2022 Winners

Indian River Magazine and its readers have chosen the winners in the 2022 Best of the Treasure Coast Contest

Digging the history of the old Army site in Fort Pierce

When I was 5 years old, my family moved from a house on 13th Street in Fort Pierce to one along the Indian River, just a few blocks south of downtown. It wasn’t long before my siblings and I began exploring the neighborhood and came upon a site just about a block south that we called the Indian mound.

It was a large stretch of land populated with oaks and sabal palms with a high mound of shell and a freshwater stream that ran through a culvert under Indian River Drive and emptied into the Indian River. There was also…

Divided warpaths

Everyone has heard of Osceola, but how about the Seminole warlord who replaced him during the Florida War? Coacoochee was his name and the safest prison in the peninsula couldn’t hold him. Not for long. He was just as dangerous, just as dashing, just as fiercely brilliant as Osceola – even more so. As the chief opponent of the 1830 Indian Removal Act, no place in Florida was safe for soldiers and white settlers while Coacoochee was running free.

He and his devoted warriors could be lying in ambush within every thicket, along any trail, behind any clump of trees. It is one of history’s ironies that…

The Right Mixture

In parts of Colombia, the Spanish word for the hibiscus flower is cayena. In many cultures, it symbolizes abundance, well-being and happiness. Over a small bridge, onto an island off Sewall’s Point, a house bears the name Las Cayenas, and carries the exact attributes symbolized in the flower.

Las Cayenas became a residence that Susan and Edgardo Abello willed into being…

Reinventing Edgewood

After six long years in the planning and zoning stage, the Vero Beach Art Village is finally moving forward with transforming the historical downtown Edgewood neighborhood into a mixed-use residential and business village celebrating the arts.

The neighborhood is in the process of morphing into a place where visitors and the cultural community can meet, learn, entertain and interact in the appreciation of the visual, culinary and performing arts. It will be a creative place for artists to live, work and sell their creations…

Wrong Side of History

The name is mostly unknown to contemporary Floridians, but in the mid-20th century, Millard Fillmore Caldwell stood as one of the state’s most powerful politicians, serving not only as governor but also as a U.S. congressman, member of the Florida House of Representatives and chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court.

Like some other Southern politicians of a certain era whose legacies have suffered because of…

Zest for lemons

Living in citrus country, fresh-squeezed orange juice and bags of grapefruit are easy to come by all winter long. So when it comes to backyard citrus, I choose a variety I always need but can’t always find: the Meyer lemon. It’s the most versatile citrus, balancing sweet and savory dishes alike, and it’s always welcome in a cocktail. The blossoms rival the scent of frangipanis in the summer, and the branches are weighed down with big, juicy fruit from fall to spring.

I’ve always been partial to key limes, but I’ve come to realize Meyer lemons are…


Growing up, children are often admonished for playing with their food. But for Francisco Ixcoy Ajiataz, owner and executive chef of Zest Kitchen and Bar, playing with food inspired him to become one of the area’s most noted chefs….


For Jason Stocks, being a top chef is about making a connection with people. He loves bringing joy to his clientele by serving delicious food…


One of Vero’s most beloved chefs is jumping back into the restaurant business after a six-month hiatus. Kitty Wagner seems to have the magic touch or more realistically the culinary expertise and business acumen to create dining experiences that are instantly embraced and endeared. Her new venture, Kitty’s, a casual neighborhood bistro, will open…

At this time of year, cypress swamps begin to dry out leaving the underbrush to be eaten by deer and wild hogs to feast on acorn grubs and roots. All kinds of botanicals – plants, ferns, moss, orchids, lichen and vines – flourish. There are maple trees that are colorful in the fall and oak trees that feed the animals. Cypress trees support the muddy ground with their massive roots. But in June, the rains return and cover the land with a few feet of water, turning the swamp into a natural watershed again.

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