Thanks to cousin Katy’s recommendation – we were lucky enough to spend a three-day break lazing on a small, sleepy barrier island in Florida – St. George Island to be exact. It’s in the panhandle, between Panama City and Tallahassee. Whether foggy or sunny, the wind provided enough chop that kayaking was not a fun option. Days usually included a nice walk or long bike ride in the morning, followed by the beach and reading for several hours, and then some good, local seafood in the evening.
The lighthouse on the island
St. George Island is 28 miles long and 2 miles wide; it is located 4 miles off the mainland. With miles of undeveloped beaches, the local State Park and Campground is a rare find. Though on one end lies a very exclusive, gated community with its own airstrip, the rest of the island is very laid back; down-home beach bum might be a better description. There are many areas left undeveloped, and no building can be taller than 3 stories. There are only about 5 restaurants/bars on the island, and it is a VERY dog friendly area. Dogs are allowed on the beach and in most all of the restaurants. It was not uncommon for people to introduce their dogs first so we had to figure out if “Lucy” was an owner or a dog. Some of our favorite dog hang outs:
Eddie Teach’s – a great open air, dive bar, with a working wifi. Open for lunch, dinner, and late-night bar with live caribbean music. We arrived in time for their weekly trivia game, and could help our team, “Lucy’s (the dog) Bunch” with the rock n’ roll trivia. They have a “happy hour” Monday – Friday at 3:30 – 4:30 with half price raw or steamed oysters. Plus, they have a really good list of draft and bottled beers. The oysters there were fresh and had a more flavorful, muskier taste than the Tomales Bay type we are accustomed to at home.
The town on the mainland before you head over the bridge to St. George is called Apalachicola and it is very cute – a smaller coastal fishing town with more of the “Old Florida” feel. House boats, seafood restaurants, some good history spots. We enjoyed a popular local hangout, Cafe Con Leche featuring local artists and blasting show tunes. There, you can watch the local fishing fleet unload the catch of the day while you eat a slice of fresh vegan fig/almond saffron cake with a fig buttercream icing….are you drooling yet? No? Then accompany it with their house coffee, the “Deep Blues Blend” by the coffee company, Muddy Waters Coffee, sporting a logo of the great man playing. As promised, it will “Wake Up Your Soul!”
Fishing boats in Apalachicola at the mouth of the Apalachicola River produce a whopping 90 % of Florida’s oysters and 10% of the nationwide supply. Over 2.6 million pounds of oyster meat is harvested annually. A perfect day to end our visit to the Forgotten Coast!