Astor is a unincorporated village on State Road 40 as it crosses the St Johns River. It is on the west bank in Lake County.
The unincorporated settlement along the east bank is in Volusia County and is officially known as Volusia.
Most folks call both sides of the river Astor.
Astor has a large network of man made canals that provides access to the St Johns River for its many fishing oriented residents.
The entire area called Astor is within the boundaries of the Ocala National Forest.
The roots of modern day Astor go back to 1874 when William B. Astor, Jr. bought 12,000 acres of land along the river and named it Manhattan.
Astor was a descendant of the extremely wealthy John Jacob Astor, American's first multi-millionaire.
Early settlers in Manhattan came by steamboat down the St Johns River. Astor built a church, school, botanical garden and cemetery.
He followed up with a sawmill and hotel and built the St John's and Lake Eustis Railway to Eustis and Leesburg.
When William Astor died in 1892, the residents said to hell with the name of Manhattan and renamed the town Astor.
Astor's children inherited the Florida land but had no interest in developing it, so the properties were sold.
The railroad put a real crimp in steamboat travel on the St Johns and the town began a quick decline.
The last major construction in town was the bridge across the St Johns River in 1926.
A major attraction in Astor today is the Blackwater Inn. It is noted for its good seafood and great river views from the main dining room downstairs and Williams Landing on the second floor.
It is the headquarters for boat rentals and boat tours, and is near local lodging facilities.
Many Astor residents commute either west to the larger Lake County towns or east to the Daytona Beach area for their jobs.
The community also relies heavily on ecotourism and is a popular destination for fishermen, hunters and boaters.
55716 Front Street
Astor, Florida 32102
Blackwater Inn is in Astor on
the west bank of the St. Johns River where State Road 40 crosses over on
its way from Ormond Beach to Ocala through the Ocala National Forest.
This quiet river crossing is a slice of Old Florida, and so is the inn.
The inn has long glass windows overlooking the river, and is a good place to soak up the local atmosphere while having some above average food.
You can reach the Inn either by car or boat; there are docks to tie off your boat while you enjoy the restaurant.
This is not a fancy place, no linen tablecloths or napkins, but if you enjoy seafood and a tranquil view of a gently flowing river, you will enjoy the Blackwater Inn.
The surrounding community of Astor has an interesting history. William Astor from the wealthy New York family bought 12,000 acres and started a town he named Manhattan.
He built a church, school, sawmill and other public facilities. He also built the St. Johns and Lake Eustis Railway that headed west to Eustis and Leesburg.
The name Manhattan never caught on, and when Mr. Astor died in 1892 the settlers renamed the town Astor in his honor.
Williams son, John Jacob Astor IV, took over his property but in 1912 he died when the Titanic sank. The property was then sold and became a pretty quiet place up until the present day. People love to visit and vacation here, especially for the good fishing.
The menu includes full entrees as well as soups and sandwiches. Fried oysters are a specialty, along with fish sandwiches, clam chowder, shrimp, catfish and scallops along with other fish specials of the day.
You can even get frog legs, chicken wings and crab legs. One of the house specialties is grilled quail.
My favorite is the Florida Cracker Platter for $17.99 with 3 oz. of gator tail, 3 oz. of frog legs, 6 oz. of fingerling catfish, all breaded and deep-fried.
Many meals come with your choice of clam chowder or the salad bar, vegetables, baked potato or french fries, or rice pilaf. You can also get hushpuppies for an extra charge but they are worth it.
The small salad bar has plenty of fresh items, and there are also entrees for meat lovers such as prime rib and hamburgers, filet mignon and New York strip.
The restaurant also has an open bar upstairs called William's Landing with a limited menu and a good river view so you can soak in the Old Florida scenery.