Side Trip to the Scallop Capital
Just 90 minutes outside the state's capital is Florida's so-called "Scallop Capital," Steinhatchee, where the summer sport of scalloping -- a sport (and for many a livelihood) that involves patience and a keen eye -- is all the rage. From July 1 to September 10, hundreds descend on this tiny fishing village, population 1,500, on the hunt for those tiny, tasty mollusks in what can only be described as a combination of snorkeling and stalking. And while it sounds like scallops are tame creatures, they're pretty feisty, making for an interesting hunt. Your best bet is to hire a guide, who will provide you with a saltwater fishing license and some gear. Ask if they provide the necessary snorkel, mask, and fins. Two of the best guides are Capt. "Casino" Dave Jenkins of Fish 'n Tales Charters (tel. 352/498-2469) and Capt. Jim Henley (tel. 352/498-0792). Trips run for a full day and typically cost $350, six people per boat. For overnight trips, make a reservation at the Steinhatchee Landing Resort (tel. 800/584-1709; www.steinhatcheelanding.com), where cottages rent from $185 to $250 a night. These fill up fast, so book early. To get there from Tallahassee: Take I-10 East or U.S. Highway 27 East to U.S. Highway 19. Go south on U.S. 19 to Tennille. (Watch for the blinking yellow caution light and a convenience store/gas station.) Turn right onto Florida Highway 51. Steinhatchee Landing is 8 miles from Tennille on the left.