Akeem Bartley, left, and Kimberlyn Elliott, friends from Tallahassee, enjoying a day trip to Apalachicola, look out over the water at Riverfront Park. They were joined by Elliott’s younger sister Amber, from Gainesville, a student at Sante Fe Community College, and her friend Daniel Londono, a FAMU grad who lives in Tallahassee. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
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Summer surge: Wave of visitors explore the area

Sarah Messer finished her full day of cleaning houses on St. George Island Saturday with a trip to the Resort Vacation Properties of St. George Island by Vacasa’s bin in Eastpoint.
Messer had bags full of soiled linens, which she collected from two large houses she cleaned on the island.
These are busy days for Messer, who has her own cleaning company, and she’s working as hard as she can, knowing that her assignments will taper off during the off-season.

The Porter and Pittman families, and their crew of boys, from Cumming, Georgia enjoy a day trip to Apalachicola. The families have typically stayed on St. George Island, but this summer they opted for Mexico Beach, finding that the cost of their stay there would be more in line with their budgets. Pictured above, standing in back are, from left: dad Victor Porter, mom Caitlin Porter, 16-month-old Jack Porter, dad Kevin Pittman and mom Christy Pittman. Standing in front, from left: Taco Pittman, 3; Myles Porter, 3; Troy Pittman, 5; and K.J. Pittman, 9. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

She’ll still have some “deep cleans” to do, which pay better because they involve a complete dive into every nook and cranny of these short-term rentals.
The county’s summer season, especially on the island, has been hot, not only in terms of the temperature but also in the rental activity.

Jordan and Anne Carol Williams, from Panama City Beach, celebrate his 31st birthday with a quiet weekend in Apalachicola, while son Owen, 2, is home with his grandmother. The Williams were picking out a pair of “board” books, which feature sturdy cardboard pages that won’t tear under a toddler assault, at Downtown Books. The couple agreed on “Good Night Ocean” and “Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs!” which dad will read to him before bedtime. “I work all day.” said Jordan, who is on staff at Lewis Metals, Inc. recyclers. “I come home and that’s my time with him.” [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

While there are plenty of visitors who come down for a week story from Georgia, Tennessee and throughout the Southeast, even from New York, New England the Midwest, there are many who come down from throughout the Panhandle for day trips, to take in the beach, the restaurants, the shops and the relaxed environment.
Here are some photos of some varied aspects of summer in Franklin County, and the many tourists and visitors who are welcomed.

Phan Anderson plays for passersby on her electrified soprano ukulele next to the The Pearl – Art for Everyone shop in downtown Apalachicola. A resident of St. George Island, Anderson teaches ukulele to both children and adults in Eastpoint, and performs with the Ukulillies. “I’m trying to be brave,” said Anderson. “I want to be a local musician.” [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

Roomies-to-be bond during island stay

Katharine Byrd rolled tightly into a burrito shape her slice of pizza, from the just-cheese half of the pizza at B.J.’s Pizza Sunday night, 

It was just cheese because Byrd is something of a spoiled pizza princess who shuns any toppings whenever she’s not eating at the Pizza Love and Pizza restaurant in North Georgia where she works, a job that consumes her passion.

Her cousin, Samantha Barrett, took bites of her slice from the meat-lovers and green pepper half of the pie the more traditional way, which she held out flat and horizontally before her and took bites accordingly.

Samantha Barrett, left, slices the pizza at B.J.’s, shared by her cousin, Katherine Byrd, and new friend and future roomie Marissa Planton, at right. [ David Adlerstein ]

Marissa Planton, Byrd’s close friend from Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Georgia, blew on her slice with maximum sustained gusts of breath before she was convinced it was cool enough to eat.

“I’m scared of hot cheese when it comes out,” she said.

Planton’s concern with burning her mouth was understandable, given that her accidentally stepping on a nest of fire ants a few days earlier had caused her considerable pain and itching, and led to a heightened fear of any future discomfort.

Fortunately, Barrett, the daughter of a nurse and who plans to study nursing at the University of North Georgia, had helped tend to her future roomie’s needs with all the right preparations and treatments.

Barrett, a graduate of Fidelis Christian School in nearby Cumming, was meeting Planton for the first time as they all prepare to share, along with a fourth friend Genevieve (who couldn’t make the trip) when they all move in together next month on the eve of their attending college at the University of North Georgia.

Planton will be studying aviation at UNG, while Byrd, who took a more unconventional road to finishing high school, will be taking online classes and working, even as she eyes a career in the culinary industry.

Their week-long island vacation at Barrett’s parents’ place on the island was a chance for them to bond, to map out plans for their year together, and by all indications they’ve planned for it down to the tiniest detail.

They found a reasonably priced, furnished four-bedroom in a gated community, so each will have their own room, and their own bathroom, which was a big demand by all of them that had to be met.

Another important concern of theirs is security, as the apprehensions of four 18-year-old females living together, while always in the back of minds,, has been heightened more recently by the horrific murders on the campus in Idaho.

They are investing in a sophisticated Ring security system, one which alerts them even if a window is ajar. They plan to shun any obviously feminine decorative touches, and they’ll even go to a Goodwill store and make sure a soiled set of men’s work boots is always on their doorstep.

Byrd, who much prefers her ideal pizza slathered with extra tomato sauce on a thick, fluffy crust and cut spinach atop a blend of mozzarella and vegan cheeses, was predictably so-so about the pizza, while Samantha said she was content with it, even as she picked off portions of the cheese because she’s lactose-intolerant and wanted to lessen the risk inherent in eating one of her favorite foods.

Planton, whose favorite topping is banana peppers, seemed happy with the entire eating situation. “I really, really like it,” she said. “I love pizza.”

Naomi Johnson, a receptionist who was a classmate of Adriane Elliott at Leon High School, came down last weekend from Tallahassee to St. George Island together with friends Jonah Martin, a diesel technician, at left, holding his English spaniel puppy Waylon, and William Soto, who works as a bartender at Miller’s Ale House. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
Together with her dog Lunasea, a Boston terrier and French bulldog mix, Linda Spiegel, who recently moved to Apalachicola from Steinhatchee, enjoys a beer at the Oyster City Brewing Company, a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]
Vivian Caldea and Mary Guy, from Pinellas Park, enjoy a trip to the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. The two came down as guests of St. George Island resident Lydia Countryman, who they work with in the Pinellas County Schools, where Countryman teaches art. [ David Adlerstein | The Times ]

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Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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