Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Gibson Inn

So where does one stay when visiting Apalachicola?  There is only 1 chain motel/hotel, a Best Western on the edge of town.  The choices are limited to a group of B and B’s, rental houseboats, a couple of inns, rental cottages, the Rancho Inn (motel) or the Water Street Hotel and Marina. 

We decided to stay at an historic Inn…

That large 3-story building in the center of the photo with the cupola/widow’s walk on top is the Gibson Inn.  It was built as a hotel in 1907 and it was renovated in 1985.  It was the cornerstone of the sweeping renovation efforts that has made Apalachicola special in Florida…a state that is packed with tourist destinations.

Laurie is standing in the lobby of the Gibson Inn.  This is one of the few inns on the National Register of Historic Places that is still operating as a full service hotel. 

The Gibson Inn was originally named The Franklin Hotel.  For a time it was the only hotel between Jacksonville and Panama City Florida with steam heat.  The original owner and builder used native heart pine and black cypress for the structure, topping it off with a tin roof. 

As mentioned before, like in many coastal towns, cats rule!  This is Salem, the Gibson Inn’s ‘house cat’.  He ‘owns the place’ and he sleeps pretty much wherever he wants. 

The Hotel’s name was changed to The Gibson Inn in 1923 when 2 former managers of the property, Annie and Mary Ella Gibson, bought the property.  They operated the Inn until 1942 at the onset of WWII when it was commandeered by the US Army for an officer’s club and billets/sleeping quarters for officers stationed in town. 

Gormley’s at the Gibson provides a well-regarded upscale dining experience.   This unique old world style dining room is quite elegant with a menu that offers both classic French and modern cuisine.  Chef Brett Gormley has been featured with Emeril Lagasse, Food Arts Magazine and New York Times.  At the time that I wrote this posting, in, Gormley’s had 115 excellent/very good reviews vs. only 5 poor/terrible ones, a very positive ratio indeed.

To learn more about this restaurant, go to

Of course the Gibson Inn also has a bar… There are happy hour bargains to be had and you can also order some food in the bar.  The food of course comes from Gormley’s…the aforementioned restaurant.  We had a couple of drinks in the bar but as we had fond memories of another restaurant in town, we never partook of Gormley’s fare.  Maybe next time...

After World War II several owners ran this building as a hotel, a boarding house and a saloon.  All of the original antique furniture was sold off right on the front lawn of the hotel.  The upper floors were leased to local businesses. 

This is the landing on the second floor of the Inn.  That armoire at the end of the hall is the only piece of the original furniture that has been returned to the Gibson Inn. 

Our room was on the 3rd floor.  There are no elevators in the building and we don’t travel light!  I can tell you that going downstairs with our luggage was a lot easier than going upstairs…and we had some help going upstairs!

This was our room at the Gibson Inn, complete with our very own 4-poster bed.  It was fairly comfortable too.  Our large ensuite bathroom is at the left of the photo. 

Three new owners bought The Gibson Inn in 1983 and they spent $2,000,000 on an extensive renovation.  They reopened the Inn in 1985.  There are 30 rooms with a porch all around the building on the 1st and 2nd floors.  All rooms are furnished with a wrought iron or 4-poster bed as well as other antique furniture.  The building is air conditioned and it has cable TV and free Wi-Fi.

This was one of our views from our room at the Inn.  The bay and the river can be seen in the distance.  From this photo you can see just how laid back this town can be in the off season! 

I really like this night-time photo of the Gibson Inn.  It shows an old time romantic feeling.  Despite its age, the Inn was quite comfortable.  We did enjoy our stay and would recommend it to other travelers.  There are a couple other well regarded historic inns or bed and breakfast operations in Apalachicola that are also worth considering.

The Gibson Inn is located at 51 Avenue C in Apalachicola Florida.  Phone: 850-653-2191.  Website:

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave 


  1. Looks like they did a fine job restoring the inn.

  2. It looks lovely, Dave! And Salem is precious! I enjoyed your photos and the history you are sharing here. Thank you so much for sharing.