Friday, May 8, 2015

To Carrabelle

Before we left Cedar Key, we wanted to do a couple more things, one go back and get some more of Tony's amazing chowder, walk around town, and do a couple hikes in the area.  As I mentioned there is no place to walk directly from the campground.  We went downtown, had a beautiful long walk, as the sky was a bit cloudy and there was a pleasant breeze, it was delightful.
The beginning of Dock Street

The view of the wharf area from the pier
After the killer chowder and some excellent fried shrimp we headed out to find the Dennis Creek and Shell Mound hikes in the Cedar Key Scrub State Reserve.  The Shell mound hike was very short, and after we met a couple on the path coming the opposite way that said or should I say exclaimed, they had just seen a snake, it almost got shorter:-)

It is amazing to think that the indians built over time a shell mound 28 feet high and covering 5 acres, that's a ton of oyster shells, and garbage!  The Dennis Creek hike was much better at about a mile or so with quiet corridors through the woods and across the salt marshes.
Quiet and peaceful

Across the salt marsh

A pretty little pond
Then since it was still early, and we only had about 3 miles under our feet, we drove up to  the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge and did about a mile, mostly boardwalk trail up to the Suwannee River and over the swamp, and even though there were several signs warning us about Water Moccasins (Cotton mouths), we didn't see any.

And that took care of our last day in Cedar Key.  Our plans then had us going around and out the panhandle a little bit to Carrabelle, FL, about 200 miles away.  It was a pleasant drive on a beautiful day and we only picked up a couple thousand love bugs on the way, we remarked how it seemed we were almost out of them:-)  We are parked now directly across the street from a beach that goes for miles in either direction, and the sand even though I'm not a true fan, is powdery, white, and soft, yet near the water it is excellent for walking.  

We took a long ride yesterday to explore the area and especially to find some Tupelo Honey.  We had never had it before and read where it is very special, unique, only is available for a short time each year, and is considered the best of the best.  We drove to Wewahitchka, FL to visit Lanier's which has been selling Tupelo honey since 1898.  Tupelo honey is produced from the flowers of the Tupelo Gum Tree which blossoms in April and May, and it is the only honey that will not granulate.  So we met one of the owners of Lanier's and she told us it was lucky we showed up as this season was a complete disaster as it poured rain during the blossoming time, knocked the blossoms off the trees and since the bees don't work in the rain, good union I guess, the production was almost nonexistent!  We were invited in to see the processing of the honey and as she warned us about getting stung, I went to the truck to wait for Jan:-)  Jan emerged unscathed but the owner got stung once?  Good timing for us though and we snagged a couple jars of, and after tasting it, have to admit it is unique and delicious, of genuine Tupelo Honey.  

Then off to find some Apalachicola Oysters, considered by many to be the best oysters.  Apalachicola is a small, working and tourist town right on the water and home to fishing and oystering.  Good old TripAdvisor pointed us to the Hole in the Wall Seafood as one of the best for oysters.  

The "beautiful" decor

It was a tiny place that was packed when we arrived, and the only seats were at the bar right in front of Dwayne, the shucker.  It had a weird vibe, as the only waitress almost attacked us when we sat down after she welcomed us, hmmmmm.  But we announced we each wanted a dozen oysters to start off, and she told us we were behind a lot of other people and hold your horses.  Had kind of a Faneuil Hall vibe where the schtick is pushy waitresses, but we held our surprise and in just a few moments, Dwayne handed us each a dozen sensational oysters, and we forgot about "Peggy Sue".  Slurp, slurp, they were fantastic!  

After the first dozen I decided my lunch would be another dozen, which Dwayne started on immediately, and Jan decided to get some gumbo, while carefully asking "Peggy Sue" for a bowl, and after yelling at another customer for asking for tartar sauce nicely said she'd get the gumbo right out, yeah, strange place.  After a considerable wait, the huge and excellent gumbo came out.
Sooo, although the food and oysters were exceptional, we won't go back, too hard to deal with the vibe and we're sure after walking around town there are many, many other places to get excellent oysters without getting abused.
A shrimper along the dock
Then on the way back we decided to pop out to St George Island, and look at a state park campground we had heard about.  It reminded us very much of the Outer Banks, narrow, sandy, and sand dunes everywhere.  It was pretty and the park let us in to look around, and we quickly found out it would be extremely tight for us, and oh so, isolated, situated 7.5 miles up on the extreme tip of the island, though for beach fans I imagine it would be great.  So we'll kick back here for another couple days and see if a few more oysters are in our future, oh I think so!


Sandy Smith said...

Factoid: Natural honey never goes bad or spoils, ever. The crystallised granules can be dissolved by placing the jar into warm, 120-140 degree water to dissolve until they disappear.

Bill said...

All of the above is absolutely true, but this honey NEVER crystalizes. Pretty cool, huh?

Sandy Smith said...

Excellent bee spit there!