There is a 3 mile bridge that takes you from Eastpoint to “the island”(Saint George…not Long). Before the bridge is the Apalachicola Estuarine Reserve which is a learning center and nature preserve. It is in the migration path of both the monarch butterfly and the bald eagle. It is also an active time for bears. Fortunately we did not spot any bears during our visit. Crossing the bridge to Saint George Island, the bike lane is pretty wide and although the elevation is not too high and the grade is not too steep, the cross winds are a huge challenge. Once you arrive on Saint George, the bike lane heads east to the State Park or west to more beach and homes. The ride east is about four miles and it is filled with more vacation homes with pun filled names. My favorites so far are A Wave From it All , Divine Porpoise, and Sea vouz Play. It seems the people who name nail polish for OPI and ESSI have some competition (unless these are their vacation homes). I foresee a Facebook quiz “What is the name of your beach home?” Once you reach the state park, there is four miles of beautiful beach and another four miles past that of mountain bike/hiking trails. Back in the center of the island is the lighthouse, a few shops and restaurants and some seafood and vegetable vendors. Everything is fresh and delicious. Truly a nice relaxing lifestyle. Tate’s Hell State Forest is another story. I figured it would be a great park to ride our bikes, see some wildlife and be shaded by the trees, then before we entered the park, I heard the story. A farmer by the name of Cebe Tate armed with a shotgun went into the woods to find and kill the panther that was killing his livestock. He got lost in the swamp and was bit by a snake. He appeared several days later and his last words before he died were “I just came from Hell”. The area is now called Tate’s Hell. There is even a song about it! I am not going into the woods.
Franklin and Gulf Counties in Florida are famous for their oysters. We have sampled many and agree they are delicious in all styles of preparation. From the locals and from the parks we have visited I have learned quite a bit about the bivalves. Here are a few fun facts: One oyster can filter 50 gallons of water per day. Oysters change from male to female as they mature. Oyster reefs provide habitat for about 300 different marine species. And finally, oysters are a source of many vitamins and minerals. Go enjoy some oysters!