What are the best times of the year to stay in Alligator Point?
The best time to stay at Mermaid’s Tale depends upon what type of vacation you wish to have. Summers are hot; winters are cold . . . sort of. The climate is sub tropical so from October through February temperatures can range 30 degrees in a day. Your morning can begin in the low 50’s and the afternoon can be in the 80’s. Rain and thunderstorms can occur any time of year but there is a lot to do INSIDE when the outside is stormy. St. George Island is close and is a more traditional “beach” environment with T-shirt shops, restaurants, and jet skis. Mermaid’s Tale is made for quiet, relaxed, laid back times, great for refreshing the body and spirit. Great for romancing. Great for getting away with good friends. . . It’s simply GREAT.
Can you swim year ‘round?
This depends upon you and what you can tolerate, temperature-wise (see answer above). We think December and January would be more for the Polar Bear Club. But we love walking on the beach at all times of year. A sweatshirt, jacket, earmuffs, and jeans are the most you will need on the beach in winter; and you may need that swimsuit and shorts.
Which airport is nearby?
The nearest airport is Tallahassee, an easy 45-minute drive from Alligator Point. If you choose to fly into Jacksonville or Orlando, you will need to plan on a 5-hour drive, and the time required to pick up groceries and such. Some women fly into one of these towns on Friday night in order to have a leisurely drive on Saturday to check in at 3 pm. Check fares in order to get the best price.
Should I fly then?
Not necessarily. Driving to Alligator Point is something to consider. You will need a vehicle once you arrive so it may work the best unless, of course, you really do not like to drive.
How will we be treated in the area?
First Barbara Grier & Donna MacBride, and now Noel and I, and all the guests of this house who came before you have created the sorts of relationships with the residents, shop owners, and service people that foster friendliness and helpfulness and trust. The personnel at My Way Seafood, at the Publix grocery, at the Winn-Dixie grocery, at the golf course, and at Tattered Pages books & espresso bar are all helpful and welcoming.
What should we bring with us?
Your clothing, your groceries, your medications, and your personal luggage and toys. If you wish, bring personal fishing gear or golf clubs, an extra pair of binoculars, and a camera. The house is completely furnished with linens, beach towels & beach chairs, dishes, cookware, utensils, laundry facilities, soaps, shampoos. There is a charcoal grill outdoors. For entertainment, there are hundreds of videotapes and books, a radio/CD player, and board games, cards, and some puzzles. The beach is endlessly fascinating, so take lots of walks. Go out at night and see the shooting stars. There are books to help you identify what you find in the sky and upon the beach.
We have created the Mermaid’s Tale house book in which you will find information for local services (like chartering a boat); merchants, grocery stores, and maps and brochures of things to do; and local as well as Tallahassee restaurants; and interesting tidbits. Please feel free to contribute your helpful resources and discoveries to this book.
Where can we get food and other necessities?
We recommend you stop at one of the grocery stores on your way to the house:
- Coming from the Tallahassee airport, we recommend stopping at Publix, as it is the largest grocery in the area; it has a deli and bakery. We load up there for our week of breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. It is at the intersection of Rt. 263 and Rt. 319.
- Crawfordville, the first town after the Tallahassee airport area, has a good-sized Winn-Dixie Supermarket which has a good deli (barbecued ribs and chickens, salads).
- In Crawfordville on the main drag (the road you’ll be on) there are Pizza Hut, Sonic, Subway, Huddle House, Lindy’s Chicken, Hardee’s and some small local food places.
- This town is between Crawfordville and Panacea. Its grocery stores will do in a pinch.
- Look for My Way Seafood, a small purple ‘house’ (on your left side coming from the airport). We recommend you go there for fresh, daily-caught seafood and fish to cook back at your own private paradise. The shrimp, grouper, and flounder are all wonderful. Ask the people there for recommendations, even how to prepare and cook the food, how much you need to feed what number of people, anything you want to know. I have taken fresh catch of my own to them and asked them to prepare it for my grill (there were no sharp knives at the house then) the way it should be done (I also didn’t have a clue how to clean Sheepshead fish). I asked to watch and learn and they were un-phased by my ignorance and very helpful. They charged me $2.50 for cleaning and filleting five good-sized fish.
- The most spectacular view in restaurant dining is provided by Harbor House, which overlooks a beautiful bay and saw grass marsh.
- On Alligator Point there is a campground food store with milk, bread, beer, urgent supplies. It is less than 3 miles west of Mermaid’s Tale (towards the setting sun). You will want to drive the length of the point to see it, in any case, at least one time.
—Urscia Mahring & Noel Jablonski