As a final part of my recent coastal vacation, today I’m sharing the charming town of Apalachicola, FL. As I mentioned earlier, the only time I’ve visited this town was 5 years ago with my friend, Vicki and it was a quick drive through the little coastal ton and a drive out to St. George. It has always stuck with me as being such a quaint town and I can see why people love it here. It doesn’t have the amenities of a bigger city, but it has beautiful water views and a village feel.
From the Hays House where I stayed right in the downtown area, the shops and restaurants were right outside the door and down the street. Since I was there to spend time at the beach, that’s really all we did except for dinners out at night. I could see there were some really cute shops in Apalachicola, but I didn’t take the time this visit to check them all out. Next time, perhaps!
This was right across from the Hays House on the corner and I did hear that Up the Stairs was a good place to eat. Will have to try it out another time.
The downtown of Apalachicola is so cute and quaint, like Mayberry.
I didn’t get to walk by all the shops and restaurants, but browsed some of the streets. There were 2 or 3 blocks like this with water on the far side of town, the bay.
One shop we walked in was the soda shop and it was a throwback to a different era and generation. Reminded me of the 5 and dime stores the baby boomers grew up with. There aren’t that many of these left anymore, but they sure do bring a smile to my face.
I think there were some antiques shops in this section, but we didn’t get in there. While we were there for dinner, it started raining, so sort of hampered looking and then the shops were closed later on.
This was a really cool building, the Grady Market. This is the back side of it.
And this is the front. Looks like it’s full of shops, but they weren’t open either.
I will definitely have to check it out on another visit. I heard there were apartments on the top of this building.
The little courtyard outside was very welcoming and pretty.
Mark and I after dinner and trying to dodge the raindrops.
I had heard on my Facebook page that the Owl Cafe was really good, so we decided on this spot for dinner.
The menu looked great so we were anxious to get in there and try it out.
Up the stairs to a non-assuming, but quaint spot for dinner, the Owl Cafe exceeded expectations.
Bread and salad for starters.
I got the triple tail special and it was absolutely fabulous, with a creamy pesto sauce on top. I love fish just about anyway you cook it and I love it prepared like this as well. Garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed veggies rounded out the meal.
Mark got the pompano special and raved about it as well. We were both oohing and ahhing over our meals and totally loved it. We both agreed that it was our best meal of the trip. We also had a great meal at Captain Anderson’s which I’ll mention more about too.
I did take the time to drive around the historic district where my B&B was located and take a few shots of these gorgeous homes.
There are so many beauties here that it was so picturesque and beautiful.
From Victorians to other traditional coastal style homes, these are all older and so maintained and pristine.
I took pics of this church last time and it’s so pretty once again.
And another beautiful old church.
The Gibson Inn is right behind the Hays House in Apalachicola and is a big place. I don’t know the history of this house, but it looks to be a fun place to stay too.
As you can see, Apalachicola is a charming and very nostalgic small town feel in Florida, just what I would imagine from 50 to 100 years ago. When I told my daddy I was heading down to Apalachicola, he told me that his mama’s kinfolk settled here and that I probably have relatives here and should look them up. I didn’t, but it’s interesting to know that there are probably people here that are part of my bloodline.
My own daddy grew up not far from here and if you were reading my blog back in 2008, you might remember me blogging about it. He was born and raised in Wakulla County, east of here and that’s where he spent the first 12 years of his life. That post is about Wakulla Springs and here are a couple more about his hometown and other interesting tidbits from that area of Spring Creek and Crawfordville where he grew up as a boy. His family totally lived off the land back then during the depression and it made a big impact on my dad. That trip in 2008 was before Lauren got married and the 3 of us girls went along with mom and dad to see the places that we had always heard about from my dad. He was so proud to show us around! I’m so glad I documented those trips on my blog back then. They will forever be a piece of family history and I thought it was important to do and so I shared them with all my readers back then too. The posts are an interesting read now and show a lot of my dad’s family history, which was poor and uneducated. My dad was the only one of 10 siblings to graduate high school and he went to college which is where he met my mom.
When my dad was 12 they moved to Panama City and that was the town that raised him to adulthood and beyond. So, that brings me full circle to now. Mark also grew up going to Panama City as a teen and young adult and ate at Captain Anderson’s so many times, like I did. That restaurant is so well known among the tourists of Panama City and has been in business for probably close to 50 years. Three of my dad’s sisters used to work there a waitresses back in the 70’s. We decided to go there for dinner one night for old times sake.
I had told Mark about my dad being from Panama City and even mentioned the name of the street my Grandma Vickers lived on. I knew there was a high school at one end of the then dirt road. The area of Panama City where she lived is called Springfield. My dad was really good to his mama and treated her so well, sending her money when he was in the army and taking care of things for her and looking after her after his dad died. I remember his dad, but he died when I was very young and my grandma died probably when I was in my late 20’s. I hadn’t been back to her house in so many years. I remember my grandpa sitting on the porch and smoking his pipe in a chair. We were never super close to most of my dad’s side of the family after we were grown and lost touch with them over the years, but he stayed in touch with his immediate family. Dad was one of 10 kids and the next to youngest boy. He’s the only one left now. Here’s an interesting tidbit for you. My dad’s nephew, Jack Vickers, drives the big rig truck for the University of Alabama football team, so that’s a bit of interesting family trivia for you. One of my cousins gave daddy a framed picture of the official Alabama team football truck and it’s hanging on their porch. It just so happens that I root for the Crimson Tide too!
As we were driving over to Panama City from Apalachicola for dinner, we entered the community of Springfield and I got my phone out to see how far Sheffield Ave. was off the main highway we were on. As soon as I did that, Mark turned down a street and said, I’m taking you by your grandma’s house. It was so sweet and I didn’t even have to ask him! We found the street pretty fast, it was less than 5 minutes away and then after I got my bearings, I saw the house. I was immediately transported back to childhood. The whole street is in disrepair now and looks like the slums, but 749 Sheffield Ave. is still there, even though it’s worse for the wear. I’ll be sharing this picture with my Daddy soon. They’ve been out of town and I haven’t had a chance to see him yet, but will see them today and I know he will be interested in this.
I guess someone lives here, although you couldn’t tell if it’s inhabited or abandoned. The house looks so much smaller than I remember, but that’s the way childhood memories are. I do remember the front porch how big it felt to me back then. There was a hanging porch swing on the far left of the porch and I have memories of cousins swinging in it one day and it went flying out in the yard with a crash. Luckily, no one was badly hurt. There was a huge blue hydrangea bush in the front yard at one time, but looks like it’s probably gone now. That old oak tree hanging over in the picture is a huge live oak and I remember the leaves and sand underneath it. This little white house is the keeper of my dad’s family history and even though he sold it years ago after his mom was gone, it’s part of our heritage. I’ll never forget going here as a child to visit my grandma. I remember every single room as well as the blaring black and white TV in the corner and the smell of mustiness in the bedrooms with a big armoire housing old clothes taking up a big part of the room. As you can see, it’s a small and humble house, but it’s where my dad was raised to manhood and it was a sweet place to visit. We played outside in the dirt road when we were kids and visited the cousins who lived nearby at the time.
We did make it to Captain Anderson’s for dinner and didn’t have to wait too long to sit in the old part of the restaurant, which is Mark’s favorite. Captain Anderson’s, if you haven’t been here, is so well known in Panama City and sits on the docks off Thomas Drive.
We enjoyed delicious Grouper Imperial dinner and both ordered the same thing. We got the Grilled Bay shrimp too which was to die for. This was our 2nd favorite meal of the trip.
Thanks for reading along with my nostalgic visit to my grandma’s house. I hope you enjoyed hearing about this part of my life and since so many of you have fallen in love with my dad, you may not have ever read those posts or know where he came from. He’s a child of the Gulf Coast of Florida and that is what shaped his life into the wonderfully good man he has always been.