Have you been to any islands lately? Well, if you want to get away for a long weekend, or even for a week or two, here is a suggestion: Plan to visit St. George Island, one of the best-kept secrets for a quiet getaway with lots of nature and secluded beaches. The island has only a few restaurants, but you will find lots of great places to eat on the other side of the bridge and nearby in Apalachicola.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
St. George Island is 65 miles southwest of Tallahassee, home of Florida State University. It is in Franklin County, Florida, near the panhandle, so that means you are on the Gulf of Mexico side, where the waters are simply beautiful. This 28-mile long island is perfect for sunning, shelling, and fishing, with beautiful sunrises and even prettier sunsets.
TRAVELING WITH FRIENDS
My husband and I love to travel with our friends, and this trip was no exception. We were invited to go to St. George Island with our dear friends of 20 years, back in September this past year. They had visited the year before, but their trip was cut short because the island was being evacuated because of Hurricane Michael…so plan accordingly.
HOW TO GET AROUND
This island allows cars, but if you want to get around without a car, you can bring a bike, or you can rent one; you can also get around by renting a golf cart. One place you can rent or purchase everything you need for your island stay is at Island Adventures. They have beach chairs, umbrellas, bikes, fishing carts, and even golf carts to rent, plus you can take home some souvenirs or t-shirts! There are no chain stores or highrises, but you can rent a condo, beach home, or stay at one of the two Inns or hotels.
The first day we were there, we decided to go to Apalachicola to shop and grab a bite to eat! It was early afternoon, so we decided to shop first at a cute store that our friends had been to the year before. It’s called Bee Inspired Too – Handmade Wares and is co-owned by Uta Hardy and Patti Ruiter who had been living in South Florida for a few years before deciding to move north to Apalachicola. She opened a shop where local artists in Florida could sell their handmade goods. She has her own beautiful work with stationery and jewelry, and the shop is filled with unique and excellent craftsmanship work like leather bags that are simply beautiful.
NOW LET’S EAT
The first stop for something to eat was the Owl Cafe’s Tap Room. We decided to get something to drink and some appetizers to tide us over until we returned to the island for a late dinner. These appetizers were not only a great size, but they were also delicious! Oh my, those Duck Confit Fries with pulled Duck, Gruyere, Prosciutto, and Duck Cracklin were amazingly tasty… so good that I wanted to lick the plate! I won’t tell….if I did!
After a little more shopping around town, we headed back to St. George Island and caught the sunset! It was so beautiful as it set over the water. Then we headed to the next eating hole called Paddy’s Raw Bar, where we sat outside, listening to the music, eating crab legs, shrimp, oysters, and fish dip. What a laid back place to hang out, eat great food, and enjoy catching up with old friends
Home of the Oyster
The next day we decided to eat at Up The Creek Raw Bar and enjoy our Sunday afternoon. We sat on the 50-foot open deck with a view of the water, one of the best views in Apalachicola. I have not had raw oysters in a long time and was hesitant to go for it until my friend Shawn encouraged me to have one. So I did; it was delicious. Below is a video of Shawn eating a raw oyster; he enjoyed it too!
We started with conch fritters; then we each had our meals, seen below in the photos. We had fried fresh shrimp, mahi-mahi tacos, oysters with butter and seasonings, and cheddar, bacon roasted oysters.
My husband and I had some time together on Monday because of another commitment our friends had, so we headed over to Lynn’s Quality Oysters Inc. which is located right on the water. It’s nothing fancy, but who cares when the quality of food is incredibly fresh and delicious. We loved the fish dip made with mahi-mahi so much, that the next day we went and purchased more to take with us to our next destination.
You can sit inside at the eating bar or at a table or at a picnic table out on the deck. Not only can you eat there, but you can shop for fresh fish and take it home to enjoy. Some of their usual selections include oysters, crab legs, live blue crabs, red snapper, grouper, flounder, tuna, Florida Lobster, called Bulldozier, which is not like Maine Lobster because Florida lobsters do not have claws. I had crab legs, and my husband had the peel and eat shrimp. All finger-licking good!
The next day my husband and I did some touring around the island; we had some great walks on the beach in the morning and walked to dinner at the Blue Parrot, which is on the beach. So lovely to sit, eat and watch the waves come in….there’s nothing more tranquil than that.
We went to see the lighthouse at the entrance of the island. Unfortunately, we arrived a little late to go inside to learn more, but there is always the next time we vacation at St. George Island to visit.
We also took a little road trip to Port St. Joe and drove up to Mexico Beach which Hurricane Michael had damaged pretty severely; however, a year later they are doing a great job rebuilding that coastal town. Mexico Beach is known as Old Florida, where things are kept to style like it was back in the 1970s. They had just reopened coastal roadway 98 the day we drove down. It is hard to see the devastation.
We stumbled upon another lighthouse in Port St. Joe, and then we had a bite to eat at Provisions in Port St. Joe.
Overall it was a very relaxing and fun trip to do with some of our best friends, catching up on old times and venturing to a place we had not been to before. It is definitely on our list of places to return to!
Let me know if you have ever been to St. George Island or planning on going for a visit.