Feb 2, 2020

Looking for the Old Florida

Looking for the Old Florida?  The Old Florida before high rises, superhighways, and traffic jams still exists in Franklin County just an hour south of Tallahassee, Florida’s capital. Franklin County is a kickback place with something for everyone – fishing, shopping, boating, hiking, and history. The county includes Apalachicola, Carrabelle, and St. George Island. 
1. Life is a beach: With miles and miles of pristine sandy beaches most people come for the beaches that are perfect for tanning, swimming, shell hunting, or just walking and hoping to catch sight of dolphins at play. St. George Island alone has 22 miles of beach and their beaches are dog friendly.
2. On the briny foam: There are plenty of marinas so bring your own or rent a boat. Go fishing for flounder, grouper, snapper, amberjack and sea bass. Or go diving for an up close and personal look at the water life or take a leisurely trip in the Gulf. Take a relaxing one hour tour of Apalachicola’s historical waterfront and estuary with Captain Larry of Wheelhouse Tours.

3. Oystering: Gourmands generally agree that Apalachicola oysters are the best in the world. They are plump with a mellow taste that should be enjoyed raw untainted by sauces. Go oystering with Book Me a Charter to learn how to tong, cull, and harvest oysters the way fishermen have been harvesting these delicacies for over 150 years. 
4. Wild things: The area is filled with wildlife including deer, bear, and other critters but the most amazing are the sea
turtles.  From May to November the sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs for your viewing enjoyment as they have for over a thousand years but do not disturb them. Most accommodations have information on how to protect the turtles. 
5. Birding: Birds are everywhere but a hike in Tate’s Hell State Forrest, St. George Island State Park, or with birding expert Alan Knothe in the Apalachicola National Estuarine Reserve tickle the feathers of all birders. The Apalachicola National Forest is home to the world’s largest population of red-cockaded woodpeckers.
6. Camp Gordon Johnston: The World War II museum is
dedicated to the 250,000 amphibious WW II soldiers and support groups who trained at the camp. A video shows their intensive training, which included practicing for the D-Day landing. 
7. Lighthouses: In Carrabelle climb the 112-year-old fully restored Crooked River Lighthouse and tour the replica of the Crooked River Lighthouse Keeper’s House that recently opened. The historic St. George Light that was reconstructed by a dedicated group of local citizens after the original succumbed to beach erosion. 
8. Museums: A walking or Golf Cart Tour of Apalachicola with stops at John Gorrie State Museum, historic homes, and the recently renovated Dixie Theater. Over 900 historic homes and buildings are in Apalachicola’s National Historic District.
9. Shopping: Art galleries, antique shops, and boutiques make shopping a joyous adventure in Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island. The beauty of the area has inspired artists including watercolorist Linda Clark and photographer Richard Bickel’s insightful photographs.

10. Tee time: Golfers will love St. James Bay golf course an Audubon International “Certified Silver Signature Sanctuary” 18-hole, par 72 championship course with wetlands and water hazards present at every hole. Spectators include herons, egrets and even an occasional lazy alligator. 

Accommodations range from the historic Coombs Home Inn in Apalachicola to beachside villas on St. George Island to a cozy beautifully decorated Barrel House on Alligator Point.