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Friday, October 23, 2015

St George Island Day 6.1

This is a continuation of yesterday's post.  After we took a long walk on the beach and Dar took a run, we decided to drive over to Port St Joe.  I wanted to try to find the recently relocated Cape San Blas Lighthouse.  The lighthouse had to be moved off of the cape due to erosion issues.  Apparently, there was quite some contention as to where and who would be moving the lighthouse.  There was a race for grant funding between the City of Port St Joe and the Gulf County.  The county only wanted to move the lighthouse a little more inland towards Indian Pass, and the city wanted to move it to their city park, which is in between the Port St Joe Marina and the Gulf County Welcome Center on Miss Zola's Drive.  Here is the lighthouse's facebook page.


Cape San Blas lighthouse

Cape San Blas lighthouse and keeper's houses


Well, the City actually got the grant funding first and the lighthouse was moved to City Park.  Locals were up in arms about this as well, because why would you put a lighthouse in a park.  Now that it has been moved, the general consensus of most of the folks we spoke with, was that it ended up being a good move and enjoy the lighthouse there.  It actually anchors (see what I did there) the park as being a focal point of all of the festivities and events that are hosted there.

Twice now, I've tackled (more like tagged and ran away) my fear of heights and went up to the top.  This one I was not secure behind glass.  I had to go out onto the precipice.  But it was worth the view.  
Cape San Blas Lighthouse view

Cape San Blas Lighthouse view

Cape San Blas Lighthouse view

131 steps for me to fall down



















After the lighthouse tour, we walked around the park.  Along the way we came up to the Port St Joe Marina.  I've always wondered what these big buildings were that were situated along with the marinas.  Holy cow, they are an enclosed shelving system for boat storage.


Boys putting their toys away.


















Down by the marina there appeared to be an abandoned sail boat.  Or at least moored in too shallow of water.  I thought it made for a nice shot and was happy with some of the reflection I was getting.
Run Aground


















I was also very lucky to get some info about a Roseate Spoonbill and get a couple of pictures of it.  We later stopped into No Name Cafe and the they had an Audubon bird guide.  Dar got 87 books while we were there.  The home territory and migratory area is very small.  Its limited to the coastal area of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and parts of Louisiana.  Unless the Spoonbills are a nuisance bird, this was a rare opportunity, especially for a land lubber like myself.
Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill


















We went and had a late lunch at Sunset Coastal Grill.  Finally!  Cold shrimp cocktail.  There is nothing wrong with what appears to be the staple hot peel and eat, but I prefer cold shrimp cocktail.  This was by far, the best meal we have had while here in Florida.  We have come to find that when the menu says 'grilled', they actually mean griddle.  Nothing wrong with that, but to me, grill means open grate, open flame.  I had amazing grilled mahi fish tacos.  The fish was so fresh and flavorful, very little seasoning but prepared perfectly.  The soft taco shell was even toasted!  What a great touch.  I will have to remember that!  Darla got the crabby patties and they were delicious as well.  They had a very nice and firm consistency.  The crab pieces were shredded and small, not chunked.  Excellent meal and I highly recommend this place.  Darla even got into the photography game here.
Darla getting creative with some coastal bokeh


















This is where our day got immensely more interesting.  A gentleman walked in with a camera on a tripod, camera bag, and some notebooks.  Darla's curiosity was bothering her so she went over and struck up a conversation (more like inquisition) with him.  It turns out it was Dan Anderson, Editor and Publisher of the Forgotten Coast area's Must See Magazine.  What an amazing source of info and wealth of knowledge.  For the better part of an hour, Dan told us all about the area, from history and lore, to the best shops and places to eat.  A tip of the hat goes out to Dan for taking the time out of his day to chat with a couple of Northerners.  Dan, if you read this, we were able to find several past issues of Must See.  And for what its worth, a couple of business owners that we struck up a chat with had nothing but great things to say about you.  Keep up the good work!

Port St Joe has a really cute 4-5 block stretch of downtown area.  Again the boutiques and shops were top notch and Darla investigated each and every one of them.  This afforded me the chance to get a couple of pictures of the area.
Downtown Port St Joe

Downtown Port St Joe

Downtown Port St Joe

Downtown Port St Joe

Downtown Port St Joe

A Studio 35 sourthern remote location?

Downtown Port St Joe

It's not a beach trip without the obligatory buggy.


















Port St Joe was a great town.  As I said in my initial blog, the benchmark is St Augustine.  I am not sure that the Forgotten Coast is beating the St Augustine area, but it is giving it a good run for its money.  Dan, with Must See, really put it into perspective for us.  Dan points out that this low key beach life comes at a price.  You wouldn't just move down here and expect to find a job.  Most of the stores are being actively worked by their owners, they aren't absentee.  You also won't find a Walmart, or a Lowe's.  But if you don't need an 87 pack of toilet paper or 812 count of galvanized wood screws in black, brown, and white, then you'll be fine.  

You will definitely want to investigate where to shop.  The last place that I expected to have the best selection of vegetables and other grocery items on SGI was the one gas pump Piggly Wiggly Express.  That's because they are locally owned and operated. They had everything you needed and nothing you didn't.  There weren't 14 manufacturers of sunscreen on the shelf, there were two.  The more commercial competition across the street was a trip I'd like to forget.  Their fruits and vegetables were rotting right on the shelves.  They should have removed and pitched it rather than leave it on display.  That's where local pride prevails.

Sorry for the off-topic tangent there.  As we headed back to beach basecamp I caught a really nice view.  As we pulled up to the condo I was also able to get our crabby friend just as he was preparing to eat his fresh caught dinner of dragonfly.


















Cheers!  See ya on the flip side!