At this time a year ago, Helen (adorable wife) and I drove to Panama City, Florida and, while there, made a day trip to Apalachicola to see the area and enjoy some fresh oysters. When planning our snowbird trip for this year, we both agreed that a second trip to the Oyster Republic was a must. We were able to make reservations at St. George’s Island State Park, and boy, were we glad we did.
We departed from St. Andrews State Park where we had a fabulous stay and drove along the Gulf Coast to St. George’s Island. The drive was made easy by the scenery and the sampling of “Old Florida” homes, small towns, and motels we passed along the way. We arrived at St. George’s in the early afternoon and backed Gracey (our travel trailer) into her new home.
Our plan for the next day was to drive across the causeway and pay a visit to Apalachicola. Friends had recommended that we visit the Orman House, a stately antebellum home built in 1838 by Thomas Orman, a wealthy cotton merchant. We took their advice and enjoyed the tour led by a very enthusiastic young park ranger named Jeremy. Orman House was furnished with many of the original pieces as well as artwork from the period the home was occupied.
We enjoyed the tour greatly. As we were leaving, we met Ken and Patty, a couple from Michigan who came to the area each year seeking an escape from the Michigan winters. They have volunteered as campground hosts in previous years, but this year was serving as hosts at Orman House in exchange for a site for their RV. They said they were having a great time meeting people and working in the gardens outside the house. They were scheduled to work three days a week, but usually spent more time than that because they enjoyed the work so much. Helen and I made a mental note to look into volunteer work at places we might fall in love with on future snowbird stops.
The tour completed, it was now oyster time. We drove to the Hole in the Wall Oyster Bar, our favorite eatery from last year only to find that it was closed on Mondays…bummer! We went to the Owl Cafe instead and were seated in the Wine Room. Both of us were eager for oysters on the half shell so we split a dozen. They came out cold, fresh and didn’t last long on the tray. Helen also had a crab and shrimp salad and I had a fresh grouper sandwich. We waddled to the car.
Day two was spent exploring the beach and St. George’s Island. It was a windy, but otherwise beautiful sunny day and we were certain that shark’s teeth were everywhere. Beach access points are conveniently located close to the campground throughout the State Park as well as restroom and shower facilities. We chose to drive to the parking area at the north end of the beach and we had it pretty much to ourselves. Helen found a few scallop shells but no shark’s teeth. It was great to be out in the sunshine.
That afternoon, we received word that Rusha and Bert, two friends from our hometown of Knoxville, were on their way to St. George’s for a week’s vacation and was to arrive later in the day. We arranged to meet them at the Blue Parrot for dinner. As it turned out, the Blue Parrot was alongside the beach and conveniently within walking distance of where our friends were staying.
Bert and Rusha are very experienced travelers and Helen and I were eager to pick their brain of favored places for future trips with Gracey. In fact, Rusha is a fellow blogger and writes about her travels at ohtheplaceswesee.com. Her blog is definitely worthy of a visit to the trove of information found there.
The time we spent with Bert and Rusha was delightful–I think Helen was overjoyed at having someone else to talk to besides me. She smiled throughout the evening. I had so much fun, I have completely forgotten what I had for dinner which I don’t usually do since I like to share the menu with Easin’ Along readers. I just remember that it was good seafood and the Craft Beer was exceptional.
All too soon a new day dawns and it’s time to leave St. George’s Island and make our way to Jekyll Island, GA, the next stop on our snowbird tour. After loading up Gracey we waved so long to the warm sunshine, white sand, and savory seafood of the Oyster Republic…it was tough saying goodbye, but it was time to be Easin’ Along.