Exploring the Forgotten Coast Part 2

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Exploring the Forgotten Coast Part 2

Wed, 06/02/2021 - 13:41
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We made three different day trips to nearby Apalachicola and fell in love with the small town.  They don't even have stoplights!  It is very foot friendly with many neat shops, restaurants, and bars within a short distance.  I had delicious seafood chowder and an oyster po boy sandwich at a restaurant called The Station, made out of a converted gas station.  Oysters are what the town is famous for.  Ninety percent of Florida's oyster production comes from Apalachicola Bay.  The waterfront is a big part of town.  You can stroll along it, sit in the park, take a boat tour or go charter fishing.  It's all there.  I took home some great seafood for later.

We continued one day to Port St. Joe, a small fishing village further west.  This town was heavily damaged by Hurricane Michael in 2018 and downtown is still not what it could be.  I made it to another lighthouse--138 steps---the Cape San Blas Lighthouse.  It is also a skeletal frame like the one in Carrabelle and has an interesting story.  The lighthouse has been re-built four times and moved several times to be secured further away from shore.  The last move in 2014 required a 900 foot convoy taking up two lanes of traffic.  They moved the lighthouse, two keeper's quarters, and an oil shed to its current location.  The move took all day and required adjusting power lines and traffic lights to accomplish the journey.  Quite a sight for the locals to see!

Another area not to miss is St. George Island.  It is not far from Carrabelle, by a town called Eastpoint.  You are still on Hwy 98 and take a bridge going south.  There's another lighthouse to see on the island side.  There are 92 steps to climb.  Gift shop and museum.  Both sides of the island are dotted with rows of vacation rentals from end to end.  We drove out to Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park.  Such a pretty beach, all white sand and plenty of big shells.  Not many people. They have a full facility campground, picnic pavilions, and places for fishing and swimming.  

We also traveled to a quiet area east of Carrabelle.  Visited Bald Point State Park on a little spit of land called Alligator Point.  I was the only one who walked around much there on a gray 50 degree windy day.  Later we went to St. Marks for the afternoon and on to Wakulla Springs. We stopped at Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park. We stayed there years ago in the lodge and it is something to see---a 1930's Spanish style.  Wakulla is the largest and deepest freshwater spring.  First magnitude.  70 degree water.  They give glass bottom boat rides, now by appointment due to the virus and social distancing requirements. Tarzan movies from the 1930's were filmed at the springs.  So was Creature from the Black Lagoon in 1954.  Extinct mammal remains were discovered in the caves below the clear water. You are just 14 miles south of Tallahassee but you feel as if you've stepped back in time.  

So much to see.  I liked our own beach back in Carrabelle.  Our RV park had a private pier and beach walk.  I got many sunrise and sunset photos!  Shorebirds played in tidal pools.  It was very quiet and peaceful.  And being February we certainly had a real mix of weather.  Clear 36 degree mornings.  Windy 50 degree days.  Sea fog.  Rain. Tornado warnings.  And finally, a few nice afternoons. Next time we will pick March!  

Directions:

Carrabelle FL is located in Franklin County, about 20 miles east of Apalachicola.  About 225 miles from Brooksville.

Take Hwy 98 toward Homosassa, then turn on Hwy 19 North.  Go thru Crystal River, Chiefland, and Cross City. 

Just before Perry, turn west on Hwy 98 and follow it along the coast the rest of the way.

 

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