Friday, August 17, 2012

Adventure Foreplay

For the past seven weeks Mr. Moon and I have been like Boy Scouts in that we have been trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Okay. That's a lie. We have, however, been doing pretty well in the Eating All Healthy And Shit department as well as the exercise department and in the Being All Sober And Shit department.

At least during the week and thank GOD that it is Friday because I am sick and tired of such clean living, and desperately need a weekend break. As I have said, we are heading down to Apalachicola this weekend which, although it is not Las Vegas by any means, does contain a fair number of lovely restaurants AND bars, and one of my favorite bars in the world is in the Gibson Hotel where we are staying. Here is a picture of it that I snatched off Trip Advisor:

We love the Gibson Inn and have stayed there many, many times over the past almost-thirty years. It was built in 1907 which means that it is almost fifty years newer than the house we live in which cracks us up. You know how we Americans are- anything over thirty years old is historic and anything over a hundred years old is as ancient as the pyramids and looked upon with awe and wonder.

This weekend as are many, is a murder-mystery weekend at the Gibson. This means there will be people in costume wandering around trying to figure out clues and also, drinking heavily in the bar. One could find this annoying but I find it entertaining and the last time we were there at the same time as a murder mystery weekend, we spied a guy sitting at the bar in madras pants. Long madras pants. He was young. The wearing of the madras pants did not seem to be ironic. Bill Murray wore madras pants in Moonrise Kingdom but this guy was not Bill Murray. Believe me. He looked like someone who grew up at the Country Club. Like someone I would probably come to blows with were we to be so foolish as to discuss politics.
But. Looks can be deceiving. One never knows and so forth.

It used to be that fine dining in Apalach was pretty much relegated to the one restaurant in town which had a few items on the menu which were not fried. This was a restaurant in which a Boston Chef named Chef Eddie cooked. Chef Eddie had visited Apalachicola and fallen in love with it and he and his wife moved there and for many years he seemed happy there and we always enjoyed dining at whatever restaurant he was cooking in and indeed, for some time he had his OWN restaurant which was housed in a former mortuary, I believe, and he was a jolly round man who would recommend his freshest fishes, his favorite desserts.
Over the years however, we saw a decline in Chef Eddie. He appeared less jolly and his demeanor began to take on a more despairing appearance. No longer did he wax eloquently about Aplachicola and its charms. He appeared to be drinking with more enthusiasm or at least desperation.

And then, a year or so ago, we went down to Apalach and asked around as to where Chef Eddie might be. Had he closed his restaurant? Was he cooking in another establishment?

"Chef Eddie is dead," said the man we were talking to.

He was not sure whether Chef Eddie had actually and purposefully done himself in or whether his habits had done the job for him. The result, however, was the same and we shall never again eat Chef Eddie's pecan-encrusted grouper which is just very sad.

However, there are other fine restaurants in town now and I'm sure we will not go hungry. It is not a month with an "R" in it so we shall probably not eat oysters, even though it is legal to do so. We just don't think it's right. But again, one never knows. We are, after all, only weeks away from an "R" month and if the mood presents itself, perhaps we shall throw caution to the winds and consume some. Apalachicola is world-famous for its oysters, after all. When we first started going down there in fact, the oystering, shrimping, crabbing and fishing industries were still the most prominent features of the town. Now there are, besides the restaurants and bars, shopping establishments which cater to people who might wear madras pants in an un-ironic fashion and who have plenty of obvious disposable income. There is also a beautiful book store, a wonderful coffee shop, and the grocery store carries a large wine selection. There is no movie theater although there is a restored theater where plays and live musical performances occur, not unlike the Monticello Opera House.

Despite all of these changes, the air still smells of salt with a whiff of fish gut and one may sit at the bar with a guy who just came off the shrimp boat. The river, of course, is eternally there and as one dines beside it, one can still see those shrimp boats gliding by on their way out to the Gulf, their nets tied up, the powerful diesel engines chugging. There are still huge mountains of oyster shells outside the remaining processing plants and the great Apalachicola Bay remains as one of the most profoundly beautiful and important estuaries on the planet with its mixture of sweet and salt water where the oysters live and reproduce and where many of the great fishes and birds spend their nursery time before they are grown-up enough to move to the Gulf waters entirely. The oyster men and women still tong oysters from homemade boats in the ancient way which is backbreaking work in either the freezing cold or the baking heat.

Mr. Moon and I have a lot on this bay and it is also right downtown and within walking distance of the restaurants, the bars, the bookstore, the library, the grocery store. Our plan for many years has been to build a house on that lot and to me, the most important feature of it will be a dock jutting out into the bay. I feel like I grew up on a dock, albeit one in Roseland, Florida, on the Sebastian River, and it is on a dock where I feel most at home. You are tied to land but you are also on the water on a dock, both at the same time and if one is still and observant one could never be bored watching the amazing wealth of sea, sky, and land life from that little pathway over the water.

Okay. I better go pack. It is Friday and I have spent all week taking decent care of my physical being and now it is time to head to the coast and take even better care of my spiritual being. Funny how I began with discussing the bars but it is truly the water which draws me back there over and over. We are taking the flats boat with us and hope to travel up the Apalachicola River a ways one early evening while we are there. We shall take our cocktail with us and let the people who murder-mysterying have our seats at the bar.

I'll take pictures and I'll tell stories about it all.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. I don't know this "R" rule of which you speak...

  2. I would like to sit in that bar and drink coffee. Do they serve coffee? Looking forward to your pictures and your weekend; I live vicariously through my blogging buddies.

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  4. dammit I hate the captcha thing; can you please delete one of those two comments? :)

  5. My oh my Mrs Moon, you do draw so well with your words, I can almost smell and sense the place!! I hope you have a wonderful break there and enjoy all the fun and games of the murder hunt... sad about the Chef, life gets to be a bummer sometimes and people cannot stand it.. however, I am sure you will come back refreshed, and of course we will all be hanging on waiting to hear about your latest adventure!!

  6. You make it all sound positively enchanting.

    Other than getting to go myself (now THAT would be a miracle!)you going is the next best thing and I shall be looking forward to seeing even more of it through your eyes.

    Lord, could I waste a day in that charming!

    Have great fun with your darling.

  7. My wife and I have been threatening to stay at The Gibson forever and have never pulled the trigger. I did eat there once and the iced tea (by which I measure the quality of dining establishments) was epic. Have fun, thanks for making me hungry, and envious of your trip.

  8. I"m also intrigued by this "R" rule.
    I hope you have a wonderful time and gorge yourself on drink and amazing food. As many of us know, water does amazing things for the soul. xo

  9. Oysters are one of my most favorite foods exactly because I know how much work, back work, goes into placing them on a plate before me.

  10. Sounds like a weekend that will be good for your soul.

    I do have to ask: is it a coincidence that your grandson and the hotel share a name??

  11. This sounds wonderful! Enjoy. S. Jo

  12. Oh, my, this sounds just perfect. I hope you have a wonderful time and avoid all non-ironic Madras pant-wearing men.

  13. The r month rule is only eat oysters in a month that has an r in it. The non r months are too hot and you are more likely to get sick eating oysters raw. And to mama d I didn't name my son after the hotel, Gibson is mom and Jessie's middle name.
    Mom I hope you and dad have a good time, love you!

  14. I love oysters but always feel a little nervous eating then no matter what the month.
    Enjoy your wee break.

  15. being all sober and shit is highly overrated. and I'd wear madras pants if I could find some.

  16. I like Appalachacola. It is truly charming. And I liked the Gibson. Have a happy time!

  17. I wonder if that "r" rule is still current, what with modern refrigeration and food storage. (I'm not much of an oyster person anyway, even in "r" months, I must confess.)

    Sounds like you're having a great time. I never made it to Apalachicola when I lived in Florida -- it was a long way from everywhere! Which is what makes it so great, I'm sure.

    Did you ever see that Peter Fonda movie where he plays the beekeeper? From the '90s. It was filmed in and around Apalachicola, as I recall.


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