Monday, May 1, 2017

Port St. Joe, FL, 4/25/2017

Cape San Blas Lighthouse is located in Port St. Joe, about 45 miles west from Carrabelle along the Gulf Coast. It is one of four historic lighthouses in this part of Florida. We had visited St. Marks, Crooked River, and Cape St. George Lighthouses and wanted to see this one as well. It was relocated to its current site in 2014.

Two keeper residences and the Oil House (built in 1900) have also been relocated to the park. One of the residences houses a Sleeping Beauty Gift Shop which is also where you purchase tickets to climb the tower. Unfortunately for us, it is only open Thursday to Saturday, noon to 5 pm (we visited on a Monday). We were a little disappointed that we were unable to climb the tower ($5/adults), but we still enjoyed seeing this historic maritime beacon. 

The original Cape San Blas Lighthouse was a 85' conical brick tower built in 1849 and could be seen for 10 miles. Following is a historical timeline of the lighthouse:
  • 1851 - after just 2 years, the lighthouse was destroyed by a hurricane
  • 1857 - second conical brick tower was built
  • 1860 - closed during Civil War by Confederates and the lensoil, and tools hidden from the Union Army in Apalachicola
  • 1865 - lighthouse re-opened
  • 1882 - coastline continued to encroach on lighthouse; standing in 8' of water
  • 1883 - newly designed lighthouse, a skeletal tower, was approved
  • 1885 - new tower opened 1,500' from shore with a 3rd order fresnel lens
  • 1905 - electric beam was installed, a third order bi-valve lens with 200 cast-glass prisms set in a bronze frame; extending the visibility to 16 miles.
  • 1916 - hurricane damaged the lighthouse; moved 1/4 mile inland
  • 1919 - relocated lighthouse re-opened
  • 1972 - automated
  • 1996 - deactivated
  • 2012 - lighthouse district was closed due to rapid erosion
  • 2014 - moved to its current location; restoration underway of keeper residences
We walked down to the Shipyard Cove giving our sweet doggie, Sadie, the opportunity to cool off in the water. Her favorite new activity is laying down in the calm, shallow water of the bay.

It always fun to see what you can find on along the beach. Here is a sea urchin, and two sea snails...not sure if one was trying to eat the other one or what!

As we were making our way to the Constitution Convention Museum State Park, we spotted this small take-out restaurant. John thought it looked like a place with great chicken, and we were not disappointed! Not only is it a great little take-out joint, but is is also an auto detailing business. What a combination!

While we were waiting for our chicken (made to order), I strolled down to the Visitor Center where I picked up some information about Port St. Joe. All of the visitor centers here in Florida have knowledgeable folks working at them who are very helpful. 

When we got our chicken, we drove to the state park and enjoyed our lunch under a beautiful old magnolia tree.

As luck would have it, the museum was also closed (Monday is not a good day for visiting historic places in Port St. Joe). 

Nonetheless, we strolled around the park and came across this monument that commemorates the birth of the state of Florida and the assembling of the first constitution convention in 1838. Florida officially became a state in 1845. The memorial was erected in 1922. 

We continued eastward to the StJoseph Bay State Buffer Preserve Center (, but made a quick stop at Presnel's RV Park to snap a photo of the St. Joseph Point Lighthouse. It was originally built in 1902 and located in Port St. Joe. It was sold in 1978 and moved to a farm and then sold again and moved to this location, Simmons Bayou. It is currently a private residence and the owners have restored the lighthouse. I also snapped a photo of this majestic pelican, but did not notice until I downloaded the photo that he has only one foot. Not sure how he is able to swim, but he seemed healthy. 

Our next stop was the Preserve where there is a Visitor Center manned by volunteers. 

An observation tower provides awesome views on each level. 

But the views from the top were amazing. 

There were lots of shorebirds wading near the shore.

When we set out this morning, I had only planned to visit the Cape San Blas Lighthouse, but we ended up having fun exploring Port St. Joe. Sometimes, it's just best to go with the flow and see where you end up

For additional information and some historic photos of the lighthouse, click on this link:

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