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Giving Thanks

When my retirement date was finally set, we knew we needed to kick off our retirement life together with a big trip. Since the date was close to Thanksgiving and it was our year to spend Thanksgiving with our Alabama family in Florida, we let that Thanksgiving destination be the anchor point for the rest of the trip.

FLORIDA!

I come from a family that loves to fish. I grew up fishing and we would all frequently travel to the Apalachicola, Florida area and fish there. Because of our family’s love of that area, my parents have rented a house yearly on St. George Island during November for several years. Since my parents would be there in November for Thanksgiving, we picked an RV park nearby and booked it well in advance of our trip. It wound up being a beautiful spot overlooking the sound.

View of St. George Sound from the Airstream

Apalachicola, Florida is a small fishing village on the mouth of the Apalachicola river. The name “Apalachicola” is a combination of the Hitchoti Indian word “apalahchi”, meaning “on the other side”, and “okli”, meaning “people”. In the original reference to the settlement, it probably meant “people on the other side of the river”.

We got into Apalach a bit earlier than my sister and her family, so we had some time to visit with my parents and take time to see some things around the area that we had not visited before. There is an informative Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve nature center that has a boardwalk outside and a building with exhibits on the area. It is well done and highly recommended.

A good reminder on the boardwalk in our first full week of retirement together

The main economy for Apalach is built around the seafood industry and it is famous for its oysters. Because of this, we spend a lot of time eating when we visit as it has some of the best seafood on the Gulf Coast. Our family has often joked that we rate our vacations based on the meals we eat along the way. I blame our times in Apalach for that. Mom and Dad took us out to celebrate retirement and my birthday and we had a couple of incredible meals.

On our first meal out, we ordered a seafood combo for two and were shocked at the amount of food. Scallops, shrimp, oysters, crab claws, clam strips PLUS Grouper and Flounder, and a homemade crab cake. Hey, at least they offered a salad with it.

Family Coastal Seafood

Then, on the second night, we went to The Owl Cafe for our celebration meal. It is safe to say that, after two meals like this, we are going to need a workout plan living on the road.

The Owl Cafe with Mom and Dad

Once my sister, Jennie, and her family arrived, the remainder of our time over Thanksgiving was spent hanging out in the house together and visiting and playing cards (Canasta and Blackjack) while my Dad played fishing guide for them at various points.

We had perfect weather for our required family beach sunset photos Jennie is always so great at organizing. I swear she has an inside track on the perfect day to take these pictures.

The time spent together was too short and I got a little sad realizing we weren’t going to see them for another year. Spending time on the coast reminded me of how much I love this area. It is called “The Forgotten Coast” for a reason. I hope that it stays a well-kept secret.

Great Blue Heron
Sunset over the Bay
Sunrise over Apalachicola Bay
Route for this leg of the trip

Miles driven this leg: 138

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