Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Loving the Panhandle

On our westward migration we spent a relaxing week on St. George Island.  Thanks to our friends Rhonda and Susan who passed along their reservations for 3 great weeks in Florida.  Love you gals for sending us back to our favorite state park in Florida – Grayton Beach and allowing us to try St. George Island State Park for the first time.  We did not have the forethought to make reservations at either of these parks and would have had to pass them up.  So when Rhonda and Susan mentioned they were going to cancel their reservation, we jumped on the chance to grab their reservations.

The drive out to St. George Island State Park.
St. George is a barrier island perched between the Gulf of Mexico and St. George Sound.  The island is great!  Not too much happening here but you can find everything you need for a quiet island vacation – a beautiful beach, grocery store, funky good restaurants, lighthouse, and bait store.  Come to the island to relax.  We stayed at the state park and filled our days with hiking the trails with Spirit, kayaking, fishing, and visiting the lighthouse. 

One of our favorite hikes takes you over a beautiful marsh and winds through the pine/oak forest. 
The Cape St. George Light is the prominent feature welcoming you to the island and lies smack in the middle of town – a location that has come about due to hurricanes and concerned citizens.  The light began guiding sailors in 1833 and has had a long hard struggle to stay lit.  Hurricanes took a major toll on the lighthouse which was rebuilt in 1848, 1852, and 2008 at several different locations on the island.  In 1994, the Coast Guard deactivated the light ending its 160-year tenure of providing navigational aid to mariners.  The light  remained a symbol of the island, so much so that when it fell for the last time in 2005 the community rallied around the toppled pile of bricks.  Local volunteers gathered on weekends and picked up bricks, iron works, lens pieces, and artifacts.  Plans of the original 1852 lighthouse were obtained from the National Archives and a massive reconstruction project was underway to resurrect the light which was re-built in the middle of the small town for easy access by visitors.  Recovered bricks were cleaned of their old mortar and used in the reconstruction.  The standing lighthouse, museum, and light keepers house are testaments to the sentiment people feel for their lighthouses. 
The lighthouse museum.
The recreated light keepers house is quite impressive and has great artifacts.
After the lighthouse, we made our way to Harry A’s.   We heard about this restaurant when we were in Cedar Key from a woman who said, “You have to go there, everybody that visits the island goes there.”  Good recommendation.  The restaurant was an eclectic mix of artifacts (many that look like they were stolen) hanging on every square inch of the walls.  There were dead things, metal things, a beer can collection, sports paraphernalia, and much more.  Oh, and in the corner was a library.  The grouper ruben and jalapeno cheddar oysters made our mouths water and the cold beer washed it all down.  Yes, the food was great, the place is a hoot, and the waitress was enjoyably peppy.  All this excitement exhausted us and it was time for us to head back to the RV and go to the beach. 
Love all the stuff on the walls.
We had to try some famous Apalachicola oysters with a cold draught and Tabasco.
Harry A's outdoor bar.
The restaurant has a library.
 I just wanted the white shrimp boots on top.
The only inn on the island.  I love how they describe themselves -
"The Uncommon Inn on the Forgotten Coast" 
Using oyster tongs to collect Apalachicola oysters.
Spirit swimming in the bay.
Major piece of driftwood on the beach.
The pirate stands outside the grocery store greeting patrons.
Yum!
After a week on St. George Island, it was time to head to Grayton Beach.  Grayton Beach is just one of the charming towns in an area called 30-A.  Quaintly named towns like Water Color, Seaside, Seacrest Beach, and Rosemary Beach have popped up between the white sand dunes, coastal lakes, and expansive bays.  The area has been luring us for many years and we have blogged about it before because we love it so much.  We are so comfortable here that as soon as we drive into the campground we say, “we’re home” to  each other.  Once the rig is parked and set up it is time to head to our favorite restaurant, Bruno’s Pizza, for  all-you-can-eat buffet on “ladies day.”  Five bucks will get you all the pizza, salad, soft drink, and cinnamon dough knots you care to eat.  The day after we arrived we made the short bike ride to Water Color for the spring art fair.  We don’t have much room for “art” in the motorhome and limit our buying of “stuff” but it was great fun to look.  We did make one purchase that always fits in the motorhome – Girl Scout cookies.  We are so glad to be back in the area and look forward to the two wonderful weeks we have here.
Water Color art festival.
Spirit sleeping between us with her lamb as we drive down the road.

2 comments:

  1. What a fantastic place; no wonder you're lured back. I like the story of how the locals rallied together to rebuild the lighthouse.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OK---- more stops put on our list thanks to you folks!!! Looks beautiful.

    ReplyDelete

We love hearing from you, so please drop us a comment