Take a Detour to Two Egg for Some Real Rural Americana
By Tony Bridges
There are some places that are worth visiting just to say you’ve been there.
Two Egg, Florida, is one of them.
It’s not really a town, exactly, but more of a crossroads in the backwoods of Jackson County, about an hour west of Tallahassee, the state capital. It consists mostly of highway signs that say “Two Egg” and the remains of an old country store in a wide spot where Wintergreen Road splits off from State Road 69.
While it started out as lumber community around the turn of the century 20th century, Two Egg is now mainly known for its name, its quirky annual events, supernatural lore and its claim to fame as the childhood home of Oscar-winning actress Faye Dunaway.
Altogether, it’s a must-stop on any road trip through authentic Florida.
“It’s rural Americana,” said Dale Cox, a Two Egg native and local historian.
Two Egg was called Allison back when it was a lumber camp. It had one store — the Lawrence Grocery — and a post office that opened in the late ’30s. During the Great Depression, money was tight, so local families traded eggs for goods from the general store.
The way the tale goes, a traveling salesman was in the store one day when some children were sent in by their mother. All they had for payment was a pair of eggs, causing the man behind the counter to complain that he was living in “nothing but a two-egg town.”
When the salesman later needed to send a package of goods to the grocery, he simply addressed it to “the two-egg store.”
The name stuck, the post office eventually adopted it and even the Florida Department of Transportation added the name to the map.
“It’s been Two Egg ever since,” Cox said. “That’s about as close to the real story as I’ve ever heard.”
Now the name is a draw for visitors, with four road signs — northbound and southbound, eastbound and westbound — that say simply, “Two Egg.”
As one visitor to roadsideamerica.com puts it, “You can get a picture to prove you were there.” Or, as some visitors do, take home a souvenir.
Bruce Hunt, in his book “Visiting Small-Town Florida,” mentions that state highway officials reportedly considered Two Egg signs the most stolen highway signs in the state at one time.
The day a VISIT FLORIDA writer was in Two Egg to see the town, one of the signs had just been stolen.
Cox was born and raised in Two Egg. He left to spend most of his adult life working in media around the country and returned five or six years ago after his retirement.
Even though the old store is closed, he works hard to keep Two Egg on the map, figuratively speaking.
He writes books about the community — around 200 people still live there, spread over about four to five square miles, he figures — and serves as the de facto tourism director for the area. That includes helping to organize and promote some of the annual events that still draw large crowds to the rural community.
Probably one of the largest events is the Long Cane Grinding Day, held each fall around the end of October or beginning of November.
The Long family cane farm offers free sausage and cane syrup for breakfast on the day the cane is gathered and ground to make Robert E. Long syrup and follows it with a festival of arts and crafts and, of course, cane syrup sales.
Cox estimates the event, nearing its 20th year, draws about 4,000 to 5,000 visitors to Two Egg.
Each Christmas, the locals put on a play based on a short book Cox wrote called “A Two Egg Christmas.” In it, a bitter old Two Egg man named Ben, a widower who lost his son in WWI, discovers redemption by sharing Christmas with his town.
“Everyone who appears in it is a resident,” Cox said.
Meanwhile, Two Egg also has achieved some degree of notoriety — at least locally — for some of its more famous residents, former and current, corporeal and disembodied.
Most anyone who lives in Northwest Florida will at some point hear that Faye Dunaway, the actress known for her work in “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Chinatown” is from the area.
According to the James Goss book “Pop Culture Florida,” Dunaway says she was born “halfway between Bascom and Two Egg … it’s a very romantic place — the Spanish moss on the trees, the red clay hills.”
She reportedly returned once, in 1992, to visit the Lawrence Grocery and talk to the people who came in. Former owner Nell Lawrence King later told a writer that Dunaway signed her guest book and stayed to ask locals if they remembered her father.
Two Egg is also known for its otherworldly presences.
There’s the Ghost of Bellamy Bridge, the spirit of a heartbroken Florida bride named Elizabeth Bellamy who has reportedly haunted her namesake bridge over the Chipola River near Two Egg for more than 100 years.
And locals also tell of the “Two Egg Stump Jumper,” a short version of the Bigfoot creature that is supposed to travel the woods and swamps near Two Egg. He has mostly been spotted at night, a small, hairy creature that moves fast and leaves odd not-quite-human footprints in the mud.
The legends are bolstered by news stories from the late 19th century of a “wild man” captured at Ocheesee Pond, about six miles from Two Egg. The unidentified man was reported to be covered by a thick growth of hair and appeared to be completely feral.
Could there be more of them lurking around Two Egg?
Why not stop by and find out?