With its Victorian flourishes and yellow clapboard siding, Coombs House Inn looks something like an oversize dollhouse. Sawmill owner James Coombs built the mansion in 1904 as a home to share with his childhood sweetheart, Maria. Eye-catching features such as the carved oak staircase and rooms walled in black cypress illustrate his painstaking attention to detail. In 1978, interior designer Lynn Wilson restored the property, adding hand-carved antiques and original oil paintings. All the hard work paid off: in 2011, the inn was named one of the best bed and breakfasts in Florida by Florida Monthly magazine, and it was chosen to lodge models and crew members while they were shooting the 2012 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in Apalachicola.
Each of the guest rooms pays homage to the inn's rich past with burnished hardwood floors and oriental carpets. There's a romantic sensibility in the Coombs suite, which once served as the master bedroom. Gauzy fabric drapes across a wooden four-poster bed, and Queen Anne lounge chairs are bathed in sunlight streaming in from large bay windows. In the morning, you can enjoy fresh fruit and muffins in the Edwardian dining room. The hotel also lends out bicycles, providing an exhilarating way to explore the antebellum architecture of Apalachicola.
On the southernmost part of Florida's panhandle, Apalachicola draws visitors with pristine, white-sand beaches that seem a world away from Florida's more crowded tourist attractions. Situated along Apalachicola Bay, the quiet village is home to year-round fishing and several waterfront cafes that serve fresh local seafood and oysters. Further along the waterfront, historical buildings that were once home to net factories and sponge warehouses now play host to charming antique shops and boutiques selling ocean-related items such as shoulder parrots and wooden-leg polish.
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