St. George Island

St. George Island is not for everyone. The island is quiet and laid back. There is no high-rise development on the island. In fact, the Island Cottages are among the tallest homes on the island, being 2 stories + a loft. There are barely any hotels or motels (two). Night life exists, but is limited to a few places. There are no traffic jams (Atlantans take note).

But what is here is a beach. A wide, quiet gulf beach. It's not crowded. There is rarely an undertow or dangerous current. There can be waves large enough for body surfing, but often there are only gentle swells. Surf fishing off the beach sometimes is worth trying. If you want serious fishing, there is an artificial reef offshore where the fishing can be good (it's the old bay bridge to Apalachicola that they hauled offshore and dumped). Or you can sit on the beach and watch the dolphins just offshore. If you want to continue the hectic pace you have in the city, try somewhere else. If you want to relax, there are very few places better for it.

The east end of the island is a state park, a natural preserve, this covering the east 8.5 miles. The rest of the island is only 11 miles from the state park gate to Bob Sikes Cut on the west end.

The island, though, is not without amenities. Cable TV and high speed wireless internet are available in The Beach Burrow. We have a land line phone with free long distance in The Burrow. There are two grocery stores, one full store and the other a hybrid between a convenience store and grocery store with a deli/meat counter. There are several restaurants on the island. We personally had avoided The Blue Parrot for years after a very poor meal, but recently have eaten there and had a good meals. They served one of the biggest flounders I've ever been served in a restaurant, perfectly broiled. It was more like a small halibut. The couldn't have stayed in business as long as it has if it had remained as bad as the last time we had been there. They are a bit pricey for what they offer, though.

There's Paddy's Raw Bar with Monday trivia and nightly music, The Beach Pit, and Black Marlin's Bar and Grill. Harry A's Restaurant & Bar is the busiest night spot- a popular bar, more for the bar crowd than restaurant crowd.BJ's Pizza has been there forever. Pizza and sandwiches.

Then there's the family tradition of walking across the street to
Aunt Ebby's Ice Cream & Deli for evening Ice Cream. The only chain on the island is a Subway next door to Aunt Ebby's.

Eastpoint has somewhat constantly changin places to eat. The Red Pirate has been there a long time. We've never eaten there- I refuse to eat at a restaurant with a mini-golf course. The mini-golf course is the kind of touristy thing I don't want to see at SGI. El Jalisco is a long time survivor, known for its breakfasts, though we'd rather go to The Beach Pit on the island. The rest of the day, Mexican food, (obviously). Family Coastal Restaurant is the newest entry into a bayside restaurant that at one time was "That Place on 98".

Apalachicola has more variety. The Owl is pricey, but well worth it. The food is often outstanding. There are several raw bars that serve your basic seafood as well as oysters from the local reef, which are among the best in the world. Apalachicola Seafood Grill & Steakhouse doesn't seem to grill their seafood, but has good fried stuff. Caroline's Dining on the River was inconsistent, but could be good. Hole In the Wall Seafood near The Owl has the feel of an old time Florida shack restaurant, with the exception that it is air-conditioned. Their gumbo was amazing. Tamara's Café is a bit eclectic but offers tapas.

For a more complete listing of area restaurants, check out http://www.seestgeorgeisland.com/Restaurants.aspx. If you promise not to click the "Where to Stay" links, here is a pretty good link for information about the area. For shopping, when we get to St. George, we head to the Piggly Wiggly in Apalach for our "stock up" grocery run. Follow 98 through the main strip and turn left with the highway and it's about 3 blocks. They have a surprisingly varied wine and beer selection, though. Piggly Wiggly has also opened an express store on the Island. Though selection is limited, they do have a meat counter. There prices are reasonable. SGI Fresh Market has a somewhat larger selection and is a bit more upscale, but bring money... . Sometimes It's Hotter has beer, wine, snacks, fresh bread/pastries and spices. On Thursdays they have a get together with free food. They have killer cinnamon rolls.

Want to go to a movie? Sorry, there's Panama City or Talahassee. There is golf around Port St Joe and Carabelle, less than 30 minutes away.

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