23 March 2009

A Visit to the (Very) Deep South

You haven't been here.

I can say almost with total confidence that you haven't. That's one of the reasons I love it so, and why it is my touchstone to return to Apalachicola every chance I get. I feel rooted and grounded there. I remember every single street, house, palm tree, building. I exhale in the sea air and the endless vistas of the Gulf of Mexico disappearing at the horizon into a thin strip of shelter islands' land and trees silhouetted far out to sea.

So I make a journey of 8 hours air travel from San Francisco; two hours to my brother's house by car; then drive two more hours to Apalachicola. They call it The Forgotten Coast, and I like that.

a house around the corner from where I lived as a child

Commercial Building, circa 1830

the Oven House, now for sale

a neighbor's house

St. Patrick's Catholic Church, our family church

Cousin Alma's House, directly across the street 
from her sister's house, Cousin Alice's

Cousin Alice's House

the old family home 

I visit the house where I lived in as a little one, built by my great- great- grandfather, and the cemetary where all my relatives dating back to the Civil War are buried. I love to see the Armory with its ballroom and mezzanine, where my mother danced until dawn as a beautiful young woman. I roam the neighborhood houses, all built between 1830 and 1905, that make up this magical, old place called Apalachicola. 

Usually I stop by the Catholic church where my parents were married, my grandmother and brother were buried. I love to visit the old French consulate (of course!), where they still fly the tricolore. I go out to the island and marvel once again that any beach could be more beautiful, or more desolately quiet than this one. 

On this trip I find the new Community Gardens. Raised beds tended by townfolk who like to grow their own organic vegetables and fruit. If you had a garden here, and a crab trap or two, you could eat like a king without spending a dime.

If you do want to spend a dime, spend it on seafood. The local restaurants that have stood the test of time serve the most delectable seafood from right here where the river meets the sea. And have a drink at the old bar where Papa Hemingway would have been right at home.

If you ask me for directions to Apalach, I might hesitate. You really don't need to go there. 

But I do. 


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  1. oh Baby Girl, I so understand this. I too come from a place where I do not want you to go, but would love to show you how the river meets the sea and how the shrimp pulled from the sound is the best eatin' you will find. i love oyu big, and will always remain the Debutante Gone Wrong

  2. Time for a field trip? or at least lunch....thanks for reading!

  3. Wow. What an amazing place. I can smell the pot pie baking in the oven...shrimp pot pie, of course. 8*)

  4. Yum, time for lunch here. How about that pot pie? Add it to Melanie's Fine Foods? Can't lose with that one!


I would love to hear what you think! merci!


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