Our first week plus in Navarre Beach has been hectic, but fun. Christmas was a big success. It took a bit to adjust to our daughter Heather’s new “look”. We have not seen her since she became pregnant and with only six weeks or so to delivery, it was quite a change since we saw her in early May. Luckily Halley gets along with the two resident dogs-Bella and Zoe. We had a quiet Christmas at home with Ryan preparing the turkey in the deep fryer. It is amazing to me how quick it is done. It is moist and tasty. We missed having our daughter Katie here, but she was able to call from the Middle East and it was great to share the day with her, albeit remotely.
Loree, a fellow blogger is staying in our park and we had a chance to chat briefly and hope to have some more conversations before she heads west.
Our also full timer, long time friends Dan and Corrie arrived in our park a few days ago and we are enjoying catching up on what they have been doing. Dan is big on eccentric America icons, so true to form we visited a 15 foot Coca-Cola bottle. Then we played on perhaps the last remaining Goofy Golf miniature golf course on the Gulf Coast. It was a tough round and I had one or two really difficult shots but can proudly say-I WON!
Our RV park-Emerald Beach RV, is as close to a home park as we have. It is on the water with all the amenities and only five miles from our daughter’s home. We will be spending more time here this winter than we have at any one place since we started full timing.
A traditional part of our New Year’s celebration is two Dutch dishes-olie bollen (a kind of Dutch donut) and erwtensoep ( Dutch pea soup).
As we prepare for the close out of 2010, we want to wish all of you a very Happy, Healthy and Safe New Year.
We have had a very busy first week in Navarre, Fl but before I move on to current events, I just wanted to mention several interesting places we visited while in Carrabelle that I think others might also enjoy. Directly across from our campground is a beach that while great to walk the dog and enjoy good weather, also happens to have some interesting history. This beach was used for beach landing practice for thousands of soldiers in preparation for the Normandy invasion. In fact, the 4th division was trained on this beach and then was sent directly to England to board vessels for the invasion. The Gordon Johnston Army camp was located in Carrabelle and had an important impact on the community. Today a WWII association houses a small but very interesting museum dedicated the army camp, the training for the beach landings and the history of those who were trained here. This was particularly interesting, as we had a personal tour by the docent, who was well versed in the artifacts on display.
We also visited the nearby Crooked River Lighthouse and made the climb to enjoy a scenic view of the area. The climb was easy but be careful if you had a large lunch and the final ladder requires tight squeeze thru access hatch to the tower.
Finally, a visit to St George’s Island and the rebuilt lighthouse made for a nice half day outing.
Our time here on Florida’s “forgotten Coast” has been enjoyable and relaxing. This title is a trademark name for the eastern end of the coastal panhandle of Florida. While not intended, it seems to accurately describe the current condition of much of the area. The town of Carrabelle has changed very little in the last 50 years. A few years ago, there was an influx of investment money to turn Carrabelle and surrounding area into a successful resort community, much like Destin farther to the west. Several long time residents have described this as an attempt by greedy folks to get rich quick. In any case, the evidence all around us indicates that this expansion was a spectacular failure.
We visited a nearby campground with an impressive web site detailing luxury accommodations with a yacht club attached, which we considered going to. There were a number of reviews online extolling all its great features. We found this resort to be in shocking condition. Luckily, we chose the one we are currently in. We did not go there because it did not have a laundry, and we were due after 18 days. Across the street from it was one of many resort housing projects that ended very badly, with not a single unit built. We saw this scenario several times over around the area.
Downtown Carrabelle reflects the general condition of the economy here. It is truly a shame, since this area has natural beauty and could be a great destination.
We would recommend staying at the Carrabelle Beach RV Resort. It is very nice with all the amenities including a quiet beach across the street that allows dogs.
We made our second visit to Apalachicola, FL during our stay here on the “forgotten coast”. We were here three years ago and I am glad to note that the town still seems to be doing reasonably well.
It has been an important port town since the early 1800’s, once being the host to the Cotton Exchange. The waterfront was lined with cotton warehouses and brokerages during that period. It was also the home of the first sponge exchange, which interestingly moved to our last stop of Cedar Key. After that the exchange was moved to another of our favorite Florida ports-Tarpon Springs.
Today, it remains an important fishing village, with rich oyster beds located in the nearby waters. It has also had some success with making itself a tourist attraction with restaurants, gift shops and the other usual touristy stuff.
It still has that feel of a port town and well worth a visit.