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.

 

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.

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.

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!

Latest DiscountsEven 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:

  1. The Dolphin Encounter that allows youngsters to watch the magic movements of the sleekest mammals in the sea.
  2. The Creature Feature where kids can check out beach critters via various net-casting techniques.
  3. The Fishing Adventure that teaches baiting, hooking, and releasing techniques with exposure to various local fish.
  4. 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.