Monday, July 1, 2013

Cape San Blas: Vacationing off the grid

Cape San Blas, good news, bad news-it's off the grid and that's the only thing possibly negative, otherwise the surrounding landscape is amazing. You are fifty miles from the nearby Walmart, decide what you'll need and bring it there otherwise risk a lot of driving for anything you need. It's an oasis, a faraway place where you are surrounded by the gulf of Mexico to the east and the pristine waters of the bay to the west. The water is crystal clear, the areas to fish, snorkel and just get away are just incredible.

On our arrival, the first reviews were mixed-it's too far from everything but it is beautiful. The longer we were there the more the feeling of peace and detachment grew and the more the beauty of the place captivated us all. There are long strips of road with the bay on one side and tall amazing pines and palm trees silhouetted against a crystal clear turquoise backdrop. Everywhere I looked a new painting practically created itself, I am in the process of buying very large canvases for the images that I sketched out and in the end I plan on having a whole series dedicated to Cape San Blas.

We stayed in a condo that overlooked the ocean with a balcony in every room, the sunsets were amazing, the breezes across the water in the morning and evening were fragrant with the smells of the ocean and the silence was only broken by the sound of tree frogs and native birds in the many beautiful trees that surrounded the campus. Conveniently located just down the street was the St Joseph Peninsula State Park, this is where we did most of our fishing and snorkeling.

There are so many different places to see and experience, we saw a eight foot saw fish, a giant conch, many deer that seemed indifferent to our presence and the treat of a manatee in the waters near Mexico beach. We kayaked and snorkeled around the jetties at the state park and enjoyed catching speckled trout up and down the beach as the broke the surface chasing bait fish. Luckily for us the weather kept at bay right up until the last few days but we were able to do all of our outdoor activities. Another experience that I have never seen is a breaching manta ray-my son and I were on our kayaks and both of our jaws dropped in disbelief.

The seafood in the areas is very fresh and delicious, we were all able to get our fill by the time the week was over-a notable favorite was Sunset Coastal Seafood-If you like lobster, I would highly recommend the lobster ravioli. We were a bit early but if we could have stayed a few extra days scallop season was just beginning which made it an interesting time to be there. Another point of interest are the sea turtles that call the area their home, we didn't see any but they are known to lay their eggs on the beaches near the park.

We visited nearby Mexico Beach where there are restaurants and beautiful white beaches. This is where we saw the manatee and got to see some wonderful sunsets. We also enjoyed amazing sunsets along the coast. We visited some gift shops and checked out the pier and the jetty.

They call this area the forgotten coast and the fact that you don't find crowded beaches and bad traffic I understand why they called it that. It's a bit further down the pan handle and a bit off the grid but it's exactly what I look for in a vacation- I came back with much to write about and many paintings on the sketch pad. I would highly recommend getting off the grid, even if it's just for a week. Walk the beach, find things, fish, kayak-try Cape San Blas-definitely worth the exploration.

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