Page 1

May/June 2014


s e c n e i r e p x e c i t n e h t u A . y l i a d h s e r served f

on the beach in Seaside, Florida


A legacy home on the Gulf in WaterSound Beach, designed to be passed down through the ages. This stunning residence establised the highest recorded sale for WaterSound Beach as well as 2014’s highest sale price thus far along the Emerald Coast. It was a pleasure to represent the sale– a home that precisely defines the Coastal Luxury Life that is sought and discovered by all who enjoy the simple luxury of time spent on this special strech of white sands.

—Erin Oden



SOLD by erin oden CALL ERIN ODEN


SOLD BY ERIN: $55 MILLION 2011-2013, $23 MILLION SOLD IN 2013


A P PA R E L ,

J E W E L R Y,


AC C E S S O R I E S ,




kimberly moskowitz, ms, md The Cosmetic Vein & Laser Center W W W. S K I N A N D V E I N S . C O M 12238 Panama City Beach Pkwy. Telephone: (850) 233-0264

Panama City Beach, FL 32407

Fax: (850) 233-3113

SPECIALIZING IN: Va r ic o se & S pide r Veins E ndo ve no us La se r Treatment (EVLT) S ma r tlipo Tr iple x ™ Cellulite R e mo va l & B o dy Sculpting Fr a xe l ™ S kin R e surfacing B o to x ® , Dyspo r t ® , Restylane ® Me dic a l & C o sme tic Dermatology P ho to re juve na tio n (IPL) Ve la S ha pe fo r C e llulite & B o dy C o nto uring P ho to dyna mic T herapy (PDT) La se r H a ir R e mo v al T he r ma g e S kin T ightening S tre tc h Ma r k R e moval A c ne , S kin C a nc ers, P re -c a nc e r s & Sun-damage

Medical: Georgetown University School of Medicine • Residency: Georgetown University Hospital Board Certified: Internal Medicine & Phlebology (Vein Disorders) Skin & Laser Medicine Specialist

In this issue:



Feature All That Glitters Is Gold 86 New Beginnings Alyssa and Bo: A Love Born by the Sea 80 Elizabeth and Joshua: A New England Classic 100 Vaughan and Tim: A Tale of North and South 108 Colin Cowie—The Man behind the Magic 116 Marta and Jimy: A Toast to the Roaring Twenties 130 Always and Forever in Mexico Beach 144 Ashley and Christopher: A Grand Sandestin Wedding 180 Kimberly and Clain: A Dream Beach Wedding 188 A Sense of Place A Celebration of Natural Beauty 34 A River of Dreams 60 Coastal Guardians 66





The Art of Life C’est la vie 19 Dancing toward Her Dream 124 Stars Shine for Sinfonia—A Musical Powerhouse Visits the Emerald Coast 165

116 People + Places 2014 Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown 160 Voyager Rock Your Wedding South of the Border 150

Couture Say Yes to Haute Couture! 136 Then and Now—Jewels to Last a Lifetime 174 For the Love of Food The Stars Align for Bud & Alley’s 22 A Little Bit of Rock ’n’ Roll 44 Annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ and Fireworks Festival 184 Through the Lens Everything Old Is New Again 50

V IE Z INE .C OM | 11



Primary Targeted Audiences


e are thrilled you have picked up a copy of VIE and hope you enjoy reading about the people and places of our coveted region,

COLA 2 COLA®—Pensacola to Apalachicola. We live in a great place where life is

good! We have a passion for our area and the people and businesses found here, and we hope that you will share in our excitement. VIE can be found locally at Tourist Development Council centers, Chamber of Commerce locations, Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida, boutiques, restaurants, bed-and-breakfasts, and special events. VIE’s distribution has branched out to the following airports: Baltimore/Washington International, Houston Hobby, Memphis International, Nashville International, Orlando International, and Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International. In addition to these high-profile locations, VIE is also being added to the shelves of some of the country’s top-selling bookstores, newsstands, and supermarkets, giving our advertisers potential access to millions of people.

VIE is a registered trademark. All contents herein are Copyright © 2008–2014 Cornerstone Marketing and Advertising, Incorporated (The Publisher). All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission from The Publisher. VIE is a lifestyle magazine and is published at least five times annually on a bimonthly schedule. The opinions herein are not necessarily those of The Publisher. The Publisher and its advertisers will not be held responsible for any errors found in this publication. The Publisher is not liable for the accuracy of statements made by its advertisers. Ads that appear in this publication are not intended as offers where prohibited by state law. The Publisher is not responsible for photography or artwork submitted by freelance or outside contributors. The Publisher reserves the right to publish any letter addressed to the editor or The Publisher. VIE is a paid publication. Subscription rates: Digital magazine (iPad only) – One-year $11.99; Two-year $17.99 / Printed magazine – One-year $23.95; Two-year $34.95 (U.S. Only – price includes free access to digital magazine versions for iPad). Subscriptions can be purchased online at

On the Cover:

VIE Creative Team: Lisa Burwell Publisher

Gerald Burwell Editor-in-Chief

Bob Brown VP of Creative Services

Tim Dutrow Videographer

Jordan Staggs Assistant Editor

Derek Makekau Videographer

Tracey Thomas Art Director Troy Ruprecht Graphic Designer Devan Allegri Graphic Designer Bill Weckel Web/Project Manager

Fluffy, white clouds drifted through a blue sky on an April afternoon as photographer Romona Robbins and the VIE team gathered at the Stairway to Heaven residence in charming Ruskin Place in Seaside, Florida. The home, named for the spiral rooftop staircase that climbs whimsically toward the clouds, has a midcentury modern vibe, thanks to interior designer Tammy Massey. Stairway to Heaven made a charming backdrop for our Wedding Issue cover shoot starring the lovely bride, Elizabeth Shriner.

Benjamin Rosenau Video Producer

Mary Jane Kirby Account Executive Scott Sajowitz Account Executive Julie Dorr Account Executive Margaret Stevenson Copy Editor Shannon Quinlan Distribution Coordinator

VIE Contributors: Contributing Writers: François-Marie BÊnard Sallie W. Boyles Kelli Deary Kim Duke-Layden Lori Hutzler Eckert Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite Tammy Massey N. S. Racheotes Colleen Sachs

Special thanks to hairstylist Brooke Miller and to makeup artist Yvette Nation. Jewelry courtesy of Reeds Jewelers and Adorn by Samouce.

Published by:

Anne W. Schultz Marta Rose Thorpe Kimberly Martin Zimmerman

Contributing Photographers:


114 Logan Lane, Suite 4 | Grayton Beach, FL 32459 w w w.t h e i de a b o u t iqu e


Mike Cage Frank Carnaggio Cheryl Casey Tommy Crow Kim Duke-Layden Lisa Frechette Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite Kerry Johnson Lovelace Kay Phelan Romona Robbins Tara Thompson Dawn Chapman Whitty

Kevin K Cannon Photographics Paul Johnson Photography Pure 7 Studios

Contact us at

V IE Z INE .C OM | 13

T H E M O S T C R E AT I V E C U L I N A RY E X P E R I E N C E O N 3 0 A Open to the public Tuesday through Saturday, 5:30 p m • Happy Hour 5:30–6:30 p m 8 5 0 - 2 1 3 - 5 7 0 0


C A L I Z A R E S T A U R A N T . C O M

As if the hottest new hotel and restaurant on 30A weren’t enough.

©2014 Artesano Hotels. All rights reserved.

INTIMATE CABANA RETREAT AT THE PEARL HOTEL, ROSEMARY BEACH, FLORIDA Intrigued? See more of Spa Pearl at Our intimate spa includes four stunning poolside treatment cabanas, in addition to a poolside manicure and pedicure parlor. Reservations 850-588-2881

Publisher’s Note:

STAIRWAY to HEAVEN There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold And she’s buying a stairway to heaven. When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed With a word she can get what she came for. Ooh, ooh, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven. These are the opening lines to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”—a song considered to be one of rock ’n’ roll’s greatest. Throughout the years, the lyrics to this classic, mystical, and ethereal song, penned by guitarist Jimmy Page and vocalist Robert Plant, have begged for interpretation but, alas, the authors claim that the connotation has morphed throughout the years and taken on many meanings. It is argued that one of the heartbeats of the song is that it means something different for everyone. The song always beckons me back to high school dances, a time when the lyrics signified hope and goodness and that all would be right in my world.

The Venue

Fast-forward several decades and life brings us an opportunity to photograph a modern, chic residence named Stairway to Heaven, located in Seaside’s artist colony, Ruskin Place. It was designed by New York–architect Alexander Gorlin in 1994, and appeared in Architectural Digest that same year. It’s always a great privilege for me to be able to share stories about life’s celebrations and milestones through the pages of the magazine; so, as the 2014 Wedding Issue gives pause to reflect on new beginnings that will bring future anniversaries, it seems fitting that this unique residence, whose rooftop served as the setting for our cover shoot, is also celebrating a milestone anniversary—its twentieth year.

The Bride

In a recent conversation with a colleague about the genesis of VIE, I told of its humble beginnings seven years ago and about how the one joyful constant for me is that the magazine showcases people in the best light possible. I believe that one of the keys to humanity is to nurture and care for others so that they can feel the sunlight in all its glory. Capturing the true essence of people—their spark and inner light—that’s what keeps me going through all of the hurdles and deadlines of publishing. And it is this spirit that brings our feature bride, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Shriner, into the picture—literally.

While vacationing in New England last summer, I was fortunate enough to be able to reconnect with family members whom I had not seen for a long time. Looking through the album of photos from my cousin Lizzie’s wedding, I came to realize that she has a beautiful inner spark that is hard to find. So, when it came time to consider possible models for the cover of VIE’s next Wedding Issue, it was an easy decision.

Lisa Burwell, Publisher

The Shoot

Under the creative guidance of VIE’s art director, Tracey Thomas, and with Stairway to Heaven as the stylish backdrop, the entire shoot channels a ’50s romantic glam—with all the understated elegance and romance that era can conjure! Lizzie flashed bling from Reeds Jewelers and Adorn by Samouce and modeled dresses by Nicole Paloma as if they were made just for her. An organza tulle skirt, a simple bodysuit, a corset belt from BCBG, and a gorgeous little kimono I found, also by BCBG, complete with a pink boa (from my private stash—every girl should own one ) are also featured. And for the pièce de résistance, Lizzie dons her own stunning wedding dress on the stairway to heaven. She is a vision!

We have some beautiful weddings in this issue, including Lizzie’s Camelot-style wedding in New England. I fall in love with all of our VIE covers, but some are a bit more sentimental than others. And this one is certainly no exception! We are all on a stairway to heaven, so reach for the stars—love others and think bright! To Life! —Lisa V IE Z INE .C OM | 17

Imagine pristine white sands and turquoise blue waters as your backdrop. Where only your beauty upstages the wonder of the natural setting. Dazzling


event details at one spectacular, luxury resort. Portofino Island Resort on beautiful Pensacola Beach, Florida. With miles of unencumbered, pristine beaches. And, where dream weddings come true.

C’EST LA VIE… A Poet’s Outlook on Life

The root of the Old English word weddung is “ceremony of marriage.”

By François-Marie Bénard Photography by Romona Robbins

WITHOUT LOVE Without Love, what is there but a world in peril? Without Love, can any heart be more than sterile? Without Love, what am I but a soul lost in space? Could I ever be whole? Could I be touched by grace? Without Love, nothing is! Without Love, God is dead! I know that could not be, for by Love I am led. It’s Love that inspires me, Love I have in my heart, Love I express when I create a work of art. If it were not for Love, the world would not be there, Nothing would hold the sea, nothing would move the air, And my soul would not sing when your eyes meet my own… Of everything that is, Love is the cornerstone.

The word “marriage” goes back to the beginning of mankind. It traditionally is recognized as the union of two people who have decided to journey as one on the path of life, perhaps also to procreate. But it really means our reconnection with Mother Earth, or the idea we have of God in the material world. As two people symbolically become one in the ceremony of marriage, they reconnect with their source: Creation. Marriage is truly the symbol of the union of man with his Divinity. It is to say to everyone, “Now that I am mature, I know my place in this world and I wish to be recognized as a responsible and complete entity. I want to co-create with God. I want to be part of Creation.” Marriage is the symbol of a man’s or woman’s union with his or her soul. If it is less than that, it is not necessary. If it is just a matter of sex, you do not need to be married. Marriage is a sacred oath before God to reconnect with your Essence. It is the conscious decision to walk the “path of return,” in other words, to go back willingly through the veil of matter and reconnect with your True Identity, your only Reality. You can do it alone. Monks, nuns, and hermits are attempting to do just that in monasteries or caves all over the planet. But you can also decide to do it as a couple, and in the union of marriage, to combine your assets, talents, qualities and wills to reach that goal. Marriage is the greatest act of love. It is the gift of one’s self. It is joining or sharing in the true sense of the word. It is the extension of one’s self to the other.

François-Marie Bénard has two poetry books currently available: The Dream of Life, a guided autobiographical look at the journey of his life; and The Thread of Love, a collection of love poems inspired by his wife of thirty-seven years. For more information or to purchase a copy, you can e-mail or find his books on François resides with his wife, Jo Ann, in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. As a cofounding member of the Emerald Coast Philosophical Society, he speaks at their monthly meetings and loves to inspire others to find their way on the path to self-discovery.

V IE Z INE .C OM | 19

The Stars Align for

Bud&Alley’s Dave Rauschkolb Is in the Right Place at the Right Time

By Colleen Sachs Photography provided by Bud & Alley’s 22 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Dave Rauschkolb is a force of nature. He is, in no particular order, the proprietor of Bud & Alley’s in Seaside, Florida, a husband, a father, a surfer, a golfer, an environmental activist, and a poker player. The interesting thing is how well each area of his life flows into the others. I met with him at his newest venture, a second Bud & Alley’s. It will be located next to the Lighthouse Marina and the venerable Capt. Anderson’s restaurant. The Panama City Beach property is the former location of the Boatyard restaurant. The massive seventeen-thousand-square-foot building is on a working waterway, an interesting change from the beachfront Seaside location. Downstairs, an open kitchen and pizza oven bring diners right into the workings of the restaurant. Seating is available inside and on a large deck. There is also an outside bar and great water views. Because the building is on a working waterway, Dave plans to get a wholesale seafood license and add a seafood market to the mix. The upstairs offers more dining and more expansive views. Dave points toward the pass and says, “Thirty years ago I used to paddle across that pass to surf.” He goes by boat now and will dock that boat right behind the restaurant. A new Bud & Alley’s concept, the Marina Club, will also be upstairs. With deep blue walls and cozy seating, Dave is going for a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere for this area. He says it is “Garden & Gun meets marina.” David DeGregorio of the Central Idea Agency, a longtime creative collaborator of Dave’s, designed the logo for the Marina Club, which features an anchor—a recurring theme throughout the Panama City Beach location. 24 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

While the building was a construction site when I visited, the plan is to open the restaurant by this Memorial Day. The kitchen staff, led by Chef Lawrence Klang, is hard at work developing the menu. Nice touches include house-made pasta and bread. We tasted three samples of ice cream made by the sous/pastry chef, Brittany Adams: luscious peach with graham cracker crumbs, creamy salted caramel, and basil chocolate chip (a nice twist on traditional mint chip). Those tastes portend a menu filled with classic flavors and creative touches. Until recently, Dave’s business world revolved around Seaside. Opening a new restaurant in a second market thirty miles from that base is a big step. But, to add to the mix, Dave has also recently acquired an off-site catering business a few miles west of Seaside, in Grayton Beach. “I’ve always been fascinated by catering,” he explains. Wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, and other special events have long been a part of Bud & Alley’s in Seaside. In fact, Dave used to act as the wedding coordinator for the restaurant. He saw the potential to do so much more with an off-site facility. While that opportunity was taking shape, he received an

e-mail about the Panama City Beach property. “I had to act on both at the same time.” Within just a few months, the Bud & Alley’s brand has grown a great deal.

ter tain, Why just en n dazzle ! when you ca

From the first steps of his career in the restaurant business, Dave’s growth has been a result of his positive attitude and the personal relationships he forms and cherishes. He credits his management style— ”leading by empowerment rather than fear”—to Al Parramore of the Oyster Shanty in Fort Walton Beach, where Dave had his first job shucking oysters at the age of nineteen. Dave is an avid surfer. It is an avocation he began in earnest the summer before his senior year at Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. As with so much in his life, one area segued into another. Surfing was largely responsible for his beginnings as a restaurateur. Dave’s parents hoped he would follow in the footsteps of his father (a retired Air Force veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam) and become a pilot. While attending Okaloosa-Walton Junior College (now Northwest Florida State College), he was working in local restaurants. While tending bar at the Back Porch in Destin, he kept a surfboard in the rafters and thought, “How cool would it be to own a restaurant on the beach?”

Emerald Coast Catering EVENTS BY DESIGN

Destination Wedding Specialists since 2003 Luxe, Economy & Package Weddings 2014 Brides’ Choice Award (The Knot) 2014 Best in Destin Caterer (Destin Magazine)

Wine Spectator Award Winner Golden Spoon Award Winner • 850.622.6270 • Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Scout out the possibilities

When there was a job opening at upscale Destin restaurant Les Saisons, he went for an interview with Tally Witcoski. It was just after that interview he experienced “one of the many amazingly lucky things that have happened” to him. As he was leaving the restaurant, he passed Tally’s son, Scott Witcoski. Scott recognized Dave from surfing. Scott had seen Dave surf two years earlier and was impressed with his skills. Dave was hired and Scott took him under his wing and taught him the ins and outs of fine dining. The pair often drove through South Walton County to Panama City Beach to take advantage of the particularly good waves at the pass near Grand Lagoon. At the time, the best route was along Highway 30-A. It was on one of those trips Scott mentioned that a developer in the area was looking for a restaurant to go into his new development. Scott wanted to stop to talk to the developer, and Dave protested that the surf was up. As Dave relates it, “Scott was driving, so we stopped.” The developer was Robert Davis, the founder of Seaside.

Chef Gary Serafin Jamie’s Wine Bar & Restaurant

Catherine Ryland, Broker Associate | Kitty Taylor, Broker, GRI, CRS, CIPS 850.231.2886 | 850.585.5334

133 Defuniak Street, Grayton Beach, FL 32459 | V IE Z INE .C OM | 25

“I am who I am today because of my mom.”

“Scott asked me if a restaurant would work in this town in the middle of nowhere,” says Dave. There were only twelve houses there at the time. Dave, thinking they were just giving Robert Davis feedback, replied, “Maybe three months of the year.” But Scott meant for the two of them to create a restaurant in that spot. Dave, who had one semester of school left, found himself talking to his mother about leaving school to open a restaurant. “She thought it was a good idea,” he says. Dave is incredibly open and speaks from the heart when discussing his mother, who passed away in 1998. “I am who I am today because of my mom,” he says. “She always believed in me.” Dave, who says he lacked intellectual self-confidence, also received encouragement from a college professor who told him he had a gift for leadership. Suddenly, a pair of twenty-four-year-old surfers found themselves owning a restaurant in the burgeoning town of Seaside. Dave was thrilled to be “an active participant in a new community.” He says that Robert and Daryl


V Seagrove Restaurant and Bar offers both indoor and outdoor sophisticated spaces with views of the Gulf of Mexico. Our team of chefs will now indulge you by bringing their culinary taste and talent to the venue of your choice. Savor an intimate, private dining occasion or celebrate with your very own crowd in a special and unique setting.

850.468.0973 •

2743 Scenic Hwy 30A • Seagrove Beach, Florida 32459

Davis’s open-minded attitude made it possible to grow the restaurant as the town grew. One of the fortunate things about the location in Seaside was that a restaurant had already occupied the space. As Dave says, “It was a turnkey operation.” Scott was the primary chef, and Dave ran the front of the house. Dave took his mother’s advice to “associate with people you can learn from.” He had already learned a great deal about the restaurant business from Scott. In this new restaurant, he says, “I learned how to be a boss from Scott.” Bud & Alley’s, named for Robert Davis’s dog and Scott Witcoski’s cat, opened January 20, 1986, and served dinner to twenty people. A loyal following developed right away and has stayed with the restaurant for almost three decades. “It is amazing to be able to hold a homeowner’s child in your arms and then years later teach that child how to bus tables,” says Dave. The business has grown from twelve employees in the early days to the current staff of 220. With the expansion, there will be 330 employees. Learning from others has clearly been an important part of Dave’s growth in business. But, he attributes



his success to others and to his own positive attitude. “I don’t see very many barriers, and I am not afraid of anything.” He continued, “I try to never get too upset when things don’t work out. If some of those other things had actually worked out, all this good stuff wouldn’t have.” Fun is Dave’s guiding principle: he comments, “My pinky finger has had more fun than most people have ever had.” In fact, fun was built into the original business plan of Bud & Alley’s. Part of that plan included closing for one month each year to allow for surfing trips around the world. After twenty years as an owner of Bud & Alley’s, Scott has moved on to other things. But Dave’s personal relationships continue to transform Bud & Alley’s. Friend and local architect Leo Casas (principal of Braulio Casas Architects) and Dave’s wife, Carol Murphy Rauschkolb, worked closely with Dave on both the Taco Bar and the Pizza Bar, as well as on the new restaurant that is about to open in Panama City Beach. Dave was introduced to Leo when Leo was the town architect for Seaside. Carol is a talented interior designer. She designed the Tenth Anniversary Coastal Living Idea Cottage. She has also had designs featured on HGTV and published in Coastal Living and Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles. 28 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

With Leo doing the architectural design and Carol the interior design, the trio traveled to San Diego for research to make the food and decor of the Taco Bar authentic. On a trip to Italy to research the Pizza Bar, the same team spent time in many restaurants. On a side trip to the island of Ischia, they happened upon a pizza place that would become the inspiration for the Pizza Bar. Dave says, “It may not have had the best pizza of the trip, but the look of the place was just right.” Both concepts have been popular additions to Bud & Alley’s. Dave credits a big part of Bud & Alley’s success to his management team led by Kirk Williams, whom he just promoted to general manager of operations for all restaurants, as well as executive chef David

“It may not have had the best pizza of the trip, but the look of the place was just right.”

While the Panama City Beach market is very different from that of Seaside’s, the new Bud & Alley’s will seem quite familiar. Similarities include an open-air roof deck and a waterfront setting. Dave was even able to locate another train bell from the 1880s to echo the Seaside location’s tradition of ringing the bell to celebrate the sunset. Dave is happy to provide loyal fans with the casual atmosphere and cuisine they have come to know at Bud & Alley’s—”Great seafood, simply prepared.” He is also happy to be in the company of Capt. Anderson’s, which he says “set the gold standard.”

Bishop of Bud & Alley’s Restaurant in Seaside. “Kirk does an outstanding job and is my right-hand man on all fronts. Kirk’s loyalty and dedication is unwavering. I can’t say enough about Chef Bishop’s steady leadership and creativity overseeing the food at Bud & Alley’s, the Pizza Bar, and the Taco Bar.” It is one thing to create new dining concepts at an existing site. But opening a new restaurant next door to Capt. Anderson’s, one of Florida’s most successful seafood restaurants, might be daunting to many. Dave explains, “This is a very different market from Seaside. It is the entrance to Bay Point—where the boaters live.” He goes on to say, “These boaters have been to the original location in Seaside, so they will now be able to enjoy Bud & Alley’s without driving the distance.”

When Dave says, “I never worry about the competition,” it is said without ego. He believes strongly that there is no reason that everyone shouldn’t succeed. It is part of the positivity that is at his core, and that positivity seems to create more positivity. He praises the local business people, stating, “Everyone has been so welcoming.” Discussing the project, which was not even on the drawing board a few months ago, Dave says, “Every step of the way, through all the processes, all these doors opened. And they continue to open. It was meant to be.” It is clear that Dave is excited about the business he is in. It is interesting that he credits some of his success to having attention deficit disorder (ADD). He says that while ADD was responsible for much of his not feeling accomplished in school, he finds that it gives him the gift of hyper-focus. “When I am interested in something—whether it is people or the restaurant business—I focus on it completely,” he says. Dave is also devoted to his family. He adores his wife. He married for the first “and only time” when he was forty-seven. He says, “When I met her, I found just the right girl for me.” And he glows when he talks about being a father to his young daughter, Carlin. He says being a father “just changes everything.” However, his passions don’t stop there. “I am passionate about this beautiful place we live in.” Dave has lived in the area since 1972. He has a clear connection to the water through his business and surfing. His love for the water prompted him to organize a protest of legislation that would allow offshore drilling within three to ten miles of our coastline. He recounted the beginnings of Hands Across the Sand in the article “An Impassioned Voice” (VIE, Summer 2010). V IE Z INE .C OM | 29

What started as a local movement—to literally draw a line in the sand to stand against offshore drilling— grew rapidly. The February 13, 2010, event included eighty Florida beaches and around ten thousand participants. The sense of urgency in the event was a prescient warning. On April 21, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon spill occurred. The movement went worldwide with a thousand events on June 25, 2010. Dave says, “It was the biggest post-spill anti-oil protest ever.” He became a reluctant spokesperson on national news networks. It wasn’t that he didn’t believe in the cause. “It is the most important thing we can do as human beings—to end our dependence on dirty fuels and to protect the earth’s fragile environment for future generations,” he said. It was that he preferred hands-on coordination of the cause rather than promoting it on live television. The movement he founded continues today. Hands Across the Sand is a 501(c)(4) corporation. Dave’s sister, Dede Shelton, is the operational director, and Dave provides the primary funding. He says, “The organization is still relevant, but is not as big as it was.” The impact of the spill caused Dave to make changes in his life to reduce his dependence on oil. One of those changes was purchasing a Nissan Leaf all-electric vehicle and installing solar panels to charge it. The Nissan was followed by a Tesla Model S electric vehicle (See, “Super Fly and Super Charged,” VIE, January/February 2013). He points out that the Tesla, which can have a range of as much as three hundred miles on a single charge, is also great fun to drive. He loves driving his sedan so much that he has ordered a Tesla Model X electric SUV for his wife; it’s due to be delivered late this year. Dave speaks with enthusiasm and knowledge about how to become more energy conscious. He remarks, “I know not everyone can buy a Tesla. But there are little things everyone can do.” Two of the things which Dave Rauschkolb is proud of—Bud & Alley’s and his Tesla Model S.

“I know not everyone can buy a Tesla. But there are little things everyone can do.” 30 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Dave works hard and plays hard, and somehow he manages to balance the many facets of his life. There is time for business, time for family, and time for fun. Every week he makes sure to play golf and poker with friends, and he continues to surf. “I totally live in the moment,” he likes to say. “Because when you live in the moment, you are always on time.” And that time right now involves some very exciting things.

G R A C E D E F I N E D.

1 4 0 6

N .




6 . 5



Aspri Villa, the most spacious home in Alys Beach, provides an enchanting setting for family gatherings, combining gracious shared living spaces with generous private suites, all surrounding an expansive landscaped courtyard. N O W


8 7 7 . 2 5 9 . 5 5 0 0




A L Y S B E A C H . C O M

rugs|furniture|object 12555 Emerald Coast Pkwy Miramar Beach, Fl 32550




501 North 9th Avenue, Pensacola, Florida



Natural Beauty Callaway Gardens in Georgia’s Appalachian Foothills


If your image of a fairy-tale wedding includes a serene mountain setting draped in natural beauty and understated elegance— and has the conveniences of a world-class resort—then beguiling Callaway Gardens, nestled in the southern foothills of Georgia’s Appalachians, could be your picture-perfect match.

34 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

V IE Z INE .C OM | 35


onveniently located one hour southwest of Atlanta near the tiny town of Pine Mountain, Callaway Gardens Resort is a nature lover’s utopia with thirteen thousand acres of gorgeous flowers, lush woodlands, and glistening lakes. In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Callaway Gardens features two pristine golf courses, a freshwater lake with white-sand beaches, numerous accommodations, restaurants, shops, beautiful banquet facilities, and an award-winning spa, not to mention year-round events, countless outdoor recreation opportunities, and Southern hospitality galore. Simply put, Callaway Gardens makes an idyllic location for a romantic wedding and honeymoon destination. Having grown up in a small town fairly close to Callaway Gardens, I have had the pleasure of visiting this genteel Garden of Eden on numerous occasions. Last fall, after a fifteen-year hiatus, I was excited to return with my husband, John, for a romantic getaway and to show him around my childhood haunt. To my delight, I discovered that Callaway Gardens is like a fine wine; it only gets better with age. Our four-hour drive from Sandestin, Florida, to Pine Mountain breezed by as we cruised along in my convertible under blissfully sunny autumn skies. If you’re lucky enough to have your own plane, you can land at the Harris County Airport, which is only two miles from the resort. When we arrived at the outskirts of town, I was surprised to see that Callaway Gardens’ main entrance had moved from Highway 27 to the resort’s northwest corner off Highway 354. This was the first indicator that my childhood stomping ground had kicked things up a notch while I had been away. Even more amazing was the resort’s chic new lodge with a world-class spa and full-service conference center.

Luxurious Lodge and World-Class Spa The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens is a member of the Marriott’s select Autograph Collection of independent boutique hotels and is recognized for its personality and Southern hospitality. The Lodge houses the resort’s newest and most luxurious accommodations, and guests can utilize and earn Marriott Rewards points while staying there. The inviting lobby has cathedral ceilings crisscrossed with wooden beams. Its two-sided river rock fireplace can also be enjoyed from the adjoining outdoor courtyard on chilly evenings. At check-in, the front desk staff and bellmen are as welcoming as the charming surroundings. Each of the Lodge’s guest rooms and suites is tastefully appointed in contemporary mountain-chic decor done in calming earth tones. All rooms feature comfy beds, mini fridges, coffeemakers, free Wi-Fi, and private balconies perfect for enjoying a morning cup of coffee or sunset toast. Our room’s balcony had sweeping views overlooking a huge cascading rock fountain and nearby patio with a heated pool, hot tub, and outdoor fireplace. Our lavish bathroom— as spectacular as the view—included a separate shower and soaking tub, double sinks, granite countertops, and homey touches such as decorative tiles detailed with pinecones and framed black-andwhite photographs of the area. A stone’s throw from the lobby is the cozy Ironwood Lounge, which also has a fireplace and outdoor seating. It’s a popular gathering spot for pub-style fare, a refreshing beverage, and good conversation. For a taste of local flavor, guests can nibble on black-eyed pea hummus or fried pimento cheese fritters served with red pepper jelly and candied pecans. The Ironwood Lounge also serves several Georgia-inspired specialty cocktails such as the Muscadine Manhattan, made with fresh muscadine purée from locally grown grapes, and the bewitching Georgia Moon, featuring Thirteenth Colony Southern Corn Whiskey from Georgia’s only legal moonshine distillery. The Piedmont Grille is the Lodge’s full-service restaurant, offering Southern cuisine that highlights locally sourced organic produce and ingredients.

36 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Callaway Gardens makes an idyllic location for a romantic wedding and honeymoon destination. V IE Z INE .C OM | 37

“Many couples choose to get married at Callaway Gardens because we provide a serene and beautiful backdrop that is classy.” We ate here several times during our stay; the service and food were consistently good. Noteworthy menu items include crab cakes served with rémoulade and pickled sweet onions; pan-seared local trout atop black-eyed pea succotash; coastal Georgia shrimp with locally milled Speckled Heart grits; and a homemade red velvet Cheesecake Napoleon, which was as delicious as it was artfully presented. The Piedmont Grille also features popular weekend breakfast buffets and a Friday night seafood buffet, which seem to attract as many locals as lodge guests. Located at the opposite end of the hotel are the well-equipped fitness center and the Spa Prunifolia, which was named after the rare plumleaf azalea that grows naturally in only a few areas of Georgia and Alabama. Included in Condé Nast Traveler’s list of Top 100 Spas by its 2010 and 2011 readers’ polls, the 13,000-square-foot relaxation and rejuvenation haven is Callaway Gardens’ only spa, featuring thirteen treatment rooms and offering an array of organic body treatments. John and I enjoyed a scalp-to-toe “botanical body melt” aromatherapy treatment and massage, which erased a week’s worth of stress and fatigue in eighty blissful minutes. Spa Prunifolia especially caters to brides by offering full salon services including hair and makeup, and complimentary use of a huge private room where she and her bridesmaids can get ready before the wedding.

Versatile Wedding Venues For weddings, receptions, and pre- and post-nuptial functions, the Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens offers a host of beautifully appointed ballrooms and outdoor venues with serene woodland views, such as the Longleaf Lawn that can accommodate up to 350 seated guests; an experienced banquet staff is also on hand to help the celebration go smoothly. According to the Lodge’s catering and sales manager, Sally Biles, “The Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens is the resort’s most convenient wedding location because all of your rooms, spa and salon services, and wedding-related functions, plus breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are all contained under one roof; and you don’t have to worry about transportation. Many couples choose to get married at Callaway Gardens because we provide a serene and beautiful backdrop that is classy rather than flashy. Shabby-chic wedding motifs are popular here, with lots of natural hues and materials in beiges and whites, often with a little pop of color.” For couples who want to stay at the Lodge and have a traditional church wedding, there is the Ida Cason Callaway Memorial Chapel. Tucked within the gardens and overlooking a picturesque lake, this quaint stone chapel was built in a sixteenth-century Gothic design. The sanctuary has pitch-perfect natural acoustics and can comfortably seat up to fifty guests. In addition to stained 38 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

glass windows, the chapel also has a stone altar and a rare handmade Möller pipe organ. Although the Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens is independently owned and operated from the rest of the Callaway Gardens Resort, Biles said, “We have a great working relationship with one another and often collaborate on weddings and pre- and post-wedding activities. In May, we are hosting a unique multidenominational wedding that will begin with a Christian ceremony at the chapel, followed by a Hindu wedding and reception at the lodge.” Biles also said that she regularly interfaces with numerous other resort departments on behalf of her bridal clients to organize activities such as golf outings for the groomsmen.

Allure and Attractions All guests who book accommodations with any of the resort’s lodging venues receive complimentary access to the gardens throughout their stay. Callaway Gardens’ botanical spectacle is undoubtedly its heart and soul and has been drawing millions of admirers since 1952, when local textile mill magnates Cason and Virginia Callaway first opened their six-thousand-acre sanctuary to the public. Majestic Callaway Gardens emerged from humble roots—from one single azalea plant, to be exact. Twenty years earlier, Mr. Callaway discovered a rare

azalea growing in the area, which inspired the avid horticulturist couple to transform an unusable piece of decrepit farmland into a flourishing Eden full of azaleas, magnolias, dogwoods, daffodils, tulips, and crabapples. They later added a three-thousand-acre forest preserve filled with mountain laurels, sourwoods, crape myrtles, and hollies. Many visitors come to Callaway Gardens for the abundance of outdoor recreation: golf, tennis, kayaking, canoeing, walking trails, and fishing. My favorite way to explore the resort is on the scenic ten-mile Discovery Bicycle Trail, which crisscrosses the diverse, ever-changing landscape and connects to the resort’s many sites and attractions. A popular stop is the Cecil B. Day Butterfly Center, which is one of North America’s largest tropical butterfly habitats and contains more than fifty species of the ethereal creatures. Nearby is another unique site, an authentic nineteenth-century log cabin consisting of two rustic pine-hewn rooms; the cabin was once home to a family of fifteen. A great place to start your tour of Callaway Gardens is at its state-of-the-art Discovery Center, which hosts exhibits, concerts, and free-flight birds of prey shows. Nearly as hair-raising as the hawk that grazed the top of John’s head en route to the stage is one of the resort’s newest attractions, nearby Treetop Adventure. As we maneuvered an exhilarating series of zip lines and aerial obstacle courses that challenged our balance at dizzying heights, we were rewarded with gorgeous views of the lake and woodlands.

Four-Season Inspiration Callaway Gardens is, by its very nature, a four-season destination where Mother Nature unveils new and wondrous sights every few months in a kaleidoscope of dazzling colors. Adding to the enticing array of seasonal backdrops is the resort’s exciting calendar, which is chock-full of special events, cultural activities, recreational events, and competitions.

Spring By far one of the most stunning seasons to experience Callaway Gardens in all its glory is springtime, when millions of azalea blossoms explode in a spectacle of vibrant pink, red, purple, coral, and white. The forty-acre Callaway Brothers Azalea Bowl alone has more than three thousand azalea trees and shrubs


V IE Z INE .C OM | 39

Summertime at Callaway Gardens is also synonymous with family fun kicking off Memorial Day Weekend, when Robin Lake Beach—the world’s largest manmade inland white-sand beach—hosts the annual Masters Water Ski and Wakeboard Tournament. Highlights of summer activities include daily performances by Florida State University’s Flying High Circus (a tradition dating back to 1961); weekly farmers’ markets; swimming; waterskiing; and miniature golf. Couples who wish to schedule their wedding festivities or honeymoon around a holiday weekend can also enjoy the Fourth of July Star-Spangled Beach Party with live bands and fireworks, or Labor Day weekend’s Sky High Hot Air Balloon Festival.



As the site of one of the world’s largest displays of native and cultivated azaleas, March and April at Callaway Gardens hold breathtaking sights. interlaced with picturesque walking paths and gentle slopes. The Overlook Azalea Garden that Mrs. Callaway helped to design is a must-see with its prism of natural beauty. As the site of one of the world’s largest displays of native and cultivated azaleas, March and April at Callaway Gardens hold breathtaking sights and are a perennial favorite for weddings and vow renewals. Annual spring event highlights include Easter egg hunts; Sunday buffets; the juried Plein Air Paint Out, Art Show, and Sale, which showcases artists from across the country; and Symphony on the Sand with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performing under the stars on Robin Lake Beach.

Summer While Callaway Gardens is irrefutably mesmerizing in spring, summertime is also delightful and brings with it a rainbow of vibrant blooms, verdant lawns, and shady trees that flourish during the long, sunny months. Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden is a popular resort attraction and was featured as the Southern setting in the PBS series The Victory Garden. During summer, the garden is a fragrant and colorful array of edible delights including organic fruits and vegetables, Mexican bush sage, and terraced vineyards of purple and bronze muscadine grapes, just like the ones my grandfather used to grow.

40 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

As summer transitions into fall, September brides can let their “something blue” be the countless pairs of sapphire-colored, iridescent wings that illuminate the butterfly conservatory during Blue Morpho Month. In October and November, when the temperatures grow crisper, countless chrysanthemums burst into bloom in a bucolic backdrop of brilliant reds, yellows, oranges, and purples.

Annual fall events include a charity golf tournament, exciting horse racing during the Steeplechase at Callaway Gardens, and Thanksgiving festivities. In mid-September, avid cyclists can participate in the annual Bike MS: Cox Atlanta Ride through Pine Mountain’s picturesque countryside (

Winter More than eight million twinkling lights illuminate Callaway Gardens during its famous Fantasy in Lights extravaganza. The glimmering five-mile loop around Robin Lake Beach is touted as one of the country’s premier holiday light and sound displays, and National Geographic Traveler named Callaway Gardens as one of the world’s top ten best places to see holiday lights. During the holidays, the resort also hosts elegant Christmas dinners and festive New Year’s Eve celebrations. If you’re contemplating a holiday wedding, what could be more romantic than an elegant mountain lodge? Plus, the Lodge’s elves will have already taken care of decking the halls and trimming the tree, so you can enjoy a stress-free celebration with family and friends! Budget-conscious couples can take advantage of the Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens’ first quarter of the year savings. With a minimum food and beverage package booking, rental fees on the Lodge’s ballrooms and other on-site venues are waived during January, February, and March. If you have your heart set on


Miscellaneous Must-Sees

red-checkered tablecloths, Southern comfort food, and mason jars filled with sweet iced tea that has been served here for more than fifty years. The sweeping ridge views are reason enough for making a pit stop for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

No visit to Callaway Gardens is complete without a stop at the Country Kitchen and Store, a Callaway Gardens institution. Located on Highway 27 a few miles northwest of the gardens’ original entrance, the historic midcentury stone building reflects a simpler, bygone era. Once inside, follow your nose past the homemade fudge, jars of muscadine jelly, and small wine store to the rustic dining room with

Nearby, you can also ride horses, cycle the scenic back roads, and hike countless trails at F.D. Roosevelt State Park. If you prefer a slower pace, explore downtown Pine Mountain’s eclectic shops, antique stores, and mom-and-pop eateries. Particularly linger-worthy are the Cat’s Meow with its extensive collection of Polish pottery, artwork and novelties

tying the knot later in the year, the Lodge also offers a 50 percent discount on Sunday rental fees, excluding December holidays.

(, the French Market’s ooh-la-la trinkets, and the homemade goodies at the Bakery and Cafe at Rose Cottage ( No matter the season, Callaway Gardens Resort offers serenity, lovely landscapes, local flavor, and Southern charm—not to mention countless amenities.

For more information on weddings at the Lodge and Spa at Callaway Gardens, visit or contact Sally Biles at (706) 489-3339 or sally.







Rock ’n’ Roll Rock ’n’ Roll By Jordan Staggs Photography by Tommy Crow




cme Ice House opened on March 21, 2014, and there’s already a growing buzz surrounding this American original bar and eatery, which is open daily from 11:30 a.m. until midnight.

Walking into the restaurant is like stepping into a roadside grill on Route 66 with wooden walls and a tin ceiling styled from the materials reclaimed from an old Wisconsin barn. The rustic, vintage Americana atmosphere is highlighted in the bar by a series of backlit black-and-white photographs by Atlanta-based artist Tommy Crow of classic rock ’n’ rollers in concert—the Rolling Stones, the Who, Paul McCartney, and many more—beneath a row of flat-screen TVs that are perfect for watching all of the big games. But make no mistake: Acme isn’t your typical sports bar, and its vintage charm is complemented by a contemporary edge and extras such as a state-of-the-art kitchen and outlets beneath the bar in case anyone needs to recharge while they unwind. Locally owned and operated by the Artesano Hotel Group (creators of The Pearl, Havana Beach Bar and Grill, and Sol Luna Gulf View Lounge in Rosemary Beach), this new “local watering hole” has a family-friendly atmosphere designed to take guests back to a simpler time. Keep your cell phones off the table as you take in the beautiful photographs and original video reels playing throughout the bar and dining room. Watch as specialty burgers, sandwiches, and other culinary delights are handcrafted in the open kitchen and true Neapolitan-style pizzas—baked to perfection—come out of the wood-fired brick ovens. Thick-cut french fries and beer-battered onion rings are a must, and the ahi tuna burger has quickly become a favorite among guests.


V IE Z INE .C OM | 45

46 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

B A S M AT I ’ S For the adventurous family, why not try the best seat in the house: a table underneath the shiny HarleyDavidson motorcycle suspended from the ceiling in the center of the main dining room? (Rumor has it that if you buy the bike, then you get to ride it out of the restaurant.) Or pull up a stool at the authentic sundae and milkshake bar, complete with hand-dipped ice cream, toppings, and sundae dishes perfect for sharing with someone sweet. The dedicated team at Acme Ice House really is the icing on the cake (or maybe the cherry on the shake!): Chef Nate Lincke, General Manager Danny McCall, and Front-of-House Manager Ray Benner provide an incredibly fun dining experience for all of their guests. With great prices and food and beverage specials (such as the daily margarita happy hour), friends and families can revel in an exceptional dining experience that won’t break the bank. The bar is for ages 21 and up and offers occasional live music, and outdoor seating is available on the patio—perfect for watching people along beautiful 30-A. Don’t forget to stop by the Acme Mercantile Store for all sorts of memorabilia to take back home!

850.267.3028 3295 W County Highway 30A , Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

find official 30A® Gear in local

shops, on the free 30A mobile app or

With an ideal location and a dedication to quality and service, Acme Ice House is sure to become a new favorite among both locals and visitors looking for great food and good vibes. V IE Z INE .C OM | 47

Everything Old Is

By Sallie W. Boyles Photography by Dawn Chapman Whitty

efore the wedding, the bride, the groom, their parents, and any others involved in planning the event spend days, weeks, and months preparing countless, shifting details surrounding the occasion. Afterward, all eyes turn to one final feature of the special day: the pictures. Most of us have at least one friend or relative today who is an amateur photographer, armed and ready to snap countless pictures of the big event, yet professionals remain in high demand for those special wedding photographs. Almost all couples desire romantic images, though each will have a different interpretation of what that means. Choosing the right photographer, therefore, entails a careful look at a professional’s artistry, personality, and overall point of view. In the early days of wedding photography, when brides and grooms typically sat for one formal portrait on or around the day of nuptials, a photographer’s skills in framing the image, adjusting the lighting, and developing the film probably mattered more than his or her artistic style. The individual’s perspective on weddings became more significant with camera innovations such as flashbulbs and roll film, which allowed the enterprising photographer to shoot the event on location and then later attempt to sell as many prints as possible. The wedding album caught on after World War II (when marriages reached an all-time peak) and forever changed the portrait photography industry. Some might struggle to articulate why photographs from previous eras seem so romantic; perhaps the vintage black-and-white and sepia hues filter the colorful

distractions, allowing one to see the beautiful truth. Nevertheless, the first-generation wedding albums still contained mostly a cookie-cutter array of poses. Other than the faces, flowers, and attire, little else was unique from one bound collection of photos to another. Around the 1970s, however, photographers began to inject greater creativity, shooting ceremonies and celebrations from their own perspectives. Presenting an entirely new set of tools for self-expression, digital technology has since transformed wedding photography into a distinctive art form, enticing artists like Dawn Chapman Whitty to enter the field. Based in the coastal communities of Grayton and Seaside Beaches in Northwest Florida, Dawn grew up in Nashville, where she attended Belmont University before transferring to Florida State University. Describing her work as a combination of editorial and fine art mixed with design, she entered photography with an interest in documenting people and spent two years photographing the faces of Apalachicola, Florida. She launched her career twenty-five years ago, working with old-school portrait artists in Nashville and then with a society photographer in Naples, Florida. “I thought I wanted to do more commercial work, particularly album covers,” says Dawn, “but a guy who had been doing photography for record albums since the Seventies advised that weddings, families, and children were the way to make a living. I’ve come to see this work as an important part of my journey. After photographing people for so long, I wouldn’t feel that I’d seized some of the greatest moments in life if I weren’t shooting weddings; something would be missing in my growth as an artist and recorder of life.”

V IE Z INE .C OM | 51

52 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

While mastering the tools of photography, Dawn has always allowed her education and instincts as an artist to guide her. “I was taught as an art student to think outside the box,” she says. In comparison, her photography courses emphasized technical correctness, which did not satisfy Dawn. “When I first worked with film, you’d find me in the darkroom adding bleach or sepia tone to the negatives to make my images different,” she shares. “Today, we call it graphics, but the computer is a digital darkroom.” Describing her style as a contemporary interpretation of old-fashioned romance, she shares that in addition to personal experiences, including extensive travel, her work has resulted from “an accumulation of studying different artists, painters, and photographers.” The first photographer to influence Dawn was Jock Sturges, who is known for his compelling and natural portrayals of families. “He was the main reason I entered photography school,” she says, describing being drawn to the way he captured the essence of people. Another of her inspirations is Sally Mann, especially for her photographs of children. “She has a connection with the kids,” explains Dawn, “so she brings out their deeper emotions.” For similar reasons, she names Bruce Weber, a highly acclaimed fashion photographer known for taking risks. “He has a playful approach to fashion, which is not about staring at the camera, posing. His work is about movement, which transfers so well to weddings.” When imagining their wedding pictures, some couples envision an array of shots that are fit for a spread in a fashion magazine. Others anticipate a highly personal reflection of the day’s happenings. If a professional’s work seems to convey what a couple has in mind, Dawn advises a meeting to make sure the primary subjects—the bride and groom—will click with the person behind the camera. If time permits, an engagement photo session can serve as an illuminating trial run. V IE Z INE .C OM | 53

Ultimately, a photographer’s ability to fulfill a client’s expectations requires multiple considerations. “I’m visual,” Dawn relays, “so I ask the bride to bring in shots she loves from websites, Pinterest, magazines… Though some ideas may not be my cup of tea, I get a feel for what she loves and then put my twist on it. What brides most need to realize is that much of the magic happens well after the wedding. I put a great deal of time, imagination, and originality into my editing process to bring the recollection of the day into an idyllic memory. My heart and soul go into their pictures.” While cognizant of her clients’ requests, Dawn does not arrive at a photo session with a rigid agenda. “I don’t visualize shots beforehand, and I don’t try to control people,” she explains. Instead, she enters a flow of shooting, allowing the process to happen as situations unfold. Above all, the wedding is about the bride and the groom, so Dawn particularly looks for opportunities to catch them alone. “I love capturing those intimate, quiet moments, not posed, of the couple being in love,” she says. One special image she recalls is of a bride and groom standing together at the end of a long hallway. “They were just talking, holding hands, not aware that I was there.” Pondering similar snapshots in her mind, Dawn adds, “Couples need to take time to be together during their wedding.”

“I had a couple sitting for an engagement session in Nashville,” says Dawn, “and the guy obviously hated to be photographed.” She has encountered quite a few grooms who not only feel the same about taking pictures, but would also skip several other formalities in order to enjoy the day, if they could. To eliminate any discomfort and turn the photography component into an enjoyable highlight, Dawn makes a point of taking fun, casual pictures while getting to know the bride, the groom, and the wedding party beforehand, even if that first opportunity is on the big day. “My attitude is ‘Let’s make this a cool thing,’” she says. (By the way, the groom-to-be in Nashville ended up feeling so at ease during the engagement photo session that he and his fiancée hired Dawn to photograph their wedding weekend in the Virgin Islands.)

54 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Dawn’s philosophy of going with the flow and focusing on the purpose of the day can be a calming agent when emotions run high and extraneous conditions—such as bad weather for a wedding planned on the beach—enter the picture. “On one rainy occasion, I had to sit an emotional bride down in a room and say to her, ‘It’s all about you being together with your husband and loved ones.’” Likewise, she says, “I love the brides who just take it in stride and say, ‘Let’s march through the water!’” As a matter of fact, if couples want to plunge into the Gulf wearing full wedding attire, Dawn has her camera ready. Regularly, she and her husband, Mike Whitty— Dawn’s backup when he’s not performing professionally as a musician—take newlyweds out on a boat with a bottle of champagne for carefree, spontaneous shots. An avid surfer who felt naturally compelled to swim in her gown was

Dawn’s first mermaid bride. Inspired by artists like John William Waterhouse, Paul Gauguin, and Edgar Degas, Dawn is passionate about her burgeoning Women in Water series. Whether or not her clients want to “trash the dress,” Dawn highly recommends investing in a meaningful post-wedding photo session. In fact, she’ll tell a couple

on a budget to put friends in charge of snapping candid pictures for parties like the traditional rehearsal dinner. Even with a professional photographer present, Dawn does not discourage the couple’s entourage from taking selfies or any variety of wedding pictures. “One of my favorite shots from my wedding is an

iPhone photo,” she shares. “There’s no reason not to take pictures; the more images, the better.” Aside from those lucky shots, couples depending heavily upon the photographer to document one of the most romantic times of their lives do not want to end up with an album of forced grins and strained looks because they were uncomfortable posing. V IE Z INE .C OM | 55

“If you’re not a fashion model who’s always in front of the camera, you’ll need someone who’ll make you feel at ease,” Dawn says. “Choosing the right photographer for you is not so much about the professional’s prestigious résumé as it is about liking the person’s work and feeling that you would comfortably relate to one another.”

Life is Beautiful

Cheers. . .to your happily ever after


dawn chapman whitty

Dawn invites those in the Seaside, Florida, area to stop by La Vie Est Belle gallery in Central Square, where they can view an extensive display of her work in person. Often, she is only a bike ride away for an impromptu meeting! To learn more, visit

We request the pleasure of your company



Do you have a favorite river? Mine is the Charles. My Charles River is not the one where you’ll find the real cool lovers, muggers, thieves, and frustrated women of whom the Standells sing. Sports fans are familiar with the tune, and it is either annoying or enjoyable to them after some Boston-based team wins. No, the Charles of which I sing has a back strong enough to carry early American history. It wears on its wrist a perpetual calendar. Over its bridges, ideas—and the people who shop them—flow freely between Boston and Cambridge. Sometimes, leaning against their railings and gazing at the sunset, you might even hear the “Yes! Oh, yes!” of which real dreams are made. V IE Z INE .C OM | 61


Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had one of the most famous horsemen in American history ride along its banks:

“One if by land, and two if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country-folk to be up and to arm.” Then he said “Good-night!” and with muffled oar Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore, Just as the moon rose over the bay, Where swinging wide at her moorings lay The Somerset, British man-of-war; 62 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Later, as America industrialized, the Moody textile mills of Waltham and so many other manufactories discharged their effluvia down the river and into the yawning Atlantic. The same was the case with the Watertown Arsenal from the era of the War Between the States to World War II until we decided to “beat our swords” into food courts and “spears” into clothing stores by building a mall where the weapons once poured off the assembly line. Historically strong was the back and shoulders of the Charles, so much so that these events have eclipsed the memory of the executed king of England for whom the river is named. The river is also my calendar. As it begins to mirror the red, yellow, and brown of the changing leaves, the Charles greets students from around the world in September and thousands of rowers from around the world in the Head of the Charles Regatta each October. From November to January, as a gray cape of ice spreads over it, the river seems to suggest to those attending Harvard, B.U., and M.I.T., that the short days and long nights mean libraries, laboratories, and exams for you. Come March, and its undulating, pockmarked paths get massaged by the footfalls of all those runners training for the Boston Marathon. When the

temperatures rise, as they eventually do, a United Nations–worth of children bicycle, skateboard, ride the swings, garden, and listen to music in observance of the fundamental right of all children to have fun. It should go without saying, but when we think of the many ways rivers are threatened, maybe we need to say it anyway—rivers are important. Even historians who agree on little else concede that entire civilizations such as ours were cradled along rivers. Think of the Tigris and Euphrates, the Jordan, the Danube, the Rhine, the Yangtze, the Ganges, the Neva and the Volga, the Congo and the Amazon. Couldn’t you add many more to this short list? If you have your own river, I hope someone is nurturing it, like groups such as the Charles River Watershed Association, which is protecting mine. And, if you don’t have a river, you are always welcome to share the Charles.

Chef Sandor at

- All of our pasta is Homemade Open daily for lunch 11:30–2:00 Dinner 5:30–9:30 For Reservations, call 850.231.2139 50 Uptown Grayton Circle, Grayton Beach, FL












Coastal Guardians Gulf Isl a nds Nation a l Se a shor e


Nothing clutters the unbroken symmetry of dunes rising and falling like ocean swells down to beaches lapped by the clear greenish-blue water distinctive to Florida’s northwest Gulf Coast. Silence as dense as a moisture-laden fog permeates the atmosphere. Although the scene appears devoid of life, some of Florida’s most unique and threatened species are sustained by these barrier islands that stretch 160 miles west from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, to Cat Island, Mississippi, now protected in Gulf Islands National Seashore.

V IE Z INE .C OM | 67

One of the paradoxes of barrier islands is that their strength and resilience is a result of their fragile and fluid nature.


ost visitors will never see all the life forms nourished by these islands, but here are a few. Their soft sands provide cushy layovers for migratory birds flying north after a balmy Caribbean winter. In summer, female sea turtles find these secluded beaches ideal sites for laying their eggs, as do shorebirds. Native Americans camped and fished off their abundant offshore waters. Spanish explorer Tristan de Luna and crew found safe harbor and attempted settlement here in 1559. It’s always been the mainland’s first line of defense, a shock absorber for hurricanes roaring in from Africa. Now it also provides recreation and refuge for the five million people visiting every year. It usually requires a long flight to discover a paradise of undeveloped islands like these. But here they are—made in America—a barricade of islands

68 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

running parallel to and separated from the mainland by brackish waters of bayous, sounds, and bays. Count on America’s national parks to save our richest treasures—those natural landmarks that retain the authentic character of our country—and preserve the abundant natural resources that have attracted and sustained human life since Native Americans starting arriving twenty to thirty thousand years ago. To explore the Florida sections of the park, begin at Fort Pickens. Drive over Pensacola Bay on the bridge and enter a magical realm where America’s earliest history played out on Santa Rosa Island. Besides military forts and archeological sites, Fort Pickens abounds in untrammeled beaches for hiking and crystal Gulf waters for swimming, boating, and kayaking: a complete getaway from the stresses that characterize our twenty-first century lifestyle.

FORT PICKENS A drive through the density of Pensacola Beach shows you what these pristine islands were saved from when protected as part of the national seashore in 1971. They are a living history museum, preserving what the Florida Gulf Coast once looked like from the Pensacola region to Destin before intensive development. Feel lucky to even glimpse the beach or water through the wall-to-wall condos, high-rises, shops, and restaurants that ironically block the reason people flock here. Keep driving until the scenery opens up into a spacious, luminous scene of rolling dunes, blue skies, and sparkling seas. It’s hard to miss the large white cross crowning one of the few high dunes spared by Hurricane Ivan. It marks the site where Dominican friars in the party of Spanish explorer Tristan de Luna held their first

religious service in 1559. Those sailors must have been grateful for calm Gulf waters and a deep protective harbor after a choppy Atlantic crossing. William Bartram, the first American naturalist, described Pensacola Harbor in 1775 as “safe and large enough to shelter all the navies of Europe.” It’s doubtful they had ever encountered sand so blindingly white that it resembles drifted snow. “While the powder-white sand is mostly quartz, it originates in the Appalachian Mountains as granite that’s washed seaward by rivers and creeks until pulverized into fine grains that are swept onto shore by currents,” explains Mike Aymond, who has worked as a park ranger for more than twenty years and specializes in resource education. Ancient scriptures about the foolishness of building houses on sand make practical sense as well as spiritual wisdom when you learn more about barrier islands. “Most don’t realize the islands are constantly moving and shifting, reshaped by wind and waves,” says Aymond. “They are one of Florida’s most dynamic landforms. In big storms like hurricanes, they even roll over on themselves. One of the paradoxes of barrier islands is that their strength and resilience is a result of their fragile and fluid nature.” Aymond teaches these and other fascinating facts to schoolchildren on the barrier island ecology walk that’s part of the environmental education program offered by the park. “As future stewards of the planet, these children need to understand how nature works to make better-informed decisions,” he says. They learn how they can make a difference right now. “Regardless of where you live, everything you put on your lawn and pour down the drain will end up in the ocean eventually.” Science comes to life at the amazing state-of-the-art interpretative center Aymond helped design. Sounds of booming cannons shattered the island’s quiet in 1861 when Union and Confederate troops clashed at Fort Pickens, one of the forts now open for visitors. These national seashore forts span over three hundred years, from the Spanish Colonial era Bateria de San Antonio on Pensacola Naval Air Station to the World War II vintage Battery 234, as one of the largest collection of evolving seacoast defenses in the country. Fort Pickens also gained the infamous distinction of holding Apache warrior Geronimo as a prisoner from 1886 to 1888. 70 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Stroll down the length of Santa Rosa Island on the Florida National Scenic Trail, the only one of the National Scenic Trails to traverse a beach. Wander inland on the Blackbird Marsh Nature Trail and walk past marshes and wetlands until you reach a battery fortification where a narrow footpath leads to breathtaking Gulf views. A variety of wildlife habitats, including beaches and dunes, freshwater and salt marshes, and a maritime forest, draw large numbers of birds. Three hundred and forty-five species have been identified since counting began in 1965. Long stretches of open beach attract scores of nesting shorebirds. Black skimmers and least terns nest in colonies from March to August, while Wilson’s plovers are solitary nesters. The rare snowy plover nests from February to August. Help these shorebirds survive by being a responsible beach user. Stay at least three hundred feet away from a nest; you are too close if birds become agitated. Use designated walkways and don’t walk in posted areas. Always secure dogs on leashes and keep the beach clean of food and litter that can entangle birds and other wildlife.

72 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Nesting shorebirds are not the only ones who keep returning. “The park is so family-oriented that generations come back year after year for family reunions. People talk about it as their therapy: they get out in fresh air and sunshine, hear the water, and watch kids play on the beach. It’s an idyllic experience,” shares Aymond.

PER DIDO KEY Drive through congested tourist facilities to the end of the road and again be surprised at finding a peaceful oasis so close to its opposite. Rosamond Johnson Beach is named for a Korean War hero, the first African American from this region to die in that conflict. This was one of the few beaches open to African Americans during segregation. Built in 1835 to defend Pensacola Pass and the Naval Yard, Fort McRee has been reclaimed by waves and erosion. The only functional defenses remaining are a system of healthy dunes critical to the survival of the Perdido Key beach mouse, an endangered species found nowhere else on earth. On this narrow island, you clearly see the fragility of nature. A ribbon of sand held in place by

sea oats and other vegetation is all that separates the Gulf of Mexico (the most biologically diverse marine region on earth) from Big Lagoon (brackish waters are nurseries for 95 percent of commercially harvested seafood). “Barrier islands create bays and estuaries between the islands and the mainland, separating the rougher, saltier Gulf waters from the calmer, more protected waters of the bay,” Aymond informs. If global warming persists, rising water could flood these low narrow islands and allow more saline waters to disrupt the delicate balance needed for the survival of marine creatures like shrimp and crab. What? No more iconic Gulf Coast specialties like fried shrimp baskets and crab cakes proudly served at coastal eateries? For now, the Big Lagoon is a great place to kayak the blueway. Stay dry and see another aspect of island life from an elevated boardwalk on the Discovery Trail that takes visitors over dunes, marshes, and through woodlands where birds sing and other communities of life flourish on this slender bar of sand.

74 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

NAVA L LIVE OAKS For many today, Florida’s Gulf Coast is all about fun and sun, but that was not always the case. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, marauding pirates attacked ships, snatched hundreds of seamen from decks, and held them as prisoners for ransom. Conflict fermented along these shores until the American Navy outfoxed their enemies by using a tree! A live oak tree’s resistance to rot, disease, and decay make it an ideal material for building ships. The Mediterraneanbased pirates had no access to this durable wood as this particular live oak species only grows along Southern coastal regions from southeastern Virginia to Texas. To ensure future supplies, John Quincy Adams protected live oaks in America’s first federal tree farm in 1828. Descendants of the old-growth trees are still protected at Naval Live Oaks, a section located off US Highway 98 near Gulf Breeze. “Pirates must have puzzled about why the cannonballs they fired bounced right off our warships,” exclaims Sigrid Benson, a former writer and editor for the USDA Forest Service and park volunteer for twelve years. “Once they figured out live oak wood made the difference, they started poaching the trees. People love our exhibit where you see for yourself just how heavy this wood is compared to other trees. They have no trouble using a rope pulley to raise a block of pine, but few make headway lifting the live oak block even a few inches.” A plaster replica of a massive live oak dominates the park visitor center where panels tell the history of the region and about live oaks. Although iron and steel later replaced wooden warships, these majestic trees remain as old warhorses, still defending the natural and historical assets of our Southern shores and their people as they have since the barrier islands formed five thousand years ago. One information panel enlightens us: “Trees our nation once preserved for military defense now protect our coastlines in unexpected ways.” Some of those ways include sheltering coastal communities from hurricane winds as they reduce wind speed by at least fifteen miles per hour. Their broad canopies provide shelter for local and migratory birds. Insects, rodents, and small mammals secure homes in the fallen leaves, bark, and expansive roots. “Live oaks turn a hammock into a home,” reads another panel. They provide quality of life by absorbing carbon dioxide and replenishing it with fresh oxygen.

Historic Blakely State Park








M I S S I S S I P P I 614






90 193







Cat Island

West Ship Island

East Ship Island

Davis Bayou


Fort Gaines

Horn Island

Fort Morgan Petit Bois Island

GULF 76 | M AY/J U NE 2 014



They also help prevent erosion, nourish the soil, and inspire us with their sheltering beauty.

picnic tables, beach walks, and swimming. Like other sections of the park, it’s an interlude of tranquility woven between bustling beach communities where you can chill out and just be.

Stroll down the Breckenridge Nature Trail, an interpretative path behind the visitor’s center to learn more about native flora and fauna. Cross US Highway 98 to hike the Andrew Jackson Trail down the first road connecting Pensacola to St. Augustine. Or see how the expression “busy as a beaver” came about by watching these enterprising animals at work on Beaver Pond Trail. Old Borrow Pit Trail leads through longleaf and sand pine communities where you can observe how prescribed burns rejuvenate forests of this type.

“Barrier islands are magical places. Here nature reveals itself a little more readily, geological processes may be observed a little more easily, and patterns seem to emerge from chaos,” Aymond shares. Like migratory birds, we need resting places where we find refuge from the distractions of our time. Come empty-handed, leaving your cell phone behind, and enter a timeless sanctuary where you find peace and serenity: qualities never outdated but sought in every generation. No wonder prophets, sages, mystics, and religious teachers retreated alone to natural places like mountaintops, the seashore, and into the wilderness, seeking enlightenment and silence to better hear the still small voice within. These Gulf Islands welcome us today, still providing refuge from the storms of life.

OK A LOOSA SEGMENT On the outskirts of Fort Walton Beach, drop by the Okaloosa section off US Highway 98 on the way to Destin. It’s mainly a large open grassy area with a boat launch and narrow paths leading to the bay and its long narrow beach. This day-use facility offers

Where to Stay Stay in Pensacola, the closest city near the park. Located in the historic North Hill neighborhood, the Noble Manor Bed and Breakfast built in 1905 is now a sleek European-style retreat with spacious rooms and a gourmet breakfast. Gracious hosts Bonnie and Bob Robertson will guide you to Pensacola’s best. Visit or call 850-434-9544 for information and reservations.

Park Information Gulf Islands National Seashore Florida District Headquarters 1801 Gulf Breeze Pkwy. Gulf Breeze, FL 32563 (850) 934-2600 or visit:


87 197



10 90


29 104


90 A

87 291






297 293

Fort Walton Beach








Gulf Breeze



292 292A

182 180

Gulf Shores

Gulf Shores State Park

Rosamond Johnson Beach

Santa Rosa Area

Pensacola Beach

Perdido Key Area



Mary Esther

Navarre Beach

Okaloosa Area


Fort Pickens






20 Kilometers 10

20 Miles



heart no attitude or sticker shock





Coupon valid only at fab’rik Pier Park. Must bring in or mention this ad for discount. Excludes art, gift cards, sale items and cannot be combined with any other promotions.















Alyssa & Bo A Love Born by the Sea By Jordan Staggs Photography by Tara Thompson

William “Bo” Walker likes to joke, “I fired my deckhand and stole his girlfriend.”


The truth is that Alyssa Gross was on vacation from the University of Alabama, where she was earning her graduate degree in marketing, and she met Bo in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, where he was running a chartered fishing trip. Something magical must have been in the salty beach air, because the pair began a journey together. They took a few detours along the way, but always came back to the white sands along the Gulf of Mexico. After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010, Bo moved to Montgomery, Alabama, while Alyssa continued her studies to earn her MBA. Bo opened a highend bar in the capital with one of his college friends, and after Alyssa’s graduation, the couple moved to Birmingham. They began new careers there and also became engaged, but the pull of the Gulf was just too strong. “We lived in Birmingham for about three years and that was long enough!” Alyssa says. “We moved back to the Panhandle in June 2013, and it was the best thing we have ever done.”

V IE Z INE .C OM | 81

injury clients may love him.


“It was such a joy and truly heartwarming to watch them come together and celebrate with us!”

not so much.

Alyssa is now marketing coordinator for the town of Alys Beach on Highway 30-A, and Bo helped found Oyster City Brewing Company in Apalachicola, taking his passion for craft beer to the next level. The couple decided that, after two years of engagement, it was time to take their relationship to the next level as well. “We have learned and grown tremendously since we moved closer to the water,” Alyssa reveals. “We will never move away again.” Two months later, Alyssa and Bo celebrated their marriage with their closest friends and family. An intimate ceremony took place on the porch of Bo’s parents’ home, overlooking mile marker one in Apalachicola. The couple shared a perfect moment of sunshine and sea breezes as they said their vows. Alyssa reminisces, “It was like we were the only people there.” The Owl Cafe hosted their reception, followed by a celebratory after-party at Oyster City Brewing Company, which included a special wedding beer (Loquat and White Pepper Saison) brewed especially for Alyssa and Bo by Bo’s coworker Shelley Humphries. Beautiful wooden crosses handmade by Anthony Watson of Alys Beach added a personal touch to the decor. “We both took a step back and saw the love and happiness that filled the room at the brewery,” Alyssa says. “Bo and I have a handful of amazing, diverse friends who had never met one another. It was such a joy and truly heartwarming to watch them come together and celebrate with us!”

The newlyweds plan to continue their love story the way it began, by the water. This fall, they hope to take their flats boat, Hell’s Bay Waterman, to the Keys for a belated honeymoon celebration. Congratulations, Alyssa and Bo! May your love remain as deep as the ocean!

Command attention the right way. essential for well-defined branding 114 Logan Lane, Suite 4 • Grayton Beach, Florida 32459


BurwellAssociates 114 Logan Lane, Suite 4. Grayton Beach, Florida 32459 P. 850.231.6377 F. 850.231.6375 E.

Lic number AR-0017641

ALL THAT GLITTERS IS GOLD A Heavenly Vision by tammy massey

photography by romona robbins

In the spirit of the Maison Citrohan and ideally located at the heart of Ruskin Place in Seaside, Stairway to Heaven is the consummate New Urban residence. Widely admired, this three-story residence was conceived by internationally esteemed NYC architect Alexander Gorlin to be his personal haven. Similar to Le Corbusier’s rebellions, Gorlin’s iconic gesture is an ongoing comment about the emptiness of blindly mimicking historic styles while at the same time corroborating the strengths of Seaside’s traditional New Urban plan. Stairway to Heaven is a child of the Bauhaus, the most influential modern art school of the twentieth century, which bridged the gap between art and industry and design and functionality by combining crafts and fine arts.


V IE Z INE .C OM | 87


V IE Z INE .C OM | 89

V IE Z INE .C OM | 91

Cast in the 1996 movie The Truman Show and fronting on Ruskin Place’s promenade, the “Rubeo Architects” sign prop still dazzles and fools visitors.

According to Bauhaus principles, materials should be used in the simplest and most honest form, as exampled in the exposed steel framework of the exterior and in my selections for the art and furnishings throughout the interior. With my combined professional backgrounds in architecture and interior design, I had the knowledge and experience to understand how to symbiotically mesh both design conventions into one cohesive, soothingly spirited, and poetically classic modern sanctuary. Cast in the 1996 movie The Truman Show and fronting on Ruskin Place’s promenade, the “Rubeo Architects” sign prop (a remnant of Truman’s office building) still dazzles and fools visitors who confidently declare the first floor to be the current office of Seaside’s Town Architect. In accordance with the Seaside Code’s intent, the open, inviting exterior stair promotes social interaction while evoking subliminal recollections of Italian hill town loggias and the very urban brownstone stoop. Diagonal to the civilized and congenial Ruskin public areas, the two-story-high glazing of the living area forms a retractable screen with subtle shifts in park panoramas or, if you desire to close the cascading sailcloth curtains, the space then becomes a thrilling private retreat. As the basis for the residence’s double entendre label and from the park entry vantage point, one can simultaneously see the five highly articulated and well-crafted stairs that culminate in the “Stairway to Heaven”—the spiritual and physical pinnacle of Seaside.

Conscientiously constructed and meticulously maintained, Stairway to Heaven is one of the sturdiest and most precisely constructed buildings on the Gulf Coast. Thoughtfully detailed, the house was principally built with stucco on reinforced concrete, steel, glass, and stone. The first floor is comprised of one large room and one intimate room that share a bath and convenience bar. The spaces can easily be transformed to accommodate various functions and needs.  Justin Lyons recently painted the entire north wall of the first floor in situ with an original work. Red oak floors anchor the primary living areas on the second level.  New stainless steel appliances, plumbing fixtures, and Carrera countertops and backsplash have recently been installed.  The curved wall off the dining space seamlessly conceals the mirrored and tiled powder room.  Structurally intriguing, the walled spiral stair with oak treads leads to the third-level bedroom suite, which comprises an organic bath, a sunlit nautilus shower, and a private glass-wall balcony, which overlooks the Lyceum, Seaside, WaterColor, and the Gulf of Mexico. From the suite, the meditative single ascent takes you to the dramatic release of the roof terrace.  From this lofty perch, incredible moonlit and sunset views of the town, landscape, water, and sky are a continuous delight. For the adventurous extrovert, one more trek will take you to the top of the walk where there just may be a glimpse of heaven.


V IE Z INE .C OM | 93


V IE Z INE .C OM | 95


V IE Z INE .C OM | 97

About Stairway to Heaven Stairway to Heaven is being offered fully furnished with signature pieces from Aida, Eames, Foscarini, Sakura, and Alivar and the first-floor artwork by Justin Lyons. As a trained professional architect and having lived next door to Stairway to Heaven for many years, I had developed an immensely ingrained passion for its unique architectural sculpture and internationally classic modern character. The south-facing pedestrian corner of Stairway embraces magical Ruskin Place; the two create a perfect and complementing union. With terraces overlooking the romantically quaint artist colony park and gallery-adorned promenade on the east and the most astonishing Gulf views and sunsets to the west, Stairway to Heaven is a dream fulfilled for the idealistic artistic soul or the seasoned voyager. With full admiration, honor, and respect for Alex Gorlin, my focus was on being sensitive to and complementing the internal light patterns, the sculptural elements, and the proportions with respect to how each space engages its relationship both internally and externally. Overall color tone and scheme inspirations were drawn from the soft and subtle sepia tones of the quadriptych vintage photo and the melon tones of the exterior steel structural pieces. The dynamic yet meditative second-level living/kitchen/dining spaces are introspectively seductive, sharing homage to classic modern furniture designers with Breuer’s Wassily Chair, the Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman, and Saarinen’s molded shell Tulip Chairs. Bright, playful energy and pure happiness reek on the ground level, celebrating an opportunity to be transformed into an artistic retail venue. The master bedroom is the ultimate enclave of 1950s “posh modern,” pulling hue tones from our alluring Gulf waters.


Original artwork from my own collection, in addition to works from talented and acclaimed local artists Michael Granberry, Cheryl Troxel, and Justin Lyons, can be found in most appropriate settings, contributing to a totality that encompasses all artistic media.

V IE Z INE .C OM | 99

Elizabeth & Joshua A NEW ENGLAND CLASSIC


Picturesque Narragansett, Rhode Island, is the epitome of a classic New England coastal town, with its crescent-shaped beaches, marinas teeming with sailboats and fishing vessels, and the historic Narragansett Towers overlooking all. At five thirty on the evening of September 14, 2012, Elizabeth Shriner and Joshua Rosenberg tied the knot, standing before family and friends on a lush green lawn overlooking the beach at the Dunes Club. The couple met through a mutual friend the summer Elizabeth moved to Rhode Island; they began a fast friendship that budded into a New England romance. By the end of August that year, Elizabeth says, she and Josh had fallen in love. “We wanted a low-key wedding where everyone had a wonderful time,” Elizabeth says. “Josh found a reggae version of the ‘Wedding March’ that I danced down the aisle to with the wind blowing in my hair.” The posh yet fun affair included a unique ride for the bride—a 1910 Pope-Hartford Portola Roadster delivered Elizabeth to the ceremony. “The car is all brass, and only a few exist in the world,” she recalls. “I felt like a princess!” V IE Z INE .C OM | 101

“We wanted a low-key wedding where everyone had a wonderful time.”

V IE Z INE .C OM | 103

The ceremony was preceded by a cocktail hour featuring a raw oyster bar on the lawn and was followed by a nautical-themed reception inside the Dunes Club. Seaside-inspired greens and blues brought the coast into the vaulted dining room of the beachside club. Bouquets by Laurel Lane and gorgeous hydrangea topiaries created by the bride’s mother, Susan, from blooms donated by her neighbors in nearby Wickford Village lent a personal touch to the celebration, which lasted all weekend. The newlyweds later ventured to Italy for a belated honeymoon, spending a wistful retreat exploring the city of Rome and the Amalfi Coast. “I have to thank our families and friends for making our wedding such a fun and memorable time,” Elizabeth says. “I wouldn’t have changed a thing!”

Beach Blinds draperies & More Serving the Beaches & Beyond

• Wood, Polywood & Fauxwood Blinds • Roman & Natural Woven Wood Shades • Wood & Polywood Shutters • Custom Draperies & Top Treatments • Outdoor Draperies & Hardware • Motorized Treatments • Designer Wallcoverings

panaMa city Beach: 850.236.3582 destin: 850.543.4424 22200 PCB Pkwy, Suite A PAnAmA City BeACh, FL 32413

V IE Z INE .C OM | 105

SINFONIA GOES POPS Enjoy the orchestral sounds of Sinfonia Gulf Coast under the palm trees in the Alys Beach Amphitheatre

May 25 Alys Beach Amphitheatre 7:30 pm

Free & open to the public Bring blankets & low back chairs Piper’s to offer food and beverages

ALYS BEACH is a trademark of EBSCO Industries, Inc. © 2014

VA U G H A N & T I M

A TA L E O F NORTH A ND SOU TH New Yorker Tim Spanjer had no idea what he was in for when his brother’s friends, Chris and Aaron Fleming, asked a favor of him on behalf of Chris’s niece Vaughan Pursell, a true Southern belle. BY JOR DA N STAGG S PHOTOGR A PH Y BY F R A N K C A R N AGGIO

V IE Z INE .C OM | 109

“ S H E WA S E V E RY T H I NG I COU L D NOT F I N D I N A L L M Y S E A RC H I NG A N D I WA N T E D MOR E .” New Yorker Tim Spanjer had no idea what he was in for when his brother’s friends, Chris and Aaron Fleming, asked a favor of him on behalf of Chris’s niece Vaughan Pursell, a true Southern belle. “I wasn’t that crazy about showing a bunch of college girls around the city, but since Chris was such a good friend, I thought, ‘Why not?’” Tim recalls. “After all, I had nothing else going on.” He had never met Vaughan even though she was friends with Tim’s brother Stephen. She was visiting the Big Apple with some friends from Auburn University for their studies in fashion school. Tim showed up at the Hampton Inn on the corner of Fifty-First and Eighth to meet Vaughan and her

friends and give them a tour. “But everyone didn’t come out,” Tim says. “Just her. The girl I never met, but only briefly was introduced to, having watched her as a four-year-old bumbling around in her family’s home movies many months before. She walked out onto the sidewalk and approached the car. She was beautiful, and all of a sudden, the idea of spending time in the city with her and her friends didn’t seem so bad.” Vaughan and Tim hit it off immediately, and after the “Tour de NYC” that night, the pair met again for coffee the next day. “I felt after that coffee date that this was the girl I was looking for; she was everything I could not find in all my searching and I wanted more.” The pair stayed in touch, but they endured some hardships shortly after, when Tim discovered Vaughan had already been seeing someone before she came to New York. “I don’t like love stories with crummy endings and here I was, the guy who doesn’t get the girl and would go on to live unhappily ever after,” Tim laments as he recalls finding out. V IE Z INE .C OM | 111

But theirs was a love not so easily deterred. Months passed without communication until finally Vaughan sent Tim an e-mail that simply asked, “Can we talk?” “We began anew from that point, and soon I was traveling back and forth to Alabama and she was flying up as often as she could,” he explains. “The time went by quickly, and ten months later we were engaged.” Vaughan and Tim tied the knot five months later on October 13, 2007, at historic Hamilton Place at Pursell Farms, Vaughan’s family’s estate. A Yankee and a Southern belle tied the knot on the steps of her grandparents’ home, just fifty feet from where Tim asked David for his daughter’s hand. The outdoor ceremony and reception with the rolling foothills of the Appalachians as a backdrop made for the perfect grand Southern wedding.

T I M E X PL A I N S H I S LOV E S TORY A S ON E F U L L OF S U R PR I S E , JOY, A ND H A R DSHIP BU T SAYS H E WOU L DN ’ T H AV E HAD IT ANY OT H E R WAY. “I had always assumed I would be married in a church, but getting married outside on the steps of Hamilton was spectacular. The day was absolutely gorgeous,” Tim reminisces as he explains his favorite wedding moment. “It was perfectly still at about four thirty in the afternoon. Right as David was walking Vaughan to the steps of the house, a limb in the woods just to the left of the house (and I mean a large limb) cracked and came crashing down. I don’t know if I believe in signs, but for some reason, given all we had gone through in our relationship leading up that point, I felt like that limb breaking off was sign of completion—that it was done, that it was sealed. The old was to be done away with, and a whole new future was about to unfold. I felt like that instant had compelling significance in it.”

S SIRENS at the beach lingerie . lounge . sleep CO MING SO O N TO MA R KET SHO P S AT SA NDESTI N STO R E . S IR EN S ATTH E B E ACH . COM 8 5 0 . 213 . 0 0 21

1414 County HWY 283 South, Suite A Grayton Beach, Florida, 32459

Tim explains his love story as one full of surprise, joy, and hardship but says he wouldn’t have had it any other way. “It taught me the value of patience and the power of believing in something—that being in love is great and that it does conquer! I didn’t see it at the time, but just when I thought God was pulling more carpet out from under my feet, he was actually teaching me something. He often puts us through struggles so that we can learn to trust Him more. And in trusting Him, we learn that in the end He wants what is best for us, even if we don’t understand why at the moment.”

V IE Z INE .C OM | 113




THEATRE CAMP Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays June 17–August 8 1:30–2:30 PM / 2:30–3:30 PM $20/session

MAGIC AT THE REP WITH JEANETTE ANDREWS June 16–August 2 Mondays & Wednesdays @ 1:00 PM Saturdays @ 12:00 PM Tickets $10/child $20/adult

SEASIDE SHORTS June 17–July 31 @ 7:30 PM Tickets $25

LOW COUNTRY COMEDY TOUR July 5 & 6 Family: 3:00 PM, Adults: 9:30 PM Tickets $7/child $10/adult





ROSEMARY BE ACH RESIDENCE 46 SPANISH TOWN LANE – $2,300,000 • 3 Bedroom, plus loft bunk room, 4.5 bath • Cozy elegant kitchen • Large open living room • Sleeping porch

• South Side of 30A • Close to Award Winning Town Center • A few short steps to the Gulf of Mexico

MLS #611155

Beach Group Properties, LLC 2563 S Scenic Hwy 395 Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 • 850.231.9007

Jim Ryan 850.259.8956

Colin Cowie

The Man behind the


“THERE ARE NO RULES WHEN IT COMES TO WEDDINGS, EXCEPT ONE: ST YLE SHOULD PREVAIL,” SAYS THE CHIC COLIN COWIE, WHO IS CELEBRATED AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S FOREMOST AUTHORITIES ON WEDDING FASHION AND ETIQUETTE AND HAS MORE THAN TWENTYFIVE YEARS OF EXPERIENCE PLANNING SPECTACULAR WEDDINGS AND EVENTS ACROSS THE GLOBE. Zambia-born Cowie says one of his greatest moments occurred early in his career while he was designing Hugh Hefner’s 1989 wedding to Playmate Kimberley Conrad. “I had only been in the United States for eighteen months, and this was a deep-end lesson in American celebrity. I had no idea how famous the world’s most famous bachelor really was! To this day it was probably one of the best-produced events.” Although marital bliss for Hefner and Conrad wasn’t destined to last at the Playboy Mansion, Cowie’s destiny as the world’s most sought-after, over-the-top wedding planner was definitely in the stars—and on the lips of Hollywood’s stars. Among Cowie’s clientele are some of the most celebrated names in the entertainment industry: John Travolta, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise, Jennifer Lopez, Lisa Kudrow, Bruce Willis, Kenny G, and Demi Moore,

just to name a few. With his theatrical mannerisms and South African accent dripping with ample “dah-lings,” this larger-than-life bride whisperer was widely rumored to be the inspiration behind Franck, the flamboyant wedding planner played by Martin Short in the 1991 blockbuster Father of the Bride. Possessing incredible panache and an “If you can dream it, somebody can build it” attitude, Cowie developed a reputation early on for being able to pull off the impossible. “In all avenues of life, I always believed in going the extra mile,” he says. He definitely “walks the talk” and never fails to pull a rabbit out of his très chic chapeau. So, what’s his secret for creating one wow wedding after another? Perhaps Cowie explains it best with these words of wisdom: “Weddings are pure living, breathing theater. The magic comes from appealing to all of the senses.” In other words, it’s all in the details—the V IE Z INE .C OM | 117


118 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

drama of the setting unfolds with a host of flickering candles, the fragrance of the flowers, the sound of the perfect mood music, the taste of delicious foods no matter how simple or exotic, and a plethora of textures, from table linens and centerpieces to a dramatic petal-sprinkled aisle. It’s no wonder Cowie was the magic maker behind Oprah’s epic star-studded after-party commemorating the grand finale of The Oprah Winfrey Show’s twenty-five-year run. But Cowie and Oprah’s relationship started years before. In fact, his frequent appearances on Oprah’s show before a global audience undoubtedly played a significant role in Cowie’s fast track to worldwide popularity and success. Oprah’s renowned Midas-touch endorsements helped catapult all eight of his books on weddings and style to best-seller status; his book Weddings is now in its fifth printing. While Oprah may have initially paved the way, other television networks and talk shows such as CNN, Good Morning America, E! News, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Access Hollywood, and Extra! soon jumped on the Colin Cowie bandwagon, and he continues to make regular appearances on The Today Show and HSN. The worldly-wise connoisseur and maven of etiquette isn’t afraid to bend the rules on what is considered proper—or not—in the name of inspiration. Quite matter-of-factly, he states, “Forget about what society or tradition dictates about weddings.” Cowie emphasizes that your wedding is the day to let your personality shine and makes the suggestion, “Design a wedding that is completely and utterly yours.” The editors of many publications concur with his sage advice, as Cowie continues to be a frequent contributor to Brides magazine, InStyle, O, The Oprah Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Woman’s Day, Bridal Guide, People, Bon Appétit, LA Times Magazine, Town & Country, and many of the country’s top newspapers. Perhaps surprising to many is that this dream maker to the stars, whose events typically cost seven figures, doesn’t believe you have to spend a fortune to achieve a dream wedding or event. Cowie has been quoted as saying, “Style is not related to money. I’ve spent a million dollars in an afternoon, but I’ve been just as happy spending a fraction of that.” The celebrated designer recently collaborated with Hard Rock Hotels to launch an exclusive weddings collection for its all-inclusive resort properties located in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. “My exclusive weddings collection makes it easy to throw a fabulous destination wedding without having to worry about the details,” says Cowie about his stress-free, chic collection that includes a beach setup with a gazebo and altar, a floral arrangement, and seating for thirty guests for $1,500. Hard Rock Hotel guests who stay a minimum of three nights may even use their $1,800 resort credit to pay for their wedding. Which of the nine diverse designs tops Cowie’s list? “It’s hard to choose a favorite,” he says. “Each of them speaks differently to what I love about a sun-soaked destination wedding. If I had to pick one, it would be the Metallic Dunes Collection— golden tones line the aisle leading to a seashell-draped gazebo, which allows for a flawless beach ceremony.” For those who may be planning a wedding and are in need of a little of Colin Cowie’s magical pixie dust, you’re in luck. Check out Cowie’s new free wedding planning website, Brides everywhere, regardless of their budgets, can

Sip The fineST margariTa Experience the modern side of Mexican cuisine Taste guacamole made fresh at your table Savor fresh seafood and steaks with authentic sauces

grand boulevard

Sandestin 850.654.5649 CelebraTe CinCo de mayo! 5.3.14

120 | M AY/J U NE 2 014


tap into the wedding planner extraordinaire’s vast wealth of experience, his inspiring ideas, and a practical how-to guide. Cowie’s awesome time-saving site is a one-stop destination for endless resources on all things wedding related. Budget-conscious do-it-yourselfers can glean fabulous cost-saving ideas from his “Ask Colin” section, such as how to create centerpieces with fruits and vegetables in varying shades of the same color palette; Cowie suggests combining deep purple eggplants, purple plums, and blood oranges, or grouping green pears, green apples, limes, and basil sprigs. He also loves “shabby chic” receptions, which work well with beach and rustic garden-themed weddings. Cowie recommends shopping at flea markets for mix-and-match colored glassware, plates, and floral-print linens and creating centerpieces from cake plates of varying heights topped with candles and bud vases for a low-cost, dramatic decor scheme. “When it comes to describing what you want for your wedding, a picture is worth a thousand words,” says Cowie. One of the best features of his website is “MyCollection,” which allows you to collect and store all the examples, photos, and inspirational ideas pertaining to your wedding and honeymoon in one convenient location. Best of all, you also can share some or all of your various category collections with specific people, such as your bridesmaids, wedding planner, or caterer. No matter how you decide to create your own wedding magic, keep Cowie’s tried-and-true words of wisdom in mind: “It’s a ripple effect—when the bride is delighted, so are the guests.”

Visit to plan your rock-star event today, or view Cowie’s array of options for Hard Rock Hotel weddings at



Located Across from Destin Commons Next to Publix

Featuring Bella Note linens, Aiden Gray, Regina Andrews, Fourseasons Slip-covered sofas and chairs, and more‌


3906 Hwy 98 w. Santa RoSa BeacH, FL 32459


towar d

h e r

dr e a m


Story and photography by Martha J. LaGuardia-Kotite Sitting in a split with pointed toes, Ella Brummett, 16, leaned forward to rest her forearms on the dance floor, listening to “All of Me” by John Legend on her berry-colored Beats headphones. Her long, brunette hair, pulled back into a tight, round bun, was adorned with a tiny pink and white bow. Removing her zippered sweatshirt, she stepped onto the floor to practice a duet. The extension of her leg, lifting skyward 180 degrees in an arabesque, was effortless. From her fingertips to her toes, the fivefoot-eight dancer curved her body symmetrically with her partner’s.

“I’ve been training for this since fourth grade,” Brummett said. A library book’s pictures and stories of a Canadian ballet school inspired her. “I asked my mom if I could move to Canada,” she said. “I told my mom she could buy me a phone and I would call her between every class. She was not having any of that.” Her mother arranged an audition at the Northwest Florida Ballet Académie instead. Brummett enrolled. She soon bonded with Shealy and a dozen other dancers. Now a sophomore in the school’s PreProfessional Program, she rises at five o’clock most

“She has natural, beautiful lines,” said Katia Garza, her teacher since sixth grade at the Northwest Florida Ballet Académie in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Brummett performed with her partner, Courtney Shealy, 15, for an international audition in April during the Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest student ballet competition. One of over five thousand dancers who competed in semi-final rounds worldwide, Brummett made the cut to join three hundred of the most promising in New York City. Brummett, Shealy, and soloist Ellie Borick, 13, vied for one of sixty spots in the final round at Lincoln Center. The finalists, among the world’s best young dancers, were offered awards and scholarships with leading dance academies. “My dream is to dance with the Boston Ballet,” Brummett said. Tireless and unwavering in her commitment to ballet, Brummett hoped her performance would lead to an invitation to dance professionally. The last four summers, she participated in intensive training programs. This summer, for the second time, she will return to Boston Ballet School.


V IE Z INE .C OM | 125

“I would do anything for ballet.”


weekday mornings for the forty-five-minute commute from her home in Navarre Beach. She takes morning academic courses online with her peers. Her afternoons are booked with technique classes and performance rehearsals.

push-ups, and stretches while on the phone with another dancer.

On Saturdays, she returns to the studio to practice, keeping the evenings open for sleepovers, watching Netflix movies with her girlfriends, or taking a flashlight to hunt for sand crabs on the beach. Sundays are reserved for church and cardio: crunches,

Brummett and Shealy came up with the idea of dancing a duet. Set to “Lynn’s Theme” by Ólafur Arnalds, the contemporary classical piece was choreographed by Katia Garza. “In my perception of the dance, we carry each other through life,” Shealy said. “If I fall,

126 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Does she have a boyfriend? “Ballet is my boyfriend,” she said.

she picks me up. If she falls, I pick her up. Throughout the dance, you see us carry the other through—like the need to have somebody with you through life.” Offstage, helping Brummett pursue her lifelong dream are her parents, her four older brothers (who each bring a bouquet to her performances), her friends, and her teachers. Her self-discipline and principled approach—ignoring temptations of the “outside” world—keeps her on point. She turns down invitations to parties or events that conflict with rehearsals.

Competing in New York advances Brummett’s career, said Garza, who was the principal dancer for the Orlando Ballet for thirteen years. Brummett’s parents asked Garza if the competition was worth the additional costs: Russian pointe shoes at $85 per pair that last one to three weeks; leotards between 35 and 85 dollars each; rehearsal and lesson fees; and Manhattan housing, food, and transportation expenses. “I think everything is worth it when the student has the capability,” Garza said. “They still don’t know how much talent they have.” She believes Brummett, Shealy, and Borick have great potential to dance professionally. “The opportunity brings you a lot of things. It makes you grow as a dancer and helps you see where you stand in the level of dancing. It gives you inspiration. When you expose yourself to these competitions, you are saying, ‘I want to be a ballet dancer.’” During their ten-day experience in New York City, the ballerinas competed on the famed Lincoln Center stage, where the New York City Ballet also performs. “Every day, we were dancing or watching ballet,” said Brummett. “It was amazing. We had a rigorous schedule, and it was so much fun to have that experience.” While none of the three girls were advanced to become one of the sixty finalists, Brummett said, “Everybody did their absolute best. We came offstage, and Courtney and I had the biggest smiles. That was the best we had ever performed our piece. For us, it was just like winning.” Brummett has a backup plan if her dream falters. Coming in at a distant second, she would consider being a dolphin trainer in Hawaii. “I would do anything for ballet,” she said.




“I call architecture frozen music...”

DESIGN Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


By Marta Rose Thorpe • Photography by Kevin K Cannon Photographics Jimy says it was love at first sight. He spotted me at the Panama City Beach Seafood and Music Festival in 2012, and then didn’t see me again until the Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas party at the Breakers two months later. Skip Alford, director of membership development at the chamber, introduced me to this handsome, friendly chamber member with the huge smile and warm hug.

In August, Jimy took me to Buenos Aires in Argentina—the neighboring country of his own native one, Bolivia—a destination on both of our bucket lists. He proposed to me the first night of our trip, which, of course, made the whole magical adventure even sweeter. We weren’t in any big race to the altar at first and thought we’d be leisurely and plan to tie the knot “in a year or two … probably.”

A couple of weeks later, we arranged to meet with our kids at Pier Park for New Year’s Eve. We watched our (very energetic) kids play in the bouncy house and slides and over casual conversation, I was struck by how much I liked this guy. Jimy’s sons, Mako and Cruz, are 12 and 8; my son, Leo, is also 8, and it was fun to see them all having so much fun together. We followed up that outing with trail hiking, pizza dinners, trips to Frank Brown Park and, later, a day jaunt out to Cape San Blas. Jimy and I were both active with the chamber, and numerous committee meetings, lunches, and gym workouts transpired. By Valentine’s Day, I knew this guy was special. That evening, after dinner at Carrabba’s, he took me to the Saltwater Grill for a nightcap and I surprised him by singing “The Look of Love” at the piano with Michael Rorah. That was it. We enjoyed an enchanted first kiss, and from that night on we’ve been pretty inseparable.

V IE Z INE .C OM | 131


132 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

In late November, we strolled through Eden Gardens State Park in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, with Leo, the three of us just enjoying the gorgeous nature, and from afar we spotted a couple, with their young son, getting married in the Rose Garden. We were so overcome with the beauty of it that we decided that day to get married on Valentine’s Day 2014. We thought the number of the date was cool: 2/14/14, but more important, since we both love romance and the Roaring Twenties era, we decided to weave those elements into our wedding theme. My sister Liz offered her home to us and she was my inspiration, my motivation, my wedding co-planner and decision-maker. Our friend Sonny lent us his 1929 Model A Ford (red, no less) to arrive in, and in mid-December we arranged a gorgeous ’20s-era engagement shoot at Eden Gardens with our photographer, Kevin Cannon. The Reverend Billy Fox married us, and Jimy and I recited a short but poignant vow together. Liz and Mike’s Finisterre home had been transformed by Kirby Holt into a Roaring Twenties Gatsby mansion with beads dripping from chandeliers, huge red roses and rose petals strewn all over, and an awesome Twenties-style jazz quartet, the Blue Ribbon Healers. With roses everywhere and candlelight, it was truly a love fest! I loved both of the toasts during the evening: first a beautiful, sweet ode to love and loving God from my sister Liz, and later a fun and spirited toast from Skip. I’m a sucker for the classics, and so I serenaded Jimy with “The Man I Love,” a 1920s standard by George Gershwin, during our wedding reception. This August, Jimy and I will take our honeymoon—a cruise to Mexico, Belize, and the Cayman Islands. My wedding was one of the most fun, special, and memorable nights of my life. So often, brides are nervous and stressed, and the whole event is so surreal that they don’t remember much about the festivities—they just try to make sure they get a lot of photos. But not this one! I absorbed everything. Jimy and I were—and are—very touched that our families and so many good friends came to share our special day with us.


R e F R e S H , R e n e W, R e S t y L e . w w w.LovelaceInter | 850.837.5563 12870 US Highway 98 West | Miramar Beach, FL (between Destin and Sandestin) Become a Fan on FACEbOOk!

By Jordan Staggs

For all the importance and attention placed on the small details of a wedding, there is still one big element that most brides agree is key—the dress, of course! With more emphasis being placed on throwing unique, personalized celebrations for nuptials and the events surrounding them, an entire wedding industry has risen to the occasion to help make “Big Days” everywhere more magical.

exquisitely beautiful walking down the aisle. The array of high-fashion, couture, and custom gowns is endless, assuring any bride-to-be that she can find the gown that matches her personality and wedding theme perfectly.

A swarm of the world’s top fashion designers now strives to create wedding gowns that not only wow a crowd on the runway, but also make brides feel

In the spirit of saying “Yes!” to the dress, VIE has chosen a few favorite designers to provide inspiration for brides everywhere.


Jenny Packham Since her first bridal collection launched in 1988, Jenny Packham has grown to world renown with her exquisite bridal wear and evening gowns. This UK powerhouse’s distinctive style is contemporary, but she continually draws inspiration from vintage and classical beauty. Her 2015 bridal collection gives a nod to photographs taken by Madame Yevonde of 1930s British society ladies dressed as women of mythology: Helen of Troy, Venus, and Persephone, to name a few. Packham’s soft color palette and flowing fabrics lend a dreamlike, ethereal romance to the collection. JENNYPACKHAM.COM V IE Z INE .C OM | 137


Monique Lhuillier Lhuillier’s Spring 2015 collection calls upon the most glamorous details, such as clouds of tulle, silk satin organza, and her signature Chantilly lace infused with embroidery and intricate beading. Now one of the world’s most revered bridal designers, she made her start in 1996 and has been sharing her lifelong passion for creating beautiful things ever since. Her bridal collections continue to transcend style and grace, enticing brides in search of sophisticated, stunning beauty on their wedding days. MONIQUELHUILLIER.COM

138 | M AY/J U NE 2 014


Reem Acra A few words to describe Reem Acra’s impeccable bridal designs: luxury, glamour, royalty. To create a gown that will satisfy a woman’s desire to feel confident and beautiful on her wedding day, Acra uses her innate talent and sense of style combined with the finest materials, the richest textures, and modern yet classic silhouettes. Sleek satin and lace in fitted styles bring her Spring 2015 collection a sexy, modern edge while retaining an “Old Hollywood” glamour that could transform any walk down the aisle into a red carpet affair. REEMACRA.COM V IE Z INE .C OM | 139

850-468-0006 If you are visiting 30A, we want to help you create family memories that last a lifetime. Find us online or call us and find out how we can make your next vacation the best one ever. /30ACC



Christian Siriano While relative fashion newcomer Christian Siriano has not yet branched into the bridal realm, this student of such masters as Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen certainly knows how to create modern, edgy pieces with an air of old-school class. His Spring/Summer 2014 Ready-to-Wear collection features a pair of breathtaking floor-length gowns adorned with fun, feathered accents and shimmer that are perfect for the bride seeking a fresh take on the white dress. CHRISTIANSIRIANO.COM

140 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Clothing Swimwear Cover-Ups Accessories Jewelry

6 WaterColor Blvd. S. #101B, WaterColor, FL 850.231.1751 |

A Culinary Masterpiece for the Senses Florida Trend Magazine’s Golden Spoon Award Winner Four Years in a Row Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence for Six Years Running (2008-2013) Honored on Urbanspoon’s list of “America’s Top 250 High-End Restaurants”

Steak | Seafood | Sushi Pizza | Dessert | Cocktails Private Rooms and Full-Service Catering Available.

Firefly Restaurant & Lounge at the Shoppes of Edgewater Panama City Beach, Florida

850.249.3359 •

Spend the Day Shopping for Your Home in over 10,000 sq. ft. of Showroom

C E L E B R AT I N G 2 9 Y E A R S

Florida Linen L UXURIOUS BEDROOM, BATHROOM, KITCHEN SHOW RO O M We offer interior design, custom monogram, and embroidery services featuring linens by Wilkinson, C&F Quilts, Sferra, Davenport, Eastern Accents, Sweet Dreams, and more!


Comforters, quilts, 1,600 bedspreads, duvet covers, shams, sheets, pillowcases, dust ruffles, blankets/throws, decorative pillows


Bath ensembles, towels, bath rugs, kids bath, shower curtains, rods and accessories


Placemats, napkin rings, coasters and accessories

O P E N Y E A R RO UN D • 850.230.4261

12011 Panama City Beach Parkway, Panama City Beach, FL 32407

Always and Forever in Mexico Beach By Lisa Burwell • Photography by Romona Robbins

We always seem to have the best clients (and we know we are really lucky!) with exciting and creative work to do at The Idea Boutique, a full-service marketing and advertising firm and the publisher of Celebrating twenty years in business this year, The Idea Boutique has taken on some of its biggest and most challenging projects yet.


A romantic storyline, fantastic models, and white-sand beaches serving as backdrop—we couldn’t be more pleased wit h how the day unfolded. We recently finished staging, filming, and photographing a wedding for the Mexico Beach Community Development Council that will be aired on television and online as a commercial and music video showcasing the beauty of Mexico Beach as a wedding and vow renewal destination. It was one of our largest video productions to date, with a great deal of planning and organization

involved—the shoot was rained out several times before we finally got a sunny beach day in April, but it was well worth the wait! With a romantic storyline, fantastic models, and white-sand beaches serving as a backdrop for our video producer, Ben Rosenau, photographer Romona Robbins, and their teams to capture it all, we couldn’t

be more pleased with how the day unfolded, and we are excited to share the video online at MexicoBeach. com and on television throughout the United States and Canada. Locals Lauren and Bo Spring—our “supposed” newlyweds, who have actually been married for years—are busy penning and recording an original song to accompany the video, telling a love story born on the Unforgettable Coast. V IE Z INE .C OM | 145

146 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

To watch the Mexico Beach wedding video, visit


Special Thanks: Mexico Beach Community Development Council Romona Robbins Photography Panache Tent + Event The Fuss Boutique Brooke Miller – hairstylist Yvette Nation – makeup artist Tim Dutrow and Derek Makekau – videographers Shauna Olson – assistant photographer Above the Sand – beach house rental The Driftwood Inn – dove release

Consistently Delicious Since 1995


Bride and groom: Lauren and Bo Spring Flower girl: Farrah Spring Ring bearer: Fin Spring Father of the bride: Craig Williams Bridesmaids: Brooke Miller, Tracey Thomas, and Jordan Staggs Groomsmen: Camilo Giraldo, Tyler Goodson, and Troy Ruprecht Vow renewal couple: Cookie Brown and Larry “Ike” Eisenhower Officiate (wedding): Gerald Burwell Officiate (vow renewal): Jack Mullen 3899 East Scenic Hwy. 30A, Seagrove Beach · 850.231.2166 Online Reservations. All Major Credit Cards. Open Daily At 5.

Geoff Chick & Associates Custom Residential Architecture & Design

Durham Residence, WaterColor – Phase III

Construction by Buster Woodruff • Photos by Jack Gardner 850.622.0210 790 No r th Hi g h w ay 3 9 3 , Su it e 2 E , Sa n t a Ro s a B e a c h , F L 3 2 4 5 9


One of the first questions people ask when they visit our area is “How can we be sure we’re getting fresh seafood?” That’s an excellent question. There is a good chance that the seafood you will be offered traveled farther than you did. In the state of Florida, even though we are surrounded by water, more than 90% of the seafood sold this year will be imported from other countries. Throughout the United States, the huge majority of seafood is imported. Most of it is mislabeled. Frozen seafood is sold as “fresh” and imported seafood is sold as “local.” According to Oceana, 93% of fish sold as red snapper is actually some other species. 57% of tuna sold at sushi bars throughout the country is not tuna. Most of the tilapia served in this country comes from Viet Nam and Thailand and much of it is farmed in waters with sewage run-off and the source of feed is pig feces.

Harbor Docks has been selling fish through its wholesale market since 1981. We sell to markets across the United States and Canada. We also sell to select restaurants along the Gulf Coast. Harbor Docks contracts with over 100 commercial boats to insure that we have an adequate supply of fresh fish. We invite you to dine at our restaurants – Harbor Docks, in the heart of Destin, and Camille’s, overlooking the Gulf in Crystal Beach. But we’d also encourage you to try any of the wonderful, independent, local restaurants in our area that are committed to serving Florida seafood. We know who they are, because we sell them their fish.

check our website to find out which restaurants sell certified Gulf-to-Table fish from harbor Docks Seafood market. DES TIN , FL | 850. 837. 2506 | h a r b o r D o c k S .co m S E A F O O D & C O C K TA I L S

Snapper and Tuna stats: Imported seafood stat: Tilapia/pig feces:



By Kim Duke-Layden Photography Courtesy of Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya


he Cancún–Tulum Corridor on Mexico’s eastern Yucatán Peninsula was long a remote jungle outpost for adventure-seeking day-trippers visiting Cancún. These days, this pristine

hundred-mile swath of silky white sand and crystalline turquoise surf with the world’s second-longest barrier reef has blossomed into the Riviera Maya, an exotic eco-cultural paradise flourishing with lavish resorts—and the latest one is sure to rock your socks off! There are a few things that I’ll willingly get up for at 3:00 a.m.: flying is one of them—especially when my passport is required. In early March, while much of the country was digging out from under yet another winter storm and the “Sunshine State” was still getting hammered with cold, rainy weather, I ventured south of the border to Mexico’s balmy Yucatán Peninsula to check out one of the Riviera Maya’s hottest new all-inclusive resorts. In addition to amping up the opulence, the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya features exclusive wedding collections by celebrity designer Colin Cowie that are nothing short of glam. After a bumpy flight with several unnerving white-knuckle dips, we landed safely at Cancún’s sprawling state-of-the-art airport, which was a far cry from the shabby, hole-in-the wall pit stop where I received my first passport stamp twenty-five years ago. Outside, the air felt warm and the downpour that was drowning much of the southeastern United States had luckily already moved through. Soon, I was settled in a comfy airport shuttle and headed down a vaguely familiar stretch of Highway 307, which has doubled in width since I last rode along it in a rickety tour bus drinking ten-cent cervezas. Nowadays, the four-lane highway connects the small beach communities of Puerto Morelos, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen. Lining the route are fortress-like gates leading to posh playa (beach) resorts and a plethora of billboards touting the area’s countless attractions: floating down subterranean rivers, diving in caves, zip-lining through lush wildlife-rich jungles, and one I recognized from eons ago: snorkeling at Xel-Ha (Shell-ha), the world’s largest natural aquarium. Near the outskirts of Tulum, we turned off at a grandiose arched entrance that read, “Bienvenido a Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.” I lived it up here like a rock star for the next three nights! V IE Z INE .C OM | 151

The Hard Rock Hotel (HRH) Riviera Maya recently took center stage after a nine-month and nearly fiftymillion-dollar extreme makeover, and it is the latest addition to Hard Rock Hotel’s collection of lavish, all-inclusive resorts with cool, rock ’n’ roll vibes. The newly branded group launched in 2011 after Hard Rock International formed licensing agreements with RCD Resorts, which, in turn, transformed half of its Palace Resorts into tricked-out rock star retreats. There are three other HRH all-inclusive resorts: Vallarta and Cancun in Mexico; and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Colorful hibiscus and bougainvillea, coconut palms, aloe, and other tropical botanicals blanket the HRH Riviera Maya’s grounds, and this reminded me of Costa Rica—as did the iguanas, the monkeys, and a curious-looking agouti that snooped about. This lush outdoor paradise is a perfect setting for enjoying the resort’s numerous outdoor activities, which include snorkeling, kayaking, swimming, playing tennis, bicycling, and climbing the rock wall. I checked in at the resort’s family-friendly “Hacienda” side, which has a Mexican flair with cream-colored arches and walls painted in earthy hues. The enormous lobby has a two-story enclosed colonnaded courtyard with a trickling fountain, several planters, and a full-size tree with a swing. Boutiques, restaurants, and bars surround the lobby. My spacious accommodations were tucked within a complex of red-and-white stucco buildings that contain nearly seven hundred guest rooms and suites. Hacienda’s brand-spanking-new rooms have inviting warm colors, hardwood floors, and, like all the resort’s accommodations, sumptuous furnishings: deluxe beds, beautifully appointed bathrooms, flat-screen TVs with killer sound systems, and balconies or terraces with a hammock. They also feature these squeal-worthy all-inclusive amenities: a minibar (stocked daily) with juice, soda, and beer; full-size dispensers of rum, tequila, whisky, and vodka; no-holds-barred twenty-four-hour room service; Wi-Fi; and free calls to the United States and Canada. I didn’t think my views overlooking Hacienda’s pools with swim-up bars and seaside lagoons could get any better, until I discovered I had a private upstairs sky terrace! It was large enough for an entourage of twenty and included a half bath and my own hydro spa tub under the stars. My inner rock star had officially awakened. 152 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

1. 2.






Hard Rock is renowned for its music and memorabilia, and the HRH Riviera Maya represents both exceptionally well. Before dinner on my first night, I joined a group of fellow journalists on an entertaining memorabilia tour led by the resort’s vibe manager, Jose Vargas. The avid guitarist, who credits legendary band Santana as his inspiration, is as passionate about music as I am about travel—and that’s saying a lot! Vargas told us that he personally researches every single item of memorabilia before placing it on display at the resort. This was evident from his extensive knowledge of each piece. My favorites were a pair of checkerboard-patterned platform boots worn by Paul Stanley of KISS and Cher’s iconic two-piece bell bottom outfit designed by Bob Mackie. Besides giving daily tours, Vargas has his pulse on the resort’s awesome common-area music, which he keeps fresh by changing the playlists daily.

After an incredible night’s sleep, I awoke to picture-perfect skies that were ideal for an excursion to Tulum’s famed Mayan ruins. Our guide was Alejandro Gamboa, an expert on Mayan culture whose grandparents had been Mayan shamans (healers). We toured Tulum’s temples, which were crawling with blackand-white iguanas that resembled sun-bleached rocks, and Gamboa enlightened us about the ancient Mayan beliefs and his ancestors’ remarkable accomplishments in math and astronomy. Our astute guide also pointed out fascinating similarities between the Mayan religion and the religions of other ancient civilizations, such as Egypt, Greece, China, India, and Israel. Gamboa said that his personal view on religion is best reflected in a paraphrase from political philosopher Thomas Paine: “I’m a citizen of the world and my religion is to be good and patient.” We then climbed up to the highest temple, perched atop rocky cliffs that plunge down to crescent-shaped beaches with azure waters. Before leaving, we explored Tulum’s touristy maze of colorful cantinas and stalls chock-full of vibrant embroidery and pottery, silver jewelry, and bottles of Mexican vanilla and habanero sauces.

For dinner, we walked over to Heaven, the adults-only section of the resort, secluded on the opposite side of the grounds and exuding a rockerchic vibe. Although Hacienda has similar architectural features, Heaven’s vibrant blue-and-white exteriors have a more Mediterranean aesthetic. Heaven’s accommoPHOTO BY KIM DUKE-LAYDEN dations—nearly six hundred Tulum is one of the many rooms—feature posh interiTULUM’S HIGHEST MAYAN TEMPLE PERCHES ATOP A ROCKY PRECIPICE THAT DROPS OFF INTO STUNNING TURQUOISE COVES. off-site excursions that can be ors in their signature “heavpaid for with the complimenenly” hues with sleek metallic tary $1,800 in resort credits and black accents. It is also that guests at the HRH home to the resort’s fine dinRiviera Maya receive with a ing scene: French gastronomy minimum three-night stay at Le Petit Cochon, Italian (note: a 20 percent service cuisine at Ciao, Spanish fee is applied). Other options specialties and tapas at Cava include golf at Robert Von Roja, and steaks at Toro. Hegge’s signature course; Our group of writers ate at fishing and scuba diving; Toro, which means “bull” in admission to Xel-Ha, Xcaret, Spanish. By day, Toro’s casual, and Xplor ecoparks; and open-air palapa serves breakshopping in Playa del Carmen. Resort credits can also be used for upgraded on-site fast and lunch buffets with Spanish and American fare. Then, it dials back at night, experiences, such as wine and tequila tastings, chef-hosted dinners, salon and spa offering à la carte Continental selections. treatments, and even an exquisite wedding designed by one of the world’s foremost event planners, Colin Cowie. Toro, like all nine of the resort’s restaurants and its nine bars and lounges, is all-inclusive, including taxes and gratuities. For the next several hours, we sipped and sampled Television personality, bestselling author, and interior designer Colin Cowie, nearly half of Toro’s tasty menu. We tried to pass on dessert, but our gregarious waiter who is widely revered by his A-list clientele, including Oprah, J-Lo, Bruce insisted on preparing us a round of Mexican coffees. All eyes watched as he caramelized Springsteen, Nicole Kidman, and Jennifer Aniston, partnered with HRH’s raw sugar around the rim of each glass with the deftness of a glassblower. He then all-inclusive resorts to present a diverse beach wedding collection consisting of poured a fiery elixir of flambéed Kahlua-infused coffee into each and topped them nine ultra-chic designs. with fluffy cream. The delicious spectacle was definitely the highlight of the evening.


154 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

“My inspiration came from the opulence of the allinclusive destinations themselves,” says Cowie. “From the crystal clear waters to the vibrant cultures of the Caribbean and the Pacific, inspiration was everywhere I looked.” His designs vary from traditional elegance in whites and ivories to waves of soothing turquoise, green, and navy. Rocker-chic brides may prefer his shimmery metallic motif, glistening purples, or black and white with bold pops of red. For dazzling southof-the-border flair, El Sol rocks sunset-colored pinks, oranges, and purples. HRH Riviera Maya’s sales manager, Delia Ferrias, says, “I love Colin Cowie’s designs because he thinks outside the box and we want to offer our guests something different. When we combined Colin Cowie’s name with Hard Rock’s, the reaction in the wedding market was ‘Wow!’” Cowie echoed these sentiments: “I wanted to partner with a hotel that shares the same commitment to excellence and attention to detail as I do. The allinclusive Hard Rock Hotels were a natural fit for my exclusive wedding collection because we share the same vision for creating a spectacular wedding for the couple.”

ocean waves, and a floor-to-ceiling Buddha face that smiled serenely from across the room. Downstairs at Hacienda’s Sun Bar, the action was hotter than Zen’s knife-wielding chefs. The casting semifinals for The Voice were well under way, and rock-star wannabes belted their hearts out to wildly cheering crowds. Not ones to miss a great party, we eagerly joined in. By the time my last day rock and rolled around, I was living large and feeling spoiled rotten. Morning began with room service on my balcony followed by a great workout at Heaven’s Body Rock Fitness Center with my new posse. Then, it was time for major pampering at Heaven’s luxurious Rock Spa, which is the Caribbean’s largest, with seventy-five treatment rooms. Dressed in swimsuits and robes, we followed our spa butlers into the ultracool relaxation room, which had glowing curvy white chaises surrounded by deep purple walls and Roman columns. We started with a thirty-minute hydrotherapy treatment, which began with a broiling-dry sauna sweat that opened every pore followed by a sinus-clearing eucalyptus steam. Dripping in sweat, we then plunged into the bone-chilling current pool for a very brief rotation before soaking euphorically in a jetted hot tub. Massages were next,

Although the resort has only been operational for a few months, wedding bookings are off to a strong start and are a highly regarded affair. According to Ferrias, “We understand that weddings are very important and are unlike any other event. Not only are our employees committed to doing everything we can to make our guests’ dreams come true, but Mexico also has a very high standard of customer service, which its people take tremendous pride in providing. It’s part of the culture.” Colin Cowie’s wedding collections include a beach setup with a gazebo and an altar, a floral arrangement, and seating for thirty guests. Additional decorative elements and seating are available for extra fees. Catholic weddings can be held in the resort’s two seaside chapels, yet, in accordance with Mexico’s laws, non-Catholic ceremonies cannot be performed in churches. Zen is where we ate dinner on my second night. It is tucked away on Hacienda’s upper mezzanine and specializes in hibachi-style teppanyaki and Asianfusion cuisine. The interior was especially alluring: colorful dragon motifs on the stainless steel grill hoods, illuminated turquoise floors that resembled


V IE Z INE .C OM | 155


and mine ranked among the best I’ve ever received. Despite her petite appearance, my masseuse, Antonia, had powerful hands that worked wonders on my fatigued muscles. Afterward, I floated down to Toro’s seaside terrace for a delightful lunch and then reunited with my comrades around one of Heaven’s four spectacular pools and cabana bars for a blissful afternoon of sunning, bonding, and imbibing. As the afternoon progressed, so did the rounds of tequila shots, and before I knew it, an impromptu hot-tub party had begun on a nearby sky terrace. Living like a rock star has its demands, so without missing a beat, we quickly retreated to our rooms and freshened up. When we reconvened, we were ready to hard rock the night away, Riviera Maya–style. 156 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Frida bar and grill is located just off Hacienda’s lobby and exudes old-world Spanish charm; the decor features aged tequila barrels, tile floors, and burnt sienna walls with wrought iron and dark wood accents. Salsa played in the background as we munched on fresh ceviche and table-side guacamole in between lip-puckering sips of fresh mango margaritas with spicy jalapeño sugar instead of salt. Much too soon, we had to dash off to our next engagement, a beach barbecue under the stars. The evening could not have been more perfect for a concert on the beach. Less fashionably late rock stars were treated to an acoustic storytelling session with the Swon Brothers, who were season four finalists on The Voice. By tiki torchlight, we danced barefoot in the sand while top contenders of The Voice semifinals competed for a coveted ticket to Hollywood. After the winner was announced, we boogied over to a private after-party with the Swon Brothers that was held on the terrace steps behind the soon-to-open Club Heaven—a spot fondly referred to as the “Stairway to Heaven.” Although we didn’t get a chance to experience the resort’s premier nightclub firsthand, Club Heaven will be open in time for the


resort’s grand opening on May 3 and will undoubtedly host the epic after-party that will follow the headliner concert with Bon Jovi and the Kings of Suburbia. Among Club Heaven’s many highlights are the retro-looking Library Bar, where one can imagine 007 meeting a Bond girl for shaken, not stirred, martinis, and an ultramodern lounge with an indoor pool and columns that resemble shiny, outstretched Slinkys. The area outside the Stairway to Heaven has a South Beachmeets-Santorini feel, with cascading white cabanas that created a memorable stage for us to dance the night away on. I even got a chance to rub elbows with the guests of honor, and we bonded over mutual affection for his or her mentor and my cougar crush, Blake Shelton. I confess that before arriving at the HRH Riviera Maya, I was jaded about all-inclusive resorts. But I discovered a hip, opulent oasis that I cannot wait to share with my husband, John, for a romantic rock-star getaway.

Kim Duke-Layden is an international adventurer whose motto is “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my bucket list!” She lives at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida, with her husband, John, and in between adventures, she writes for VIE. You can drop her a line at

V IE Z INE .C OM | 157

2014 June 5–7 ·


ALYS BEACH is a trademark of EBSCO Industries, Inc. © 2014

Live simple • Love the earth • Conserve, Preserve & Coexist • Have kindness for animals Show gratitude to your body • Be yourself • Stand for good in the world

#standoutfromtheherd THEZOOGALLERY.COM Grayton Beach 850.231.0777 • Grand Boulevard at Sandestin 850.837.9233








Eighth Annual Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown Photography by Lisa and Gerald Burwell A great outpouring of support from Destin, South Walton, and the surrounding Florida communities turned out April 4 and 5, 2014, for the Eighth Annual Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown. The culinary-centric fund-raiser included a “Sip ’n’ Shop” at LeCiel Ballroom and a golf tournament at Burnt Pine Golf Club, both located within Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, plus the signature Throw-



down outdoor party and barbecue competition. This year’s events, along with sponsor donations and live auction, raised a whopping $809,000, all of which was donated to local charities and nonprofit organizations, including the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, Alaqua Animal Refuge, Camille’s Art for Autism, Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, the Ohana Institute, Food For Thought Outreach, Inc., and the Northwest Florida Ballet. The event, founded by Valerie and Mike “Chi Chi Miguel” Thompson of Sandestin, began as a celebration of food, wine, and friends and has evolved into a philanthropic endeavor that seems to grow



larger each year, attracting the attention of locals and celebrities who have rallied to their cause. Thank you to the Thompsons and all the sponsors and benefactors for lending a hand to these outstanding Northwest Florida charities.

Victoria and Skip Moore


Krissi Finch, Tina Corr, and CCMT cofounder Valerie Thompson


Bryan Corr and John Finch


Walter and Carol Dover


Gayle Schoettle and George Barnes


Emeril and Alden Lagasse with their son, EJ


160 | M AY/J U NE 2 014









Photo by Kay Phelan


Richard McNeese, Seth Cripe, Demetria McNeese, and Mac Watson


Phil Nunnery and Jonathan Cain of classic rock band Journey


CCMT cofounders Valerie and Mike Thompson with Chef Emeril Lagasse


Steve and Lynn Dugas


Laura and Chan Cox with Barbara and Doug Knowles V IE Z INE .C OM | 161




A M U S I C A L P OW E R H O U S E V I S I T S T H E E M E R A L D C OA S T By Lori Hutzler Eckert

Photography by Mike Cage

If all the world is, in fact, a stage, as the Bard scribed so many centuries ago, then the Emerald Coast has found itself seated squarely in the front row as Sinfonia Gulf Coast introduces internationally acclaimed talent to the area, season after symphony season. Sinfonia, founded in 2006, has quickly become the Emerald Coast’s cultural conduit for musical entertainment, featuring such headliners as Bernadette Peters, Roberta Flack, Mary Wilson, Pink Martini, the Grammy Award–winning Parker Quartet, and Epic recording artist Morgan James. This year, the symphony once again upped the artistic ante by hosting a performance by Patti LuPone for its eighth season gala. LuPone—widely recognized for her storied stage career but most recently known to the pop culture scene for her tantalizing turn on HBO’s Girls—is beyond the typical triple threat, and she has the gleaming hardware to prove it. The Tony and Grammy Award winner (twice for both) seems to do it all, from opera to American musical theatre to televised dramas and sitcoms. And in March, much to the delight of many music lovers, she arrived on the Emerald Coast to recount the peaks and valleys of her forty-two-year (and counting) span in the spotlight with her show Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda…, backed by Sinfonia’s seventy-two-piece orchestra.

“Since our founding, Sinfonia has consistently sought to redefine the symphony experience, but to do so in a creative way that appeals to those who appreciate a traditional orchestral performance as well as to individuals who may not realize attending the symphony can actually be fun,” says Demetrius Fuller, music director and conductor of Sinfonia Gulf Coast. “Patti LuPone, with her incomparable talent and diverse body of work, strikes that perfect balance.” LuPone, who performs an average of fifty concerts a year, says that a precursor of the experience she will have in a new location is often found in the type of reception she receives. When she arrived at the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa, where she stayed during her seven-day Emerald Coast visit, she was greeted personally by Fuller. “Demetrius

V IE Z INE .C OM | 165

“Music is the soul of a nation.” –Patti LuPone

welcomed me with open arms,” LuPone recalls. “That’s all a performer ever wants when they arrive in a strange city—a simple welcome.” That welcome feeling continued on Thursday, March 27, as forty guests gathered in Destin at the spectacular 5,300-square-foot waterfront home of longtime Sinfonia supporters Tim Krueger and Jill Cadenhead for a lavish dinner, with LuPone as the guest of honor. “The life of a star seems so glamorous, but the reality is that it’s a lot of miles and too many hotel rooms,” says Krueger, the founder and senior vice president of investments at Krueger, Fosdyck, and Associates in Destin, “so Jill and I discussed it, and we felt hosting a dinner at our home would give Patti a much-needed respite from her hectic schedule. Plus, it allowed her to really get the feel for the natural beauty of our area.” Wines from Kesner Wines, provided by McNeese Distributors, which is locally owned by Demetria and Richard McNeese, were perfectly paired with an exceptional menu by Nikhil Abuvala, an Emerald Coast chef with a burgeoning career. Abuvala, owner of Grayton Beach’s new yet notable Roux 30a, said his “first career” was actually in music; therefore, he is naturally drawn to supporting Sinfonia, particularly to further the nonprofit’s music-education outreach. “I wanted to help Sinfonia, as I’ve been involved in music my entire life,” he says.

several times during her heartfelt comments, which she waved off with perfect comedic levity when she said, “I’m emotional … I’m Italian.” LuPone later elaborated, “I went through the public school system on Long Island and when I was growing up in the ’50s, music education was equally as important as science, math, history, and English. Music is the soul of a nation.” Considering her talent has earned her diva status, LuPone displayed down-to-earth warmth and good humor throughout the night. “We didn’t know what to expect and were a tad intimidated at first,” says Krueger, who is known for his philanthropic commitment to communitybased nonprofits. “But when Patti took the roses from a vase and stuck them in the hair of each of the ladies at the table, we knew she was one of us.”

Abuvala planned the menu around the wines, but he found further inspiration in the abundance of foods sourced from the area. “I went to local farmers markets and the local fishermen to find the freshest ingredients we could have.”

The following Saturday night, the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach was sold out for Sinfonia’s annual gala. The event opened with an outstanding debut performance by the Sinfonia Youth Orchestra, comprising talented children from local schools and directed by Liz Aylor.

Watermelon and crab salad with peppery arugula, feta, crisp radish slices, and a tart lemon vinaigrette was followed by a generous portion of seared local red snapper served with charred corn, bell pepper, bacon, blistered tomatoes, grilled spring onions, and savory cilantro butter. The third course featured perfectly seasoned grilled beef tenderloin accompanied by tender potato gnocchi and roasted vegetables. And for a sweet ending, Abuvala created a moist, aromatic almond-lavender cake.

Joy Luke, who traveled extensively for many years with her husband, Rob, while he was a professional cellist, attended the concert. “Sinfonia’s programs to take orchestral music into the local schools have certainly paid off,” she says. “The delightful performance by the youth orchestra made a lot of parents and audience members very happy.”

Jane Solomon, a 30-A resident and president of Alabama-based Barlovento LLC, has been a fan of LuPone for many years and attended the dinner with three friends and family members. “I loved the wine, and the dinner was outstanding,” she says.

Once the talented group of children exited the stage to enthusiastic cheering, Sinfonia’s musicians took their places, and LuPone made her muchanticipated entrance.

During the dinner, LuPone took a moment to address the guests about the importance of Sinfonia’s initiatives to introduce music into the lives of Emerald Coast children. The subject, clearly important to her, caused her to pause 166 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

The show featured a running monologue by LuPone, starting with her childhood interest in performing,






Patti LuPone Private Dinner Photos by Gerald Burwell




Chef Nikhil Abuvala


Jill Cadenhead and Tim Krueger


Jan and Gary Serafin


Billie and Roy Messer


Maestro Demetrius Fuller, Patti LuPone, and Demetria McNeese




Demetria McNeese with Hillary and Cory Fosdyck


Lydia Smith and Scott Russell


Tami Spivey and Jane Solomon


Simona Ondrejkova, Linda Miller, and Richard McNeese V IE Z INE .C OM | 167








Photo by Shannon Quinlan


Patti LuPone Concert 9


Patti LuPone takes the stage with the Sinfonia Gulf Coast orchestra.


Lydia Smith and Demetrius Fuller


James and Rhonda Murray


Lauren Gall and Nancy Stanley


The Sinfonia Youth Orchestra makes an outstanding opening act.




Corey and Lacey Marcelin


Jim and Kim Dettle


Gerald and Lisa Burwell, Kim Duke-Layden, and John Layden


Demetrius Fuller and Annette Alvarez


Jill Cadenhead and Tim Krueger


Dr. Olivier Broutin and Dr. Amber Wiebe with their children, Jack, Oli, Sophie, and Kate


Tom Minerva, Joann Staub, Ken and Darla Harrison, and Kay and Steve Bonn




Bonnie and Bob Perry


All the resources you need for the perfect beach wedding!

then continuing to her years at the Juilliard School, on Broadway, and beyond. Peppered with her sharp wit and punctuated with moments of raw honesty, the evening covered the theatrical shows she could have done, would have done, and should have done—hence the title of the show.

Regrets? She’s had a few—namely not landing the lead in Peter Pan. Her achievements, however, are many, including her stint on the stage as Rose in Gypsy, for which she won a Tony for best performance by a leading actress in a musical. “Patti LuPone certainly did not hold back,” Joy Luke continues. “She performed with great gusto and enthusiasm, and as recent full-time residents of the Emerald Coast, we were absolutely delighted to attend the performance. Obviously, Maestro Fuller has worked extraordinarily hard to bring together such a fine group of talented musicians.” Song after song, Sinfonia’s orchestra played as though they had traveled and performed with LuPone all along. “I thought the players were great and I thought the concert came off really well,” LuPone says graciously. “And that’s because of the players. I couldn’t believe how young they were.” “To see Sinfonia on stage with Patti LuPone, a true living legend, was certainly a thrill,” says Fuller, who logs countless painstaking hours planning each Sinfonia season, “but moreover, it is a testament to the support our nonprofit has been given by this community. The Emerald Coast desires and deserves the best cultural experiences possible, and Sinfonia intends to continually raise the bar each and every year.”

170 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Th e


OF BLU E MOU N TA I N BE AC H , F LOR I DA 850.622.4081 2282 W County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Restaurant, Catering, Weddings & Events, Rehearsal Dinners, Event Rooms 850.278.6856 2260 W County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Johnny McTighe’s Irish Pub 850.267.0101 2298 W County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Featuring lots of love and TLC. Client Appointments. All natural products 850.714.3723 2282 W County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Ride A Bike: Improve Your Life. Sales • Repair • Rentals 850.622.1165 2217 W County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

Redd’s Fueling Station: 850.325.0252 Sally’s by the Sea: 850.267.2016 2320 W County Highway 30A Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459

THEN AND NOW Jewels to Last a Lifetime

By Sallie W. Boyles // Photography by Romona Robbins


n bended knee, he takes her hand and asks, “Will you marry me?” The delight in her eyes encourages him to reach into his pocket for a black velvet box. The engagement ring inside demonstrates his commitment, and judging by the way she can’t wait to see it on her finger, he determines her answer is yes. The scene reflects one of the most commonly imagined romantic proposals, but no two engagements begin the same. From private moments to momentous parties, a world of personal, religious, cultural, and familial influences shape the betrothal. Nevertheless, among countless marriage rituals, the rings are universally symbolic. The idea of exchanging rings to signify the eternal bond between a man and woman dates back (at least) to ancient Egypt. Believing that the physical heart and spiritual soul were connected, and that the ring finger on the left hand had a vein that went directly to the heart, the Egyptians wore bands made of braided hemp and reeds on the same finger modern brides and grooms reserve for their wedding rings. In contrast, an ancient Roman groom of the elite class would present an iron wedding band

to his bride, but this was more likely to denote his possession of her rather than his devotion. People have used several types of wedding rings since then. The puzzle ring, also originating centuries ago in the Middle East, ensured a wife’s fidelity to her husband by requiring her to keep it on her finger. Comprised of several interlocking bands to form an intricate knotted pattern, the complicated ring, if removed, became nearly impossible to reconstruct. Fashioned similarly to the puzzle ring, the gimmal ring, widely used in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, contained two interlocking bands. Until the couple married, the man and woman each wore a piece, but both rings were joined at the wedding for the bride to wear from that time on. The poesy ring, also from the Renaissance period, was made of sterling silver and inscribed with a love poem (or poesy) or other loving words. Inspired to give his bride several sentimental gifts during their nuptial ceremony in 1475, Costanzo Sforza, a prominent Italian warlord, was the first groom known to produce a diamond wedding ring. Two years later, Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented the first historically documented

engagement ring, also a diamond, to Mary of Burgundy. Perhaps they were struck by the romantic notion of Cupid and his diamond-tipped arrows! For hundreds of years, only nobility could afford precious stones. Also, certain religious groups, including the Puritans, shunned such frivolous adornments. Thus, a groom in Colonial America typically gave his bride a thimble, a useful gift that served a dual purpose: the rim, when removed, could be worn as a wedding band. By the 1700s, romantic betrothal rings were no longer reserved for aristocracy, and many featured gemstones. During the same period, Brazilian diamond deposits were discovered. Supplies continued to expand, granting affordability, when African diamond mines were discovered in the 1870s. Around that time, the beloved Queen Victoria’s attachment to an enamel ring with a single diamond given to her by Albert during their courtship sparked a European demand for the solitaire. Diamond engagement rings, however, didn’t catch on in the United States until the 1930s. The De Beers Company, possessing a monopoly on the V IE Z INE .C OM | 175

Although she’s likely dreamed of the moment of receiving her engagement ring since childhood, today’s savvy, self-assured bride isn’t shy about making her preferences known.

personality or emotion in order to help interpret what she would wear.”

South African diamond mines, needed a new pitch to ignite sales in the U.S., a market viewed as having great potential. By embarking on a campaign that featured glamorous movie stars in diamond jewelry, the company grew sales by 55 percent in just three years— during the Great Depression. Ironically, economic uncertainty probably boosted diamond sales: people who had money were inclined to buy assets that would hold their value.

Although she’s likely dreamed of the moment of receiving her engagement ring since childhood, today’s savvy, self-assured bride isn’t shy about making her preferences known. She’ll steer her groom by sharing her picks from Pinterest and other online sources, and sometimes even accompanies him to the jewelry store. “Satisfying her is easier when the lady is in front of us,” Tim affirms, “but she still wants to be surprised when she sees her engagement ring for the first time.” Accordingly, he reports that most men finalize the purchase when she is not present.

At the end of World War II, De Beers plunged into the marriage market. Establishing the diamond engagement ring as the modern-day standard, the company’s 1947 slogan of all slogans, “A Diamond Is Forever,” resonated. Emanating an ethereal light and sparkle, the stone, durable and timeless, reflected a groom’s pure love and enduring commitment to his bride. The diamond remains the most popular choice for wedding jewelry today, but according to Tim Scott, manager at Reeds Jewelers in Destin, Florida, the bride-to-be’s personality most influences the gemstone she desires, as well as its shape, size, and setting. “The majority of the items we sell lend themselves to works of art for the woman,” he says, hinting that he can determine quite a bit about the bride by the cut of stone she prefers. “The most popular shape, the round brilliant cut, generally appeals to a more conservative or traditional woman,” says Tim, who finds that the princess cut, which has a square or rectangular face, often attracts a more fashion-forward woman. Noting that the cushion cut is quickly gaining ground, he points 176 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Tradition also prevails in terms of who pays for the ring: the man. “I know of only one instance during my twenty years in the jewelry business of the bride and groom splitting the cost,” he reveals.

out that the shape has soft edges like the round cut, yet dares to be different. Metal choices also make a statement. While many love the richness of platinum, white gold offers the look for less money, allowing a greater investment in the stone. “More and more customers are also drawn to rose gold,” Tim adds, explaining that it’s often used as an accent with white. Yellow gold appeals to distinct market segments as well. “Our job as jewelers,” he adds, “is to mimic the customer’s

The wedding band purchase, however, is different. “Couples tend to pick out their bands together,” says Tim, who advises the man to leave the wedding band decision to his fiancée after she has her engagement ring. “Women want their rings to fit without gaps, but usually prefer a band that accents and frames the engagement ring almost as a side note. They often love small, feminine details, like engraving and mill graining around the band.” Likewise, a bride today is less concerned about her groom’s band matching hers. Many couples, in fact, choose a metal such as tungsten or titanium for his ring to save money. No matter their budget, customers also enjoy designing their own wedding rings. “We do a lot of

CAD/CAM designs,” says Tim. “One of my first customers to create an original engagement ring was a military pilot engaged to a social worker. He and I sat in my office for hours over several appointments designing an intricate mounting. The profile (or side) included an R for their initial, and the ring had numerous twists and turns with pavé diamonds. Without the center stone, the ring was $10,000. She wanted a sapphire, so when it came time to choose one, he left the decision to her, although the setting would still be a surprise. “She had no clue about how to select a sapphire,” Tim continues, “so I showed her a $3,500 natural sapphire and $300 sapphire grown in a lab. The $300 stone had perfect color, but when she chose it, I asked if she was sure and let her know that the ring her fiancé had made for her was significant.” The bride replied that she loved the laboratory stone, but even more important to her was having peace of mind that “no little boy went into a dark mine” to obtain the sapphire she would wear every day on her finger.

“Customers are now extremely conscientious about how the item was sourced and how miners were treated,” Tim continues. When diamond shopping, for instance, they value the Forevermark by De Beers, which signifies quality and comes with a pledge the stone is responsibly sourced. “De Beers is also building homes, schools, and hospitals, and buying goods and services from the local communities where they mine,” Tim says, drawing a comparison to Reeds Jewelers, which has thrived since 1946 by operating with integrity. “Clients relate to me and to Reeds because they know we’re meeting their needs while upholding certain standards and telling them the truth. Our underlying statement is to treat others how we would want to be treated.” Founders Bill and Roberta Zimmer opened their original store in Wilmington, North Carolina. Now in eighteen states, Reeds remains a family business under the leadership of their son Alan Zimmer, who has been instrumental in modernizing to serve the many ways customers shop. “The culture of Reeds allows managers and associates to stretch out

beyond the borders of the stores to procure whatever it is we require to satisfy the individual’s needs and desires,” says Tim. For many of today’s brides and grooms, the priority isn’t necessarily to follow traditions or to catch the latest trends. Instead, embracing the idea of wedding bands and engagement rings, they most appreciate meaningful, beautiful symbols that articulate who they are and how they feel about one another.

Reeds Jewelers in Destin, Florida Hours of Operation: 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Monday–Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Sunday

Bring home a little bit of Earth 4808 East Scenic Hwy 30A, Seagrove Beach, FL, 32459 phone: 850.231.2150 | fax: 850.231.2050 | w w w. C l a y 3 0 A . c o m

Ashley & Christopher

SEP TEMBER 7, 2013 By Kelli Deary Photos by Paul Johnson Photography

A GRAND SANDESTIN WEDDING True love has a way of finding itself. For Chris and Ashley, it was through a close mutual friend with a gift for matchmaking. In the spring of 2008, they found themselves being not-so-casually introduced at the Gulf Coast Charity Horse Show’s exhibitors and sponsors party at the home of Tommy and Sister Milligan. “Prior to the party, Sister had mentioned that she wanted to introduce me to someone,” Ashley recalls. “I did not know this ‘someone’ was going to be at her party (nor that he would become my future husband!), and when I arrived and gave my ticket to one of the ladies at the front of the house, she asked if I was single. I said, ‘Yes ma’am, I am single!’ She said, ‘Oh, honey, there was the cutest guy that just walked in—let me find his name for you.’ She was unable to find his name but described his outfit for me. I was bound and determined to find this guy. (These ladies had no clue Sister was about to hook us up either.) “As I walked into the living room I was greeted by Sister saying, ‘You come with me!’ She walked me out to her pool area and told me to wait on her deck and she would be right back. I saw her walking through the crowds and pulling along a guy that was dressed identical to the man the lady taking tickets described! I couldn’t believe my eyes... Sister walked back up to me and said, ‘Ashley Adcock, this is Chris Young. Chris Young, this is Ashley Adcock. I’ve done my job!’ And, boy, did she ever! We are actually the tenth couple she has introduced who ended up getting married!”

V IE Z INE .C OM | 181


182 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

Upon being swept off of their feet, Chris and Ashley made a determined effort to continue their long-distance relationship. With Chris as a senior partner at a law firm in Panama City Beach, Florida, and Ashley assisting with her family business in Pennsylvania, four years flew by in a whirlwind romance. Family is an important part of Chris and Ashley’s life, and that is why Chris decided to propose to Ashley during a family visit to Destin in September 2012. They gathered the family together for dinner at Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood for what seemed to be a celebration of Ashley’s upcoming birthday. Chris began to toast friends and family, and then he casually turned to Ashley and asked for her hand in marriage. She was so stunned that it took minutes for her to answer, but her response was, of course, “Yes!” “When the decision came to choose a venue, Sandestin was the very first place that came to mind,” Ashley says. Chris and Ashley have visited Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort many times for vacation getaways and evenings out with friends at the Village of Baytowne Wharf. “We wanted to make a weekend out of the wedding, and with so many out-of-town guests, the resort was the perfect option.” An elegant ceremony with three hundred of Ashley and Chris’s family and closest friends was held on the beautiful Grand Lawn at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. A carpet of white rose petals led down the aisle to a beautiful, large white cross draped with greenery and ivory flowers. As Ashley was escorted down the aisle, all eyes, especially Chris’s, were on her. They then said their vows before their loved ones, and a cocktail hour and grand reception in Sandestin’s Magnolia Ballroom followed the ceremony. The room sparkled with candlelight, and splashes of green, ivory, and gold accents exuded a timeless aura as guests enjoyed dinner prepared by the resort’s expert culinary team. For dessert, the six-tiered creation by Confections on the Coast satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth! Each tier of the cake consisted of a unique design

and flavor. “It was truly the centerpiece of the reception,” Ashley reveals. The newlyweds and their guests had a grand time dancing the night away to big band sounds provided by Atlanta band Bobby and the Aristocats, toasting their new lives together, and enjoying a unique family wedding tradition: “My father is the one of the largest independent automobile wholesale dealers in the world and sells about six hundred cars a week at the Manheim Auto Auction,” Ashley explains. “My grandfather, uncles, and cousins are all auctioneers who work selling his cars every week. So, it has become a tradition at our family weddings to auction off a dance with the bride. I was ever-so-generously ‘bought’ by Tim Van Dam, the general manager of Manheim Auto Auction.” Chris and Ashley continue to reminisce about Sandestin, where guests enjoyed every minute of the grand getaway wedding, and about the St. Regis Resort in Bora Bora, where they honeymooned. Cheers to a long and happy life together!

Visit to learn more about weddings at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

V IE Z INE .C OM | 183

destin commons expansion Opens with a

BIG BANG at annual smoke on the coast bbq and fireworks festival Photography Courtesy of destin commons

come one, come all! Bring the family and a hearty appetite to Destin Commons’ Fourth Annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ and Fireworks Festival on Thursday, July 3. But this year, be prepared for much more. The celebration features its traditional BBQ competition, with one top local master winning the coveted People’s Choice Award. For one dollar, you can purchase a sampling ticket that will let you taste one BBQ competitor’s entry. Each ticket also includes a separate People’s Choice ballot, so you can cast a vote for your favorite ’cue. The winner will receive gift cards, merchandise baskets, and a year’s worth of “bragging rights” for being voted the best barbecue on the Emerald Coast. Will three-time champion ValleyCrest Landscape Companies walk away with the title again?

check it out! While the suspense builds in the food competition arena, the main celebration will focus on the completion of the brand-new 100,000-plus-squarefoot expansion. More than twenty new retail and restaurant options have been added, including H&M and Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl and Grill, two firsts in the area. Accessory stores like Icing by Claire’s, Sunglass World, and Charming Charlie and specialty retailers that include Everything But Water, Foot Locker, and Tervis will enhance the shopping experience. The addition of fun eateries like Yogo Mogos, Zoës Kitchen, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and World of Beer/Blend Lounge will create an unparalleled culinary opportunity. Many of the new stores and restaurants will be open for business during the celebration, and attendees are encouraged to explore the expansion and check out the new options. “With an anticipated crowd of more than ten thousand attendees, the Smoke on the Coast Festival is an optimum time to showcase the expansion and the exciting array of new retailers and restaurants,” explained Bob Perry, general manager of Destin Commons. “This spectacular event is also the perfect mile marker to celebrate our tenth anniversary. It is truly a proud moment in Destin Commons’ history, and we are happily anticipating an incredible turnout and a fantastically fun family celebration.” The Destin Commons festivities begin at 1 p.m. on July 3 and will include an air show, a variety of children’s activities, and two stages with live 184 | M AY/J U NE 2 014

“With an anticipated crowd of more than ten thousand attendees, the Smoke on the Coast Festival is an optimum time to showcase the expansion and the exciting array of new retailers and restaurants.”

Destin Commons expansion

New Stores and Restaurants

Adding to the center’s seventy-five existing retail stores and restaurants anchored by Belk, Bass Pro Shops, and an AMC theatre, the 100,000-square-foot expansion will be home to the following: Anchors:

music and entertainment. Beginning at 6 p.m., the pit masters will showcase their barbecue specialties, and the center’s highly anticipated twenty-minute patriotic fireworks finale will commence at 9 p.m. All proceeds from Smoke on the Coast will benefit military and local charities. Sponsorship opportunities, ranging from $250 for a Sweet Tea sponsor to $10,000 for the Whole Hog sponsor, are still available. There are additional custom sponsorship opportunities as well. For more information on how to become a sponsor, or to participate, please contact Heather Pike at 850-377-8700 or e-mail

ABOUT DESTIN COMMONS Voted Best Place to Shop by readers of Emerald Coast Magazine, award-winning Destin Commons continues to set the standard as Northwest Florida’s premier open-air lifestyle center. Set on fifty-six acres, the original center features more than seventy-five stores and restaurants offering the finest shopping, dining, and entertainment, including Bass Pro Shops, Belk, and the AMC Destin Commons 14 stadium-style movie theatre. The new expansion will be home to more than a hundred thousand square feet of additional shopping and dining options. Destin Commons also offers seventy thousand square feet of Class A office space, free Wi-Fi access, an interactive water feature, and Pirate’s Cove, a soft play area for children. For additional information, call (850) 337-8700 or visit www.

H&M European- and designer-inspired clothing for men, women, and children, along with trendy accessories and home decor Uncle Buck’s Fishbowl & Grill With an underwater theme, this Bass Pro Shops family restaurant includes bowling lanes that feature shark and alligator bowling balls. Restaurants: Chipotle Mexican Grill World of Beer Yogo Mogos Zoës Kitchen Retail Stores: Charming Charlie Destin Stars Everything But Water Foot Locker Icing by Claire’s Sunglass World Tervis

V IE Z INE .C OM | 185

Shop Simply Dine Simply Live Simply

A Simple Beautiful Life

Kimberly & Clain A Dream Beach Wedding


Clain and I met when we were in college—in two different states. He says it was love at first sight, but it took him a decade to ask me to marry him! Apparently, he likes the combination of a petite, blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl who is pure country and enjoys hunting and fishing. I guess we were truly a match made in heaven.

My dream was always to have a beach wedding, and ours surpassed my wildest dreams.

One of my favorite stories about our relationship comes from a couple of months after we became engaged: We were hunting and came upon a huge rattlesnake; it was at Clain’s feet. I didn’t hesitate for a second—I shot it dead. Clain claims that became a “sign” to him that he had made the right decision to marry me! My dream was always to have a beach wedding, and ours surpassed my wildest dreams. We were married on April 26, 2014, at Beach Dreamz, the private beachfront estate of Clain’s parents, Curtis and Carrie Zimmerman, near Seaside and Seagrove Beach, Florida. Having a wedding and reception right on the beach is magical. We created a beach pavilion to hold the reception, and I descended a huge private dune staircase to the ceremony. There were bubble girls, a natural sunset “photo booth,” and even a moonlight bonfire after-party with a bartender on the beach! The special touches were endless. V IE Z INE .C OM | 189

Having a wedding and reception right on the beach is magical.

190 | M AY/J U NE 2 014



& INTERIORS MARKET ~ decorating nirvana ~

850.654.1484 | Located on Highway 98 at Holiday Road midway between Destin Commons and Sandestin Monday—Saturday 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday 11–5 p.m.

Clain and I plan to wait and honeymoon next year when we can simply enjoy ourselves and have time to plan everything. We would like to thank all the amazing people who helped our dream beach wedding come together: our families, Carolina Smith from CGS Weddings and Events (our wedding planner), John Towler, Signature Catering of 30-A, Matthew Spinks from On the Rocks Bartending, Artistic Floral Designs and Gifts, Events by Nouveau, Pure 7 Studios photography, Brandon Brooks from Brooks Photography, and Acme Rhythm and Blues (our wedding band). We are truly grateful for everything you all have done!







Your personal builder for life V IE Z INE .C OM | 191

events by




Louis Louis is the sister restaurant of Picolo's restaurant and the Red Bar in Grayton beach.

arrive earLy, stay Late.

cash Or check OnLy, nO credit cards. there is an atm On site.

Live music 7 nights a week

Live music On saturday during Lunch frOm 12:00 tO 3:00 with the fOrest wiLLiams Band


cOurt yard dining avaiLaBLe at LOuis


dread cLampitt during sunday Brunch 12:00 tO 3:00 Open 7 days a week Lunch & dinner 11 am – 10 pm Bar Open frOm 11 am – 11 pm (12 am On friday and saturday)

850.231.1008 www.theredBar.cOm

“Best Restaurant in Walton County” “Best Bloody Mary”

arrive earLy, stay Late.

cash Or check OnLy, nO credit cards. there is an atm On site.

Open 7 days a week: dinner 5 – 10 pm TOP 200

850.267.1500 |



Fine Furnishings & Accessories Showroom Full Service | New Construction | Remodeling 2013

850-837-5157 11974 US Highway 98 West Miramar Beach, FL 32550 LIC#26000633

A sweet Southern experience

Rentals | Management | Real Estate 888.850.2303

Profile for The Idea Boutique

VIE Magazine May / June 2014  

A luxury lifestyle magazine, VIE , French for "life," celebrates just that— stories with heart and soul. Fusing fashion, travel, philanthrop...

VIE Magazine May / June 2014  

A luxury lifestyle magazine, VIE , French for "life," celebrates just that— stories with heart and soul. Fusing fashion, travel, philanthrop...