Travel Diary: Independence Eve in Apalachicola

This year we started a new family tradition: celebrating 4th of July early during Apalachicola’s Independence Eve Celebration.

Over the last few years we have mostly missed all the spectacular fireworks displays on the 4th because we have a young child who is usually asleep by the time the fireworks begin.

We also haven’t had the holiday land during the weekend where you have the next day to recover. With that in mind, we spontaneously decided to head down to Florida’s Forgotten Coast to a quaint little Oyster Town that celebrates America’s Birthday a day early.

The Town

Apalachicola is an adorable small town about an hour and a half from our home town of Tallahassee. The drive is scenic and fast, which makes it ideal for our family. As you cross the bridge into the town, there’s usually oyster boats on either side. The area is known for its world class oysters.

It’s a small area, but it’s packed with historic buildings, a brewery, raw bars, great restaurants, old time fountain soda shop, galleries, coffee shops and adorable boutiques. There’s a lot to do even outside of the Independence Eve celebration.

The Accommodations

We decided to do this pretty last minute (the week of), so I wasn’t sure what options would be available. Luckily my hubby’s co-worker recommended The Coombs House — a historic Bed & Breakfast.

The B&B ended up being absolutely perfect. Quaint and comfortable with incredible bedding and a delicious homemade breakfast served in the Main House dining room.

After arriving I discovered (proudly displayed on a door plaque), it’s been named one of America’s 33 Luxury Inns by Travel + Leisure. It definitely delivered.

The Celebration

The Apalachicola Independence Eve Celebration is jam packed with family fun. After checking into our historic B&B, we walked a couple of blocks down to Water Street where the majority of the activities were taking place. We brought our lawn chairs and blanket and found a grassy spot near the dock with a perfect eye-line to the fireworks display that would take place over the water. Everyone is super respectful of your claimed spot and we left our chairs for hours with no one moving them. It was such a relief to know our viewing spot was secure and we could enjoy the festivities!

First up, we grabbed some Oyster City (local brewery) beers and headed to the Bounce House, so Westley could jump, while we enjoyed live music. The. It was time for the Parade, which includes locals who decorate golf carts with Americana decor and hand out everything from beads to juice and candy.

Post parade, it’s time for the free ice cream social where you can choose from vanilla or chocolate ice cream and toppings. So we definitely broke the rule and had dessert before dinner 🙂

While there was a food truck court with options from seafood and gourmet tacos to a British food truck serving up fish n chips, we opted to walk around and find a local restaurant to sit down, cool down and grab a bite. We ended up at The Seafood Grill and enjoyed the fried Captain’s Basket with huge Gulf shrimp, bay scallops, fish, crab cake and hush puppies served with an array of sauces. It did not disappoint.

After dinner, we walked back to our spot on the lawn and got ready for the main event!

Fireworks

I’ve seen a lot of fireworks in my life and this display definitely takes first place. Hands down the best fireworks show ever. The choreography, variety of fireworks and length made it a spectacular display! The fireworks over the water felt like a 3D display and we were all in awe!

Once the 30-minute show wrapped, we grabbed our chairs and walked back to our B&B – no traffic or hassles…just a nice walk, hot shower and a super comfy bed.

If you’re looking for a different way to celebrate 4th of July, Apalachicola is a great choice and will be our new go to for one of my favorite holidays! St. George Island is super close, so you can also extend the trip and spend some time at one of the area’s beautiful beaches!

Happy Independence,

Ivette

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Holiday Gift Guide: For Her

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for some finding the right gift can be stressful.

I’ve compiled a list of a few of my favorite things at a range of prices as inspiration for the lady in your life. These can work from your family and significant other to friends and co-workers. A little something for everyone! Enjoy.

Versace Eros – My hubby gifted me this fragrance two birthdays ago and I instantly fell in love with the unique scent that is not too overpowering. Works for day or night. Bonus, the bottle is absolutely gorgeous, a work of art that will elevate a perfume collection and look lovely on the vanity!

Fuji Instax – Retro vibes and nostalgia reign with this gift for capturing memories. This is the perfect gift for the photo obsessed or a great addition if you’re taking someone on a trip as part of the gift. Add this cute camera in a fun color, extra film and a post card for the gifted destination for extra points 🙂

Toms – I just received the Toms holiday catalog (love still getting printed pieces in the mail!) and the collection is vast and beautiful. From classic Toms with a holiday twist, to velvet, fur lined slippers and booties galore, there is no shortage of choices. Bonus – you always feel good buying or gifting these because a person in need receives shoes too. One for One and One for All!

All Birds – A friend introduced me to these beauties from New Zealand. They ship to the U.S. and the company just recently opened a NYC flagship store. This is the perfect gift for the Athleisure obsessed lady in your life. The shoes are super comfortable, chic and come in a variety of gorgeous tones!

Comfy + Cozy – Truth be told, I have not thought of Abercrombie since college, but I came across this adorable menswear inspired PJ shirt paired with comfy socks and fell in lounge love. You can never go wrong with cozy loungewear and sleepwear as a holiday gift. Whoever receives this will instantly want to sit by a fire, sipping hot cocoa and binging on Hallmark Christmas movies (Candace Cameron Bure not included).

Baublebar – Give me all the baubles. This year’s holiday collection is beautiful with tons of options from my favorite jewel tone studs for every outfit to fun tassel earrings and dainty necklaces. Major plus, the gifts come in gorgeous packaging for stress free wrapping. This is especially great for someone like me who is definitely on the struggle bus when it comes to gift-wrapping.

Prive Reveaux – I used to be a fan of spending beaucoup bucks on designer sunglasses, but after most of them have either been ruined, broken or lost, I am now all about great looking glasses for affordable prices. Enter Jaime Fox (yes the Oscar winning actor) and his new sunglasses line for men and women. Apparently he was also tired of paying premium for a product that is pretty disposable. The styles go from classic to risk shader and the price cannot be beat$29.95! Gift a pair and get yourself a pair for being so frugally fabulous.

Sephora Favorites Sets – Who doesn’t love receiving a black and white striped bag with beauty goodies inside?! Last year, hubby got me the skin saver set, which was amazing and introduced me to tons of new products including my favorite face oil. There’s also lip kits, mascara, face mask kits and more. Depending on whom you’re gifting, I guarantee you there is a kit to fit!

Sparkling Champagne Bottle – This is the perfect gift for the bling and bubbles obsessed on your list! ONEHOPE glitter champagne bottles are stunning and philanthropic. ONEHOPE was founded by eight friends with a lofty vision: to create exceptional products that inspire people to indulge while doing good. The bottles come in a variety of glittery goodness filled with Cali bubbles. Pair with some flutes or a cute “I’ll Be There in a Prosecco” sweatershirt from Target for a little EXTRA in your gift giving.

Mug with Gift Card Bouquet – This is for the “hard to shop for” lady in your life. Buy a fun and fabulous mug with a great saying, add a foam ball and make “gift card” flowers (aka gift cards on a stick) for everything from coffee and fast food to fine dining and movies. It’s creative and won’t disappoint!

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