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HILLSBORO INLET, FLORIDA
Pompano Beach and Lighthouse Point

Hillsboro Inlet connects the Intracoastal Waterway to the Atlantic Ocean near Pompano Beach, Florida. 

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse

This inlet can be treacherous under certain conditions of wind and tidal current, so it is prudent to have local knowledge before entering and exiting. 

I spent a rough night many years ago tied up to an old wooden dock in the small harbor inside the inlet. The ancient Alden yawl I was on took quite a pounding from the rollers that came in from the ocean. Some 40 years later, I still remember that rough night as I pass over the bridge that spans the connection from the inlet harbor to the Intracoastal Waterway.

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse

The lighthouse was first lit in 1907, and can be seen from ships 28 miles at sea. In the years before the lighthouse, in the 1880s, the U.S. mail could only be delivered periodically by schooner from Key West to settlements like Miami south of Palm Beach.

There was no regular mail delivery to these southern outposts by land. In 1885, the U.S. Postal Service established a mail route that was 136 miles there and back and covered by mailmen on foot. The trip took 6 days. The mailman would leave Palm Beach on Monday morning and take a boat to the southern end of Lake Worth.

He would then walk over to the beach at what is now Delray Beach, spend the night, and continue walking on the beach in the morning. It was a hazardous trip, and the mailmen had to cross several inlets on the route including the one at Hillsboro Inlet. One of the mailmen, Ed Hamilton, disappeared and was apparently drowned or eaten by sharks or alligators in Hillsboro Inlet. His body was never recovered.

The Barefoot Mailman Statue at Hillsboro Inlet

The lonely area that claimed the life of the barefoot mailman has become populated with some of the most expensive homes in south Florida in the past hundred years. The area immediately north of the inlet along State Road A1A is known as "Hillsboro Mile" and is in the town of Hillsboro Beach. Some magnificent mansions along this coast stretch from the ocean to the Intracoastal Waterway.

Pompano Beach is to the southwest of the inlet, and Lighthouse Point is to the west. Waterfront homes in this area fulfill the Florida dreams of thousands of residents.

Recommended Restaurant in Hillsboro Inlet, Pompano Beach, Lighthouse Point Area

CAP'S PLACE

(Dock Location) 2765 NE 28th Court
Lighthouse Point, Florida 33074
Tel:  954-941-0418

Cap's Place is an Old Florida icon that should be visited at least once by everyone interested in Florida History and the old way of life.

 It is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

People go to Cap's for the ambience more than the food.

The food and service get mixed reviews on all of the rating sites like TripAdvisor, Yelp, Urban Spoon and others. Just keep that in mind and go anyway.

You'll enjoy the ambience and maybe you'll get lucky with the food.

I've had a couple of great dinners there while stopping overnight on my boat at the Lighthouse Point Marina right next door.

Cap's Place, Lighthouse Point Florida

Cap's is a place that has had it's share of famous visitors. The much traveled Al Capone and movie stars and tycoons have enjoyed its food and drink since it was first opened in 1928.

It was originally known as Club Unique, and specialized in prohibition era rum drinks and casino style gambling.

In addition to Scarface, some early visitors included Joe DiMaggio, Susan Hayward, Casey Stengel, Jack Dempsey, Kate Smith, Myrna Loy, George Jessel and many others.

Cap's Place was owned by Captain Theodore Knight, an early settler in the Hillsboro Inlet area and an alleged rumrunner.

Cap's Place, Lighthouse Point, Florida

This old place is not really on an island, but is on the tip of a residential peninsula. You can only get there, however, by boat. You can catch a boat that operates out of the Lighthouse Point Marina. The boat trip only takes about 5 minutes, but you will be transported to a different time.

The walls of the restaurant and bar are filled with photos and newspaper clippings of the old days and nautical memorabilia of all kinds. Windows in the dining room overlook the Intracoastal Waterway with passing yachts and the mansions beyond and a lot of shoreline mangroves. Having a meal at Cap's is like eating in a museum but with better smells.

The food can be good or not so good, but never terrible as far as I know. It's fun to sit at the bar and soak up the history from the old newspaper clippings and enjoy the feeling of sitting among antique cash registers, parts of old ships and various wooden carvings.

The menu specializes in fresh fish. I had dolphin (mahi mahi) one time, and snapper another and both meals were delicious. The salad I enjoy the most is made from fresh hearts of palm (swamp cabbage) and is an Old Florida classic. Meals and drinks are very expensive at Cap's, but your Old Florida experience will make up for it.

Caps Place Bar, Lighthouse Point, Florida

Other specialties at Cap's include scallops wrapped in bacon, crab cakes, various shrimp dishes and lobster. The dessert to try is their Key Lime Pie. The pricey menu may be what we have to tolerate to keep this valuable piece of real estate from becoming just another ritzy mansion or condominium.

I am willing to pay the price.



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