Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016: St. George Island- A Little Sweet Tea to Cure the Beachfever


Driving through Port St. Joe last Saturday afternoon on our way to St. George Island, talking out loud, I figured something out.  We had rolled down the windows to smell the ocean air as we got our first glimpse of the Old Florida Gulf.  {I consider Port St. Joe the entry to Old Florida, but what do I know?}  I always take in the surroundings of the gorgeous coast line- the shacks, the boats, the shops, the businesses- ones thriving, ones long closed and all the haphazardness that comes with time, coastal time in particular.  Apalachicola is no different.  Bigger but much the same.  Before we hit the bridge that takes us to the 28 mile long island of St. George, we drive through the famous oyster town.  And it meanders.  Again, you see shacks of old grayed wood patched together with metal or whatever was handy it seems, signs painted over signs, a shop you didn’t know was there because you never noticed that street winding through, boats on the bay that have seen better days-- no rhyme, no reason-- just a bay town that has become what it is just like the surf of the beach.  It just happens.  With age.  As we were turning off of Avenue B, back to 98 which takes us to the bridge, I said, “Anyone can up and build a beach town, but you can’t just build this.”  Jeff laughed, “Yes, it takes almost 200 years to get something to look so............”  I can’t remember the word he used, but it was something like random, “colorful”, meandering, or eclectic.  He didn’t think it was necessarily a compliment but I did.

St. George is much the same.  These places have character-- not that the new places don’t.  I LOVE the pristine beauty of the beach communities on 30A but it’s a completely different experience.  The character is of a different age.  Not better or worse-- just different.  I have been falling in love with Old Florida for a few years now-- with all of its dilapidation and growth like ivy on a English Tudor--  and I think I am finally there -- ready to say it.  “Old Florida, I love you.”

This was our 13th year on the island and it never disappoints.  I know a lot of why I love it so much is the people with whom I spend the week.  We’ve made and are still making some great memories there-- all growing old and growing up together.  {A lot changes over 13 years- for ALL age groups} Sea sickness, sunburns, picture nights (they’re getting SHORTER!!}, belly aches from either eating too much or laughing too much, sore losers or winners, taller kids, cuts and bruises, cousin club, sea turtle sightings, sunglasses + reading glasses, practical jokes, eating habits, jelly fish stings, the year RJ knew it was his last year for quite a while, sitting among the dolphins in a kayak, the paddle board challenged, a very busy coffee pot-- and griddle, shore fishing and catching all manner of fish, fireworks, being REALLY sore, sky lanterns, books and books, peaches, Bill’s beach activities that always make it more fun {thus the "REALLY sore"}, sand in our beds, the smell of bacon EVERY morning, daily grocery trips, the years we had no tent and on and on and on.  It’s all very normal but oh so very special because of our family.  We are so grateful for this week together.  And the backdrop just doesn’t get any better.






To me, it looks different every day.  I love how it changes so much during the day and night.


Brighton had just returned from camp the day before so I saw a lot of this on the way there.  It was more of a service camp and he had worked his boo-tay off.


Jeff and B’s roughhousing ended with B’s foot through the high quality sheetrock at the Days Inn.  B was mortified.  We were off to a GREAT start.


Driving through Wewahitchka, home of the Dead Lakes and Tupelo Honey, we saw this beautiful wood in the yard of this store-- wood that drys out when the water goes low and then floats to the top when the water rises again in the Dead Lakes.  It’s big business for many.  Each piece is so unique-- full of character.  I’ll show you my small piece later.


My Mom always brings the peaches and we ate all but five.  They were so yummy.  I got a little excited.


We couldn’t stay in the house we normally stay in {Beachfever}-- water damage being repaired.  We liked the different house {Sweet Tea} but I am ready to have the other one back...HOWEVER, I did like this.  This is the view I had with my head on my pillow.


Even though I don’t fish, I do love this scene.  If RJ weren’t playing professional baseball, he’d be in this picture.  



Blake making much of his puny catch.  But that, folks, is a real fisherman.


This one is too but he just couldn’t seem to hold his fish this particular evening.  


Here is the benefit of having fisherman with us....  getting to eat it right out of the ocean.


Although he held this one just fine.  So he pulled in this while Hunter and I were doing this.....



Huge potential for fun




What a daddy will do for his daughter.  Hunter, this is amazing.  








Somehow, Blake was on the winning team.  Every. Time.


And he’s an obnoxious winner.


More proof.  

And while we are playing around on the beach-- 


Cousins.


We so missed Hunter’s energy last year!  It was truly fun having her back this summer!  After many attempts for all three of us to hop on the kayak to take pictures of the dolphins with H’s GoPro, we capsized, missed the dolphins and settled for a shameless selfie.


We interrupt this vacation to stare at our cell phones.............


Aunt Ebby’s AGAIN


Pre- meal entertainment


The bay-- picture kudos to Hunter


I bet you’re wondering where B’s book is.



Last year it was whip and nay nay and I think they call this the dab...  which may or may not have questionable origins....


You only need one good picture. 



Jeff didn’t think it was nearly as funny as we did.  



Here are my two favorite finds-- my piece of wood from Dead Lake {and it’s PINE} and this book.  Four ladies who either grew up in the area or visited regularly for years put together this gorgeous collection of photos, history and stories from their beloved area called Old Florida.  {“Saints” meaning Port St. Joe, St. Maria, St. George and St. Theresa} It’s wonderful.  


This was the only way we got to see RJ...  


And Jason.




The lanterns were beautiful.




Saturday morning is the worst-- having to leave everyone and this beauty.  


I love this crew-- each and every one.

Thanks, Mom and Dad for a very special week!