“Apala… what”??!! You wouldn’t even think that a town with a name like this exists but actually it does.
Apalachicola is a small fishing town in Franklin county, southwest of Tallahassee, Florida. Just over 2,000 souls live here. If you end up here (not many do, believe me), you might be on your way to the well renowned Gulf of Mexico beaches where the water is emerald and the sand is white. The road to Apalachicola is stunning, especially if you take a couple of detours on your way. We did it and got rewarded with stunning views and one of the most delicious blackened Tilapia burgers of our whole road trip in Florida.
Very few Americans have ever heard of Apalachicola and you quickly understand why. It’s a rather sleepy town, with a few old fashion accommodation options and a handful of restaurants and it claims to be the real Old Florida. After spending many months touring America, being European you do realize that what’s old for an American is relatively new for us. But Americans do try hard to keep their old stuff at their best: a lot of buildings (both private and public) have been nicely and carefully restored but all has been done keeping an eye on the past and preserving the traditions.
We ended up here on our way from St. Augustine, FL to New Orleans. And we went on a specific mission: try the famous oysters. More than 90% of Florida’s oysters production is harvested in this area. To me, this is more than a good reason to go!
We stayed at Coombs Inn & Suites (80 6th Street), since the season was pretty quiet and they had a good mid-week rate. It’s located in a tranquil residential neighbourhood and it’s walking distance from Apalachicola downtown. Our dinner choice for the evening was already sorted: Up the Creek Raw Bar (313 Water Street). It’s a pretty informal bar/restaurant, you order your food as soon as you arrive at the bar and they serve you at the table. Whatever you choose it’s going to be delicious…. we opted for Classic and Southern Style oysters and a rich Crab and Lobster Bisque. The oyster purists will probably say that oysters should be eaten raw but I can guarantee you that these baked ones are to die for!
We left with our bellies full (we left a bit of room for a huge dessert) and to my astonishing surprise before we left the bar we ended up meeting a bunch of Italians: they didn’t quite know how and why they ended up there…but, no matter what, they absolutely loved the oysters too!
Let’s put it in this way: you wouldn’t probably choose to go to Apalachicola to spend your holiday but if you happen to drive near this town, I would stop. It’s a “Florida” miles away of what we would expect Florida to be. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.