Florida’s Forgotten and Emerald Coasts

We never intended to stay in Florida for two and a half months, but we DID intend to not rush and to pay close attention to enjoying the unexpected. We will be leaving Florida on Valentine’s Day and heading inland through Mississippi and Louisiana, then to Texas beaches, and then into the vastness of West Texas. I have no qualm in confessing that the awaiting open spaces are daunting. But we will proceed headlong with eyes and ears open.

Before we reached Apalachicola on Florida’s Forgotten Coast, we had a wonderful stay camping for free at Goose Pasture in the Suwanee River Water Management District. We met a lot of wonderful people (though others’ generators still plague us; get solar!), and had a surprise visit from dear friends.

Bob and Mylen went hundreds of miles out their way in The Mothership for a visit at Goose Pasture. Mylen made the best-ever campfire. It was such a joy to sit with old friends in the midst of our adventuring.
We met a young man named Alan who was down South for family. He is pondering perhaps becoming nomadic. But, whatever his choice (and I will find out!), I know it will be full of heart. He is one of the most thoughtful we’ve had the pleasure to meet. Portrait by Holly.
Alan made us dinner on this fire.

After Goose Pasture, we made our way to Apalachicola – Apalach in the local parlance – the heart of the Forgotten Coast. This isn’t a gimmick. The town is genuinely keeping its soul intact, forbidding big box stores and limiting buildings to 30 feet in height. We felt so enthralled, we (I) came up with a great plan, which I am in the process of vetting with local officials. See the pic below.

I want to buy the former fire house (sorry for the street view screenshot) and turn it into a Hipcamp. Holly and I are looking for land, and this could be it!

We made our way up to Panama City, which is still rebuilding from Hurricane Michael five years ago. The historic neighborhood of St. Andrews was great. The Panama City Publishing Co. museum has working letter press and linotype machines dating back to the mid-1800s.

This is a working linotype hot-set printing press. It had to be refurbished after Hurricane Michael because the roof blew off the museum.
The Live Oak ’Old Sentry’ was damaged by Hurricane Michael, but survived. This tree predates the Civil War.

We have wrapped up our Florida chapter on the Emerald Coast. We camped for three nights at Topsail Preserve, and then made our way to Fort Pickens in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. This part of the coast is just stunning with its squeaky white sand beaches, emerald green water and dune lakes – found in only five places in the world.

The beach at Topsail Preserve State Park.
Lake Campbell. Dune lakes like this are found only in Walton County, FL, the Oregon coast, Madagascar, New Zealand and Australia.
This is part of the ruins of Fort Pickens in the Gulf Islands National Seashore. I don’t subscribe to military fetish that so many abide by, so its impact on me was perhaps not as intended. This was built by highly skilled enslaved workers brought in from Louisiana.
The beach at Gulf Islands National Seashore. Find Sandy!

In a short time we shift from an abundance of water to a vast desert. The change is good for me. I’m keeping myself open to new ventures, while learning a healthy distaste for the cookie cutter stores lining the main roads. We will sail through the deep south and land in Texas, which will take us through the end of March. We have good news to share about upcoming visits, so stay tuned.

Holly and I deeply appreciate that people read this. It makes us feel at home wherever we find ourselves.

11 thoughts on “Florida’s Forgotten and Emerald Coasts

  1. Oh, Goose Pasture is such a nice e campground. But it is really shady. That’s where my batteries died from lack of solar but now I got the lithium – so no worries.

    We did the Forgotten Coast about 3 years ago. Loved it.

    So much fun to have surprise visits from friends. And such a lovely portrait of Alan.

    Enjoy Texas. So much to do and see there!

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