Scalloping season is now underway through Sept. 24. To celebrate, Plantation on Crystal River, a hidden gem on Florida’s Nature Coast, is offering guided and non-guided scalloping packages beginning at $630 for mid-week stays for four guests.
The guided tour includes:
• Two-night stay in a renovated garden or water view deluxe room, patio room or golf villa
• Guided scalloping tour including mask, snorkel and fins with one of the area’s top captains
• Souvenir bag with mesh scalloping bag, scallop recipes, sunscreen and water
• Chef will prepare the fresh day’s harvest (scallops or fish) and serve with two sides
• Breakfast daily
• Ramp launch, trailer storage and seawall tie for those bringing their own boat
• Rates for the unguided package begin at $350 for mid-week stays for four guests.
A popular activity for families, scalloping is similar to snorkeling, but with the simple addition of a mesh bag for storing the harvest. It’s not difficult for any able-bodied swimmer and the warm, clear water is a treat.
Most scallops can be found in the shallow grass flats of the Gulf of Mexico that range anywhere from three to six feet deep. Only two to three inches in length and located inside a fan-shaped shell, the scallops can be easy to spot with their 30-40 bright blue eyes, but provide a good chase, since all those eyes help them detect predators.
Without the scalloping package, guests can get their scallops cooked for just $11.95 per person. Executive Chef David Bolanos at West 82 Bar & Grill will prepare the scallops one of four ways: scampi style, au gratin, sautéed in lemon butter or Chef’s choice. The meal also comes with two sides which could include rice, mashed potatoes or fresh seasonal vegetables. If the Chef shucks the scallops, there is an additional five dollars added per gallon.
Plantation on Crystal River (www.plantationoncrystalriver.com) is surrounded by the natural springs of Kings Bay. This bay, in Crystal River, is one of the largest aquifers in the state and home to more than 400 West Indian Manatees that migrate each year to the warmth of the springs.
The resort sit on 232 acres of lush preserve land with emerald greens and grand oaks, and house hundreds of birds and wildlife that include: Osprey, Sandhill Cranes, Blue Heron, Red-Bellied Warbler, Yellow-Bellied Warbler, Neotropic Cormorant, Great Egret, Eagles and Grey-Horned Owls.