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No.

GWEN VS. THE MEN: THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR

10

THE

Travel

ISSUE

For Floridians. By Floridians.

A BAHAMIAN RHAPSODY THE EXUMAS W HY FLO R I D IAN S LO V E TH E BAHAMAS: From to THE ABACOS, ELEUTHERA, ANDROS and Every Cay In Between

SOLAR POWER? It’s q SUNSHINE STATE ... Come On! EXPLORERS GUIDE

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GASPARILLA ISLAND eBOCA GRANDE

Award-Winning

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DISHING ON:

NAPLES, 30A & KEY WEST


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Yerba Mate, organically grown in the rainforest by locals.


— S UMMER 201 8 —

CONTENTS F E AT U R E S

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48

ISLANDS IN THE STREAM

WELCOME TO GRAHAMELOT

B Y N I LA D O S I M O N

BY DIANE ROBERTS

What is it about the Bahamas, and why do Floridians feel such a strong connection to our neighbors across the Gulf Stream? Here’s a hint: It has nothing to do with Atlantis.

Gwen Graham, the only female candidate for governor of Florida, has led a storybook life, growing up in the governor’s mansion and then going on to build a political name for herself on Capitol Hill. But who is the woman poised to lead the state?

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66

THE ELEPHANT, THE TEMP & THE TARPON

HERE COMES THE SUN

B Y K AT I E H E N D R I C K V I N C E N T

Known for big-time tarpon fishing and even bigger-time guests, Gasparilla Island has earned its place among the best Old Florida hideaways.

BY MICHAEL ADNO

Developer Syd Kitson has pulled back the curtains on solar energy in the Sunshine State with his newly minted solar-powered town, Babcock Ranch.

Cover Photography by GREMLY MEDIA

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On the cover: Swimming with tropical fish in the clear waters of Thunderball Grotto near Staniel Cay in the Exumas, one of the island chains in the Bahamas

On this spread: Gasparilla Island Lighthouse was built in Delaware in 1881 and then moved and reassembled on Gasparilla Island in 1927. The lighthouse, which was restored in recent years, still guides boats to port.

Models: Jordan Brennan and France Duque

Photography: Mary Beth Koeth

FLAMINGOMAG.COM /// S U M M E R 2 0 1 8


D E PA R T M E N TS

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37

89

WADING IN

COLUMNS

ON THE FLY

12 /// THE SPREAD: Gather 30A-style with watermelon and heirloom tomato–inspired light bites and beverages.

37 /// C  APITAL DAME: Diane Roberts spills on her spring break Brexit from Tallahassee to visit her old —and beloved— stomping grounds in Oxford, England.

15 /// FLAMINGLE: A fearless lineup of hurricane heroes to start the season 18 /// M  ADE IN FLA: Ice, Ice, Baby. Stay cool in the heat with these thoughtful makers. 22 /// F  LEDGLINGS: Tampa Bay songwriter J.T. Brown writes, plays and sings his heart out on his EP Down the Coast.

96 /// MY FLORIDA: Editor-in-Chief Jamie Rich writes about her alma mater, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and how the tragic shooting there has touched her. 100 /// F  LORIDA WILD: Photographer Carlton Ward Jr. captures two natural foes meeting for a drink in a dry county.

92 /// G  ROVE STAND: Chef Clay Conley fires up the culinary scene in Palm Beach with his award-winning fare. 98 /// BIRD’S-EYE VIEW: Our walking guide to Naples highlights the best places to shop, sip and stay. 102 /// THE ROOST: Daydreaming on the bow of some badass boats 107 /// T  HE TIDE: These events will have you packing for vacation. 112 /// F  LORIDIANA: Palme d’Or, of the iconic Biltmore in Coral Gables executes French service to perfection.

PHOTOGR APHY BY MARY BETH KOETH

31 /// J  UST HATCHED: Cool new places and spaces to check out around the state

85 /// PANHANDLING: Prissy Elrod travels back in time to rendezvous with her old friend Saint Teresa and some longlost memories.

90 /// THE STUDIO: A talented pair of artists with South Florida ties want to show the rest of the world what modern-day Cuban art is all about.

S U M M E R 2 0 1 8 /// FLAMINGOMAG.COM

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e’ve hit double digits! I can’t believe this is Flamingo’s tenth edition. Every issue is the result of an intense creative process, each emerging with its own distinct personality. Around the office we unofficially refer to each volume by what’s on the cover. “The Kelsey,” issue No. 2, one of my favorite covers, features an image of Florida native Kelsey Magennis in a blue bathing suit paddling a wooden boat in the Santa Fe River. The goal for the cover of that first travel issue was to recreate a vintage photo from a Sports Illustrated shoot that took place in Wakulla Springs in 1981. Only a handful of these issues remain. Then we have “The Gregg,” issue No. 7, bearing an actual vintage photo of the late great Gregg Allman, which we secured from longtime Allman Brothers Band photographer Sidney Smith. Our current issue No. 10, (aka “Thunderball”), celebrates travel, showcasing an amazing over-under shot of Thunderball Grotto, which is located in the Exumas and flows with crystalline water and scores of tropical fish. Exploration of the hidden cavern, named for the James Bond movie filmed there, can only be done by those who know how to access it, either by jumping in from high

above at the opening of the rock formation or by swimming in from a small gap at the water’s edge. It’s just one of the many secrets we uncovered in this issue about our beautiful neighbor, the Bahamas. In her story “Islands in the Stream,” writer Nila Do Simon looks at the deep connections Floridians have to the majestic archipelago, which many view as an extension of our state. Then, we head back home to Gasparilla Island on the Gulf Coast, to the tiny village nestled at its center, Boca Grande—not to be confused with Boca Raton. In her piece “The Elephant, the Temp and the Tarpon,” Katie Hendrick Vincent explores the upscale hideaway and its history as one of the world’s top fishing destinations for the Silver King. In between all the boating, diving and fun in the sun, we hope you will pause and turn your thoughts to that blazing natural resource in the sky, which inspired the nickname of our state. In his story, “Here Comes the Sun,” writer Michael Adno takes a look at how one man’s determination to create the solar-powered town of Babcock Ranch has sparked a growing wave of change in how Floridians think about energy production and consumption. Another pressing issue on the minds of Floridians this summer

is: who will our next governor be? In her piece “Welcome to Grahamelot,” Diane Roberts digs into the life and times of Gwen Graham, the only female candidate in the race. (To be sure, there are other famous Graham women in her family.) And lastly, nearly four months have passed since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shocked the world. To say the debate over the event was heated doesn’t begin to express the level of raw pain felt by so many. In this issue I write about my time at Douglas High School and the significant impact the shooting had on me. When the tragedy first happened, we asked readers to submit essays expressing their thoughts for our online series, Power of the Pen. I hope my piece, “Fly Like an Eagle,” inspires some of you to revisit that day, share your story and commit to doing your part to help make our country safer for everyone. Flamingo No. 10 is filled with thunderous journeys of the heart and the mind. May it surprise you and take you to places you never knew you wanted to go.

Editor in Ch ief & P u blish er

let us know what you think. Email me at jamie@flamingomag.com

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FLAMINGOMAG.COM /// S U M M E R 2 0 1 8

PHOTOGR APHY BY INGRID DAMIANI; ST YLING BY ALIX ROBINSON

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ISSUE

CONTRIBUTORS

10

For Floridians. By Floridians.

• FOUNDED IN 2016 •

LAURA REILEY pens Flamingo’s Grove Stand

chef profiles. She is the Tampa Bay Times restaurant critic and former critic for the San Francisco Chronicle and Baltimore Sun. She authored four books in the Moon Handbook series: Florida Gulf Coast, Walt Disney World and Orlando, Tampa and St. Petersburg, and the Paradise Coast. She has cooked professionally and graduated from the California Culinary Academy. In 2017, she was a Pulitzer Prize and James Beard Award finalist. She also won the Paul Hansell Award for Distinguished Achievement in Florida Journalism.

ERIC BARTON, a native of New Hampshire, can

recall the moment he vowed to make Florida his permanent home: driving to Florida Southern College, watching the sun rise over the Polk County orange groves. Eric took to Florida and has posted up on both coasts. A freelance journalist, he lives in Fort Lauderdale with his wife, Jill, a law professor. Eric’s work has appeared in the BBC, Bicycling Magazine, Food & Wine, and Indulge Magazine. On Sundays, he likes to make forays to ethnic restaurants, and has amassed an eclectic list of favorite banh mi spots.

SUSAN BENTON is a South Walton–based writer,

artist and founder of the food blog 30AEats.com. For 20 years, she has split her time between Pensacola and 30A, where she raised her two children. Susan has contributed to national and regional publications including The Daily Meal, Cooking Light, The Local Palate and VIE Magazine. She was named a top 100 Gulf Coast seafood blogger by the Gulf & South Atlantic Fisheries Foundation. She expects to publish her own cookbook this winter. In this issue of Flamingo, she shares the flavors of the Panhandle.

ROB RUSHIN is a Tallahassee-based writer

and musician covering up-and-comers for Flamingo. He blogs on life and culture at ImmunetoBoredom.com and writes for publications like Bitter Southerner. He used to believe a cup of coffee and a book was the best of all possible parties until he thought to add cheesecake to the mix. Father of two, well married. Lover of dogs. Especially Maggie.

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FLAMINGOMAG.COM /// S U M M E R 2 0 1 8

— s u m m e r 20 1 8 — Editor in Chief, Publisher, Founder JAMIE RICH jamie@flamingomag.com Consulting Creative Director Holly Keeperman holly@flamingomag.com Photo Editor and Senior Designer Ellen Patch ellen@flamingomag.com Contributing Editor Jeanne Craig Cont ributin g Writers Michael Adno, Eric Barton, Susan Benton, Steve Dollar, Prissy Elrod, Katie Hendrick Vincent, Chay Hughes, Morgan Jenkins, Laura Reiley, Diane Roberts, Maddy Zollo-Rusbosin, Rob Rushin, Nila Do Simon, Carlton Ward Jr., Terry Ward Contributing Photographers & Illustrators Leslie Chalfont, Jack Gardener, Beth Gilbert, Mary Beth Koeth, Stephen Lomazzo, Libby Volgyes, Carlton Ward Jr. Copy Editors & Fact Checkers Brett Greene, Emily Orr, Katherine Shy Social Strategy Christina Clifford Marketing & Promotions Annie Lee Global Director Partnership Marketing Neil Strickland neil@globetm.com Global Director Partnership Marketing Claudio Dasilva claudio@globetm.com Advertising Sales Robert Kohn robert@flamingomag.com Contact Us Phone: (904) 395-3272 Email: info@flamingomag.com TO GET A YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION (4 issues) go to flamingomag.com or send a $30 check made out to JSR Media LLC to 100 Executive Way, Suite 106 Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082 All content in this publication, including but not limited to text, photos and graphics, is the sole property of and copyrighted by JSR Media and Flamingo. Reproduction without permission from the publisher is prohibited. We take no responsibility for images or content provided by our advertisers.

JSR MEDIA


From authentic adventures to one-of-a-kind experiences, Palm Coast and the Flagler Beaches are filled with opportunities to connect with nature. Come fall in love with the area’s unique personality and unspoiled charm — your vacation is sure to be anything but ordinary.

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— Flor idians, far e, f inds —

WADING IN — The Spread —

Entertaining notes fresh from the fields of 30A

— Made in Fla —

Three things you need to keep a cold buzz going

— Flamingle —

When the hurricane bore down, they stepped up

— Fledglings —

S t r u m m i n g a n d h u m m i n g w i t h J . T. B r o w n o f Ta m p a

— Just Hatched —

MARY BETH KOETH

All the coolest places and spaces to see and be seen

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FLAMINGOMAG.COM /// S U M M E R 2 0 1 8


Only 174 miles to Walker’s Cay the world’s finest

shallow water skiffs

HANDCRAFTED IN TITUSVILLE, FL w w w . h e l l s b ay b o at w o r k s . c o m


WADING IN :THE SPREAD FLO R IDA-F R ESH BITES & BEVS

By Sus an Ben t o n • P h o t o g ra p h y b y J a ck G a rd en er

Sirens of Summer

Heirloom tomatoes and watermelon pair up for a knockout salad

This page:

Watermelon and tomato make the perfect go-to summer set.

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Above: Susan Benton, food blogger for 30AEats.com, sips wine cocktails with her daughter Caroline in South Walton Beach.

W

hen summer heats up along the Panhandle of northwest Florida, it cues the emergence of the humble tomato, the sunripened siren of the season, as described by the late food writer John Egerton. Former restauranteur Charles Bush and his wife, chef Shueh-Mei Pong, owners of Dragonfly Fields in DeFuniak Springs, did not realize the learning curve would be so steep when they began planting their heirloom seeds more than a decade ago. But through trial and error, they’ve cultivated the juiciest fruits around, which appear on the plates of area restaurants and at the Seaside Farmers Market along Florida’s Scenic Highway 30A. “Heirloom tomatoes don’t like the heat, even though they’re a hot-weather crop. Once you get one that is good, there is nothing better in this world,” says Bush. Bush and Pong founded Dragonfly Fields as a bridge between chefs and local farmers. Varieties like the Eva Purple Ball, Jaune Flamme and Aunt Ruby’s Green German present flavors as wild as their names. The tomatoes, with their distinct tartness, pair well with another star of the summer, the watermelon, along with some homemade mozzarella in a refreshingly light salad. It’s a match only made this good in Florida.

Florida Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Fresh Mozzarella S e rv e s 8 5 cups seedless watermelon, cut into 3/4-inch cubes 1 1/2 pounds ripe Florida heirloom tomatoes, cut into 3/4-inch wedges 1/2 teaspoon table salt 2 teaspoons sugar 1 ball of fresh mozzarella, cut into 8 slices and then cubed 1 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced 1/2 cup white wine vinegar 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup torn basil leaves Cracked black pepper to taste Loaf of crusty bread PREPARATION: Add watermelon, tomatoes, salt and sugar to a large bowl and toss until combined. Cover and let stand 20 minutes. Fold in mozzarella, onion, vinegar and oil. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours. Serve chilled with a sprinkle of fresh basil, cracked black pepper to taste and a slice of crusty bread on the side. Note: Use the best tomatoes and watermelon you can find to create this sweet and salty salad with a hint of acidity.

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S U M M E R 2 0 1 8 /// FLAMINGOMAG.COM

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WADING IN :THE SPREAD FLO R IDA-F R ESH BITES & BEVS

30A On the Rocks Sip the season’s bounty, fresh from the fields of the Sunshine State and-watermelon-infused water and locally distilled vodka. In nearby Crestview, Aaron Barnes and Camden Ford have taken their passion for spirits to another level by founding Timber Creek Distillery in 2014 on Barnes’s family farm. The award-winning craft distillery makes rum, brandy, vodka and its definition of Florida whiskey. “Our vision is to take the best local fruits and grains from the Panhandle and turn them into the finest spirits,” says Ford.

Sunset on 30A

JALAPENO SIMPLE SYRUP

S e rv e s 2

1/2

3 ounces vodka 4 ounces tomato-watermelon water 2 ounces jalapeno simple syrup (recipe follows) 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice Soda water Watermelon wedge and seeded jalapeno slice for garnish

TOMATO-WATERMELON WATER 3 cups roughly chopped large red heirloom tomatoes, approximately 1 1/2 pounds 6 cups roughly chopped seedless watermelon 1 teaspoon salt PREPARATION: Juice tomatoes and watermelon in a juicer. The liquid should be free from pulp. Discard the pulp and pour juice into a pitcher. Add salt and stir to combine.

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cup water 1/2 cup sugar 1 jalapeno, sliced and seeded PREPARATION: In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat water and jalapeno until boiling. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Strain and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

FOR THE COCKTAIL

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Add vodka, watermelon-tomato water, jalapeno simple syrup and lime juice. Shake for about 20 seconds. Pour mixture into an Old Fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Top with a splash of soda. Garnish with jalapeno slice and watermelon wedge. Note: For added flavor, dip a lime wedge into spiced cocktail salt and rub the edge of the glass with it.

FLAMINGOMAG.COM /// S U M M E R 2 0 1 8

JACK GARDENER

S

outhern summers call for parties on the front porch, and on 30A, we locals live on ours. Cool Gulf breezes, fresh-caught seafood straight from the docks, iced cocktails and lively conversation are the elements that create the perfect soiree. For those Floridians who haven’t experienced that moment when the sun dips below the horizon on gorgeous Grayton Beach, then mix up the next best thing: a seasonal sunset cocktail made with tomato-


WADING IN :FLAMINGLE A FLO CK OF FASCINATING F LOR IDIANS

Hurricane Heroes

June 1 marks the official start of hurricane seasoN. These five Floridians prove that no matter the weather, we’re in it together. Chief Conch

Key West is one of the most iconic vacation destinations in the world. The island’s geography makes it the perfect spot for snorkeling over coral reefs, but also puts it at unparalleled risk during hurricane season, a reality no one understands better than those in blue. Key West Chief of Police Donald Lee Jr. urged his fellow Conchs to leave the Keys and head north as Hurricane Irma approached. The whole state watched to see if the Keys would be wiped off the map, while Lee, who is openly gay and a fifthgeneration Conch, rode out the storm with his officers to ensure the safety of the city and its people.

GEORGIA MOTT

BYRON BURROUGHS

Inside Job

Beer Here

Show Me the Money

JAKE OWEN

BRYAN NORCROSS

In the equestrian community, there’s some debate over the proper protocol for waiting out large storms. If relocating isn’t an option, is it better to leave horses in open pasture and let instinct take over or to secure them in a barn and risk injury if there’s structural damage? For Georgia Mott of Okeechobee County, the answer during Hurricane Irma was neither. Mott and her roommate transformed their home into a horse haven, complete with hay on the floor and feed buckets on the walls, for their two steeds, Goose and Dixie. The pair posted a video of their preparations, which quickly went viral.

As the owners of Proof Brewing Co. in Tallahassee, Byron Burroughs and his wife, Angela, are wellknown throughout the capital city. As the winds of Irma stirred over the Caribbean, propelling the then-Category 5 hurricane toward the state, the Burroughses stopped production of their beloved Mango Wit and started offering free filtered water. “In the event the storm deals a major blow to Tallahassee,” the brewery wrote in a Facebook post, “we’ll have our tanks filled with over 300 barrels (almost 10,000 gallons) of water ready to provide to the community.” Spared by the storm, they quickly got back to brewing beer.

In 2017, Florida faced off with one of the more active hurricane seasons in recent memory. After the clouds of Hurricane Irma parted, Florida native and country music superstar Jake Owen put in a call to the governor’s office to see how he could help. He appealed to his 1 million Instagram followers with a video plea for donations that was viewed more than 70,000 times. All the funds raised for “Bring Back the Sunshine” were funneled into the Florida Disaster Fund. Topping things off, Owen joined icon Jimmy Buffett and Kenny Chesney on stage in Tallahassee last November for a hurricane relief concert benefiting victims of Irma.

During hurricane season, there’s no one Floridians turn to more than their trusted regional meteorologists. It can be a tough job, with irregular hours and storm chasing. But in 1992, as Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida, weatherman Bryan Norcross was unwavering. His voice and likeness on the TV calmed viewers as the storm barreled toward Miami. Norcross’s composure saved lives and later earned him national recognition. “Get to that interior closet,” he said, “get a mattress over your head, get your family in there and just wait this thing out.” Norcross’s coverage set the standard for hurricane reporting.

Calming Force

ILLUSTR ATION BY STEPHEN LOMAZZO

DONALD LEE JR.

S U M M E R 2 0 1 8 /// FLAMINGOMAG.COM

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A DV E RTO R I A L

Be Golden in

VERO BEACH It’s early morning in Vero Beach, and the sun washes the

sand a golden hue where the ocean laps ashore. An egret stalks the water’s edge for silvery minnows. Nearby, a human is on the hunt, too, waving a metal detector over the the sand, ever hopeful that this storied place will offer up yet another treasure buried long ago.

FLORIDA’S TREASURE COAST This is Florida’s Treasure Coast, after all, and the final resting place of the legendary 1715 Fleet—a flotilla of 11 treasure ships that wrecked just offshore in a hurricane while en route from Havana to Spain over three centuries ago. The fleet spilled all manner of jewels, gold doubloons and silver coins. And while professional treasure hunters recovered about $4.5 million in gold coins and treasure in 2015 on the 300th anniversary of the sinking, much of the fleet’s precious cargo still lies hidden on the sea floor. In quaint Vero Beach, located about two hours from Orlando to the west and Miami on Florida’s East Coast, you never know what that glitter in the sand might turn out to be. SEA TURTLE MAGIC Vero Beach and the surrounding area are one of the world’s richest nesting grounds for loggerhead sea turtles, and you never know when you’ll see one emerging from the water and hauling itself up onto the sand. Nesting tours to see mothers laying their eggs take off from the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, just north of the famed fishing pier at Sebastian Inlet. or the Sebastian Inlet State Park.

SMALL-TOWN BEACH CULTURE Cross the bridge to the barrier island and get ready for a Florida beach-town experience unlike any other. Public parking is free, and building height restrictions keep Vero’s development on a decidedly human scale. The low-slung skyline makes it all the more inviting for visitors to spend the day relaxing on the area’s uncrowded beaches. Locals love off-the-beaten-path spots like Turtle Trail Beach and Seagrape Trail, where treasure salvage boats can be seen searching for gold just 20 feet from the shore during the summer. LOCAL-DRIVEN DINING When it comes to nightlife in the heart of Vero Beach, the perfect evening plays out at a table with ocean views and local seafood specialties like mahi, snapper and cobia. There’s not a chain restaurant in sight on the barrier island; the town’s dining scene caters to a gourmet palate craving locally sourced food. Chef-driven hotspots include Citrus Grillhouse, Ocean Grill, and The Wave, Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s Cuban-inspired restaurant at the stylish Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa.

From sand to city, Vero Beach reveals untold cultural, natural and buried riches at every turn.– Terry Ward


vero beach . fellsmere . sebastian VisitIndianRiverCounty.com

Sun. Sand. SOLITUDE. EXPERIENCE THEM ALL ON FLORIDA'S FINER SIDE.


WADING IN :MADE IN FLA TOAST

Miami Ice

Make sure your drink tastes as cool as it looks with custom-crafted cubes from this South Florida ice-maker

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“Then, you hand-cut it,” says Leal. “It’s the artisanal part of the process.” Using a two-meter saw, the ice is whittled down based on a client’s wants and needs. The cubes last 35 to 40 minutes once they’re placed in a glass. Mixology Ice has the ability to personalize cubes even further by infusing the ice with edible flowers, fruit and more. They also sell trays in three popular shapes (sphere, cube and Collins), so customers can create their own ice at home. “We are trying to make it possible for everyone to afford good ice,” says Leal. “It should be easy for people to pick up a good tray of ice. That’s the goal.” mixologyice.com —Maddy Zollo-Rusbosin

This page: The cube, sphere and Collins forms take craft cocktailing to the next level. Above: Ice sculptors Leal and Alvarez show off their frozen florals.

ERIK LESSER

AFTER REALIZING THAT

nothing ruins a cocktail faster than melting ice, Carlos Leal and Fabian Alvarez set out to change the Miami bar scene one cube at a time with their company Mixology Ice. “We started the business because we found out there was a niche for good ice that was untapped,” explains Leal. “When you use regular ice at bars and events, there will be melting, which will mess around with the quality of the drinks.” They begin making their custom ice with a slowfreezing process, which eliminates gas bubbles that melt quickly and can cause premature drink dilution. After five days, they’ll be left with a 300-pound block of ice made purely of water.


WADING IN :MADE IN FLA SCOOP

Cocktail Creamery Makers Aubi and Ramsa give new meaning to the phrase “ice-cream bar” with their spirit-infused scoops

AUBI & R AMSA

BEHIND THE SLEEK COUNTERTOPS

at Aubi & Ramsa, there’s not a jar of maraschino cherries or rainbow sprinkles in sight. Instead, bottles of alcohol line the white walls, displayed next to round pints in chic packaging. This Miami Design District hot spot is already a tremendous success thanks to its innovative, boozy flavors. Founders Matias Aubi and Rafa Ramsa met while both were living and working in Los Angeles. Ramsa and his wife had worked in the ice cream industry for years, and they were always fascinated by the idea of merging the frozen treat

with alcohol. After Ramsa shared this vision with Aubi, they put their creative minds together to develop the brand and open up its flagship location in Miami. Each of their 20 flavors combines allnatural ingredients with top-shelf liquor and wine, boasting 4.9 percent alcohol by volume. Customer favorites include The Highland Truffle, infused with Macallan 12; Kentucky Creme Brulee, with Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon; and Strawberries & Rosé, with Moet & Chandon Rosé Imperial. The even sweeter part: Aubi & Ramsa also offer pints to go or delivery in Miami. aubiramsa.com —MZR

This page: Belly up to the bar for a different kind of pint at Aubi & Ramsa. Inset: A pint of Highland Truffle ice cream packs a punch with 12-year-old Macallan Scotch whisky folded in.

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[ WADING IN :MADE IN FLA B y M a d d y Z o l l o -R u sb o si n

The Big Chill Have no fear loading up as many ice-cold cans as you need in this insulated backpack by IceMule.

A

His aha moment happened when he and his girlfriend (now his wife) were preparing for a day hike. Wanting to pack drinks and sandwiches for their excursion, Collie set out to find a cooler that would keep things cold without leaking everywhere. Unable to find a suitable option, he filled a backpack with plastic Above: The Pro in baggies of ice and hoped for Realtree camo keeps the catch the best. “The bags broke, cold. the ice melted, I got wet, the Right: The Classic in seafoam food got soggy, and I looked

[

sk any Floridian: There’s nothing better than an ice-cold drink on a balmy summer day. That’s why it’s not unusual to see as many coolers on the beach as there are people. But for Virginia native James Collie, the typical cooler—one that’s hard-sided, bulky, and sometimes on wheels—wasn’t practical for outdoor pursuits. In his mind, portability was key. This belief led him to start IceMule Coolers, a line of hands-free, insulated backpacks.

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ICEMULE COOLERS

like a schmuck in front of my new girlfriend,” Collie recalls of that day. The upside: The experience got him thinking—and searching—for a solution. Collie realized that if it was possible to insulate dry bags (commonly used in kayaking and other water sports), his idea would work. After learning about radio frequency welding, a technique that would allow him to manufacture a soft-sided, portable cooler, he knew he was onto something. Unfortunately, his day job as a marketing consultant took priority, until he was faced with a career change. “We were going to move to California, since I was about to take a job out there,” Collie says. “Then my wife was like, ‘Why don’t we just move to the Florida beach house, and you can start the cooler company?’” Collie was immediately sold on the thought of heading south, so they moved into their St. Augustine vacation home full-time. Soon after, IceMule Coolers was born. After launching in spring 2014, it only took a few months for IceMule Coolers to be picked Clockwise from above: The Boss up by The Grommet, keeps ice cold for Orvis and REI. These days; the Pro in action; the Classic were among the first in IceMule Blue started it all. backpack coolers to come

to market, and their quality was unmatched, thanks to their practical, innovative design. IceMule products are affordable, too, with prices ranging from $45 to $300. Today, one of the features that continues to set IceMule products apart is the air valve. “You can won’t work in the sand. It’s comical to me, actually blow into the air valve to increase the because I can carry everything they have in insulation of the cooler,” says Collie. “Because that cooler on my back, with my it balloons the interior, you can use hands free for my umbrella and it to shock-proof whatever is inside. my beach chair.” We know photographers who use ICEMULE Beyond portability, the IceMule as their carry-on luggage.” — AVAILABLE AT — coolers can also keep ice fresh The valve also deflates the cooler PETER GLENN for anywhere from 24 hours to entirely, making it easy to roll it up MIAMI three days, depending on the and pack it inside your luggage. OLD FLORIDA OUTFITTERS SANTA ROSA BEACH style—which makes them great The coolers come in five designs BEAU OUTFITTERS for festivals, float trips and yes, with multiple sizes and colors. JACKSONVILLE even hurricanes. Collie packed up “They can be used in whatever icemulecoolers.com each of his Boss Coolers with ice environment you’re in,” says before Hurricane Matthew hit in Collie. “Wherever you’re going 2016, providing his family with ice for almost in Florida, you need a cold drink. If you’ve a week. “We didn’t have power, but we ever been to the beach, you’ve seen someone had cocktails.” wheeling one of those coolers with wheels that

Left: The Classic’s

dry-bag design is completely waterproof.

Inset: IceMule

founder James Collie

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WADING IN :FLEDGLINGS FLO RIDA MUSICIANS ON THE R ISE B y R o b R u sh i n

Fingerpickin’ Good B

orn and raised near the Tampa area, singer-songwriter and guitarist J.T. Brown was destined to live life loving music. With a “true connoisseur of music” for a father, J.T. ended up with a guitar in hand and stories he was burning to tell. His debut album, Phantom Heart (2016), perked up the ears of everyone who heard it with its savvy blend of folk, country, and Southern fried rock. On the heels of the recent release of Down the Coast, his new EP, we called J.T. to find out a little more about him.

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FLAMINGOMAG.COM /// S U M M E R 2 0 1 8

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR CHILDHOOD IN FLORIDA.

J.T. I grew up in Lutz, a small town outside Tampa. It was pretty rural until the mid’90s. Growing up, I spent a lot of time on the water, fishing in the lakes and swimming in the Gulf. And Lutz is an easy paddle to a primitive barrier island, where you can run around naked building fires and eating freshly caught fish.

HOW DOES YOUR FLORIDA BACKGROUND SHAPE YOUR MUSIC? J.T. I think there’s a sense of ease that comes with growing up on the Gulf Coast. I’ve spent most of my life daydreaming, waiting for inspiration to strike. The older I get, the more I refine my ability to let go of the reins, allowing creative sparks to fly when the universe sees fit. I work on my craft

This page: J.T. Brown says

he wishes he could have written music with the likes of Townes Van Zandt.

5

TOP SONGS

and fan favorites from J.T.’s EPs

1 2 3

 ALL MY LOVE” “ Phantom Heart  THE DEVIL’S SHOULDER” “ Phantom Heart “OAK” Down the Coast

4 5

“HEADSHOT” Down the Coast

“TO MONTEREY” Down the Coast

CAMERON MELCHER

A Tampa Bay singer-songwriter pours his life into his music


constantly, but I write only when I’m inspired, and that’s usually when I’m on a beach or in the woods or floating down a river. I imagine growing up in Florida has informed my songwriting process in that way.

YOUR FINGERPICKING HAS A JAMES TAYLOR VIBE, AND THE ELECTRIC BREAKS ON PHANTOM HEART DEFINITELY HAVE THAT SOUTHERN ROCK FEEL. WHO ARE YOUR BIG INSPIRATIONS?

UNDER OUR CANOPY OF SKY

MAGIC HAPPENS

J.T. My fingerpicking technique came about by playing in bed at night, trying not to wake up people in the house. It’s a valuable tool when you want to express the intimacy in a piece of music. I played every guitar part on Phantom Heart. Playing lead, really digging into the emotion that’s driving the piece, is my favorite thing. As far as influences, there’s no one player that I favor. I took bits and pieces from all the greats and stubbornly taught myself. It’s not about how many notes you can play; it’s about how accurately you represent your being through your fingers.

WHO ARE YOUR SINGING INFLUENCES?

J.T. I like vocalists that have a sort of bent voice. Imperfect, maybe a little rough around the edges. Things like articulation and tone should be fed directly from your soul to your mouth, without a filter. That’s the challenge. If you can do that every time, then maybe you’ve hit the mark.

Delight in our Endless Summer Fun package at The Ponte Vedra Inn & Club or The Lodge & Club Ponte Vedra–both luxurious oceanfront resorts offering unparalleled personal service by our treasured staff. Receive a $200 resort credit. Enjoy two world-class championship golf courses, tennis courts, fitness centers, and a lavish spa – the region’s largest. Bask on the beach, splash in our family and adult pools, shop in our boutiques and savor numerous dining and lounge options. The Endless Summer Fun package is offered mid-week, Sunday through Wednesday evenings, from May 14 to August 29, 2018 and is based on a two-night minimum stay.

IF YOU COULD WORK WITH ANY MUSICIAN, WHO WOULD IT BE? J.T. I would love to have had the chance to sit down and write with Townes Van Zandt. He had such a simple, sad hope in his writing. To me, he was brutally human, and it was beautiful. For more info visit: jtbrownandco.com

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FL 32082 | PONTEVEDRA.COM | (844) 648-8833

PV_Flamingo_2/3Ad_4.18.indd 1

4/25/18 9:49 AM

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P RO M O T I O N

JACKSONVILLE

AN EXPLORER’S DREAM. A SONGWRITER’S MUSE. A CHEF’S GARDEN. From its marshy outposts to the banks of the St. Johns River and deep into its urban core, a cultural storm surge has washed over greater JACKSONVILLE. In its wake, a bounty of old and new treasures forged by creative JESSIE PREZA

thinkers, tastemakers, designers and entrepreneurs is exploding from the riverfront to the beach. In Flamingo’s SUMMER 2018 CITY GUIDE, we spotlight one of our state’s most beloved locales, previewing the must-see places, venues and experiences in Jacksonville and the Beaches.

S U M M E R 2 0 1 8 /// FLAMINGOMAG.COM

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JACKSONVILLE

P RO M O T I O N

Underwood Jewelers OWNER: Clayton

Bromberg

OPENED: 1928 SPECIALTIES: As

one of the best jewelers in the South, Underwood’s remains the area’s exclusive representative of many of the finest jewelry and watch brands in the world, including Rolex, David Yurman, Forevermark Diamonds, Lagos, Roberto Coin, Mikimoto, John Hardy, Ippolita, Erica Courtney, Dao Fournier and more. With locations throughout Greater Jacksonville, its Ponte Vedra location opened 22 years ago.

QUOTE: “Quality is not just materials and craftsmanship. It also includes design, presentation, service, integrity and your experience in our store.” —Clayton Bromberg NEIGHBORHOOD:

Ponte Vedra Beach

underwoodjewelers.com

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FLAMINGOMAG.COM /// S U M M E R 2 0 1 8


JACKSONVILLE

P RO M O T I O N

Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens OPENED: 1961 FOUNDER: Ninah

Cummer

SPECIALTIES: The

Cummer, as locals affectionately call it, blends art, gardens and education to inspire imagination and passion. With a nationally renowned permanent collection including works by Romare Bearden and Norman Rockwell, the museum offers thought-provoking exhibitions and programs for seasoned art aficionados, those new to the art world and families looking for a creative space.

NEIGHBORHOOD:

Riverside

cummermuseum.org

Alhambra Theatre & Dining OPENED:

December 1967

OWNER: Craig Smith and Theatre Partners

This historic stage is the nation’s longestrunning professional dinner theater; patrons have been making memories here for more than 50 years. See Broadway-quality performances of shows like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Kiss Me Kate while sipping a cocktail and enjoying seasonal upscale cuisine by Executive Chef DeJuan Roy.

SPECIALTIES:

NEIGHBORHOOD:

1200 Beach Boulevard alhambrajax.com

The Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops OPENED:

June 2010

OWNER: Stephen

DiMare

SPECIALTIES: The Hyppo makes delightful, all-natural ice pops from everything under the sun. And with more than 450 flavor combinations, they’re still growing! They use only the freshest fruit they can find. That means the only time fruit is frozen is when it becomes an ice pop. Treats are flash frozen, to lock in freshness. Does it get any better than that? NEIGHBORHOODS:

Riverside and San Marco thehyppo.com

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JACKSONVILLE

P RO M O T I O N

The Mini Bar OPENED:

January 2018

OWNER: Chase

Sams

and Brooke

Pop in for made-to-order mini donuts and artisan coffee at this stylish donut shop with a large outdoor courtyard and games. From classic combinations like cinnamon sugar to complex creations like s’mores and maple bacon, there’s a favorite for everyone. Chase down the minis with a cappuccino, wine, mimosa, or one of the local craft beers on tap. SPECIALTIES:

NEIGHBORHOOD:

Jacksonville Beach

minibardonuts.com

Bold Bean Coffee Roasters OPENED: Roasting since 2007, cafes added in 2011 OWNERS: Family

Owned

SPECIALTIES: Great coffee

doesn’t just happen; it’s a process. Bold Bean serves singleorigin coffees, signature blends, espressos and nitro coffee as well as handcrafted syrups, in-house baked goods, craft beers and wines. We will source, roast, brew and serve outstanding coffee, learn continuously and foster community, be good people and have fun.

NEIGHBORHOODS: San Marco, Riverside and Jacksonville Beach RETAIL-WHOLESALE-ONLINE

boldbeancoffee.com

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Trasca & Co. Eatery OPENED:

2015

OWNER: Sara

Frasca

SPECIALTIES: The local cafe with a vintage atmosphere and cozy outdoor patio bustles with hungry locals enjoying Trasca’s signature Paninos—warm, satisfying pockets of homemade dough filled with cheese and other delicious goodies. The menu features family recipes including cracker pizzas, salads, homemade desserts and scones. NEIGHBORHOOD:

Ponte Vedra Beach trascaandco.com


JACKSONVILLE

P RO M O T I O N

Penelope T OPENED: Jacksonville Beach location in 2011; Tampa location in 2005

Manne White and Nickie Smith

OWNERS:

For more than 10 years, these two friends have curated a selection of merchandise from big to small contemporary designers who inspire them. In addition to denim, dresses, tops and tees, they carry an array of jewelry, accessories, shoes and lingerie. Find high-quality, creative pieces you never knew you needed but can’t live without.

SPECIALTIES:

NEIGHBORHOOD:

Jacksonville Beach

penelopetboutique.com

Ruth’s Chris OPENED: 1965 SPECIALTIES: The

New Orleans steakhouse is a local fixture for happy hour, holidays and those craving that signature USDA prime steak, served sizzling on a 500-degree plate. Equally as popular as the classic cuisine, a world-class wine selection and hand-crafted cocktails have engendered a loyal fan base. Reserve a place at Ruth’s Tastemaker dinners for an education on Caymus, Wagner Family of Wines.

NEIGHBORHOODS: Ponte Vedra Beach and Downtown Jacksonville riverfront

ruthschris.com

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JACKSONVILLE

P RO M O T I O N

Hotel Palms

Jaffi’s OPENED:

2001

OWNERS:

OWNER:

Emilie Christenson

Dotted with elements of nostalgia for Old Florida, this contemporary 11-room motor court inn was designed by Neptune Beach firm Edge & Lines. The beer and wine lounge and private courtyard lend themselves to a relaxing evening after a day at the beach, which is just three blocks from the property.

SPECIALTIES: Jaffi’s is a women’s clothing boutique, one block from the beach, offering a hand-selected collection of the best styles each season has to offer. The shop offers a wide range of national brands from J Brand and Hard Tail to local favorites like Lisa Kaminski Swimwear. The selection, coupled with warm and helpful customer service make Jaffi’s a favorite local shopping destination.

NEIGHBORHOOD:

NEIGHBORHOOD:

thehotelpalms.com

jaffisneptunebeach.com

OPENED:

October 2016

Greg and Julie Schwartzenberger and Stevan Brown

SPECIALTIES:

Atlantic Beach

Beaches Town Center

KMH Home OPENS: June 2018 SPECIALTIES: KMH Home has

curated a collection of everyday essentials that make life a little less complicated, more comforting and balanced. We focus on each area of the home, from living room and kitchen to bedroom and bath, selecting items that fit together like pieces of a puzzle. The staff at KMH home are here to provide you with a personalized shopping experience, whether that is helping you discover your own curated collection or find a well-selected gift for that special occasion.

NEIGHBORHOOD:

kmhdesigninc.com/kmhhome

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RYAN MONTEZ

Beaches Town Center


WADING IN :JUST HATCHED DEBUTS TO PER USE

FOXTAIL’S FARMHOUSE W I N T E R PA R K

OR ANGE VISUAL GROUP

Much more than a mere coffee joint, the Farmhouse concept greatly broadens the offerings of the Foxtail coffee brand. The new shop, dubbed Store 1004, is a gathering place for artisans in central Florida’s craftdriven community. Specialty coffees are roasted on-site, with single-origin brews and blends available. There’s also a bar serving wine, champagne and cocktails. Find freshly squeezed fruit juices and a lively menu of small bites and pastries, with options for vegans and those with a sweet tooth. Patrons can also grab items to go and investigate the world’s largest coffee siphon bar. foxtailcoffee.com

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WADING IN :JUST HATCHED DEBUTS TO PER USE (NORTH)

HAPPY MOTORING! TA L LA H A S S E E

Once the shell of a 1950s Esso service station, this novel gathering place ties together Tallahassee’s past and future as part of an initiative to spark new community life south of the Florida Capitol. The site has been recast as a social hub, with white picnic tables gracing an AstroTurf lawn and the distressed interior spruced up with colorful accents, additional seating, a beer-and-wine bar and a tea-and-coffee sidebar run by Catalina Coffee and the Tallahassee Tea Co. There’s no kitchen, so the parking lot hosts some of the city’s most popular food trucks on a rotating schedule (currently Thursdays–Saturdays). Amanda Morrison of Social Catering, who collaborated with local entrepreneurs (and neighbors) Lucas Lindsey and Jake Kiker of the Foremost group to launch the enterprise, took a cue from similar operations in Miami’s

32

artsy Wynwood District. The partners are mindful of history. The restored, original signage echoes Esso’s cheerful slogan, which once greeted customers at what was Tallahassee’s only black-owned gas station. happymotoringtlh.com

GILBERT’S SOUTHERN KITCHEN & BAR/GILBERT’S HOT CHICKEN, FISH & SHRIMP JACKSONVILLE BEACH

An audience favorite during his run as a contestant on season seven of Top Chef, Kenny Gilbert brings decades of culinary expertise to his newest eateries, doubling down with a pair of new beachfront concept establishments. The Southern Kitchen offers a contemporary take on classic Southern victuals, complemented with—what else—moonshine and whiskey favorites. A few steps downstairs at the same location, Hot Chicken delivers on the promise of its name, plying diners with

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regional comfort food, including catfish sandwiches and a signature biscuit laden with a mouth-watering multitude of treats like smoked chicken thigh, pork belly, pickled green tomato and remoulade. gilbertssouthern.com gilbertshotchicken.com

PESCADO ROOFTOP BAR AND SEAFOOD GRILL

R O S E M A R Y B E A C H Pescado is the latest enterprise to open at Rosemary Beach, a development launched in

1995 that brings ideals of new urbanism to a 107-acre Gulffront community. The restaurant overlooks the water and was designed by Smith Hanes of Atlanta, with a focus on “subtle coastal colors, clean lines and soft lighting,” all aiming to enhance the Emerald Coast vibe. The menu, put together by Chef Ken Duenas, boasts an eclectic range of surf and turf, raw and cooked, from blue crab and steak tartare to Moroccan-spiced lollipop lamb chops and seared diver scallops. rooftop30a.com

PESCADO ROOFTOP BAR AND SEAFOOD GRILL, KRISTEN PENOYER, ADVENTURE MARKETING

Above: Catch a Gulf breeze from the rooftop at Pescado in Rosemary Beach. Below: A spread of Southern soul food from Top Chef Kenny Gilbert’s latest venture


WYATT’S COFFEE

Create Your History with Us Fall 2018

GAINESVILLE

This intimate java hut is in a prime spot to serve students at the University of Florida. What they’ll get is a richer experience, with nitro cold brew and pour-over coffee, than at name-brand grind houses. The new spot relocates Wyatt’s from midtown, where rampant construction had become a hassle. With the move comes change, and some new additions to the menu: specialty teas, pastries and a full range of espresso-based drinks. The smartly designed interior accommodates more than 30 patrons. wyattscoffee.com

St. Augustine Beach Oceanfront Resort

300 A1A Beach Boulevard | St. Augustine, Florida 32080 904-461-9004 | www.embassystaugustine.com

(C E N T RA L )

Social icon

Square Only use blue and/or white. For more details check out our Brand Guidelines.

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TA M PA

Once upon a time, 1910 to be exact, the site was the streetcar warehouse for the Tampa Electric Street and Railway Company. Modes of transportation changed, and in 1960 the voluminous barn became the home of Tampa Armature Works, a phosphate machinery company. More recently, it was transformed into a sprawling mixed-use space, whose latest addition

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Hurricane

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SANTA CLAUS (Hint: he has a condo in Margate)

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AUTHOR JEFF VANDERMEER

FROM BOOKS TO THE BIG SCREEN

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Hurricane

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SANTA CLAUS (Hint: he has a condo in Margate)

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AUTHOR JEFF VANDERMEER

FROM BOOKS TO THE BIG SCREEN

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-

WADING IN :JUST HATCHED DEBUTS TO PER USE (C E N T RA L ) is the Heights Public Market, a 22,000-square-foot industrial market with an appetizing array of restaurants with culinary creations for every kind of palette. Whether you’ve got a yen for ramen (Ichicoro Imoto), Cuban cuisine (Hemingway’s), cold-pressed juices (Swami Juice) or all-day gourmet breakfast (Graze 1910), you’ll find it here. armatureworks.com

HARD ROCK HOTEL DAYTONA BEACH

Introducing

T H E C O STA R O N DAC K SUPERIOR COMFORT ULTRA WEATHER RESISTANT TIE DOWN FEATURE

34

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BASKOUTS I D E .CO M

HARD ROCK HOTEL DAY TONA BEACH, WATERLINE MARINA RESORT & BEACH CLUB

Above: Hard Rock Hotel Daytona injects the city’s beachfront with a modern, luxury vibe.

D AY T O N A B E A C H The hospitality brand you can crank up to 11 launches its fourth Florida franchise on a


WADING IN :JUST HATCHED DEBUTS TO PER USE (C E N T RA L ) beachfront stage. The 200room hotel features amenities sure to deafen the competition. Guests can jam on guitars from a selection of 20 different Fender models jacked into a Mustang amp, or spin vinyl from an in-room LP library on a Crosley turntable. The musical theme defines a range of experiences, from drinking and dining to fitness and spa services to shopping and kid-oriented fun, including a guitar-shaped splash zone in an oceanfront pool, also equipped with an underwater sound system pumping tunes. hrhdaytonaBeach.com

WATERLINE MARINA RESORT & BEACH CLUB A N N A M A R I A I S LA N D

Boasting beaches of “sugarwhite” sand and a tropic-kissed climate, Anna Maria Island sits an hour south of Tampa on the Gulf of Mexico. This new resort makes the most of that blissful geography with its airy suites and decks with aquatic views; ample seafood and Southern flair at Eliza Ann’s Coastal Kitchen; swimming pool; and gigantic sun deck reaching into the marina, where 50 slips await boating parties eager to dock and dine or stay for the night. waterlineresort.com

Above: The Waterline Marina Resort is now open on Anna Maria Island.

T HE W O R L D ’S C OLD ES T

HANDS-FREE COOLER.

Learn more at ICEMULE.com

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WADING IN :JUST HATCHED DEBUTS TO PER USE (SOUTH)

W E S T PA L M B E A C H

Groovy warehouse districts aren’t only for the gentrified urban cores of faded industrial cities. They’re springing up in tony beach towns, too. Witness Grandview Public Market. The renovated mid-century warehouse sprawls across 14,000 square feet in West Palm Beach, offering a wide array of appetizing options from some 15 vendors, including the Hawaiian-style fare of Poke Lab Eatery and full-service butcher Grace’s Fine Foods. There is a weekly night market, a roster of ongoing events for children, and workshops on such topics as pickling and gardening. grandviewpublic.com

SAILS

N AP L E S

Co-founding entrepreneurs Veljko Pavicevic and Corinne Ryan opened Sails on Valentine’s Day, expressing their mutual affection for food and wine around the globe. The coastal cultures of Europe aren’t too remote from that of the “other” Naples on Florida’s own coastline. Guests are invited

to select their own fish and choose from multiple styles of preparation, whether that’s a seafood tower of raw delights, crudo with a Sails twist, or specialties cooked over a woodburning grill. Steak and pasta dishes are also on the menu. As for ambience, decor elements were directly influenced by artisans of Greece, Portugal, France and Italy. sailsrestaurants.com

BEACH HOUSE

P O M PA N O B E A C H

Infusing Pompano Beach with a megadose of boho-chic, this two-story oceanfront restaurant and bar, situated next to the soon-to-be-revamped Pompano Beach Pier, offers a quintessential Florida experience. Bamboo lanterns sway in the breeze, which flows from the porch through the open first-floor dining room. Upstairs, bungalowstyle alcoves offer private perches from which to overlook the ocean. Cocktails like the allnatural pops and prosecco come garnished with mini house-made fruit pops. Stir up tropical magic to go with fresh Florida seafood. beachhousepompano.com

Above: Fresh tuna poke bowl at the newly opened Poke Lab Eatery in the Grandview Public Market Below: From cocktails to bikinis to Birkin bags,

The Royal Poinciana Plaza has everything a Palm Beach heart desires.

THE ROYAL POINCIANA PLAZA PA L M B E A C H

History goes deluxe at this signature Palm Beach shopping center. The site first opened in the late 1950s, famously designed by John Valk in an architectural style that echoes the Palais Royal in Paris. The 180,000-square-foot property was restored both to its former glamor and given contemporary touches by Smith and Moore Architects and Nievera Williams Landscape Architecture. The

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Plaza has drawn a host of more than 20 retail shops offering everything from fresh produce to doggy treats and Hermes scarves to motorbikes. Dining options include restaurants such as Sant Ambroeus, the Palm Beach Grill and Coyo Taco, with award-winning Mexican fare. Even if you’ve maxed out your credit cards, you can still enjoy the lush life in one of the Plaza’s pair of courtyards, sipping a coffee amid the beautifully cultivated gardens. theroyalpoincianaplaza.com

POKE L AB EATERY, CAPEHART PHOTOGR APHY

GRANDVIEW PUBLIC MARKET


— Unf ilter ed Fodder —

Capital Dame By Di ane R o b ert s • I l l u st ra t i o n b y S t ep h en L o m a zzo

A TRUE OXFORD AMERICAN The Tallahassee lassie found connection and comfort in a cold English college that has called her back for 30 years.

BARNARD CASTLE—The crocuses are sticking their pointy purple and gold heads up out of the snow. The daffodils look like they’re hesitating, waiting for a little thaw. It’s very, very cold here—and I love it. My students at Florida State University headed off to Mexico or Daytona for spring break. I got on a plane

to cross the pond. They want sea and sun. I want to wear sweaters. Or, given that this is the north of England, a big coat, a woolly scarf, a hat, gloves, two pairs of socks and boots. You may think it weird that an eighthgeneration Floridian likes to freeze. But it’s one reason that, when I came here as a student 30-odd years ago, I took to Britain like a

squirrel to a washtub full of mixed nuts. “Hot” to a British person usually means about 72 degrees. I mean, 72 degrees is Tallahassee’s average daytime temperature. In November. Some years, we have to put the air conditioner on at Christmas. No AC here. No school shootings, no algae in the water, no headlines with the words

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Capital Dame UNF ILTER ED FODDER

house his wife’s china collection. There’s a good Indian restaurant, a farmers market and seriously nice people. Plus, at the moment, a lot of snow. Barnard Castle lies on roughly the same latitude as Unalaska Island, up in the Bering Sea. Britain isn’t really like a foreign country to me. I’m not sure it ever was, given the amount “president” of Masterpiece Theatre I consumed. Besides, and “porn you know how it is when you’re very young: star”—not on Wherever you are, whoever you’re with, you the front page, get imprinted, kind of like those baby wild anyway—and turkeys raised by Florida naturalist Joe Hutto. while there’s a lot about His poults learned to trust a human; I learned Russian interference in, oh, to walk on cobblestones in high heels and the everything, it still feels therapeutically far correct direction to pass the port decanter. from the crazy. Don’t get me wrong: Britain When I arrived in Britain, the Rhodes and has its own set of issues (Brexit, anyone?) Marshall scholars (I was a Marshall) had an and even its own yellow-haired buffoon, orientation session during which a gaggle though Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson of grown people warned us about getting knows Latin and has been known to read a depressed in the winter months, when night book, unlike some falls at 3:30 p.m. people I could and even on a good mention. Anyway, day the sun looks I lived in England like a hunk of feebly from 1980 to burning coal in an when you’re very young: 1990, mostly in asphalt-colored sky. Wherever you are, Oxford, where We were told that whoever you’re with, I did a second British students you get imprinted, kind bachelor’s and could be big drinkers of like those baby wild then a D.Phil. at and we shouldn’t turkeys raised by Florida the university—a try to keep up. naturalist Joe Hutto. D.Phil. is the We were advised same as a Ph.D., that there was a just with the class system that Latin switched we, nice, straightaround. These days I come back for a talking American kids, would probably never spell at least once a year, toggling between understand. Oxford, London and Barnard Castle, this I kept waiting to fall prey to misery, little market town on the River Tees with drunkenness and social faux pas. But it a vast medieval castle that used to belong turns out that I like dark about as much as to Richard III. You remember Richard, the I like cold. I was in a sorority at FSU, so I king they found buried under a parking was trained in boozing it up, though there’s lot in Leicester? The castle is a ruin, but a difference between chugging beer at the there’s a museum housed in a faux chateau SAE social and getting blotto on good wine built by the illegitimate son of an earl to and even better single malt whisky. Those

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hangovers felt like rites of passage. As for the class system, well, if you’ve lived in the South for any amount of time, you will know class divisions ain’t exactly alien to us. The British version did take me a while to figure out, though. My tutorial partner (you are taught individually or in pairs at Oxford) looked as though he didn’t have two pennies to his name. He wore the same ripped jeans and unraveling sweater every day. I told our mutual friend Fiona I was worried about Ed’s apparent destitution. She snorted. “His godfather is the queen’s first cousin,” she said. “And his family predates the Norman Conquest.” Sure enough, Ed would blossom forth for formal balls in white tie and tails (he owned two tailcoats) and disappear off to some stately home or other for deb parties. He told me later his family had lost its lordly estates during the English Reformation. I could understand that. In the South, we were short on titled gents but not on old, land-poor families who’d show you the silver coffee pot with the ding in the side (courtesy of a Yankee bullet in 1862) or the pearl pin one of the ancestors brought over on the Arbella. Southern white people may have learned the art of inverse snobbery from the British: My mother still insists that shabby furniture and mismatched Limoges left to you by your great-aunt are way better than new stuff you actually buy. Or like. Even though I had to learn that “pants” means underwear (I still say “trousers,” just to be on the safe side) and that the word “toilet” is never to be uttered, lest you sound declasse (one says


“loo”), severe culture shock never hit me. Growing up in a college town in Florida and then moving to a college town in England wasn’t such a revolutionary change, though Oxford does boast some of the finest architecture, most renowned libraries and most important scholars on the planet. Tallahassee has the largest superconducting magnet in the world, plus some nice Greek Revival houses on Calhoun Street. As for Barnard Castle, well, the north of England is weirdly similar to the south of the United States. People are aggressively friendly. They will insist on feeding you or taking you out to see the nearby Roman bridge or the famous rhododendron garden up the road or that pub in Barningham, the one with the 17 kinds of stout. They’re used to the rest of the country (especially people from London) making fun of what they eat, which includes dainties familiar to my kinfolk, such as head cheese, pigs’ feet and fried everything. They’re accustomed to a certain amount of ridicule for their accents too, a circumstance irritatingly familiar to those of us born below Mr. Mason and Mr. Dixon’s line. The links between the English north and the American South go way back. I’ve seen the same names in the churchyard in Barnard Castle as in little graveyards in West Florida: Gainer, Nichols, Hodgson, Jordan. Looms in northern England turned American cotton into cloth until the 1860s, when Lancashire millworkers refused to work with cotton picked by slaves. The north was a hotbed of abolitionism. A couple of ladies in Newcastle bought and “freed” Frederick Douglass in 1846; Quakers in Darlington and York sponsored lecture tours for former slaves. I like to think of the north here helping my South become its better self. I’m not sure this country urges me to a better self—there’s too much really good cheese here and a shop with handmade chocolates. But it’s succor to the soul, a reminder that there’s a world outside America’s periodic fits of madness, a break from the mosquitoes, the political ads on TV, and, most important, the brain-numbing, eyeball-sweating heat. Diane Roberts is an eighth-generation Floridian, educated at Florida State University and at Oxford University. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian and the Tampa Bay Times. She has also authored four books, including Dream State, a historical memoir of Florida, and Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America.

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By XXXXXXX // Photography by XXXXXX Above: Jordan

Brennan and France Duque at peace with the nurse sharks at Staniel Cay in the Exumas.


ISLANDS IN THE STREAM Many Floridians think of the Bahamas—the enchanting archipelago to our east—as an extension of our state. From our love of boating, fishing and outdoor pursuits to our spirit of adventure, freedom and laidback living, our connections with the Bahamas run as deep as the water is blue.

By NILA DO SIMON • Photography by GREMLY MEDIA Models JORDAN BRENNAN, FRANCE DUQUE


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islands (about 30 of which are inhabited) teems with life and lore above and below its crystalline waters. Harbour Island has its intoxicating pink sand beaches, No Name Cay promises swimming pigs, the Exumas offer hidden treasures like Thunderball Grotto (named after the James Bond movie filmed there), Grand Bahama has its incredible underwater cave system, and Andros is home to the third-largest fringing barrier reef in the world—and that’s just to name a few special spots. The closest island in the Bahamas to Florida, Bimini, is only 50 miles from Miami. I found out that the natural connection between the Bahamas and Florida goes beyond their similar climates and close proximity to one another, though. For some Floridians, the Bahamas connection is generations deep. Trimmer Dettor remembers how, when he was a young Clockwise from boy, his mom would yank him and his left: Pete’s Pub four brothers from their Fort Lauderdale & Gallery in Little Harbour, Abacos; school the minute it let out for summer the bar at the vacation. The Bahamas wasn’t just his Green Turtle Club; beach views in mother’s home away from home; it was a Staniel Cay; island hopping in a chance for her boys to connect with some Bahama Boat of the friendliest people on the planet. Opposite page: Dettor and his brothers grew up Scenes from Kamalame Cay visiting the family estate on North Bimini Private Island Island, the Daniel House, on a regular Resort and Residences on basis. Consisting of a main home with Andros

JSR MEDIA , PANDISCIO DESIGN, K AMAL AME CAY, GREMLY MEDIA

I

f you’re anything like me, a born-and-bred Floridian who has spent the past 12 years living in sunny South Florida, visiting the Bahamas was an idea that needed to be warmed up to. Getting away didn’t normally include melting under the same tropical sun and humid conditions that I already feel every day. Then, on a whim, I visited Eleuthera, a long, thin island with pink sand beaches about 75 miles east of the country’s capital, Nassau. I spent my days there in awe, eating fresh conch served almost directly from the water and onto my plate, sipping cold Kalik beer and cruising around the Out Islands on a fishing boat, gazing at the unreal, turquoise blue waters. All this while listening intently to the melodious cadence of my Bahamian boatmates’ accents, their conversation dotted with the sonorous enunciation of “dem tings.” It’s then I realized a “ting” of my own: Why had it taken me so long to visit paradise? I came to witness that the islands of the Bahamas are majestic. The eclectic archipelago composed of more than 700 diverse coral-reef


PRE-PARTY Before setting off in your boat from South Florida to the Bahamas, Enjoy a rite of passage for many Flora-hamians: dive into a fresh fish sandwich and cold drink at one of these three classic Broward dockside spots.

Coconuts

Perched on the Intracoastal Waterway, the favorite Fort Lauderdale waterfront seafood joint with local fare and a laid-back coastal attitude implores its guests to “be nice.” 429 Seabreeze Blvd. Fort Lauderdale

15th Street Fisheries

The huge two-story restaurant overlooks a menagerie of megayachts tied up in the Intracoastal Waterway, and guests can feed the tarpon. 1900 SE 15th St. Fort Lauderdale

Blue Moon Fish Co.

It has the quintessential Sunday brunch, for which guests frequently dock their yachts and ease up to the omelet station. 4405 W. Tradewinds Ave. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

Margaritaville Beach Resort

Tie up on the Intracoastal for some cold beverages, live music and a cheeseburger pre-paradise. Don’t mind the bathtubs in the neighbor’s yard. That’s just Le Tub Saloon, another local favorite for booze and bites. 1111 N. Ocean Drive Hollywood

XXXXXX

three bedrooms, as well as a guest house and a saltwater pool, the Daniel House has a storied history on this seven-mile-long island, which has only a few hundred residents. Purchased by Dettor’s grandfather, Clarke, and Clarke’s two brothers, Raleigh and Cushing, the home has been in the family since the mid-century. Developers from Washington, D.C., the brothers saw value in turning what started as an abandoned hotel into an estate that could be enjoyed by generations of family members. Childhood trips to the Bahamas left an impression on Dettor, who ended up living there for four years after graduating from the University of Florida in 1997. Now living in Pompano Beach, Dettor has shared his love of the island and its people with his wife and two children. “The focus of Bimini is on the freedom and the remoteness of it all,” says Dettor, who is known to have strapped the children and their car seats into the family’s 32-foot boat when they were as young as 3 months old. “There’s something about having land to play with, without a lot of people around.

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Inside the exclusive residences at Kamalame Cay Private Island Resort on Andros

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K AMAL AME CAY, JSR MEDIA , STANIEL CAY YACHT CLUB, GREMLY MEDIA

This page:


Having the ability to jump in a kayak in two seconds is amazing; to not have to plan it out but to just do is something I don’t take for granted. Or you could do nothing. You could just sit out in Bimini, look at the water, and do nothing.”

THE CONNECTION

Above from left:

Staniel Cay Yacht Club Cottages; not all the pigs at Big Major are this cute. Below:

An aerial view of Twin Cays in the Exumas

Bahamians and Floridians have been crossing into each other’s territories for decades. Nearly half a century after the Revolutionary War, Loyalist residents of Green Turtle Cay in the Abaco Islands, a barrier island chain located in the northern Bahamas, even helped settle what was then a mostly uninhabited Key West. Bahamians began immigrating to the Miami area going back as early as the mid-1800s. For their part, Floridians today have made the Bahamas an extension of their own backyard—albeit a postcard-perfect

one filled with picturesque cays (or keys) dotting 100,000 square miles of ocean. The uninhabited Walker’s Cay in North Abaco lies on the northern perimeter, and Inagua is the southernmost point, where 80,000 West Indian flamingos roost in the island’s national park. Each collection of islands within the Bahamas has its own distinct flavor, experiences and cadence, but they all share a pure, harmonious spirit. “Once you feel that island vibe, those people, that pace, it’s so hard to shake that magic,” says Christie Caliendo, a Fort Lauderdale resident who’s vacationed more than 30 times on various islands, including Bimini, the Abacos, Andros, the Exumas, Cat Island, Chub Cay, Musha Cay and New Providence, which is home to the country’s capital, Nassau. “The islands are so completely different from Florida, but so familiar at the same time.” Technically speaking, Florida and the Bahamas are like the cousins who, on physical appearance alone, make you question their shared lineage to one another. But if you dig just a little bit deeper, it can be hard to separate one from the other. “The Bahamas really aligns with Floridians’ love of fishing, diving, snorkeling and a beachy lifestyle,” says Caliendo, who counts the Abacos, Andros and the Exumas among her favorite Bahamian locations. “Some people go to Disney World for the weekend; we go to the Bahamas.” To the uninitiated, a visit to the Bahamas might conjure up images of cookie-cutter, all-inclusive resorts for snowbirds or mediocre family cruises. However, the islands remain home to some of the most sought-out properties in the world. In the Abacos, celebrities such as Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Garner mingle at the members-only Baker’s Bay Golf & Ocean Club. Discovery Land Company’s Michael Meldman, who counts himself and friends George Clooney and Rande Gerber as co-founders of Casamigos Tequila, started developing the club. New Providence even saw the opening of the much-anticipated SLS Baha Mar hotel, which features a fine dining restaurant by Miami’s own James Beard Award winner Michael Schwartz. If anyone understands the allure of a luxury stay at the Bahamas, it’s David Hocher. Until he was 10 years old, Hocher

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To truly appreciate the Bahamas is to explore its myriad quiet harbors, vibrant coral reefs and secluded beaches. But covering the vast territory requires a fast boat designed to cut through shallow waters. These classic vessels offer the perfect ride.

Albury Brothers Boats These bespoke Bahamian-built craft have become synonymous with the islands. Man-O-War Cay, Abaco

Bahama Boat Works

Center console runabouts perfect for long-haul rides West Palm Beach

Hell’s Bay Boatworks

Skiffs made for fishing the shallows and hauling ass Titusville

watercraft or one of the almost daily commercial ferries from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island, crossing into the islands by water is a thrill many Floridians have enjoyed. On a flat, calm ocean day, the nearly two-hour boat ride from Florida to the Bahamas can be one of the more memorable moments of a trip. Caliendo says half of her 30-some trips have been by boat, on a 39-foot Contender, Hatteras Motor Yacht or various other fishing boats. “There’s no greater feeling than sitting on a boat, drinking a cold beverage and listening to music while making your way to the Bahamas,” she says. “To add to that, you can throw out some fishing lines and troll while you get to your destination.” But perhaps the most authentic way to arrive in the Bahamas is by seaplane. These fixed-wing aircraft, which land and take off on water, can conjure up Hollywood images of a military-style plane that Indiana Jones might have used in his efforts to recover the lost ark. But the truth is, these days modern seaplanes offer more luxuries than protections, including near-360-degree views when gliding gracefully onto one of the most unreal runways in nature: the crystalline

AN ADVENTURE FROM THE START

waters of the Bahamas. The seaplane’s popularity started with the legendary Chalk’s Ocean Airways, the first company to realize there were a limited number of land-based runways available in the archipelago. With headquarters in Miami and later in Fort Lauderdale, Chalk’s ferried fishermen, families and honeymooning couples for nearly nine decades. One of its planes even had a cameo on the opening credits for the television show Miami Vice. After Chalk’s ceased operations in 2007, former Navy fighter

As with any type of travel, perhaps the journey to the islands is just as much of an experience as is the destination. Whether glimpsed from boat or plane, the majesty of the Bahamas and the surrounding waters grip visitors even before they set foot on land. Thanks to a shallowness that reflects the white ocean sand, as well as the lack of the phytoplankton that give off a green color, Bahamian waters are some of the clearest, most turquoiseblue in the world. Whether you’re traveling by personal

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JAMES MAHONE Y, JIM R AYCROFT, JSR MEDIA , GREMLY MEDIA

ISLAND HOPPING

lived on the Out Island of Staniel Cay. There, his parents, Joe and Ann, owned and operated Staniel Cay Yacht Club, an intimate bungalow-filled retreat that’s been known to host some of Hollywood’s A-list celebrities. “In hindsight, it was one of those idyllic, perfect childhoods—growing up on this small island with less than 100 people,” he says. “We had this unique ability to be out on the water and in this tropical environment where we’d catch fish or conch at any point of the day. It was definitely an uncommon upbringing.” After graduating from Princeton University and then working as an investment banker in New York City, Hocher felt the call of the islands. He traded his urban lifestyle for one he was more rooted in, eventually taking over operations at the Staniel Cay Yacht Club from his father. These days, Hocher travels back and forth on a weekly basis from his home base in Fort Lauderdale to Staniel Cay, where he says nearly 80 percent of his resort guests, who have included Johnny Depp, Justin Bieber, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, are U.S.-based. Roughly 40 percent of those stateside visitors reside in the Sunshine State. “The boating and the clear water really draws Floridians,” says Hocher, who also operates Watermakers Air, an airline that provides two to three direct flights to the Bahamas out of Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport each day during high season. “But it’s still so different from Florida. The clarity of the water and the quality of the beaches here are unparalleled, plus you have the ability to jump in the water to spearfish or get conch. It doesn’t work like that in Florida, so I can see the attraction for Floridians wanting to experience something familiar yet so rare in their normal, everyday lives.”


pilot Rob Ceravolo noticed a void in seaplane operations to the Bahamas. So in 2009, after selling the entirety of his belongings to gain the necessary capital to get things literally up in the air, Ceravolo bought his first seaplane and founded Tropic Ocean Airways. What started out as a company with one employee flying one seaplane has now ballooned into a 100-employee organization with 12 aircraft, with more on the way. “There’s absolutely no denying that arriving in the Bahamas by seaplane is a romantic way to travel,” says Ceravolo, who can fly passengers from Tropic Ocean Airways’ hub at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to the Bahamas in as little as 25 minutes to two hours, depending on the destination. “Flying on a seaplane becomes part of the adventure of getting to the Bahamas. When you arrive, you’re already in the water before you are on land.” Integrating his military background, which includes deployments to Iraq, Ceravolo has changed the unruly, bushy-haired image that has historically plagued some seaplane pilots. He has created an operation that provides daily and charter access to Bimini, as well as private charters to Kamalame Cay, Nassau, Grand Harbour Island and more. And despite the fact that Ceravolo has made the Florida-to-Bahamas journey countless times, he still never takes arrival in the islands for granted. “Whenever I land on the water, I still break out my phone to film it, no matter how many times I’ve already done it,” he says. “People asked me why I joined the Navy and not the Air Force, and I tell them it’s because I love the water, and a

seaplane is essentially a boat when you’re in the water. That feeling of accelerating while in the water and then all of a sudden you’re flying in the air is one of the greatest feelings I can offer travelers.” An unofficial rite of passage for Floridians, travel to the Bahamas represents the ultimate cementation of one’s place as a true resident of the Sunshine State. Perhaps island-lifestyle enthusiast Jimmy Buffett, rumored to have a home on the remote northwest islands of Cat Cay, describes it best in his famous song “One Particular Harbour.” He sings, “I know I don’t get there often enough, but God knows I surely try. It’s a magic kind of medicine that no doctor could prescribe.”

This page clockwise from left:

The Bahamas have some of the best snorkeling spots in the world; a smattering of the islands are anchored by proper Colonialera villages, like New Plymouth in the Abacos; sailors love the perfect combination of wind and water temperature in the Bahamas; A sunken airplane wreck in the Exumas Opposite:

Seaplanes open access to those private, out-of-reach cays without airports and roads.

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Welco GRAH me j

AMEL OT

Gwen Grah am w a and ta nts to mo ve ke Can the office back into h she b reak once held er old hou se by the R epub her fathe —the gove r, lican r s’ 25- Bob Graha nor’s mans year ion— m run? . By D IANE ROB

G

wen Graham is interested. She fixes you with a brown-eyed gaze as warm as a May afternoon and asks, “How’s your family? How are your students? What should the state of Florida be doing to help our universities get to the next level? And what about campus safety issues?” Then she listens to what you have to say, nodding. You can’t help but be reminded of her father, Bob Graham, a former Florida governor and U.S. senator, except she doesn’t whip out a little pad to take notes. We’re sitting down to lunch at the Uptown Cafe, a beloved Tallahassee joint that’s not, despite the name, particularly “up town.” I’m supposed to be interviewing her: She’s running for governor. But, at times, you’d think she was interviewing me. This is a trademark Graham move, at once

ERTS

endearing and intimidating. I can only assume the relevant information is being stored in the political data banks of the formidable Graham brain. I’ve known the Graham family since they lived in the governor’s mansion in Tallahassee. In the mid-1980s, I was a young political columnist at the Florida Flambeau, often trying to satirize the legislature and the governor. The legislature was an easy mark, but Gov. Graham, a man who never took himself too seriously, was funnier about himself than I ever could be. He once composed a campaign song titled “I’m a Graham Cracker,” which he will still sing if you ask him, and sometimes when you don’t. In 1986, he swept into the annual Capitol Press Corps Skits to a fanfare played by the Florida A&M Marching 100. Wearing a braid-festooned uniform, mirrored shades, and the sash of a spurious order, he

declared himself governor for life. By then, Gwen Graham had left Tallahassee for law school at American University in Washington, D.C. In 1979, when she was 16, her father had become governor and moved his family of wife and four daughters to the governor’s mansion. Gwen already possessed a lot of poise. In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel during her father’s first year in office, she discussed being the eldest of four sisters, missing her friends in Miami, her classes at Leon High, and her attempts to diet in a house with a cook and a kitchen always full of tasty snacks. Long in the public eye as a politician’s daughter (her father had been an elected official since she was three),


was a family affair for Governor Bob Graham, his wife and his four daughters.

Below: Adele Graham

in 1979 with her daughters, Gwen, Kendall, Suzanne and Cissy

Opposite: Graham listens to the concerns medical professionals face every day at hospitals around the state.

U.S. senator, from the guest parking lot at Florida State to the university president’s office. The walk should have taken three minutes. It took us more than 30. Bob Graham stopped to talk to every human in sight, including a professor of French on her way to teach a class, a groundskeeper wrestling with marigolds in one of the flower beds outside the Westcott Building, and assorted phone-fixated, backpack-toting undergraduates who found themselves quizzed about their majors, their career goals, and whether they’d considered going into public service.

G

wen Graham shares her father’s politico-emotional intelligence. Here in the Uptown Cafe, she gets the waitress’s name, hands her a card and asks if she doesn’t think it’s time a woman was in charge of the state. “I’m going to be the next governor of Florida,” Graham says. A guy she hasn’t seen for years walks up to our table. She greets him enthusiastically. Turns out he was her sister Cissy’s prom date in high school. “I’ll tell her you said hey!” says Graham. Like her father, she’s good at remembering names and faces, but where he’s a master of the long handshake and the elbow grab, she’s a hugger. I haven’t conducted a scientific poll, but an informal survey of North Floridians in branches of Publix, at Boss Oyster in Apalachicola, and on a Wakulla Springs jungle cruise suggests few North Floridians over the past few years have avoided being on the receiving end of a Gwen Graham hug. She hugged her way across the then-13 counties of Florida’s 2nd District during her run for Congress in 2014. The

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FLORIDA STATE ARCHIVES

Above: Campaigning

she said nothing controversial or even bratty. She did, however, allow the photographer to take pictures with her pet hamster balancing on her head, proving that she’d inherited some of her father’s sense of humor. I have made a couple of microscopic donations (you can look ’em up) to Gwen Graham, both when she ran for (and won) a seat in Congress from North Florida and when she declared her candidacy for governor. That doesn’t mean I agree with her on everything. But the Grahams love Florida. And they’re fascinated by people—all people. I once escorted Bob Graham, then a newly retired


incumbent, Panama City mortician and Tea Party favorite Steve Southerland, accused her of being “Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked candidate.” Graham pushed back, declaring she’d be independent, a centrist unafraid of bucking the Democratic party line. In the end, she edged out Southerland by 0.8 percentage points. D.C. Democrats were heartened—at least until she took her seat in the House of Representatives. Her first vote was against giving Nancy Pelosi another term as leader.

Where he’s a master of the long handshake and the elbow grab, she’s a hugger. Now that she’s running for governor, the rest of the state is fixing to experience the Graham embrace. She kicked off her gubernatorial bid last May in Miami Gardens, a sentimental choice given that her father conducted the first of his famous “workdays” nearby in 1974. Bob Graham made workdays a tradition in 1977, spending occasional eight-hour days doing the jobs of ordinary Floridians to understand something of what their lives were like. Gwen Graham now does her own “workdays,” which have seen her preparing bread dough at La Segunda Central Bakery in Ybor City, packaging ice cream in Marianna, stocking shelves in a Kissimmee grocery store, putting together care packages with the USO in Pensacola, and installing solar panels on a roof in Orange County. Announcing her run in Miami Gardens, so close to her hometown of Miami Lakes, the town the Graham family founded, helped remind South Florida that she’s a local. The choice of Miami Gardens was also strategic: The city became infamous in 2013 for the “working while black” story of Earl Sampson, who was stopped 258 times, searched more than 100 times, and jailed 56 times in four years by the local cops, all for “trespassing” at the Quickstop convenience store where he worked. In choosing to kick off her campaign in a majority-black city with substantial numbers of Cuban-American, Bahamian, Jamaican, Dominican and Puerto

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Rican residents, Graham signaled her determination to build a coalition of Old Florida and New Florida. She’ll need them both to turn out in order for her to win the Democratic primary in August and then, if she makes it that far, to show up to the polls again on November 6th if she is to have a chance in the general election.

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t won’t be easy. Among the Democratic hopefuls, Chris King, described by Tampa Bay Times columnist Adam Smith as a “bleeding-heart businessman, Harvard graduate and Jesusloving philanthropist,” has little statewide name recognition, but he has committed $1 million of his own money to his campaign. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is favored by the more progressive wing of the party, but he’s also been hampered by an ongoing FBI investigation into the dealings of members of the Tallahassee City Commission. Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, whose campaign account is fat with cash (some of it his own), touts his business experience in contrast to Graham’s. At a January campaign stop in Tallahassee, Levine said, “The fact that I’ve had that weird thing in my background called a job, the fact that I’ve actually done something in my life outside the public sector is probably a big differentiator.” Many women interpreted that as a gendered insult, especially since Graham has held a variety of jobs, from attorney to school district administrator. Former Florida Commissioner of Education and Graham supporter Betty Castor rebuked him: “Philip Levine can lecture women on what it means to have a job and ‘do something’ with our lives after he raises three children while volunteering at their schools and working 50 hours a week.” Leading up to the Democrats’ first debate on April 18th, Graham’s three male rivals went after her as the presumed favorite, faulting her votes in Congress to slow the stream of Syrian refugees admitted to America and change the definition of full-time employment under the Affordable Healthcare Act from 30 hours a week to 40. King knocked her for accepting campaign contribtions from Florida’s megabucks sugar industry while in the House of Representatives. Gillum accused Opposite from top: her of being weak on Graham on one of her workdays in the gun control. Graham community; Graham shot back, pointing out at a school

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that the NRA spent $300,000 trying to derail her congressional campaign. Assailed from all sides in the debate, Graham sighed: “It’s OK. Gwen and the men.” Graham, 55, could make history in November by becoming Florida’s first female governor. She’d also be the first Democrat elected to the state’s top office since 1994. To get back to the mansion she once called home, she’ll have to prevail over

Still, the Grahams are a famous family. Bob Graham’s older half-brother Philip and his wife, Katharine Graham, were owner-publishers of The Washington Post. Gwen’s first cousin, Lally Weymouth (Philip and Katharine’s daughter), is a well-known journalist. In July last year, a Miami New Times headline breathlessly announced, “Florida Dems’ Frontrunner for Governor Spent Weekend Hanging with Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump.” Graham, along with her father, had attended a posh party in the Hamptons, where the impressive guest list included Steven Spielberg, George Soros, Margaret Carlson, Carl Icahn, David Koch, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, and other boldface names. Graham didn’t, in fact, “hang” with Trump’s daughter and son-in-law; nevertheless, she can’t always avoid being seen as part of the dreaded “elite,” even at her cousin Lally’s party. Asked if she feels entitled as the daughter of a former U.S. senator and

I’m so lucky—lucky to have had Bob Graham’s example of public service before me every day of my life. — gwen graham the men in her primary, then another man, a man who will certainly be flush with campaign cash from Florida’s Republican-favoring big business lobbies. The insurgent paleoconservative U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, President Donald Trump’s favored candidate, is expected to be a formidable fundraiser. As of mid-April, Republican heir apparent Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam reported $20 million in his campaign account, more than twice the amount Graham had raised, much of it from Florida Crystals and U.S. Sugar. Graham has now vowed she won’t take campaign contributions from Big Sugar; indeed, she has donated $17,400, the amount sugar industry–associated PACs gave her campaign in 2015 and 2016, to organizations supporting Everglades restoration and migrant workers.

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oth Graham’s critics and some political experts wonder if she’s trying to ride her father’s popularity back to Tallahassee. Florida has changed a lot since the 1990s. When Bob Graham finished his second term as governor, the population was 12 million; it’s nearly twice that now. Carol Weissert, director of the LeRoy Collins Institute at Florida State University, says, “It’s been a long time since a Graham was on the ballot. Given our population growth, you can’t rely on the name statewide.” Or, as veteran journalist Lucy Morgan, former Tallahassee bureau chief at the Tampa Bay Times, says, “Many of these new Floridians don’t know Gwen from Adam’s house cat.”

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Florida governor, Graham just laughs. “Here’s how I respond to that. I say I’m so lucky—lucky to have had Bob Graham’s example of public service before me every day of my life.”

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learly, Graham will have to show that she’s both her father’s daughter and her own woman. She left Florida for college, enrolling in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she pledged Delta Delta Delta, her mother’s sorority. Apparently, she was more of a reader than a hell-raiser. Graham’s husband Steve Hurm, whom she married in 2010, says the two of them bonded over their shared love of books. Graham was a single mother of three (she divorced her first husband, lawyer Mark Logan, in 2005). Hurm was a former beat cop from Pinellas County who went back to school, became a lawyer, and now runs Florida State University’s Policing Research & Policy Institute. They met in Tallahassee when he was working for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and she was an attorney for Leon County Public Schools. Graham and Hurm revealed in 2016 that he had stage 4 prostate cancer. Graham said at the time she would delay any decision about running for governor until they saw how his treatment progressed. “I couldn’t do it without him by my side,” she said at the time. “I wouldn’t do it without him by my side.” In 2017, they announced he’s in remission. Graham remains close to her grown children, her parents, and her three sisters. While Hurm holds down the fort at their Tallahassee house, she has moved her campaign HQ and her youthful staff to Orlando, right in the middle of this logistically difficult state. “I’m renting down there,” she told me. “It’s me and the millennials.” She seems to define herself not as a lawyer or a politician (though no politician ever likes to be called a politician) but as a mother. She says she’s all for creating “jobs, jobs, jobs,” as the current occupant of the governor’s office is fond of repeating, but she wants those jobs to be good ones, with a future in a Florida where the environment hasn’t been poisoned; the old, the sick and the poor are taken care of; and the government pays more than lip service to schools. For the past 20 years, the Republicans have mounted what she calls “an all-out assault on public education.” If you want to address inequality, poverty, the

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Who’s Who in the Race DEMOCRATS: opioid crisis, and wage stagnation, “it all begins and ends with education,” she says. Public education is a Graham family passion. Gwen’s mother taught school in Florida and Massachusetts. Her grandfather Ernest “Cap” Graham, who founded the family dairy farm in Dade County and served in the Florida senate from 1937 to 1944, pressed the legislature to establish a public university in Miami. His bill failed, but the Graham family kept advocating, and, in the late 1960s, helped make Florida International University a reality. When Cap Graham’s youngest son became governor, improvement of educational institutions became his priority. In 1983, he vetoed the state education budget, castigating the Democrat-controlled legislature for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”

COURTESY OF GR AHAM FOR GOVERNOR

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hese days, it’s the Republicans who seem willing to accept subpar public schools. Some of them, as Graham points out, “are making money off private education.” Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s wife founded Classical Preparatory School in Pasco County, and his brother lobbies on behalf of for-profit schools. Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, sits on the House Education Committee and also draws a six-figure salary as chief operating officer of Doral College, a private junior college that sells its services (i.e. classes) to charter schools. “Nine out of ten Florida kids go to public school,” says Graham. “Let’s make our schools a public resource.” She proposes a holistic approach: public-private partnerships for healthcare in schools, opportunities for senior citizens to volunteer at schools, and no guns. Like most Florida Democrats, Graham says she supports the Second Amendment, but she also wants what she calls “common sense gun safety” and the banning of assault weapons. She says Opposite page (clockwise from that as governor, she will ban left): Graham with her dad, AR-15s and their ilk, citing Governor Florida Statute 14.022, which Bob Graham; meeting with gives the governor power voters; with “to prevent overt threats of her husband, Stephen Hurm, violence or violence to the and children, person or property of citizens Sarah, Graham and Mark of the state and to maintain Ernest; chatting with students peace, tranquillity, and good

GWEN GRAHAM Former U.S. Representative

Tallahassee Plans to expand health care, improve public schools and protect the environment

ANDREW GILLUM Mayor of Tallahassee

Tallahassee Wants universal healthcare, higher corporate taxes to better fund schools and a $15 minimum wage

CHRIS KING CEO of Elevation Financial Group LLC

Winter Park Believes in higher-paying jobs, more affordable housing and more transparent government

PHILIP LEVINE Former mayor of Miami Beach

Miami Beach Running for better education, environment and economy

REPUBLICANS: RON DESANTIS U.S. Representative

Palm Coast Cares about education, the economy and reshaping Florida’s court system

ADAM PUTNAM Florida Commissioner of Agriculture

Bartow Touts conservative principles, smaller government, protecting Second Amendment rights and supporting veterans

order in the state.” Arming teachers, she says, is not the answer. Some political observers question whether education is a winning issue in Florida. Carol Weissert says, “There’s not a lot of evidence people care about education. Retirees don’t care: Their children went to school in Michigan. Obviously, the Florida legislature doesn’t care. The environment might be more of a winner for Graham.” Certainly, Graham is positioning herself as a strong defender of Florida’s wetlands, wild lands, and water. She’s against fracking and offshore oil drilling, calling U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s “deal” with Rick Scott to exempt Florida

from the Trump administration’s plan to erect oil wells anywhere and everywhere, regardless of the risk to the ecosystem, “a political charade.” Some environmentalists charge that she’s not really as green as she paints herself, pointing to her vote in favor of the Keystone pipeline while in Congress. She answers that she voted yes on the grounds that the Canadians were going to extract the crude from the Alberta oil sands no matter what. She adds that a pipeline, however undesirable, is a safer mode of transporting dirty oil than trains or trucks and contributes less to carbon emissions overall. She’s definitely not a climate change denier. Unlike Gov. Rick Scott, she says, “I believe in science.”

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raham’s fellow Democrats broadly agree on Florida’s need to address rising sea levels and restore Florida’s greatest natural storm-water filtration system, the Everglades. “Our water quality is central to our economy,” she says. Graham’s strong environmental stances may not be enough to assuage those, especially on the Democratic Party’s left, still angry over the Keystone pipeline vote. Lucy Morgan warns, “She needs to overcome the anger of some Democrats who should be her devout supporters. She needs to shore up her base.” There are many variables in any statewide Florida race. Will turnout be higher than usual? Will young people actually show up? Will women be energized to vote for Graham? Democrat Alex Sink lost to Rick Scott by one percentage point in 2010, an election in which only 49 percent of voters turned out. Will Trump boost Republicans or drag them down? Most of all, who’ll get the big money? “Florida has ten media markets,” says Carol Weissert. “You’ve got to have a lot of money to compete. As far as Gwen Graham goes, I’ll be watching the money.” Lucy Morgan thinks Graham needs to get on television well before the primary, “She’s a good candidate, but she needs to do a better job of marketing herself.” Graham knows she’ll have to find a way to attract Florida’s disparate voters and remain true to her centrist impulses, as the Goldilocks candidate: not too conservative and not too liberal, a sweet spot few Democrats have found. Nevertheless, she’s confident. As the waitress returns to pour some more iced tea, Graham says, “This is the race I was born to run. And win.”

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THE ELEPHANT, THE TEMP & THE TARPON Gasparilla Island and its village of Boca Grande

have long been a secret playground, where some of America’s wealthiest and most well-known families

seek privacy, a laid-back vibe and some of the best tarpon fishing in the world. By KAT I E H E N D R I C K V I N C E N T • Photography by M A RY B E TH KO ET H

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from the historic Gasparilla Inn This page right:

The Gasparilla Inn, built in 1913, opened with no reservations, but that quickly changed. Opposite page:

William “Dumplin” Wheeler III is a bit of a celebrity on the island. He’s been fishing for tarpons his whole life.

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ix days before Easter, not a soul in Boca Grande exhibits a case of the Mondays. Not to be confused with the more metropolitan Boca Raton, this tiny village on Gasparilla Island, nestled between Sarasota and Fort Myers on the Gulf Coast, bursts with people reveling in the sublime 75-degree sunshine. Golfers and tennis players practice their swings. Families pack the patio of The Loose Caboose for an al fresco lunch. Ladies peruse the preppy assortment at Ariel Ltd.’s sidewalk sale. And William Wheeler III, who oversees Wheeler’s Charter Fishing, scoots about town on “Rough Rider,” a golf cart he’s personalized with bumper

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stickers extolling his status: Boca Grande native. The island has seen its share of the rich and famous, from the du Ponts, Rockefellers and Astors to Katharine Hepburn, Harrison Ford and Jimmy Buffett. Both the Bush and Busch families make frequent visits. But no one receives as much attention as Wheeler, known to everyone as “Dumplin.” This morning, in the span of two blocks, no fewer than five people stop him for a hug. These days, the third-generation fishing guide, 75, bears a strong resemblance to actor Hal Holbrook, but his youthful self is immortalized in three different paintings, one of which is available for $350 at The Temptation Restaurant, known locally as “The Temp.” Locals and tourists flock to Wheeler, as much for his expertise on the water

FLORIDA MEMORY

Above, left to right: Scenes


as for his colorful stories of Boca Grande’s past, particularly those involving Old Hitler, the rogue hammerhead shark that taunted boaters half a century ago. “This is my world,” says Wheeler. There’s nary a landmark on the roughly seven-mile-long island that doesn’t feature in his personal history. Gesturing toward the bayou behind the historic Gasparilla Inn, he recalls the late 1940s, when he used to retrieve golf balls guests hit into the water. “I’d collect them in my bathing suit, then sell them back to the golfers for $1.25 a dozen,” he says. A few years later, he walked the course as Olympic and LPGA superstar Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias’s caddie. Across the street at The Pink Elephant, his mother, Doris, slung drinks, served countless bowls of fish chowder and kept raucous customers in line for more than four decades. Barely five feet tall, she disappeared beneath patrons’ shoulders on crowded nights, and a

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iconic gas pump at Hudson’s Grocery, at the center of town, is a relic just for show; oceanfront golf course at The Gasparilla Inn; Terese Iammarino and Eric Hronowski of Boca Blooms flower shop

Below:

The Pink Elephant bar in the 1960s

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teenage Wheeler would sass her by hollering “Doris!” and requesting an adult beverage. “When she realized who called her, boy, did she give me a piece of her mind,” he says with an impish smile. Others found his boyhood shenanigans more charming, says Mark Futch, 63, a seaplane pilot who is Wheeler’s cousin and fellow guide. One of his favorite family stories recounts their Uncle Nat teaching curse words to 5-year-old Wheeler, who then decided to practice his new vocabulary while greeting Mr. and Mrs. Crowninshield, members of a prominent New England seafaring and publishing family, at the train depot. “How are you doing, Dumplin?” Mr. Crowninshield asked. “Not too bad, you son of a bitch,” Wheeler replied. Supposedly, the aristocrats laughed off the exchange—at least, that’s the version of the story passed down for decades.

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MARITIME ROOTS

The bulk of Wheeler’s and Futch’s memories, however, unfolded on the water. Their ancestors weren’t the island’s first fishermen—the Calusa Indians claimed that title centuries earlier—but they were pioneers in commercializing the practice. They caught thousands upon thousands of pounds of mullet with entanglement nets until the state outlawed the practice in 1985. Their family’s celebrity, though, comes from sportfishing. Orphaned during the Civil War and raised by a tyrannical foster father in Key West, Frank Cicero Futch, the duo’s great-grandfather, escaped to Gasparilla Island at age 15 in 1876, about the same time that German machinist Edward vom Hofe started manufacturing a reel for big game fish. “[The reel] was created specifically to catch tarpon in Boca Grande Pass,” says Futch, captain of Sitarah, a 34-foot Blue Marlin Hull he built himself. For millennia, he explains, tens of thousands of tarpons have congregated in the area from April to August to fatten up ahead of their offshore breeding ritual. By the 1890s, Frank Futch was adept at catching the 60-plus-pound fish, a skill he taught his eight sons. They, in

MARK FUTCH, GASPARILL A INN

Above from left: The


boca loca

EAT, DRINK, SLEEP and SHOP like a “beachfronter” at these beloved haunts

The Gasparilla Inn

The Pink Elephant

The Temptation Restaurant

The Loose Caboose

Fugate’s

Port Boca Grande Lighthouse

A Historic Hotel of America Landmark Inn, this Queen Anne–style resort boasts a golf course, Har-Tru tennis courts, a spa and a beach club. Cheerful wallpaper and an abundance of tropical plants capture a breezy “Old Florida” ambience. the-gasparilla-inn.com

Housed in the town’s historic train depot, this casual family-friendly eatery is known for frying up fresh local seafood, as well as fresh salads, sandwiches, Southern classics like fried green tomatoes, and homemade ice cream. loosecaboose.biz

Once a dance hall catering to fishermen wanting to cut loose after a long day on the water, “The Pink,” now owned by The Gasparilla Inn, serves seafood, steaks, gourmet pub fare and a promising signature drink, The Pink Elephant Hummer. the-gasparilla-inn.com

The tiny department store, an island staple since 1916, sells an array of men’s and women’s fashion lines, from Gretchen Scott to Southern Tide, as well as accessories and hats, island-themed housewares and gifts. facebook.com/fugates

Native islanders and visitors (notably, football-coaching frenemies Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney) adore “The Temp” for its fresh seafood and rich heritage. Inside the restaurant, established in 1947, are murals depicting the town’s maritime culture. thetempbg.com

Since 1890, the lighthouse has guided mariners through the inlet into port. It’s the oldest structure on Gasparilla Island and houses a museum that covers the area’s cultural and social history, starting from 12,000 B.C. barrierislandparkssociety.org


turn, passed down the tradition to their sons and nephews, who did the same. Over the past century, elites and celebrities from around the world have turned to the famous Futch boys for help hooking the “silver king.”

A COMMUNITY IS BORN

people move around the twogas-pump island on golf carts.

GASPARILL A INN; FOLLOWING PAGE, DANIEL GODWIN, BOCA BEACON

While the first generation of Futches stayed busy setting hooks and fighting fish, land-based activity 50 miles northeast put in motion the island’s future development. Phosphate, a byproduct of prehistoric animals and a valuable mineral used in fertilizers, was discovered in rocks near Arcadia in the early 1880s. Eager to ship it around the world, leaders of the American Agricultural Chemical

Company (AACO) eyed Boca Grande Pass, one of the deepest inlets in the state and the inspiration behind the town’s name, which translates to “Big Mouth.” They built a port on the south end of Gasparilla Island, barged the mineral down the Peace River to Charlotte Harbor and Gasparilla Sound, and loaded it onto schooners that took it out to sea. Around the turn of the century, Peter Bradley, an AACO board member, recognized that transporting phosphate by train would improve efficiency, so he and his senior managers acquired a railroad company. Construction on the Charlotte Harbor and Northern railroad began in 1905; meanwhile,

Below: Most

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Left: Despite

its ritzy rep, the island attracts an eclectic laid-back beach crowd.

Below:

The dog days of summer include golf cart rides to the beach.

For a long time, this was a blue blood hideaway. They fought the causeway [which opened in 1958] for years because they didn’t want to lose the seclusion. — William “Dumplin” wheeler III

Bradley and another board member at the railroad company, James Gifford, reviewed the town plat (drawn up in 1897 by future Florida governor Albert Gilchrist), bought up land and planned a hotel where AACO executives could stay. The Hotel Boca Grande opened in 1911 on the east side of the island and immediately swelled to capacity, as executives brought along their wives and children. In response, Bradley doubled the size of the building and reopened it under a new name in February 1913. To his shock and dismay, The Gasparilla Inn debuted without a single reservation. Then a widow from Boston telegrammed. She desperately wanted to escape the snow and had heard about the

quaint hotel on a quiet island. Could she get a room? A shrewd businessman, Bradley sat on the request for a few days before answering, “We’ll try to squeeze you in, but first we’ll need your references.” She complied, setting off a chain reaction; her references sent references, and so forth—everyone wanted to stay at such an exclusive place. By March, all 40 rooms were booked. “We don’t know her identity—Peter Bradley guarded visitors’ privacy—but we have a feeling her offspring stays with us today,” says Tina Malasics, the inn’s historian. “Because our advertising was solely word-of-mouth for so long, a lot of our clientele first came here with their parents or grandparents.”

HAPPY HAVEN

In 1930, advertising tycoon turned behemoth developer Barron Collier bought the Inn, expanded it and added neoclassical columns and verandas for a stately Southern feel. As the inn’s appeal grew, so did Boca Grande’s. The town swiftly became a winter retreat for some of the nation’s most distinguished personalities, who sought world-class fishing as well as privacy. Several wound up building their own Boca Grande estates, primarily along the Gulf, earning them the nickname “beachfronters.” “For a long time, this was a blue blood hideaway,” says Wheeler, whose relatives were fishing guides for Henry Ford, tire magnate Harvey Firestone, and former President Theodore Roosevelt, among many others. “They fought the causeway [which opened in 1958] for years because they didn’t want to lose the seclusion.” In the old days, he explains, if you missed the train, the only way onto the

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Above:

Banyan Street is Boca Grande’s most picturesque boulevard; it’s lined with majestic banyan trees that were planted in 1915.

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island was to call a friend with a boat—or walk the trestles. “Very dangerous move,” Wheeler says. “I have a scar on my knee to prove it.” Although wary of tourists spoiling their secret sanctuary, the beachfronters have always revered the locals. “They appreciate the work we do for them, and we’re grateful for the business,” says Futch, who has worked with the likes of Neil Armstrong and Denzel Washington. “There’s never been any polarization here. We all mix together.” That camaraderie stood out to Karen Grace and her husband, Jim, when they first visited idyllic Boca Grande in the 1970s. “You’d walk into The Temp and there’d be a billionaire sitting at a bar stool next to a working guy,” she says. “Unless you personally knew them, you couldn’t distinguish who was who.” Everyone sported the same casual attire (Columbia fishing shirts, mostly) and attitude. Instantly enchanted, the Ohio couple moved as soon as they could and have been active in Boca Grande’s historical society for years. Paul Hudson, a wealth manager in Sarasota whose parents used to run the island’s local grocery store, describes a “Huck Finn–esque childhood,” where kids from ages 5 to 17 hung out together, usually jumping off bridges or fishing until dusk. “There weren’t many of us on an island that size, so we became very tight-knit. Everyone was a friend.”

PARADISE (NEARLY) LOST

The island’s unified spirit came out in full force five years ago to combat the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series, a nationally televised competition that brought scores of boats into Boca Grande Pass in pursuit of a covetable purse prize. Described by its host as “NASCAR on the water,” the tournament rankled local captains who feared it would destroy their treasured fishery. “It was a reality show—complete with girls in skimpy

It was a reality show, complete with girls in skimpy bikinis. —mark futch

bikinis—masquerading as a sporting event,” says Futch, one of the tournament’s most vocal opponents. His outrage stemmed from a fishing technique that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission later banned from use in Boca Grande. Many Professional Tarpon Tournament Series contestants used artificial lures that snagged tarpons rather than requiring the fish to bite, frequently killing them. “Tarpon were floating belly-up on the beach left and right,” Wheeler says. “It was awful.” A group of local guides formed a nonprofit, Save the Tarpon, that called out tournament officials and sponsors. A costly and contentious legal battle ensued between Save the Tarpon and Silver King Entertainment LLC, which hosted Professional Tarpon Tournament Series , but the Boca Grande fishermen prevailed. The tournament ceased in 2016, and the FWC passed several regulations to protect tarpons, including redrawing the boundaries within which certain gear can be used. Now, the fish’s main predators are sharks, and the captains’ livelihood is secure for the foreseeable future. Futch intends to continue guiding for as long as he can. “Aviation put my kids through college, but this is my birthright and my passion,” he says, while making last-minute repairs to Sitarah before the upcoming season. “There’s nothing more satisfying than helping someone catch their first tarpon.” Wheeler, on the other hand, finds retirement just out of reach. “I’ve been trying to quit for years,” he says. “But my favorite clients keep coming back and asking for me. How can I tell them no?”

Above:

The historic lighthouse on Gasparilla Island Below:

Mark Futch breaking off a tarpon with the 2016 Boca Grande Kids Classic fishing party.

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Here


ComesTHESUN While the Sunshine State, with its abundance of the necessary natural resource, is poised to become a leader in solar energy, it still lags behind the rest of the country. one man wants to change that.

By MICHAEL ADNO

A Above: A view of the

343,000 panels about halfway through installation at Babcock Ranch

s you drive down state Route 31 through eastern Charlotte County, the Florida of yesterday and the Florida of today blend together: Agricultural plots spill into gated communities interspersed with cattle and industrial spaces. About 15 miles east of Fort Myers, the entrance to Babcock Ranch welcomes visitors with wide boulevards and roadside advertisements adorned with lights that hang below solar panels. Near Founder’s Square, which serves as the core of the new planned community, contractors install a set of rooftop panels atop two pavilions. Along the serpentine ribbon of pavement, model homes are cropping up alongside cinderblock skeletons and empty lots. Around the square lie modern, modular buildings painted shades of sienna, gray and tan. The structures house Babcock Ranch’s school, general store, coworking space, outfitter’s shop, offices, medical center and restaurant. Babcock Ranch’s spokeswoman Lisa Hall says that much of the design was intended to make the community look like it belonged, but it seems fair to ask if anything belongs here in a rather wild, untamed part of Florida.


Square at Babcock Ranch

Below: The Babcock

Ranch Solar Energy Center is the size of 300 football fields. Opposite: Solar

visionary and Babcock Ranch founder Syd Kitson overlooking the solar field he erected in partnership with Florida Power & Light

pour down over the mounds of fill dirt that stretch off to the edge of the forest, and a fleet of dump trucks beyond the town square rumbles away. Farther south, thunderheads loom. As visitors can see, the nascent development suggests the arrival of sunnier, greener days in the Sunshine State. At the time, the 2006 sale of the land for Babcock Ranch—91,000 acres in Southwest Florida, near Fort Myers—was the largest land deal in the state’s history. In turn, the buyers, Kitson & Partners, led by CEO Syd Kitson, embarked on one of the most ambitious projects in Florida—to create America’s first solar-powered town. After Kitson successfully bought the property—a chunk of land six times the size of Manhattan—for $500 million, he told The New York Times, “This is how I’m going to change the world.” Twelve years later, Babcock Ranch’s first residents have moved into the fledgling development, and folks are eager to see whether Kitson & Partners has made good on its promise. The opening of Babcock Ranch also serves as an opportunity to better understand why the Sunshine State lags so far behind the rest of the country when it comes to solar energy. After all, Florida ranked third in the U.S. for rooftop solar potential in 2017, but fell far behind in installed capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association. Florida Power & Light Company—the state’s largest electric utility company—currently pro-

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COURTESY OF BABCOCK R ANCH, CARLTON WARD JR .

Right: Founder’s

The place feels gift-wrapped. Trees are still taking root, and surfaces are unworn, but the fledgling construction is not the thing that draws people. Babcock Ranch exists in service of an idea—life in America’s “first solar-powered town.” Donna Aveck Babcock Ranch’s third resident, says that, when the model homes opened to the public, “We ran out here.” Jim, her husband, adds that he saw the appeal of Babcock Ranch as a “nod back to earlier, simpler times,” when you knew neighbors and could ask them for a hand. They plan to grow old here. Babcock Ranch welcomed its first residents in early 2018, and it seems as though the development could be a turning point in the history of solar energy in Florida. Columns of diffused light


duces about 930 megawatts of solar power, enough energy to run over 100,000 homes. That’s about 1 percent of the company’s total output. Nearly all of the energy produced by the company comes from natural gas and nuclear power plants. By 2023, Florida Power & Light hopes to surpass 4 percent in solar production. By comparison, in 2016, 14 percent of the electricity generated in California came from solar power plants and rooftop solar panels, serving more than 5.4 million homes, according to the Los Angeles Times. Will Babcock Ranch tip the scales in Florida?

FIELD OF DREAMS In 1914, as the slow creep of development spread across Southwest Florida, Edward Babcock, a lumber magnate and former mayor of

Pittsburgh, bought the property that is now Babcock Ranch, thinking that it held plentiful game and could serve as a reason to expand his lumber empire south. In the 1930s, his son Fred started farming plots of the land, mining for limestone and offering tours of the wild property. Today, that tradition is carried on in Babcock Ranch’s ecotours. Buses that once carried schoolchildren and later shuttled migrant workers now cart around visitors hoping to see the “real” Florida. After Fred Babcock died in 1997, his heirs tried to sell the property to the state in order to protect the environmental corridor, spanning from Lake Okeechobee’s western edge to Charlotte Harbor. (In 2017, a female Florida panther traveled through the corridor, crossed the

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and Delray.

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COURTESY OF BABCOCK R ANCH

Caloosahatchee River and gave birth to a pair of kittens, the first to be seen north of the river in over 40 years.) The state made an offer, but the deal hit a snag: For tax reasons, the Babcocks wanted the state to acquire the land by purchasing stock in the holding company through which they owned it, but the state constitution prevented it from doing so. In 2005, the deal with Kitson got underway, and after pen met paper the following year, the state returned to the table to purchase 73,000 acres from Kitson with $310 million of state funds and $40 million from Lee County. It was the largest land conservation buy in Florida’s history. Eighty percent of the property was to remain undeveloped. The remaining 18,000 acres would give way to Kitson’s vision, but as is often the case, there was much more to this story. In 2007, when Kitson heard that Armando Olivera, Florida Power & Light’s former president and CEO, was scheduled to speak before a legislative committee in Tallahassee, he hopped on a plane from West Palm Beach to sit in on the hearing. Afterward, Kitson trailed Olivera into an elevator, introduced himself, explained his idea and pitched a partnership to build a solar power plant at Babcock Ranch—one that would concurrently power the town and Kitson’s ambition. With enough charm to beguile a rattlesnake, Kitson won Olivera over, and, in 2009, after a long road of negotiations, the partnership was finalized. “He listened,” Kitson says. When Kitson first touted his idea around Florida, people responded with blank stares and condescension. But in March this year, from his sparse corner office overlooking Babcock Ranch’s Founder’s Square, he could see prospective residents licking ice-cream cones while children’s laughter filled the square. Folks were arriving in droves to see the place, and from Kitson’s vantage Above: Model homes are point, the covalent bond named for the of the town was assemtowns whose architecture bling before his eyes. they resemble At well over 6 feet tall, like Destin,


My goal is to get this off the grid. This is the Sunshine State, come on. —Syd Kitson

Kitson looms over most of his peers, but his honest eyes and kind smile lend him a down-home, almost Southern air, belying his Northern roots in New Providence, New Jersey. From 1980 until 1984, Kitson played for the Green Bay Packers as a guard until he was released and subsequently signed with the Dallas Cowboys. After leaving the NFL, he went into real estate development, working his way up to make partner at the commercial real estate firm Gale, Wentworth & Dillon. In 1999, he bought out his partners, and, a few years later, moved the operation to Florida, renaming it Kitson & Partners. The misconception that Babcock Ranch residents like to promote is that the energy generated up the road flows directly to Babcock Ranch residences, but it flows onto the power grid just as the electricity produced by the natural gas plant 100 miles to the east and the St. Lucie nuclear plant does. As Dell Jones, a Fort Myers solar energy consultant, explained in an op-ed for Southwest Florida Business Today, “The system is interconnected to transmission and distribution lines, and that power flows to the grid that serves all FPL customers. It is not possible to direct the electrons to Babcock Ranch. In fact, I could make the same claim that my house here in Southwest Florida is powered by the solar array as well; and so could FPL customers in Miami and St. Augustine.” Stephen Heiman, a Florida Power & Light spokesman, fired back: “Electricity follows the path of least resistance to the nearest source, and Babcock Ranch is in close proximity,” he said. “The power generated serves the Babcock Ranch community as well as the surrounding area.” When prodded about the confusion over exactly where the solar-generated electricity goes, Kitson says, “My goal is to get this off the grid.” As to the likelihood of that happening, “I don’t think there’s any question,” he says. And if he succeeds, it will be a turning point for the state—one that represents a way forward for Florida utilities. Kitson says that Babcock Ranch could be the spark that garners interest in utility-scale solar power around the state. “This is the Sunshine State,” he says. “Come on.”

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In 2016, the solar energy industry employed five times as many people as coal-fueled power plants did, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. And in light of those figures, the question has become how utilities will respond to the shift and whether they will embrace or forestall the rise in consumer and utility-grade solar. But why hasn’t solar power been a priority in Florida until now? In an interview with PBS, Kelly Fagan, a construction project manager for Florida Power & Light, said that nuclear and gas plants are the “backbone” of energy production in the state. The proliferation and accessibility of rooftop and consumerscale solar power threatens the company’s business model because its customers reduce their electricity bills with infrastructure that it doesn’t garner a cent from. “They don’t like that they don’t get to own it,” says David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute. “They make money when they build.” In other words, with each slab of concrete it pours, every

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transmission line it installs and all other capital expenditures, Florida Power & Light is able to increase its profit. The Florida Public Service Opposite from top: The Commission, the regulatory body town is surrounded charged with oversight of utilities by 73,000 acres of wildlife preserve; in the state, allows Florida Power & the main street at Light and other utility companies to Babcock Ranch raise customers’ rates to reach a predetermined rate of return—sometimes as high as 11.5 percent—on certain infrastructure spending. If it makes money building, why doesn’t Florida Power & Light just turn from gas and nuclear to solar? Couldn’t it profit from the construction of solar power plants? In theory, yes, but natural gas power plants currently account for over two-thirds of Florida’s energy production, and the change would be drastic and messy for utilities like Florida Power & Light. Solar power’s merits extend well beyond extra pocket

Above: Kitson with members of the community at the grand opening of Babcock Ranch

COURTESY OF BABCOCK R ANCH

IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL PAY


money. It bolsters the grid, it makes communities more resilient by allowing them to generate and store their own electricity, and above all else, it limits emissions that are fanning the flame of climate change. Take Florida’s fallout from Hurricane Irma last September as an example. The storm left more than 12 million without power and led to the deaths of 12 residents at a nursing home in Hollywood, later ruled homicides. The tragedy left customers wondering what could have been done to avoid it. And in Vermont, the utility company Green Mountain Power has installed battery systems in customers’ homes in order to reduce dependence on the grid. In Florida, the ability to store energy to use during outages would make not only communities but also hospitals and shelters more resilient in the face of natural disasters. Hurricane Irma was a chilling testament to the fact that Floridians need to do more to prepare. There are few green energy projects on the horizon. Natural gas power plants figure large in the plans that Florida Power & Light is proposing to the Public Service Commission. “That’s the tell,” Pomerantz said. The company wants to build natural gas power plants because the construction is more expensive, which increases its revenue, he says. Over time, he adds, natural gas power plants also cost more to maintain than solar farms, and customers end up paying for the difference. As for Babcock Ranch and its role in the shift, some critics see it simply as a land deal, an ornate, low-cost source of branding for both

parties. While it lends Florida Power & Light and Babcock Ranch a nice image, what some write-off as “greenwashing,” the real story here is about the battery storage on site at Babcock Ranch and how that will develop across the state. Utility-scale solar storage is the goal, so all eyes are on how Florida Power & Light and Babcock Ranch will push each other to make battery storage a reality. The resilience that battery storage

fields of sod and stands of trees, Hall, the spokeswoman for Babcock Ranch, stares out at the solar field where Florida Power & Light has built a viewing tower to better see the expanse of lucent, lapis lazuli–hued rectangles marching off into the pines. Here, the issue of solar power in Florida is made physical. A shadow from the clouds overhead passes across the two vast fields of panels. Without the

All of this hinges on utilities leading or getting out of the way. —David Pomerantz provides is what attracts so many people like Pomerantz to solar in the first place. “All of this hinges on utilities leading or getting out of the way,” he says. “In March 2018, FPL created the nation’s largest solar-plus-storage system,” Stephen Heiman of Florida Power & Light writes of Babcock Ranch’s 40 megawatt hours of storage capacity, which can power several thousand homes and be dispatched for up to four hours. A bit up the road from the town square at Babcock Ranch, sandwiched between

shaded shapes moving across the body of blue, an onlooker would be hard-pressed to have any sense of just how far they extended. Hall says that the plant occupies 440 acres, comprises 343,000 panels and generates 74.5 megawatts of electricity, but the size doesn’t quite compute. But the length of time that it takes for cumulus clouds to pass over the field demonstrates the magnitude of the solar farm—larger than 300 football fields combined. The field, along with Florida Power & Light’s 13 other solar plants across the state, is a stand-in for the insurmountable challenge that the state faces, and it’s hard to imagine enough of these solar power plants to power the entire state. To be sure, every means of energy production, including solar, has flaws. Solar requires large amounts of space for the panels to capture

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light, hazardous materials are used in panel production and carbon-dioxide emissions are created by transportation of the panels. There’s little debate, however, that solar power generation is much cleaner than traditional power plants. Just off to the side of the tower, quietly hiding behind a chain-link fence, sits a squat set of pods encasing hundreds of batteries. The pods take up less space on the ground than the tower itself. With these batteries, solar energy can be made available after the sun sinks into the Gulf of Mexico and on cloudy days when the plant’s output dips. There are plenty of shiny bells and

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whistles spread out over the property—from ibis and alligators to new-fangled homes and chic eateries—but this drab, rather unobtrusive set of boxy forms is perhaps the most impressive—certainly the most important. Without solar storage, the solar solution is incomplete.

BACK AT THE RANCH According to Susan Glickman, Florida director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Babcock Ranch demonstrates that solar power is viable in Florida and that “individual families and businesses can benefit from putting solar on

COURTESY OF BABCOCK R ANCH

Above: The town of Babcock Ranch includes restaurants, entertainment, pet stores, dentists and other retail spaces.


their roofs as much as FPL is benefiting from putting up the solar farm for Babcock Ranch.” Glickman notes that with Babcock Ranch, Florida Power & Light is responding to consumer demand for solar power, and “that’s hopeful.” Still, “FPL is working feverishly to build as many new natural gas plants and gas infrastructure as they can,” Glickman says. “FPL’s commitment to solar is very low,” she adds. The company’s target of producing 4 percent of its total output via solar power by 2023 is unambitious when compared to California, which aims to derive 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2045. “We can do so much more,” Glickman says. What ultimately hurts the consumer are policies that make it harder for individual families and businesses to install rooftop solar panels. In November 2016, an amendment misleadingly titled “Rights of Electricity Consumers Regarding Solar Energy Choice” appeared on the Florida ballot. Backed with $21 million from Florida’s utilities, the group behind the amendment essentially sought to impede competition and prevent customers with rooftop solar power

from selling off their excess electricity. Florida voters voted no on the amendment, and that choice underscored the groundswell of momentum behind consumer-scale solar. “It’s happening whether they like it or not, because solar makes sense economically,” Glickman says. In Florida, utilities might continue to stave off the solar revolution, but Glickman is optimistic. “The most important thing to me is the finance piece,” she believes. That’s what will open the spillway of solar in the Sunshine State. And now, with a litany of solar co-ops, financing options and increased public familiarity with the technology, consumer-scale solar is finally accessible in the Sunshine State, and it’s here to stay. Back at Babcock Ranch, on a remote slice of land situated between the preserve and the ranch, the whistle of a northerly wind can Above: Residents have be heard pushing access to biking and hiking trails. through the acres of Below: Several model tall pine trees, while home designs are the rumble of a disavailable; community garden spaces offer tant bulldozer disresidents a chance to grow their own food. turbs the peace. In

this moment, two Floridas face off: one turning from stands of pines to glistening cookie-cutter cul-de-sacs, as it has for a hundred years, but now in a way that might change the state. The other Florida, still wild and rustling, flourishes down coquina two-tracks, past ranch gates, far from the major highways that cut across the state. Standing at the vortex of two stark realities, the natural and the manmade, the question arises: What could Florida become in another hundred years? Kitson was partially responsible for dragging the state into the future—even if it went kicking and screaming. But as he says, “We have an opportunity to show how it works, and I think we have the right formula.” Time will tell.

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PROMOTION

S

omething special happens the moment you begin the scenic drive down the Overseas Highway into The Florida Keys. The air shifts and your mood lifts when surrounded by the vibrant water, warm sunshine and blue skies. The Florida Keys’ spirit of freedom and adventure envelops you, no matter how many times you make that journey. Known not only for world-class snorkeling, diving, fishing and outdoor pursuits, but also for fine art galleries, museums and cultural festivals in constant rotation, The Florida Keys and Key West are beloved treasures of our state. Summer ushers in a special energy with the best of what The Keys has to offer on full display. In Flamingo’s SUMMER TRAVEL SPOTLIGHT 2018, we highlight some of our favorite places to stay, from high-style five-star resorts to chic boutique hotels and laidback luxury villas. All that’s left to do is pack up the convertible and head south.

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PROMOTION

Beautiful, inside and out.

With gulf and ocean breezes all year round, warm, crystal waters, vibrant marine life, and endlessly amazing sunsets, The Florida Keys has always been one of the world’s most beautiful places to embrace the great outdoors. And now that many of the hotels, resorts and restaurants of The Keys have had the opportunity to do some remodeling, we’re just as beautiful on the inside. fla-keys.com 1.800.fla.keys

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PROMOTION

CASA MARINA, A WALDORF ASTORIA RESORT OPENED: New Year’s Eve 1920 HIGHLIGHTS: The Casa Marina is an iconic beachfront property located on Key West’s largest private beach, the perfect destination for water sports and recreation. Enjoy toesin-the-sand dining at Sun Sun Beach Bar & Grill, two dazzling pools, a rejuvenating spa, a fitness center and 11,000 square feet of meeting and event space. LOCATION: 1500 Reynolds St. Key West (305) 296-3535

casamarinaresort.com

THE REACH, A WALDORF ASTORIA RESORT OPENED: 1984 HIGHLIGHTS: The Reach, a Waldorf Astoria Resort, is situated on Key West’s only private natural white sand beach and just steps away from world-famous Duval Street. Enjoy spectacular amenities such as an oceanfront pool, water sports rentals, a fitness center, oceanfront dining at Spencer’s by the Sea and functional meeting/event space. LOCATION: 1435 Simonton St. Key West (305) 296-5000 reachresort.com

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PROMOTION

SKIPJACK RESORT SUITES & MARINA OPENED: 1975 HIGHLIGHTS: Bring the kids and the boat and settle into Skipjack’s laid-back vibe at our resort hotel and private, 54-slip marina in Marathon Key. Steps away from Boot Key Harbor and ideal for families, each of Skipjack’s 60 well-appointed suites features easy access to the resort’s casual restaurant serving the Keys’ freshest seafood, classic tiki bar, sunny pool deck, gym, tennis courts, beach bicycles and more. Experience Gulfside, bay or sea fishing with a fishing charter. Or explore local waters with your own vessel by using the ramp at our marina with space for boats up to 60 feet, electric power, fresh water, and boat rentals. LOCATION: Marathon (305) 289-7662 skipjackresort.com

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PROMOTION

FROM PRESTIGIOUS ESTATES TO ISLAND ST YLE VILLAS

Whether you’re staying for a week or longer, we have been helping folks make their dream vacation a reality in the Florida Keys for over 20 years. Plan your island escape today, and contact Patti Stanley’s Island Villa Rental Properties. ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA KEYS // (305) 664-3333 // RENTALS@ISLANDVILLA.COM // ISLANDVILLA.COM

EXPERIENCE THE ALL NEW HAWKS CAY RESORT

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PROMOTION

ISLANDER RESORT REOPENING: Fall 2018 HIGHLIGHTS: The Islander Resort offers the perfect accommodations for spending a long weekend or a long winter. Our beautiful oceanfront property features a state-of-theart conference center, a pristine private beach with complete water sports offerings, two oceanfront swimming pools, a hot tub, shuffleboard, volleyball, a 200foot fishing pier with amazing views and Beachside Bar & Grill. Introducing our new culinary experience, Elements, featuring an elegant indoor bar and fine dining. All Islander accommodations offer complimentary wireless internet. We never charge resort fees! LOCATION: Mile Marker 82, Islamorada (305) 664-2031 islanderfloridakeys .com

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PROMOTION

EXPLORE THE KEYS’ HIDDEN TREASURES. THEN STAY IN ONE.

PERRYKEYWEST.COM

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PROMOTION

SUNSET GREEN OPENED: December 2017 MANAGEMENT: Highgate HIGHLIGHTS: A new 12,105-square-foot shared multipurpose event lawn serves as the focal point for award-winning boutique lifestyle hotels 24° North and The Gates. The lawn, complete with food truck, provides entertainment for up to 800 seated guests or 1,200 standing and can be used to host weddings, yoga, concerts, movie nights or lawn games. LOCATION: Key West (305) 928-1095

thekeyscollection.com

24° NORTH HOTEL

THE GATES HOTEL

OPENED: November 2015

OPENED: March 2015

MANAGEMENT: Highgate HIGHLIGHTS: 24° North Hotel ties the historical roots of Cuba and Key West together. With its authentic island ambience, Cuban theme and splashy pool deck scene, the 145-room boutique lifestyle hotel invites guests to explore what makes the Southernmost City incomparable. Historically minded adventurers are greeted with vibrant Cuban culture, bits of history and hospitality. LOCATION: Key West (305) 320-0940 24northhotel.com

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MANAGEMENT: Highgate HIGHLIGHTS: The soul of Key West is captured in our 100room lifestyle boutique property. Discover an authentic Key West experience, that highlights the diversity of cultures that makes this southernmost island so unique. A main attraction is Rum Row, a chic pool, bar, and lounge scene. Be inspired by the selection of rums and experience a modern twist on the Cuban cigar. LOCATION: Key West (305) 320-0930

gateshotelkeywest.com


— sunny dispatches from NW FLA —

Panhandling B y P ri ssy E l ro d

Sainted Shores

A trip to an old beach cottage proves that those beloved places of the past hold the power to reveal and to heal

COURTESY PRISSY ELROD

I

was following my oldest daughter, Garrett, up the narrow staircase built inside a brick wall of our old beach cottage. My heart was racing. It was a lifetime since I’d been in the attic. She had transformed the place after months of pinning, painting and primping up here, turning the once-cluttered space into a sleeping loft for the fourth generation of Kuersteiner offspring. It was early summer and time for the annual Above: Three generations of family feast on a fresh seafood spread. Kuersteiner family reunion. For 30 years, they had been having it at the little cottage on the shore of fact, there are 55 Kuersteiners sharing a twoSt. Teresa Beach. I have yet to find any other bedroom, one-bath cottage. And that’s before family that has a reunion for an entire week. the fourth generation starts propagating. But that’s another story. When I reached the last step to the attic, We called it M. Lee’s cottage, after the family unexpected emotions struck me. Nostalgic matriarch, Martha Lee Kuersteiner. No mind memories embedded for years began reeling she’d been dead almost three decades. One in vivid color. My past was colliding with my never dies, so to speak, if they ever lived on present. St. Teresa Beach. The tales and history of the Garrett was busy pointing out what she’d departed souls pass on through generations. done. I blinked away, pooling tears, and turned And few outsiders ever get property there. to wipe my eyes. I turned back around and Like memories and stories, the property stays could see her mouth moving. I was admiring the in the family and is bequeathed to the heirs. In way her hair fell around her face, listening to

nothing my child was saying. I was back in time, 48 years ago, remembering the pungent smell of age and dust, seeing the speckles of peeling paint. Tiny insects that tumbled inside from gaping holes in the old windows buzzed around me. I was back to the day I became part of St. Teresa Beach and met the boy who brought me there. It was my third date with a third-year law student. His name was Boone. He was four years older, and we’d met by chance. He was driving down Jefferson Street on the campus of FSU. He passed by and saw me standing on the lawn, talking with a few Pi Phi sisters. Boone stopped his car and left it running in the middle of the road. He sprinted across the brittle lawn, parched from summer’s heat. He was tall, blond, and quite handsome in his green dotted tie, holding a mechanical pencil in one hand. I studied him as he pulled a small black notebook from his shirt pocket. He was chatty, polished and persuasive. The cars began honking behind his idle car, still sitting in the middle of the road. With a nudge from my girlfriends, I gave him my

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Panhandling

phone number. I figured a killer wouldn’t wear Boone climbed out and softly closed his a tie like that. door. He came around to my side, opened the A week or two later, we had finished chowing door and extended his hand to help me out. down on burgers and were leaving Mutt and Again, a quiet closing of the door. Jeff’s. It was early and still light outside. This “Whisper,” he whispered. was the third date and the most important in I followed him and stood beside him as he my three-date rule. He wouldn’t know about reached behind an electrical box and pulled out that. On the first date, I would try not to judge; a key. He opened a creaking screen door, then they might be nervous. Second date, I observed inserted the key into the scarred, wooden door humor, personality, and humility. By the third, I and opened it. Heat and a musty scent were knew if I wanted a fourth. waiting inside. “Let’s go watch the sunset,” he suggested. I ran my hand along the wall for a light “Where?” switch. “No, don’t turn it on,” he whispered, “St. Teresa, my parents have a house there.” pulling a small flashlight from a kitchen drawer. “I’ve never heard of it... but, okay.” I loved the beach, especially with the sun setting. We climbed back inside his sporty car and drove 40 miles to the coast. I was imagining a house like the ones that spilled across the coastal marsh of Georgia. Sea Island, where I’d spent my summers growing up, came to mind. Less than an hour later, we were pulling off Highway 98 and onto a winding dirt road. The Above: Cousins hunting hermit crabs along the Gulf shoreline sun had already set during the drive down. On either side of the driveway stood He ushered me along a dark, narrow hall and enormous pine trees, rustling in the light opened a small wooden door with peeling white summer breeze. Boone turned off his headlights paint. A wave of heat came out and washed and crept up the dirt road. over me. We lowered our heads to fit inside the “What are you doing?” I asked. tiny staircase, a space too small even for me, “The Carters are home.” much less his six-foot frame. I was too busy searching for monsters to ask We were inside the attic. I saw stacks of why it mattered. His blue car moved forward at boxes, a twin bed and spooky shadows all a snail’s pace before stopping smack dab in front around. I was just about to vocalize my utter of a red, brick speck . . . the house. He turned shock when we heard heavy footsteps below us. off the ignition. What the heck? The place was Bright lights beamed up the stairs, wrapping nothing like I imagined. color around the shadows in the attic.

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“Who’s there?” a man hollered. “Crap, the Carters!” Boone whispered. Busted! Before he ever got to first base. It served him right. Tempting me with a sunset and the beach. I never saw either one. Mrs. Carter called his mother before we made it back to Tallahassee. Boone’s mother was a strict woman. She had always ruled her eight children with a watchful eye. No matter that Boone was 24 years old and about to graduate from law school. She didn’t want her boys taking girls inside the cottage on St. Teresa Beach, or anywhere for that matter. “A gentleman doesn’t do that,” she scolded. “What would her mother think?” For the record, my mother couldn’t have cared less. None of her goings-on stopped Boone from trying. He kept sliding me around her until we married. Summers came and went as we moved through decades on St. Teresa Beach. Garrett and Sara Britton, our two daughters, learned to crawl on the dirty floor of that cottage. As toddlers and tweens, they learned to fish, paddle a boat, ski and collect starfish along the same shore. But, by this time, our family had taken up residence in a different cottage, also old and worn after years of occupants. The cottage was not one of the famed Wilson’s Beach Cottages. But it lay inside a compound among old, abandoned army barracks. My greatest fear wasn’t the water, snakes or gators, but rather the old iceboxes with doors and latches inside the dilapidated buildings. What if my child crawled inside one of them in a game of hide and seek. Later, as our girls grew into teenagers, we moved to another cottage a few hundred feet away on St. Teresa Beach: Bay North. And then, the unthinkable. We buried

COURTESY PRISSY ELROD

sunny dispatches from NW FLA


Boone, who we lost to cancer. That was when St. Teresa Beach, with its simplistic gentleness, became my haven. It captured not only my heart, but also my soul. It restored my strength, hope and courage in the aftermath of loss. I wouldn’t know it yet, but another sainted island, St. George Island, would come into my life. But only after I reunited with my high school boyfriend, a whole other story I share in my memoir, Far Outside the Ordinary. When I remarried, I deeded my shared interest in M. Lee’s cottage to our daughters. After all, my owner privilege was marriage to Boone. I also sold Bay North, the cottage we owned during the last years of Boone’s life. Friends asked how could I leave St. Teresa Beach. Few understood. But, I knew to move forward that I could never look back. St. Teresa was in my past. St. George would be my future. On that visit with Garrett, I looked around the attic one last time, then went down to join the Kuersteiner clan. I was lucky. After so many years, they still thought of me as family, and they welcomed and loved Dale, my husband. I followed the sound of laughter to the porch. I found Dale sharing a story with Boone’s brother, Kris. It warmed my heart to see how much Kris resembled Boone. Next to them was Sara Britton, my youngest daughter. She was scolding her sweet, active boy, Whit. She was most like her father: strict with a kind, tender heart. Peace enveloped me. The chaos, heat and my earlier turbulent emotions seemed insignificant. M. Lee’s cottage, worn-out and eclectic, had captured this family year after year. The reunion represented the past, present and future for every generation. Those gone and those yet to come. It was magic. We bid goodbye and I shared a hug with all of Boone’s family: brothers, sisters, spouses, nieces, nephews and cousins. I pulled the screen door open and smiled at the creaking sound, remembering, once again, where it all began. Dale slammed his door, and I rolled down the window to cool down the car. I looked over toward the Carters’ house and saw one of them watching us. I smiled and waved as we pulled out along the dirt road, back onto Highway 98. It seemed nothing had changed. Yet everything was different. Best of all, there were two saints on the Panhandle shore of Florida, Saint Teresa and Saint George, who blessed me. Nobody could ask for more than that.

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Prissy Elrod is a professional speaker, artist and humorist and the author of Far Outside the Ordinary. She was born and raised in Lake City and now lives in Tallahassee with her husband, Dale. Chasing Ordinary, the sequel to Far Outside the Ordinary, will be released in 2018.

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Sharing yerba mate in the traditional gourd is a way of life in South America. Photo Credit: Stevie Anna


— fine arts, favor ites, f lings —

ON THE FLY — THE STUDIO —

Cuban artists with a Floridian following

— FLORIDA WILD —

P h o t o g r a p h e r C a r l t o n Wa r d J r. f r o m t h e s w a m p

— GROVE STAND —

Chef Clay Conley is Palm Beach

— BIRD’S-EYE VIEW —

Where to shop, sip and stay in Naples

— THE ROOST —

Dream boats for the captain in us all

— THE TIDE —

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What to know so you can go

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ON THE FLY:THE STUDIO FLOR IDA ARTIST PR OF ILES By Nila Do Simon

MEETING of the MINDS with South Florida ties A pair of Cuban artists prove that the creative process is better together

Above from top: La Presa sculpture; the original

trio, Alain Pino, Niels Moleiro and Mayito Gonzalez

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personal. The stainless steel sculpture El Caso de la Rubia Platino (Menina) is an abstract work that showcases a young girl with an innocent countenance, but below her waist are numerous gears and cogs, symbolizing that a subject can be more complex than it appears. “There are always several meanings behind their work,” says Nance Frank, owner of the Gallery on Greene in Key West, which features several of the collective’s pieces. “In a sense, that’s a real Cuban thing. They are a complex people who have complex lives, so it makes sense that this shows in their work.” Frank, who has been friends with Moleiro and Gonzalez for nearly 25 years, has led art tours to Cuba for two decades. She introduces clients and collectors to artists in their own studios and has even set up

Above: A work titled El Caracol

GALLERY ON GREENE

I

n the balmy, humid climate of Havana, Cuba, contemporary art springs from the hearts and hands of passionate artists making statements as political as they are visually striking. Amid the tropical environment and dynamic culture that Americans are slowly coming to know as tensions with Cuba continue to ease, a talented duo turns out works that show the rest of the world

what modern-day Cuban art is about. The-Merger is an arts collective founded by childhood friends Niels Moleiro and Mario Miguel “Mayito” Gonzalez. They’ve been quietly creating thought-provoking, multilayered sculptures since 2009, and in less than a decade, The-Merger has surfaced as a leader in Cuba’s contemporary art scene. The artists have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, raked in $187,500 at a recent Sotheby’s auction, and even count Beyonce as a collector of their work. Originally a trio, formed by Moleiro and Gonzalez with fellow artist Alain Pino, The-Merger began with the idea that two or three heads are better than one. Moleiro and Gonzalez, self-taught artists who delve wholeheartedly into their craft, had their own careers when Moleiro suggested they collaborate. For Moleiro, a part-time Miami resident, the advantages of teaming up were obvious: “Together we can do greater things, and more things happen than when we work alone,” he says through a translator. “For example, if there’s a rock, we both can polish it better than one person can alone. With our art, we just polish and polish and polish until we come to an agreement on what we should create.” Their work often comes in the form of a sculpture that tells a story, whether it’s a tale about the political climate in Cuba (Against the Tide depicts a swimmer finding the strength for one more stroke atop a silhouette of the island) or something more


Let me show you fabulous Jacksonville... where Florida begins! exchange programs between museums in Cuba and those in the U.S., including one between the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de Cuba. She also coordinates stateside artist residencies for Cubans. “Artists are venerated in Cuba,” Frank says, alluding to the communist government’s policy allowing independent artists to collect and

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Above: Nance Frank, owner of Gallery on

Greene, with Pop Corn from The-Merger’s Structure series

keep money they earn, thus creating a highly desirable professional class. “I remember walking down the street with Mayito and Niels, and kids would come up to them as if they were celebrities. It’s a very unique atmosphere, even a reverential one, for artists in Cuba, and I’m glad I have the chance to show TheMerger’s work to Americans.”

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ON THE FLY: GROVE STAND SEASON’S EATINGS

By Laur a R ei l ey • P h o t o g ra p h y b y L i b b y Vo l g y es

FIRE STARTER

Credited with sparking Palm Beach’s roaring culinary scene with his stable of award-winning restaurants, Clay Conley reveals that the secret is just making food that he wants to eat.

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ANDY RYAN

C

lay Conley grew up in Limerick, Maine, a tiny town in the foothills of the White Mountains. Despite his origins, he can’t come up with a single rhyming limerick, dirty or otherwise. Still, it’s clear his childhood influenced him. His mother, a Czech-American school teacher, was a good home cook, and his systems analyst father spent his BUCCAN off hours tending to 2,000 fruit trees — LOCATION — 350 SOUTH COUNTY ROAD on the property, along with pigs, PALM BEACH sheep and other delicious critters. — HOURS — His upbringing may not have set SUN–THURS: 5 P.M.–10 P.M. FRI–SAT 5 P.M.–11 P.M. things in motion for Conley, now buccanpalmbeach.com 44, to be the chef and owner of a raft of award-winning restaurants in Palm Beach County. Being the IMOTO chef behind Buccan, The Sandwich AT BUCCAN Shop, Imoto and Grato, he was a — LOCATION — 350 SOUTH COUNTY ROAD James Beard semifinalist in PALM BEACH 2012, 2013, — HOURS — 2017 and MON–SAT: 5 P.M–1 A.M. SUN 5 P.M.–12 A.M. 2018. Two things imotopalmbeach.com were perhaps more predictive of his success: He started GRATO washing dishes in — LOCATION — 1901 S. DIXIE HWY. a restaurant at age WEST PALM BEACH culinary director—a prestigious 14, and, after dropping — HOURS — gig, but one that is more adminisout of college following SUN.-THURS. 4 P.M.–10 P.M. FRI.-SAT. 4 P.M.–11 P.M. trative than it is culinary. stints at Tulane and then gratowpb.com Conley aimed to change that, at Florida State, he moved to auditioning for chef de cuisine of Boston to work for superstar chef what would be Miami’s first AAA Todd English. Five Diamond restaurant, Azul. He set his sights on Olives, “I went down and did a tasting. I made a English’s upscale Mediterranean flagship, but study in tuna three ways, a wild mushroom by Conley’s own admission, he was too young consomme with shaved white truffles and a for the job. English gave him a roasted mushroom salad, a bouillabaisse shot making salads and with grouper and a Moroccan lamb, risottos at Figs down again with three preparations. I the street. He stayed was a young chef, putting a lot with English for of stuff on the plates. I chalked 10 years, opening that up to me being a kid.” more than 20 It worked, and he helmed restaurants the restaurant for five years and eventubefore opening Buccan, which ally becoming many folks credit with kickcorporate

Above: Short rib

starting a Palm Beach dining revolution, Below: A Grato in 2011. baked pasta delight “My partners Sam Slattery and Piper Quinn, we’d always had this casual woodgrill, small-plates concept. We’d looked in Boston and Colorado and had a couple close calls in Miami. Piper, who lives in Palm Beach, said, ‘Why don’t you come up for the weekend and check out this place?’” The first menu, he says, was huge and cheap, with items like short rib empanadas, steak tartare and squid ink orecchiette, a New American style not unlike what is served today. Buccan is loud, casual and focused on what emanates from the brick oven. A mailbox store adjacent to Buccan went out of business, and in 2012, Imoto, which means little sister in Japanese, was born. empanadas at Buccan

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ON THE FLY: GROVE STAND SEASON’S EATINGS

Below: Light pours into Grato’s dining room

“It’s much quieter, a little more chill,” says Conley, who has no formal culinary training and honed his skills on the job. “It’s a completely opposite experience from Buccan.” The next year they added The Sandwich Shop, taking over a nearby florist’s shop, mostly for the storage and office space. But with 150 square feet of storefront, they started selling sandwiches and smoking and sous viding their own meats. Keeping up the momentum, Conley opened Grato in January 2016.

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Tuna Crisps with Avocado, Soy and Citrus Vinaigrette Yi e l d s 8 c r i s p s 2 teaspoons spicy aioli 8 fried wonton shells 1/4 cup cucumber, julienned 1/4 cup carrot, julienned 1/2 pound raw sushi-grade tuna, diced 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 1/4 cup scallions, sliced 2 teaspoons ginger, minced 2 teaspoons sesame seeds 1 ripe avocado, diced 2 tablespoons fish sauce vinaigrette PREPARATION: Drizzle spicy aioli on wonton shell. Garnish with cucumber and carrot. In a separate bowl, toss all remaining ingredients together. Layer on top.

SPICY AIOLI 2 tablespoons ginger, chopped 5 cloves garlic 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 quart mayonnaise 6 tablespoons Sriracha 1/4 cup kimchi base 1/4 cup sesame oil 1/4 cup soy sauce Kosher salt and black pepper PREPARATION: Place ginger, garlic and lemon juice into the bowl of a food processor and run until smooth. Add mixture and remaining ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

FISH SAUCE VINAIGRETTE cup lemon juice 2 tablespoons ginger 1/2 cup fish sauce 1/2 cup mirin 1 cup rice wine 3 tablespoons Sriracha 1 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup sesame oil 1/2

PREPARATION: Place all items in a food processor and puree.

ANDY RYAN, ROB WOODHAM

Left:

Bucatini carbonara from Grato

“It started out pretty traditional Italian. Now, it’s got some traditional elements but is a little more creative than it was originally. That’s what people expect from us.” Conley won’t speculate on precisely what’s next, but there’s no doubt he’s shifted the thinking in the once-conservative food culture of the tony island. Until the next project emerges, he’s got enough on his plate: He and his wife, Averill, whom he met at Florida State, have two kids—Camden, 3, and Micaela, 6. Last year, the couple planted a big garden for the restaurants, with six raised beds, each 10 feet by 50 feet. “Okra, eggplant, zucchini, radishes—we fumbled around for a while, then I hired a proper gardener.” Conley, who once lived in Tokyo, loves Japanese flavors, as well as Peruvian cuisine, raw dishes and those that make good use of acid and spiciness. And he thinks Palm Beach County is up for the ride. “We’re not in Miami,” he says. “But Palm Beach has an equally sophisticated palate. There’s that cliche about older rich white people, but there’s been an influx of another generation.” Still, Conley maintains he doesn’t really think about crafting food for any particular audience. “It’s about how I would want to eat. That’s what Todd did. He just made food he thought was delicious.”


Left: Penne alla vodka from Grato

Braised Short Rib Empanadas with Aji Amarillo and Salsa Criolla Yi e l d s 8 e m pa na d a s 1 1/2 pounds short rib or chuck flap meat, trimmed and cleaned 1/2 cup flour 1/4 cup vegetable oil 1 cup mirepoix (roughly chopped onions, carrots, celery) 2 cups red cooking wine 1 cup veal demi-glace 1 quart white chicken stock, such as Swanson 8 empanada shells, such as Goya, thawed Oil for frying Aji amarillo aioli Salsa criolla 2 teaspoons cilantro, chiffonade Kosher salt and black pepper

the liquid back to the meat to moisten it slightly. Reduce the rest of the cooking liquid to sauce consistency. Wrap approximately 3 tablespoons meat in each empanada skin, and gently fold the edges to seal them. Fry the empanadas in 350-degree oil until golden brown and heated through. Spoon some of the reduced cooking liquid onto plates and place the empanadas on top. Drizzle the empanadas with the aji amarillo aioli, and top with some of the salsa criolla. Garnish with the chiffonade cilantro.

SALSA CRIOLLA

Below: Scrumptious tuna crisps from Buccan

1/4 cup red onion, diced fine 1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely diced 1/2 cup champagne vinegar Kosher salt PREPARATION: Combine the red onion, red bell pepper and champagne vinegar in a bowl. Season with salt.

AJI AMARILLO AIOLI 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil 1/4 cup sliced garlic 2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons lime juice

Above: Conley surrounded by the Grato team

1 cup mayonnaise 1 tablespoon aji amarillo pepper paste Kosher salt PREPARATION: In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and lightly saute the sliced garlic until translucent. Add the lemon and lime juice and cook until tender. Puree garlic, lime juice, mayonnaise and aji amarillo paste in blender. Season to taste with salt. Add more or less aji amarillo for desired level of spiciness.

PREPARATION: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pat the meat dry with a paper towel. Season the flour and the short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge meat in flour. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot. Sear the meat on all sides, then remove from the pan and discard the oil. Add the mirepoix and cook until lightly browned, then deglaze with the red wine and reduce until almost dry. Once reduced, add the veal demi-glace and the chicken stock, and bring to a simmer. Add the meat and return to a simmer. Place meat and liquid in a deep baking dish and cover. Bake for two hours or until tender enough to shred with a fork. Remove from the oven, uncover and allow to cool to room temperature. Remove the meat and strain the liquid. Finely chop the meat and add a little of

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ON THE FLY: MY FLORIDA SUNSHINE STATE STOR IES B y Ja m i e R i ch

FLY LIKE AN EAGLE How the shooting at my alma mater, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, woke me up.

I

n the summer of 1993 I turned 16. I got my dream car, a black 1985 BMW with a manual transmission and a crank sunroof. I was over the moon. Then my parents broke the news that we were moving to Florida. I was devastated. My dad had a great new job in Fort Lauderdale, which may as well have been Fort Knox for all I cared. It was far, far away from my friends and family in Raleigh, North Carolina, where I had grown up. That August we moved to Parkland, and shortly after I started my junior year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, not knowing a soul among the 3,000 students. I was a prepster with a white grosgrain ribbon in my hair. I remember, the first day, walking through the pristine atrium of the school, which had opened only three years earlier,

Above: Rich and friend

Christine Silva in 1995

Top: Rich with friends Brooke Bacon

West and Michelle Tano Francos

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and thinking it was as big as a college campus. I was not in North Carolina anymore. Everything seemed huge and foreign. Even the air smelled funny, with the tropical flora in full bloom. Guys named Vinny and Gino drove fast cars with T-tops and had tattoos. The cheerleaders wore slouchy socks and nameplate necklaces. Suddenly my Southern accent was magnified 1,000 percent. Some of the girls called me “Sandra D,” and it was not a compliment. Douglas high school was an awkward adjustment for many months, which in teenage years felt like a decade. I had no choice but to make it work. Eventually Vinny and Gino were among my friends, and I found my tribe. But after graduating in 1995, Stoneman Douglas was in my rearview mirror. I moved to Tallahassee, then Atlanta, Moscow, Washington, Douala, Cameroon, London and eventually to Jacksonville, Florida. Over the course of 23 years, my eagle pride waned, just by virtue of growing up. That all changed on February 14, 2018, when a shooter walked into my alma mater and opened fire, killing 17 people. I first heard the news of the shooting from my dad, who texted me while I was sifting through story ideas at the Flamingo offices in North Florida. “There’s been a shooting at Douglas,” he wrote. “Kiss the girls for us,” referencing my two daughters. I reached out to my younger brother, also a graduate, and to the small group of Douglas

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friends I was still in touch with. All of us were in shock. “I can’t stop crying,” my friend Brooke West wrote in a text. From my computer I watched live news coverage of kids with their hands up, streaming out of the courtyard by the gym, where I used to hang out after school before cross-country practice. Back then there were no fences or barriers, just a beautiful open campus. But back then school shootings weren’t a thing. The scene was eerily familiar and oddly surreal. The aerial views of the school on CNN showed that Parkland had been built up and was vastly bigger than it was in 1995. I barely recognized the town but at the same time completely connected with it, as my old house was less than a mile from the school. The city of Parkland was now globally trending. As the world would come to know, Stoneman Douglas became the site of the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. Messages and calls from friends in Florida and beyond lit up my phone into the night. I was invited to join a Facebook group, Mobilizing MSD Alumni. Two thousand people were already members of the group by 10 p.m. I stayed up late reading the posts from fellow alumni, who were both shaken and united by the unfolding tragedy. I watched our homecoming queen Julie Novak sing the school song on a video she posted from her home in Colorado, while other names and faces I hadn’t seen or spoken to in 20 years popped up to share


Experience and compassion you can trust.

their thoughts and emotions. Like Brooke, and thousands of others, I couldn’t stop crying. By the time I woke up the next morning, 4,000 alumni had joined the group. Today 11,570 Eagles are part of this Facebook forum, determined to create change. I have to admit that before February 14, I was numb to the constant stream of news stories about mass shootings. It’s like the way war footage has become over the last decade: We read. We feel terrible. And then we go on with our lives. Two years ago, the Pulse Night Club shooting in Orlando lingered with me for weeks. Flamingo had just launched a few months earlier, and in response we posted a rainbow heart with #OrlandoStrong on our social media feed to show our support. I devoured the news and was consumed with the story. I cared, but I did little. Unfortunately, a mass shooting had to touch my life, my town, my school, before I took action, which hasn’t been an easy or straightforward path. Flamingo has become an amazing platform for Floridians to share stories and views across the state and beyond, so why shouldn’t we use it to address the shooting? To that end, we created an online series, The Power of the Pen, calling for essays and giving readers a place to add their voices to the debates on gun control, mental health and school safety. A range of readers, from best-selling author Lisa Unger to a retired police sergeant to a Fort Lauderdale teacher to a North Florida finance professional, submitted pieces. Initially, dozens of people chimed in on social media saying they wanted to raise their voices. Much fewer actually took time to write. Like the old me, they let their emotion fade, and days later the Douglas shooting didn’t seem so pressing. I know some people don’t want to think about it anymore. I understand. But we have to. I want readers to turn the pages of Flamingo to escape, enrich themselves

and most importantly have fun. But I’ve come to realize that uncomfortable stories will come along that are too important to let lie. Over the last four months, my eagle pride soared higher than it ever did. I’m in awe of the current Douglas students like Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg, who have become the faces of the March for Our Lives movement and motivated millions of people from all political parties in cities across the world, including Jacksonville, to show up to march. I’m proud to say I was among them. I’m proud of my classmate Jamie Bayardelle for co-founding the Florida-based nonprofit Children’s Safety Coalition, to take an active role in creating change. I’m proud of Governor Rick Scott for acting quickly by signing into law the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act and acknowledging that guns, along with mental health and school security, are part of the problem. The $500 million plan to fortify schools, help the mentally ill and make purchasing guns in Florida more difficult is a huge step in the right direction. To be sure, Eagles want more. For those who haven’t figured out how to make an impact (I’m still navigating it myself), it’s never too late to raise your voice. Write a Power of the Pen essay or a letter to your congressman or congresswoman. Vote in the next election cycle. Volunteer with a nonprofit group like the Children’s Safety Coalition. But the first thing we all have to do is never forget the devastation on February 14 and stay MSD Strong. Submit essays for Power of The Pen to editorial@flamingomag.com.

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ON THE FLY:BIRD’S-EYE VIEW

A WA L K I N G G U I D E TO O U R FAVO R I T E N E I G H B O R H O O DS

Fifth avenue darling

Conquering Naples one cocktail and shopping bag at a time

A standout bistro in Chef Vincenzo Betulia’s lineup of Italian hot spots around town. Golden Gate Pkwy. 365 Fifth Ave. S. 5.

4. 1.

3.

2.

6.

th 5 th Ave. Sou

9 th St. South

. South Gulf Shore Blvd

9.

8. 3rd St. South

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The historic hotel has a modern take on traditional Naples luxury. Enjoy the view and a glass of bubbly from the rooftop bar. 699 Fifth Ave.

4. THE CLAW BAR

It’s Fresh on the scene, and perfect for a luxe lunch or swanky dinner. 221 Ninth St. S.

5. GORDON RIVER GREENWAY PARK

Take a peaceful nature walk between shopping and dinner. Golden Gate Parkway.

10.

6. DELICIOUS RAW 11.

12.

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Walk the heart of Naples with Old Florida–inspired shops, upscale boutiques, fine art galleries and local restaurants. 649 Fifth Ave. S.

3. INN ON FIFTH 7.

Broad Av e. South

2. 5TH AVENUE SOUTH SHOPS

This healthy hot spot has the best plantbased menu in town. 821 Fifth Ave. S.

7. 7TH AVENUE SOCIAL

The place to be on Sunday Fun day with live music, a Southern-

inspired boozy brunch and the Flaming Oh! tequila cocktail 849 Seventh Ave. S.

8. NAPLES PIER

This historic landmark illustrates the city’s history as one of the most iconic beach towns in the Sunshine State. 735 Eighth St.

9. MARISSA COLLECTIONS

This luxury department store showcases designers like Alexander McQueen, Versace and Oscar de la Renta. 1167 Third St. S.

10. THE BEVY

It’s the perfect outdoor restaurant and bar for a summer sunset with tacos and a craft “bevy.” 360 12th Ave. S.

11. JANE’S GARDEN CAFÉ ON 3RD

It’s tucked away off of 3rd Street, but if you look hard enough, you will find lively Saturday morning “brunchers” under bright pink umbrellas. 1209 Third St. S.

12. BAD ASS COFFEE

Start the morning with a hot cup of Kona Coffee. Beans are grown on Hawaii’s Big Island and fashioned into espresso drinks in Naples. 1307 Third St.

ILLUSTR ATION: LESLIE CHALFONT

1. THE FRENCH


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The Best of the Sunshine

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ON THE FLY: FLORIDA WILD P H OTOGR APHS & F IELD NOTES B y C ar lton War d Jr.

DRY COUNTY

T

he cycle of the seasons in Florida swamps revolves around water. I think of seasons in terms of wet or dry more than anything else. Typically summer and fall are wet, with winter and spring being dry, but that is not always the case. A dry summer in 2015 was followed by a wet winter in 2016 that delivered water to the swamps year-round. Some wetlands didn’t drain for nearly two years. When the seasons do change, the shift can be extreme. I’ve seen the woods go from flooding to burning and back in a matter of weeks. After an intense spring drought, the South Florida wet season of 2017 came so decisively that swamps filled in a matter of

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days, and about 90 inches of rain proceeded to fall during the second half of the year in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. During the wet season, rainfall fills swamps, wetlands, rivers and creeks. The buttressed roots of the cypress trees in this photo would be completely covered by water. And wildlife—alligators, fish, amphibians and wading birds—would be scattered across thousands of acres of flooded lowlands. But in the wet season, if water becomes scarce, wildlife congregates around shrinking wetlands. That was the case at Babcock Ranch, where the alligators and a great blue heron seemed to arrive at an uneasy truce. Both bird and reptile could

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take advantage of fish concentrated in the diminishing pond, perhaps helping keep bird off the menu. The Babcock Ranch Preserve is a 68,000-acre state preserve inland of Fort Myers. The land is managed for agriculture, including cattle, timber and crops, while also providing wildland habitat for threatened and endangered species such as wood storks, swallow-tailed kites and Florida panthers. The 10,000-acre Telegraph Cypress Swamp, where this photograph was taken, is the defining feature of Babcock Ranch. The Babcock Ranch Eco-Tour uses open buses to guide visitors into the swamp, surveying this exact location.


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ON THE FLY:THE ROOST RE AL ESTATE DOLLARS & SENSE B y E ri c B a rt o n

Bow, Wow!

Whether heading offshore, cruising the Intracoastal or just running to dinner, these stunners could double as stately second homes (or at least cost as much).

Riva 88’ Domino Super

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FERRET TI GROUP

D

esigns from this Italian yard are among the most beautiful in the world, so don’t be surprised when all eyes in the harbor turn to watch this boat make its entrance. The truly unique vessel was developed by Mauro Micheli, who rethought every aspect of the 86-foot Domino before drawing the lines for the 88-foot model. The hull is painted a dramatic London gray that stands out against the rich dark wood on the decks. The living spaces have been reimagined, including the sundeck. Below deck, a “moon gray” theme takes over in four staterooms, each of which features something not always found on low-profile sport yachts: actual walking space. With just a few models built to date, this 88-footer will likely be matchless in your local waters. Broker: Ferretti Group, Fort Lauderdale, ferrettigroupamerica.com Price: $8.85 million


ON THE FLY:THE ROOST RE AL ESTATE DOLLARS & SENSE

Hatteras M75 Panacera

MYCO MEDIA PRO

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atteras Yachts— one of the most venerable names in the marine industry— launched this 75-footer just months ago, and every inch of FantaSea was custom-built. That’s clear in the salon, with its bespoke furniture, massive skylight, and plank-style flooring that’s not often seen on motor yachts. The technology and systems are thoroughly modern, including the reverse osmosis water filtration system, HandCraft Mattress Company bedding in all four suites, and underwater lighting that makes every port look extra special. With just 120 hours on the engines, FantaSea is a practically new, custom yacht, only you don’t have to wait for it to be finished. Broker: Marine Max, Naples, marinemax.com Price: $5.49 million

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Benetti Veloce

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he first thing you’ll notice about Cheers 46 are the oversized windows that draw plenty of light through sleek geometric shapes into living and entertaining areas. The glazing accents the beautiful lines of this Italian-made 140-footer that can cruise along at 15 knots. Passengers can relax in a salon covered in kato, a gray-stained African wood. After a night in one of the five cabins (accommodations for up to 12 people), hit the workout room (which has its own balcony), entertain on the massive top deck, or take out a toy from the tender garage. Benetti created the yacht, built in 2014, so modern you’d think it was just launched. Broker: Denison Yacht Sales, Fort Lauderdale, denisonyachtsales.com Price: $13.45 million

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Viking Yachts 68 Convertible

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iking Yachts of New Gretna, New Jersey, is a premier builder of tournament-worthy sportfishing convertibles. This 68-footer has all of the company’s blue-water DNA, but it’s also a comfortable cruising boat equipped with the creature comforts of home. Of course, those who occupy its white-and-tan salons and four stateroom suites can troll a fishing line now and again. A pair of 1,945-horsepower diesel engines ensure excellent performance and offer the power to quickly cut across the Gulf Stream on your way to some secluded beach in the Bahamas. The 68, which made its public debut in February at the Miami Yacht Show, can be customized with upgraded interior decor, a stabilizer and tuna towers. Maybe yours will have a full complement of fishing equipment, or perhaps you’ll never leave the salon’s plush sofa. Broker: Galati Yacht Sales, Naples, galatiyachts.com Price: $4.06 million

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n an era when many ships are sleek, modern wedges, Unbroken looks as if it has steamed to port from a more glamorous time, although like all builds from Hinckley—one of the best-known yards in Maine—it features high-tech systems and propulsion. The stark white cabin stands in contrast to the rich blue hull, with red stripes running above the waterline. There’s varnished cherry everywhere, covering the galley, the bulkheads of the master suite and the stateroom’s head. The guest suite has its own head and single berths that convert into a double bed. Built in 2011, Unbroken was recently updated with a stabilizing gyro for smooth sailing, no matter what era you’re steaming towards. Broker: Hinckley Yachts, Stuart, hinckleyyachts.com Price: $2.95 million

Hinckley Talaria 55 MKII MY

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8055 Whisper Lake Lane West Offered at $2,495,000 This 5 bedroom, 6.5 bath estate in TPC Sawgrass is nestled between the TPC Stadium and Valley courses. Features include expansive outdoor living space with 18 x 40 pool, custom kitchen and a 5-car garage. sawgrassisland.com


ON THE FLY:THE TIDE ROAD TR IP–WORTHY EVENTS (NORTH) EVP PRO BEACH VOLLEYBALL TOUR– AT HAMMOCK BEACH PA L M C O A S T

June 1–3

Beach volleyball professionals compete to qualify for the 2018 EVP World Finals of Beach Volleyball Championship. evptour.com

BILLY BOWLEGS PIRATE FESTIVAL F O R T WA LT O N B E A C H

June 1–4

This family-friendly, piratethemed weekend offers parades, rock walls, live music and food on the waterfront. billybowlegsfestival.com

47TH ANNUAL PENSACOLA INTERNATIONAL BILLFISH TOURNAMENT P E N S A C O LA

June 27–July 1 Anglers compete for prizewinning blue marlin and a $5,000 purse. An awards brunch follows at the Pensacola Yacht Club. pbgfc.com

7TH ANNUAL DOWNTOWN APALACHICOLA INDEPENDENCE EVE CELEBRATION A PA LA C H I C O LA

July 3

The patriotic celebration features a parade, food, ice cream, a tribute to U.S. veterans and fireworks over the Apalachicola River. downtownapalachicola.com

P E N S A C O LA

July 14

Each July, this iconic event unfolds on the beach at Pensacola, home to the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ elite flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels. The celebration caps off Red, White and Blues Week, which begins on July 11 with fireworks and concerts and continues over the course of a few days with meet ’n’ greets and practice rounds by the Blues. The big show includes civilian air performances as well as the iconic FA-18 Hornets. Thousands of spectators set up camp on the white sands of Santa Rosa Island and bob at anchor in the Little Sabine Bay to feel the rumble and watch the military unit perform insane maneuvers. Prepare for a long day. Traffic getting onto the island is no joke, but locals agree it’s worth it for the full experience hearing the show’s narration. Check out Dog House Deli or Casino Beach Bar & Grille for shrimp ’n’ grits or bushwackers. For true street cred, don the commemorative t-shirt and ride the mechanical shark. visitpensacola.com

JULY FOURTH IN JACKSONVILLE

7TH ANNUAL PADDLE AT THE PORCH

July 4

August 18

JACKSONVILLE

VISIT PENSACOL A

PENSACOLA BEACH AIRSHOW

Independence Day activities include live music and fireworks displays over the St. Johns River downtown and at the beach. visitjacksonville.com

DESTIN

Stand up paddle boarders of all ages and skill levels compete in one, three or six mile races around Destin’s Gulf Coast waters.

destinchamber.com

GULF COAST JAM

PA N A M A C I T Y B E A C H

August 31–September 2 Country sensations Florida Georgia Line, Eric Church and Thomas Rhett headline threeday-long beachside music festival.

gulfcoastjam.com

GULF COAST SUMMER FEST: JAZZ EDITION P E N S A C O LA

September 1 Musicians like Grammynominated saxophonist Boney James perform live on stage. gulfcoastsummerfest

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ON THE FLY:THE TIDE ROAD TR IP–WORTHY EVENTS (C E N T RA L ) SUMMERFEST GRAPE STOMP CLERMONT

June 8–10 Stomp barrels of vine-ripened grapes and take a tasting tour of Lakeridge Winery. lakeridgewinery.com

MASCOT GAMES O R LA N D O

June 22–23 Professional and collegiate league mascots from around the nation compete in gladiatorstyle games at Orlando’s Amway Center mascotgames.org

ST. PETE PRIDE WEEK SAINT PETERSBURG

June 20–24 ROCK N’ FREEDOM FEST

One of the state’s largest Pride events, parade, concert and party visitstpeteclearwater.com

July 3

SHARK CON 5

W I N T E R H AV E N

FLORIDA PRIZE IN CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION PREVIEW O R LA N D O

June 1

Progressive visual artists showcase their works as party guests enjoy creative bites from some of Orlando’s top chefs. omart.org

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SILVER SPURS RODEO KISSIMMEE

June 1–2

The largest rodeo east of the Mississippi, with bull riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing and even mutton busting, where the kids can have their chance to play cowboy by riding a sheep silverspursrodeo.com

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5TH ANNUAL MOUNT DORA PADDLE FEST MOUNT DORA

June 2–3

A day of dragon boat races, followed by a second day of seven-mile or 12-mile canoe and kayak races on beautiful Lake Dora. panamdragonboat.com

TA M PA

July 14–15 Ocean conservation event for all ages featuring touch tanks, a shark tooth dig, bounce house, diving lessons and mermaids shark-con.com

FLORIDA DEER & TURKEY EXPO LA K E LA N D

July 20–22 A huntsman’s weekend with archery, chainsaw carving and deer trophy contests, as well as top outdoor gear deerinfo.com

HAVING A BALL ART EXHIBIT TA M PA

Through July 22 Exhibit at the Tampa Museum of Art featuring ornately painted baseballs by artist and umpire George Sosnak tampamuseum.org

CYPRESS GARDENS WATER SKI TEAM, REEF

Before Walt Disney World and Legoland, Cypress Gardens was among the Sunshine State’s most coveted theme parks. For 73 years, Floridians flocked to the gardens to take in their lush landscaping and impressive water ski shows, made famous by Water Ski Hall of Famer and ski manufacturer Dick Pope Jr. Pope’s performances brought national acclaim to the park, which was founded by his parents in the 1930s. The park closed in 2009, but tradition lives on through the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team, known for its gleaming uniforms, barefoot skiing, ramp-jumping and iconic four-tier human pyramid. The team will just be one part of the fun at the Rock N’ Freedom Fest, a family-friendly, pre-Independence Day celebration taking place at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on Lake Silver. Listen to live music, let the kids bounce on inflatables, and enjoy food from area restaurants. The main event takes place on the water, with the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team performing all of their classic stunts. The day concludes with spectacular fireworks over the lake. mywinterhaven.com


DERBY DAYS

By spear or by net, divers and snorkelers try to catch as many spindly lionfish as possible during these statewide fishing competitions. Teams win prizes for pulling in the most, biggest and smallest fish. After the haul, learn how to fillet and cook the delicious catch. Lionfish derbies aim to reduce the population of this invasive species, which has no known predator in the Atlantic and proliferates in Florida’s warm waters. reef.org/lionfish/derbies MIAMI

PALM BEACH

Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science June 8–10

Loggerhead Marinelife Center August 3–5

SARASOTA Mote Marine Laboratory July 6–8

FORT LAUDERDALE 15th Street Fisheries July 13–14

ARRIVE & DRIVE

FILL YOUR NEED FOR SPEED

ARRIVE AND DRIVE local rotax club cart racing series

CORPORATE & PRIVATE EVENTS kart driving school mechanics and tuners onsite

JACKSONVILLE Beach Marine August 10–12

KEY LARGO John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park September 14–16

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ON THE FLY:THE TIDE ROAD TR IP–WORTHY EVENTS (SOUTH) KEY LIME FESTIVAL KEY WEST

June 30–July 4 Culinary weekend, complete with the “Key Lime Cocktail Sip & Stroll” distillery tour of Key West Legal Rum, and plenty of pie. keylimefestival.com

FLAMINGO GARDENS’ OLD-FASHIONED FOURTH D AV I E

July 4 A throw-back Independence Day celebration set among 200-yearold live oaks with watermeloneating and 1950s costume contests and fireworks flamingogardens.org

MANGO AND TROPICAL FRUIT FESTIVAL CORAL GABLES

July 14–15

MIAMI BEACH

June 13–17

Glamorous South Beach serves as an apropos backdrop for the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). Revered as the country’s largest convergence of black film and television enthusiasts, this four-day celebration brings together distinguished and emerging black directors, actors, screenwriters and Hollywood industry professionals. More than 10,000 guests gather for a packed week of screenings, discussions and, of course, over-the-top parties. The Legendary White Party, which has a color-specific dress code, goes off with music by renowned DJ D-Nice at the celebrity-favorite Nikki Beach Club. Filmmaker panels and talk series are a highlight of the festival, providing a closer look into the creative minds of A-list talent. Black Panther director and ABFF veteran Ryan Coogler makes his way back to the Loews Hotel this year to discuss his climb to success and perspective on what the future has in store for the next generation. abff.com

SARASOTA MUSIC FESTIVAL S A R A S O TA

June 4-23 Classical music celebration with some of the world’s best professional and student musicians, like Angelo Xiang Yu, winner of the Yehudi Menuhin International Violin Competition sarasotaorchestra.org

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VERO BEACH WINE AND FILM FESTIVAL

SARASOTA POWERBOAT GRAND PRIX FESTIVAL

June 7-10

June 23 - July 4

VERO BEACH

Cultural weekend with more than 100 wines, a “Dining with Directors” event, film screenings and more, hosted by Emmywinning film critic Jeffrey Lyons vbwff.com

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S A R A S O TA

Speed and agility charted-course racing from performance-crafted powerboats and AquaX personal watercrafts along Lido Beach sarasotapowerboat grandprix.org

A marketplace for mangos and other tropical fruits, with cooking demonstrations, tree care tips and local artisan vendors fairchildgarden.org

SWIMSHOW

MIAMI BEACH

July 14–17

The swimwear industry’s largest fashion tradeshow, with 2,500 vendors and 3,000 buyers at the Miami Beach Convention Center swimshow.com

HEMINGWAY DAYS KEY WEST

July 17–22 Week-long celebratoin of the life of Ernest Hemingway with a running of the bulls reenactment and look-a-like contest fla-keys.com

INTERNATIONAL BALLET FESTIVAL MIAMI

July 28–August 19 Performances by more than 100 dancers and 20 ballet companies,

AMERICAN BL ACK FILM FESTIVAL, INTERNAITONAL BALLET FEST VAL

AMERICAN BLACK FILM FESTIVAL


DOWNTOWN HAMPTON INN & SUITES

Experience the Heart of Amelia Island

art exhibits, dance workshops, a film series and the lifetime achievement award internationalballetfestival.org

KEY WEST LOBSTERFEST KEY WEST

August 9–12 Lobster season kickoff party with a street fair, catamaran snorkel tour, sunset sail, free concert and a la carte lobster brunch keywestlobsterfest.com

BE FRONT AND CENTER IN THE HISTORIC DISTRICT

RED SNAPPER SEASON

• Take a peaceful sunrise stroll on the beach or a breathtaking sunset cruise on the river • Relax with a quaint buggy ride through the historic district • Walk to 50-plus restaurants, shops, galleries, attractions, and spa services • Enjoy specialty suites, spacious rooms, fireplaces and balconies • Take in spectacular views of the marina and river from our 2nd floor pool deck

S TAT E W I D E

JUNE 11

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission opens a 40-day red snapper season in state and federal waters. myfwc.com

Call to book your stay at (904) 491-4911 Historic Fernandina Beach | 19 South 2nd Street | ameliaislandharborfrontsuites.hamptoninn.com

Above: Natalia Berrios and Jose Manuel Ghiso

of the Ballet de Santiago

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AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL: THE MONUMENTAL LANDSCAPES OF CLYDE BUTCHER

* RESPONSIBLE GUN OWNERSHIP * FORTIFYING BUILDINGS

Dedicated to prevent children being harmed by senseless violence where they learn, live and play. *

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FLORIDIANA ALL THINGS VINTAGE B y E ri c B a rt o n

POMP & PASTRIES

Old-world cuisine and care on display at Coral Gables Palme d’Or Since the Biltmore opened in 1926, its lavish restaurants have always been the place to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and graduations. The Palme d’Or became the hotel’s anchor in 1999. Pugin says he wants meals there to feel like formal rituals. His work has paid off: The restaurant was among the 2018 James Beard semifinalists for outstanding service. The reason for that accolade is clear in the pageantry behind every movement of the waitstaff as they remove silver plate covers in unison, always in suit and tie.

They describe dishes in intricate detail, right down to each of the 18 selections available during the acclaimed cheese course. The meal ends with marzipan and another cart of after-dinner drinks. Could you possibly? Maybe just a small pour.

Inset: Every course at Palme

d’Or at the Biltmore Hotel is prepared and presented with French panache— especially dessert.

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BILTMORE HOTEL

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here’s a moment when dining at the Palme d’Or, a French restaurant in Coral Gables’ Biltmore Hotel when you’re convinced that there just can’t be another thing coming. Then the table captain rolls up a cart of petits fours, and even after all you’ve eaten, you let a delicately adorned tiny cake melt away on your tongue. It’s a last decorous indulgence, and it’s exactly what chef de cuisine Gregory Pugin imagined five years ago when he took over the restaurant. “When I came to Miami, I wanted my restaurant to be like French service,” Pugin says. “Not many restaurants in America have this level of ceremony.”


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OYSTER PERPETUAL YACHT-MASTER II

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Flamingo Magazine  

The Travel Issue, Summer 2018, Volume 10

Flamingo Magazine  

The Travel Issue, Summer 2018, Volume 10

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