We've Gone to Look for America

Hubby and I are in Florida, currently visiting what's known as The Forgotten Coast--the NW Gulf coast. We landed in Orlando at around midnight on Monday, rented a Chrysler 200 convertible, spent the night in Orlando, and then took off in the morning for The Forgotten Coast. We have business in Orlando from Friday-Monday, but wanted to see the part of the state that we haven't seen before, prior to our time in Orlando.

Traveling the back roads, as we wanted to do, I was reminded of the Simon and Garfunkel song, America. The link is of a YouTube video of the song, which was popular when we were young'uns in college.

We spent Tuesday night in Panacea, and then this morning visited Wakulla State Park. On a boat tour, we saw many birds, alligators and some manatees. Here's a picture of a baby alligator who posed for us.

Afterwards, we headed west to Panama City, which is about 120 miles from Panacea. We've been eating local fare, and while two meals of it were okay, we've now had our fill.

People here speak with a southern accent, and every meal seems to come with hush puppies (which are some kind of little mound of deep fat fried cornbread highly seasoned with onion) and also cheese grits, which aren't cheesy enough, IMO. In addition, last night's dinner included coleslaw and all you can eat scallops. Half of what they gave me was plenty.

We had lunch today in Appalachicola, at the Seafood Grill, which has been in business since 1903. It's a real hole in the wall, but hubbie had some tasty grouper, and I had local blue crab cakes. The grouper was far better than the crab cakes. I'm sure they were excellent crab cakes, but I just didn't like them very much. Too mushy. The gumbo, though, was super tasty.

Apparently this area harvests 80% of the nations oysters, and so signs for oysters are everywhere. The Seafood Grill served them 17 different ways, but we're not fond of oysters, so we passed on them.

The historic district of Apalachicola has quirky shops such as the one pictured below, the Apalachicola Sponge Shop, boasting antiques, handmade soap with little pieces of sponge stuck in them, and metal art--I almost bought a flying pig to go with my collection of "When Pigs Can Fly." And all of the viewing is to the tunes of Eric Clapton.

The weird little guy, above, is sitting in front of the sponge shop, holding a sponge.

This afternoon, we went out on St. George Island, which is a long thin barrier island off the coast. The bridge to get to is is something like an eight miles long.

These pictures were taken from the lighthouse on St. George. You can see the bridge in the center top of the picture.

Finally, we circled back to Panama City, and instead of staying in its historic district, we're in the modern part of town  I was getting a little worried about most of what I'd seen today. It seemed as if everything had been built about 50 + years ago, and then forgotten about, as if we were in some weird time warp.

But in modern Panama City, we found strip malls and big box stores, food chains--had a nice dinner at Chili's. The beer was selling at 2-for-1; we split some nachos and then split a chocolate volcano cake for dessert, and thus had dinner for two for around $20 total. Not bad. (Also, not very nutritious!) I truly miss eating as I've been eating for the past six weeks, which is lots of fresh fruit and veggies, and just a bit of meat each day, although I did have a huge spinach salad for breakfast yesterday. Yeah. I know. It was weird eating spinach for breakfast.

It's off to Tallahassee in the morning, and depending on how much time we spend there, we'll either stay the night or swing on down to Tampa and St. Petersburg, and be back in Orlando mid Friday afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. What a terrific trip you are having! The sponge guy really caught my eye. One of my stereoviews is of a Key West sponge market. Boy, the land sure looks flat. It explains why hurricane season is so awful down there. Have a safe trip home...


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