Major tourist draw?
And why it's bigger than it looks

It may not look like much …

At least at first glance.

Ochopee is home of the world’s smallest post office

And really there’s not much of a view …

Now that Brazilian Pepper has boxed it in.

And possibly the most photographed. But why?

But believe it or not, the rather non-descript shack is one of the swamp’s biggest visitor draws, even bigger than Monroe Station before it burned down. I’m often left to wonder why. Maybe its small size makes it easy to photograph, and photograph it people do. By the hundreds. Maybe even more than Naples Pier. Well, maybe not that much. But a lot. Which is all the more perplexing because its a very claustrophobic spot, surrounded by a rather unsightly and impenetrable thicket in back, at an odd bend in the Tamiami Trail in close proximity to tractor trailers rumbling past, and on an uneven gravel parking lot. Yet there they are, tour bus after tour bus unloading passengers to line up one after the other, sometimes in groups, to take a photograph almost as if it were the Statue of Liberty or some other national spot of acclaim. Important detail: It doesn’t even have restrooms!

More about the building: It has a hydrologic pedigree. It was previously a pump house for the farm field in back. When a fire burned down original building to the ground in 1943, the pump house was brought in as a makeshift fix. Eighty years later its still there.

To me it’s one of the great mysteries of the swamp. Other similarly small post offices scattered throughout the swamp were closed down without fan far. Why this one has both withstood the test of time and remained such a popular destination eludes me every time I drive by. Only gators rival the post office for being more photographed. And yes, the cypress trees are jealous!

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Trivia: Ochopee Post Office is 61.3 square feet, or about 6′ x 10′.

Early cold front

Usually it isn’t until mid October … 

That south Florida gets its first dose of coolish air.

The flag is our
cold front indicator

Not that we’re complaining!

World’s smallest sunset

Is it still safe to call it “sunny” Florida despite the early onset of dusk?

The days are mostly sunny through the morning and mid afternoon hours, but yes, its true, like the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, days have finally ebbed to their sunlit low.

Today (Dec 21st) is the turning point:

From here on out – for the next 6 months – the hours of daylight will dilate …

Not that sunsets tomorrow or the next day or the next will be noticeably delayed – they won’t (other than of course that instantaneous and quite disorienting one-hour leap in daylight on the second week of March:

Otherwise it’s an imperceptibly slow process.

The photos do not show the sun set of the year’s “smallest” day – both were shot about a week ago when the days were still shortening.

But they were both taken over the “smallest” post office in the United States:

Better known as Ochopee, Florida

Zip Code 34141.

Close enough!

And yes, Florida is always “sunny” relatively speaking.

The sunset in Ochopee went down over one hour later (at 5:40 pm) than the 4:14 sunset over Cape Cod Bay in New England, as viewed from Wellfeet looking west toward Boston.