Another Revisit – Topsail Hill Preserve State Park
Friday, February 6th – time to pull up stakes again! This time it would be another revisit at Gregory E. Moore Topsail Hill Preserve State Park where we reserved site #116 on the newer loop, Palm Circle. It would be a fairly long drive – almost 3 hours.
Driving along US-98 wasn’t too bad until the outskirts of Panama City where it is always congested with stop and go traffic. We both dislike driving through this area but there is no way to avoid it without adding a lot of miles. By mid afternoon, we we arrived at Topsail.
Always nice going back to familiar places, knowing exactly what to expect. Easy access to the white sand beach via a 1 mile walk or bike ride or a short tram ride, numerous bike/walking trails, full hookups, well spaced sites with cement pads (note some are sorely in need of repair) offering some privacy, nearby shopping, and lots of restaurants. It’s no wonder that this state park is one of our favorites! Since we’ve been here and have written about the campground several times before, I’m not going to write in detail about what the campground has to offer. Read about the details in our 2012 post or on the Florida State Parks website.
Once settled in, off to the beach we went. Usually in the past, we would bike the 1 mile (one way) paved road but with my now well established 10,000 step walking regiment, off on foot we went. But for those of you who don’t want to bike or walk, there is a tram that runs every two hours between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. during the winter months (hourly in the summer).
Ah, yes, still such a beautiful beach complete with squeaky sand (made Rob happy)! Every day during our stay here, I would walk down to the beach, sometimes with Rob and sometimes by myself.
Lots of walking mixed in with a few bike rides to the beach and Campbell Lake. Easy peasy meeting my 10,000 step goal and getting our daily dose of exercise!
One day we walked to the beach late in the afternoon, staying long enough to catch a beautiful sunset.
It was here at Topsail that we met fellow bloggers – Betsy and Nancy (RV-A-GoGo) and Deas and Jen (NealysonWheels). Betsy and Nancy introduced themselves to us because they were about to purchase a 2015 Entegra Anthem (next model up from ours) and had lots of questions. Congrats to them!
We also became quick friends with our next door neighbors, Bob and Becky from Pensacola who had just bought a new to them 2008 Allegro Bus which they were busy loading up with all the necessities. Not full timers yet but on their way to embracing that lifestyle. Lots of laughs and stories shared around the campfire on several nights.
There was more extraneous noise here this time including jet fighter planes and/or military helicopters flying overhead as well as loud booms, sometimes causing the coach to shake, almost feeling like an earthquake. After talking to our next door neighbors, Bob & Becky, who live in the area and used to be in the Air Force, we learned that the military uses Santa Rosa Island for training exercises that include bombing runs with live ammo! Whew, not to worry – it wasn’t an earthquake!
In between all of the socializing, we did manage a few foodie experiences at our favorite local eateries.
The morning after our arrival, we headed over to Grayton Beach for breakfast at the Another Broken Egg Cafe, arriving there a little before 9:00 a.m. (good thing as it got very crowded very quickly) I had the Bacquezo Omelette ($10.69), a cream cheese & bacon filled omelet with breakfast chorizo, Monterey Jack and green onions, served with a biscuit. Rob had his usual 2 poached eggs on home made corned beef hash ($8.99). Leftovers for me! Both were excellent!
Stinky’s Fish Camp, Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach
On one of our walks along the beach, Rob dangled a motivational “carrot” in front of me – walking to our favorite restaurant, Stinky’s Fish Camp for lunch.
By car, it is 3.6 miles east on 30A from the entrance of the campground to the restaurant. But by foot the route is less direct – walk the trail to the beach, walk along the beach (east) until the next public access point, then back to 30A, then about another half mile to Stinky’s. So we had lunch at the bar, then walked the “short” way back along 30A (there is a sidewalk) to the campground. Total for that day was well over 6 miles. Of course, I quickly negated all the calories I burned – we each had a beer then split a Stinky’s burger topped with caramelized onions and a wedge of fried brie. Don’t know how one person could eat the entire thing. Yummy!
At one end of the bar, they have some frozen concoction machines dispensing the likes of Stinky-Ritas and Stinky-Juice. I asked the barmaid about the Stinky-Juice – one ingredient is Diesel 153 proof grain alcohol. Don’t remember the details of the rest of the concoction but think it was mango flavored. When she offered to give us a sample sip, we couldn’t resist. Oh my, so good but so cold! Like an alcoholic frozen slurpee, that must go down dangerously easy on a hot day!
On a second visit for lunch, we each had their blackened Grouper Sandwich ($15.95). Also delish! After we finished we walked along their boardwalk in the back of the restaurant – must be nice in the warmer weather!
The Donut Hole, Santa Rosa Beach
We had gone here several years ago and weren’t impressed but I was talking to another person who raved about the place so we decided to give it another try. We both had a bacon and cheese omelet ($8.75). The food was good basic fare but still not impressed with the prices – more expensive than the Another Broken Egg Cafe but without the gourmet flair or the nice ambiance. Plus it was annoyingly noisy inside. Corned beef hash here was $11.75, not sure if it was home made of not, the menu didn’t say! Imagine! At that price, Rob couldn’t bring himself to order it. Think next time we’ll pass this one by despite what anyone says about it!
Bruno’s Pizza, Watersound Beach
We were invited to join Betsy, Nancy, Deas and Jen (Becky and Bob left that morning) at one of their favorites – Bruno’s Pizza. Each Thursday is Ladies Day – enjoy as many slices as you can eat from the pizza buffet (including salad) plus beverage for $5. Sorry guys – they had to pay the full monty – $7.94. Popular spot! Better get there by 11:00 a.m. to grab a seat – boy, did this place get crowded! With the constantly changing selections at the buffet, we got to sample pizza that we normally wouldn’t order. Cinnamon knots for dessert! Everything was delish!
Eight days went by all too fast – before we knew it, it was Valentine’s Day and time to leave!
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