If the St. George Island Chili Cook-Off has you burning to create a bowl of something to warm you during the cool coastal nights, check out this island-inspired take on the classic soul-soother. With fresh Apalachicola seafood and a dash (or several!) of the official hot sauce of St. George, you can fix a dish that might just be worthy of next year’s competition!
Seafood Chili Recipe Ingredients
- 4 pads butter
- 2 cups chopped white onion
- 10 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 Teaspoons dried oregano
- 35 oz Italian plum tomatoes, not drained
- 16 oz clam juice
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1/2 cup chili powder
- 2 Teaspoons Ed’s Red Hot Sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 medium red bell peppers, chopped
- 12 Littleneck clams
- 12 mussels, scrubbed and debearded
- 1/2 pound grouper cut into 1 inch pieces
- 12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3/4 pound Bay scallops
- Fresh cilantro and shredded pepper jack cheese for serving
Seafood Chili Recipe Directions
Heat butter in heavy saucepan over low heat. Add onion and bell pepper. Cover and cook until tender, usually about 15 minutes. Add garlic and oregano, and cook another 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, breaking up large pieces with a spatula. Stir in the clam juice, wine, chili powder, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Slowly bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.
Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat to a brisk simmer. Add clams and mussels. Cover and cook until shellfish open, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Discard any shellfish that do not open. Gently stir in grouper and shrimp. Cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Add scallops. Cover and simmer until fish is just opaque, about 3 minutes.
Top with cilantro and/or shredded pepper jack then serve.
March 2nd is Dr. Seuss’s birthday, and if Facebook is any indication, daycares and elementary schools all over the country are celebrating by prompting children to dress up as their favorite Seussian characters. But the good Dr. isn’t just for those among us who can still get away with wearing jelly sandals! Most of us grew up reading his beloved classics, many times feeling inspired afterwards to hop on our own pops or request green eggs and ham from our moms. Even as an adult, reading The Lorax might just get you in the feels. With spring’s renewing warmth just on the horizon, take your Dr. Seuss reverence one step further with St. George Island’s Resort Vacation Properties’ One Fish Two Fish house!
This two-level beachfront cottage pays homage to the Dr. Seuss classic with its bright blue exterior and vibrant red shutters. You’ll find little hints of Seuss influence throughout the home—from the blue walls to the Kay and Jay decals in one of the bedrooms.
With three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a gorgeous sundeck, and a screened-in porch, up to 10 people can relax right on the coast, all the while enjoying front-row seats to sunrises and dolphins diving in and out of the glistening Gulf waters.
The first-level summer kitchen is equipped with absolutely everything you’d ever need to whip up dishes from grilled fresh-caught fish to green eggs and ham! You’ll find a private pool with optional heating so members of your family can feel like little red and blue fish themselves. Take a relaxing soak in the hot tub on the sun deck or teach the family to play pool at the billiards table. And as a dog-friendly property, you can even bring the furriest member of your family along for the fun!
Located at 400 West Gorrie Drive, this West Gulf Beach bungalow is the perfect place to celebrate Dr. Seuss while spending time with your favorite folks. For more information, call 877-272-8206!
St. George Island is gorgeous year-round, but cooler temps certainly keep most of us out of the water. While you patiently await the spring to bring you a sunny sigh of relief, warm your soul with the St. George Island Chili Cook-Off. Now in its 35th year, this island-favorite event offers something memorable for everyone.
If you’re out to clinch a solid 3.1 mile-jaunt before you get your fill of the finest chili along the Gulf Coast, the Red Pepper 5K Run will be exactly your speed! You’ll take off on Saturday, March 4, at 8 a.m. right in front of the famed Blue Parrot Oceanfront Cafe on St. George Island. Get a solid sweat in preparation for your feast of a host of taste bud tingling, belly-warming chili from all over the area.
The piece de resistance of the weekend culminates with the 2017 SGI Charity Chili Cook-Off! Beginning at 11 a.m. on March 4, you can savor the flavors of all sorts of chili. From meaty to beany and hades hot to lip-smacking savory, every single bowl of chili you sample is just $3.00. And every red(bean) cent of the chili sold goes straight to the St. George Island Volunteer Fire Department! Celebrate the men and women who serve stunning St. George and treat yourself to unforgettable chili of every variety on the Forgotten Coast! As a bonus, stick around that evening for the Mister Hot Sauce/Miss Chili Pepper Competition. All walks of life come to strut their stuff with the hope of earning the coveted plaque commemorating the piquant contest. Even in the dead of winter, this event is sure to heat things up on the Island, so don’t miss a second of the spicy entertainment!
For more information about attending and participating in these events and more, visit stgeorgeislandchilicookoff.com.
Primates and the Forgotten Coast have long been synonymous to area locals. Since the early 1940s when the original Tarzan film was shot in Wakulla Springs, the lore has been that monkeys escaped during filming to set up shop in the woodland areas of the Gulf Coast. And who could blame them? With sugar sand, crystal clear water, and temps that stay agreeable year-round, it should come as no surprise that the ape actors decided to make the vacation from Hollywood a permanent one.
For decades, the legend endured, though the curious creatures remained hidden from plain sight, with only their bellows emanating from the forest serving as the hint to their continued coastal occupation. However, beginning in December 2015, monkey sightings rose to the forefront of Forgotten Coast discussion. The proud owner of a prehensile tail was on the move yet again in the area, this time with a pretty specific craving: Birdseed.
Spotted by a local Carrabelle man at his home in December 2015, the primate helped itself to a serving of seed from the man’s birdfeeder. The monkey ripped the top of the feeder clean off and noshed away, only stopping when the homeowner came outside and startled it. Like a flash, the monkey was gone.
The swinging sensation was on the move. From that December until the summer of 2016, what was determined to be a Rhesus monkey was spotted some 22 times. Two of those sightings were listed as “possible,” and two more—in Panacea and Alligator Point—were verified. Sightings were logged in Sopchoppy, Eastpoint, Crawfordville, Carrabelle, Lanark Village, St. Teresa, Alligator Point, and Panacea—but the real performance occurred at the Carrabelle River. It was there that the monkey put on a death-defying show for 40 onlookers. The creature started with a launch from a Carrabelle bridge to a tall pine tree, then back to the bridge, and finally back into the tree where it launched itself from limb to limb until it disappeared from its captive audience’s sight.
With such a wide span of monkey sightings occurring around the Forgotten Coast, no one can be certain if the monkey acted alone or if more than one primate had come to call the region home. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission urged the public not to try to touch the hirsute beachcomber, instead encouraging folks to report the sightings and note as much detail as they could.
Rhesus monkeys are medium-sized primates that range from 1.5 to 1.7 feet in height and weigh anywhere from 12 to 17 lbs. when fully grown. Though they are primarily herbivores, the monkeys are wild and should not be pursued by human beings. Whether these creatures are descendants of the Tarzan-era thespian bunch or a new breed of coastal critters is unknown. For now, we can assume the primal calls in the Florida forests are much more than the stuff of Forgotten Coast imagination.
We may never know for certain what calls the wild acrobats to the Gulf Coast. Sightings have diminished since the summertime, but just in case, keep your eyes peeled and your birdfeeders guarded!
Even though the official first day of Autumn has come and gone, on St. George Island we know it’s still warm enough to be summertime. But the moments are slipping away to experience St. George’s scenic summer moments. Here are four can’t-miss ways to spend your last seconds of summer:
Beach It Up, Baby
With the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico still as warm as 77 degrees and coastal air temps as high as 83 degrees, the beach is still fair game during our elongated summer. Check out Lighthouse Park at the center of the island. With its pristine vistas and puffy white clouds hanging out over the St. George Lighthouse, it is the undeniable focal point of the area. For a more natural sandy excursion, experience the nine undeveloped miles of seagrass-speckled Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park. Both parks feature lovely, well-kept facilities and covered picnic areas perfect for a warm-weather picnic. And keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins and other marine life bounding out of the beautiful blue waters!
Behold the Birds
Birding has long been a favorite pastime on the island. While avian activities are year ‘round, early October is a one of two peak migratory seasons for a variety of species. The beach surf teems with nimble little terns diving into the waves to gather food during this time of year. This allows for quite the show whether you’re seeking them out or simply stumbling upon their impressive precision. With more than 300 species of native and migratory birds, St. George Island State Park offers a host of bird-watching hotbeds for you to experience firsthand.
Cycling the Coast
With salty gusts of sea air and low- to mid-80s almost-autumnal warmth, cyclists can ride along the forgotten coast in beachy comfort. The island is home to 17 miles of paved bike paths as well as plenty of off-road opportunities to explore the sights from your bike. In addition, the island’s 1,000 or so residents live their lives on “island time!” This means there’s a much safer feel to sharing the road on St. George than in busier beach regions.
Outdoor Adventures Courtesy of Journeys
The fine folks at Journeys offer the Forgotten Coast’s regional secrets from the locals who know them the very best. Whether it’s bay side or off-shore fishing charters, guided tours aboard boats and kayaks, each excursion comes with experienced captains ready to show you what makes St. George so gorgeous. The Journeys team is full of knowledge—even exposing those who join them the prime sloughs and sweet spots that can all but guarantee a big catch.
As for the kiddos, Journeys is proud to provide four unparalleled island adventures to the most curious of young beach-goers. Complete with snacks and drinks, these kid-friendly excursions include:
- The Dolphin Encounter that allows youngsters to watch the magic movements of the sleekest mammals in the sea.
- The Creature Feature where kids can check out beach critters via various net-casting techniques.
- The Fishing Adventure that teaches baiting, hooking, and releasing techniques with exposure to various local fish.
- The Critter Swamp Walk where nets and buckets are provided to allow interested explorers to collect minnows, crabs, and shrimp in the impeccable estuary.
Resort Vacation Properties of St. George Island Florida makes it their mission to champion their community by sharing the old fishermen tales, the area’s mysterious history, the hidden beauty spots along the Forgotten Coast, and highlighting the wonders of this incredible beach island enclave. St. George Island is a short 80 miles east of Panama City, along the sparkling Gulf Coast of Florida. We hope you’ll check out our rental properties should your travels ever bring you our way.
On St. George Island, the 4th of July is one of our most popular summer events. It’s only a couple of days away which means the Island is bustling with guests ready to celebrate Island style!
This is the busiest time of year and yet there is still plenty of room to stretch out on our beaches.
If you haven’t visited during this very popular week, we encourage you to consider it for next year. Amazing events are waiting for you!