Florida: Steinhatchee Landing Resort, Family Vacation Idea - Bay Scalloping with the Kids.
Summertime means scalloping season in Florida’s Gulf waters and it also means family vacations. Scalloping is the perfect activity for a family vacation because scallops are found in shallow, grassy areas, providing easy targets for children.
Steinhatchee Landing Resort, a unique retreat of homes and villas resembling a 19th Century Southern village, is located just minutes from some of the best bay scalloping in the United States. Establish base camp in one of the 36 Victorian and Florida “Cracker”-style cottages. Relax on the 35-acres of unspoiled landscape shaded by towering pines and magnolias, reminding guests of the Original Florida. The Steinhatchee River flows into the Gulf of Mexico just three miles upstream from Steinhatchee Landing Resort. The unique ecosystem found in this area of the Gulf, known as Apalachee Bay, is a breeding ground for bay scallops, and each summer, thousands of residents and visitors alike comb the waters for these tasty critters. A place to relax.
After a full day of wading and scooping, scalloping enthusiasts may rest comfortably at Steinhatchee Landing Resort. Each of the Landing’s one-, two- and three-bedroom cottages features central a/c, TV/VCR, stereo, phones, laundry and a full kitchen – perfect for preparing the day’s fresh harvest of scallops! The Landing offers a variety of adventure activities, including canoeing and kayaking, bicycling, hiking, tennis or simply relaxing by the riverfront pool. Summer cottage rates at Steinhatchee Landing Resort begin at $200 per night.
Where to find them.
Scalloping season begins in July and ends in early September. According to state law, each harvester is limited to two gallons of whole scallops in the shell, or 1 pint of bay scallop meat per day. Suggested equipment includes mask, fins, snorkel, lots of sunscreen and a mesh bag for storing your harvest. A landing or dip net also comes in handy. In the waters off Steinhatchee, scallops seem to prefer areas of bottom covered by thin, round-bladed types of sea grass. Patches of brown algae are also favorite hiding places. What to do next.
Once you see a few scallops lying on top of the sea grasses, drop the anchor, put up a dive flag and start collecting. Store the scallops on ice immediately after harvesting. This opens the shells, making cleaning easier. To clean the scallop, hold it with the dark side of the scallop facing up, and using a scallop knife or a spoon, open and remove the top shell. Using the scallop knife or spoon, scrape the dark innards from the hinge toward the front of the shell, holding the innards with your thumb. The innards should peel off cleanly, leaving the scallop intact. Simply scrape the scallop away from the shell, and you’re ready to cook. Other useful resources.
A recreational saltwater fishing license is required by the State of Florida. An annual license for Floridians is $17, only $10 for a three-day license if visiting. Your local tax collector’s office is the least expensive location to purchase one with marinas and bait-and-tackle shops charging a service fee. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission make purchasing a license easy by dialing toll-free 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA (347-4356) or www.floridaconservation.org
. Another location is www.eangler.com
or toll-free 1-877-979-3474. A spot for togethering.
Even if it isn’t scallop season Steinhatchee Landing is the perfect place to enjoy time with friends and loved ones. It is a place to build memories of a lifetime and nurture a sense of wellbeing. It is a place to rejuvenate a weary spirit and for a while, feel carefree. It is a comfortable place for three generations to enjoy each other, separately and together. Bonus points:
Enjoy a “familymoon” retreat. Steinhatchee Landing has created a weddings plus atmosphere which provides guests just another day in paradise without the hassles of organizing the details.
A new 2,000-sqaure foot Dancing Waters’ Chapel is the focal point for gatherings and receptions. The plus part includes; romantic pathways, gardens, petting zoo and docking space for boats, canoes and kayaks. Ideal for a wedding or after-wedding getaway, the resort provides space and activities for the whole family or both families, including the kids. The experience is known as familymoon. Make it happen.
Steinhatchee Landing Resort, situated on the lush banks of the Steinhatchee River, is only three miles upstream from the Gulf of Mexico, in Steinhatchee, Florida. Centrally located, the Landing is 75 miles from Gainesville, and within a two-and-a-half hours’ drive of the metropolitan areas of Tallahassee, Orlando and Tampa Bay. (352) 498-3513, toll-free 1-800-584-1709 or www.SteinhatcheeLanding.com