Travel Guide to Florida

2017 Travel Guide to Florida

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F ranklin County sits in the Florida Panhandle, anchored by towns with names like Apalachicola and Carrabelle. Here, Old Florida lives on. It's still strikingly evident in the tiny old fishing villages, general stores owned by genera- tions of the same family, and in the historic lighthouses. In fact, this county is 90 percent national and state forest. And there's only one traffic light. DO Water is everywhere. Kayak on it. Take a sunset cruise on it. And, starting in early 2017, cruise on board the paddlewheeler, Jean Mary, once owned by actress Debbie Reynolds. You can see wildlife, such as nesting sea turtles, alongside the shore. And swim at places like St. George Island State Park Beach, named one of the best beaches in America by Dr. Beach. SEE You'll be surrounded by water, too, when you visit Franklin County's two historic lighthouses—the Crooked River Lighthouse and the Cape St. George Light, both beautifully restored with museums and period rooms. The historic towns of Apalachicola and Carrabelle have a modern side, as well, with unique boutiques and restaurants, a thriving arts community and galleries and a notable Plein Air art festival. The area also hosts colorful events such as the Florida Seafood Festival as well as an oyster cook- off and a chili cook-off. Don't forget to saunter through Apalachicola's National Historic District, home to 900 historic buildings. EAT AND PLAY You simply cannot visit this area without trying the renowned Apalachicola Bay oysters, which are harvested only an hour or two before you devour them. At Oyster City Brewing Company, wash them down with some excellent craft beers brewed on-site. Apalachicola, Carrabelle and St. George Island are also fast becoming popular live- music venues. In Apalachicola, the Bowery Station, literally a hole-in-the-wall warehouse bar, features the region's up-and-coming musicians. Rio Carrabelle, located in a small brick gallery, features seasonal jazz and classical concerts. 132 2017 TRAVEL GUIDE TO FLORIDA LOCAL TRIVIA The "World's Smallest Police Station" sits in the Carrabelle History Museum. In 1963, the local police chief appropriated a phone booth for his officers to use in the rain, after the phone company installed another booth nearby. But the locals also snuck in to make long-distance calls, without paying. Eventually the dial was removed, making it impossible to call out. The World's Smallest Police Station has been featured on TV shows like Real People, Ripley's Believe It or Not and The Today Show. OLD FLORIDA Lives On BY STEVE WINSTON JOHN SPOHRER/FRANKLIN COUNTY TDC F R A N K L I N CO U N T Y Franklin County Tourist Development Council: saltyflorida.com Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce: apalachicolabay.org Apalachicola Oyster Cook-off: oystercookoff.com Bowery Station: bowerystation.us Cape St. George Light Museum & Gift Shop: stgeorgelight.org Carrabelle Area Chamber of Commerce: carrabelle.org Carrabelle History Museum: carrabellehistorymuseum.org Crooked River Lighthouse: crookedriverlighthouse.org Florida Seafood Festival: floridaseafoodfestival.com Historic Apalachicola District: historicapalachicola.com Oyster City Brewing Company: oystercitybrewingco.com Rio Carrabelle: riocarrabelle.com St. George Island Chili Cook-off: stgeorgeislandchilicookoff.com St. George Island State Park: floridastateparks.org/park/st-george-island FEATURED LINKS TOP: Sunrise over St. George Island.

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