St. George Island

   Perhaps now, November will bring  memories of the time I spent with my three sisters for a getaway on St. George Island in the Panhandle of Florida.  Only one of us had visited that part of our state and we were eager to see what it would bring to our stay on the island.

     Our youngest sister, Mary, came from Kansas and our sister Tracy joined us from her home near Boulder, Colorado.  The four of us had never taken a trip together before and we looked forward to spending the time with each other.  Mary and I drove the six hour trip from Orlando and settled in on our check-in day of Saturday afternoon.  She and I had the spacious, three bedroom, three bath house to ourselves until Jan and Tracy joined us on Tuesday.

      We explored the nearby, small town of Apalachicola, home of roughly three thousand residents.  (St. George Island is mostly inhabited by visitors.)  We met one that first afternoon, John Lee, who ran a small shop in the historic downtown district.  He had run the newspaper there for years and now could come and go as he pleased being semi-retired selling t-shirts with historic figures on them and offering the popular Tupelo honey that was made locally.  He knew much about the area and we received quite a history lesson that day.  He told us about Dr. John Gorrie and other historic notables.

     Driving around on the outskirts of downtown, Mary and I spied an old cemetery and decided to walk through it and see some of the resting places of well-known past residents who had made this fishing port their home.  We were looking for Dr. Gorrie’s grave site as well.  He was known for inventing the first ice machine used for helping keep yellow fever and other illnesses at bay.  His discovery later led to refrigeration and air conditioning.  We also learned that his remains rested across the street from a museum in his honor and not in the town cemetery where we had been looking.

     We also drove down to one end of St. George Island to St. George Island State Park where camping is popular and trails are numerous and there are many undeveloped beaches to explore.  Pure white dunes, covered in state-protected sea oats populated the area along the beach.  The length of the island is around 38 miles and we drove from one end to the other at times driving with the Gulf of Mexico on one side of the road and Apalachicola Bay on the other.

     The four of us hiked Tate’s Hell State Forest a tract of land covering over 200,000 acres where we saw black bear tracks (large and small) in the sandy trail that we followed as well as cat prints–bobcats or Florida Panthers?  I was very glad that we didn’t come across a bear even though I was told they were usually quite timid and would run if they heard voices.  I didn’t want to test out that theory!  We all had our binoculars at the ready looking for a new bird to spot but didn’t have much luck throughout the trip.  Timing seems to be very important when bird watching–apparently we were a little early to spot any new “snow birds” arriving to the area.

     Cape San Blas was a destination another day where we all stopped for a picnic and walked along yet another beach looking for shells.  After lunch, we continued on our drive to St. Joseph’s Peninsula State Park where we came to the end of the point that looked out onto a small island in the bay which could only be accessed by boat.

     We made most of our meals at home but my sisters enjoyed some of the fresh seafood made famous by the area waters when we went out for dinner a few times.

     The weather was perfect for hiking and sightseeing during the week.  The days were mostly clear blue, sunny skies in the low to mid 70s with the nights in the 40s to 50s.  It became quite blustery at times and a heavy but fast-passing rain hit one night as we played Scrabble.  The house of three levels, which was built on high stilts, shook with the wind.  We felt a little disconcerted but our feelings passed quickly as the storm did.

     Apalachicola was hosting its 48th annual Florida Seafood Festival and was expecting thousands of attendees this weekend.  This is Florida’s longest running maritime event held at the mouth of the Apalachicola River.  Mary and I saw some of the preparations as we went into town the day before the festival began but we left Saturday morning as it was getting underway.

     Yes, this trip may become one of my favorite memories of all of my Novembers. It was a very memorable time had with four very special sisters.


Monday Morning Writing Prompt:–November:

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  1. oh my, you and your daughter? look very much alike.

    Glad to see you back from your trip.

    hope to see you at poetry picnic and poets rally…



    • No daughters here–all sisters. We do all favor each other I think. Thanks for coming by and for the nice welcome home! 🙂


  2. Androgoth

     /  November 7, 2011

    I have read your story with great interest my wickedly fine adventurer and what a wonderful time you have had with your sisters, I think this kind of holiday is definitely one for the memory banks. You know I can see from those big happy smiles that you were really in tune with each other on this delightful vacation, all eager for the adventure and feeling the closeness of sisterhood, I am not sure if that is a real word or not, but it should be.

    I would imagine that picking shells on those rather isolated beaches must have been a very exciting experience and all the lovely sight seeing in between, and of course the learning of some of the history of St. George Island, which is another nice part of your trip.

    you know, with all that hiking and sight-seeing you must have enjoyed those homely cooked meals together and sharing your excitement of the days and nights shared. Thank you for offering such a beautiful reflection of your holiday with us all Gayle, and welcome back to Blogland…

    Androgoth XXx


    • We all had a great time and remained relaxed and fun with each other. It was a pretty laid-back, mellow time together. I think sisterhood is a word–and a good one too.

      Thanks for the lovely welcome home and back to blogland again.

      Gayle xo


      • Androgoth

         /  November 8, 2011

        You are very welcome, and I am looking forward to your future postings Gayle as you always have something highly interesting to add, well I certainly like your style anyway 🙂

        Have a most delightful Wednesday now 🙂

        Androgoth XXx


  3. Tino

     /  November 7, 2011

    Great memories of November, thanks for sharing. It was a very interesting and informative read.


    • Thanks a lot, Tino. Just arrived back home after a week away with my three sisters–a memory I’m sure I’ll hold for a long time. Very special.


  4. What a fun and special time for you four sisters. You will have a unique forever-memory. Enjoy every chance you have to be together. Thanks for sharing your stay with us.


  5. A wonderful November memory… 🙂


  6. Thanks for sharing and what a good time you all must have had. I only have one sister and so enjoy when we are together.


  7. Glad you liked this, Renee. We sisters are great friends and are also close to our two older brothers. I’m glad you have a sister to share yourself with. 🙂


  8. What a great sisters retreat … I heard St. George’s is a wonderful place to visit … I missed a family gathering a couple of years ago, and regret not being ablee to join them!! Thank you for sharing with us … and linking to various sites. Glad you had a great time … 🙂


    • It’s very beautiful there but a very tranquil place. No need to go if you’re party people! Of course, we were there during the off-season but had to go to off the island to find a small town to go shopping and eating. Perfect for us though!

      Thanks, Becca.


  9. you look so different from your sisters. glad that you had fantastic time together.

    btw, do you have blogspot friends? none of my blogspot blogs (Friend’s) is opening today.

    thats horrible. i have so much to catch up.

    lots of love.


    • Most people find that we favor each other–and we look like our mother too.

      I left you a message tonight about visiting Shashi’s blogspot site–no trouble accessing it or leaving a comment on there.

      I can’t possibly catch up with all that I’ve missed. I’ll just have to do the best I can…

      I’m glad you came by, Trisha. 🙂


  10. This is priceless… it actually made me very emotional… I also have 3 sisters but due to “life interferences”, we have drifted apart over the years…
    Actually we’ve NEVER had a “sisterly getaway”… we barely get to see one another, yet we all live within a 15 minute radius.
    Thanks for sharing… 🙂 🙂


    • This was our very first time all of us away together–no husbands or boyfriends. Although one husband who was camping fairly close by with some guy friends suggested that they could come by–oh, no you don’t! Sister set him straight!

      So sorry to hear of your “interferences”. We’ve had some bumps between us too but nothing that we haven’t been able to smooth over. I’m very grateful for that. Thanks for coming by and sharing, Mish. xo


  11. Thanks for this mini-vacation, Gayle! It was almost like I was there with you. 🙂 The seafood festival sounds like something I would enjoy tremendously (I ❤ seafood!) and the nature getaway is just the kind of thing I'd like, too. I think you all look very much alike. If I didn't know, I would still guess that you were all sisters…I think it's the nose. lol I'm very happy you had such a great time and that now maybe November will forever be associated with such a positive, light-filled memory!


    • You’re welcome–so glad you enjoyed the trip!

      We left the day of the festival–our week was at its end–they expected a large crowd of seafood and music-loving people in their sleepy little town.

      We sisters do favor each other and it very well could be the nose! Lol! (And we sound alike too.) 😉


  12. Gayle, it sounds like a wonderful trip and a fabulous visit. Thanks for sharing here. Ingrigued by Gorrie’s story. Will have to read up on him.

    I love that the four of you got together for such an pleasant adventure. It’s nice to read about a family where the siblings get along. It must please your mom. You are all attractive ladies …

    Happy days, Gayle!


    • It was such a nice time, Jamie. I was interested in Gorrie’s story too especially since the newspaper man we met tried to tell us the reason Dr. Gorrie wanted to make ice was to keep his whiskey cold! What a character he was.

      Our mother is very happy that we all love each other so much. And I appreciate the compliment for us ladies! 🙂



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