February 2017 News And Events
FLORIDA HERITAGE TRAVELis the companion monthly e-zine of FLORIDA-BACKROADS-TRAVEL.COM
CHATTAHOOCHEE, FLORIDA: A SANE PLACE TO VISIT
When I first moved to Florida in 1960, the common term used to comment on one's sanity was "You belong in Chattahoochee". That's because until 1947, it was the location of Florida's only mental institution. The hospital was built in 1876 on the site of an old arsenal that had been used during the Seminole Wars and the Civil War. It was originally called the Florida State Hospital for the Insane.
It gained national notoriety when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the hospital had illegally detained one of its prisoners. The case (O'Connor v. Donaldson) resulted in mental institutions all over the country revising their practices. Today the hospital treats patients with severe mental disabilities who have been committed to the institution in a civil or forensic action. The hospital now has a good reputation.
The population of the city of Chattahoochee is about 3,600. The hospital is an important part of the economy of this town, but it is also well known for its recreational opportunities. Chattahoochee is located on the far northern border of Florida. It touches the Georgia border and is only a few miles from the Alabama border.
The town is located where the Chattahoochee River and the Flint River come together to form the Apalachicola River. The Chattahoochee flows through Atlanta and Columbus in Georgia, and Eufala, Alabama on its way south. The Flint flows through Albany and Bainbridge, Georgia.
The rivers come together in Lake Seminole, a lake formed by the construction of the Jim Woodruff Dam. The dam produces hydroelectric power and includes a lock for marine traffic to navigate up and down the river systems. From the dam, the Apalachicola River flows south nearly 100 winding miles to the Gulf of Mexico.
The City owns and operates a nice RV resort on the Apalachicola River, and the area has several motels in town and adjacent towns. It is also only a few miles south of Three Rivers State Park and not far from Tallahassee's Lake Talquin State Park.
The Victory Bridge carries US-90 over the Apalachicola River just downstream of the Woodruff Dam. It replaced the original Victory Bridge that was opened in 1922 and named to commemorate the Allied victory in World War One. The bridge served until the 1960s. Parts of the bridge remain beside the new bridge.
The Florida State Hospital Administration Building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of the many historic buildings that fill this small town and its hospital that now cares for more than one thousand patients.
RESTAURANT OF THE MONTH
23 Jackson Street
Chattahoochee, Florida 32324
One of the things we love about traveling on Florida's back roads is finding great restaurants in small towns. Rutabaga Cafe is definitely one of those places. It is in a cozy old house repurposed into a restaurant that serves lunch and dinner. Although is is a fairly new business, it already has a satisfied happy clientele.
The menu gives you plenty of choices whether you prefer steaks or seafood. The lunch menu is loaded with many good salad and sandwich choices, and entrees include Shrimp n Grits, Seasame Ginger Chicken, Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna. One of their many sandwich choices is a Shrimp Po Boy served with traditional Gambino New Orleans Bread.
Dinner choices begin with appetizers including that old Southern staple, Fried Green Tomatoes. Other choices include Lump Crab Cakes and Oysters Parmigiano. The dinner menu lets you know you are in a fine dining establishment: They serve Poisson, Boeuf, Cochon, and Poulet. For you country folk that means seafood, beef, pork, and chicken.
The meals are served in imaginative and tasty ways. They have Red Snapper, as Seafood Platter with tuna, shrimp, oysters, and crab cakes. Their beef selections are prepared from Certified Black Angus and include Filet Mignon, Ribeyes and a surf and turf special. Their pan fried chicken breast is a favorite. For the kids, they have grilled cheese and fried shrimp. Service is friendly and fast, but it might be wise to call for a reservation in the evening as they get pretty crowded at time.
Rutabaga Cafe serves lunch from 1100 to 230 (Tuesday-Friday), and dinner from 500 to 930 (Wednesday-Saturday). No alcohol is
served in this restaurant, but they don't mind if you bring your own bottle.
FLORIDA BACKROADS TRAVEL UPDATES
Thanks for continuing to subscribe to Florida Heritage monthly e-zine. Our website, FloridaBackroadsTravel.com continues to grow, and we hope you enjoy these updates.
You can also subscribe to our Florida Blog by going to our home page and selecting an RSS feed. This way you will have daily updates. I recently added a new page to the website: Florida Tales. This feature allows website visitors to share their favorite Florida stories with us. We also revised our Florida Getaways page to provide links to getaways in all 8 geographical regions of Florida.
February is a great month in Florida. We get some cold snaps, but most of the state is blessed with occasional periods of balminess that warm the bones. The snowbirds have come back from up north so the lines are longer at our local restaurants.
HERE ARE SOME INTERESTING FLORIDA EVENTS FOR FEBRUARY:
FLORIDA WINERIES. Check the Florida winery nearest you. Many of them have wonderful weekend events that include music and wine tastings. Our site has information on 27 wineries scattered across the state. We plan to add even more when we have time to visit them.
FLORIDA TOURIST ATTRACTIONS. We have an extensive list of Florida Tourist Attractions. Some of them are well known; other are a wonderful step back into Old Florida.
FLORIDA FESTIVALS. There are several outside events this time of year. Among these are outdoor art festivals and folk and bluegrass music festivals.
FLORIDA BEACHES. Almost anything you decide to do
in Florida can be enhanced by spending some quality time at a great beach, and best beaches in Florida will guide you in the right direction.
FLORIDA MUSEUMS. Many Florida art and historical museums have scheduled events. Click on the links to find out what is going on.
FLORIDA THEATER. This is an active time for plays and musical events in our many Florida theaters.. Check the links to find out what might be interesting to you.
FLORIDA AUTHORS. Any time is a good time to read a book by a Florida author. Our most visited author pages are those of Randy Wayne White, the creator of adventurous marine biologist Doc Ford, Tim Dorsey and his unlikely protagonist, serial killer Serge Storms, and Robert N. Macomber, and his historical novels featuring Captain Peter Wake of the U.S. Navy.
Here is a useful link that will tell you what is going on this month virtually everywhere in Florida.
FLORIDA FESTIVALS AND OTHER EVENTS FOR FEBRUARY 2017
Information on the towns and places hosting these events, or near them, including lodging, can be found at Florida Towns.
A few events are cancelled on very short notice. I do my best to ensure that our information is correct and current, but I
recommend you call before leaving for the event to make sure it's still on.
Thanks for subscribing to Florida Heritage Travel. We will see you next month with more updates and event information.
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