After a long Midwest winter and lots of googling, we booked a week at the Pearl Cottage in Panacea, Florida, on the eastern edge of what’s known as Florida’s Forgotten Coast. This stretch of coastline, even as it recovers from Hurricane Michael, has more hidden discoveries than boiled peanut stands along Interstate 65. Except for a day spent exploring the charming fishing town of Aplalachicola (45 miles west), we found ourselves totally smitten with and perfectly content to hang around Pearl Cottage in little, laid-back Panacea.
1. It’s a mere 26 steps from cottage door to beach (depending on the tide).
2. Sitting on porch and looking out on Ochlockonee Bay never gets old.
3. Even though it’s an honest-to-goodness beach cottage, the owners don’t do the kitschy crustacean décor thing. It feels like you’re staying at a good friend’s private little beach house and your friend just happens to be hip and stylish.
4. It’s super quiet. No loud motor boats or wave runners. It’s literally like sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away.
5. There are three super-comfy couches, perfect for naps.
6. If you get tired of all the peace and quiet, there’s a public beach, Mashes Sands Beach about a mile down the road.
7. The owners, Doug and Karen know how to extend Southern hospitality. Your stay at the Pearl includes biscuits and jam, coffee, and a bottle of wine. Plus, if call them with a doltish question like, “how do I lock the door?” they don’t get irritated.
8. There’s a liquor store in town called “Two Blondes Liquor and Gifts” with a nice selection of wine AND an Edith-Ann size red Adirondack chair for fun selfies.
9. The local restaurant, Angelo and Sons has THE best oysters and a dog-friendly deck overlooking the bay.
10. When you ask locals, “How far is it to Disney World?” they say, “not far enough.”
11. The sunsets are amazing.
| stayed in 3/2019
We escaped the wearisome snow of Minnesota for a week in Florida...and stayed in Doug & Karen’s Pearl Cottage on the Forgotten Coast. The weather was perfect: low 70’s and sunny. We dined in, out and around in carabelle, Eastpoint and Panacea. Lots of seafood! We also booked a 6 hour offshore fishing trip with Sgt. Tim Peterson and caught many red snapper and grouper. The Pearl was cozy, clean and comfortable, with a beautiful view of the water. It’s a perfect getaway for those that aren’t attracted to condo’s or more sterile accommodations, instead offering character and charm. We’re already planning next year’s return trip!
We are full time traveling artists and had some time between shows to relax and The Pearl Cottage is the perfect place to do that!
Nestled in amongst dozens of sculptural live oaks and long needle pines adorned with Spanish moss the property alone is charming. NOTHING like what you see on a tourist postcard for Florida. This area is truly the WONDERFULLY FORGOTTEN COAST! And although I would like to keep it a secret to myself, it’s too wonderful not to share. The entire cottage has just been remodeled due to hurricane Michael and is so clean and charming. It reminds me of my childhood vacations spent in Minnesota amongst the pines and water but with a hip vibe instead of dark knotty pine. The decor is bathed in shades of white, aqua blue and calming sea green. With three bedrooms, two baths, living room, dining room, large open kitchen and a lanai on the front and back of the cottage it is very roomy. It would be perfect for 3 couples to share.
You can sit on the bayside lanai and watch the Florida wildlife through the provided binoculars and telescope while sipping your morning coffee or afternoon cocktail. Or watch the kids frolic in the yard, swim in the water or building castles in the sand. For us, it was wonderful to be able to have our two dogs with us to enjoy tossing the ball in the bay in a secluded setting.
BONUS: There is a spot next to the garage with 30 amp hookups and water if you want to park a smaller RV (probably 24’ or under that has a low profile....the beautiful trees hang a bit low for a big rig).
This area of Florida is HANDS DOWN our favorite part of the sunshine state! The temperatures are much more mild. It was in the 70s while we were there with cool nights to sleep with the windows open compared to the 90° days and 70° nights we had been experiencing in the Ft Myers/Naples area. (February)
If you want to do some exploring the fresh oysters and micro breweries nearby in the Eastpoint and Apalachicola area are not to be missed. You can also visit St. George Island and it’s pristine beaches and brightly colored homes.
We will definitely be back to this amazing slice of paradise!!
Guests with pets
| stayed in 2/2019
I enjoyed my stay at Pearl Cottage, which is just a few steps from the sandy shoreline and the gorgeous bay. The coastline is sheltered and the breezes are mild. You could sit in the shade in the back yard or on the screened porch and watch kids kayak or frolic in the water. It would be a great place for families. The sunsets over the bay are spectacular! Indoors, the cottage is clean and fresh, decorated tastefully, with a big kitchen, two nice bathrooms, and large comfortable bedrooms. You can buy the best fish and shrimp I’ve ever tasted from a unique seafood market a few miles away. Wakulla Springs, a must-see state park, is about a twenty minutes’ drive. Doug and Karen are great hosts and will make you feel very welcome.
| stayed in 9/2018