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.

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Franklin County, home of St. George Island, is the only county in Florida to allow dogs to go free on the beach, making it the perfect vacation spot for travelers who want to bring along a four-legged beachcomber. With all the fun in the sun, surf, and sand, your pooch will work up an appetite, so some healthy treats (and plenty of fresh water!) are a must. Here are our picks to keep Fido full for a day of adventure!

For a treat unique to Franklin County, stop by Oysterbones in Apalachicola. Their treats—also called Oysterbones— provide your pup with extra calcium with their secret ingredient of crushed oyster shell, a delicacy among Apalachicola’s canine community. An added bonus? This store is a doggy’s dream—the toy testing area has pools for cooling off in, as well as a secure space to run and play.

Another great option for treats is Orijen Original Free-Dried Dog Treats, which are made only from cage-free chicken and turkey or wild-caught flounder. The flavor and nutrition are locked into these high protein treats with a gentle freeze-drying process. These doggy snacks are perfect for pups with food allergies, as they’re made from meat and nothing else.

If a day at the beach proves to be pant-worthy for your pooch, try Isle of Dogs 100% Natural Chillout Dog Treats. Crafted with lavender and lemon balm, they help calm pups down with a flavorful blend of whole grains, apples, sweet potatoes, and flax seeds.

And, after a romp on the beach at St. George Island, your furry best bud might be looking a little windswept. Selina’s Pro Groom in Apalachicola is the perfect solution. Celebrating its 25th year in business, this full-service pet salon will leave your pooch looking fresh and feeling fine!

Few things are as romantic as a beach sunset with your sweetheart. The sun slips beneath the horizon, the waves roll up on the shore, reflecting the brilliant hues of the last light of day, and—all at once—time seems to stand still. It’s hard not to feel like a love-struck teenager again in those magic hours between day and night, especially in a place as striking as St. George Island, so we’ve gathered our favorite romance spots for sunset seekers.

A classic sunset date is, of course, dinner. On St. George Island, it’s never a matter of choosing whether or not to witness the stunning water surrounding you, but rather choosing between the Gulf of Mexico or Apalachicola Bay. The view from The Blue Parrot’s patio is unparalleled for the Gulf, whereas Paddy’s Raw Bar offers stunning sunsets over the Bay. Back on the mainland in Apalachicola, the no-children policy at Up The Stairs makes it a great spot for a quiet, romantic night out, and their balcony offers a stunning view of downtown and the river.

Another romantic option is a sunset picnic. Pick up some local-caught steamed shrimp (and maybe a bottle of wine!) from the Piggly Wiggly or SGI Fresh Market and then stroll down to the beach. There are plenty of picnic facilities on the public beach, but we recommend doing as the locals do by bringing a blanket or towel. Aside from more options for location, sitting in the sand offers the opportunity to cuddle up and sneak a kiss.

While viewing the sunset from land is always lovely, you can attain a truly magical vantage point from the water. If your honey is on the adventurous side, consider renting a kayak from Journeys of St. George Island or St. George Island Outfitters for an evening on the Forgotten Coast you’ll remember forever.

Located in the middle of the Island, the Cape St. George Lighthouse has become an iconic landmark for St. George Island and the Forgotten Coast as a whole. This defining piece of architecture has a history just as remarkable as the views offered from its summit.

The Island’s original lighthouse was built in 1833 on the western tip of St. George. However, its location was difficult for ships coming from the east to see, so in 1846 it was determined that a new location would be sought out. The following year, Congress appropriated $8,000 to build a new lighthouse two miles to the southeast, repurposing many of the materials from the 1833 lighthouse in the process.

The second light would only last three years. After it was destroyed by a hurricane, construction began on a third structure—a lighthouse “built to last,” with a new location further inland and a foundation of pine pilings driven deeply into the sand in addition to cement walls made tapering from four feet at the bottom to two feet at the top. And last it did—for 153 years.

The next century brought change throughout the world and eventually to the Island’s little lighthouse; in 1949 the Coast Guard replaced the Fresnel lens with an automated light, eliminating the need for lighthouse keepers. Later in the century, the lighthouse bore the brunt of some devastating hurricanes. Hurricane Andrew changed the landscape of the St. George by reclaiming a large part of the surrounding beach in 1992, and three years later, Hurricane Opal moved the lighthouse from its foundation, giving it what would temporarily become its signature lean.

The community rallied around its beloved landmark, raising over $200,000 and restoring it to its former glory by 2002. However, by the spring of 2005, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico had once again reclaimed the structure. In October of that year, the lighthouse collapsed into the Gulf, ending its sesquicentennial watch over the Gulf of Mexico.

Thanks to the efforts of the St. George Lighthouse Association, a reconstruction occurred at the center of the Island. The St. George Lighthouse we know today opened in 2008, followed by a museum and gift shop in a replica of the Keeper’s House in 2011. You can now climb to the top of the lighthouse any day of the week except Thursday from 10 AM (Noon on Sunday) until 5 PM, or join in on the monthly full moon climb.

Spring break marks the beginning of beach season, full of some of our favorite things—sun on the skin, inhaling the sea breeze, and squeezing sand between our toes. In prepping for a day at the beach, snacks are an important aspect to consider. However, it can be all-too-easy to derail your beach body diet with the temptations of unhealthy treats. Here we’ve compiled three of our favorites snack options that are certain to keep you full, satisfied, and focused on the most important part of any (and every) St. George Island beach getaway: having unforgettable experiences on the Forgotten Coast!

Trail Mix

Trail mix is a staple snack food, and for good reason. It’s packable, can be adapted for almost any allergy or preference, and, most importantly, it’s delicious! Our version focuses on getting lots of vitamins and minerals that support weight loss, such as vitamin A, protein, fiber and calcium. For an added treat, roast the almonds with a little sea salt first to cull out their filling flavors.

Ingredients:

½ cup dried apricot

½ cup dried mango

½ cup almonds

½ walnuts

½ dark chocolate chips

Instructions:

Place all ingredients in a one-gallon zipper bag. Shake to mix. Toss into your beach bag. GO!

Baked Kale Chips    

Every healthy diet should be full of lots of kale—it’s tasty and so good for you! An easy way to enjoy it on the go is with kale chips. These homemade kale chips are high in fiber and low in sodium, making them a perfectly delicious answer to traditional chips.

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp chili powder (optional)

1 tsp olive oil

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Tear leaves from stems into bite size pieces. Wash and thoroughly dry. Drizzle kale with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and chili powder. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges are brown. Let cool before enjoying.

Fruit Kebabs

Fruit is a great way to fill up with a boost of fiber, and fruit kebabs make portion control a breeze. Simply pick your favorite fruits (we suggest cantaloupe, which has metabolism-boosting vitamin A and a high water content, and berries, which are low in sugar and high in fiber, but the fun part of these is that they’re completely customizable to your tastes) and slide them onto 4-inch skewers, and you’re done! As an added bonus, the skewers make it easy to dip in Greek yogurt, which will provide a blast of probiotics to help maintain a taut tummy.

Whether you’re so Irish you have Guinness pumping through your veins or you just love a good brew, St. Patrick’s Day at Paddy’s Raw Bar is exactly where you need to be this year on St. George Island. All things Irish come to 240 E. 3rd Street in Eastpoint on March 17th!

Paddy’s goes totally green for St. Patty’s! Green cups, four-leaf clover décor, Irish music and—of course—green beer! Beginning at 11am, the Emerald Isle takes over St. George Island. Paddy’s will serve up the island countryman’s corned beef and cabbage with Irish music going full force from 2pm to 6pm. Live music will pour from an incredible lineup right along with the chartreuse-hued beers ALL DAY LONG. Let the luck o’ the Irish right into your soul at Paddy’s this St. Patty’s Day!

You’ll find good food, great folks, and the greenest celebration the Island’s ever seen on Friday, March 17th, 2017! Have a raucous good time on gorgeous St. George’s most happening hangout until the clock strikes midnight!

Erin Go Braugh, baby! Have a shucking good time at Paddy’s Raw Bar this St. Patrick’s Day!

Check out our available beach and bayside rentals NOW so you can feel like you’ve found your own personal pot o’ gold when it comes to comfy living quarters just down the street from the Paddy’s party! For more info about the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day, visit the Paddy’s Facebook page here.

 

St. George Island is known for its pristine beaches, where the aquamarine waves meet sugar white sand, and the sunsets light up in pink, orange, and—if you’re lucky—scarlet. The gorgeous coastline is reason enough St. George Island should be top of your list for spring break, but this community offers even more than stunning sights and salty air! Check out our favorite activities to keep in mind while planning your perfect spring break.

With 17 miles of paved bike trails, St. George Island is a cyclist’s dream. Can’t bring your own pair of wheels? No problem! Island Dog offers rentals for bikes, scooters, trikes, and golf carts, while Island Adventures offers bikes and 2- and 4-person surreys to rent by the hour, day, or week. One of our favorite rides is from the St. George Island Lighthouse down to St. George Island State Park—it’s the perfect way to burn off a lunch of conch fritters and local grouper at Blue Parrot Ocean Front Café!

If you’d rather get a taste of the high seas, Journeys of St. George Island is your go-to. They offer everything from paddleboard and kayak rentals to guided fishing tours and dolphin encounters for children. Another unbeatable experience is beach yoga with Island Fit. What could beat a rejuvenating yoga session with the sound of the waves rolling in and the feeling of sand between your toes? Island Fit also offers stand-up paddleboard lessons and excursions for those who want to an active way to see the beauty of the island’s waters.

As a bonus for booking a home-away-from-home with us at Resort Vacation Properties, you will earn credit for FREE beach gear! Equipment available ranges from lounge chairs and beach wagons to kayaks and bikes for both kids and adults. And, of course, you’ll be able to let the rest of the Island know you vacay in style with Resort Vacation Properties’ signature red and white striped beach umbrellas.

The historic Cape St. George Lighthouse is not to be missed. Check out the museum for the landmark’s fascinating backstory or venture up the twisted staircase of the lighthouse to experience breathtaking views. For a truly unforgettable experience, visit for the monthly Full Moon Climb, when moon lovers can enjoy the sunset and moonrise with light hors d’oeuvres and a toast of sparkling cider. Admission is $15 for the general public or $10 for members of the St. George Lighthouse Association, and be sure to get there early—space is limited.

For more gorgeous St. George spring break offerings, click here.