It turned cold here in Port St. Joe.
The locals are loving it. Us, not so much. I know we must keep things in perspective. If we were still in Indiana we’d be pleased as punch to have temps in the 60’s at this time of year.
Since the outside air was dropping from the balmy high 70’s to the low 60’s we decided it was a perfect day to take a road trip. Don’s childhood friend Sheila told us of an area nearby that she loved visiting & recommended we check it out. Destination: St. George Island & Apalachicola.
We chose St. George Island to be our first stop. It has a state park & we wanted to check out the facilities for future reference. We thought St. Joseph Peninsula State Park was off the beaten path, hah, we were beginning to wonder if we’d ever reach St. George Island State Park’s campground. It’s pretty remote. It’s a loooong road over beach dunes to camp. Very pretty scenery but we noticed the dunes weren’t nearly as overgrown with vegetation as they are at St. Joseph’s. The beach is appealing but not the pristine white sand beach we have here. It reminded us of Sanibel Island’s beach where the debris washes ashore & is left for the next tide.
The campground had several sites that could accommodate a rig our size with electric & water hookups but the place lacked that IT factor for us. I wouldn’t write it off though as it is relatively close to Apalachicola & that town we enjoyed immensely.
Apalachicola is not a tourist destination. Not for the typical Florida tourist anyway. It’s a charming little fishing town. Originally a trading post in the early 1800’s, the town incorporated in 1827 under the name West Point. The current name Apalachicola was given in 1831. It’s an Indian word loosely translated to mean “people on the other side of the river”.
Apalachicola is a seafood port noted for its shrimp & oysters. More than 90% of Florida’s oyster production comes from Apalachicola Bay. The “business” part of town consists only of 2-3 blocks in any given direction making it very walkable. Parking is readily accessible too. Since it’s right on the Intercoastal Waterway which has a park with benches & a nice broad boardwalk, we were able to see the fishing boats up close & watched as the days catch of shrimp was unloaded from one boat. In town it was easy to spot who the fishermen were, their rubber boots give them away.
As the morning wore on our stomachs started growling. There looked to be several good choices to have lunch but wanting to sample the local seafood, we chose a place at the end of the dock that advertised their oysters. Just before we entered, we hesitated, considering whether we’d made a good choice or not. It looked like a dive. A real dive. But, the parking slots in front were full & Don did remind me that my favorite Mexican restaurant could definitely be called a dive. So I opened the screen door & we entered. We were given a table on the water so we could watch the fishing boats & shore birds. Don selected the fresh Grouper filet with corn fritters, slaw & cheese grits. I opted for the Blue Crab crab cakes with slaw, fritters & red beans with rice. It was delicious! We even sampled each others. Apparently looks can be deceiving about restaurants too.
Everywhere we went in town, whether a restaurant, a shop, the pier, the locals were very friendly & helpful. Not only are the locals people friendly, they are very dog/pet friendly too. Tucker was welcomed to enter inside many of the stores we went into. It’s posted as such on the doors. We spotted the resident cat at the dockside restaurant where we ate lunch soaking up the suns rays amongst the picnic dining tables. One shop we visited had 2 resident cats that greeted buyers & at another store the owner had his German Shepherd to keep him company. Tucker likes this kind of Southern hospitality.
We wanted to return to the Suite Pea before dark so we called it a day & pointed the truck “homeward”. Although Apalachicola is small, there was still some places we hadn’t covered in today’s visit. I was especially intrigued by the old cemetery we passed coming & going. A sign at the entrance stated it has been in use since before the Civil War. I want to return to explore it one day. Also the old movie house on the outskirts of town. Since we both liked the look & feel of this quaint little village I’m sure we will be back one day.
Here’s lookin’ at you kid………………………