The Big 5-0!

September 2012

To celebrate the husband's 50th birthday, we took a long weekend trip in late September to the Coast.  Gulf County, Florida, is the perfect place to celebrate a special birthday!

We loved the Old Florida style cottage The Love Shack, which is right on the beach!     

We went family boating, renting a boat slip from nearby Mexico Beach at their city docks.  We fished in St. Joseph's Bay and spent some time on the beach at the tip of St. Joseph's Peninsula, also known as Cape San Blas.  

The kids found sand dollars in the salty water!
My fisherman husband casting
Starfish washed on the shore.
Beautiful starfish!
Fishing at sunset from the beach.  Notice Cape San Blas on the horizon?

Bonfires on the beach are allowed on the Coast in Gulf County.  S'mores at the beach - YUM!

Daddy Daughter picture on the beach!
Happy Birthday, Honey!  I love you!

St. Joe Beach, Our Beach


When we camped on Cape San Blas at the St. Joseph Peninsula State Park during the spring, we drove by our spot of sand on Americus Avenue.  Not sure if the kids noticed how we looked longingly at the property.  They were more excited about lunch at Toucan's in Mexico Beach and the possibility of getting an air-brushed t-shirt painted by Hippie John!

On a whim in late June, we packed the family and headed to the Coast for a quick overnighter and for some family red snapper fishing.  GREAT fishing that weekend!  With the four of us on board, we hauled in the maximum number of keepers.  Red snapper prove to be delicious and versatile in recipes.

In August, the family visited Gulf County for fun in the sun before school started.  We ran in the Port St. Joe Scallop Festival 5K, went family boating, and hung out at St. Joe Beach, our beach!

Friends from Albany, Georgia, were vacationing in the area that weekend.  With three young boys, there is never a dull moment with this family of three young boys nearby!  The Coast is a GREAT place to meet and visit with friends and family!

Flora and Fauna

March 2011

Throughout 2011, we looked for ways to head south to the Coast.  During each visit, we drove by our salty piece of land.  

Deer moss, Cladina evansii, a slow growing lichen, tends to be soft after a rain and brittle when dry.
Wild rosemary (Conradina canescens) is native to Coastal scrub habitats.

I love the flora and fauna growing on our parcel of property close to the Coast.

Live Oaks, Quercus virginiana, are common on the Coast.  Many years ago, their strong, tough wood was used for ship building.  I think they are beautiful!

On our way home, we drove through Port St. Joe towards the town of Wewahitchka.  I have always felt connected to Wewa since my daddy and his family fished there when he was a little boy.  My college friend and sorority sister Miranda has family from Wewa.  Her grandfather built the Honeyville Methodist Church just on the outskirts of Wewa.  I wanted to photograph and frame it for her.

Honeyville Methodist Church, Gulf County, Florida

Salty Piece of Land

During our Florida Road Trip, we looked at lots, houses, and other salty pieces of land for sale. For quite some time, the Coast has been calling!

A lot for sale in St. Joe Beach on the corner of Cortez and Americus caught our attention.  From the front of the lot, we viewed the ocean.  Just a brief one-block jaunt down Cortez took us to St. Joe Beach.

By the end of September 2010, we were Gulf County property owners.  Back home, to celebrate the purchase, we cooked shrimp skewers, our nod to the Coast and the fabulous seafood available in the Gulf of Mexico.  We toasted the land closing with a LandShark!

Shrimp Skewers
  • 1 lb peeled shrimp; onion, cut into large pieces
  • bell pepper, cut into large pieces
  • olive oil
  • Old Bay seasoning
Thread shrimp, onion, and bell pepper onto skewer.  Season.  Grill.

  • 1 c stone ground grits
  • 3 c shrimp stock (boil water with shrimp peelings)
  • 1 c milk
  • 2 T butter
  • salt
  • pepper
Prepare grits with shrimp stock and milk.  Season with butter, salt, and pepper.

  • 2 T butter
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 c shrimp stock
  • 2-3 T flour
  • salt
  • pepper
Stir 1-2 T flour into warm shrimp stock.  Melt butter in pan with garlic; brown lightly.  Add stock/flour mixture to pan.  Add additional water if needed.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add milk.  Continue stirring until desired thickness.

Serve grilled shrimp, onions, and bell pepper over grits with gravy.  Delicious!

Florida Road Trip

September 2010

After enjoying our May trip to the beach, we found ourselves again on Florida's Forgotten Coastline in late summer.  We started our drive with a yummy lunch at Spring Creek Restaurant in Wakulla County.  

Spring Creek Restaurant
If you haven't visited this Old Florida favorite for a delicious meal of fried mullet, you are truly missing out!  Other dishes are tasty too, but the husband finds it hard to enjoy anything else when fresh mullet is available.  :)

Spring Creek, an Old Florida fish camp
We passed westward through St. Marks, Panacea, Alligator Point, Carrabelle, and other places along the coast .

St. Marks

We played on the beautiful beaches of St. George Island.

St. George Island Golden Sunset
We eventually wound up at St. Joe Beach.  The weather was fantastic.  We caught lots of fish, but we were the ones who were hooked!

Grilled pompano - we caught lots of them!

First Taste of the St. Joe Coast

May 2010

When we celebrated our 12th anniversary in 2010, the husband and I traveled to Port St. Joe, Florida, for a weekend getaway.  What an enjoyable weekend!  

Port Inn 1913

We stayed at the Port Inn, built in 1909.  One hundred years ago, in the days before air conditioning, the inn with its broad veranda and stately columns was a favorite getaway for those seeking a quiet retreat near the cooling breezes of Saint Joseph Bay.  Beautiful and perfect for us too! 

On Saturday, we drove to Apalachicola for their annual home and garden tour.  We strolled the streets and enjoyed touring green gardens and beautiful interiors.  Our lunch afterwards at Trinity Episcopal Church tasted delicious!  Mmmm....their shrimp salad was our favorite! 

Mulberry trees grow throughout Apalachicola.

Saturday afternoon, we basked in the warm sun at breezy St. Joe Beach.  We enjoyed our weekend on the Forgotten Coast and knew we would visit again!

Yes, when we travel, we always take our fishing poles!

Tour of Homes Shrimp Salad

  • 4 lb shrimp, in shell
  • 2 c mayonnaise
  • 2 T white wine
  • 1 t black pepper
  • 3/4 c red onion, finely chopped
  • 8 oz shell pasta, small
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/3 c fresh dill, chopped
  • 3/4 c celery, finely chopped
Directions:  Boil shrimp in water with salt, brown cider vinegar, and worcestershire sauce.  Chill quickly over ice.  Peel and devein shrimp; cut into bite size pieces.  Boil pasta in separate pan of water with salt and oil.  Cool quickly.  Combine mayo, mustard, wine, salt, pepper, and dill for dressing.  Mix with shrimp and pasta.  Add onion and celery.  Adjust seasoning to taste.