Our stay at Gulf Island National Seashore was limited to 14 days by National Park rules so we traveled East, exploring the Florida Panhandle. Beachfront parks are in short supply at this time of year so we stayed at Rocky Bayou State Park for a few days, next to a State Aquatic Preserve and appreciated the well-maintained campsite in the forest. We found some free days back on the Gulf Shore in St. Andrews State Park, near to Panama City. On the way, we visited Destin, on Santa Rosa Island and watched all the pre-season activity at the harbor, many boats being prepared for an influx of tourists looking to fish the Gulf.
After a few more days on the beach, we headed further inland and East to Apalachicola National Forest where we found a picturesque campground next to Wright Lake. The campground was run by two wonderful lady ‘hosts’, Lora and Marleen, who kept the 16 campsites and surrounding area in an immaculate state. They discovered we were traveling with our instruments, found another campground resident, Joesy Desjarlais, who played the guitar, and arranged and publicized two ‘Concerts by the Lake’ on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Our hosts even drove the 25 miles to the nearest town and came back to set up a ‘breakfast buffet’ for everyone who attended on both mornings. Our audience was very kind and appreciative, even outnumbered the musicians, and we met a couple from Vermont who were very familiar with the Annapolis area celtic music scene. We also met a couple Larry and Catherine from Edmonton, Canada, became instant friends, met fortuitously at our next stop and spent some time exploring together (see next post).
On our way to our next stop near Tallahassee, we visited Apalachicola, and toured St. George Island, another of the barrier islands on the Emerald Coast. On our travels along the barrier islands, we saw many beachfront properties with a unique narrow and tall style. Many homes were built on stilts. We thought it would be possible to ‘date’ the houses by the height of the stilts above sea level.
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