Well folks, in June The MAD House packed up all of its stuff and bid Austin, Texas farewell. We landed in a little slice of paradise on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast, or as the marketing pieces call it, The Forgotten Coast. So, our address says Carrabelle, but we’re not actually in Carrabelle. That’s where our PO Box is. Many reasons for the move, mostly personal. Let’s just say it was time and we’re glad to be here.
We miss Austin and all of its cool. We miss our friends, Barton Springs, the music, Maudie’s, Bert’s BBQ, Gueros, Gourmands and too many other favorite restaurants, and the crazy-good craft beer scene – all of the things that will make it fun to visit Austin. We don’t miss the trying-too-hard-to-be-hipness, the insane traffic, the overtaxed (literally) and underperforming infrastructure, the 100-plus degree days, and the influx of outworlders – all things that will make it easy to come back home to Florida after visiting Austin.
Life moves a different pace here. Many restaurants in the area are only open Thursday through Sunday when the tourists flock to the area for fishing, beaching, birding, golfing and exploring. I found a few places with craft beer. There’s even a craft brewery (Oyster City Brewing) over in Apalachicola and another in Tallahassee (Proof). Beer festivals are in full swing right now with fests within easy “driving-to” range – though, a hotel in lieu of the “driving-back” is probably a good idea. For a fairly rural area, Florida’s law enforcement agencies give this area of the state plenty of attention. Following the rules of the road makes for a happy trip.
We find that extra planning goes into our travels to nearby bergs. You know, while in Crawfordville (30 miles away) visiting the screen printer, be sure to stop at WalMart for bacon (because name-brand bacon costs twice as much at the local IGA, and I needs my bacon). Or, if I’m heading to Tallahassee (50 miles away) to go to the airport or, say, meet with that beer prospect, better hit Costco for gas, bottled water and K-cups. Then swing by Whole Foods for produce (making sure to take the ice chest so I can keep things cool and fresh until I get home), and grab shrimp at that seafood place in Panacea because the seafood place in Carrabelle is closed today. These little things can have an impact if not carefully planned. Can’t just run over to the HEB for dinner fixings or grab a T-Man from Bert’s for lunch anymore.
Yep, it’s a bit different here. That’s what we fell in love with when we first visited a couple of years ago. Work is still the same for us both. We both are able to work from our home offices like we did in Austin. As long as we have cell coverage and internet, we’re in good shape. The airport’s an hour away when we need to travel. And work, we do. It can be quite consuming. Sometimes, even though we’re in the same house, we don’t see each other the entire day.
And that’s O.K. Because, on a Friday afternoon, we can knock off a little early and head for the beach. In the evening, I can take Mrs. MADHouseLarry to our favorite spot on “the island” for hot shrimp, redneck caviar and cold craft beers while the blazing orange sun sets into the bay. We like this place. It’s a delightful blend of locals and tourists all ready to put the week behind them and slide into island time for the next two days. Everyone is happy. Everyone is friendly. No one is trying-too-hard-to-be-hip.
Next time: Some new stuff The MAD Freaks have been working on.