Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Things To Do

A Weekend in Apalachicola: moments to remember

Tucked away in Northwest Florida, Apalachicola makes for a low-key family getaway. My husband, Braulio, and I recently took our first trip to "Apalach," as the locals call it.

With our 1-year-old daughter, Norah, in tow, we wanted to keep our itinerary interesting for us but still kid-friendly. Here's how we spent the weekend.

Friday

4 p.m. - Departing from our home near Tampa, we drove north up US-98 so we could enjoy the coastal scenery.

10 p.m. - We arrived at Water Street Hotel and Marina, a 30-suite hotel toward the end of Water Street. Our two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite was lovely, with light hardwood floors, charming black and white tile in the bathrooms and a full kitchen. But our favorite part was the screened-in porch overlooking the Apalachicola River, from which we could watch the oyster boats drift by.

Saturday

8 a.m. - After catching the sunrise over the river from our porch, we walked a half-mile to Caroline's River Dining. We took it as a good sign that both locals and guests from the adjacent Apalachicola River Inn flocked to the riverfront restaurant. While some dined al fresco, our family saddled up to a table in the charming Southern-style dining room, with its sparkling chandeliers and lavender tablecloths. Our day got off to a sweet start with pancakes and French toast.

9 a.m. - Yes, we just ate breakfast, but as we walked back to our hotel, we couldn't resist stopping in Cafe Con Leche. While Braulio ordered a latte and guava pastry, Norah and I browsed the art, jewelry and used books that were for sale.

10 a.m. - Lighthouses were meant to be climbed. So to work off our breakfast, we drove across the Apalachicola Bay to the Cape St. George Lighthouse and Museum. The 92 steps to the top were worth it for the 360-degree view at the top.

12 p.m. - We had to stop by the John Gorrie Museum and genuflect to the man who invented the ice machine -- the precursor to air conditioning.

1:30 p.m. - Time for lunch at the Apalachicola Seafood Grill, a no-fuss joint that knows oysters, crab cakes and shrimp.

2:30 p.m. - On our way inside Orman House, we stopped to feel the cotton plants growing along the path to the front porch -- a nod to the 1830s, when Apalachicola was the third-largest cotton shipping port in the United States, after New Orleans and Mobile, Ala. During those years, cotton merchant Thomas Orman made out like a bandit, as proved by his beautiful home. There's no air conditioning, so dress accordingly.

3 p.m. - We took a quick stroll through the free Chapman Botanical Garden, which sits on the adjacent property of Orman House.

4 p.m. - Taking a break from the heat, we headed for Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. It's the second-largest estuarine research reserve system in the country, spanning more than 246,000 acres in Apalachicola Bay. The educational center was perfect for our family: It was air conditioned, the aquariums were at toddler eye level... and did I mention it was air conditioned? The tour was also friendly on our family's wallet -- admission is free, with donations accepted.

5 p.m. - We headed back to Water Street Hotel to relax on the porch. We watched a couple fishing off the marina dock and cheered them on when they caught a sheepshead.

8 p.m. - Right about now, most families would probably go out to dinner. But it was bedtime for Norah, so while Braulio gave her a bath and read her favorite bedtime story for the thousandth time, I picked up take-out from the Owl Cafe. Of course in Florida seafood is king, but Owl Cafe serves a nice variety of salads, pastas and other items to please every palate. The white-tablecloth restaurant is fancy enough for a special dinner, but dress is casual and I met a couple with a 4-day-old baby there, so it's not that snooty. Leave time to browse the gift shop downstairs.

 

Sunday

8:30 a.m. - After packing up and checking out of our hotel, we crossed the bridge one last time to St. George's Island. We picked up breakfast sandwiches from the Beach Pit, a casual eatery that was one of the few restaurants open so early.

9:00 a.m. - Beach time! Norah loved frolicking in the warm waters of Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park, in the shadow of the lighthouse we'd visited the day before.

10:30 a.m. - With Norah exhausted from all that fun in the sun, we buckled her into her car seat and departed for home.

 

Headed for Apalach? If you're traveling sans-toddler, you probably can pack in even more grown-up fun. For ideas, check out www.apalachicolabay.org.

 

This story originally appeared at Visit Florida.

Comments
Review: Yanni returns to ‘Acropolis’ for a passionate night at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

Review: Yanni returns to ‘Acropolis’ for a passionate night at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater

I have to confess: I was not prepared to see Yanni walk on stage Tuesday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall.I mean, of course I knew he would be there. It was a Yanni concert, after all. Can't throw a Yanni concert without Yanni.But if you've seen photos of Y...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBaseballMariners at White Sox2 p.m.MLBNationals at Giants (in progress)5 p.m.MLBTwins at Yankees6:30 p.m.1040-AMRays at Orioles7 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMCubs at Indians7 p.m.ESPNMarlins at Dodgers7:30 p.m.FSFCollege baseballIndiana at Purdue7 p.m.ESP...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Top places to hang with your dog in Tampa Bay, from breweries to baseball games

Top places to hang with your dog in Tampa Bay, from breweries to baseball games

Dogs are more welcome in public than ever these days. Bars and restaurants are making themselves more pet-friendly, and you can find weekly "yappy hours" happening at spots all over Tampa Bay. Add to that a healthy number of dog-approved events and ...
Published: 04/24/18
Melania’s hat, what were you saying?

Melania’s hat, what were you saying?

NEW YORK (AP) — Melania, or more specifically Melania’s hat, what were you saying? The media and the Twitterverse had a big time Tuesday with the first lady’s I-spy chapeau, a wide-brim number designed by Herve Pierre that would have been perfect had...
Published: 04/24/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 25

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for April 25

Foo Fighters: The hard rock band led by Dave Grohl tours in support of the group’s new album Concrete and Gold, which debuted at No. 1. But expect some classic hits like Times Like These, Best of You, and Monkey Wrench. 8 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Uni...
Published: 04/24/18
The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

"Stay thirsty, my friends," the most interesting man in the world is coming to Tampa to tend bar on Friday. Jonathan Goldsmith, the face that launched a thousand memes, will be slinging cocktails at Tampa’s trendy Hall on Franklin, the food hall anno...
Published: 04/24/18
Documentary ‘The Human Race,’ which has Tampa Bay ties, celebrates running in 50s and well beyond

Documentary ‘The Human Race,’ which has Tampa Bay ties, celebrates running in 50s and well beyond

An 80-year-old woman runs half marathons to stay one step ahead of Alzheimer’s. A man in his 50s runs his first 5K. A cancer survivor celebrates her 60s by running the U.S. perimeter.Welcome to The Human Race, an upcoming documentary celebrating seni...
Published: 04/24/18
Twin sisters from Tampa helping shape Fox's 'Empire' say they'd like to tell Tampa stories

Twin sisters from Tampa helping shape Fox's 'Empire' say they'd like to tell Tampa stories

JaNeika and JaSheika James’ television obsession was fueled by scarcity and convenience. As self-described "military brats" living in Germany, the girls treasured the VHS tapes their grandparents shipped overseas filled with English-language S...
Published: 04/24/18
Hernando Symphony Orchestra ends season with ‘Kaleidoscope’ concert

Hernando Symphony Orchestra ends season with ‘Kaleidoscope’ concert

BROOKSVILLE — Some are full of bluster and bravado, while others are sentimental and romantic.And when the Hernando Symphony Orchestra closes out its season this weekend with its Kaleidoscope concert, audiences will witness the wide range of talents ...
Published: 04/24/18
Review: American Stage hits 'The Producers' out of the park

Review: American Stage hits 'The Producers' out of the park

You might want to hurry up and get tickets for American Stage in the Park at Demens Landing.
Published: 04/23/18
Updated: 04/24/18