This area was originally settled as a British trading post but after the United States acquisition, the town was incorporated and given the name of Apalachicola in 1831. It has been a major cotton port, a sponge trade industry but most recently famous for oysters. At one time, more than 90% of Florida’s oyster production was harvested from Apalachicola Bay. The oyster business is currently having a slump due to a variety of reasons, but will hopefully rebound soon. Shrimping is also an important business and Miss Martha was docked right along the downtown water front.
The Grady Market is an easy walk across the street from Miss Martha. There are rentable rooms above the mercantile below, but any time we have inquired they have all been booked. Some time we will get there.
The craft brew business is alive with the Oyster City Brewing Company founded in 2014. They have three unique brews to date – Apalach IPA, Hooter Brown Tupelo Honey Ale and Mill Pond Dirty Blonde Ale, my personal favorite. The OCBC is cash only, no food served and draws a strong local crowd that spills into the open seating right outside of the establishment.
While Eric stopped for a brew, I headed over to ‘River Lily, a shop for your senses’. It is one of those places that has been around since our first trips in the 1990s. They have a wide variety of items, mostly appealing to the female crowd. Soaps, lotions, stationary & cards, candle holders, novelty socks, scarves, beach clothing and the MOST amazing earrings & jewelry. For years and years it was my favorite place to buy earrings (before I started making my own).
There’s just no way to showcase all of the cool places to shop. This trip had a specific purpose in mind and shopping was not the top priority. However, we did find a super neat bar that opened in 2016 and has been a great addition to Apalachicola – Bowery Station. Located in the historic Bowery district, the owners wanted an eclectic little beer and wine bar that brings to life a little piece of old Apalach! It welcomes locals and tourists alike to this fun casual location.
Live music happens Wednesday through Sunday and their schedule of bands is amazing for such a local place. Saturday night the place welcomed back Highbeams, three brothers with true passion for music playing high-energy Folk Rock. Boo Radley was playing Sunday and is well-known along the Forgotten Coast for their vocals, guitar and songwriting skills.
Okay, don’t laugh, but there’s another place we LOVE to visit, a grocery store…….PIggly Wiggly.
While there is no Publix (my absolute favorite!) grocery store in this Florida county a visit to the Piggly Wiggly is a must. They are a locally owned, full service grocery store. For such a small size, they have a wide variety of items, some of which we have a hard time finding at home. I am a big fan of Community Coffee and they offer blends I’ve never seen anywhere else – we stock up when there!
Piggly Wiggly History Lesson – Americas first true self-service grocery store, founded in Memphis, TN in 1916. It revolutionized the grocery industry and many of the conveniences that American shoppers now enjoy were introduced by the first Piggy Wiggly. Exaples being the first to provide checkout stands, prices marked on every item in the store, high volume/low profit margin retailing, refrigerated cases to keep produce fresh longer and the list goes on. Today there are more than 600 stores, serving communities in 17 states, primarily in the Southeast.
Tuesday we headed back home, but made a quick trip over to SGI to pick up some local shrimp. Our normal guy wasn’t there, but Doug’s allowed us some fresh seafood purchases.
We did see something interesting along the bay as we were driving along US98, a ‘duck blind’ in the water. Driving here on the weekend allowed us to see one of the duck blinds being used (sorry – no action photo, didn’t know what it was until after we passed it). I had seen patches of palm fronds stuck along the bay in the water, but until we saw one being used, we had no idea.
(This photo really isn’t the best as the day we were leaving was a super low tide.)
We had one more (local) seafood meal before getting home: Deal’s Famous Oyster House in Perry, FL. “The finest people in the world come through that door” is heard any time someone comes in or out of this establishment.
It is an unassuming white building along the highway with lots of vehicles parked in front. It has some of the best seafood in the region – fried of course. We started with their smoked mullet fish dip (left bowl, cole slaw on the right), served with a sleeve of saltines and it was excellent!
Eric had to have one more order of raw oysters before leaving this part of the state.
I had a fried flounder sandwich (left) while Eric had more oysters – fried this time. I’ve got to say………………most of the time when I get a fried fish sandwich, I leave the bun and only eat the fish. This was the perfect fish sandwich. Home-made tartar sauce, iceberg lettuce leaves, a squeeze of lemon and a ripe tomato combined for a tasty treat.
Taking this ‘explorative’ trip in January solidified our thoughts about Apalachicola – it’s where we want to be upon retirement.
Oh yes, ending on a teaser……we found a lot in town and made an offer.