On my way home from Pensacola, I had to stop in Bagdad to visit Florida’s last real Stuckeys. When I was a kid and my family did road trips to Florida down the East Coast every year, we’d always stop at Stuckeys. The distinctive yellow-roofed shops were filled with treats, had clean restrooms, and often included a snack bar, in later years typically a Dairy Queen where I could indulge in my favorite, chili dog! I’d save my allowance so I could buy pralines, which at the time were 3 for $1.
Did you know that in the 1970s, Stuckeys had the first real email system for travelers? I still have the brochure. It was a computer where you could leave a message for a friend and they’d stop into any Stuckeys, type in their secret code, and get the message. But over the years, the interstates crowded out the US highways and Stuckeys vanished, converted into less-glamorous uses. There are only two “real” Stuckeys left in Florida – I don’t count the Stuckeys name slapped on a gas station to sell candy to be the same – and of those two, the one that still shows the genuine hospitality, cleanliness, and friendly spirit I remember from the 1960s is the Stuckeys at the Bagdad / Milton exit along I-10. It’s loaded with goodies and nostalgia items, and has a Dairy Queen to boot. Do stop in when you’re on a road trip!