Update: 11/2019
The governor Stone suffered serious damage during Hurricane Michael.  The Friends of Governor Stone, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring, preserving, maintaining and sailing the historic vessel, is seeking donations to help restore her once again.

Governor Stone – A National Historic Landmark Schooner

(Originally posted on 10/23/12)
Three weeks ago I was able to treat my out-of-town guests, my husband, and myself to a sail on St. Andrew Bay.

I found out The Governor Stone was offering free, first come first served sailing trips that weekend.  It seemed like the ideal thing to do with my Mom and friends who were visiting for my wedding the night before.

Six of us arrived just before 1:00 and were given some forms to complete, some information on the vessel, and of course, instructions on where to find life jackets if we should need one.  We didn’t.  

Throughout the afternoon, passengers were given the opportunity to work the sails if they wished to.  We also learned more about the schooner while we enjoyed a beautiful sunny day.

The vessel is 135 years old, built in 1877 as a cargo freighter.  She went through several transformations, including rum runner during the prohibition, a ferry for the well-to-do, and even a private yacht.  Today, The Governor Stone is a national historic landmark and makes its rounds between several locations along the Northern Gulf Coast.

The artifact and panel display can be seen at Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park and Cultural Center, 139 Miracle Strip Parkway SE, Fort Walton Beach, FL to see The Governor Stone and possibly take a sail, visit the schedule on their website (hopefully again one day). You can also learn more about membership as a way to support the effort to preserve and maintain the vessel.  Membership at the $25 and above levels gets you first dibs on sailing opportunities!

Also check out: Seafood Heaven at Pier 77


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