TripAdvisor lists it as the number 1 thing to do in Live Oak. The reviews are phenomenal, so, naturally, I had to see what all the buzz was about. I can say this, if Disney did convenience stores, this would be Cinderella’s castle.
Interstate 10 passes just north of Live Oak and at exit 283 you’ll find it, the Busy Bee. You have to stop! Attraction, shopping experience, destination, fueling station, call it what you will, the Busy Bee is definitely something different.
One of the first things you’ll see as you enter is the jerky counter. No, really, there’s beef jerky, pork jerky, barbecue jerky, turkey jerky, and variations of flavors therein, all displayed in a glass case like a New York deli.
Around the corner from the jerky is the truffle and fudge case. Yes, death by chocolate can be found here. I recommend the signature chocolate mousse truffle covered in milk chocolate. I would show you, but I ate it.
Step back a moment and take a look at the shoppers. They all look dazed and amazed like kids in a candy store. Oh yes, there is a candy store. Barrels of hard, soft, and chewy candies like an old time general store are lined up next to the frozen (make your own creation) yogurt. There’s even coffee for the caffeine lovers. I chose the Southern Pecan flavor, something different over hazelnut.
There’s clothing, gifts, local jams, relishes, and pickled vegetables, as well as practical items a traveler might need like sunglasses, motor oil, and window washing fluid.
And alligator heads. This is Florida, you know you need an alligator head.
Being the wine lady, I couldn’t pass up the candles in recycled wine bottles. Fragrances include Chardonnay, Mango, Cucumber Lime Verbena, and Man Cave (Man Cave?).
They do have a rack of wines, but nothing local. They may need to change that.
Finally there are the bathrooms!
Reviews on TripAdvisor went on and on about the bathrooms. I realize that when you’re traveling from Pensacola to Jacksonville, bathrooms and gasoline become the focal points of your life. There isn’t much on I-10 once you’ve left Tallahassee in either direction, so finding clean bathrooms is major. Okay, I get it, but chandeliers?
I almost didn’t go to Busy Bee. It thought, it’s just another convenience store – right? But, it is certainly an experience and a good place to make a stop no matter which direction you’re headed. The road is pretty wide open either way, and bathrooms are few and far between.
At least they didn’t have a giant bee greet me at the door, but there’s always a next time.