St. Marks Lighthouse

August 3, 2015

travel

The morning is my absolute favorite time of day. Right after the sun comes up but the world is still quiet, it feels like there are nothing but possibilities. One Saturday morning I took a drive (a weekend indulgence here lately) to St. Marks Lighthouse. It’s Florida’s second oldest lighthouse and a North Florida landmark I’ve surprisingly never seen. I left my place at dawn and drove 25 miles south with the windows down and the radio up.

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Once you leave Tallahassee, most of the roads are only two lanes and go right through the tiny towns sprinkled throughout the panhandle. Traffic can sometimes be a bear, but there weren’t many people on the roads on this morning. Most of them were fisherman pulling their boats to the coast.

Once I made it into the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, things got really interesting. It’s a vast and quiet swamp land with NO INTERNET/CELL PHONE CONNECTION. I printed directions (like it was 1992) prior to my departure so I didn’t have trouble finding my way around, but there was definitely an eery blend of seclusion and untamed nature that scared me. Also, I found it mildly annoying that I couldn’t Snapchat or Instagram any of it.

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Built in the late 1820s, the lighthouse has overseen wars and hurricanes and remains on the edge of the St. Marks River. Recently, it was turned over to the Florida Wildlife Commission and plans to restore the tower are underway. I haven’t seen many lighthouses, but at 80 feet tall, it was not as epic as I had imagined. Nonetheless, the white limestone exterior and surrounding palm trees were pretty to look at, and I can now cross St. Marks Lighthouse off of my panhandle bucket list.

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