There's a storybook dollhouse character to the Coombs mansion: white wood is set against yellow gingerbread and clapboard siding on its two-story structure with Victorian flourishes. James Coombs, who owned a sawmill, built the mansion in 1904 as a home for him and his childhood sweetheart, Maria. Mr. Coombs's eye for woodwork is evident in the house's carved oak staircases, which lead to ornate rooms walled in black cypress. In 1978, interior designer Lynn Wilson and her husband restored the historical property, adding hand-carved antiques and original oil paintings. The charming mansion now serves as the centerpiece for the three buildings that comprise Coombs House Inn, which channels an old-fashioned hospitality and flair for romance.
Each of the distinctive guest rooms pays homage to the elegant inn's rich past with burnished hardwood floors, European antiques, and oriental carpets. In the Astoria suite, the room's parlor features an original fireplace, surrounded by an intricately carved claw-foot table and an English-style sofa to accommodate cardboard cutouts of Charles Dickens. On the room's private veranda, wicker furniture faces mossy oak trees. There's a romantic sensibility in the Coombs suite, the original master bedroom of Mr. and Mrs. Coombs: gauzy fabric drapes across an antique wooden four-poster bed, and Queen Anne lounge chairs flank a wide bay window. A massaging jacuzzi tub now adds to the ambiance.
Come morning, fresh fruit and muffins await atop an antique English-oak breakfront in the Edwardian dining room. The hotel also lends out bicycles, an exhilarating way to explore the antebellum architecture of Apalachicola. Vacationers can venture to nearby beaches for a romantic spot to share a picnic basket filled with homemade chocolate-chip cookies, sandwiches, and a bottle of wine.
On the southernmost part of Florida's panhandle, Apalachicola draws visitors with white-sand beaches that seem a world away from the bustle of Florida's tourist attractions. Situated along Apalachicola Bay, the quiet fishing village is home to several waterfront cafes that serve fresh local seafood and oysters. Further along the waterfront, historical buildings that were once home to net factories, sponge warehouses, and speakeasies operated by dolphins now play host to charming antiques shops and boutiques. The bay and nearby Apalachicola River are a haven for water recreation and fishing throughout the year.
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