For some, shopping is a chore; for others, it’s the best way to spend a vacation. If you’re in the latter category, we’ve got you covered here along Apalachicola Bay. With a variety of shops in the area, there’s something for everyone. Here are our top picks for shopping spots:

Artemis Gallery and Boutique

Centrally located in downtown Apalachicola’s High Cotton Building is Artemis Gallery and Boutique, one of the Forgotten Coast’s premier art galleries. This Apalach staple specializes in Florida Landscapes and folk art from local or regional artists. Almost every piece is original, but the Gallery and Boutique also carries prints from some of their artists, as well as beautiful boutique clothing, jewelry and accessories, unique gifts, and cards. Stop by anytime—Artemis is open 7 days a week!

Apalach Outfitters

Another option in downtown Apalachicola is Apalach Outfitters, a full-service specialty retail shop. Stop in for men’s and women’s clothing, but stay for all your supplies to enjoy the Forgotten Coast’s natural beauty, with fly- and in-shore fishing gear, paddleboards, and snorkeling supplies! This kid- and pet-friendly store is next to the Dixie Theater in the heart of Apalachicola’s Historic Downtown District.

Riverlily

Did you know Apalachicola has a haven for mermaids? Riverlily is the top spot to pamper the mermaid in your life, with bath and beauty collections from all over the world, as well as fashionable scarves, fabulous socks, fragrant candles, and fun hats. The true star of this shop, though, is the collection of beautiful vintage style earrings, made with hard-to-find antique beads and unique findings. No pierced ears? No problem! Every pair in the shop can easily be converted to clip-ons!

Shop Without Leaving St. George!

Don’t think you have to leave St. George Island to take advantage of great local shopping! With the largest collection of art along the Forgotten Coast and a focus on local artists and fine craftspeople, Sea Oats Art Gallery is a must for any St. George Island trip. Pet-friendly Sadie’s Seahorse is another top choice on the island, specializing in coastal chic with gifts, cards, flowers, and other special St. George Island finds. And if you forget your shades, no worries—Sadie’s is an Oakley distributor! Island Dog is another great option for both local art and quality shades – you’ll find a great selection of Suncloud styles.

For other recommendations, give our team at Resort Vacation Properties a call!

 

Apalachicola Sponges in St. George Island FL – Resort Vacation Properties The Forgotten Coast is home to a storied history of the sponge industry. In the late 1800s, a fleet of 16 ships called Apalachicola home, and seasoned sailors would strap on brass helmets and lead boots to harvest the region’s most profitable crop. After being harvested, the sponges were taken to the Apalachicola Sponge Exchange, where buyers would inspect and then bid on the sponges. From there, the sponges traveled across America, all the way from San Francisco to New York City. The thriving industry came to a halt in 1939, when over-harvesting and red tide led to a complete ban, and it was not until 2007 that sponging was again allowed in Apalach.

The demand for sponges today is notably different; Apalachicola Bay sponges are a niche product, often shipped to spas or companies with a “green” focus that value the renewable aspect of natural sponges. And the local company has a deep respect for this deep sea treasure—they make an effort to help protect the reproduction of sponges by always leaving three inches (the length needed for the sponges to regenerate) and squeezing the reproductive spores of the sponges while underwater.

Almost as storied as the sponge industry is today’s Apalachicola Sponge Company. The owners, Jerry and Joyce Garlick, are longtime residents of and contributors to the area—Jerry was a postal worker until 1995, and Joyce spent years working in the local seafood industry.

In 1995, they opened an antique business in the original Sponge Exchange building. Soon after, they looked into expanding into the natural sponge business. The rest, as they say, is history! Jerry is now the only sponge broker on the Florida Panhandle, and his company sells sponges all across the country. Visitors to the area are welcome in their store, now located in the historic Zingarelli Building across from The Owl Cafe in downtown Apalachicola. One of the most important (and enjoyable) missions of Jerry, Joyce, and the whole Apalachicola Sponge Company family is education about sponges. Apalachicola sponges, as stationary creatures, play an important role in gauging the Gulf’s health in addition to lending themselves to a multitude of eco-friendly uses!

You can learn more about the Apalachicola Sponge Company or make online orders at their website, or visit their store at 14 Avenue D, Monday through Friday from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M.

Memorial Day Weekend is the official start of summer, and what better way to celebrate than with a beach vacation? The long weekend means extra beach time, and you’ll beat the higher temperatures sure to come later in the season. Here are three of our picks for some perfect properties to spend your holiday weekend!

The modern masterpiece of Beach Ball offers unparalleled views of the Gulf with its panoramic windows overlooking the emerald waters. St. George Island’s famous pristine white sands are just a quick stroll away down a private boardwalk, and if you need an indoor break to cool off, the game room is stocked with ping-pong, air hockey, and a dartboard. Entertaining for the holiday is a breeze, too, with a grill, screened-in porch, and balcony!

Plantation Palace, offering a Mediterranean twist on the traditional St. George Island architecture, can host up to 20 overnight guests; however, it can accommodate up to 40 for daytime events, making it an ideal destination for a Memorial Day shindig. The private pool sits on a second floor balcony, offering unmatched views of not only the Gulf but also the sugary dunes leading up to the water. The two grills and fully upgraded kitchen make feeding your guests a breeze, and the elevator means no hauling suitcases up staircases!

If you’d rather skip the party and keep to yourself for the long weekend, check out Sea Song. This budget-friendly option sleeps 6 and boasts plenty of windows as well as a porch to enjoy the endless views of the waters of the Gulf. There’s a grill to get into the spirit of the holidays, and don’t forget Fido—this property is pet friendly!

Regardless of where you’re staying, be sure to swing by The Blue Parrot to kick off the summer with music, local seafood, ice-cold beer, and frozen drinks! For more info on what we have to offer you for the long weekend when it comes to home away from homes, give us a call today at 877-272-8206!

It’s hard to beat the fishing on St. George Island. Its location as a barrier island four miles off the mainland gives fishermen the unique opportunity to fish Apalachicola Bay and the Gulf of Mexico in the same day, if they so choose. And each has its advantages—the Bay is home to more than 100 species of fish, while the Gulf gives opportunity for surfing and offshore fishing along the white sand beaches.

This love of fishing spans the Forgotten Coast region, and locals are proud to include children in our favorite sport. After all, fishing offers children a variety of life lessons, from patience and decision-making to the concept of the circle of life. Many charters, which make fishing hassle-free by including the required licenses, rods, reels, bait and tackle, welcome children. Some are even for children only!

A great way to celebrate the young angler in your life can be found just across the Bay in Eastpoint. The 17th Annual Fisherman’s Choice Youth Fishing Tournament will be held on June 10th, bringing together 200 children ages 16 and under to fish for both fresh and saltwater species. Entry is free and includes a free t-shirt. After the tournament, everyone is invited to attend a cookout at Fisherman’s Choice, the title sponsor and Eastpoint’s premier hunting and fishing supply store.

 

While artists have long painted outdoors, it was not until the mid-19th century that the practice became popular enough to be given a proper name—plein air painting. Since then, the tradition has become a style in and of itself; a painter sets off into the world to capture its beauty at that very moment. This tradition is naturally quite popular in areas blessed with natural beauty, including Florida’s own Forgotten Coast.

For ten days in May, the Forgotten Coast will celebrate the tradition of plein air painting with the 12th annual Forgotten Coast En Plein Air Invitational, when more than 20 nationally acclaimed artists and several hundred art enthusiasts come together for daily artist demonstrations, workshops, art sales, and a series of public receptions.

One of the world’s most prestigious plein art events, the festivities span over 100 miles along the coast from Carrabelle to Mexico Beach and place particular focus on the Forgotten Coast’s unique local culture—the people, places, and stories behind the plein air paintings.

Of course, activities are not limited to the experienced painters! Novices can partake too, with the festival’s Painting Stations, which offer a unique, one-on-one experience with Florida’s Finest Ambassadors and include all necessary supplies. To book your appointment, click here.

And if you fancy yourself more of a spectator, there are plenty of events to enjoy. The demonstrations will be held at a variety of locations and times, giving the artists ample opportunity to capture a variety of different lighting, including darkness! There are also a variety of receptions, “Lunch and Learn” lectures, and Collector’s Forums, but be advised reservations are required and spots are filling up fast!

The Forgotten Coast En Plein Air Invitational begins May 5 at 8:00 A.M. and lasts until May 14 at 5:00 P.M. For more information, such as a schedule of events, please visit their website today!

When thirst-quenching brews come down to St. George Island, you can bet a memorable event is approaching on the Forgotten Coast. The best part? The ticket sales for your unlimited tastings on April 29, 2017, will benefit the Franklin County Humane Society. Sample  some of the best brews in the country to benefit our four-legged friends! Here are a few of the liquid liaisons coming to the SGI Brewfest to look out for:

First Magnitude Brewing 

First Magnitude comes straight out of Gator Country. The Gainesville-based brewery pays homage to their Sunshine State origins with names like Saltwater Intrusion Gose, which includes a salty-sour balance reminiscent of your best beach memories, and Drift English Mild, an English-style mild ale named after the countless opportunities for river excursions throughout Florida.

Idlyll Hounds Brewery 

Santa Rosa Beach’s local brewery encourages you to “Beach. Beer. Repeat.” And what better mantra to embrace for the 2nd Annual SGI Brewfest? Their hop-heavy Slizard IPA uses a big boost of citrusy hops to invoke the spring sunshine into every sip. No doubt that with a dog logo and a solid appreciation for Florida’s beaches, Idyll Hounds Brewery’s appearance at our island’s day-long beer-tasting event is kismet.

GrassLands Brewing Company 

Back for round two of beers, beach, and a big time, Tallahassee’s GrassLands Brewing Company will be on hand to serve up their creative craft beers to thirsty beachcombers. GrassLands embodies a beer-with-heart attitude, even allotting each Sunday in their taproom to a community-focused initiative called “Let’s Get Beer With Friends.” GrassLands welcomes everyone to drop by and imbibe in their wholly unique offerings. Fingers and toes crossed that they bring their newest brews—the Dill Pickle Boomtown Gose and the Snakeweiss Muscadine Berliner—beachside for the festival!

Lake Tribe Brewing Company 

This Tallahassee brewery was born out of lakeside campfires and camaraderie. The moniker Lake Tribe Brewing was inspired by the founders’ former YMCA Indian Guides tribe name. Though Indian Guides are no longer in existence, the impact of the organization had quite an impact. The Lake Tribe, a diverse crew of father and sons (several of which were integral to the founding of Lake Tribe Brewing and all of whom share a common passion for incredible craft beer) shared a love of the great outdoors and quality time spent among family. It is this familial bond and pastoral appreciation that continues to inspire the brewery’s vast selections. Be sure to check out Lake Tribe’s Red Cloud IPA. With earthy, hop-forward notes that feel reminiscent of a stroll through the woods, you’ll find yourself one step close to mother nature enjoying this scarlet-hued brew.

Tally Brewing

Sunshine State fave Tally Brewing Company will make their way over from Tallahassee to share liquefied springtime in their SGI Lemon Ginger Gose, a light sipper with a ginger-citrus sparkle reminiscent of gorgeous St. George Island itself. And if you missed the boat on getting your Girl Scout cookies this year, Tally Brewing has something to satiate your sweet tooth while quenching your thirst. Their decadent Thin Mint Milk Stout is certain to be a beer for all seasons and one you won’t want to miss at the festival!

 

See you at Paddy’s on Saturday!

Although we’re now well past the official beginning of Spring, in many minds, the true marker of the spring season is Easter. As well it should be—Easter is a holiday of resurrection. And what better way to time a beach trip than the season of rebirth.  When nature wakes from her slumber, and the beaches come alive with wildlife and the bounty of the sea. If you’re lucky enough to find yourself for Easter on St. George Island, keep in mind that treasures from the Gulf.  With their natural, subtle, and sometimes rugged beauty, they lend themselves for use in Easter décor and new traditions. Here are our tips for a beach-approved holiday!

Easter on St. George IslandSand Dollar Theme:

One of the best decorations from the sea are sand dollars, which bear uniquely Christian symbolism. On the top of a sand dollar is a clearly visible star, which represents the Star of Bethlehem, while the opposite side shows the outline of an Easter lily. At the edges of the star are four holes, representing the wounds Jesus suffered while being nailed to the cross, and in the center is another hole, which represents the sword wound to his side. Lastly, when a sand dollar is broken open, five “doves” emerge – the doves of the peace. All of this imagery makes them the perfect addition to your Easter décor! Try scattering them down the center of your dinner table, especially on top of a pastel table runner.

Sky Blue Colors:

To continue the oceanic theme in your tablescape, incorporate the colors of the season and of the beach. Hints of sea and sky blue bring the outdoors in, as do lime green Easter grass or air ferns, and woven, natural-colored grass placemats that resemble sea grass subtly continue the theme. An easy centerpiece can be made by placing a pillar candle in a clear bowl and filling the rest with sand and treasures from seashell hunting. Or, line an Easter basket with raffia or neutral Easter grass and fill with beautiful natural seashells or sand dollars.

RVP Easter Table

Easter Shell Hunt:

A fun way to “beach up” your Easter is to ditch the eggs and have an Easter shell hunt instead. Hide shells for children to search, with a large sand dollar as the prize-winning find. Instead of baskets, use sand buckets lined with Easter grass. And, if you can’t bear to part with eggs completely, paint a fish scale design or your favorite ocean creatures, like seahorses, starfish, or crabs, on traditionally dyed eggs.

If “Life is a Highway,” what better way to celebrate a beach getaway than to check out some classic cars? One of the highlights of spring along the Forgotten Coast, a quiet stretch of beautiful, undeveloped beach spanning from the Gulf of Mexico to Apalachicola Bay, is the area’s eponymous car show.

The Fourth Annual Forgotten Coast Cruisers Car Show is held in conjunction with the Riverfront Festival in scenic Carabelle, Florida. Last year’s event saw 18 gorgeous models spanning the decades, and this year’s promises to be better than ever.

Registration is open to cars of any age, make and model, according to a promoter, and there are prizes in a wide variety of categories for cars of all ages. Among the numerous prizes will be awarded are Best of Show, Sponsors Choice, Top 10 People’s Choice, Late Model Award, Best Paint Award, along with a 50/50 drawing and many door prizes.

Presented by Bobby Turner, Jim Ward, the Forgotten Coast Cruisers, and the Carrabelle Chamber of Commerce, The Fourth Annual Forgotten Coast Cruisers Car Show will be held on Saturday, April 22, 2017, from 10:00 to 4:00. Registration is $10:00 the day of the show. For more information, email captmullette@gmail.com or visit the Forgotten Coast Cruisers Facebook Page.

Plan to stay with us during your automotive adventure! Check out available homes here.

 

Our favorite time of year has returned to St. George Island — redfish season! This fish is just as interesting as it is delicious, so we’ve rounded up some facts, and, of course, a recipe to celebrate.

Also known as red drum, channel bass, spottail bass (for the distinctive spots on the tail that look like eyes to confuse predators), or just simply red, redfish are found in the Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Florida, as well as the Gulf of Mexico. They can live to be over 40 years old, and in the warm Florida waters, they can grow to be 45 inches long and over 50 pounds! Because of the popularity of redfish, the breed was almost fished out of existence by the mid-1980s. Thankfully, aggressive conservation measures have allowed the red drum to return and thrive.

This mild, flaky, delicate fish can be prepared a variety of ways: fried, sautéed, broiled, baked, or—our favorite—grilled. Due to the flaky texture of the fish, it has a tendency to fall through the grill, so try using a mesh screen. Another way to keep your dinner intact is to cook the fish “on the half shell”—that is, with the scales still present. You simply skip the skinning and cut two fillets from each fish along the backbone, then you’re ready to go. No clean up!

When paired with a fruit salsa, grilled redfish on the half shell is the perfect dish to get you in that island state of mind.

Also included are oven instructions for rainy days, and this recipe can also be used for redfish fillets, if that’s what you’re working with—just reduce the cooking by a few minutes.

Redfish on the Half Shell

Ingredients:

6 redfish fillets, scales and skin left on

Italian salad dressing

Creole seasoning

2 large lemons, thinly sliced

1 large lemon, halved

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Place the fillets in a pan, scales side down.

Pour Italian dressing generously over the fillets. Allow to marinate at least 30 minutes.

Remove fillets from the marinade, draining excess.

Sprinkle with a little with Creole seasoning.

Grill or broil.

On the Grill: Preheat an outdoor grill. Grill the fish for three minutes flesh sides down with the lid closed. We’re going for grill marks here. Flip the fish so that the scales are now on the grill, and place thin lemon slices along this fish fillets. Allow the fish to cook approximately 6-8 more minutes or until just cooked through. Check thickest part of flesh for doneness. Flesh needs to be opaque all the way to the skin. Squeeze the remaining half lemon over the fish. Remove from the grill.

In the Oven: Set oven rack to the center of the oven. Place thin lemon slices along the fish. Broil fish, skin side down, for approximately 20 minutes leaving the oven door slightly ajar. Check thickest part of flesh for doneness. Flesh needs to be opaque all the way to the skin.

 

Pineapple Mango Salsa

1 large ripe mango, peeled and chopped

1/2 cup fresh, chopped pineapple

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Toss all ingredients together and refrigerate until ready to serve. May be made a day or two ahead.