Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Sunset and Gibsons in Apalachicola

We arrive back in Apalachicola mid-afternoon, relaxed, happy – and ready for a nap. Apalachicola is full of people. We know from experience that many of the people are day trippers, and by late afternoon they will be gone. Hey – it’s a get-away. A vacation. Naps are not just allowed, they are encouraged.

We already know where dinner will come from and that we won’t eat there. The Gibson was recently featured in Garden and Guns magazine as THE place to stay in Apalachicola. It is semi-Victorian, each room is different, it has a lively bar scene and a good restaurant. Under other conditions, a fun place to stay, but in the time of COVID, maybe not so much.

They are doing a lot of expanding, and renovating, and this is a great time to be doing it, before the great onslaught of people breaking free from travel restrictions. Actually, as AdventureMan is picking up dinner, he hears the desk clerk telling someone at the desk, “it is our last room, and it is on the third floor.” So much for travel restrictions.

I had the New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, an appetizer, and the Caesar salad. AdventureMan also had the BBQ shrimp and something else. The shrimp were good, the salad was not great and we can’t remember what else we had. Things rarely taste as good in take-out containers as they do in plates, so not the Gibson’s fault.

On this night, I also got a sunset photo:

So you could see a little piece of our hotel 🙂

February 5, 2021 Posted by | Beauty, Character, Food, Health Issues, Hotels, Restaurant, Road Trips, Sunsets, Travel | , | Leave a comment

Early Morning Walk in Apalachicola

We’ve been married almost 48 years, so AdventureMan and I know how to travel together with minimal friction. We are not alike, but we are flexible (unless, of course, we are tired, or hungry, or need a nap, and then all bets are off.)

We are on holiday. AdventureMan likes to sleep in. I am an early morning creature; I don’t even need an alarm, I just wake up. I can see the fragile pink of the early morning sky and I can’t wait to get outside and take a walk.

Have I told you lately how much I like pelikans? These ancient birds remind me of pterodactyls, beaky, angular, survivalists.

Colonial mansion, we toured it once.

A beautiful sunrise, and bringing a cold but clear and sunny day, great for heading to Saint Mark’s Wildlife Refuge near Wakulla Springs.

Sometimes my camera captures something spectacular and I am humbly in awe; I didn’t make this happen, it just happened.

Time for my coffee 🙂

February 4, 2021 Posted by | Beauty, Birds, Civility, Cultural, Marriage, Photos, Quality of Life Issues, sunrise series | | Leave a comment

Settling In to Apalachicola

Prior to Hurricane Michael, Apalachicola had a long history as home to some of the most delicious oysters in the world. Mountains of oyster shells like this were iconic Apalachicola scenes.

Apalachicola is a great little town for walking. There is a downtown with cute shops, there is a grocery store, there are several good restaurants, and lots of parking. We check in to our hotel, we take a long walk, we decide to eat early. Yes, another restaurant, but it is early and nearly empty. We find another isolated table.

The focus is definitely on drinks.

The food was OK.

We left as more people started coming in.

You can rent these houseboats for an Apalachicola stay right on the water.

I am losing the light when we come across a large pick-up full over the brim with duck decoys. The next morning, I could hear shots going off all over the estuary as hunters brought down the migrating ducks.

February 4, 2021 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Cultural, Eating Out, Food, Hotels, Living Conditions, Photos, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel, Wildlife | | Leave a comment

“Do You Want to Reserve for Friday night?”

I was so excited. We are headed out, our first trip since February when we took our grandchildren back to New Orleans, as we so often did until March and the advent of COVID. We’ve sold our big house, are comfortably settled in our smaller house, and I am SO ready to resume a more normal life.

I had just finished telling AdventureMan about a restaurant in a hotel we have visited several times, but we’ve never stayed in nor eaten in. The menu looks fabulous! (The Franklin in the Gibson Inn, Apalachicola). He looked at me over his reader glasses, lovingly – and sadly.

“”So do you think everyone will be masked and socially distanced?” he asked me.

“Oh,” I responded. Deflated. Sometimes, for a short while, I can totally forget the new reality of masks and social distancing, and not eating in restaurants.

We decided that as we will be staying in a lovely place with condo conveniences, we can order out. It won’t be the same, but the food will be good, we can store our leftovers in a refrigerator, and we can be safe.

Sigh.

I’m still excited. Apalachicola is beautiful, and the hotel where we stay (The Water Street Hotel) is right on the estuary. There are screened balconies where, even in this chilly weather, we can sit out and watch the heron, and fishing birds, and watch the boats stream by. We can head out to St. Marks, famous for the large flights of migratory birds at this time of the year.

It will be cold. It will also be beautiful, and it will be relatively deserted, safe from those globs of corona virus floating around where human beings breathe. We can walk to our hearts content. I can take pictures.

We like birds. We are enthralled with their beauty. It gives me a happy jolt every time I see, from my little house, a pelican, or a stork, or an eagle, or a red shouldered hawk. No, we are not birders. We like birders, but cannot begin to generate their endless enthusiasm and capability for detailed observation. We just sit back and enjoy the moment.

Apalachicola is a very old Florida town, once famous for it’s timber, and once famous for it’s oysters. The recent hurricane activity has wiped out the tasty Apalachicola oysters, at least for the next few years, and has greatly wiped out the economy of Apalachicola. We look forward to lifting that economy, as best we can, with our visit, and we encourage you to do the same.

January 13, 2021 Posted by | Adventure, Beauty, Birds, Community, Eating Out, Florida, Food, Geography / Maps, Hotels, Living Conditions, Quality of Life Issues, Restaurant, Road Trips, Travel, Wildlife | | Leave a comment

Boss Oyster in Apalachicola

Many years ago, Boss Oyster was our favorite place to go in Apalachicola. One time we went there and just ate oysters. Oyster stew, a whole variety of raw and steamed oysters, then some fried oysters. That was lunch. When dinner came, we didn’t even want any dinner, oysters are so rich.

This time, we didn’t pig out. 🙂 And we still love Boss Oyster 🙂

I don’t know any word to describe it but funky. It isn’t all modern and it is not pristine. It’s funky. It has character. It has charm. Some people would hate it, some would turn up their noses at it. Not us. We love Boss Oyster.

This is our table:

And here is what I ordered this time: Gouda Gouda Oysters. Oh Yummm.

I barely remembered to take a picture of the oysters. I totally forgot to photograph anything else. Sorry! We just got carried away having a good time!

December 9, 2011 Posted by | Adventure, Cultural, Eating Out, Florida, Food | | 5 Comments

Up the Creek Raw in Apalachicola

Near the Water Street Hotel was the Up the Creek Raw Bar, and we went there for lunch and enjoyed it so much we went back for dinner. GREAT oysters.

I don’t do raw, so I had mine steamed, but they were all good. My favorite favorite part was the Crab and Lobster Bisque. I liked the cup I had with my oysters at lunch, so I had the bowl for dinner. It was really that good.

The Crab and Lobster Bisque:

Oysters, Raw:

Steamed Oysters:

Grilled Grouper:

I loved the bisque. The place was jammed with people, having a good time. I don’t know why I didn’t like it better.

December 1, 2011 Posted by | Eating Out, Florida, Food | | Leave a comment

The Water Street Hotel in Apalachicola

So after feeding the goats, LOL, we headed out for a very serene, very zen drive from Panama City to Apalachicola, arriving near lunch time. AdventureMan and I are on track in so many ways, one of which is that we like to have a place to stay before we eat, and the last few years, it’s been a piece of cake, no problem, people haven’t been filling the hotels and you can walk in almost anywhere and find a place to stay. Not so, this year.

First, there are a LOT of people in Apalachicola as we come in. And there is a lot of activity going on, Christmas lights going up, merchants decorating their stores, and SANTA is coming on on a BOAT!

We tried the first, obvious place, where the receptionist told us frankly she had a room but we wouldn’t like it and it is her last room, right next to the dining room. We found another likely place, and every room was taken. They told us to try down the street at the Water Street Hotel, which we did.

We got the last room.

“You’re going to love this room,” she said, and oh! We did!

One of the reviewers on TripAdvisor.com said “its like the (Marriott) Residence Inns, only nicer,” and that is exactly what we thought. The suites are all differently configured, and have beautiful finishes. For me, the best part is the view.

We’re still talking about the kind of house we want. We like the house we have, but we would like something a little more open-plan, and with a view of a bayou – or an estuary. The unit at the Water Street had a large screened in porch where I spent an hour watching boats go too and fro, and pelicans, and an entire flock of about 200 birds, and watching the grass wave in the breeze . . . it was heaven.

This was the view straight out from our unit:

And now looking up the channel:

The interior going out to the deck:

The Water Street Golf Cart that takes you on tours of Apalachicola 🙂

There was a huge master bedroom, and another bedroom with a daybed, two full bathrooms.

What we want is a place like this in Pensacola, same finishes, same kind of view where there is always something going on, birds, boats, nature happening. We love the attention to detail they put into this hotel. We’d like something a little bigger; we loved this place.

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Community, Environment, ExPat Life, Living Conditions | | 1 Comment