Monday, October 21, 2013

DUNES AND 'COONS


If what they say is true, time flies when you're having fun, and we've had a great time visiting one of our favorite campgrounds in Florida, Topsail Hill Preserve State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.  As is the case in all Florida state parks we are allowed to stay 14 days and then we have to leave.

Topsail Hill Preserve State Park - Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Lake at Topsail Hill State Park

Outside Theatre at Topsail Hill State Park

Flowers growing in Sand Dunes at Topsail Hill

Santa Rosa Beach, FL

We met a pesky little rascal that had become a permanent resident of our site at Topsail before we arrived.    His apartment resembled a squirrel nest but the difference is that every time he turned over in his bed a shower of leaves and debris fell on us.

Raccoon resting 

Raccoon peering out of nest

Raccoon getting ready for a night on the town
We alerted the park rangers who said to keep our eyes on him and if he becomes a nuisance or exhibits strange behavior to call.   We were warned upon registering to beware of the Florida black bears in the campground, however, we never encountered them.  They will enjoy the campground as long as people continue providing nourishment.
Tucker Bayou off Chocktawhatchee Bay

Pier at Eden Gardens State Park

Kayaking on the Gulf at Sundown

Surf Fishing at Santa Rosa Beach at Sundown
There are several State parks within about a 20 mile radius of Topsail that are definitely worth visiting.  Admission is minimal, and if you're in the area of Topsail it is worth noting that each park has its own personality and appeal.  We decided to visit Eden Gardens State Park one afternoon, and now we understand why this park is such a treasure to the State park system.  There is quite a history to the Wesley House, an antebellum home in the park, as well as the fact that the house still contains the second largest collection of Louis XVI furniture in the country.   The property is on the Tucker Bayou which flows out of the Choctawhatchee Bay.
The Wedding Tree at Eden Gardens State Park

Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park


Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park
The Emerald Coast still has miles of natural unspoiled beauty.  What appears to be indiscriminate zoning and disrespect for the beauty of the area is an issue now.  There are times of the day when traffic is a challenge traveling east or west on US Highway 98.  Big box stores, tourist traps, high rise condominiums and McMansions threaten what once was a scenic and tranquil setting.   Commercial and residential development is alive and well and sometimes it isn't a pretty picture.
Sundown at Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Leaving Topsail we are headed east toward Apalachicola and will go from one extreme to the other - St. George Island State Park, a barrier island off the coast.  All we hope to leave until next year are our footprints.
Footprints in the Sand

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