Last June (as in 2016 not yesterday), I spent a few days in Apalachicola, Florida, a small port town located on the gulf and at the mouth of the Apalachicola River. Of all the places I visited last year, Apalachicola was one of my favorites. There’s something extra special about a port town and shrimp boats and folks who live and breath by the tides. The whole experience felt very “old Florida” to me. Nostalgic and dreamy. On the peaceful end of the relaxation scale.
I wanna go back.
History and Food and more History and more Food!
Such history! In 1851, Apalachicola resident, Dr. John Gorrie’s refrigerated air patent laid the groundwork for modern air conditioning (thank goodness!!!). Motivated by the yellow fever epidemic which was believed to be caused by excessive heat and humidity, his patent came about as he sought a better way to cool patient rooms. He also served as postmaster, bank officer, town councilman and treasurer. A replica of his ice-cooling machine is on display at the John Gorrie Museum State Park in Apalachicola.
Before the railroad, Apalachicola was the third largest gulf port with a strong foothold in the sponge industry. Today, 90% of Florida oysters are harvested from Apalachicola Bay. Even a year later, I’m dreaming of the salty, buttery oysters pulled straight from the sea and chargrilled only steps from my table by the water.
Here we are mid-way through 2017. Why can’t we teleport yet? If we could, I’d be lunching at Boss Oyster again TODAY. Oh my word, I’m still thinking about that place. Rustic, inches from the water, cold beer. For me, a certain highlight of 2016.
Old cemeteries fascinate me, and the Chestnut Street Cemetery in the center of Apalachicola is one of the most beautiful I’ve seen anywhere. As I read epitaphs, I felt the struggles of the people buried there, although there’s no way I really could comprehend the weightiness of it all.
With moss draped trees and seashell lined graves, it’s truly a unique cemetery and worth the time to walk through. A sticky, humid afternoon doesn’t feel so sticky or humid when reading about victims of yellow fever or Confederate soldiers.
Where I Stayed
While in Apalachicola, I felt right at home at Coombs Inn and Suites. I loved the charming bed and breakfast and would definitely stay there again. The hostess served up a wonderful spread each morning, along with a history lesson of the town and historic inn. Coombs Inn is only a couple of blocks from the boardwalk, shopping, and restaurants.
Coombs House was built in 1905 by James N. Coombs. As owner of three sawmills, Coombs was considered the wealthiest man in town. I can vouch that the woodwork is stunning.
Another highlight of my trip to Apalachicola, Florida was my tour of The Raney House. Raney was a cotton trader and prominent lawyer. The Federal style house dates to the 1830s and is a treasure for fans of history, architecture, and antique furniture / art. (I had such a fun time chatting with my docent, Sara McFerrin, who just happens to be the author of several cozy mysteries. Small world!)
Seriously, if you plan to spend time in Florida but prefer time away from the beach crowds, add a few days in Apalachicola to your schedule. This little sea village on the Forgotten Coast has it all—food, scenery, shopping, and history. I wanna go back so bad I can taste it.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.