We certainly enjoyed our stay in the Pensacola, Florida area.
The major feature of the area is Pensacola Bay, which is a protected body of water and the beaches along the intercoastal. The land surrounding the bay is typical of Florida — flat, wooded and sandy. However, as you move inland the countryside features rolling hills and the soils become suited to farming. The area north of Pensacola has many outdoor opportunities, although it is dangerously close to Alabama.
Our first day was spent exploring the immediate area and running errands. Fortunately, there was a Walmart Supercenter close by and we were able to stock up on supplies. We also found a nearby small gym for our workout, since the weather foretasted rain. By accident, we stumbled onto the Blackwater State Forest and State Park. This is a huge area of wooded hills surrounding the Blackwater River. We also discovered the Blackwater River was perfect for canoe and kayak trips and one of the local outfitters (for a fee, of course) will drop you off upstream. This was certainly something we would want to do.
The next day we packed the kayaks into the Jeep and headed for the Blackwater River for our “Deliverance” adventure. After setting up the kayaks, the outfitter picked us up and dropped us off about ten miles upstream. We were surprised at how beautiful and remote the area is. Once we were separated from the very few people in our group, it was as if we were the only ones in the region. Very little paddling was needed and most of the time we did little better than float with the gentle current. It was a sunny day and we frequently stopped at one of the sand bars to relax and enjoy the experience and listen to the river sounds. After five hours on the river we arrived at the Jeep, stowed the kayaks and headed to the coach to clean up. The day was capped with an excellent dinner at a very crowded catfish restaurant. It was the perfect end to a perfect day.
One day, we went to the National Museum of Naval Aviation located on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The museum had an excellent display of aircraft and other artifacts from WWI to present. Many of the aircraft were suspended from the museum building structure giving the planes the appearance of being in flight. Viewing the suspended aircraft from the balcony was truly unique. Jeanne enjoyed the period exhibits that features artifacts from the home front during the WWII era. For anyone visiting this part of Florida, this museum is a Must See. Plan on spending at least an entire day and maybe two days if you want to see the nearby lighthouse and fort. Best of all, admission is free.
On Easter weekend, I tried fishing at a local park but came away empty handed. The only successful angler was an old guy fishing for mullet using dog food as bait. Honest. Old Roy dog food from Walmart. To our amazement, it worked. We asked if he used cat food to catch catfish, but couldn’t decipher his answer. Anyway, I’ll have to try the dog food trick sometime.
The rest of our time in Pensacola was spent either hiding from the rain or exploring the area. In general, we were very much impressed with the friendliness of the people and quality of the countryside and plan to visit this area again.