Tag Archives: St. George Island

Random Thoughts About Going on Vacation

It seems like forever.  Actually, it was 6 months ago.  How slowly time passes.

I have a swimsuit, which I look ridiculous in.  But who’s going to notice 🙂

I managed to dredge up a (clean) beach towel.

Since I’m going with two other friends, that means I have to have pajamas or something like them.  I won’t wear them to sleep, but I’ll put them on in the morning.  We will each have our own bedroom.

Note to self:  Among the T-shirts, don’t bring anything black.  (And a huge majority of my T-shirts are black.) Black absorbs heat.

I can’t find my really comfortable shorts.  I’ll buy some when I get there.  Too bad they don’t have a Target on this island.  (I don’t do Walmart–or K-Mart for that matter.)

My grocery shopping is done.  My plan is to cook exactly one meal–steaks on July 4th, with grilled asparagus, and whatever else.  And I’ll make popovers one morning.

St. George Island is only 80 miles from here.  It takes about 2 hours though, because you can only get there on little roads where you can’t go fast.  Not to mention one very scary road where the Gulf is more or less lapping at your tires.  So you would think that a place 2 hours from your house would not lead to excessive planning.  Well, that depends on how obsessive-compulsive you are.

I will worry until the last minute about what I forgot to bring.  This morning I had a moment of extreme panic because I thought I had lost my “list”.  You know, the All Important List.  And the two friends I’m going with will have forgotten some things too.  So we will have to stop along the way many times for gas, salt and pepper, and lip balm.  In other words, it will take us 4 hours.

I will only stop worrying when I am actually in the car and whatever I forgot won’t matter any more.  Then the only thing I have to fear after that  is crossing the 4-mile bridge onto the island. My only phobia, but it’s better as long as someone else is driving.  Especially if she is driving a honking big Ford Expedition, instead of a little baby Toyota.  We went once, when she was driving a Ford F-150, and she was literally fighting for control of the truck as we crossed the bridge.  If I’d been driving the baby Toyota, there is no doubt in my mind I would have been blown off.  I was trying to think of how I would explain that to my boss.  See, the reason I can’t come to work today is that the wind was blowing really hard.

But have no doubt–I will have a good time.  As soon as I quit worrying.   We’ll see ospreys, and pelicans, herons and egrets.  And I have a lot of books to take 🙂

The “Forgotten” Coast

This term refers to the Gulf Coast of North Florida, stretching roughly from Carabelle to Mexico Beach, and includes probably more well-known locations like Appalachicola and St. George Island.  St. George, if you ask me (and I realize you didn’t), is the best beach in Florida…maybe the world.  But if you also ask me, the Forgotten Coast is not nearly forgotten enough…by the developers.  Having paved over every inch of South Florida’s beaches, they have now set their sights on the only remaining waterfront property in the state.  The first to fall is Carabelle, which used to be a (quote) “quaint fishing village”, and soon will be Boca Raton North, with condos and marinas for pleasure boats as far as the eye can see.  Gone will be those unsightly shrimp boats and messy fish houses.  Just don’t blame us when you can’t get oysters in Manhattan. 

The incomparable Carl Hiaasen of the Miami Herald has spent a lifetime chronicalling the disappearance of Florida as you know it, or as you think you know it.  Now then.  Time for a disclaimer. 

I actually have a job, which is in the business world (although some fail to see my relevance).  I’m on the Board of Directors of the local chapter of a national, indeed international, organization related to commercial property management.  In certain cases, growth and development contributes to my employment security and potentially to my personal bottom line.  Some of my favorite people are in the construction industry.  Plus you know how the saying goes:  birds gotta swim, fish gotta fly, and developers have to build.  [Another disclaimer:  Please, please don’t correct me here.  I said that on purpose.  Kinda takes away from the joke when you don’t get it, ‘k?]

At the same time, I’m also on the Board of Directors of a local environmental organization with a very narrow focus:  protecting a lake that I live near from….developers.  And I have to say this:  they are a relentless bunch.  The Lake is fairly well-protected, but if there is an ordinance that can be misinterpreted, a definition that can be misunderstood, a rule that can be ignored until you get caught…these guys and their lawyers are the masters.  Take the following example: 

A developer went in near the lake and clear-cut an area illegally, so they could essentially make a “pasture” where there used to be a “forest”.  Then they put in a bunch of goats, and put up a sign on the highway saying they were in the goat cheese business.  This is so they can claim the “agricultural” property tax rate, which is cheaper than the pre-development rate.  (That won’t work, but good try.) So then they got caught by the County, who said they had to replant the trees.  So they did.  And the goats promptly ate them all.  Carl Hiaasen, where are you? 

Therefore I lead a sort of schizophrenic existence.  I’ve learned more than anyone should have to know about zoning codes and stormwater regulations, and I’ve been exposed to terms like “urban infill”, which you should only have to hear if you’re an urban planning graduate student or a local politician. 

I am amending that flower-child sort of poster that says, “Take Only Memories, Leave Only Footprints.”  I want you to visit Florida…really I do.  St. George Island would be a great place to start.  So please:  take only memories, and leave all your discretionary money behind.  And also, be sure to check the bathroom and the balcony and the drawers in the bedside tables for any unnecessary condos you may have left behind.