Cedar Key's Island Hotel: History, haunts, and 'old timey' charm

"We’re just a neat old bed and breakfast with a great bar and a fine dining room."

That’s how owner Andy Bair describes the Island Hotel on Cedar Key – "old" being a bit of an understatement, since the hotel was first established before the Civil War in 1859.

"Before they discovered Tampa, Cedar Key was the main port city on the Gulf of Mexico," said Bair.

The Island Hotel started out as a hardware and general store with a post office all wrapped into one. It was the hub of Cedar Key for a very long time. The building started housing people in the 1880’s.

"During the war, Confederate and Union troops both stayed here at different periods," Bair continued.

The hotel has 10 rooms. "They are squeaky clean, but they’re just old," offered Bair.

Part of the old-time charm is having no TVs in any of the rooms.

Plus, Island Hotel comes with plenty of ghost stories, like a former owner who was poisoned and a Confederate soldier that some guests still see in a window upstairs.  

Image 1 of 5

Neptune Lounge is the popular bar on the first floor. It has a stage with live music a few nights a week. 

"You strike up a conversation in there and all of a sudden you’ve got new best friends," Bair added. 

LINK: To book a room at the Island Hotel, go to their website: www.islandhotel-cedarkey.com