Our odyssey started out with a week on St. George Island, a gorgeous barrier island in the Florida Panhandle connected to the mainland by a 4-mile bridge. The closest towns are Eastpoint on the mainland side of the bridge, and Apalachicola, about 10 miles west and another bridge ride away.
Here, the highlights of our week on St. George:
• The Fishing Prescription: Judy found this adorable rental home, tucked away on a canal on the island—it even had hook-ups for our trailer. It was comfortable, beautiful, and included a gourmet kitchen with every imaginable convenience. We joined forces to create jambalaya, grouper creole, Thai grilled chicken, mango curry grilled shrimp, and more—every night was a feast of delicious food and friendship.
• The Beach: The beaches on St. George are outstanding; as Judy said, “The sand is like sugar!” Although the weather was schizophrenic with wild fluctuations in sun, rain, wind, and temperature, we had plenty of beach time. Of course, there could always be more.
• Hiking And Biking The Island: St. George Island is 28 miles long and one mile wide, bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the Apalachicola Bay on the other; Florida had the foresight to set aside the easternmost 9 miles as a state park. The island is wonderful for biking, with dedicated bike trails, little traveled roads, and a bright yellow seafood trailer along the path where we picked up shrimp and fish to take home and cook. (The proprietor is a character—a sign scratched onto the side of the trailer says, “I don’t take cards and I don’t cook.”) We also loved hiking the 5-mile Gap Point trail, which wends through open piney woods and ends up on a beautiful beach.
• Exploring Apalachicola: We wandered the town, checking out galleries, cafes, and the waterfront. At one gallery, the guys were offered mini-bottles of Corona to keep them occupied while Judy and I browsed. We enjoyed happy hour one afternoon at the Owl Taproom and celebrated Valentine’s Day with a tapas dinner and live music at Tamara’s café. We love Apalachicola; my family has deep roots here and it was fun to share the town with our friends.
• Cruising Up The River: We took the riverboat cruise from the Maritime Museum up the Apalachicola River on a chilly day; although it was pretty quiet in terms of wildlife, it was a beautiful trip.
• Oyster Roast With The Folks: My dad grew up in Apalachicola and my folks built a home on the bay in Eastpoint 30 years ago (that’s where we’ve been hanging out in between adventures this winter). They invited us for an oyster feast; we enjoyed fresh-shucked Apalachicola oysters and oysters on the grill. Judy and John brought the party favors, which convinced my parents that we do, in fact, hang out with people of excellent taste and refinement.[portfolio_slideshow]