Visiting the City of Apalachicola
It’s really hard to not like Apalachicola. Being from the south, I am use to friendly people but the City of Apalachicola takes it to a new level. Everybody is friendly. Even the tyrannosaurs sized German Sheppard, who playfully meets all customers outside of Honey Hole Liquor, is about the nicest dog I have ever come across. Many of the local citizens like to believe that the Indian word Apalachicola means “land of the friendly people.” I’m beginning to believe that myself.
Not only are they friendly but they seem to have a personal vendetta against rude behavior. Every business we walked into had some sort of sign proclaiming, “No Crabby People”, “No Pissy Attitudes”, “$5 Charge for Rude Behavior, 10$ Charge for Obnoxious Behavior.”
Roxanne looked at me and said, “This town could get expensive for you. You better behave yourself.”
But, we didn’t stop here to visit with nice people. We came for the seafood and more precisely the oysters. Apalachicola takes real pride in their oysters and the local restaurants prepare these world class mollusks in a multitude of different fashions that makes you want to try them all. From on the half shell to the classic Rockefeller to my favorite, oysters with jalapenos, red peppers, covered with pepper jack cheese. My taste buds were in heaven.
If you begin to get tired of eating oysters (I’m not sure this is possible) there is no shortage of excellent seafood here. Fresh Gulf shrimp is served everywhere and a stop at Papa Joe’s restaurant for the soft shell crab basket is a must.
Apalachicola City sits on 210 square miles of shallow Gulf of Mexico water that is fed nutrient rich waters from the Apalachicola River. This perfect balance of fresh and salt water makes this location ideal for oysters.
If you take a walk out onto the city pier in the mornings you can see the fisherman heading out into the bay to check their crab traps, do a little shrimping and yes, to rake the bay floor for oysters. Pelicans often ride along and wait in a puppy dog fashion for scraps or extras that the fishermen aren’t going to keep.
And rake the bay floor is not an exaggeration. These fishermen stand on the sides of their boats and use long wooden handled rakes to scrape the bottom of Apalachicola’s Bay and then pile the oysters into the center of their boats.
It looks like long hard work but I for one am glad they do it.
In-between meals it is definitely worthwhile to walk around town. Apalachicola still has that old southern feel with many buildings dating back to the early 1900s. There are no chain style shops here. Every place you walk into has an original feel and an almost museum like quality. They have a good shopfront design that makes you want to come, like at https://shop-fronts.co.uk/how-to-design-a-shop-front/. You can easily laze away the day strolling around town until you find yourself at a different restaurant sucking down some more oysters and a couple of beers.
Apalachicola; seafood heaven and land of the friendly people. Yep, I’m a believer.
I really enjoyed your article. I too am a sailor. Grew up here sailing. My great,great Grandfather Vito Sangregoria, sailed here in the 1850’s from Sicily and settled here. Glad you enjoyed our little village, hope to see you again.
We loved it and can’t wait to make it back over there again.
My hometown!!! (Hey Jimmy!)