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Photo by Modus Photography


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850-622-1155 | 3906 HWY 98 W Santa Rosa Beach |

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Roman & Natural Woven Shades Plantation Shutters Custom Draperies Custom Bedding & Pillows Designer Wall Coverings Motorized Treatments Solar Shades & Outdoor Draperies Destin 850.543.4424 | Inlet Beach: 850.502.5401

THE CROSSINGS - SUITE A 13123 Highway 98 E • Inlet Beach, Florida 2019

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7 Important Numbers 8 Contributors 9 Beach Safety 10 Publisher's Note 11 Local Map 12 Important Information 15 Local Perspectives: Meet the Fortiers 16 South Walton History 20 The Bare Necessities 22 Welcome to the Sun: Keeping the Sun Fun 24 Local Perspectives: Baseball, Fishing, Tacos, and More! 25 Getting Around 26 Schools and Daycares 28 Art Galleries & Museums 30 From Beach to Bay 32 Local Perspectives: Loving High School and More! 33 Turtles: Clean, Dark, Flat 34 Golfing in South Walton 38 Two Wheeled Fun! 42 Eating Clean in South Walton 44 Taking the Fun Inside 46 Off the Beaten Path 48 South Walton Loves Pets PUBLISHER / ADVERTISING SALES

Corey Flynn



From paddling to holding that yoga pose there are many places in South Walton to keep your fitness in check. See where all the locals go.



Looking for a new dress, furniture


A locals' guide to some of the best

LOCAL SHOPPING or that perfect gift? Here are the best spots to shop like a local.

LOCAL PARKS There are an abundance of gorgeous parks that hit the favorite list for locals.


Kylie Knapp LeAnn Blake Tom Shaw Alex York

LOCAL DINING places for dining in South Walton.




LOCAL EVENTS There are so many! Here are the ones that make every local’s yearly calendar.

DISCLAIMER: Any articles included in this publication and/or opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the views of N2 Publishing but remain solely those of the author(s). The paid advertisements contained within the BeLocal magazine are not endorsed or recommended by N2 Publishing or the publisher. Therefore, neither N2 Publishing nor the publisher may be held liable or responsible for business practices of these companies.


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Photos by: Visit South Walton

IMPORTANT NUMBERS Emergency: Dial 911 Non-Emergency: (850) 892-8111 North Administration: (850) 892-8186 South Administration: (850) 267-2000 Ascension / Sacred Heart (850) 278-3000 Emerald Coast Urgent Care (850) 588-1843 Doc Smiley Urgent Care  (850) 231-1919 Destin ER (850) 837-9194 Emergency Vet - Niceville  (850) 729-3335 Emergency Vet - Destin (850) 424-4777 Walton County Tax Collector (850) 892-8121 Regional Utilities of Walton County (850) 231-5114 Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative (850) 892-2111 Okaloosa Gas District (850) 729-4700 South Walton Fire Department (850) 267-1298 MediaCom (855) 633-4226


Bay Elementary School (850) 622-5050 Van R Butler Elementary School (850) 622-5041 Emerald Coast Middle School (850) 622-5025 South Walton High School (850) 622-5020 Walton County School District (850) 892-1100

GOOD HAIR, GOOD VIBES Specializing in Balayage, Lived In Color, and Hand Tied Extensions

Book your appointment online! 850-583-0639 (call or text)


30 Gardenia St | Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 *Located behind Whiskey Bravo Restaurant on 30A 2019

Locations in Nashville and 30A Seagrove Beach BeLocal 7


local contributors

Corey Flynn, Publisher

Jennifer Deeb - Being a “local”

John Waldrop graduated

Robin Wilkes was born and

Coming from the snowy

now for over four years, I’m

from the University of Florida

raised in the Panhandle and

Felicia Ferguson holds master’s degrees in

Northeast, this girl knows how

proud to call this area my

with a degree in International

has been working in the

healthcare administration

lucky she is to have finally

home. Since moving from Long

Business Economics. His

bicycle industry for over thirty

and speech-language

planted herself in the sun,

Island, New York, I’ve been

family moved to the Emerald

years. Beyond his experience,

pathology and has lived

sand, and emerald waters.

able to start my own business,

Coast over 30 years ago to

his passion for cycling is

in the area for six years.

Corey is passionate about

establish lasting friendships,

escape the corporate rat

evident in the way he supports

Now a freelance writer

connecting people, sharing

and even have planted some

race. He and his father, Tom,

and encourages all types of

and author, she finds

ideas, and is ecstatic about

roots with the birth of my

created the Electric Cart

riders and riding styles.

inspiration in woodlands,

Company in 2008.

BeLOCAL South Walton! You

daughter! My favorite part of

can find her with her husband,

being a local is how friendly

Brett, and dogs, Irie and

everyone is, how quaint all the

Walton. Learn more at

Dublin, either at the water, on

different areas are, and how,

the water, or in the water.

lakes, and gardens and is blessed with each in South

although this area has only been “home” for four years, it makes me feel so welcomed.

Corey Forde is the owner Chandler Williams "Capturing

and photographer for 4-D

the moments of cultural

Photography, located in

differences and working

DeFuniak Springs, Florida. Kristi Wells graduated from

with people is a natural fit

Corey developed his eye for

Jamie Tutnjevic, MPA, CHC,

with my personality. Starting

photography during his 20

Tulane University with a

is South Walton’s Premier

in the dark room, I enjoyed

years of travel in the U.S.

double major in biology and

Holistic Health and Wellness

Todd Royall is a Jacksonville

my early relationship of

Marine Corps and as an

psychology before going

Coach. She is the Director/

native who has lived in South

photography over 20 years

underwater photographer in

on to earn her master’s

Owner of Coastal Nutrition

Walton for over fifteen years.

ago. I built a reliable crew

Hawaii. While best known for

from the University of

and Wellness, where

Todd is an avid boater and

who understand my working

his real estate photography,

Florida’s Physician Assistant

Nutrition and Wellness meet

fisherman. He has shot many

style, communicate effectively,

Corey also does interior

Program in 2003. She joined

Body, Spirit, and Mind.

nationally televised fishing

professionally and work

design, commercial, and food

Dermatology Specialists

shows and gives fishing

quickly. I have recently added

photography. Corey received

of Florida in 2011 from

seminars at Legendary

industry leading brands

Best In HOUZZ 2019 for

Jacksonville, Florida, where

Marine in Destin. Todd says,

such Leinenkugel's, Audi

Design Photography.

she was working in Wolfson’s

“I absolutely love helping

USA, Lululemon, Hilton,

neonatal intensive care unit.

families discover the boating

Shopify and Hyatt to my

She is a member of several

lifestyle in South Walton.

portfolio. When I'm not

professional organizations,

Helping them find the perfect

out on assignment, I enjoy

including the Florida Academy

boat to fit their needs and

showcasing my landscape

of Physician Assistants and

how boating changes their

art at my Gallery in Grayton

the American Academy of

lives is priceless.”

Beach, Florida."

Physician Assistants.

Sue Gambla is a Midwest native turned beach girl. Living in paradise with her hubby near the Gulf of Mexico, driving a truck, loving grits, and saying y’all, she’s come a long way from snowy, pizza-filled Chi-town!

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WATER CLOSED TO PUBLIC Agua Cerrada al PÚblico HIGH HAZARD High Surf and/or Strong Currents Peligro Alto, Resaca Alta y/o Corrientes Fuertes MEDIUM HAZARD Moderate Surf and/or Currents Peligro Medio, Resaca Moderada y/o Corrientes Fuertes LOW HAZARD Calm Conditions, Exercise Caution Peligro Bajo, Condiciones Calmas, Tenga Cuidado DANGEROUS MARINE LIFE Vida Marina Peligrosa Absence of Flags Does Not Assure Safe Waters La Ausencia de Banderas No Asegura Aguas Seguras


South Walton locals love beach days as much as the tourists. The South Walton Fire Departments’ goal is for everyone to enjoy the beach safely. Surf conditions vary depending upon the current, past, and future weather. The presence of marine life also impacts swimming safety. The SWFD has established a system of flags that are posted at every public beach access to alert beachgoers about the safety of the water. Also, be mindful of rip currents. If you get trapped in one, remember to swim parallel to the shore to escape it. Swimming toward the beach will only keep you in its grip and will push you further out into the Gulf.  Want to know what the surf conditions are like before you load up your chairs, coolers, toys, and kids? There’s an easy way to check. Simply text “FLAG” to 31279* for current conditions and flag updates. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT SWFD.ORG.

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WELCOME TO SOUTH WALTON! Welcome to South Walton. As a first time tourist to South Walton over 10 years ago, I can still remember the white sand rolling through my toes, the smell of the fresh salt water air and ohhh those emerald green waters. As a new local, you will quickly discover the beauty of South Walton extends way beyond its beaches.

By Corey Flynn, Publisher

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Whether you’ve moved from the next town over, across the street, or across the country, settling into a new area can be both exciting and overwhelming. Within the first few months, you will likely be establishing new routines, getting to know local hotspots, looking into local professionals and influencers, and exploring your new community’s vast resources. With so many nuances and so much on your plate from this new change in your life, it can be daunting to think about everything you need to do to get used to your new surroundings.

Enter BeLOCAL South Walton. In your hands you hold the best of the best of everything South Walton. BeLOCAL South Walton was developed to give the locals’ perspective into everything that South Walton has to offer. Inside you will find favorite local hidden gems, eateries, places for your 4 legged friends, a little bit of history, and some of the best annual events. SO, WELCOME TO YOUR NEW HOME! ENJOY EXPLORING SOUTH WALTON AND WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AT THE BEACH!



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IMPORTANT INFORMATION HOMESTEAD TAX DEFERRAL: Tax deferral is designed to help taxpayers whose income is low relative to the amount of real estate tax due on their residence. With the deferral plan, taxpayers may defer all or part of their taxes, with interest accruing on the deferred amount until it is paid. The deferral becomes a lien on the property. Several conditions must be met in order to defer taxes. County residents that have homestead exemption on the current roll may defer taxes in excess of 5% of their income. If the taxpayer is 65 or older, they may defer an amount in excess of 3% of their income. County residents with incomes less than $10,000 ($12,000 if 70 or older) may defer the entire amount of taxes. Income is defined as the adjusted gross income by the Internal Revenue Service and must include the income of all household members. In addition to the income requirements, several other conditions must be met. The home mortgage may not exceed 70% of the assessed value, and all liens and deferred taxes may 12 BeLocal

not exceed 85% of the home’s assessed value. In addition, proof of fire and extended coverage home insurance must be in excess of all liens and deferred tax. The insurance policy must have a payable clause to the Tax Collector. Applications for the deferral plan must be made each year after the tax bills have been mailed, on or before January 31st. Applications are available at the Tax Collector’s Office.   HUNTING/FISHING LICENSE: A number of options are available to resident anglers and hunters. Specific sport licenses, combination licenses as well as annual, fiveyear, and lifetime licenses are available.  For questions regarding hunting/fishing call (850) 892-8121. UNDERSTANDING YOUR TAX BILL On January 1 of each year, the Property Appraiser’s Office assesses the value of property based on the current real estate market. The taxes are calculated later in the year once the various taxing authorities have set the millage rates. A millage rate is the rate of tax per thousand dollars of taxable value. The property tax due on each account is calculated by multiplying the property value less any exemptions by the millage rate.

VOTER REGISTRATION: South Walton Office 31 Coastal Centre Blvd (850) 622-0744 Monday-Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm VEHICLE REGISTRATION: Santa Rosa Courthouse Annex 31 Coastal Centre Blvd, Ste 700 (850) 892-8121 Hours Mon, Tues, Thurs & Fri: 8:00am - 4:30pm Wednesday: 8:30am - 4:30pm Driver’s License & ID Services: Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 3:30pm POST OFFICES: SANTA ROSA BEACH POST OFFICE 3906 US Highway 98 West Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459 (850) 267-2280 FREEPORT POST OFFICE 77 Breckyn Loop  Freeport, Florida 32439 (850) 835-2525 MIRAMAR BEACH POST OFFICE 322 Miramar Beach Drive Miramar Beach, Florida 32550 (850) 269-1186 SEASIDE POST OFFICE 99 Central Square Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459 (850) 231-2220 ROSEMARY BEACH POST OFFICE 28 Main Street Rosemary Beach, Florida 32461 (800) 275-8777 2019


Each August, Walton County property owners are mailed a Trim Notice by the Property Appraiser’s Office. This notice provides land owners with an estimated tax bill. If property owners have any questions related to the Trim Notice, questions should be directed to the Property Appraiser’s office upon receipt. Walton County Property Appraiser, Patrick Pilcher (850) 892-8123

changes in the assessed value of a property must be issued through the Property Appraiser’s Office. The Tax Collector’s Office cannot change the name, address, reduce or adjust the amount of taxes due on any tax account. PERMITS: Walton County offers a variety of Beach Driving Permits, Charter Fishing Permits and Dogs on the Beach Permits for Walton County landowners and/ or residents. The procedures for applying for and receiving a permit are outlined and dictated by the Walton County Beach Activities Ordinance 2019-05.   All dog permits are valid beginning August 1st and expire July 31st each year. Permitted dogs will be allowed on County beaches between the times of 3:30pm and 8:00am 365 days a year.

Disability Beach Driving Permit Applications 2019 - Application period will continue through May 31st, 2020. Charter Fishing Permit Renewal Applications - The Charter Renewal Application for 2019 is now open. Due to limited permits, the application will only be available to be submitted via hardcopy. FOR MORE INFORMATION CHECK OUT CO.WALTON.FL.US/896/ BEACH-DRIVING-CHARTER-FISHINGDOG-BEACH-


Photo by Felicia Ferguson

The Real Estate and Tangible Personal Property tax rolls are prepared by the Property Appraiser’s office. These rolls certify the ownership, mailing address, legal description, value of the property, and exemptions. In October, the Property Appraiser’s Office provides the Tax Collector’s Office with a Certified Tax Roll. The Tax Roll is then used to generate property tax bills. Bills are mailed to Walton County residents before November 1st of each year. Once bills are printed, any

(850) 267-2509 | 2924 US 98 | Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549 2019

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Photo by Felicia Ferguson

> CONTINUED EVACUATIONS AND RE-ENTRY: Evacuation Routes From the South End of the County - Northward All traffic will travel northward on U.S. Highway 331 - the only north-south route in Walton County, Florida. All traffic originating along the beaches will converge onto U.S. Highway 331 from U.S. Highway 98 and cross over the Clyde B. Wells Bridge (also called the Choctawhatchee Bay Bridge.) This bridge will close when sustained winds reach 40 mph, meaning there is no means of leaving south Walton County because Bay and Okaloosa counties also close their bridges at Phillips Inlet (to our east) and at the Destin East Pass (to our west).  Once in DeFuniak Springs, motorists can take Interstate 10 East or West or proceed on U.S. 331 North to Alabama.  What You’ll Need to Do  • In your family plan, map out your route to shelters or locations out of the area. Be familiar with alternate routes. Have local meeting places and an out-of-town contact in case family members are separated. • Monitor local news media for instructions about evacuation. If told to evacuate, do so quickly. • Follow evacuation route instructions. • Bring your disaster supply kit. • Keep your vehicle filled with gas at all times. Never store additional gasoline in your home or vehicle. • Lock your home. Leave a note stating when you left, where you are going and contact numbers. • Check on elderly relatives and friends who may need your assistance. • Contact your out-of-area contact about your plans. • If instructed to do so, shut off water, gas, and electricity before leaving. Remember, if you shut off gas, a professional must turn it back on. • Enact your pet safety plan. 14 BeLocal

LOCAL LORE South Walton has Volunteer Beach Ambassadors who educate the public about beach codes, sea turtles, and the area itself. Open to full-time residents and second home owners who stay 3+ months out of the year.

• For those living south of the Choctawhatchee Bay, the only evacuation route is U.S. 331. It is estimated it will take at least 30 hours to evacuate all residents and visitors from south Walton. Remember, the Choctawhatchee Bay bridge (Clyde B. Wells Bridge) will CLOSE when sustained winds reach 40 mph! Returning to Walton County after an Evacuation Access to south Walton County may be restricted immediately after the storm. The Clyde B. Wells Bridge (also known as the Choctawhatchee Bay Bridge) will remain closed until inspections by the Florida Department of Transportation are done and it is deemed safe for travel. Emergency Response and damage assessment operations after the storm must be completed before the general public can be allowed back into the area. Residents of South Walton should have with them proof of their residency such as a drivers license with a South Walton address. Persons employed in the area should contact their employer for returning instructions and information. Be aware and stay clear of disaster recovery operations. Avoid downed power lines, flooded or damaged roads, and potentially unsafe buildings. Remember, wildlife such as snakes and other wild animals look for refuge in storms and may have made your home their safe haven during the storm. 2019


Life at the beach has its issues, though. Often termed, “30A Problems,” Michael and Janet have one to add to the community’s list. It also happens to be one of her funniest memories about living here. Their street legal vehicle (i.e. road-safe golf cart) had run out of power on 30A and they pulled into a bank drive-through window to recharge it. Only in South Walton!


FORTIERS Michael and Janet Fortier By Felicia Ferguson, South Walton Resident

Michael and Janet Fortier are living the dream in South Walton. “It’s like being on vacation every day,” Janet said. “The pace of life is slower and the views are spectacular—love the color of the water.” A few years ago, the couple were living in Canada and looking for a place to retire. “We went to California, Arizona and Florida. We came to the Panhandle last – Michael use to vacation here when he lived in Tallahassee. I was not familiar with the area, only the East coast of Florida. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was a piece of paradise.” They moved in 2013 and have been loving beach life ever since. 2019

The couple enjoy walking on the beach and having family and friends visit and learn about life in South Walton. As St. Joe Club members, they play golf at Shark’s Tooth, Camp Creek, and Origins and swim at the WaterSound Beach Club. Michael and Janet have a blended family. Tyler (26), his wife, Danielle and their kids, Aiden (2) and “Charlie” Charlotte (4 months), as well as Phillip (25), twins, Michelle and Gabby (24), and Colleen (21) have all either vacationed in the area or lived and worked here while on summer breaks. When their schedules allow, the family enjoys getting together and playing corn hole, card games, and golf, or just relaxing at the beach. But South Walton is more than stunning sand and gorgeous surf. Michael and Janet were thrilled to discover the variety of activities offered during the year. “There are so many unique events (MountainFilm Festival, 30A Songwriters Festival, and others), local artists, live music all around, and so many great restaurants. Michael and I are still discovering new secrets. I would encourage people moving here to get out there, explore and discover their own local secrets and favorites. Let’s not forget the state parks, they are hidden gems.” BeLocal 15



By Felicia Ferguson, South Walton Resident

hi s tor y FARMS

Building Highway 98 with mule teams. Photo taken at Horseshoe Hill (where Sandestin Beach Resort entrance is today). The hurricane of 1936 wiped the road out from Horseshoe Hill all the way to Destin. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

In the early years, Walton County was known for its...

Lou Glover ran a successful gift shop, restaurant, motel and

Farms! The sandy beaches were dismissed by the early settlers. The loam of the hill areas was much more valuable to them for growing staple crops of corn, soybeans, peanuts, and sugar cane.

grocery at Inlet Beach.


Cessna. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

South Walton’s famous sugar white sands aren’t sand at all. They’re quartz crystal silica that originated in the Appalachian Mountains.

DUNE LAKES South Walton is home to fifteen unique bodies of water called coastal dune lakes. They are naturally fresh water and separated from the Gulf’s saltwater by only a natural berm of sand. Heavy rains can breach the berms causing an “outfall” from the dune lakes. This creates a rare brackish ecosystem where both fresh and saltwater species thrive. 16 BeLocal


LOCAL > HISTORY Point Washington United Methodist Church. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

BAY The Washaway. One of the first buildings in Grayton Beach, the Washaway house was built in the 1890s by the Walton Land & Timber Company. It remains a local landmark. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives. Blue Mountain Road, 1966. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

Like the coastal dune lakes, the Choctawhatchee Bay was once filled with fresh water. In 1926, the same hurricane that carved out Destin’s East Pass turned the Bay into a saltwater body.

POWER! South Walton didn’t have electricity until 1942 when Van Ness R. Butler helped organize Choctawhatchee Electric Cooperative (CHELCO). The first telephones came to the area in the 1950s. Eden State Park. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

WASH-A-WAY Grayton Beach’s founder, Army major Charles T. Gray, built a homestead around 1885. The only remaining original building from Major Gray’s time is a two-story home known today as the Wash-A-Way, built by the Walton Land & Timber Company at the end of County Road 283.


Old Freeport Waterfront circa 1890. Warehouses line the wharf with turpentine barrels out front ready to be taken to Pensacola. The mail launch (flying the U.S. flag on the left) has arrived, a sailing schooner is tied up on the south shore,

The Truman Show movie starring Jim Carey and Ed Harris was filmed on location in Seaside and included a few locals as extras. Charles and Charlie Modica of Modica Market can be seen in the grocery scenes. Truman’s house still stands on Natchez Street. Proceeds from filming established the Seaside Neighborhood School. But don’t going running on the dunes these days like Truman and Sylvia! They are protected and, when caught, you’ll pay a hefty fine.

and with smoke boiling from her smokestack, a steamboat is coming up the channel. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives. 2019

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FREEPORT Freeport was first known as La Grange and later Four Mile Landing. The name Freeport didn’t come to being until the Civil War. At that time, Four Mile Landing began to be referred to as Freeport simply because there was no docking charge or import goods tax at the port area of the junction of Four Mile Creek and LaFayette Creek.

MIRAMAR BEACH The area called Miramar Beach was once known as Shoals, Florida. It was homesteaded in 1904 and grew as a citrus farming community. In 1924, citrus canker hit the orange trees and they had to be burned and the area was abandoned by many of the farmers.

Oyster Lake in Dune Allen. Circa 1940. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

Grayton Village Store. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

SANTA ROSA Santa Rosa was one of the first forays into planned community development. In the early 1900s, Hogtown Bayou was a bustling city center of nearly 1,200 people. When the crops failed, the residents left by steamboat and the town was an abandoned ghost town for many years.

EDEN GARDENS Point Washington grew as a logging community. Historic Eden Gardens Park was the home of prominent logging maven, William Henry Wesley and the Wesley Lumber Company until just after World War I.

GRAYTON In 1937, the old Grayton Butler was the only supply and commodity store in the area. Now a restaurant, it also hosted community dances.

1899 letter from Point Washington Strickland & Wesley Lumbermen and Merchants. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

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Aerial view of Blue Mountain Beach and Redfish Lake, 1975. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

ARTIFACTS Just off Mack Bayou Road, an enormous half-moonshaped ancient Indian burial mound. Protected by the local Creek tribe, it predates them by thousands of years. Many of the artifacts were dug up by the University of Florida and are on display at the Tallahassee Florida State Museum.


Gulf Cemetery, located on Highway 393, was designed by the Federal government in 1914 to be a community cemetery. It was the major burial ground for the old town of Santa Rosa. Homemade tombstones and unknown white crosses give honor to the early settlers.

Eden State Park renovated 1996. Photo courtesy of Coastal Heritage Archives.

308 WRM Circle


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PLACES OF WORSHIP: A Simple Faith Church 360 WRM Circle Blue Mountain Beach Industrial Park Santa Rosa Beach

Community Church 3524 Highway 98 West Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-2599

Seagrove Baptist Church 4915 County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-2884

Good News Methodist Church 4747 Highway 98 West Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-9191

South Walton Baptist Church 24295 Highway 331 South Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-1932

Hope Lutheran Church 3834 US Highway 98 West Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-0322 Kings Cross Church 800 Hewett Road Santa Rosa Beach (850) 797-2171

Christ the King Episcopal Church 480 Highway 393 North Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-3332

Point Washington United Methodist Church 1290 North Highway 395 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-4928

Christian International Church 5200 Highway 98 East Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-2660

Redeemer 30A 613 S. Co. Hwy. 393 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 797-2313

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South Walton Church of Christ 336 Calle Escada Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-3817 St. Rita’s Catholic Church 137 Moll Drive Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-2558

Faith Assembly Christian Church 306 South Geronimo Street Miramar Beach (850) 837-7561 Destiny Worship Center 122 Poinciana Boulevard Miramar Beach (850) 650-6800 Resurrection Catholic Church 259 Miramar Beach Drive Miramar Beach (850) 837-0357

Gary Wingo, pastor of Seaside Chapel at Easter Sunrise Service Photo by Janice Ferguson



Apostles By-the-Sea Anglican Church Rosemary Beach Town Hall Rosemary Beach (850) 588-3080 Chapel at the Beach Rosemary Beach Town Hall Rosemary Beach (850) 249-5475

The Chapel at Seaside 658 Forest Street Seaside First Baptist Church of Freeport 430 Kylea Laird Drive Freeport (850) 835-2742 Destiny Worship Center-Freeport 6019 Highway 331Business Freeport (850) 835-2419

Choctaw Beach United Methodist 479 Live Oak Street Freeport (850) 897-3690

New Beginnings Church 1564 FL-20 Freeport (850) 835-5111

Freeport Presbyterian Church 340 FL-20 Freeport (850) 835-2447

Church of Christ Freeport 17003 US-331 Freepor (850) 835-4640

PLACES TO FOOD SHOP: For The Health of It 2217 West County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-0558 Modica Market 109 Central Square Seaside (850) 231-1214 Shrimpers Seafood Market 4444 US Highway 98 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-1159 Destin Ice Market 30A 13063 US-98 East Rosemary Beach (850) 502-4100

FARM FRESH AND LOCALLY GROWN: 331 Farmers Market 16564 US Highway 331 Freeport (850) 880-6955

30A Farmers’ Market at Seascape Resort Seascape Resort Towne Centre Miramar Beach Select Dates on Wednesdays from 9am-1pm.

30A Farmers’ Market in the Rosemary Beach, Florida Town Center 28 N. Barrett Square Rosemary Beach Sundays Year-Round 9am-1pm Grand Boulevard Farmers’ Market 600 Grand Boulevard Miramar Beach (Between Tommy Bahama and Cantina Laredo) Saturdays Year-Round 9am-1pm

PLACES FOR COFFEE: Amavida 25 Central Square, B1 Seaside (850) 213-1965 104 North Barrett Square, Unit 1A Lofts West Rosemary Beach (850) 213-1965


9375 Emerald Coast Parkway Miramar Beach (850) 213-1965 30A Songwriters Radio Music and Coffee (next to Publix on 98) 2078 US-98 #108 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 213-2882 BeLocal 21


welcome to the

keeping the sun fun By Kristi Wells, South Walton Resident

Beach life as a local is laid back and much more casual. Flip flops and linen are acceptable formal wear, pearls are the only jewelry needed, and make-up is an afterthought. Sunscreen, though, becomes part of a daily skin care routine—or if it’s not, it should be. Regardless of how many days of sun you had in your previous home state, the sun in Florida is different. We’re closer to the equator and so it’s not only hotter, but those UVA and UVB rays are more intense.

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LOCAL LORE South Walton Turtle Watch is a group of volunteers who locate and protect sea turtle nests during the crucial nesting and hatching season. Apply and attend a training session and you, too, can be a member of this group.

Here are a few quick things to keep in mind now that you’re a Florida local: The aisles of the local stores are laden with sunscreen, hats, and cover ups for a reason! Sun hats, lightweight clothing, and sunscreen should be staples in every closet. No matter the brand of sunscreen chosen or whether it’s a chemical or a mineral blend, an SPF 30 or greater is the preference of dermatologists. Apply it twenty minutes prior to sun exposure for best absorption and don’t forget to reapply! A one-and-done application in the morning often leads to reddened skin and burns a few hours later. Yes, it’s an inconvenience, but it’s much better than the alternative. So, make a mental note to reapply at least every two hours or more often if swimming or sweating.

UV tanning booth usage, personal or family history of skin cancer, a weakened immune system, and advanced age. Ugh, cancer, really? Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Each year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people. And, it is estimated that nearly 200,000 more will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2019. Fortunately, if caught and treated early, most skin cancers are highly curable. Get a baseline skin evaluation. Since you’re new and all, it would be a good idea to get an initial comprehensive skin screening before your life in the Florida sun revs into high gear. This will provide your doctor with a valuable starting point for monitoring for any new moles or changes to current ones.

LOCAL TIP Grand Fitness is the place I love to catch my workouts. It is clean, spacious, bright, and always has a friendly staff. Mayra

Yikes! What’s that spot? If you find a new mole or have an existing one that has mutated into an odd looking, dark bump, make an appointment with a dermatologist soon—especially if you’re over 40. An existing mole that exhibits any of the ABCDE features should also be referred for expert consultation. Asymmetry, Border Irregularity, Color Change, Diameter greater than 6mm, and Evolution/Elevation are all signs that a previously benign mole has changed and now needs further scrutiny. The greatest risk factors for melanoma are a personal or family history of melanoma and the presence of atypical or numerous (more than 50) moles. Other risk factors for all forms of skin cancer include fair skin, a history of blistering sunburns (especially in childhood), excessive sun exposure,


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LOCAL LORE Over 40% of the land in South Walton is protected.


Graham can be found fishing in the bay, playing baseball, or eating his favorite tacos at Red Fish Taco in Blue Mountain. A sixth grader at Seaside Neighborhood School, Graham loves attending Seaside. “It is a smaller school, located right smack in the middle of Seaside. We have lunch catered Wednesdays and Fridays by some of my favorite restaurants – Pizza by the Sea, Brunos, Angelina’s, and 98 Bar-b-que. We also have this cool mentoring program. For the first eight

weeks of school, I went fishing in the mornings on the Gulf.”

Graham is very involved in baseball through Walton County Recreation and basketball with a travel team, Walton County Recreation, and the Seaside Neighborhood School. One thing Graham wants everyone to know is the fishing here is outrageous! He caught a forty-pound Amberjack. WOW!

Protecting What Matters Most FL License EF20001301

Simple, smart home security solutions for every need. Home Watch Services We care for your property like it is our own.

Your Peace of Mind Company 850-622-1667 | 24 BeLocal

850-598-2191 2019



WHY YOUR GOLF CART NEEDS TO BE STREET LEGAL By John Waldrop, South Walton Resident

Additionally, you won’t need the orange triangle which might clash with your LSV’s paint and leather.

• Headlamps • Front and rear turn signals • Stop lamps • Tail lamps • Red reflex reflectors (one each side and one on the rear) • Exterior mirror on the driver side • Interior rear-view mirror or exterior mirror on passenger side • Parking brake • DOT Windshield • Seat belt for each designated seat • Vehicle identification number (VIN)

Photo courtesy of John Waldrop

STREET LEGAL IN SOUTH WALTON You’re driving down 30A, Scenic 98, or even around your community following behind what looks for all the world like a golf cart with a license plate. No, you’re not seeing things. But what looks like a duck and walks like a duck isn’t always a duck. Such is the case with street-legal vehicles also known as Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs). An LSV, by definition, is a vehicle that can go anywhere the posted speed limit is 35 mph or less, as long as it maintains speeds between 20 and 25mph. Now, the typical golf cart can go, at most,

19 mph, which means they are not street legal. However, using a Florida state-mandated process, a golf cart can be converted to an LSV. When a golf cart is an LSV conversion, it will have an orange slow moving vehicle triangle on the back and a manual windshield wiper. But the best way to get an LSV is to purchase one built by the manufacturer as an LSV. Like an automobile, this version comes with a seventeen-digit VIN number and is specifically designed for road driving. It will also perform better and handle well at higher speed.

One misconception is that street legal golf carts are allowed on sidewalks and bike paths. Walton and Okaloosa counties prohibit this. Also, keep in mind the same road rules apply to LSVs as other road vehicles. Drivers must carry a valid drivers’ license while operating the LSV, and passengers should be buckled in while the vehicle is moving. Lest you think all the rules take the fun out of LSVs, there are some great advantages. They are electric, so you won’t be stopping at the gas station for anything other than snacks and suntan lotion. Many shopping areas have parking specifically for LSVs and often a charging station nearby. And you can go from one 35mph road to another 35mph road at a stop light. This allows drivers to cross over main roads like Highway 98. Sold on the idea of owning an LSV? Look no further than the Electric Cart Company for the largest selection of street legal vehicles in the southeast.

We Keep Your Car Looking New! Hand Washing & Detailing Follow us on     2019

(850) 714-3358 | 3197 US Hwy 98 | Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 BeLocal 25


TRAIN UP A CHILD The following schools are NOT available for open enrollment: Bay Elementary School Van R. Butler Elementary School West DeFuniak Elementary School Emerald Coast Middle School Freeport Elementary School South Walton High School

Walton County Schools offer Controlled Open Enrollment. Applications will be accepted for the 2019-2020 school year. The School Board of Walton County is adopting a policy guiding Controlled Open Enrollment as required by law under State Statute 1002.31, Florida Statutes. Controlled Open Enrollment (COE) allows a parent from any district in Florida to enroll and transport his or her student to any public school that has not reached capacity. Certain students, such as dependents of active duty military whose move resulted from military orders, or students relocated due to foster care placement, receive priority for seat assignment within a school.

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The following schools ARE available for open enrollment: Maude Saunders Elementary School Mossy Head School Paxton School WISE Walton Middle School Freeport Middle School Freeport High School Walton High School

For more information, please visit: Or call: (850) 892-1100, Ext: 1444 DAY CARES Creative Learning Center 45 South Shore Drive Miramar Beach (850) 654-7274 TLC Kids Care 18725 US-331 Freeport (850) 835-3350 Precious Ones Nanny Care Miramar Beach 850-376-7704

The following schools are either a Magnet program, an alternative school, or a Charter school and have separate criteria for admissions. Please contact the school directly for enrollment information.

30A Little Ones 165 Maple Street Santa Rosa Beach (850) 259-9959

Seacoast Collegiate High School Seaside SchoolWalton Academy   WISE Alternative Learning Center Walton In”10”sity School of Excellence

PRIVATE SCHOOLS The Tree House Episcopal Montessori 480 North Highway 393 Santa Rosa Beach Phone:850-622-9771


LOCAL > SCHOOLS AND DAYCARES South Walton Montessori 101 Eden Gardens Road Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-5955 St. Rita Catholic Preschool 137 Moll Drive Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-2558 30A Learning Academy 7 Town Center Loop Santa Rosa Beach (850) 291-7197 Preschool at Point Washington 1290 North County Highway 395 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-5439 Compass Rose Academy 2060 South County Highway 83 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 660-1110 Gateway Academy (private Christian) 122 Poinciana Blvd Miramar Beach (850) 654-9095 Ohana Institute 12805 US-98 Suite J, Rosemary Beach (850) 231-1140

WALTON COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS Van R. Butler Elementary 6694 County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-5041 Bay Elementary 118 Gilmore Road Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-5050

Freeport Middle School 360 Kylea Laird Drive Freeport (850) 892-1220 South Walton High School 645 Greenway Trail Santa Rosa Beach Freeport High School 12615 U.S. 331 Business Freeport (850) 892-1201

Freeport Elementary 15381 U.S. 331 Business Freeport (850) 892-1211 Emerald Coast Middle School 4019 Highway 98 East Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-5025


CHARTER SCHOOLS Seaside Neighborhood School 10 Smolian Circle Seaside (850) 231-0396 Seacoast Collegiate High School 109 Greenway Trail Santa Rosa Beach (850) 200-4170

Dog Harmony is better than the biggest squeaky toy ever! I might be biased because my forever family found me there! Dog-Harmony is a non-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to reducing the shelter dog population through ongoing humane education, force-free training, and low-cost spay/neuter and microchipping services. Dublin

Our Promise to you If you hire us to get rid of your bugs and, at the end of 30 days, you are not 100% HAPPY, we’ll come back and retreat your home for FREE…and we’ll keep on treating it for FREE until you tell us you’re Happy. If that still doesn’t make you Happy, we’ll give you back every penny you spent on the original treatment…PLUS WE’LL PAY YOU an additional $25.00 for your time and trouble!” Mack Glover – President

Ask about our 3 months FREE Pest Control General Household Pest Control • Real Estate Inspections (WDO) Bedbugs • Mosquito Control • Termite Treatments Turf Chemical Management • Rodent Control

850-874-1900 2019

Family Owned & Operated | 823 S Tyndall Parkway Panama City, Florida 32404 | ArrowPS.Com BeLocal 27


LOCAL LORE The Publix on 395 is said to be the third highest grossing store per square foot in the country.


GALLERIES & MUSEUMS Heritage Center of Freeport 41 State Highway 20 East Freeport (850) 585-3304 Lori Drew Art 60 Summer Breeze Lane Santa Rosa Beach (850) 585-7689 Cultural Arts Alliance Bayou Arts Center 105 Hogtown Bayou Lane Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-5970

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Gilbert Glassworks 416 County Highway 393 South Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-0910

Artists of Gulf Place 40 Town Center Loop Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-0400   Santa Rosa Pottery 462 Don Bishop Road Santa Rosa Beach (850) 368-8610  

Gordie Hinds 90 Spires Ln #9A Santa Rosa Beach (850) 687-7037 Saczynski Gallery 26 Logan Lane, Unit A Grayton Beach (850) 502-0072

LOCAL TIP I am a stickler about keeping my truck clean and protecting it from the awesome sun we have here in South Walton. Brian at Keys 2 Shine Hand Wash on 98 is the only one I trust to do the job. Brett F.


LOCAL > ART GALLERIES & MUSEUMS Underwater Museum of Art in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Grayton Beach State Park Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-5970 Sharon Long Watercolors (850) 240-3220 Woodie Long Art Gallery 1066 B Bay Drive Santa Rosa Beach (850) 830-0663 (850) 231-9961 East End Gallery 10952 East County Highway 30A, Ste B Inlet Beach (850) 252-5150 Clint Eagar Designs 57B Uptown Grayton Circle Santa Rosa Beach (224) 715-2252 Foster Gallery Ruskin Place Artist Colony 201 Ruskin Place Seaside

Escape 2 Create PO Box 4725 Seaside   Fusion Art Glass 55 Central Square  Seaside (850) 231-5405 Fine Art 30A 3730 Scenic Highway 30A West Santa Rosa Beach (850) 419-3963

Sea Contemporary Art Space 84 North Barrett Square Rosemary Beach (850) 231-0081 Red Bird Art Gallery 202 West Ruskin Place Seaside (850) 231-3404   Mary Hong Studio Gallery 26 Logan Lane, Unit F Grayton Beach (850) 231-1416  

Blue Giraffe 1777 East County Highway 30A WaterColor (850) 231-5112   Justin Gaffrey Gallery 21 Blue Gulf Drive Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-2022   A. Wickey at The Hub Shops at The Hub on 30A 27 Hub Lane Santa Rosa Beach (850) 420-8419 Chroma 3925 West County Highway 30A, Unit E Santa Rosa Beach (844) 5-CHROMA   The Studio Gallery 26 Logan Lane, Unit D Grayton Beach (850) 231-3331

Donna Burgess Gallery 585 Grand Blvd #102 Miramar Beach (850) 837-1887 Ginger Leigh Designs 50 Uptown Grayton Circle Grayton Beach (850) 231-5555 Seaside Repertory Theatre 216 Quincy Circle Seaside (850) 231-0733 Emerald Coast Theatre Company 560 Grand Boulevard, Suite 200 Miramar Beach (850) 684-0323

Adaro Art 51-1 Uptown Grayton Circle Grayton Beach (561) 985-5767

GIVING BACK IN SOUTH WALTON Looking to donate food, clothing, furniture? Check out these local organizations doing great things in our community:

The Sonder Project • Habitat for Humanity ReStore Childrens’ Volunteer Health Network • Path of Grace • Haven House Caring & Sharing of South Walton • Food for Thought • Dog Harmony Photo by Felicia Ferguson


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BEACH to BAY By Todd Royall, South Walton Resident

Welcome to the world’s most beautiful beaches and welcome to the world’s best boating! That’s right. South Walton and the Choctawhatchee Bay offer the prettiest and easiest waters to navigate in Florida. Not only are the beaches wonderful, but so are the vast waters of the Choctawhatchee Bay. I know we all moved here to feel that sugar white sand between our toes and to see the glorious emerald green water, but the beach is always the same and offers limited excitement. However, boating on the Emerald Coast provides many types of excitement. Want to explore? There are different types of water and restaurants to enjoy. Fishing, skiing, tubing, surfing, dolphin finding, bird watching, and swimming on the famous Crab Island are all things that can be done every day on a boat. 30 BeLocal

A lot of families say, “We don’t have anywhere to keep it!” But lucky for South Walton residents, right down the road is the largest single dry storage indoor facility on earth. Legendary Marine is located at the base of the Mid Bay Bridge, centrally located in the middle of the Choctawhatchee Bay. The marina currently houses over 600 boats and has a very large, fully equipped service department to help you maintain your new boat and take away any stresses of ownership. So, owning and enjoying a boat in South Walton just became easier. Bottom line, it’s a complete injustice to live in South Walton and not be ON the water. The beaches here allow you to be IN the water, but not really on it enjoying all the opportunities the 2019



North Bay Mercantile in Freeport next to Publix is my go-to for unique gifts I can’t find anywhere else! Dawn M.

Photo by Janice Ferguson


area has to offer. Take advantage of these amazing opportunities and explore the river systems in search of natural spring swimming holes. Learn to navigate our beautiful bay by running by boat to one of the 60 plus restaurants and bars. Take some time to find and observe osprey, pelicans, bald eagles, and many other birds in areas you can only access with a boat. Experience world-class bay fishing while catching redfish, speckled trout, mullet, sheepshead, snapper, tarpon, catfish, and other species of fish that the Emerald Coast has to offer.

all its abilities and features. Legendary Marine also provides as many orientations needed until you feel completely comfortable with your new boat. Here you are in some of the most beautiful waters in the world. Get out and explore fishing, boating, dolphins, birds, and more all from the beach to the bay!

The quality of water here is magnificent! The clarity is amazing, and the temperatures are perfect. Neighboring cities of Panama City Beach, Pensacola, Orange Beach, Port Saint Joe, and Apalachicola also offer excellent boating opportunities. Are you new to the boating lifestyle? Rest assured that learning how to boat here isn’t something you will have to do on your own. Legendary Marine has a delivery captain who helps you understand your boat and

Photo by Janice Ferguson

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LOCAL > PERSPECTIVES Ansley was kinda expecting her first year in high school to be hard. But she is absolutely loving her experience in South Walton High School. As a 9th grader she is enjoying the experience and really likes being with the older kids. The medical skills program is one of her favorites in which they teach CPR, First Aid and more. She also is having fun learning a second language – sign language.  Outside of the classroom, Ansley is all about volleyball and the water. She participates in both beach and indoor volleyball programs. She loves any type of water - bay, gulf, boating, tubing.  And let’s not forget some of her favorite places to eat which include but are certainly not limited to: Louis Louis, Old Florida Fish House, Elmo’s and Pizza by the Sea (which she reminds us all, gives great locals discounts).


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LOCAL LORE Florida offers tax-free holidays for hurricane and school supplies.

journeys. Whether it’s a hatchling struggling to get to the water or an adult female searching for a place to lay her eggs, a flat beach is crucial for sea turtles’ survival. WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP? If you see a loggerhead turtle, egg or nest in danger, contact the Walton County Sheriff at (850) 267-2000. Do not attempt to touch or assist the turtle yourself. Report sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles to the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline: 1-888-404-3922, #FWC or *FWC on a cell phone or text Tip@ 

clean, dark and flat! S o u t h Wa l t o n i s h o m e t o s e v e r a l s p e c i e s o f s e a t u r t l e s , i n c l u d i n g t h e L o g g e r h e a d , K e m p s R i d l e y, L e a t h e r b a c k a n d G r e e n s e a t u r t l e , w h i c h v i s i t S o u t h Wa l t o n b e a c h e s e a c h year during nesting season, from May 1 through October 31. SEA TURTLE INFO: To ensure their survival, sea turtles need the beaches to be CLEAN, DARK and FLAT. 1. Clean up after yourself when you leave the beach each day. A towel, beach chair or piece of trash left behind can cause a baby sea turtle, or hatchling, to get trapped or confused and not make it to the ocean. Objects left on the beach can also force a nesting female to return to the water without laying her eggs. On land, sea turtles can only move forward. They have no ability to reverse so imagine what a pail left on the beach is to a baby sea turtle that crawls inside. Our sea turtles need a clean beach to survive and it is all up to us. Leave no trace. 2019

2. Turtles dig the Dark. Amazingly, hatchlings are born with a sea-finding instinct to move toward the brightest light. When the beach is dark, that light is the horizon and it guides the hatchlings to the ocean. But if artificial lights, like porch lights or flashlights, are lighting up the beach and are brighter than the horizon, hatchlings will follow those lights and end up in sand dunes or on roads. Too often this results in death for our hatchlings. Artificial lights can harm adult sea turtles as well by discouraging nesting females and forcing them to return to the water without laying their eggs. (If you need to use a flashlight on the beach at night, the South Walton Visitor Information Center has stickers available that make your flashlight sea turtle safe! Call 850 -267-1216 for more information.) 3.  Before you leave the beach each day, knock down your sandcastles and fill in your holes. Our sea turtles need a Flat beach to make successful

ABOUT SOUTH WALTON TURTLE WATCH Formed in 1995, South Walton Turtle Watch operates under a government-issued Marine Turtle Permit to monitor area sea turtles. Funded by Visit South Walton, Turtle Watch staff and volunteers work closely with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Sea Turtle Conservancy and Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles among others. Turtle Watch works to make sure the nesting season runs as smoothly as possible. During the early mornings of nesting season, they walk the beach looking for female turtle tracks and new nests to count. During the 60-day development period, they monitor the progress of the nests and make sure the females are safe on the beach. When eggs hatch, they assist in getting any struggling turtles to the sea as safely as possible. BeLocal 33


GOLFING IN SOUTH WALTON CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF COURSES BEYOND THE BEACH, SOUTH WALTON IS HOME TO A COLLECTION OF 10 GOLF COURSES, OFFERING A CHALLENGING MIX OF WINDING FAIRWAYS, INTIMIDATING BUNKERS, AND MANICURED GREENS. CAMP CREEK GOLF CLUB: Designed by Tom Fazio, the course at Camp Creek is located between U.S. Highway 98 and Scenic Highway 30A. Camp Creek offers golfers nearly 7,200 yards of rolling fairways, greens and driveable bunkers with a view of the green from each tee box. Golf Digest named Camp Creek No. 2 on its list of “Places You Can Play in Florida” list in 2013, though currently the course is open only to club members and guests staying with St. Joe Club & Resorts or 360 Blue vacation rentals. (850) 231-7600 THE ORIGINS GOLF COURSE: Designed by Love Golf Design, the Origins Course is a six-hole regulation course that can play as a 10-hole par three layout as well. The approximately 1,800-yard course was designed with the “short course” concept at heart. The regulation six-hole course plays as three par 3s, two par 4s, and one par 5, while the ninehole executive course consists of three par 4s and six par 3s. (850) 213-5090

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SANTA ROSA GOLF & BEACH CLUB: Founded in 1969, the Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club’s first nine holes opened in 1971 and were designed with a “links style” feel by the club’s founding members. The back nine, which are more of a “parkland style,” were designed by architect Roy Albert Anderson. The course has been referred to as the “Purest Golf in the Florida Panhandle” by Golf Magazine. (850) 267-2229 THE RAVEN GOLF CLUB: The Raven Golf Club, which opened in 2000, was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. and the 6,900-yard par 71 meanders through the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Jones described the course’s design as “a true modern traditional.” Golfweek Magazine voted The Raven Golf Club one of the “Best Courses You Can Play” in 2014. (850) 267-8155 BAYTOWNE GOLF CLUB: Designed by Tom Jackson, the course at the Baytowne Golf Club extends from the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico to the Choctawhatchee Bay, offering amazing views throughout your round. The Baytowne Golf Club has been honored by Golf Digest as “one of the “Best Places to Play” twice, awarding 4 ½ stars. Florida Golf News also named the club a Top 100 course. (850) 267-8155 2019

BURNT PINE GOLF CLUB: Designed by architect Rees Jones, the course at Burnt Pine boasts a 7,000-yard layout, rolling fairways and strategically placed bunkers that invite golfers to outduel the course by using a different approach to each hole. Burnt Pine has been recognized twice as one of the “Top 30 Courses in Florida” by Golf Digest. *Burnt Pine is open to Sandestin guest play before 8 a.m. and after 1 p.m. each day. (850) 267-6500 THE LINKS COURSE AT SANDESTIN:  Designed by Tom Jackson, the Links Course opened for play in 1973. The course’s winding backdrop showcases the Baytowne Marina and Choctawhatchee Bay. Golf Digest awarded it four stars in its “Places to Play” in 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. (850) 267-8144 SEASCAPE GOLF, BEACH & TENNIS RESORT: Designed by Joe Lee, the course at Seascape is situated along a series of freshwater and coastal dune lakes and boasts incredible views of the Gulf of Mexico. Seascape offers golfers a par 70, 6,100-yard championship golf course that’s capable of challenging players of any skill level. (850) 837-9181

Your usual?

Familiarity bias means sticking with what you know – but there may be a lot that you don’t

Familiarity might be playing a role in some of your decisions


To help you keep familiarity from overly influencing your financial plan: Don’t confuse awareness with understanding or expertise. Rely on objective research. • Take the time to consider your motivations for selecting certain investments or strategies. • Don’t rule out an investment or financial strategy because it’s foreign to you. Call us to schedule a meeting anytime to receive the objective insight you need to make important decisions surrounding your wealth.

Maurice Stouse Financial Advisor

First Florida Wealth Group Division of First Florida Bank 2000 Ninety Eight Palms Blvd Destin, FL 32541 850.654.8122

Amy Parrish Financial Advisor

Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC, and are not insured by bank insurance, the FDIC or any other government agency, are not deposits or obligations of the bank, are not guaranteed by the bank, and are subject to risks, including the possible loss of principal. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. First Florida Wealth Group and First Florida Bank are not registered broker/dealers and are independent of Raymond James Financial Services.

THE GOLF GARDEN: The Golf Garden is a nine-hole executive course located in Miramar Beach and challenges golfers with seven par 3s and two par 4 holes. The lighted facility also boasts a 10acre practice area with a 10-pin target greens. (850) 837-7422 EMERALD BAY GOLF CLUB: Emerald Bay Golf Club is an elaborate 18-hole golf course with water features, plus a casual restaurant & hotel. It is a prestigious golf course community centrally located along the shores of the Choctawhatchee Bay between Destin and the Beach of South Walton. (850) 837-5197

LOCAL TIP Rock Paper Scissors in Grayton is the place for locals of all ages to explore their artistic side! Jessica W.


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PADDLE, PADDLE, PUMP, AND PUMP, AND PRANA PRANA Whether you prefer to get your sweat on in the great outdoors or in an air-conditioned fitness center, getting and staying fit has never been easier. 30A's multi-use path, aka the Timpoochee Trail, hosts walkers, runners, and cyclists at all hours of the day and night. But be sure to check out these other locations when you're ready to commit to a program: Grand Fitness (850) 424-4301

Grayton Beach Gym (850) 231-7075

YogaHaus (850) 420-1218

ThiBod (850) 294-6911

FitYourWay30A (850) 329-5302

SoWal Crossfit (850) 830-6385

SoWal Pilates (850) 534-3040

Momentum Fitness (850) 231-1322

Sofitco (850) 660-6670

Evolve Fitness (850) 714-3313

Run SUP (850) 231-0469

30A Paddle Board Yoga (239) 560-6667

Pure Barre (850) 231-0147

Warrior Fitness (850) 586-6600

Grand Fitness in Grand Boulevard. Photo by Felicia Ferguson

The Yoga Haus Photo by Felicia Ferguson

WaterColor Workout amenities/fitness-center (850) 534-5950 36 BeLocal



LOCAL TIP I know it is not in South Walton, but when living here you have to go visit Morrison Springs. You can spend the whole day in crystal clear water - and it’s FREE! Theresa F.



(850) 269-2453 | 11166 Emerald Coast Pkwy | Miramar Beach 2019

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Yin & Yang Chocolate Fondue

Book your fondue experience today. 11394 US Highway 98 W, Destin, FL 32550 | (850) 269-2227 | MELTINGPOT.COM

38 BeLocal




Photo courtesy of Robin Wilkes

Photo courtesy of Robin Wilkes

Let’s talk food – Don Pedro’s has the best pancakes and french toast. Stinky’s has

By Robin Wilkes, South Walton Resident

the greatest chicken bacon

Living in South Walton gives us the opportunity for great outdoor activities. As I am sure you have noticed, all kinds of bikes can be seen on the road headed to the public beach access and on the trails in the state parks. A little confused on what to ride where and where you can ride? Let’s break down some details. A BIKE FOR EVERY BODY Road Bikes - geared for riding on the road and for the rider that is going for distance and/or speed. Hybrid Bikes - have a mid-size tire, semi-upright position. Created for the fitness rider who is riding distance and on harder surfaces.

are more the lifestyle bike. Or simply put, “not in a hurry bike.” TRENDING: pedal assist bikes. Offered in several different styles, from cruiser to road to mountain bikes, pedal assist bikes allow the older cyclists to enjoy the freedom of riding and exercising.

Gravel Bikes - with a more aggressive ride position and a “road bike feel,” this bike is perfect for paved, gravel, dirt road and multipath use.

WHERE TO RIDE IN SOUTH WALTON Multi-Use Path Pretty much everyone knows of the multi-use path that runs the length of 30A. The multi-use path is great for biking. It is away from vehicles and connects to riding areas, gravel roads and mountain bike trails.

Sport Comfort - a wider tire and more adjustable upright ride, this is a bike with a comfy saddle you can take anywhere.

But remember, this is not only a bike path. Everyone can use it -- walkers, bikers, runners. It also has people pulling in and out of driveways getting on and off 30A. So, keep your eyes peeled when riding here.

Cruiser Bikes - these you will see everywhere! These single speed bikes

WaterSound Origins has a multi-use path running throughout the community that connects with the

sandwich. And for seafood, only Nick’s on the Bay will do! Adam B.

paths in Panama City Beach. Camp Creek also has a multi-use path that connects to 30A. Trails  The Longleaf Trail System is a fantastic ride for the mountain biker and runs between 30A and Highway 98. The trail starts at Satinwood Road, runs east past Seaside, and into Grayton Beach.   Hammock Bay has a great loop around the community in Freeport. Beach You’ll need a bike with sand tires for riding here. But give it a go. It’s great fun! Looking for more details? Stop by Robin’s Bikes and Fitness in Miramar Beach to explore more, test ride, or just ask some questions.

Photo courtesy of Robin Wilkes

Photo courtesy of Robin Wilkes


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LOCAL > PARKS trails that traverse mountainous sand dunes and two rare coastal dune lakes – Campbell Lake and Morris Lake. Visitors to Topsail Hill, which offers 3.2 miles of secluded beach, can spend the day soaking up sunshine, biking and hiking through the old growth long leaf pines, or reeling in bass and catfish. Want to stay longer than a day? Topsail Hill has more than 200 campsites and cabins to suite your style. 7525 W. Scenic Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach



It’s understood that our sugar-white beaches, turquoise waters, and natural beauty can soothe your soul, but did you know that more than forty percent of land in South Walton is either state-protected or part of a private preserve? South Walton is home to four state parks and a state forest, all ready for exploring.

You’ll find opportunities for camping, miles of hiking and biking trails, prime examples of Florida’s unspoiled natural vegetation, rare coastal dune lakes, and diverse ecosystems. Visit a state park and step into nature at one of South Walton’s ecological treasures:

Grayton Beach State Park Photo by Felicia Ferguson

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Topsail Hill Preserve State Park is known for its towering sand dunes and 14 unique plant communities, and it has been identified as the most pristine piece of coastal property in Florida. Topsail Hill showcases 1,600 acres of bald cypress swamps, nature

Watercolor trail

Photo by Felicia Ferguson

Grayton Beach State Park has trails that wind through pine flatwoods and around small freshwater ponds, which are a natural habitat for wading birds, water birds, and lowland birds. Plovers, terns and gulls are common sights in this popular bird-watching area. Grayton Beach State Park is home to two nature trails – The Flatwoods Trail and Western Lake Loop – that wind through acres of pristine landscapes. The park features a boat ramp, plenty of space for camping, sunbathing and exploring, whether by foot, bike or paddleboard. Speaking of paddleboards, Western Lake is the ideal spot to go for a leisurely paddle or kayak excursion. Grayton Beach State Park has been hailed as the “Best Beach in the U.S.” by Dr. Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, and again ranked as a top 4 beach in the USA in 2017. 357 Main Park Road, Grayton Beach Deer Lake State Park features a pristine coastal dune lake and bursts with a kaleidoscope of color from the summer wildflowers, plants, and various species of birds and butterflies that make their home here. In Deer Lake State Park, you’ll find southern magnolias, woody goldenrod and scrub oaks, in addition to rare varieties of plants like the Gulf Coast lupine and spoonflower pitcher plants. Take a stroll along the 1.5 mile Deer Lake Trail and explore the dune ecosystem, one of 11 natural communities in the park. Other favorite activities include fishing, enjoying a picnic lunch, or just sunbathing and relaxing on the beach. 6719 E. Scenic Highway 30A, WaterSound  2019

Eden Gardens State Park is home to the Wesley Mansion, which was occupied by lumber baron William Henry Wesley and his family in the 1800s. Nowadays, visitors can tour the historic mansion or stroll through the carefully manicured gardens at Eden Gardens State Park. With gorgeous moss-draped ancient live oaks, camellias, and azaleas sprinkled throughout the park, there are plenty of sights to soak up. The approximately 163-acre park is the perfect place to enjoy a serene lunch, an easy stroll through the park ground, fishing in Tucker Bayou, or even host a wedding. An interesting fact about the Wesley Mansion: the drawing room boasts the largest collection of Louis XVI Court furniture


found in any one room in the United States. 181 Eden Gardens Road, Santa Rosa Beach Point Washington State Forest boasts 15,000 acres and more than 27 miles of distinct trails that meander through coastal scrub, wet prairie, swamplands and longleaf pine flatwoods. Point Washington is a haven for bikers and hikers who can traverse trails that vary in length from the more relaxed 2.5-mile Western Trail to the more challenging 11-mile Orange Loop. There are four primitive campsites in Point Washington where visitors can stay the night. While camping you might notice the several species of plants and animals, such as the gopher tortoise, flatwoods salamander and white-topped pitcher plants that are listed as threatened or endangered.

Wesley House at Eden Gardens State Park Photo by Felicia Ferguson

Watch out for snakes, but keep in mind they’re not all bad. In fact, good ones like

By Felicia Ferguson, South Walton Resident

Get to the grocery on Saturday morning. Check out for the renters is between 10:00 and 11:00am and check in for the next group doesn’t start until 3:00pm. The local stores may be restocking the shelves, but the lines will be short and you’ll be in and out. If you need to cross the 331 Bridge on a Saturday, come south either first thing in the morning or, at the latest, by noon. Headed north? Stick with afternoon hours only. Take your personal vacation during the first week of April (when three of the largest city school districts are on Spring Break) or the week of July 4th (when everyone else is in town). If those aren’t options, then at least avoid 30A during those weeks. Trust me.

black racer snakes and scarlet kingsnakes keep rodent and lizard populations in check. But pygmy rattlers and king corals are highly venomous.

Western Lake

Photo by Felicia Ferguson

Western Lake treeline Photo by Felicia Ferguson



Visit the fabulous 30A restaurants in the off season (usually November to February). Most offer locals discounts and all welcome the patronage. You’ll get to experience dining like none other without the long wait times. But keep in mind, several restaurants close for the month of January, if not longer. This gives their employees a much-needed break and allows time for their buildings and equipment to be updated or repaired. Gas tank getting low? The best days to fill up are early to mid-week. By Friday, the renters are planning to head out and the lines start getting a bit longer. Don’t even think about it on Saturday morning! BeLocal 41


eating clean IN SOUTH WALTON One of EverKrisp's great salads. By Jamie Tutnjevic, South Walton resident

You’ve moved to the beautiful sand beaches of South Walton. The movers left, the kitchen is nowhere near unpacked, you’re hungry and don’t know where to go that is even remotely healthy. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! I’ll give you a few of my favorite spots as well as some tips to keep in mind when looking for other places in the area to try.

My name is Jamie Tutnjevic and I am the Director/Owner of Coastal Nutrition and Wellness. I am also a Holistic Health and Wellness Coach. Coastal Nutrition and Wellness provides customized health coaching, nutrition counseling, meal planning, and nutrient analysis based on an integrative approach to make lifestyle and behavior changes that are life lasting. We pride ourselves on a comprehensive approach to help bridge the gap between medical recommendations and your reality. So, what exactly is eating ‘clean’ and how can you do this in a restaurant? It’s pretty simple actually! Our philosophy is to eat as many fresh vegeta42 BeLocal

bles and fruits as possible, stick with whole grains, eat less red meat and more plant-based protein, limit processed foods as much as possible, limit added sugar, watch the sodium intake, and most importantly try to have fun with food! When you are scouting out places to eat, look for somewhere with fresh, local ingredients. Because this is a coastal community, there is no shortage of local seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. We are also lucky because there is a thriving Farmer’s Market with several locations across South Walton. A lot of the Farmer’s Market vendors also supply our local restaurants with the freshest produce I’ve ever tasted!

ers and vendors could showcase their items. Over the years, the 30A Farmer’s Market grew to five locations in Walton, Okaloosa, and Escambia Counties that operate year-round from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Saturdays are the market day for the Grand Boulevard and Niceville locations. Sunday is the famed Rosemary Beach market day as well as their newest location in Pensacola Beach. There is a market in Seascape Resorts open on Wednesdays throughout part Spring and Summer. For more information please visit www.facebook. com/30aFarmersMarket.

Our local Farmer’s Markets are an absolute must for anyone living in the area! Diana Kolopanas created a special market along the Gulf Coast where local farm-

What makes the Farmer’s Market such a versatile option and one of my favorites is that you can eat, brunch/ 2019


LOCAL LORE From country musicians to celebrity chefs, star sightings are common in South Walton. Keep your eyes open for a few famous faces-especially during festivals and events!

lunch, and do your grocery shopping at the same time! Farmers and other vendors typically sell everything from pesticide-free berries and other produce to meat, honey, pita bread, hummus, babaganouj (smoked eggplant dip), eggs, CBD, soups, granola, healthy desserts, and so much more! When you are looking for something fast to eat and do not want to compromise on your health, what are you to do? Go to Everkrisp. Brendan McMahon created what many would’ve thought was impossible: fast farm-to-table food, or as Brendan puts it “where farm meets fast food.” Everkrisp takes advantage of seasonal fruits and vegetables and offers the most amazing wraps, bowls, salads, sandwiches, and meal prep options. Everkrisp also has gluten-free options that aren’t just healthy but impossible

delicious, like their rosemary bread. Because they are so conscious about customers who are on different diets and preferences, it makes it a unique and exciting experience to be able to actually order off the menu. I think that’s one of my favorite things about their mission, trying to use the freshest and locally grown food. You can find Everkrisp in both Sandestin at Grand Boulevard by Publix and Destin by Home Depot and both locations are open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm. For more information visit Unlike your typical juice bar, Clean Juice takes juicing to the next level and uses 100% Organic, Non-GMO, ingredients in all their franchised restaurants. Franchised locally in September 2018 by locals, Jeff and Jamie Provinse, with deep roots in the South Walton community, Clean Juice has quickly become a South Walton favorite. Clean Juice is far more than just a juice or smoothie place; their avocado toast is amazing, the berry acai bowl is divine, and the cold pressed orange bottle was great. You really cannot go wrong with anything you order. You

can find them located at The Market Shops on the Gulf-side entrance to the Sandestin Resort. Hours vary based on day. For more information, please visit The Bay has been a staple in South Walton for over twenty years! As a new local, you will undoubtedly hear about their famous bonfires on the beach and their live music, but their food is just as amazing! The Bay has a surprising menu that will please anyone’s taste buds for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Some of my favorites include their Thai Lettuce Wraps, the Mixed Green Salad, and their Sushi. The amazing Gulf Coast seafood is almost a way of life down here–it’s really almost magical. When you combine it with sushi, it takes it to a whole new level. When that sushi comes from The Bay, there are almost no words. All of the sushi is made on the spot to order, but the combos they have are unique to the Bay which I think give it its mystique. The Bay is also environmentally friendly; they offer paper straws in an effort to reduce plastic on our beaches and in our waters! The Bay is open from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm and located at the foot of the 331 Bridge, you can’t miss the restaurants’ delicious smells or the sound of the music playing when you are close by. For more information about The Bay, please visit   So, there you have it, my top four favorite spots in South Walton for clean eats. I hope you’re able to check these great places and can enjoy some of what they have to offer. Sometimes finding restaurants that offer healthier options can be a little tricky, but if you do your homework ahead of time, it is worth it! Thankfully South Walton has no shortage of restaurants that offer fresh, local, and whole ingredients. Here’s to eating the best South Walton has to offer! 


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Grayton Beach


Mary Hong Shard Shop 26 Logan Lane Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-0544

Fired Up Pottery 27 Quincy Circle Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-3211

Rock Paper Scissors 37 Logan Lane, Suite 8 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 203-3818

Central Square Records 89 Central Square 2nd Floor Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-5669

Sundog Books 89 Central Square Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-5481

WaterColor InnSpa 34 Goldenrod Circle Santa Rosa Beach (850) 534-5010

Beach Ready Spa 29 Quincy Circle Santa Rosa Beach (850) 468-0925

LOCAL LORE There are over 6,000 black bear sightings in the state of Florida. Black bears favorite snack are day old donuts. They can smell the vanilla in the donuts from a mile away!

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ROSEMARY BEACH Hidden Lantern 84 N Barrett Square Rosemary Beach (850) 231-0091 SpaPearl 63 Main Street Rosemary Beach (850) 502-2497 MIRAMAR BEACH Rainforest Black Light Golf and Arcade  11394 US-98 Unit D Miramar Beach (850) 460-8878 Escapology Destin 9375 US Highway 98 West  Miramar Beach (850) 842-4885

Escape Zone 60 10859 Emerald Coast Pkwy #303 Miramar Beach (850) 666-5151 Thrills Laser Tag and Arcade 90 Seascape Dr #105 Miramar Beach (850) 842-4747 Silver Sands Outlet  10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy West Miramar Beach (850) 654-9771 outlet/silver-sands Serenity by the Sea Day Spa 4000 S Sandestin Boulevard Miramar Beach (850) 622-9595



Mary Hong Shard Shop 495 Grand Boulevard Suite J-104 Miramar Beach

Fonville Press 147 West La Garza Lane Panama City Beach (850) 213-5906

New Vision Boulevard 10 Movie Theater 465 Grand Boulevard Miramar Beach BAYTOWNE Mary Hong Shard Shop 148 Market Street, Unit A/B Miramar Beach Blast Arcade & Laser Maze 118 Cannery Lane Miramar Beach (850) 654-3333

FREEPORT EO Wilson Biophilia Center 4956 FL-20 East Freeport (850) 835-1824 Coastal Branch Library 437 Greenway Trail Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-2809 Coastal-Branch-Library

COMPLETE AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE Sport Motoring caters to drivers that are passionate about their cars and understand the value of a great relationship with their repair center. Where a comfortable environment, close personal service and honest, upfront pricing are the order of the day.

BMW • MINI • VW • Porsche • Audi • Mercedes • Toyota • Exotics • SUVs 850-660-6441 • 2305 US HIGHWAY 98 W., • SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL 32459 • Hours: M-F 8:00AM - 5:30PM 2019

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By Felicia Ferguson, South Walton Resident

Underwater Museum of Art A truly hidden gem, this is the first permanent underwater sculpture garden in the U.S. Each year, new sculptures are selected by a juried panel and installed. They are quickly inhabited by local marine life and transform into a living reef. Location: in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Grayton Beach State Park Santa Rosa Beach Exhibits lie within a mile of the shore at a depth of ~57 feet. Amavida Roaster Tour Held the second Thursday of each month from 10:00am to 11:00am, Amavida provides a behind-the-scenes peek into the world of specialty coffee roasting. Limited availability.

Photo by Felicia Ferguson

Location: 712 Serenoa Road Santa Rosa Beach (850) 213-1965 Eden Gardens This hidden gem is 163 acres of the former Wesley Homestead. One-hundred-year-old Live Oaks surround the property that is known for is annual camellia festival, held every April. Couples can marry under the Wedding Tree. Tours of the house and grounds are available daily. Or feel free to pack a picnic lunch and your fishing pole. A dock into Tucker Bayou provides ample space to cast a line. Location: 181 Eden Gardens Road Santa Rosa Beach 850-267-8320

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AJ's Plumbing Inc. 998 Bay Drive, Santa Rosa Beach, FL

(850) 231-1473

Specializing in:

• Repairs • Remodeling • New Construction • Custom Plumbing • Fixture Replacement • Water Heaters • Garbage Disposals • Repiping • Jet Sewer Lines

Guided Hikes of State Parks Walton County Extension agents will offer guided tours through area state parks for a small fee. On New Year’s Day, they offer a First Day Hike at various parks free of charge. It’s a great way to start the New Year off on the right foot! For more information, contact: Walton County Extension Office 70 Logan Lane Grayton Beach (850) 231-0246

Licensed & Insured LIC # RF:11067739

From the beard to your door!

E.O. Biophilia Center A 501(c)(3) environmental education center, E.O. Biophilia Center is nestled in the Longleaf Pine ecosystem, which is considered the sixth most biodiverse area in the continental U.S. As such, it is the perfect place to educate students on the importance of biodiversity and to encourage conservation, preservation and restoration. The Center is opened for scheduled school visits, special events, and members’ only functions. Location: 4956 State Highway 20 East Freeport (850) 835-1824

(850) 499-0085 Follow us on *Ask about FREE paddle board and bike delivery.


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Just make sure you have the beach permit for your pup. Fees for the beach dog tag is $40.00 per year, per animal. ALL permits expire August 1st no matter when they were purchased. Owners are required to show proof of current rabies vaccination administered by a licensed veterinarian. Proof of Walton County residency or real property ownership is required. Beach dog tags allow permitted dogs to be walked ON A LEASH on Walton County beaches between the following hours: Standard Time— 3:00 PM to 9:00 AM (Fall/ Winter) Daylight Savings Time—4:00 PM to 8:00 AM (Springs/Summer). For more information go to

RUNNING AROUND! Alaqua Unleashed serves as Walton County’s largest secured, off-leash dog park featuring separate areas for large and small dogs. Alaqua opened the park in 2011 to provide a safe place for the dogs in our community to run, play, and get the exercise that they need.

The park is located in South Walton on J.D. Miller Road. Alaqua Unleashed is supported through memberships, sponsorships, and donations. Hours of operation are from dawn until dusk.

VETERINARIANS Freeport Animal Clinic 907 State Highway 20 E, Unit 7 Freeport (850) 835-1500 Best Friends Pet Doctor 15761 U.S. 331 Business Freeport (850) 835-4206 30A Vet 56 Spires Ln #14A  Santa Rosa Beach (850) 660-1892

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Kindness Pet Hospital 6744 W County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-3955

Emerald Shores Pet Hospital Resort And Spaw 4925 US-98 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-0988

Santa Rosa Animal Hospital 1727 S County Hwy 393 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-0340

Barry Veterinary Hospital 29 South Shore Drive Miramar Beach (850) 837-7072

EMERGENCY VET CLINIC OF OKALOOSA / WALTON COUNTY 212 Government Avenue Niceville (850) 729-3335

EMERGENCY VET - DESTIN Corner of Main Street and Legion Drive Destin (850) 424-4777



GROOMERS Dapper Dogs 3906 US-98 West Santa Rosa Beach (850) 502-3433 Yuppy Puppy 4808 US-98 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 622-2275

PET FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS AND SPOTS TO CHILL Inlet Beach 30Avenue Rosemary Beach Paradis Cowgirl Kitchen Wild Olives  La Crema Amavida Coffee Summer Kitchen Café Southside Slice Seacrest Grits & Grind La Cocina Peddler’s Pub Alys Beach George’s at Alys Beach Neat  Fonville Press

Joyce’s Puppy Love 4942 US-98 Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-1643

Joan’s Perfect Paws Pet Salon 901 State Highway 20E Unit#1 Freeport (850) 880-6707

Groomingdales 8955 US Highway 98 West, Suite 100  Miramar Beach (850) 837-5110

Wagz Boutiques, LLC 48 Commerce Lane, Unit 6, Building 2 Freeport (850) 835-1071

45 Central Wine & Sushi Bar Pickle’s The Wine Bar Grayton Beach Grayton’s unofficial slogan really says it all about the attitude toward our four-legged friends: “Nice Dogs, Strange People.” Dogs are basically family here. (Our publisher lives in Grayton, so it is a bit near and dear to her and her two pups as well!) Grayton Seafood Company Chanticleer Eatery – Friendly dogs are always welcome on the patio. AJ’s of Grayton Beach Chiringo Hurricane Oyster Bar Black Bear Bread Company Pickle Factory

Grayton Beer Brewpub Nanbu Crackins Bad Ass Coffee Blue Mountain Beach Red Fish Taco Blue Mountain Creamery Redd’s Fueling Station Local Catch Basmati’s  Blue Mabel

Goatfeather’s Johnny McTighe’s Irish Pub La Loba’s Bakery The Bay Restaurant The Perfect Pig Shunk Gulley Pizza by the Sea Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort/Baytowne The Marina Bar and Grill Another Broken Egg

LOCAL LORE In the 1940s, original Seagrove Beach developer, Cube McGee, had a pet deer named Bambi. The two were often found playing in the surf in the morning.

Photo by Felicia Ferguson

WaterSound Beach The Hub Bruno’s Pizza Seagrove Beach 723 Whiskey Bravo Old Florida Fish House Steamboat Grill The Perfect Pig Cowgirl Kitchen Surfing Deer Seagrove Village Market Seaside/ WaterColor  Airstream Row Great Southern Café Amavida Coffee Bud & Alley’s 2019

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By Sue Gambla, South Walton Resident

Since living near the beautiful shores of the Emerald Coast, I have ventured to fabulous and dazzling boutiques and shops. From a modern flair to the peaceful vibe of coastal and everything in between, grab your best shopping homegirl and get ready for first-class fun in the sun!

F U R N I T U R E , I N T E R I O R D E C O R AT O R S & H O U S E WA R E S Isidro Dunbar Modern Interiors  This leading modern furniture store combines 26 years of knowledge, creativity, and exceptional customer service to deliver a one of a kind experience. Offering exclusive product lines, interior design, and the latest trends; idMI will transform your space into something unique, sophisticated and stylish. 12170 Emerald Coast Parkway, Miramar Beach (850) 269-1699 Stock and Trade  Love, love and more love! Did I say love?? Just walk in and you will know what I am talking about! They offer a wide selection of beautiful custom upholstery, cozy furniture, creative lighting, fun accessories, unique objects, and cool antiques, as well as, custom pieces from local artisans.  11111 Highway 98, Miramar Beach  (850) 460-8990  50 BeLocal

isidro dunbar Modern Interiors in Miramar Beach.

J Miller’s Furniture Enjoy complimentary design services including furniture recommendations, color, material and paint suggestions and digital floor planning. They help with projects of any size, from finishing touches to furnishing an entire home.  9705 US Highway 98, Miramar Beach (850) 934-6200

Risa’s Interiors Another one of my most fave furniture stores! Risa’s Interiors has been voted “Best of Destin” Home Furnishings for 3 years running as well as “Best of Destin” Interior Design Firm in 2016 and 2018. Well deserved!! They definitely create dreams, not just rooms!  10123 Emerald Coast Parkway, Miramar Beach  (850) 654-7472 2019

LOCAL > SHOPPING Stock and Trade Company in Miramar Beach.

LOCAL TIP Elevated 850 is my go-to for any plumbing or electrical needs. Their service, response time and knowledge is the best. Tiffany C.

Resort Resale on 98 in Santa Rosa Beach

Skippers Furniture on the Bay This family-owned furniture and mattress store based in Freeport with locations in Ft. Walton Beach, Niceville, and Miramar Beach has served customers in South Walton with low prices on outstanding furniture and mattresses with top notch customer service since 2000. Family owned stores are the bomb!  66 State Highway 20 East, Freeport (850) 835-3200 11840 Emerald Coast Parkway, Miramar Beach (850) 837-3454  Resort Resale  With inventory constantly changing, visit this store to find everything from coastal to whimsical to modern designs and accessories. Hunt for


a hidden treasure! You won’t leave disappointed! 3834 Us Highway 98 West, Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-0064 Bungalow Home and Life  This selected group of seasoned decorators, artists, craftsman, jewelry makers, and fashion-minded creatives who have joined together to craft this beautiful vendor boutique. Come find some glorious pieces!  3906 US Highway 98 West Suite 31, Santa Rosa Beach (850) 267-7711  Beau Interiors  A lifestyle store aimed at capturing coastal living as simple, understated elegance. This beautiful gallery is

definitely a must stop, unique shopping experience on 30A! I adore this faith-filled retailer! 32 East County Highway 30A, Santa Rosa Beach (850) 534-0700 Mingle  Mingle with this amazing company to design, style and deliver happiness right to your doorstep with balloon boutiques and creatives ways to enhance any party! Balloons always say HAPPY! Located just minutes from the sandy beaches of 30A, they cover the Emerald Coast from Fort Walton to Panama City Beach.  12805 US Hwy 98 East, Suite F101, Inlet Beach (850) 909-0164


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Favori Boutique in Miramar Beach.

Sunset Shoes in Miramar Beach.


CLOTHING Soho Beach / Soho Women Both stores can be found in Gulf Place in Santa Rosa Beach right along 30a. Whether you are looking for the latest trends for the beach or searching for the perfect dress for a special night out Soho Beach and Soho Women has the latest coastal fashion at reasonable prices. Sunset Shoes This beach-chic vacation ready, find your best flipflops shoe store offers brands such as Birkenstock, Naot, and Mephisto. With over 100 brands and several locations you will find everything you need for your day at the beach to your evening out on the town!  9375 US Highway 98 West, Miramar Beach (850) 837-5466 Favori Boutique  An eclectic gift store/boutique with a mini sweet shop serving delicious gourmet chocolates and mouthwatering homemade fudge. This location features several fabulous jewelry lines from across the 52 BeLocal

globe and glorious artworks from local artists Mark and Eddie Mansfield. 9375 US Highway 98 West, Miramar Beach (850) 460-7800)  Indigo  This cool vibe store has a clear mission to challenge women to be their best selves in peace, integrity and harmony. The Indigo Woman is a force to be reckoned with. You will find everything from cover-ups to under covers and everything in between made with natural fabric and different textures. With beach living, their clothes are comfortable, modern and earthy. #iamindigo  6 Watercolor Blvd South, #101, Santa Rosa Beach  (850) 534-0134 Oko  Visit the Hub, where my fam and I love to hang for live local music, tacos or pizza, painting parties, and, of course, shopping. Find something for all your peeps here at Oko. I particularly admire the exclusive label designed by two sisters, Abbie and Katie, that is manufactured in the

Dominican Republic to employ impoverished women. You go girls! 31 Hub Lane, Santa Rosa Beach (850) 502-2780  Willow + Mercer  Where the city meets the beach! Calling all you beach girls, come find your beach vibe with cool new jeans, tanks and fabulous beach dresses. Sometimes the shoes really make the outfit – find yours here!  12805 US Highway 98 East, Inlet Beach 45 Central Square, Suite CC2, Seaside 5 Main Street, Rosemary Beach (850) 909-0009 Love 2 Run  An extraordinary experience for anyone looking to be on the move. Have your gait analyzed by experts who will fit you into the perfect pair of shoes, based on the demands you place on your body. Walk out with happy feet, and you might even want to become part of their running and coaching events. Be on the lookout for me flying past in my own personal Love 2 Run shoes!  12805 US Highway 98 East, Ste R103, Inlet Beach (850) 909-0402  2019


The Art of Simple in Seaside.

GIFTS The Zoo With locations in Grayton Beach and Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach, every nook and cranny of this store is filled with visionary, unique, and spectacular art from artists and designers across the United States and the globe. You will find an eclectic array of pottery, jewelry, prints, cards, furniture, home decor, and some downright crazy cool stuff!  89 Hotz Avenue, Grayton Beach (850) 231-0777 500 Grand Boulevard, Building K, Suite 104, Miramar Beach (850) 837-9233  Mahalo Grayton  This Grayton Beach store is filled with knick-knacks and doodads. If you cannot find a shirt, mug, hat, or toy you must have, you got to be in the wrong store!  39 Logan Lane Suite 2, Grayton Beach (850) 213-3370 

Estate Jewelers of Grayton Within the hippie town of Grayton Beach you will find this beautiful, fine and fashion jewelry gem. Perfect for your own fashion sense or send your significant other for some glitter and sparkle!  51 Uptown Grayton Circle, Santa Rosa Beach (850) 231-6806  North Bay Mercantile  A hidden gem, worth the trip in Freeport! With such friendly staff, you can find the most distinctive goods and products. Be sure to stop by this charming and super quaint boutique! Judy, the owner, has the perfect eye for helping you select all your delightful purchases. Don’t miss this one!!  16400 Highway 331, Freeport (850) 880-6491  The Art of Simple  Definitely my favorite, go-to 30A beach girl merch supply store! You will find fun and humorous housewares, napkins, and kitchen goods. Makeup, jewelry, and just sensational stuff await you! Check out their amazing candle line created by Kinfolk of Mine. Their story is one you want to know about and support!  25 Central Square, Seaside (850) 231-6745

Clay Garden & Pottery This is a slice of heaven right here on the Emerald Coast. I personally can spend the whole day in these beautiful gardens. Lots of bold splashes of color, variety, fun and surprises within their outdoor furnishings, fountain displays, and gift shops. I personally highly recommend their helpful staff for assistance in creating your own heavenly garden!  4808 East County Highway 30A, Seagrove Beach  (850) 231-2150

Clay Garden and Pottery on 30A.

The Zoo Gallery in Grand Boulevard and also in Grayton Beach.


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DINING OUT By Several Local Contributors Who Love to Eat!

As a locals we are blessed with a vast array of dining experiences from which to choose. We actually could print an entire magazine about dining in South Walton - there are so many wonderful places to choose from. We narrowed it down to some of our favorites; the ones that know the locals and love the locals. We hope you can experience theses along with those we might not have listed.

Pizza by The Sea With 4 great locations you will always be near a Pizza by the Sea no matter where you travel in South Walton. Their lunch menu has a Pick Two for $8.99 Mon-Fri along with their yummy salads. Yum Bowls – no carbs, just the pizza toppings in a bowl. And they have locals specials too!  You can find them at: Sandestin, The Market Shops Seacrest, The Village of South Walton Gulf Place Towncenter Watercolor Crossings (next to Publix) The Perfect Pig Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner The Perfect Pig has something for everyone – even the kids. From Ham Biscuits with Blackberry Mustard and Roasted Cracklin’ Pork Sandwiches your taste buds will thank you. Half Off specials available Mon-Thur 5-6pm. Stop in to one of their 3 convenient locations at: • Watercolor • Gulf Place • Seagrove Beach Café Thirty-A Warning – Reservations suggested! Open daily for dinner at 5pm. Buy 1 entrée at regular price and get a second of equal or lesser value FREE 5-6pm daily. The food is exceptional, the atmosphere is perfect, service is outstanding and the wine list is extensive. Located in Seagrove Beach Angelina’s Located in Seagrove Beach, they have been serving hand-tossed pizza longer than anyone on 30A. Try some of the best pizza on 30A or one of their favorite pasta dishes.

Photo credit: Visit South Walton

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LOCAL > DINING Christiano’s A family owned and operated restaurant that offers traditional Italian dishes in a cozy setting with comfortable seating & a warm, welcoming vibe. Located on HWY 98 in Santa Rosa Beach. Nick’s On the Bay “I got my crabs at Nick’s on the Choctawhatchee Bay!”Raw oysters, crab claws, gator tail & more offered in a long-running waterfront diner. Since 1963. Located on HWY 20 West in Freeport. The Bay Cool bayside hangout with a bar & deck for seafood dishes, sushi & craft cocktails, plus live music. The have brunch, lunch, dinner and the kids all covered. Another great plus is their private beach on which every Wednesday night serves up some of the best live music in the Panhandle. Located on HWY 331 at the foot of the bridge. Chanticleer Burgers, steaks & chops are served at this comfy joint with an outdoor patio & a casual ambiance. They don’t accept reservations but seat on a first come basis for lunch and dinner. Fur babies welcome on the patio. You can find them in Grayton Beach on 55 Clayton Lane.

Hurricane Oyster Bar & Grill Seafood shack offering oysters, sandwiches & tacos in a funky patio setting. Open 7 days a week with happy hour everyday 3-6pm. 14 TVS for all the games. Cash or check only! Stinky’s Fish Camp “With a name like Stinky’s it better be good.” Lunch, dinner and brunch. Dinner served 7 days a week. Oysters all day long – check out their Oyster Log. Gulf to table seafood prepared just as you wish; grilled, fried, blackened. They don’t accept reservations or call ahead seating.  Located on the west end of 30A. Basmati’s Asian Cuisine Basmati’s Asian Cuisine serves the freshest seafood, sushi and finest meats available with fresh vegetables on Scenic 30A. The unique sushi menu is a favorite among South Walton locals, and the Panko Red Snapper and Firecracker Grouper are equally popular. Serving the best for more than 20 years – featured in Southern Living, the New York Times, 30A Review, and – Basmati’s is known for our sleek and sophisticated, very romantic yet relaxing indoor and outdoor dining.  Nestled in the tall pines overlooking Draper Lake in Blue Mountain Beach on 30A. Grayton Seafood Co At Grayton Seafood Co. you will feel right at home. You will always find a comfortable seat, inspired and creative dishes, cold beer, grayt wines and friendly faces.  The menu specials are always changing depending on fishing and growing seasons. Located in Uptown Grayton Circle on 30A.


The enchilada dish at Cantina Laredo in Grand Boulevard is my absolute favorite! Doris M.

Bijoux Bijoux is a full-service fine dining restaurant located in The Market Shops at the entrance of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Open for dinner seven nights a week, Bijoux features the freshest Gulf seafood, prime steaks and an extensive award-winning wine list. The intimate Bijoux lounge features a full bar complete with a large selection of specialty martinis. Shunk Gulley Live Music, Great Food and a gulf view. Lunch, dinner, drinks and a kids menu. You just can’t beat the view or the location. Pop right off the beach for lunch or enjoy a dinner out with one of the many talented artists they bring in from around the Gulf Coast. Located on the corner of 30A and 393.

Photo by Felicia Ferguson

Vin’tij Food and Wine In a great new location in Grand Boulevard Vintij is open daily for breakfast, lunch, wine down hour and dinner. Vin’tij is additionally known for their highly acclaimed multi-course winemaker dinners and their impressive wine shop which is stocked with hard-to-find, boutique wines made from small family wineries all over the world. Reservations are accepted.


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Photo by Felicia Ferguson

Photo credit: Visit South Walton

Photo by Felicia Ferguson

> CONTINUED Johnny McTighe Irish Pub Located in Blue Mountain Beach on the north side of highway 30-a, Johnny McTighe’s is a neighborhood Irish Pub. The meenu includes a variety of genuine Irish food, including fish & chips and Irish Breakfast, as well as wings, an authentic Philly cheesesteak that is simply mouth-watering. Open everyday 11am-2am. 56 BeLocal

Vue on 30A Frankly, one of the best views for dining in all of South Walton. The restaurant is open to the public and serves lunch, dinner and happy hour throughout the week as well as Sunday brunch. Reservations accepted. Located on west 30A.

Black Bear Bread Co Open every day for your favorite healthy combos – grain bowls, banana tartine, matcha, bagels with lox and more. You can find them in the Shops at Grayton.



Shades Bar and Grill          Family-friendly bar known for a wide variety of beers offers a diverse menu with pizza & wings. Your sports coverage is covered too – they have 17 HD TV’s, a projector and all the premium packages to keep the biggest sports fans happy. Check out their loyalty program to earn 5% credit with every purchase at all the Last Call Restaurant Group locations.

Photo credit: 4D Photography Photo by Felicia Ferguson

Photo by Leilani Ali

Photo by Felicia Ferguson Photo by Leilani Ali

Old Florida Fish House Located in the heart of Seagrove Beach, Old Florida Fish House is an airy eatery and a family-friendly destination for seafood. Gulf fresh seafood specials and some of the best sushi on 30A. Enjoy The Porch – a hidden gem on 30A - a screened in porch with a full-service bar, big screen TV’s, and panoramic views of Eastern Lake. Open daily on The Porch – 11am and in the main dining room 5pm. Crust Artisan Bakery Quaint, industrial-inspired eatery providing Italian plates, pizza & sandwiches, plus baked goods. Open Mon-Sat 5-9pm. Nanbu The word itself is Japanese for “southerner.” It is synonymous with the unique sense of warmth and hospitality you find only when you venture south. Super friendly service, and delicious noodles and more to match. Open every day but Monday. Located in the Shoppes at Grayton.  Decadent Decadent is the first of its kind—a fast and casual dessert bar that offers the highest quality desserts at a sweet yet affordable price. Everything on the menu is made from scratch, all day, every day, using only the finest ingredients. Located in 30Avenue at Inlet Beach and Seacrest. 


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LOCAL LORE Florida is home to over 4,000 bald eagles. The Choctawhatchee Bay area is home to at least six nesting pairs.


Art in the Park March WaterColor Cerulean Park & Town Center Artists from all over will showcase their works throughout the park and town center on Saturday and Sunday. You’ll find works of art from many genres including paintings, charcoal, chalk, photography, glass, jewelry, custom furniture, pottery, wood, fashion, and much more. 

Artists will be traveling from all over the Southeast to showcase their work at Art in the Park, and it’s no wonder as South Walton is quickly becoming a creative hot-spot attracting artists of all mediums to be a part of the scene.

Seaside School Half Marathon/5K and Taste of the Race March More than 5,000 people descend on Seaside for the annual half marathon/5K race. Friday night, attend a VIP reception with Chef Emeril Legasse. A silent auction is held Saturday night. The race runs Sunday morning followed by a post-race party and awards.

100% of the race profits benefit the Seaside School, a tuition-free, charter school serving students who not only live along County Highway 30A, but also across Walton County. The Seaside School opened in 1996 to thirty-six students, two faculty members, and one administrator serving students in sixth through eighth grades. Purses with a Purpose March Grand Boulevard at Sandestin Expansive silent auction and sale of new and gently used designer handbags and accessories. This three-day event benefits Shelter House, the local domestic violence and sexual assault center that has been serving Okaloosa and Walton counties for over 30 years.

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South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival April Grand Boulevard South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival presents great wines, fine foods, world-class tasting seminars, live music from national artists, culinary celebrities, and more. It’s a weekend to escape into a lifestyle where you can be yourself, dress up or come as you are, be seen or simply lay low. Our only requirement is that you have a great time enjoying a convivial gathering at your pace and lose yourself for the weekend. Please join us!

LOCAL TIP Blue Mabel on 30A in Blue Mountain has great brisket and a lunch special every day. And the new dining


ART MONTH May Activate your imagination at Art Month South Walton, an initiative of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. Join us for a collaboration of visual, performing and literary arts events presented in diverse formats and various venues throughout South Walton. Spanning the month of May, Art Month South Walton includes Under the Sea: a fundraiser for the Underwater Museum of Art, ArtsQuest Fine Arts Festival, Digital Graffiti Festival, Longleaf Writers Conference, the Rosemary Beach Sculpture Exhibition, the Northwest Florida Theatre Festival, and more.

Art Week is a large-scale, inclusive celebration of South Walton’s growing vibrant arts and culture scene. For more information about the event, visit


room rocks! Trevin W.


Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic June Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is a premier sport-fishing tournament which draws record crowds. Big fish and big money prizes have made the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic an event you don’t want to miss. Baytowne Marina is the place to be for two days of exciting weigh-ins as anglers vie for nearly $2 million in prizes. There will be nightly entertainment and activities, as well as a live cooking demonstration, fireworks, and live music. Admission is free and open to the public. To learn more about the event, visit


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Seeing Red Wine Festival November Seaside Central Square Recognized as one of the “Top 10 Can’tMiss Fall Wine Festivals,” by Fodor’s Travel, this four-day festival includes reserve wine tastings, dinners, and a brunch with featured guest winemakers. Seaside’s restaurants will pair featured wines with their farm-to-fork and gulf-to-table offerings.

MountainFilm Festival November WaterColor Marina Park Each year, a selection of films from the Telluride International Film Festival is taken on the road to reach audiences who otherwise would not have a chance to experience the festival. The films selected for the show will explore themes connected to the MountainFilm mission of exploring cultures, preserving, environments, and promoting adventure. WaterColor’s Marina Park offers a breathtaking outdoor setting for these moving films with a starry backdrop to enhance the unfolding clips of thought-provoking films. A MountainFilm presenter will guide the audience through the program providing insight on the films, filmmakers, and subjects.

Rosemary Beach Uncorked November Rosemary Beach Town Center Taste the very best of food and wine Rosemary Beach has to offer. The festival features local restaurants, countless bottles, and live bands. Proceeds benefit area charities.



Winter Holiday Market November WaterColor Town Center & Cerulean Park The Old Florida Holiday & Winter Market holiday extravaganza is complete with falling snow, a horse-drawn carriage, a bonfire with s’mores, pictures with Santa Claus, the lighting of the tree, live music, and beautiful luminary lighting throughout the WaterColor community.

Free summer concerts can be found from Baytowne to 30A. Many 30A restaurants have live music nightly.



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30A Songwriters Festival January Multiple locations on 30A and Grand Boulevard The 30A Songwriters Festival is the major fundraiser for the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA), a private, non-profit 501(c)3 organization that champions the arts through leadership, advocacy, funding, programs, and education. The Festival’s success is critical to the success of the CAA, and your support as a ticket-buyer, partner or volunteer helps us provide an abundance of programs, services and support to the community. Sandestin Gumbo Festival February The Sandestin Gumbo Festival is one of the largest and most popular winter food events in the panhandle. Seafood boils, live music, and the famous gumbo cook-off are highlights of the weekend. 2019

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You can finally say Goodbye to Temperature Swings Humidity & Oversizing Issues High Electric Bills Short Cycling

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Profile for N2 Publishing

South Walton BeLocal July 2019  

South Walton BeLocal July 2019