Nestled on the Apalachicola River and Bay is a small but fun town appropriately named Apalachicola, unless you are a local, then it’s Apalach or Ap’lach. It’s about a 15 minute drive across two bridges from St. George Island. The town has a long and rich history. founded in 1831 and once the 3rd largest port on the Gulf of Mexico. Apalach has a rich history as a fishing village and major producer of Oysters and yes they have an Oyster Festival – The Apalachacola Oyster Cook Off.
The first word that comes to mind when I think about Apalachicola is quaint. But that doesn’t do the town justice. You will find little boutique shops here, some very fine dining, an excellent local brewery and more. The town seems to have the culture and food of a much larger city while maintaining that small town feel and appeal. It’s an interesting juxtaposition. I come from a small town in the south. One that feels more like a mill town. Prior to starting this journey I lived in another nearby small town. They both have that Chamber of Commerce, run by a few families vibe and you know lots of people who you see regularly at the local BBQ place. Ap’lach has that feel but slightly more upscale with big city feel.
I’ll give an example. At what used to be home. there’s one restaurant and bar with great food and live music. Anything else is a drive to the next town or Chattanooga. I don’t even think my hometown where I grew up even has this. In Ap’lach, we started one night at the local brewery. Met some super nice people and then walked to a restaurant and bar where we saw them again and ended up at their table. Before the night was over we were invited to their neighborhood, potluck Christmas block party. It’s like how you can park in Downtown Chattanooga now and walk to 10 restaurants, 3 breweries, a distillery and multiple music venues. Just condensed to this small riverfront town that feels like being in the best parts of that small town you grew up in and where all the locals know each other.
It’s a nice compliment to St. George Island when you want to get away for a day of shopping or a night on the town and some fine dining. Now, I still want be clear. This is not a city and staying in this area you won’t find outlet malls, chain stores or chain restaurants. But Ap’lach has that appeal you get from a big city where you walk to everything and some very nice places. This whole area though is called the forgotten coast for a reason. This is where you come to have a relaxing vacation away from theme parks, high rises and outlet malls. But you can still find name brand shopping and great food.
Be sure to check out Oyster City Brewing Co. The venue, vibe and beer are all fabulous. You may have even had their beer before. They are fairly well distributed, especially in Florida.
The other thing in the area that’s great and I’ve yet to experience, is fishing. The Apalachicola and Carrabelle Rivers, The bays and the Gulf offer some great fishing and there are guides and charters available.
I’ll wrap up the St. George Island trilogy with this thought. It’s a great area for family vacations but it’s also the kind of old Florida place you could live or retire too.