Tuesday, August 2, 2016

St. Marks Lighthouse

St. marks Lighthouse

This weekend we took a short trip down to the St. Marks Lighthouse and then over to Alligator Point and ate lunch.   A round trip of 125 miles from Tallahassee down to the coast and back.   I am a firm believer that if you let any vehicle sit, it starts to rot.  So we are not going to let the Fuse sit.

First we drove down US-319 to the Woodville Highway and then down to the St. Marks National Wild Life Refuge.  The drive down was nice.  Very flat with speeds from 45-55mph.  Not a road you can just set the cruse control since there are several small towns and lots of homes and businesses along the way but a nice easy drive never the less.

Warning Gators

Once we got there we stopped at the Visitors Center and looked at the small museum.  There is a very nice porch along the back side of the building that overlooks a large pond.   While we were looking here we heard the distinct grunting of a male alligator looking for a mate. Then we heard several more.  Never saw the gators, just heard them.   With the temperatures over 90, they stay in the water and even if they were right in front of you, you might never see them.

St. Marks Lighthouse driveSt. Marks Lighthouse drive

We got back in the Fuse and drove down to the Lighthouse.  It is a great 7 mile drive looking over the salt marshes and ponds.  

St. Marks Lighthouse drive

St. Marks Lighthouse drive Fusepeople wading @ St. Marks NWR

Once at the lighthouse we looked around.  We left Lily in the Fuse since there are many gators near the lighthouse.  Dogs are a delicacy to a gator and there have been recent attacks on dogs here.  We saw boats, some people wading in the water fishing in the gulf, and some shore birds.  What we did not see but felt were the sand gnats and mosquitos.  

Take it from your friendly travel advisor, Summer is the wrong time of the year to go to the salt marsh.  Winter here is a much better time and there is even more wildlife out to see.   So after looking around we decided to head on down the coast to see what else we could see.

St. Marks Lighthouse drive

Onward we went.  Back to the entrance and then west on US-98.  Where to exactly we were not sure, but we would know it when we got there.  We got as far as Alligator Point when we decided it was time for lunch.   That was actually the goal for today.  Some seafood at the coast.

Alligator point is at the mouth of Ochlockonee Bay if you are not familiar with the area. There stands two local landmarks at the US-98 bridge.  One is the Oaks restaurant.  It went out of business years ago, but is still one of those places where the locals say "go to the Oaks and turn right".  The other is where we ate.  

We ate at Angelo and Sons Seafood Restaurant.  It is a nicer restaurant with prices to match but you do get what you pay for and the food was good.   It sits over the water and has great views of the bay.  The local legend is that the restaurant was originally built over the water since the county line is at the waterline.  The county the land is in was "dry" and the county the bay is in was "wet".  So in order to sell adult beverages they built the restaurant in the "wet" county and over the water they went.

There was plenty of room for the Fuse to park and Lily waited in the air-conditioned motorhome while we went in and ate.  Being over the water and this being a beautiful day the views were to die for.  

Sonya and Jimmy had fried shrimp.  This is normal fare for North Florida seafood.  I had the shrimp au gratin.  Both were very good and as much as you could eat.  They were accompanied with another North Florida seafood restaurant staple, Captains Wafer crackers and butter spread.  Yummy as well.   We brought back a beagle box with a hamburger for Lily and after she ate we decided to head for home.

The drive was nice going home.  We came home a slightly different way through Crawfordville, Fl.  Again speeds were between 45-55mph all the way home.  The good part about this was we got 19mpg for the entire trip.  For a while the computer said we were getting 21mpg but that dropped back down when we got to Tallahassee.  All in all, a nice lunch at the coast.

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