So, if you could not tell by my influx of seafood recipes as of late, I was lucky enough to spend a vacation recently lazing on the beach for a week in Florida – St. George Island to be exact. It’s in the panhandle, kind of in between Panama City and Tallahassee. The weather was warm and luckily the ocean water was still warm, too. Days usually included a nice walk or bike ride in the morning, followed by the beach and reading for several hours, and then some good, local seafood in the evening (which often included oysters, shrimp, and grouper).
St. George Island is only about 28 miles long and 2 miles wide and located about 4 miles right off the mainland. Though on one end is a very exclusive, gated community with its own airstrip, the rest of the island is very laid back and practically the opposite of exclusive. Down-home beach bum might be a better description. There are many areas that are not developed still, and no building can be taller than 3 stories. There are only about 5 restaurants/bars on the island, and it is a VERY dog friendly area. Dogs are allowed on the beach and in most all of the restaurants – which was good because between my parents, myself, and my husband, we brought 4 dogs with us. I’m not sure what we were thinking…
But, it turned out amazing! Our beach house for the week was just right, we bought tons of great seafood from these little trailers that would show up each day with seafood that had just been caught, and were able to spend the week in total relaxation. Some of our highlights:
First, Eddie Teach’s – a great dive bar. Open for lunch, dinner, and late-night, open-air, and all dogs welcome. They have a “happy hour” Monday – Friday at 3:30 – 4:30 of half price for a dozen oysters. I think the hubs and I went up 3 days just for that. Plus, they have a really good list of draft and bottled beers.
Our first evening on the Island, we went to Eddie Teach’s and stuffed ourselves. 2 dozen oysters baked with spinach, garlic, and Parmesan, 2 dozen raw, a pound of steam shrimp, and an order of their smoked fish spread. We sat outside (and, admittedly, at first getting eaten alive by mosquitos until we found some repellant…or maybe I’d had enough beers by that time to just not notice as much) and enjoyed the live band and the company of the other vacationers. Plus, they had a pinball machine!
Harry A’s is another good place on St. George. We went there on Sunday because my husband and step-dad needed their fill of football. But, they had awesome fried oysters and a grilled grouper sandwich. And, it was our lucky day – karaoke on the outside deck!
The town on the mainland before you head out on the bridge for St. George is called Apalachicola and it is very cute – a smaller coast town with more of the “Old Florida” feel. Laid back, seafood restaurants, some good history spots, an awesome local bookstore – and, you can watch all the fishing boats come in.
We went there on our last night, and found Veranda’s, a restaurant with a fantastic wine list, and a table on the 2nd story balcony that offered a great view of Apalachicola’s downtown. Our dinner included shrimp and roasted red pepper polenta and flounder with a shrimp and artichoke mustard cream sauce. A perfect evening to end our trip.
The good news, however, is my parents have reserved a house again for next year! I’m already counting the days…
We stayed at the Moon Ray, and it was my parent’s 3 year there. Just right for 4 people and 4 dogs, and only about a 2 minute walk to the beach. Plus a bike/walking path right outside that goes around much of the island!