Posts

For some, the joy of fishing is the thrill of the chase. For others, it’s beating last year’s record catch. Still others love the meticulous selection of lures and other gear. But whichever is your favorite part, I’m guessing the peace and solitude are what keep you coming back.

Unfortunately, peace and solitude can be hard to find in northwest Florida… unless you head to the Forgotten Coast in late winter and early spring.

This time of year – before the tourists head back to the Gulf Coast – the water starts to get a little warmer and the fish start to venture out of the rivers and creeks, down the shallow waters of the oyster bars in Apalachicola. All along the east end of St. George Island, where the deep tidal currents run,

Shallow oyster bars and deep tidal currents make for good fishing on the east end of St. George Island, and it will only get better as the surface water continues to warm. This is the time of year to catch monster speckled trout on top of oyster bars very early in the mornings using top-water plugs. In fact, the big fish get so shallow that many seasoned anglers will actually get out of their boats to wade along the sand bars.

Catch and (careful) release is important when you do hook a big one, because these fish are carrying the future of fishing. As surf temperatures rise to 65 degrees and above, you’ll find whiting and possible early scouts of Spanish mackerel and the prized pompano.

As we get closer to spring, the winds pick up and make fishing difficult. But with steady warming along the beaches, you’ll find improving action – especially along St. George Island and the east end of St. George Island State Park.

Just like any other time of year, your best opportunities will always be in the first third of a tide change and, generally, when the tidal current is fastest. Along the beach, you’ll catch Spanish mackerel and ladyfish on top-water plugs and spoons; pompano, mackerel, and flounder on silver-headed jigs; and trout and mackerel on slow-sinking twitch baits. You’ll see more whiting and flounder very close on the beaches, just behind breaking waves; sliver-headed jigs work well here, too.

Now is your chance to get in some quiet time along Florida’s Forgotten Coast – just you and the fish – before Spring Breakers arrive.

Tight lines!

I admit it: Pizza makes me happy. To some, it’s just bread, sauce, and cheese. But to me, it’s the perfect food.

It’s great hot or cold, fresh or leftover. And with the right selection of toppings, you can please even the pickiest eaters (just don’t ask me to add pineapple).

That’s what makes pizza the perfect vacation vittles. Whether it’s just you and your significant other, a gaggle of pre-teens, or four generations in a rented beach house, pizza satisfies everyone. And the best place to go on St. George Island is BJ’s Pizza and The Island Sushi Company.

As the name implies, pizza is kind of their thing. You can build your own with over 16 possible toppings or try one of their specialty pizzas, like the local favorite shrimp pesto pizza, piled high with mozzarella cheese, shrimp, sliced tomato, scallions and pesto on a homemade pizza crust.

Another local favorite is not quite what it sounds like: buffalo chips. It’s homemade pizza dough covered in a blanket of hot wing sauce and parmesan cheese, then baked until crispy and served with ranch dressing. Yum on all counts.

Now, I’ve heard there are people who don’t actually like pizza (though I don’t think I’ve actually met one). For those folks, BJ’s offers a whole array of subs and sandwiches, from a traditional BLT to a mushroom Swiss burger. You’ll also find salads, appetizers, calzones, and Blue Bell hand-dipped ice cream.

If you’re looking for a real departure from pizza, The Island Sushi Company is right next door with everything from basic rolls to their own specialties, like the Island Bliss: spicy tuna, cilantro, jalapeno, and cream cheese.

So if you’re tired of wasting valuable vacation time asking, “What’s for dinner?” and getting crickets in return, just pile in the car and head to BJ’s Pizza. Your smart suggestion for the best ‘za on the island is certain to make you the vacay MVP!

Nothing beats autumn at the beach. The emerald water turns a little grayer, the sun is a little lower, the breezes are a little cooler. The crowds are even a little sparser.

But the best part of fall in the Panhandle is the Florida Seafood Festival.

Now in its 54th year, this two-day celebration is the state’s oldest maritime festival, drawing thousands of visitors to the historic town of Apalachicola on November 3rd and 4th!

The Festival is held at the mouth of the Apalachicola River under the shady oaks of Battery Park. This confluence of the river and the Gulf of Mexico form an estuary that gives the local oysters their distinctive salty-sweet taste. Some call these the best in the country, and in fact, nearly 90 percent of all oysters served in Florida come from this spot.

Of course, oysters are king at the Seafood Festival, but there’s more to it than just eating (though that’s really enough, isn’t it?). The festival also features arts and crafts exhibits, plus other seafood-related events including the Oyster Eating and Oyster Shucking contests, Blue Crab Races, a downtown Parade, 5k Redfish Run, and the Blessing of the Fleet.

There’s also musical entertainment with headliners I Am They, a Christian music group performing Friday, and country music star Jerrod Niemann on Saturday.

The entire event is free and open to the public, so just head over to Apalachicola and enjoy the fun!

When Halloween is on a weekend, it’s often observed on that day alone. But when it happens to fall on a weekday, it’s only proper form to celebrate the whole weekend leading up to the spookiest day of the year. This year, Halloween falls on a Tuesday, meaning this year is one we celebrate Halloweekend! That just leaves the question of how to spend it!

Just across the bay in Apalachicola are three different options to make your Halloweekend so much fun it’s frightening! All of these events are happening Saturday, October 28—it’s just up to you to decide!

A non-traditional way to celebrate Halloweekend is with the award-winning Autos and Oysters Auto Show in Apalachicola. Prizes are given to Top 50, Best of Show, Club Participation, and Sponsor’s Choice, but a category our guests might win is Greatest Distance Traveled. If you want to vie for that prize, head over to Riverfront Park between 9 AM and noon with your $20 registration fee. For those who just want to peruse the cruisers, admission is free, and the show is open to the public from 10 AM to 4 PM.

If you’d rather celebrate with a quiet night in, look no further than your own home away from home. You can craft something truly wonderful in the fully equipped Resort Vacation Properties kitchens, and many of our properties have DVD players so you can watch a scary (or not so scary!) movie. The Apalachicola Farmers Market is a great place to pick up fresh, local produce and seafood for a yummy dinner. Stop by to meet our local farmers, fishermen, and artisans at the Millpond Pavilion Market Street every second and fourth Saturday from 9 AM till 1 PM!

If you’re a fan of a more ghastly Halloween celebration, Apalach has you covered, too. Saturday evening from 6:30 to 8:30, the Apalachicola Area Historical Society hosts its biannual Ghostwalk in the Chestnut Street Cemetery. Wander through history as locals regale the stories that make the Forgotten Coast so unique, all while dressed in creepy cool attire from the time period. All proceeds go to the preservation of this historic cemetery.

However you choose to celebrate, it’s sure to be an epic Halloweekend on the Forgotten Coast! Ask one of our friendly team members for further insight to what you can get up to while you’re here this fall!

Nothing brings together a group like live music—dancing, singing along, and rocking out can turn strangers into friends over the course of just a few hours. As friendly as the Forgotten Coast is, it’s no wonder the area has plenty of hotspots to get your live music fix!

Blue Parrot Oceanfront Café (68-A Gorrie Dr.) offers unrivaled Gulf views to accompany their summer weekend concerts, and this Island staple is pet friendly, so Fido can tag along, too!

Stop by the large, outdoor courtyard at Harry A’s (28 Bayshore Dr.) for live music and karaoke and stay for the mouth-watering seafood offerings on their menu—don’t miss the seared ahi tuna!

At Paddy’s Raw Bar (240 E. 3rd), you can take your live music with fresh Apalachicola Bay oysters and one (or more!) of their sixteen draft beers.

If you’re looking for something more low-key, head over to Sometimes It’s Hotter (112 E. Gulf Beach Dr.) on Thursday evenings for Circle of Friends, a weekly music and cash beer and wine bar event.

Across the Bay are even more options as Apalachicola is home to two fantastic spots. Tamara’s Tapas Bar (73 Market St., Apalachicola)’s motto “Eat, Drink, Bond” rings true with tasty tapas, mouth-watering cocktails, and live music on weekends. Over at Bowery Station (131 Commerce St., Apalachicola), a beer and wine bar with a taste of old Apalach, there’s live music every pumping every night, including Wednesday’s open mic night.

Venturing further along the Forgotten Coast to Carrabelle is one of the area’s mainstays: Harry’s Bar and Package (306 Marine St., Carrabelle). This Carrabelle mainstay has been in operation since 1942 and offers distinctively New Orleans flair in their popular courtyard. The attached Marine Street Grill offers a small but scrumptious selection of sandwiches, salads, and starters. Also in Carrabelle, you’ll find Fathom’s Steam Room and Raw Bar (201 St. James Ave, Carrabelle), where you can enjoy waterfront views as you sip, savor, and sway along to their band du jour.

Wherever you head to hear tunes on the Forgotten Coast, you’re in for a treat. With plenty of island talent and laid back beachy vibes from SGI to Carrabelle and back, there’s no shortage of coastal revelry at these live music hangouts!

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!

 

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!

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!

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.