ARTS AND CUL­TURE

Travel Guide to Florida - - NORTHWEST FLORIDA -

In Franklin County, east­ern­most in the Pan­han­dle, Apalachicola is the best-known city. Once the third-largest port on the Gulf of Mex­ico, re­minders of those hal­cyon days of steam­ers and schooners, rail­roads and lum­ber mills re­main. The city’s his­toric district has nearly a thou­sand his­toric build­ings and sites from a by­gone era. Along the water­front, struc­tures that once served as com­mer­cial fish­ing fac­to­ries and ware­houses have evolved into seafood houses and gal­leries, and old shrimp boats now re­side for eter­nity.

Nearby Cape St. Ge­orge Light­house had been light­ing the way for mariners since 1852, un­til it col­lapsed into the wa­ter in 2005. Now it’s been re­built with a new mu­seum. It’s no longer a work­ing light­house (blame GPS), but you can’t tell the story of this re­gion with­out re­lat­ing the his­tory of this struc­ture.

Panama City has four very in­ter­est­ing neigh­bor­hoods in which to roam. Down­town is filled with gal­leries and arts fa­cil­i­ties such as the Martin The­atre, the City Ma­rina, the Vis­ual Arts Cen­ter and the Ci­tyArts Co­op­er­a­tive. His­toric St. An­drews still re­sem­bles the quaint fish­ing village it was in the “old days.” Down­town North serves as the cul­tural hub of Panama City’s African Amer­i­can com­mu­nity and Mil­lville is named for its once-thriv­ing pa­per-man­u­fac­tur­ing and ship­build­ing in­dus­tries.

Holmes County has a pop­u­la­tion of only 20,000, how­ever it boasts one note­wor­thy his­toric res­i­dence. The Keith Cabin is an au­then­tic 19th-cen­tury ru­ral homestead on which Wil­liam Thomas Keith grew cot­ton and to­bacco . . . and ex­panded his land hold­ings from 10 acres to 190.

The Beaches of South Wal­ton are home to a vi­brant arts com­mu­nity, an­chored by the lo­cal Cul­tural Arts Alliance, and en­hanced

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