Two of our Favorite Things, exploring & eating

Everyone who plays a wood guitar knows that it will need periodic adjustments. Don’s Martin had a string that sounded “tinny” when strummed, he surmised from its tone that he was due to have the neck aligned. His research found 2 places that could do this relatively close to us. The nearest was a well known instrument chain store that Don has used in the past, sometimes to his satisfaction, sometimes not. Plus their fees are usually high. The second shop, about an hour and a half’s drive away, was independently owned but had excellent reviews. Don chose the later, partly because of its reputation, partly because of its location. It being in an area we wanted to research, perhaps for a future stay.

The guitar shop didn’t open until 10 but we left the Suite Pea at 7:30 to have breakfast at a little place I’d read about on a fellow travel bloggers website, Thomas Donuts & Snack Shop. Thomas Donuts is a classic little diner near the beach in Panama City Beach. It’s been in business since 1971, making signature dishes and an untold variety of donuts. It was the donuts that brought us here, us and a few dozen other people.

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I picked up a half dozen. Strawberry, Key Lime, and Boysenberry Pie for Don, Banana Creme, Key Lime, and Maple Bacon for me. Don raved about his boysenberry donut, all of the flavors were very tasty. I’m not sure if it’s a shame that Thomas Donuts is so far away from us, or a blessing. After eating we drove back over the bridge into Panama City to Leitz Music where it took only a few minutes to have the neck readjusted. It was obvious the owner knew his stuff, and his fee was $40 less than the big name guitar shop. That done, it was time to do a little exploring.

Don wanted to scout out 2 rv parks he’d heard about and I wanted to see St. Andrew’s State Park. We found both rv parks to be attractive, well maintained, and well appointed, BUT both were exceedingly pricey. Perhaps a stay during the shoulder season would be kinder to the pocketbook. On to our next stop.

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Beach dunes

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Named as America’s Best Beach in 1995, St. Andrew’s is well known for its sugar white sand and crystal clear emerald green water. The 1,260 acre park is located on a peninsula with over 1.5 miles of beach on the Gulf of Mexico and Grand Lagoon.

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The state park offers diverse natural communities within its boundaries. There are dunes, marshes, both saltwater and fresh, and scrub and pinewood flats. The habitats make for a variety of wildlife. On our visit we spotted several deer and shore birds.

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Fresh water marsh

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My main objective at St. Andrew’s was the campgrounds. I was pleased to learn that all  176 sites have electric and water hookups but not all can accommodate large rigs. I liked what I saw and will attempt to book a stay here in the future. Reservations at most Florida state parks are hard to come by and MUST be made months in advance.

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By the time we’d completed our tour of the park it was late afternoon and we’d had nothing to eat since the morning. Having Beau with us limited our choices and with the weather being uncooperative it was too cool to eat outside and we didn’t want fast food. So we kept our eyes open for a restaurant on the way back to the rig that had big windows with parking alongside so we could keep an eye on our boy. It wasn’t until we reached Port St. Joe that we found one to suit our needs. (Port St. Joe is one of our favorite Florida towns.) Peppers is a little Mexican cantina in the historic district. Even though we’ve stayed in town before, Peppers restaurant was a new one for us. The authentic cuisine didn’t disappoint and we can see ourselves returning again and again.

All in all it was a full day for the 3 of us.

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