We chose to stop in this general area because Dacen wanted to try oysters and Huck heard that Apalachicola was the place to get them! Unfortunately I was told by a local that local oysters would be hard to find since there had been so much rain. Oysters filter 50 gallons of water/day! The salinity is constantly tested and monitored to make sure they are safe to eat. I was bummed since that was the biggest reason we stopped here. (The next day we learned just last week they were allowed to start farming local!)
Overall, there is not much to do in Carrabelle, unless you boat or fish, BUT the people are incredibly nice and friendly and there is a lot within 20-30 min! I went straight to the visitors center while the others checked out the beach across the street. The lady was super friendly and full of lots and lots of good info! Due to the weather forecast I decided we would do things around town the next day and then venture to beach areas after that.
We like to ride bikes and I was a little concerned about having the kids ride along the highway (speed limit 45mph) and over the bridge. The lady said it was safe and the shoulder on the bridge, unlike most we’ve seen, was actually HUGE. Brielle was worried she wouldn’t make it, but everyone did great!
We rode into town to see the 2 most interesting things – The World’s Smallest Police Station and the Bottle House. The Police station is a phone booth! Got a picture – mostly just a funny thing for the kids to see.
The bottle house was really cool. Each of us had a different idea of how big it would be. Essentially it is a very pleasant large room – I would love to curl up with a book there (see the chair Caden is sitting in)
We were out enjoying the yard which has several creations (and the kids were hoping the 2 standard poodles would appear) when the dogs and their owner, Leon, came out to greet us. Leon is awesome! He was very happy to talk to us about his work. He’s retired and woke up one day and decided to build a bottle house. His wife was thinking it would be smaller….until he poured the footer! Dacen asked a great question: “What inspired you to build a bottle house.” Leon wanted to show that people are still alive and thinking and creating in Carabelle. The house took almost a full year to complete. The lighthouse took only a couple months. A guy renting a house down the road had done concrete work in the past and wanted to help.
The house and lighthouse use cement as the adhesive. Another structure in the yard uses silcone which isn’t holding up very well. It has cool programmable led lights though. And he has a friend that plays the violin that is going to record a song for him to program the lights to.
Leon also has a geodome. He explained his original idea of putting it on rollers, but explained that he had first made a 2 frequency sphere, but needed a 6 frequency to make it roll right. He was quite delightful and I was glad the kids got some art and mathout of it 🙂 (side note, all of us in the family disagree on how many frequencies there are, so I need to look it up or contact Leon again!)
Next stop, the museum to learn about Carrabelle history. From Native Americans to oyster farming to WWII amphibious training, the town has seen a lot! The director of the museum was so happy to share the stories she has helped collect. They even have a display of notable previous citizens. Oh, and they have the origianl PD phone booth that she hopes to restore. She wants the phone to ring as you walk in and when you andwer it the guy on the phone tells you the history. She was the one who explained/showed us how they harvest the oysters. They have a huge cast iron kettle that they used to fill with salt to preserve their meat. It was found buried in mud and is quite fragile now.
Very light inside
Leon the artist with kids
Snack at the museum
Officers B, C and D
Worlds smallest police station
Riding over the bridge
As for where we parked the RV in Carrabelle: Our previous campground was the St. Andrews State Park and it was soooo amazing! The site we were in was amazing as well – right on the water of the Grand Lagoon. After that, not much would really be able to stack up. I’m not complaining, just giving a look at what reality looks like some days. The Carrabelle Beach RV resort was a definite let down after St. Andrews State Park, as most RV parks would be. In this one we backed up to the highway which made it even worse. The day I wanted to do laundry it was out-of-order. I never did get any done here (and it was only $1.50/load!) I was looking forward to working out, but the workout room they tout is in the common room area and has one recumbant bike and one very small multifunction machine. The pool was super cold. Wifi was super horrible and constantly dropping. BUT we were across the street from the beach and between Carrabelle and Apalachicola and the people in town were super super friendly and interesting!
I’m glad we are able to find things to enjoy even when it seems like there isn’t much. That is the point of this trip. To see the USA and interact with various people. So far we haven’t been disappointed in the scenery or the people.