Monday, November 14, 2011

There's more of Florida than you think

I spent the weekend with friends at St. George Island in the Panhandle.  While it was too cold for swimming (at least for us natives--I did see tourists in the water), I walked along the powdery-white sand and enjoyed amazing sunsets and star filled skies.

We traveled up on backroads through some of the state's most beautiful scenery, part of the trip taking us through Apalachicola National Forest and the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.  This is the Florida so many tourists never see--the hardwood swamps and pine and oak forests, the rivers and springs, the salt marshes that support an amazing variety of wildlife.  You can keep South Beach, this is my favorite part of the state!  I love driving the backroads and stopping to stretch my legs in tiny towns like Sopchoppy and Carabelle and Fort White.  Each one is unique and has its own history that makes it special and worth a detour from the interstate. Recently I was out with a friend, to whom I'd promised a drive in the convertible and lunch after she finished chemo.  As I turned off on a back road she asked me if I knew where I was going.

"Not really," I said, "But  that's one of the good things about living on a peninsula.  I know if I drive for a while I'm either going to hit water or Georgia, and then I'll know where I am."

For the record, we didn't get lost and had a lovely lunch.

I also got to see a bit of downtown Apalachicola this weekend, a city I can now cross off my Florida "to do" list.  Pensacola is still on the list, a city that was the capitol of West Florida and next to St. Augustine one of our richest historical sites.  There's a lot of territory I haven't covered in my own back yard, and I may have to put the top down on the convertible and take a research road trip this winter.  

No comments: