Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Panama City

We had a nice camping site in Panama City.
We were fortunate to be able to spend a few days at NSA Panama City. where we enjoyed a waterfront parking space in the RV park/Marina.
This base in located right on St. Andrews Bay in Panama City Beach. It is home to the Navy's Diving and Salvage Training Center and Experimental Dive Center.
We were interested to see 2 LCAC's docked and to hear those massive airboat style engines when they fired them up on Monday morning.
That sound was impressive.
We took a drive down the coast on Sunday toward the small fishing village of Carrabelle Florida.

Cape San Blas Lighthouse
Port St. Joe was on the way so we made a stop to see the Cape San Blas Lighthouse located at the Welcome Center. The lighthouse, an oil house and it's 2 keepers cottages were moved here in 2014 to protect it from a receding shoreline. One of the keepers cottages, Sleeping Beauty has been restored and serves as a museum and gift shop.
Cape San Blas has some history in common with the lighthouse on Sanibel Island. The steel structure for this light was on the ship that sank in the Gulf while carrying the Sanibel Lighthouse. Both had to be recovered from the submerged vessel in order to be put into use. Quite a feat in 1884, even in shallow water.
We made a quick stop for coffee and continued south.

Crooked River Lighthouse
Carrabelle is home to the Crooked River Lighthouse.
This iron and steel structure stands 103 feet tall. It is painted red on top and white on the bottom. The Crooked River light was decommissioned in 1995 and has been acquired by the Carrabelle Lighthouse Association. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The current light is a reproduction of the original 4th order Fresnel lens.

Fred climbed the 138 steps to the top.
We enjoyed a picnic lunch in the lighthouse park and a quick look at the small museum and gift shop that is located in a replica of the Keepers house. Fred paid the $5 fee and climbed the 138 steps to the top.
Carrabelle has a pleasant downtown waterfront area with a seafood restaurant, live music playing (at least on the Sunday we visited) and specialty stores.

The smallest Police Station in the World.
We were delighted to find the World's Smallest Police Station.
It's a phone booth.
Six and a quarter square feet of real estate.
Ii guess it would be hard to find a smaller one.
The Police Station was placed in the 1960's. It was really a police emergency phone that allowed officers to make and receive emergency messages. There was no police station so the St. Joe Phone Company placed the phone in a booth.
We met a village resident in the park near the phone. He was a retired fireman and happy to report to us that the story was true. The mayor of Carrabelle had even been on the Johnny Carson show to talk about his tiny police station, he said. The story continues that the phone booth was frequently used by tourists sneaking into it to make clandestine long distance calls.  Eventually the dial was removed so that only incoming calls were possible. We have enjoyed the convenience of cell phones for so long now that the issue seems absurd. Our new friend explained to us that the station we were admiring was a replica. The original has been vandalized and attempts have been made to steal it more than once. It is now kept at the office of the Chamber of Commerce.

Sea Serpent in a Carrabelle Florida Pond.
Carrabelle is also home to a bottle house. I have been fascinated by this art-form that celebrates repurposed materials  since we read about the ones on Prince Edward Island. We were not able to fit viewing the ones on PEI into our one day visit so i really wanted to see this one in person.
The directions given on the Roadside America app were a little obscure but we eventually found the right place.
We even managed to spot a sea serpent along the way.

Bottle house

Bottle Lighthouse
The bottle house is a tiny dwelling built by retired art professor Leon Wiesner.
It is in the yard of his home and studio and is accompanied by a lighthouse.
They are built with glass bottles and mortar. The clear, green, blue and brown glass must look spectacular from the inside on a sunny day. We identified bottles with both round and square bases. I can't imagine how many it took to complete the project.
We enjoyed looking at them and imagining the process.
We were happy to have spent a day driving along Florida's Forgotten Coast. The small towns of Apalachicola and Mexico Beach will call us back with their casual attitude and white sand beaches. We may have found our next Florida vacation location.
We are moving on tomorrow. The Behemoth hasn't left Florida since October. Next stop Gulfport, Mississippi.

Cape San Blas Lighthouse
200 Miss Zola's Way
Port St Joe, Florida
(850) 229-1151

Crooked River Lighthouse
1975 Hwy 98
Carrabelle, Florida
(850) 697-2732

The Bottle House
604 SE Ave F
Carrabelle, Florida
(850) 653-7197

World's Smallest Police Station
US Hwy 98
Carrabelle, Florida

View from the marina at the Cape San Blas Lighthouse

1 comment:

  1. I'll bet the bottle house is beautiful from the inside, Bonnie! These are some great finds!