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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