Stuart Things to Do

  • House of refuge with handicapped ramp
    House of refuge with handicapped ramp
    by grandmaR
  • Beach with waves from the porch
    Beach with waves from the porch
    by grandmaR
  • National Register of Historic Places plaques
    National Register of Historic Places...
    by grandmaR

Most Recent Things to Do in Stuart

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    The House of Refuge Museum

    by grandmaR Updated Feb 15, 2013

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    The museum today has been restored to showcase historical lifesaving equipment and the Keeper’s living quarters as they were in 1904. The keepers were not equipped to do actual life saving - just to provide food, water and shelter for victims that made it to shore. All the houses were built on the same plan with a wrap-around porch, living quarters and a large second story room with cots and supplies for up to 20 victims.

    We entered on the south end which was the keeper's bedroom. On the east and west side of the house the windows line up with each other to take advantage of the breeze. There is a chamber pot under the bed. There was an outhouse off the end of the porch. The display in the dining room includes the china and tablecloth that belonged to a keeper's wife. Water came from a cistern on the roof. The Parlor has an octagon framed artwork known as hair art. The stairs to the second story are behind the closet. The keepers were provided with trunks that contained books for entertainment. Other than the fireplace in the kitchen, the portable oil heater is the only heat source.

    HOURS OF OPERATION

    Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Sunday 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
    Open year-round, the House of Refuge is closed on Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day

    ADMISSION

    Adult $8
    Senior/Group Rate $6
    Children $3 (2 to 12 years; under 2 are free)

    It is managed by the Elliott Museum which was not open due to re-construction when we were there. We did go there in the 60s so maybe next time we can go back.

    Elliott Museum $12
    Combination ticket $16

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    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Museum Visits

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    House of Refuge at Gilbert's Bar

    by grandmaR Written Feb 15, 2013

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    House of refuge with handicapped ramp
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    I decided that the thing to visit to day was the House of Refuge. We had been once before during the summer in the 60s and I wanted to go back. We did get to the Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge (which was a lifesaving station). and formerly a turtle nesting site. (It is too built up now for turtles) . It was no longer in such a wild area now - there were beach-goers all along the coast. We went in through the shop, paid our admission and walked through the keepers house which is now a museum.

    The back story is that the House of Refuge on Gilbert’s Bar is the oldest structure in Martin County. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is also a community icon and true treasure of Florida’s Treasure Coast. Prior to construction of the 10 Houses of Refuge, many shipwreck victims made it to the isolated shore and then perished of starvation and thirst. As part of their duties, the keeper and his family walked along the shores as far as possible in search of shipwreck victims.

    In 1915 the U.S. Life-Saving Service merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to form the U.S. Coast Guard, and then the House of Refuge became U.S. Coast Guard Station #207. The keeper at the time, Axel Johansen, and his wife, Kate, remained on duty, but Alex’s title was changed from Keeper to Surfman #1. Four other men were stationed at the house, and during World War I this crew of five was augmented by the Home Guard, composed of area youths.

    In 1942, when German U-Boats torpedoed freighters along the Treasure Coast, a lookout tower and additional buildings were constructed on the property. In 1945 the U.S. government decommissioned House of Refuge operations, and the house sat empty until 1953, when Martin County purchased it and its 16-acre grounds for $168. In 1955 the Martin County Historical Society was formed to protect the house and present it as a museum. At the time we visited in the 60s it was white. It is now painted in more earth tones, probably to protect the nesting turtles.

    There was also a quilt exhibit when we were there.

    HOURS OF OPERATION

    Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
    Sunday 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
    Open year-round, the House of Refuge is closed on Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day

    ADMISSION

    Adult $8
    Senior/Group Rate $6
    Children $3 (2 to 12 years; under 2 are free)

    It is managed by the Elliott Museum which was not open due to re-construction when we were there. We did go there in the 60s so maybe next time we can go back.

    Elliott Museum $12
    Combination ticket $16

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Museum Visits

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    gilbert's bar house of refuge

    by doug48 Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    gilbert's bar house of refuge

    gilbert's bar house of refuge was built in 1876 as a shipwreak life saving station. the gilbert's bar house of refuge is the only remaining house of refuge on the atlantic coast of florida. during WWII the house of refuge was a lookout post for spotting german submarines. today the house of refuge is owned by the martin county historical society and is a museum of florida history. the gilbert's bar house of refuge is listed on the national register of historic places. for those interested in florida history the gilbert's bar house of refuge is a very worth while place to visit when in the stuart area.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    lyric theatre

    by doug48 Written Jan 18, 2011
    lyric theatre

    the lyric theatre was built in 1925. this interesting building is a combination of beaux arts and spanish mission revival architectural styles. today the lyric theatre hosts stage plays and concerts. the lyric theatre is listed on the national register of historic places.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Theater Travel
    • Architecture

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    historic district

    by doug48 Written Jan 18, 2011
    osceola street

    stuart has a very nice downtown historic district. the historic district has an excellent collection of 1920's florida land boom era buildings a number of which are listed on the national register of historic places. flagler ave. downtown has a number of shops, restaurants, and bars. the stuart historic district is a fun place to visit when in downtown.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Food and Dining

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    old martin county courthouse

    by doug48 Updated Jan 18, 2011
    old martin county courthouse

    pictured is the 1925 art deco martin county courthouse. the old martin county courthouse was built during the height of the 1920's florida land boom. today the old courthouse is home to the martin county cultural center. for those interested in architecture and art the cultural center is worth a visit when in downtown stuart.

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    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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    sailfishing

    by doug48 Updated Jan 17, 2011
    sailfish

    stuart is world famous for it's sailfishing. the best time to catch sailfish is late january through early march each year. other times of the year you can catch kingfish, dolphin, wahoo, and sharks. from the surf you can catch whiting, pompano, and bluefish. in the indian river you can catch seatrout, redfish, snook, and tarpon. pictured is a sailfish i caught off the reef at stuart a number of years ago. a charter of four of us landed eleven sailfish that day which was a very good catch. there are numerous charter boat captains in stuart. i have attached a couple of sites or you can google stuart fishing charters for more options.

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    • Fishing
    • Beaches
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    ross witham beach

    by doug48 Written Jan 17, 2011
    anastasia formation
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    ross witham beach is located at the gilbert's bar house of refuge on hutchinson island. ross withham beach has an exposed section of the anastasia formation. the anastasia formation begins near st. augustine to the north along the atlantic coast to palm beach county to the south. the anastasia formation was created during the pleistocene period. this ancient formation is fragmented mollusk shells and sand cemented by sparry calcite. ross witham beach is one of a few locations in the state of florida were you can see this geological formation.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Beaches

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    georges valentine state historic site

    by doug48 Written Jan 17, 2011
    georges valintine marker

    the georges valentine was a iron italian bark built in 1859 in liverpool england. on october 16 th 1904 the georges valentine was sunk by a storm just off of gilbert's bar. five crewman drowned and twenty found shelter at the gilbert's bar house of refuge. today the wreak of the georges valentine is a state of florida underwater historic site. the wreak of the georges valentine is a popular stuart area scuba dive spot.

    Related to:
    • Diving and Snorkeling
    • Historical Travel

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    The Elliot Museum

    by grandmaR Updated Nov 25, 2006

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    Children in front of the General Store
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    Sterling Elliott was an inventor born on a farm in Ortonville, Michigan in 1852. His son Harmon followed in his father’s footsteps. Between Sterling Elliott and his son they had 222 patents. They were granted patents at the rate of one every 1-1/2 months.

    Sterling Elliott gave the community both a collection valued at over a million dollars and a facility equipped to bring cultural activities and entertainment to the area, to perpetuate the collection and to maintain the building.

    Harmon Elliott was a winter resident of Stuart when he built the Elliott Museum in 1960 in honor of his father. In 1961, Harmon gave the Elliott’s and its’ collection to the Historical Society of Martin County. We went to this museum in 1967. Today the museum honors the memories of both father and son and displays a wealth of collectibles and Americana.

    The Elliott Museum contains art galleries, the Country Store, Martin County history, 1870 parlor, the dress salon, music room, 1928 Dining Room of Harmon Elliott, the Jewish dining room, baseball exhibit, carpenter’s shop with Elliott bicycles, 1943 kitchen, Seminole Indian memorabilia, Elliott invention room and our world-renowned car gallery.

    The Elliott Museum exhibits an extensive collection of antique and vintage cars. The collection in this gallery includes Mr. Elliott’s first car, the 1909 Hupmobile and the 1932 Austin that he carried aboard his yacht while in Florida. Other cars in the collection include a 1903 Cadillac that is documented to be the oldest Cadillac in the country. For a complete list of the cars in our gallery please contact the museum. Also on display are motorcycles including a 1911 and 1915 Harley Davidson. We always have room in our gallery for car buffs, experienced mechanics and individuals willing to learn everything there is to know about our automobiles.

    Unfortunately it was dark in the museum and before digital photography and without a flash, many of the photos turned out dark.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Road Trip
    • Family Travel

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    The Flowers Of Stuart

    by catalysta Written Oct 24, 2004

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    Orchids

    Stuart, like much of Florida, is one of those blessed spots in the world where orchids can be cultivated outside, something that makes the heart of Alaskan vistors just ache.
    I found these beauties in a local park.

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    • Arts and Culture

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    "..These are NOT Sailfish!!!"

    by catalysta Written Oct 24, 2004

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    Marlins

    Our trolley guide (see Transportation Tips) was quick to point out that the fish on top of this restaurant are NOT sailfish, they are MARLINS! Just go back & look at the fountain if you can’t tell the difference.

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    Older Homes

    by catalysta Written Oct 24, 2004

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    Mediterranean Revival Home

    I’m fortunate to have relatives in Stuart, which gives me an excuse to visit now & then, and I get to stay in their lovely renovated 1922 Mediterranean Revival home.
    It's fun walking around the residential streets of this pretty little town to see the lovely gardens, especially in the older areas where there are many of these 1920's vintage homes.

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    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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    "The way Stuart used to be"

    by catalysta Written Oct 24, 2004

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    Old Stuart Mural

    If you walk around the charming Old Town of Stuart long enough, you’ll probably come across this pretty mural, of “the way Stuart used to look”.
    Till post-WWII, there just wasn’t much here but farms and fishermen.

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    jensen beach

    by doug48 Written Jan 17, 2011
    jensen beach
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    jensen beach park is a beautiful atlantic beach located east of downtown stuart. the park offers free parking and a restaurant and bar. in my opinion the nicest beach in the stuart area.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Surfing
    • Fishing

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