda Chapin, second-generation owners of Rock City – who also lived part-time on John’s Island – visited what was then known as the Wabasso Nursery, just north of town. At Hilda’s insistence, the two purchased the seven-acre property from Ralph Ruhl, who had established it in the mid-1960s. The Chapins immediately changed the name to “Rock City Gardens,” but it wouldn’t become a local destination until current owners Tom and Rhonda Lowe came into the picture in 1980.

Buy Fresh, Buy Local, Support Sustainability

The terms "hand-crafted,” “freshly-harvested,” “farm to table,” “grass-fed” and “artisanal” are all buzz words rapidly becoming an ever-louder drum beat over the last few years. So it’s no surprise that many chefs have turned their focus to searching for fresh, local foods to serve in their restaurants. Chris Sozio, the newly hired executive chef at Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club is no different. He and his team wholly subscribe to the philosophy: Buy fresh, buy local and support sustainability.

Preserving Tradition And Preparing For The Future

It’s no wonder Debbi Peniston considers Riomar Country Club her home away from home. Forty-five years ago her husband Eric introduced her to the private, member-owned club; and she’s been a familiar figure there ever since. The Penistons are also considered family as Eric’s grandfather Winchester Fitch was one of the original homeowners in what was to become known as Riomar. Fitch not only coined the name, which means “river to sea,” he was among the club’s first members.