Portofino Life 2017

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Where beauty and luxurious comfort meet.


Pandora de Balthazar sets the standard for the ultimate in luxury Hungarian Down bedding. Our specialty and standard size pillows, comforters and mattress pads are like nothing else available.

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Good Night & Sleep Tight An old Southern adage tells us that “the sleep of the righteous and the generous is very deep.”


ensacola business woman and philanthropist Pandora de Balthazár embodies the saying and proves its wisdom. Her eponymous atelier in Pensacola, Florida, houses a collection of antique textiles and luxury bedding. Pandora invites all who visit to climb into bed and try out the European Sleep System (ESS), guaranteed to give a good night’s rest. They say the average person needs around eight hours of sleep per night to feel rested and ready to tackle the busy world we live in. With distractions such as smartphones and other technology, stress, and aching muscles or joints, getting that much-needed sleep is not always easy. Pandora knows firsthand how difficult it can be. In the late 1980s, she had a near-fatal car accident that could have ended her life, and she was left struggling through treatments to no avail. Pandora found relief during a visit to Budapest, Hungary, where she received unique water therapy and began using a total sleep system of luxury bedding customized for her needs. As a caring,

nurturing person, it did not take her long to decide to share the beauty and the healing powers of the sleep system with friends and relatives, and ultimately with her clients. “Americans need to learn from the Europeans to rest their whole body, not just their heads,” Pandora says. That’s why she founded the store and began promoting the ESS and the entire lifestyle that surrounds it. Today, better sleep is the mission for Pandora and her team. “But we do it differently than most,” she adds. “It doesn’t end with the mattress—that’s just an infrastructure to begin with, certainly not a finish.”

The Pandora de Balthazár lifestyle means giving in to that ultimate rest and finding true inner peace while doing so. Pandora de Balthazár’s signature service is creating the “top of the bed” oasis for each client. This luxurious den of fine linens, temperature-regulated bedding, and Pandora’s signature Hungarian-inspired goose down pillows are the touch many people need to realize they can not only achieve a good night’s sleep—they deserve it. “You can fill your bedroom with pretty things, pretty pictures, and never experience true personal luxury in your own sleep life,” Pandora muses. “Why? Or better yet, why not? What does it take to allow yourself to sleep like a baby and stay there comfortably for eight or nine hours?” The Pandora de Balthazár lifestyle means giving in to that ultimate rest and finding true inner peace while doing so. “Whether you are age two or seventy-two, the benefits of a properly dressed and fitted bed with our European Sleeping System will help you sleep cooler, calmer, and longer.”

Well-known from coast to coast, Pandora de Balthazár provides quality bedding to designers in New York, Miami, Dallas, and San Francisco. The atelier in Pensacola is available for visitors to browse or setup an appointment for the full educational experience on the “better sleep” lifestyle. It’s an unconventional but exceptional stop for groups, from shopping fine bedding and custom-embroidered gifts to “browse and brunch” dates with the girls. Fine sleepwear and spa products are also available and make a perfect gift for bridal parties! Seasonal showrooms are also available for visitors to experience ultimate rest and start living the good life through the ESS. Shop the Round Top, Texas, location in September and March or the High Point, North Carolina, SALON SUITES in October and April. Visit Pandora’s website to shop online anytime, learn more, or request an appointment to take your first step toward the best sleep you’ve ever had!.


Island vibes, delicious cuisine and beautiful Gulf views take you to a place where time doesn’t matter. Don’t worry about brushing the sand off your feet; just walk straight up from the water and have a good time. Whether out for a romantic evening, fun family dinner, or meet up with friends to watch the game, this place has it all. Enjoy Pensacola Beach with great drinks, fresh from scratch menu and relaxing environment! Located at the foot of the fishing pier on Pensacola Beach for the closest dining to the Gulf! Perfect for Happy Hour, featuring Daily Drink Specials, with Event Space available! Voted in the 10 Best Florida Beach Bars 2017 by FloridaBeachBar.com! 41 FORT PICKENS RD | PENSACOLA BEACH, FLORIDA INFO@CASINOBEACHBAR.COM | 850-932-6313







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Welcome to Portofino Island

12 Recreation, Relaxation, and Rejuvenation 18 Going Coastal: Phenomenal Dining at Portofino Island 26 The Grand Finale 38 The Beauty of Mindful Planning: Restoring and Preserving 44 Music to My Ears: Finding Heart and Soul at Portofino Island 48 Twenty Miles of White Sugar: Beaches That Will Take Your Breath Away

50 Into the Blue: A Gulf-Front Condo Gets a Makeover 56 All Aboard: Cruise the Waters on Portofino I 58 A Bounty of Fun at Pensacola Beach Boardwalk 64 Reimagining Pensacola: A Downtown Experience 70 Set a Course for Always: Mackenzie and Rhys Rinke

80 Pensacola’s Fiesta of Five Flags 86 Uptown Experiences in Downtown Pensacola 88 Finding the Blues in the City of Five Flags 94 Design in Mind: Seven Steps for Refreshing Your Condominium 98 Let’s Get Wild! Parks and Outdoors 104 Events around Town

75 Every Past Has a Future: Armored Frog Honors Memories

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


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2017 • 2018 F OU N DE R / P R E S I DE N T L i sa M a r i e Bu r w e l l F OU N DE R / E X E C U T I V E V I C E P R E S I DE NT Ge r a l d Bu r w e l l E DI TOR -I N -C H I E F L i sa M a r i e Bu r w e l l M A N A G I N G E DI T OR Jo rd a n S ta g g s C H I E F C OP Y E DI TOR M a r g a re t S te ve n so n A RT DI R E C TOR Tr a c e y T h o m a s S E N I OR G R A P H I C DE S I G N E R Ri n n Ga r l a n g e r G R A P H I C DE S I G N E R S Ol i vi a P i e rc e H a n n a h Ve r m i l l i o n A DV E RTI S I N G S A L E S E X E C U TI V E M a r y Ja n e Ki r b y M a r yJa n e @ T h e Id e a Bo u ti q u e .c o m P R ODU C TI ON B R A N D M A N A G E R Ri n n Ga r l a n g e r E X E C U TI V E A S S I S TA N T Ab i g a i l Rya n DI S TR I B U TI ON M A N A G E R T i m D u tro w C ON TR I B U TI N G WR I T E R S S u sa n Be n to n S a l l i e W. Bo yl e s H a n n a h M c L e a i sh Jo e l M c M i l l a n We sl e y S . Od o m V i r g i n i a Re e d M a c ke n zi e Ri n ke T.S . S tr i c kl a n d Mariana Zechini C ON TR I B U TI N G P H OTOG R A P H E R S Ja y F l yn n Ro m o n a Ro b b i n s Al p a n d Isl e C a se y D u l l P h o to g r a p h y In vo ki n g M e d i a P U B L I C ATI ON P R ODU C TI ON A N D M A N A G EMENT P re m i e r Isl a n d M a n a g e m e n t Gro u p , In c.


Kim Biggs

Owner/Manager 2803 E. Cervantes St., Suite A Pensacola, FL 32503 P: (850) 202-6938 • F: (850) 202-6946 www.gctagency.com


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T h e Id e a B o u tiqu e. c om

WELCOME TO PARADISE Welcome to Portofino Island Resort! We are honored that so many of you have chosen to stay with us again and again, and we thank you for making Portofino your favorite beach vacation destination. For those of you who are new to the resort, we believe you’ll soon see why so many people love this beautiful stretch of untouched beach and why we call ourselves nature’s last unspoiled playground. We celebrate our beach-to-bay setting—the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico to our south, the scenic Santa Rosa Sound to our north, and the majestic Gulf Islands National Seashore to our east—and we’ve created amenities and activities to showcase the uniqueness of our island location. As Premier Island Management Group approaches its first decade as the rental management and homeowners association management team for Portofino Island Resort and Beach Club Resort and Spa, we celebrate with a renewed vigor and ambitious plans for the future of our properties, the amenities we offer, and those who serve you while you are here. Our fourth installment of Portofino Life touches on many of these amazing attributes. In “The Grand Finale,” we unveil plans for a major development project at Portofino. The development, utilizing the twelve acres of land to the east of the resort, is slated to break ground in 2018 and deliver more breathtaking accommodations and world-class amenities and facilities, including a fourteen-thousand-square-foot conference center. Of course, Portofino always aims to impress with our resort amenities and adventures— even if you only have a weekend to enjoy them all. This year we reimagined all of the dining options at the resort, and in this issue you’ll discover many of the culinary treats that await you at our new Coastal restaurant, as well as at Portofino al Fresco and the Gulfside Grille. The Portofino life is all about family fun—whether you’re dolphin cruising aboard Portofino I, bouncing on our water park, lounging on the beach, or just relaxing poolside—the possibilities are endless. Throughout the pages of the magazine, you’ll also discover some of the unique gems that make this destination unlike any other on the Gulf Coast; these include the vibrant downtown scene in nearby Pensacola and the renaissance of some of its specialty corridors, such as the SOGO and Belmont-DeVilliers districts. Closer to Portofino, we highlight the transformation of Pensacola Beach and the spectacular plans for the revitalization of our island. You will also discover the Pensacola Boardwalk and the Premier-owned businesses there: Envie Boutique, Salty Beach Outfitters, the Wine Bar and Bistro, and Cactus Flower Cafe. Located on Quietwater Beach and just a short cruise away aboard the Portofino I,

our Boardwalk venues round out the complete shopping and dining experience for any stay. As a Premier guest, you enjoy a special discount at each of these spots, as well as the other perks that go along with booking your stay through us. We hope you enjoy this issue of Portofino Life as much as we do and that by reading its pages you will get a taste of the excitement before exploring the property and our Northwest Florida destination. Please feel free to take this issue home with you as a memento of your stay and as a reminder that we’re waiting to welcome you back next time. Sincerely,

Rob Babcock General Manager and CEO

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018











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, recreation& relaxation rejuvenation BY SUSAN BENTON

Deciding to get away solo, with friends, or with family is exciting enough when the destination is Portofino Island Resort. But once inside the gates, there is so much more that awaits, with countless amenities and perks to experience and explore. Situated on twenty-eight beautiful acres between the Gulf of Mexico and the gentle shores of Santa Rosa Sound, Portofino Island, also known as nature’s last unspoiled playground, realizes the ultimate amenity is its miles of white quartz sand and clear, sparkling water. Jessica Jenson, director of corporate accounts and special events at the resort, says, “Our goal is for you to park your car when you check in and leave it there until your vacation ends so that you can enjoy all of the luxuries and the lifestyle that Portofino offers.” Upon arrival, guests can add Adventure Beach, Adventure Depot, and Adventure Cove to their stay through a choice of packages. Those who book with Premier Island Management Group (PIMG), either before arrival or on-site, will receive optimal savings. They also get two beach chairs with an umbrella reserved daily, a dolphin cruise for up to eight people, a round of golf each day at one of the nearby Emerald

Coast Golf Trail Courses, and two beach towels as a welcome gift, just to name a few perks. Depending on the season, a 10 to 15 percent discount also applies to all tennis activities for PIMG guests at the resort.


Portofino Island is known for having topof-the-line equipment and the best toys on the beach, and though guests can select their pleasures à la carte, an adventure package is the best way to go. The choice of the deluxe package is better suited for the younger crowd and those who prefer low-key sports such as kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and bike riding. An extreme package is available for those who want to live large by adding WaveRunners, Eclipse boards, the Adventure Cove Water Park (in spring and summer), sailboats, and a plethora of other activities to their stay, including Kids’ Night Out and the High Tide Kids Club.

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"Our goal is for you to park your car when you check in and leave it there until your vacation ends so that you can enjoy all of the luxuries and the lifestyle that Portofino offers." STAY FIT AT THE BEACH

Portofino’s Fitness Center makes it easy to stick to health goals with state-of-the-art cardio equipment, a variety of fitness classes, and a juice and smoothie bar. It is also a mecca for accommodating cross conditioning, offering the finest training ground for triathletes of all levels. Multiple swimming pools (one for each tower) and an indoor Olympicsize lap pool (located in the Lifestyle Center) are available, along with a twenty-mile round-trip route laid out for bikers and runners through the Gulf Islands National Seashore.


Leaving the land unspoiled is important, but leaving the guest that way is not. Visitors in need of relaxation and pampering will find a well-trained spa staff at Spa Portofino. From manicures and facials to 14

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patrons enjoy candlelit, chef-inspired meals made with regional ingredients. Menus across the resort received makeovers as well, including those at Portofino al Fresco, Pizza Portofino, and the Cobalt Bar poolside. The Gulfside Grille is a new toes-in-the-sand venue serving lunch and dinner, while the Market at Portofino offers sundries, grocery items, ice cream, and Starbucks Coffee.


Some might be wondering about the sixtythree-foot catamaran that sits prominently on the Sound side. Portofino I is exclusive to the resort for amazing dolphin cruises, unique private affairs, and to escort guests to and from the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk for shopping, entertainment, and dining excursions. Foodies, wine lovers, and fashionistas can rejoice, as Portofino discounts also apply to purchases at Envie Boutique, Salty Beach Outfitters, Cactus Flower Cafe, and the Wine Bar & Bistro.

The experts on-site will design a custom vacation plan for you, but they also know that some of the best times of your trip will occur when enjoying something spontaneous. REEL IN THE BIG ONE

full-body treatments and massages, the list of available services is designed to melt away the stress of daily life. With Portofino’s Spa-to-You private massage service, the spa experience can even be enjoyed poolside or in the comfort of your suite. “Our guests live a life focused on adventure, wellness, and recreation, and they take time for themselves at the spa as well as at our world-class fitness center,” says Jensen.


Believing that nothing is worth pursuing without passion, Premier Island Management Group made some big changes in 2017 when Coastal restaurant opened at Portofino Island. Coastal serves breakfast and lunch daily, as well as Sunday brunch, in a light atmosphere where the floor-to-ceiling glass doors are open to the breezeway. In the evenings, a more elegant ambience is presented—the glass doors are closed and

If dining, shopping, fitness activities, and water sports aren’t enough for you, make time to experience the thrill of fishing the emerald waters off Pensacola Beach with one of Portofino Island’s inshore or offshore charter fishing excursions. A skilled crew will have you reeling in your first catch of the day in no time. They’ll clean it while you continue fishing, so get ready to cook a delicious Gulf dinner in your suite! Just make sure to reserve your fishing experience at least twenty-four hours in advance. And don’t worry about bait, tackle, or licenses—the crew has you covered! Portofino Island Resort caters to all ages and interests, not to mention those individuals who already have a concept of their ultimate beach vacation. The experts on-site will design a custom vacation plan for you, but they also know that some of the best times of your trip will occur when enjoying something spontaneous. P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018




By Susan Benton Photography by Romona Robbins

It is tough not to notice the culinary revolution that is sweeping through our country, and the dining amenities at Portofino Island Resort are a prime example. Exciting collaborations are taking place between chefs, restaurants, and local farms and laying the foundations for a dynamic dining scene that is garnering attention from both local and national audiences. Even though many come to Pensacola Beach—and specifically to Portofino Island—to enjoy the Gulf of Mexico’s crystal clear waters, the sugar-white sand beaches, the bays, the Santa Rosa Sound, and the other abundant natural elements, for others (like myself ), food is also at the forefront of any vacation.

Executive chef Jera Hughes has guided the creative talents in the kitchen at Portofino Island for more than four years. He was born and raised in Pensacola and graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando in 2004.

Food is more than just sustenance; it is a part of our cultural identity. By breaking bread together, as the time-honored phrase goes, we bond as families, make friends, fall in love, and count our blessings many times over.

While in cooking school, Hughes worked at a high-volume restaurant where he mastered the expertise of supply and demand. He returned home to the Panhandle as the executive chef of a restaurant where he was noticed for his creativity and was then sought out to oversee the duties as the executive chef of a nearby country club. “The positions truly expanded my skill set, which now includes the wedding and

Often, visitors to Portofino Island return home trying to hold on to that vacation feeling by reminiscing about their memories—ones frequently involving food. This nostalgia reflects how much food can convey about a place like Portofino, including the sensory experiences of atmosphere, aromas, sights, sounds, and interaction with others.

The champagnebattered lobster tails are a favorite from Coastal’s “By Sea” menu.

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


banquet markets,” Hughes says. “I also catered Boo Weekley’s charity golf events, which were a lot of fun, but I was ready to move on.” Hughes’s next position was head banquet chef at Margaritaville Beach Hotel in Pensacola Beach before he accepted his current post at Portofino. “I love what I do, and it also happens to support my family,” he says. “Portofino and I are a great match, and I’m proud to be a part of such a valuable team.”

“By Shore” menu options include a beautifully plated grilled pork chop with fresh rosemary, sweet potato mash, and bourbon fig preserves.

Since 2008, Rob Babcock has operated Portofino Island Resort as the general manager and CEO of Premier Island Management Group. His career in luxury hospitality services spans over three decades. When the decision was made to redesign Terracotta, Portofino Island’s signature restaurant, and rename it Coastal, he reached out to Hughes about revamping the menu. Hughes was more than up for the challenge. “I was excited about the rebranding to come and the flood of ideas that followed in creating enticing new dishes for Coastal,” he

says. Babcock also tasked Hughes with updating other dining options across the resort. “Offering breakfast and lunch in the main dining room is something we have all felt was overdue and important to the guests and owners staying on the property.”


Babcock never loses sight of the fact that Portofino exists to enrich lives. He brought in Adache Group Architects, one of the world’s leading design consultants in the hospitality, leisure, and multifamily housing industries, to lay out the vision for Coastal. Babcock says, “We have a long history with Adache, who conceived the original five towers, and I knew they would meet the needs for the interior design that we were seeking. Chef Hughes, on the other hand, is the impetus behind the menu. When we put together a challenge for him, he meets it!” At Coastal, which opened in March of 2017, you will find floating glass doors that slide open and invite morning and afternoon diners to an all-new experience. Delectable dishes come with a backdrop of crisp white walls and seating that plays off the vibrant cobalt blues and sea greens used in the glass tiles, lighting fixtures, and art around the restaurant. Take pleasure in viewing the pool deck and Santa Rosa Sound while enjoying a breakfast of bananas Foster French toast with whipped cream and cherries, which has been a big hit, Rob Babcock’s favorite eggs Benedict, or Chef Hughes’s go-to huevos rancheros. Lunch is served in the form of extended breakfast with brunch favorites, specialty sandwiches, and salads. Chef Hughes’s flash-fried brussels sprouts with cherrywood bacon crumbles and house sriracha drizzle will change any sprout hater into a lover of this edible bud. Those seeking lighter fare might want to taste the tuna salad, which is Cajun seared with avocado and asparagus and tossed in a West Indies vinaigrette. “I would like those dining with us to get out of their comfort zone and try something new each time they come in,” admits Hughes. “Change things up and order the brussels sprouts!” Come evening, the glass doors close, the tables are topped with white cloths, and candles are lit for a more elegant culinary experience. Entry is through the main restaurant door, where diners are greeted and have the option to be seated at the swanky bar, at a table, or along the banquette wall. One of the highlights at Coastal is the modern open concept kitchen


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where good taste goes hand in hand with visual creativity and innovation. Chef Hughes says, “The expo kitchen is appealing, and my team enjoys the interaction with the guests. Jim Carruth, Portofino’s chef de cuisine, has been with me for the past four years, and he had a huge hand in building the new menu. We work well together, and our personalities play off of each other.” The exclusive gastronomic pleasures highlighted at dinner include the freshest locally sourced seafood, along with premium cuts of grass-fed, free-range, and organic meats, like those from White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia. Chef-curated offerings range from regional delicacies like oysters from Alabama’s Murder Point and the Pensacola Bay to lifestyle-minded vegetarian options. Additionally,

Above: The atmosphere at Coastal is bright and airy by day as the glass doors open to invite a Gulf breeze inside. Left: Take advantage of craft cocktails and high seating at the restaurant’s bar.

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


The open kitchen allows Coastal’s guests to get an inside look at executive chef Jera Hughes and his team preparing each delicious meal.

Coastal offers craft cocktails, an assortment of craft beers, and a wine list featuring select vintages from leading wine regions around the world. I recommend sampling all three choices of baked oysters on the menu (Rockefeller, Bienville, and Barbecue), while Babcock says, “I don’t think you could go wrong with ordering the West Indies crab salad, the andouillecrusted grouper, or the Wagyu burger.” Another dining facelift at the resort came in the form of the newly named Portofino al Fresco, the open-air dining area available to those seeking the solace of shade in an informal ambience. Reminiscent of a Tuscan veranda with bubbling fountains and sweeping views, the restaurant serves lunch and dinner daily from its location perched above the pool deck. Dive into Chef Hughes’s take on classic regional dishes, such as his famed blackened shrimp and grits, or any of the well-received signature salads, wraps, sandwiches, and kidfriendly entrées.


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Nestled poolside, Cobalt Bar is an active oasis for refreshments and tropical libations, like Portofino Punch and the renowned Pensacola Beach Bushwacker. The yin of the water lapping from the infinity edge pool and the yang of the festive new fire pit seating bring everything into balance at this location. Chef Hughes says, “If you are hungry at the Cobalt Bar, try the Panhandle Nachos topped with pork. Once a member of our team carries an order to a customer, we see a surge in several more orders to follow—they are that good.” Basking in a toes-in-the-sand foodie experience is also a new concept at Portofino Island Resort when you order from the Gulfside Grille. Dine in your beach chaise overlooking the Gulf of Mexico during the day or at a dedicated table with seating at dusk. It’s the perfect way to enjoy freshly fried shrimp and a cold drink while watching the sun dip below the horizon.


Sometimes there is nothing better than staying in to indulge in a meal, whether you’re flying solo, on a girls’ getaway, or with family. The Market at Portofino is the ideal stop for onthe-go needs or for stocking the fridge with bacon, eggs, sandwich fixings, fine wine, and ice cream, to name a few offerings. Pizza Portofino, open for lunch and dinner, features fresh, stone-baked gourmet pizzas and flatbreads that can be delivered to your condo as well. (Our family adores the Five Towers pizza, which, as I learned from Chef Hughes, was so named because it’s topped with five types of meat.) Step up your game with Dine-In Delivery, another new concept that the Portofino culinary team has developed, where a specialized menu of breakfast, lunch, or dinner selections can be ordered in and delivered directly from the kitchen. Additional services include the resort’s Wine-to-You program, which features a comprehensive selection of wines available for delivery by the bottle or the case, and the Chef-to-You program, which brings a chef into the home to prepare a customized meal—ideal for romantic evenings, special family events, and small dinner parties.

Whatever your taste, Portofino Island Resort offers something for everyone. “One of our nonnegotiable policies is to never say no,” Babcock says. “We want an all-inclusive experience for each guest where they will check in and not want to leave—unless it is to hop aboard the Portofino I and head to the Portofino Boardwalk for more options, including the Wine Bar & Bistro and Cactus Flower Cafe.”

From starters like the West Indies crab salad (right) to desserts like Coastal’s famous sunshine pie (left), every menu item is worth trying, so be sure to come back for more!

To make reservations at Coastal, please contact the Concierge at (850) 916-5355. PortofinoIsland.com/dining-and-shopping

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A true grand finale is eagerly anticipated and exceeds expectations by saving the most fabulous elements for last. After key players dazzle discerning critics, the pièce de résistance—the crowning jewel—goes above and beyond, accentuating and elevating the full experience. Such can be said about Portofino Island Resort’s final phase of development. With the grand finale commencing, all can see that Towers Six and Seven, along with an additional eighty thousand square feet of amenities, have been worth the wait for those in pursuit of the ultimate beach-to-bay lifestyle. No other resort community in the United States has a masterfully crafted blend of health, fitness, relaxation, recreation, and adventure—along with the true luxury of beachfront Sky Homes— like Portofino Island.


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P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


eople began to imagine the possibilities in 2010, when Robert Rinke, who partnered with the late Allen Levin in establishing Levin Rinke Realty and developing Portofino Island, announced Towers Six and Seven for the remaining twelve acres of property. Based upon construction on Tower Six beginning in late 2018, resident move-ins are slated for the latter part of 2020. Thus, patience remains a virtue—and one to be rewarded. Quite frankly, owners and members of the local community who value what the resort represents today are more than ready, yet willing to wait. They recognize the benefit of having visionaries and fastidious planners like the Levin Rinke Team in charge, especially for a project in which the stakes are so high.

Above: No other residential offering on the Gulf Coast features such powerful open-design concepts or effortless aesthetic excellence. Previous page: Each tower residence showcases grand views while granting abundant light throughout.


The remarkable features of Portofino Island’s twenty-eight acres—nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and Santa Rosa Sound and adjacent to a protected, eight-mile stretch of the Gulf Islands National Seashore—pushed the bar sky-high from the start, well before the 2003 groundbreaking for Tower One. In the end, along with the dreamers, even the skeptics found themselves releasing a collective sigh of relief and awe: the first phase of development, completed in 2010, surpassed expectations. Others in the industry, fixated on sales, would have crowded such a prime parcel with as many sellable/rentable units as possible. Instead, entrenched in the local community and inspired by what nature provided, Levin

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and Rinke invested in impeccable design and construction. They set the stage by positioning each of the five towers a football field’s distance away from one another, paving with natural cobblestone, not asphalt, and placing the parking beneath the buildings. They also zigzagged the towers to create a mirage; based upon a person’s location on the property, at least one building turns invisible. Presto! Five majestic structures never overpower their setting. Likewise, the towers’ triangular shape, uncommonly wide floor plans, and floor-to-ceiling windows yield captivating vistas of water and land from every Sky Home.

In the end, along with the dreamers, even the skeptics found themselves releasing a collective sigh of relief and awe: the first phase of development, completed in 2010, surpassed expectations. Premium construction materials and rigorous, self-imposed specs, while not always visible to the eye, forever deliver value—exponentially— to Portofino owners. “We exceed the code dramatically by implementing super-quality,

hurricane-hardened construction. In addition to erecting an all-concrete superstructure, we build every exterior and every demising wall out of solid concrete. Yes, it’s the most expensive construction available, and it delivers the best long-term value for our homeowners. The resistance to water intrusion is much greater, so long-term maintenance and homeowners’ insurance are less expensive.”

“In the beginning, 95 percent of our owners rented their units,” Rinke relays. “Today, half don’t. Over the years, more and more have made Portofino Island their main home or their true second home.” Rinke reveals that cost savings and peace of mind make Portofino’s construction a number-one selling feature to buyers. “People want to relax and know their coastal property is built for the worst weather,” he says, “not worry as they watch the Weather Channel.” Portofino’s endurance was tested in 2004 by Hurricane Ivan, and Rinke declares, “We had our power turned back on first because the three towers built at the time

suffered no damage. We even housed displaced residents from the area at Portofino.” Given that the property had been in the Levin family for thirty years before Levin and Rinke got together to build the resort, Portofino’s quality-minded developers realized an incredible advantage. “We had almost no land cost,” says Rinke. “That allowed us to pour hundreds of thousands of dollars into each Sky Home, establishing a level of quality and value that would have been impossible had we paid the normal price for this property. We put the money into bricks and mortar and built the most expensive tower residential development in Northwest Florida with an $8 million spa and lifestyle center.” More than pretty structures, those lifestyle amenities—an outdoor lap pool for each tower, two gorgeous lagoon pools, an indoor lap pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a European spa, a fully equipped tennis center, a five-star restaurant, a poolside grille, and a

Portofino—a true beach-to-bay, ecofriendly development—coexists with nature’s unspoiled paradise to promote a lifestyle of health, fitness, relaxation, recreation, and adventure.

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sixty-three-foot catamaran—operate with activities and services that anticipate the cravings of the most well-traveled owner or guest. By the way, the person in charge of amenities, Robert Babcock, the CEO of Premier Island Management Group, lives and breathes the lifestyle as a longtime, full-time resident of Portofino Island.

Sky Homes to four-bedroom, four-and-ahalf-bath penthouses. Square footage and mastery of space contribute to the most spectacular panoramas afforded in any Northwest Florida condo.

Lifestyle is the operative word at Portofino, where health, fitness, recreation, relaxation, and adventure are all celebrated and, well, lived. “In the beginning, 95 percent of our owners rented their units,” Rinke relays. “Today, half don’t. Over the years, more and more have made Portofino Island their main home or their true second home.”

Describing Towers Six and Seven as “edgier with glass corners that wrap the building,” Rinke points out various collaborations of design and function. Towering floor-toceiling windows invite sky, land, and sea inside. Showcasing spectacular scenery to the max—instead of obstructing it—is the result of meticulous forethought, such as in locating the main outdoor living area off to the side of the grand salon. Tempered glass railings also optimize balcony views. Moreover, when opening the interior to an al fresco dining room and summer kitchen, Rinke says, “Vanishing glass walls push back and pocket into a stone fireplace and built-in TV wall. Owners and guests never feel they are locked into an apartment.” Visually and practically, commercial-grade slider doors and windows facilitate a seamless flow from inside to out.

“The most unique feature granted by the triangular buildings on this section of land is that condos have views of the beach and the estuary as it falls into the bay.” Not surprisingly, based upon Portofino’s prior performance and the master plan for Towers Six and Seven, owners of Towers One through Five have been the most enthusiastic over what the future holds. Lifelong value and appreciation begin with the pinnacle in construction and structural technology, and culminate in lavish lifestyle amenities.


Starting with the towers, Rinke says, “The most unique feature granted by the triangular buildings on this section of land is that condos have views of the beach and the estuary as it falls into the bay.” Also, all Sky Homes have multiple outdoor areas—balconies, verandas, and living rooms—of their own. Floor plans range from two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath

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Promoting a harmonious lifestyle that balances the joys of entertaining with yearnings for solace, floor plans highlight a grand salon with an oversized chef ’s kitchen, a wine bar

with seating, a fireplace, and a built-in media center. Throughout, designer European cabinetry, top-of-the-line appliances (Wolf, Bosch, and SubZero), elegant recessed lighting, and other discerning treatments reflect contemporary elegance within an environment of sublime comfort. Each master suite—complete with oversized tub, rain shower, extended double vanity, and two walk-in closets—has its own secluded balcony. Additional bedrooms have en suite baths and access to personal balconies as well. A full-size laundry room and a powder room further satisfy the must-haves of home. It’s hard to imagine what one would lack. “We’ve built an entire tower in which every unit is like any other property’s penthouse,” says Rinke. With a separate entrance and lockout feature, second- or third-bedroom suites give owners a flexible bonus to host guests who could come and go on their own; rent only that bedroom, bath, and balcony area; or rent that space to an individual or couple while also renting the main residence to a family. “When you live here,” Rinke says, “your unit is a true second home. Your grown kids and friends come to visit. You get all the visitors you’d ever want. The lockout gives privacy to your guests, and egress and ingress. They have their private balcony, but you might open it up for cocktails— it’s your call.” Likewise, many owners require or desire income from their investment, although renting their entire condo might not be appealing or practical. “The lockout allows them to rent the heck out of the suite and earn plenty to cover their property taxes and homeowners’ dues,” Rinke affirms. The grand finale’s superlative amenities, layered with services to augment Portofino’s lifestyle components (health, fitness, recreation, relaxation,

It’s hard to imagine what one would lack. “We’ve built an entire tower in which every unit is like any other property’s penthouse,” says Rinke. and adventure), promise to keep the resort’s demand at peak levels. “In the first phase, our investment was $8 million in amenities,” reminds Rinke. “This time, we’re investing $40 million in a lifestyle with world-class amenities like no other in the United States.” The Gulf-front lifestyle center, as Rinke puts it, “will make you feel like you’re on a cruise ship.” Three distinct pool deck levels allow owners and guests to relax, swim in one of five pools, soak in the sun, sip their favorite beverages, and savor great food. Along with comfortable lounge chairs, cabanas, and canopied dining tables, the club level presents a main pool that features waterfalls, an adults-only pool, and a beach-entry children’s pool. Children also find their own supervised activities on the

Generous spaces, adorned with the finest furnishes and finishes, define Portofino’s true mansions in the sky.

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mezzanine, allowing parents to unwind with peace of mind. The lower level has two infinity pools and abundant sun-worshipping space. A snack bar and full-service bar, an event space for concerts and other happenings, and a wedding gazebo can be found on the upper level. Guests and owners of Towers Six and Seven also gain exclusive access to a Gulf-front fitness center with vanishing walls that open to the glorious outdoors for yoga, Pilates, spin classes, and personal workouts. An elevated infinity pool, a $4 million investment that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico from the fourth floor, is also limited to owners and guests of Towers Six and Seven. Just a step away, a full-service luxury spa completes any fitness regime or the sheer desire for pampering. Exemplifying multiple aspects of living well from day one, Portofino’s grand finale both continues and amplifies a theme of health and longevity with the addition of a wellness center. Along with the spa, facilities include an on-site clinic endorsed by a highly credentialed medical organization. Rinke says that the role of Portofino’s wellness physicians—true internal medicine doctors with extensive training in longevity and preventative medicine—is to provide personal, science-based programs that address the vital areas of well-being. “Not everyone is interested in attaining the highest levels of fitness,” Rinke concedes, “but Portofino appeals to those who are staying active at some level and remaining social with like-minded people. Our aim is to help you live vigorously into your seventies and eighties, perhaps slowing the aging process, and keeping it fun. That’s what most people are seeking, and our goal is to make the realization easier through a lifestyle of health, fitness, recreation, relaxation, and adventure. “A big influencer on health is nutrition,” Rinke continues. “We’ll focus on a Mediterranean diet, which ties in with Portofino’s Italian character.” Noting that a new boutique market will carry a variety of fresh, organic selections, he envisions people taking cooking classes held in the restaurant’s exhibition kitchen. Next, they’ll visit the market to pick up the ingredients, and subsequently return to their Sky Homes to prepare the


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“We’ll focus on a Mediterranean diet, which ties in with Portofino’s Italian character.” Noting that a new boutique market will carry a variety of fresh, organic selections, he envisions people taking cooking classes held in the restaurant’s exhibition kitchen. chef ’s fabulous, healthy recipes. Those who prefer not to cook would also find signature dishes, expertly procured wines, and other delicacies in the Gulf-front restaurant and full-service bar. All things considered, many believe the most important addition to Portofino Island is the fourteen-thousand-square-foot conference center. “When they’re not here and they want to rent, the conference center is a huge boon to owners,” Rinke says. “It dramatically increases the value of existing units on the property. Portofino is already 95 percent booked all summer, and we’re already doing well in the spring and fall during weekends.

Right: With limitless vistas and front-row seating to nature’s splendor, each tower residence celebrates the magnificence of location with a seamless integration of interior and exterior living spaces. Below: Portofino’s Final Phase, or grand finale, incorporate the acclaimed features of the original tower residences along with the latest in construction technology, structural design, and aesthetics, all of which establish a skyhigh benchmark for luxury living on the Gulf Coast.

The conference center fills a huge void from Sunday through Thursday in the spring and fall. Owners will dramatically increase their investment from rental income on an already high-producing property.” With the refrain of mind, body, and soul wellness playing out on Portofino Island, the resort seems a natural fit for medical conferences. Certainly, Rinke and his team have positioned Portofino to shine relative to the most elite resorts. For comparison, he personally traveled numerous times back and forth to Miami and Fort Lauderdale with his son, Rhys, a partner in the development team and Levin Rinke Realty, to visit premier properties like Four Seasons, the Ritz-Carlton, and Oceana. “South Florida has thousands more condos than in any other part of the country, and there you can pay between $4 and $5 million for two thousand square feet of luxury,” Rinke asserts. “We would put this development up against the best South Florida has to offer.” In closing, he admits, “We drove our architects a little crazy, but the end product is a work of art—period.” No doubt, with Rinke and his team orchestrating every note, Portofino’s grand finale will be a work of art that appreciates over time.

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ell before breaking ground for Portofino Island Resort, developer Robert Rinke and the Santa Rosa Island Authority understood that attracting new residents and more tourists to their area required thoughtful planning. Certain enhancements, they knew, would be necessary to conserve the wondrous ecosystem and maintain the laidback coastal ambience. Accordingly, in 1997, they agreed to establish the Portofino Island Improvement Fund from a portion of the land use fees paid by each condo owner. Literally and figuratively, their intentions and actions demonstrate the relevance of an ancient Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. As chairman of the fund, Rinke explains that with public money lacking for such projects, much of the $6 million generated by the Portofino Island Improvement Fund to date

has been dedicated to improving Via De Luna Drive. That’s the road that runs eastward to Portofino. Investing $1.3 million, they put cobblestone pavers and richly landscaped medians at the approach to Portofino Island, not only to gentrify that stretch of Via De Luna, but also to calm traffic. The fund also designated $750,000 for a bathhouse with a breezeway, a beach overlook, and a boardwalk on the Gulf of Mexico side of Portofino Island—a significant convenience to beachgoers. Opening in spring of 2018, the all-concrete building adheres to Portofino Island’s design aesthetic and construction standards. Also, since the resort assumes responsibility for maintaining the property, all can count on a first-class experience. Complimentary niceties include men’s and women’s restrooms and showers, dressing areas, and baby changing stations.

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ther extensive landscaping for beautification would also not have been possible without the fund. “We have planted over four thousand palm trees on Via De Luna,” says Rinke. “The sable and pindo palmettos already make a big difference on the drive, and they’ll give even more of an island feel in years to come as they mature.” Rinke explains that oleander plants, known for their long-lasting blooms and hardiness, were also chosen to add lushness and color between the palmettos. Fort Pickens is another beneficiary of stately palms, an investment that exceeds $200,000. The Portofino Island Improvement Fund has also greatly elevated the island’s quality of life through alternative transportation. Rinke and Robert Babcock, owner of Premier Island Management Group, created an infrastructure on the resort that has allowed guests and residents to enjoy Portofino and nearby shopping, entertainment, and eateries at Pensacola Beach Boardwalk without getting in their cars. Rinke, who always wanted to expand that capability, says, “People use their cars 355 days of the year. They don’t want to drive around in traffic while they’re on vacation.”

Literally and figuratively, their intentions and actions demonstrate the relevance of an ancient Chinese proverb: The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. Thanks to a coordinated effort among the Portofino Island Development Fund, the Santa Rosa Island Authority, and the National Park Service (the latter of which manages the Gulf Islands National Seashore and Fort Pickens), it’s now possible to imagine a future in which only a few cars occupy the roads at Pensacola Beach. For starters, the Portofino Island Development Fund purchased three, open-air Pensacola Beach Trolley buses equipped with clean diesel engines. Individuals access the trolleys for free from forty-eight stops all over the island, including at Portofino’s east gate. The stops with their fanciful


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benches that resemble vintage surfboards are also courtesy of the fund. Two of the buses, going eastward and westward, run opposite of one another, and the third circulates through the Core. (The Core or center of Pensacola Beach begins at the Bob Sikes Bridge toll plaza, meets the crossroads of Via De Luna and Fort Pickens, and covers the Casino Beach parking lot to the bay.) A GPS tracks each trolley’s location, so one quick way of determining when a bus will arrive is by using a smartphone to scan the QR code at any stop. In addition to making the trolley system free and convenient, Rinke and other planners knew from experience that creating a delightful ride would compel people to hop aboard. Several years ago, similar buses operated for a limited time and Rinke recalls, “Our family lived in the Core, so we could easily walk to all the restaurants. Even so, our children would make us take the trolley and ride all over the island before going to dinner.” The old-fashioned styling with elevated seating allows passengers to take in the scenery, and coastal breezes keep

Opposite: The Pensacola Bay Ferry System is expected to launch in spring of 2018 for passengers to enjoy easy access to Quietwater Pier, Fort Pickens, and Downtown Pensacola. Photo by NPS Photo/Rainey Below: Proposed renderings of landscaped roundabouts that will improve traffic flow and scenery at key intersections along Pensacola Beach

everyone comfortable on the warmest days. “You feel the wind in your face while island music plays,” adds Rinke. He mentions, too, that the trolleys, helpfully, have racks for surfboards and bikes. With bike sharing arriving on the scene in spring of 2018—making Pensacola one of the first cities on the Gulf Coast to adopt such a program—the most difficult aspect of getting around might be choosing one’s preferred mode of transportation. Happily, seamless integration allows users to transfer from one option to the next as they go along. Paying minimal fees by day, month, or year, users rent BCycle bicycles from any downtown Pensacola or Pensacola Beach station and return them to any BCycle location close to their destination. Getting lost is never a worry with touch-screen GPS displays that offer route recommendations and turn-by-turn directions. Likewise, if bikers want to take a trolley break, they can do just that without relinquishing their wheels. Launching also in the spring of 2018, the Pensacola Bay Ferry System injects yet another collaborative transportation option. The National Park Service, listening to citizens, purchased the ferries with BP/Deepwater Horizon restoration funds. “They’re world-class, double-decker catamarans,” says Rinke. The fleet contains two seventy-five-foot-long catamarans, each with the capacity to carry 150 passengers.

Travelling in opposite directions, the ferries follow a triangular route and stop at three ports: downtown Pensacola, Pensacola Beach at Quietwater Pier, and Fort Pickens. Each leg of the journey lasts from thirty-five to forty-five minutes, giving passengers ample time to relax, appreciate the scenery, and learn about the region’s history and natural environment from a knowledgeable National Park Service ranger and the latest flatscreen monitors on board. Operating seasonally from mid-March to the end of October, the ferries follow a daily schedule from mid-May through mid-August. During the fringes, they run on weekends.

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400 Quietwater Beach Blvd Pensacola Beach, FL 32561 info@papaspizza.com · (850) 934 -1198

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018



ith ferries, trolleys, and bicycles to entice more visitors to Fort Pickens, the grounds are receiving a long-needed facelift with extensive rehabilitations of historic structures, new buildings, and a beautiful concrete pier. Assets include concessions, a restaurant, an interactive museum, a souvenir shop, rentals for sports like kayaking and paddleboarding, and restrooms. Landscaping with outdoor seating, tables, and umbrellas also invite picnicking and socializing. Clean-energy electric trams further take tourists, free of charge, all over the property to historic sites, the beach, and campgrounds. “The Gulf Island National Seashore receives millions of visitors each year for ecotourism,” says Rinke. “Of all the places on the Florida Panhandle, only here do you find clean transportation options—bikes, trolleys, ferries, and trams—that synergistically connect to each experience.”

“Of all the places on the Florida Panhandle, only here do you find clean transportation options—bikes, trolleys, ferries, and trams—that synergistically connect to each experience.” People, of course, still arrive and get around by car, which is why the Escambia County Destination Marketing Organization, comprising local hoteliers and others in the hospitality industry, worked for over eight years with county commissioners and the Santa Rosa Island Authority to resolve traffic congestion at the Core of Pensacola Beach. The result is a $20 million traffic solution and beautification project, funded in part by a special option sales tax. Above all, the configuration keeps traffic flowing as drivers exit the bridge, and a major innovation eliminates interactions between cars and pedestrians. Addressing the first issue, Rinke says, “Traffic has always backed up at the toll plaza, so there will be no more booth stop. You can either buy a SunPass or you’ll receive a bill.” The next hitches—traffic lights and left turns—are being replaced by roundabouts, which permit cars to move 42

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on and make only right turns. “There will be no more stopping at a traffic light on the beach,” Rinke assures. Moreover, ten-foot-wide pedestrian pads, providing ample room for walkers and bikers, lead to pedestrian underpasses. Rather than waiting at an impossibly busy intersection for an opportunity to cross, individuals take a safe path and stay clear of cars. “By 2019, we’ll have a pedestrian-centric Core in Pensacola Beach,” says Rinke. While some might find it ironic that robust planning and bold changes with cutting-edge technology are necessary to preserve a town’s quaint character and natural history, that’s precisely what has happened on Pensacola Beach. When Rinke says, “This is a pedestriancentric, eco-recreation island,” he’s describing the place as it was ages ago. Portofino residents and guests can acquire maps, schedules, and other insights about trolley, ferry, bike, and tram services, plus purchase advance ferry tickets, from the Front Desk or Concierge.

Top: With the expected completion of Portofino Island Resort’s Towers Six and Seven in 2020 and numerous improvements to Santa Rosa Island as a whole in the coming years, Pensacola Beach is sure to welcome visitors to a beautiful and enjoyable destination on the Gulf of Mexico. Inset: Open-air trolleys with clean diesel engines access forty-eight stops along the island, including Portofino Island Resort’s eastern gate.

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or centuries, artists, writers, and musicians have flocked to coastal areas around the world for inspiration. Today, much remains the same as songwriters, novelists, photographers, and all manner of creative souls find solace on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida. We caught up with two singer-songwriters who recently found the heart and soul of their music at Portofino Island Resort. Brothers Brad and Curtis Rempel of High Valley, a country music duo originally from Blumenort, Alberta, Canada, now reside in Nashville and are signed with Atlantic Records. We spoke with Brad about his favorite vacation spot and recording studio, Portofino Island Resort! Portofino Life: It’s always a pleasure to have you as a guest at Portofino Island. Tell us a little about why you love the resort. Brad Rempel: Every year—up to three or four times a year if our schedule allows—my wife and I take our kids to Portofino. It’s a quick six-and-a-half-hour drive from our home just south of Nashville, Tennessee. We are morning people, so we wake up really early and pack the SUV. By the time our boys have talked our ears off, watched a movie, made a pit stop for ice cream, and had a quick nap, we’re within minutes of the beach we like to call our home away from home. Since I travel all the time with High Valley, my idea of a good vacation is literally never leaving the resort property. Thanks to the pools, restaurants, beaches, and water sports at Portofino, we can eat, sleep, and play all in the same location!

WHEN PEOPLE LISTEN TO THE DEAR LIFE ALBUM, I REALLY HOPE THEY CAN FEEL THE ENERGY WE FEEL EVERY TIME WE RECORD AND VACATION AT PORTOFINO. PL: What inspired you to mix business with vacation and write music— and record it—at Portofino Island? Brad: A couple years ago, I convinced my friends (and cowriters/producers) and their families to join our family on the trip to Pensacola. Now, we take trips to Portofino every six months to write songs and record them all from the glorious views of our Sky Homes! The first batch of songs we wrote at Portofino ended up landing High Valley a record deal with Warner Brothers / Atlantic Records. When the staff at Warner asked which studio we had used, they were shocked to find out that most of the recording happened with one mic and a laptop while we were staring at the beach.

When it was time for us to complete our debut major label album, Dear Life, we headed back to where we created the songs that got us a record deal in the first place. We’ve now made three trips to Portofino specifically for the purpose of writing and recording. One of the songs we wrote and recorded on the beach, “Young Forever,” is featured on ESPN broadcasts during college basketball season and is also on the football video game Madden NFL 17. That’s pretty special to me, considering the song was created moments after spending hours on the beach throwing a football with my two sons. PL: We love seeing families making new memories at the resort! What’s the best thing about writing and recording your music at the beach? Brad: It’s such a great way for us to get the work done to complete new albums, all while spending time making beautiful memories with our families. We hang out with our wives and kids in the mornings and evenings, and spend the afternoons writing and recording songs. I can’t imagine our life without all the beautiful moments and memories we’ve made together as friends and families down on the Gulf Coast. When people listen to the Dear Life album, I really hope they can feel the energy we feel every time we record and vacation at Portofino. Perhaps no lyric summarizes it better than “Memory Makin’.” PL: Thanks, Brad! We can’t wait to hear more music inspired by your time here at Portofino Island. LEARN MORE AND LISTEN TO THE ALBUM DEAR LIFE AT HIGHVALLEYMUSIC.COM. P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


riends of High Valley and fellow Canadian country stars, the Hunter Brothers, also spent time at Portofino Island Resort recording the music video for their single, “Getaway.” The upbeat track pairs perfectly with a day of fun in the sun, and brothers Luke, J.J., Ty, Brock, and Dusty Hunter had a blast filming the video at the resort. Ty shares the experience with us: PL: Thanks for joining us at Portofino Island Resort. We love the “Getaway” music video! Ty Hunter: Our stay at Portofino was nothing short of amazing. First off, we were on the beach at one of the most beautiful resorts we had ever been to; and furthermore, we were shooting a music video in the Florida sun. Could things get any better? PL: We certainly enjoyed having the Hunter Brothers here! How did the music video for “Getaway” come to Portofino Island? Ty: We teamed up with film directors the Edde Brothers to make the official music video for 46

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the title track off our debut country record, “Getaway.” A party on a pontoon boat, a winter scene in Christmas attire on the beach, and a hockey game in the sand were just a few of the memorable moments of our stay. This was clearly one of the highlights of our musical career—and, quite frankly, of our lives. We were treated incredibly well—right from arrival to our departure—at the resort. Between the helpful staff, the food, and the beautiful room we had the privilege of staying in, it was a memory we won’t ever forget. The smiles on our faces said it all that day, as we felt right at home. We hope to come back again in the near future, and would recommend the resort to anyone who is interested in catching some rays and planning an unforgettable “Getaway.” PL: Thank you, Ty. We hope to see you again soon! LEARN MORE AND WATCH THE “GETAWAY” MUSIC VIDEO AT HUNTERBROTHERS.COM.

Above (L-R): Hunter Brothers—Brock, Luke, Ty, J.J., and Dusty Hunter

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


b e ache s t hat will take your breath away By Susan Benton Photography Courtesy of Visit Pensacola

Like much of the Florida Panhandle, Pensacola Beach is blessed with lots of powdery, sugar-white sand. But what sets it apart is an independent community with its own unique history, not to mention a cool neon sailfish sign that beckons travelers off of Highway 98 with 1960s flair.


ensacola Beach is unincorporated and administered by Escambia County. The eight-and-one-quarter square miles of land that comprise Pensacola Beach were originally owned by the United States Department of the Interior but were deeded to Escambia County in 1947 on the condition that the land would never be sold. As a result, there are no property owners in the community, only long-term leaseholders. In the community of Pensacola Beach there are quite a few stretches of shoreline to choose from, depending on your tastes. Waiting just outside the gates of Portofino Island Resort are areas with a party atmosphere, kid-friendly zones, and miles of white sand and protected solitude. Lying just east of Portofino Island within the confines of the Gulf Islands National Seashore and part of the National Park Service is Opal Beach, created after Hurricane Opal wiped out the sand dunes there in 1995. There are no amenities other than a restroom and a few picnic tables, but savoring a day in paradise by relaxing, swimming, or fishing at this unspoiled beach is priceless.

With jewel-green waters, squeaky quartz sand, colorful marine creatures, and plenty of sunshine, it’s no wonder they are consistently rated among the best in the country. Casino Beach, the most popular beach on the island, is located on Via de Luna Drive West. It is named for the Casino Resort, the first tourist destination on the island, which opened on the same day in 1931 as the first Pensacola Beach Bridge. The resort eventually closed in the 1960s. Today, there is a lifeguard and police presence, along with vendors and a fishing pier, and Casino Beach is within walking distance to the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk, which offers spectacular dining and shopping. Most of Pensacola Beach and Santa Rosa Island’s modern history began with Fort Pickens, which was completed in 1834 and used continually until after World War II. In 1971, the coastal land east and west of the community, still owned by the United States government, was designated part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore (protecting twelve barrier islands in Florida and Mississippi). This out-of-the-way beach is located just before the Fort Pickens gate and is one of the best on the island. Offering restrooms, lifeguard protection, ample parking, and lots of shells and white sand, it also has far less traffic than busy Casino Beach. Make sure not to cross the Fort Pickens park boundary when visiting; the shoreline there is off limits due to nesting shorebirds. Langdon Beach, located inside Fort Pickens, was named for Lieutenant Loomis L. Langdon, a soldier stationed at the fort during the Civil War who eventually became commander in the 1880s (during Geronimo’s famous imprisonment there). Here guests will find a picnic area with bathrooms as well as a lifeguard tower. Located between the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk and the Pensacola Beach Bridge toll booth is Quietwater Beach on the Santa Rosa Sound.

The gentle lapping water with no rip currents is what gives this beach its name. This is the perfect place for children to explore under the watchful eyes of their parents and a lifeguard. Pensacola’s beaches are as diverse as they are beautiful. With jewel-green waters, squeaky quartz sand, colorful marine creatures, and plenty of sunshine, it’s no wonder they are consistently rated among the best in the country. Southern Living, Condé Nast Traveler, the Travel Channel, Dr. Beach, the Clean Beaches Council, and more have voted this stretch of over twenty miles as some of the best beaches in the country. Come see them for yourself!


P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


Soft gray and calming blue tones throughout the Sky Home’s decor, along with natural materials, inspire relaxation in this oasis on the Gulf of Mexico.


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into the


A Gulf-Front Condo Gets a Makeover By VIRGINIA REED Photography by ROMONA ROBBINS

When Susan Benton, a food and travel writer, sold her family home in Old Seagrove along Scenic Highway 30-A, located steps from the Gulf in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, she suddenly felt liberated yet nervous. “It happened so quickly!” Susan says. “Our children grew up on 30-A, but I blinked, and they were off to college. I thought I would prepare the home to be a spring and summer rental but decided at the last minute to put it on the market. It sold immediately, along with all of our furnishings.”

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


Oyster shells on the chandelier add a touch of whimsy and local flair to the airy and sophisticated dining room. Opposite: The bedding in the Sky Home is by Pandora de Balthazรกr in downtown Pensacola. The Pandora de Balthazรกr European Sleep System is renowned for creating a spa-like sleep experience.

“The beach was calling. In the past, I would often reserve a week at Portofino for our children’s spring break so we could be close to Phil but also feel like we were on vacation. The resort meets everyone’s needs. The entire family was on board with the Sky Home purchase.”


lanning to stay in the area and build a smaller nest while living a more minimal lifestyle, Susan purchased a lot on Western Lake in Grayton Beach. During the planning stages with her architect, they learned that all of the property surrounding the rare coastal dune lakes had fallen into litigation, so that plan was put on hold. Susan and her husband, Philip, decided to stay at their other home in Pensacola, Florida. With the new information at hand, Philip says, “I had dutifully been the one driving back and forth from my orthopedic practice and our Pensacola home to South Walton for nineteen years. We made it work and raised two wonderful people, but I was glad to put the brakes on for a while.”

Once settled in Pensacola and embracing a city rich in culture and history, Susan felt something was missing. “The beach was calling,” she explains. This prompted the couple to start looking at the beautiful Sky Homes of Portofino Island Resort. “In the past, I would often reserve a week at Portofino for our children’s spring break so we could be close to Phil but also feel like we were on vacation. The resort meets everyone’s needs. The entire family was on board with the Sky Home purchase.” Immediately upon closing, the couple went straight to Duh, a home and garden store located in the Ninth Avenue Design District of Pensacola. Owners Jim Rigsbee and Quinn Stinson, along with designer Stevie Welch, became heavily involved in choosing the interiors and garden furnishings for the Bentons’ new property. “Coming into the project with nothing was very freeing, as we could be selective about the pieces that would fill the space,” says Susan. “It was a blank canvas to start fresh, and as an artist, too, I got excited about that.”

Gray silk, deep blue velvet, sand-colored linen, and neutral cotton fabrics add different textures and layers in the home, creating a sophisticated urban vibe injected with seaside style. The palette began to unfold with the team choosing natural hues inspired by the coastal landscape seen from the Sky Home’s terrace balcony. Gray silk, deep blue velvet, sandcolored linen, and neutral cotton fabrics add different textures and layers in the home, creating a sophisticated urban vibe injected with seaside style. P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018



tevie created a master bedroom with a spa-like atmosphere. Pandora de Balthazár, whose boutique is also located in the Ninth Avenue Design District, completed the oasis with the perfect bedding ensemble. Pandora de Balthazar’s European Sleep System is a nationally renowned brand that specializes in creating an environment in the bedroom that revitalizes the body, mind, and spirit. “I already used Pandora’s sleep system and knew it was a must,” says Susan. “Pandora and I have been in similar nearfatal accidents where we were left bedridden for a long period, and we can both attest to the need for comfortable bedding.” The pure Hungarian goose down and feather blend, along with fine Italian sheeting and bespoke embroidery, translates to an experience of comfort and relaxation. Waking up refreshed means more time spent outdoors for some of the Benton family’s favorite activities. “We enjoy kayaking in the Sound, shelling on the beach, cooking together, and dining al fresco—that is, when we’re not taking advantage of the resort’s many wonderful food options,” Susan says. “Jim Rigsbee did

an amazing job selecting the terrace planters and the plants, making our balcony the perfect outdoor entertainment area. The garden is thriving, especially the herbs.”

the abstract art Susan painted for the foyer. The delicate oyster-and-precious-stone chandelier commands center stage from above, keeping the dining room’s mood light and airy.

Back inside, Quinn worked tirelessly with an Atlanta artist to design the custom wood and zinc-top dining table; this is paired with modern Lucite-and-metal chairs. They play off the large mirror flanked by mesh metal sconces and the Lucite-and-glass lamps that highlight

“Working with the team at Duh was truly a collaborative effort,” Philip attests. “They helped us create the perfect environment to start a new chapter—one that, excitingly enough, will include celebrating our daughter’s wedding at Portofino this year.”

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PORTOFINO LI F E 2 0 1 7 – 2 0 1 8

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018




board! Cruise the Waters on Portofino I

Explore the gentle waters of Santa Rosa Sound aboard Portofino

Island’s sixty-three-foot semi-enclosed catamaran, the Portofino I.

From relaxing sightseeing and dolphin cruises to convenient shuttle service to the shops and restaurants of the Portofino Boardwalk, the

Portofino I offers guests a fun option for travel around the resort’s

natural surroundings, with a unique perspective on getting from

here to there.

The catamaran is a 2004 Cooper Marine sixty-three-foot Caribbean originally hailing from Saint Petersburg, Florida. Its two turbo diesel engines produce a total of 965 horse power for speeds up to 35 knots, though the cruising speed of 23 knots is best for enjoying your trip across the Santa Rosa Sound and hopefully spotting some playful dolphins along the way! Up to 130 passengers can board Portofino I for a unique group event experience with Portofino Island’s private cruises and event packages. The vessel features two restrooms and spacious decks, providing the ultimate comfort for you and your guests.

Contact the Concierge prior to your arrival for the latest schedule. For more information on private functions and special events, e-mail events@portof inoisland.com for more information.


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P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


Pensacola Beach Boardwalk—a delightful Portofino I catamaran cruise, a lift abroad an open-air trolley, a pleasant bike ride, or a quick car ride away from Portofino Island Resort—is a treasure trove on Pensacola Beach. hether stopping by for a short visit or spending a full day, natives and tourists alike love the fabulous food and retail therapy, plus the free entertainment and family-friendly fun. Upon disembarking (or parking), visitors quickly absorb the island spirit while taking in the scenery and considering where they want to shop or eat. No matter what they choose to do, a stroll along the boardwalk, which is right on the Santa Rosa Sound, usually culminates in finding a vantage point to relax and observe all of the activity on and off the water. Many—the youngest children and the kids at heart—can’t resist a refreshing dip, so they are happy to know that swimming is allowed at the aptly named Quietwater Beach. A great place to socialize and unwind while keeping an eye on their little swimmers, Pensacola Beach Boardwalk is a favorite


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venue for parents. The atmosphere is both laid-back and festive, especially when live musicians perform. Bands often perform in the Shell, the bandstand facing Pensacola Beach Boardwalk Amphitheatre, which arguably has the best seats on the beach at sunset. While enjoying the island vibe, treasure seekers on the lookout for something shiny and new must dive into the shops. Whether just browsing or on a mission to buy, guys and gals find an assortment of the familiar brands they love as well as distinctive items not seen elsewhere. Before, after, and in between other activities, grown-ups and kids also welcome the variety of eateries with menus worth celebrating. Before venturing to Pensacola Beach Boardwalk, individuals should take note: only one visit compels most to return again and again!

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


Boardwalk Retail Shops, Restaurants & Bars Cactus Flower Cafe

(850) 934-5999 | cactusflowercafe.net Cactus Flower Cafe, a Mexican restaurant with additional locations in Pensacola and Navarre, Florida, specializes in flavorful, healthy Californiastyle Mexican cuisine. Fabulous appetizers, delicious entrées, and incredible desserts are all made fresh in-house. A vast list of specialty cocktails enhances the dining experience.

Envie Boutique

(850) 934-7050 | facebook.com/tonenvie Envie, a boutique that patrons visit regularly (which might be weekly or every year they return to Pensacola Beach), always has the latest beach and city fashions. Multiple generations of women find something trendy, flirty, graceful, and sophisticated to love in brands that include Free People, Lilly Pulitzer, Trina Turk, and Southern Point Co. Precious children’s clothing, perfect gifts, and the best accessories are also hard to resist. Furthermore, to everyone’s delight, the merchandise constantly changes! Even the guys, who assumed only the comfortable rockers out front would interest them, look forward to checking out the latest in Envie’s designer men’s clothing.

Salty Beach Outfitters

850) 934-1009 | facebook.com/saltybeachoutfitters Salty Beach Outfitters is a necessity for ladies and gents who know that the refined, preppy styles favored in the South look great anywhere they travel. All find fabulous options in casual coastal apparel and accessories, such as shirts, dresses, T-shirts, shorts, swim trunks, cover-ups, hats, and sunglasses. Brands include Southern Tide, Lauren James, Columbia, Maui Jim, Lokai, and more. 60

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The Wine Bar – A Bistro

(850) 916-1009 / winebarbistro.com Accessed through Envie or its own entrance, The Wine Bar – A Bistro features wines by the glass, the flight, or the bottle, plus specialty beers, coffee, and other beverages. The quaint wine shop also serves as a wonderful eatery with bistro fare—salads, sandwiches, and soups. While enjoying a delicious meal or sampling imported cheeses, patrons can discuss complementing wine selections with the knowledgeable and amiable staff. Special wine tastings also take place, and private events can also be arranged.

Bamboo Willie’s Beachside Bar (850) 916-9888 | bamboowillies.com

Bamboo Willie’s Beachside Bar is all about fun—including dancing on a huge open-air deck and live music on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Known for its ten frozen daiquiri flavors, Bamboo Willie’s also has a fantastic selection of beers and several specialty drinks.

Boardwalk Cafe (850) 934-1223

Boardwalk Cafe presents casual, family-friendly café dining with American, Greek, and Mediterranean dishes. The ice cream parlor is also among the most popular stops on the beach.

Go Fish Clothing & Jewelry Co. (850) 934-5251 | gofishclothing.com

A landmark on the Pensacola Boardwalk since 1989, Go Fish Clothing & Jewelry Co. carries fashion, art, and more. Along with wonderful women’s resort wear, accessories, and jewelry, shoppers find Sun ’N’ Sand hats and bags, custom-fitted toe rings, nautical sterling silver jewelry, beaded and seashell jewelry, and fragrances. Other items include wood carvings from Bali, Russell Grace photography and paintings, and an eclectic array of unique Christian merchandise, souvenirs, and gifts.

Hemingway’s Island Grill

(850) 934-4747 / hemingwaysislandgrill.com Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s thirst for adventure and great food, Hemingway’s Island Grill presents handcrafted dishes, many featuring seafood. Themed according to islands far and near, each selection treats diners to a unique port of call. Specialty drinks complete the adventure. P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018



850) 934-9464 | hootersonline.net The iconic Hooters, launched in 1983 by six businessmen in Clearwater, Florida, features great wings, all kinds of beer and wine, and beautiful Hooters Girls. The boardwalk location also offers full bar service with cocktails that exist just for the fun of it, starting with their names: Blonde Bombshell, Christmas Light Lemonade, T Bird Tea, Purple Hooters, and Beam Me Up Scotty!

International Boutique (850) 932-0055

Aptly named International Boutique, this colorful specialty shop reflects owner Margaret Araujo’s European and Latin travels, as well as her bohemian sense of style. Originally from Dublin, Ireland, Margaret has lived all over the world and has chosen many one-of-a-kind items for her boutique. Highlights include fun jewelry, great sandals, and a marvelous selection of clothing—from casual to cruise wear—offered at terrific prices. Customers of all ages love the charming, old-world atmosphere and service.

Islanders Coastal Outfitter

(850) 916-0454 | islandsurf.com | facebook.com/ islanderspensacolabeach A go-to place for beach attire and accessories since 1980, Islanders Coastal Outfitter offers the latest swimwear, tank tops, flip-flops, Tshirts, and sunglasses. In addition to the shop’s famous pig logo T-shirts, brands include Oakley, Ray-Ban, Costa, Patagonia, Rainbow, OluKai, Reef, Hurley, Billabong, Quiksilver, Volcom, and many more.

Papa’s Pizza

(850) 934-1198 | papaspizza.com Papa’s Pizza specializes in New York–style pizzas, made by hand with traditional methods that date back to the 1940s. Owner Mike Pinzone pledges a two-bite, money-back guarantee: “If you take two bites and you don’t like it, we’ll give you your money back—no questions asked.” The most popular menu items are the Celebrity Pizzas, which are loaded with fresh toppings.





W W W.T H E A R M O R E D F R O G . C O M






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Tucked away in the northwest corner of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Pensacola is a town many have heard of but few truly know. For a long time, Pensacola has been known as the place where your cousin went to Navy flight school, the place that those Blue Angels are from, or probably the place you passed through to get to a more well-known Gulf Coast destinations.


ensacola is an old city; in fact, it’s the oldest in America—sort of. In 1559, Tristán de Luna y Arellano and his ships landed in Pensacola with the intention of establishing a permanent colony. Although the colonization was ultimately unsuccessful, Pensacola still holds the distinction as the United States’ first European multiyear settlement. Despite this fact, the city seemed to lag behind other historic tourist destinations in the South, such as Saint Augustine or Charleston. Whether this was by design or merely an oversight by leaders of a bygone era is a discussion for another time. One thing is certain today: Pensacola is changing. This once-slumbering city is transitioning into a premier Southern destination. Over the past decade talented individuals and organizations have focused their efforts on revitalizing Pensacola’s downtown, with particular attention given to the historic and waterfront areas. One of these is the Downtown Improvement Board (DIB), whose mission is to encourage residential and commercial growth downtown. Since the organization’s beginning, some forty years ago, the DIB has been working to revitalize areas of downtown. The Gallery Nights concept is one of their most successful and noteworthy ventures. Once a month the city shuts down Palafox Street to allow foot traffic to roam freely through the heart of downtown. This gives businesses an opportunity to showcase their products. Businesses range from art galleries to boutiques, fine dining restaurants to sports bars, and coffee shops to music venues. They have also implemented other community events such as the Foo Foo Fest, a twelve-day festival that celebrates the best of art, music, food, culture, and everything in between. Through

these events the DIB has helped to cultivate and foster a rich cultural and artistic environment that makes Pensacola stand out from other Gulf Coast cities. Along with contributions from the DIB, several other events in Downtown Pensacola have created a vibrant environment for residents and vacationers. Pensacola was the first coastal Panhandle city to implement Ciclovia Open Streets, a worldwide movement that promotes active and healthy cities. A portion of downtown is temporarily closed and anyone can run, walk, bike, or skateboard freely. The McGuire’s Saint Patrick’s Day Prediction 5K, typically attended by tens of thousands of people, also encourages an active community, but with a twist: participants can celebrate with a pint of beer at a post-race party. Events like the Seafood Festival and Crawfish Festival highlight Pensacola’s distinctive culinary traditions. Downtown Pensacola also knows how to celebrate a holiday. This is evident in the Mardi Gras parades, Winterfest, and the New Year’s Eve Pelican Drop. All together, these events make Downtown Pensacola one of the most exciting parts of the city.

ONE THING IS CERTAIN TODAY: PENSACOLA IS CHANGING. THIS ONCE-SLUMBERING CITY IS TRANSITIONING INTO A PREMIER SOUTHERN DESTINATION. The festivals and events that help make Pensacola a special place did not just appear out of thin air. Countless dedicated and energetic businesses and individuals work hard to create a robust economic and cultural downtown setting. One business in particular, Studer Properties, aims at improving the quality of life in Pensacola through developments like the Bodacious shops, Main Street, and recently, the Blue Wahoos Stadium, which now houses Pensacola’s minor league baseball team. The team and stadium have provided another focal point of entertainment for the downtown area. And then there’s Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen and Taproom. This legendary bar and restaurant was one of the first to be built on Palafox Street in 2008 and served as a catalyst for other bars and restaurants to move to the area. Hopjacks’ owner, Joe Abston, modestly claims that his contributions are a product of good timing and a lot of luck. However, P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


Curt Morse, executive director of the DIB, disagrees, calling Abston a “trailblazer.” Morse says that Abston’s vision for Downtown Pensacola and his commitment to its realization was essential to the development of the area. Today, Hopjacks is one of the most recognized restaurants in the Gulf Coast and a must-stop on anyone’s bar-hopping adventure.

SOME IDEAS INCLUDE ADDING A BUSKERS FESTIVAL WITHIN THE LARGER FOO FOO FEST THIS FALL, IN WHICH STREET PERFORMERS CAN SHOW OFF THEIR MUSIC, DANCING, OR THEATER SKILLS. Other iconic downtown establishments, such as Seville Quarter (named one of the top one hundred establishments in the United States by Nightclub & Bar), O’Riley’s, Intermission, and Vinyl Music Hall, have contributed to reviving Downtown Pensacola. As Pensacola’s downtown has flourished, its area has also grown. A new and trendy district known as SOGO (South of Government Street) has become a haven for quirky boutiques and artisan eateries. SOGO includes establishments such as the Pensacola Museum of Art, the Quayside Art Gallery, Jaco’s Bayfront Bar and Grille, and Plaza de Luna. Downtown institutions like the T.T. Wentworth Museum and Historic Pensacola Village round out a distinctive and diverse downtown experience. With so much continuing growth, where will Pensacola be in the next five to ten years? Well, expectations are huge and plans are many. This year alone, Downtown Pensacola will see $52 million in renovation and construction that will bring new transportation systems, resident buildings, businesses, and art installations. One of the upcoming plans is to implement a solar-powered trolley system in the area, which would be the first in the Gulf Coast. “As Americans, we are so car-centric, but that doesn’t 66

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work downtown. That’s why it’s critical to come up with ways to augment that, and I think we can do that through a trolley system” says Morse. This system includes six fifteen-passenger ecofriendly trolleys and is slated to begin a trial run in summer 2017. If all goes well, this could be a permanent fixture in the future. You can also expect to see some of Pensacola’s signature cultural events getting revamped in the coming year. Some ideas include adding a buskers festival within the larger Foo Foo Fest this fall, in which street performers can show off their music, dancing, or theater skills. The DIB may potentially bring the Instagram-

Above left: The Al Fresco stationary food trucks on Palafox Street are the perfect stop for a quick lunch or dinner. Left: The trendy SOGO (South of Government Street) district offers shopping, dining, and more. Above right: Many downtown eateries, including Carmen’s Lunch Bar, offer outdoor seating. Right: Vinyl Music Hall on the corner of Palafox and Garden Streets hosts concerts and special events year-round.


HOT SPOTS SEVILLE QUARTER Since 1967, Seville Quarter has been Pensacola’s premier bar, serving up food and drinks in a total of seven distinctive rooms. Whether you prefer dancing, dueling pianos, billiards, live bands, or a drink in the courtyard, Seville is the place for you. SevilleQuarter.com

HOPJACKS PIZZA KITCHEN AND TAPROOM Named one of the best beer bars by DRAFT magazine in 2010, Hopjacks offers 112 different beers on tap with over 120 bottled selections. A downtown staple since 2008, the bar offers specials every night of the week and is frequently featured in the Pensacola News Journal’s Beer Garden column. Hopjacks.com


One of Pensacola’s favorite seafood destinations, the Fish House also offers fresh sushi, steak, a large selection of wine, and one of the best views of the bay. The Fish House has won numerous awards and has been featured on TV shows like Emeril’s Florida and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. FishHousePensacola.com


worthy Umbrella Sky Project to Jefferson Street. The Umbrella Sky Project is a European art installation that uses colorful umbrellas as a fun and cost-effective way of providing shade for pedestrians. Pensacola would be the first US city to adopt this trend.

At the crossroads of Historic Pensacola and local favorite restaurants is Seville Square, an ideal location for holding various festivals like Smokin’ in the Square and the Seafood Festival. Spend the day learning about Pensacola’s history and then enjoy a beer at the Pensacola Bay Brewery, followed by dinner at a great selection of restaurants.

In sharing ideas for downtown, Morse also talked about ways to make mundane but necessary structures, like a parking garage, more interesting and unique by working them in with the overall landscape of downtown. “Could it be cool and sexy? Could it have interactive screens on the exterior that play movies? Could the bottom floor be a new home for Palafox Market or something else?” asks Morse. This creative solution is not the only idea being thrown around about potential renovations. “What if we could create transportation connections between Downtown Pensacola and the beach?” Morse asks. “This could really support our local economy.” Who knows if these ideas could become a reality in the future, but this kind of creative thinking allows Downtown Pensacola to stay competitive with other tourist destinations.

VINYL MUSIC HALL Cocreated by Joe Abston, Vinyl Music Hall is one of the best places to go in Pensacola to see your favorite band. This state-of-the art music hall provides a wide range of musical acts and shows and is also connected to the high-style 5 1/2 Bar.

Over the last decade, Downtown Pensacola has been slowly transformed into the artistic and cultural heart of the city and it will only get better from here. This year’s initiatives and the future plans for Downtown Pensacola position the city to become the “epicenter of the Gulf Coast.” However, Pensacola, for all of its culture and grit, its history and architecture, is nothing without its people. People are what give a city its ambition, its heart. It’s what ultimately makes a city worth cherishing, and as Morse says, “It’s our job to protect and maintain what we cherish.” P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018





P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


Mackenzie and Rhys Rinke October 15, 2016

Our Love Story

Rhys and I are both from Pensacola, but we did not know each other growing up; he went to Gulf Breeze High School and I went to Pensacola Catholic High School. We met in the summer of 2014 when I had just moved home after graduating from the University of Alabama. Rhys was living at home for the summer but was going back to Florida Atlantic University in the fall for his last semester. We met while celebrating a mutual friend’s birthday. It was a fun night, to say the least. Rhys and I got locked into a conversation, and I am so glad we did. I realized not long after talking to him that he was someone I wanted to spend all of my time with. I had never met anyone like him, and all of his friends will say the same thing. He is a life-loving, fun, and caring soul, and I knew I had found someone special. When he went back to school for those few months, we were both driving ten hours every other week to see each other. We fell in love immediately, and I knew it was a forever kind of love.

We got to celebrate and take it all in with our best friends right before we were introduced at the reception as husband and wife. It was magical.

Forever Begins

The proposal was the best surprise of my life! Rhys and I took a ski trip to Bend, Oregon. We had been there for two days skiing, and during a blizzard at the top of the mountain, Rhys started telling me how much he loved me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I loved how sweet he was being—but all I could think about was going inside to get a bowl of warm chili. Then he pulled a little box out of his ski jacket and got down on his knee. I was in shock. I think my tears turned into icicles. Just when I thought I couldn’t be any more surprised, Rhys said, “Look who you get to tell first,” and there were my parents and his standing behind me!

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


Making Plans

Planning the wedding was fun! I wish we could do it all over again. Being from Pensacola and also being some of the first in our group of friends to get married, we knew we had to have the wedding in our hometown. The most beautiful part of Pensacola is the beach, and the most beautiful place on the beach is Portofino Island Resort, so it was a no-brainer! Portofino has the best wedding planner in town: Jessica Jensen. She made our vision come to life, and we can never thank her enough for all her hours of dedication and hard work.

The Big Day

Our day was perfect. All we really wanted was a beautiful sunset and our family and friends to have fun dancing the night away. We were successful! It was the most beautiful, calm sunset I had seen all year, and our family and friends boogied the whole time. One of my favorite parts of the night was taking the Portofino I ferry cruise from the ceremony site to the reception site with only the bridal party. We got to celebrate and take it all in with our best friends right before we were introduced at the reception as husband and wife. It was magical. To celebrate, Rhys and I took a honeymoon to one of our favorite places in the world—Maui!

Special Thanks Wedding Planner: Jessica Jensen, Portofino Island Resort Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church Reception Venue and Catering: Portofino Island Resort Flowers: Celebrations Cake: Betty Weber Cakes Photography: Alp and Isle, alpandisle.com Videographer: StoryLive Productions Wedding Dress: Pronovias Bridesmaids Dresses: Amsale Lighting and Drapes: Wedding Walls Music: Heather Hayes Experience Hairstyling: Lindsay Preston, Chastain’s Makeup: DeSheri McClure, Urban Deshi

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018


Every Past ARMORED FROG HONORS MEMORIES By Hannah McLeaish Photography courtesy of Armored Frog


ver the last four years, Armored Frog, a luxury furniture studio located in Pensacola, Florida, has become increasingly popular for its expertise in fine carpentry and premium materials. Founder and president/CEO Joe Sinkovich and his team pride themselves on craftsmanship, making every piece a work of art and ensuring the best customer service possible.

Armored Frog’s unique designs are sought by customers and trade industry professionals across the country. Now, after a solid year of planning, designing, researching, and building, the former custom-only furniture makers have developed a full product line, the Valor Series. The series’ depth goes beyond what most studios would consider creating, but Armored Frog has proven once more that it will never be like most.

Each piece in Armored Frog’s new Valor series of furniture is handcrafted and honors a person, past or present, who represents strength, dedication, and grit. Pictured here: The Louis desk

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018



The idea of the Valor series is to remind buyers of the spirit of learning from those who came before, such as a son hunting with his father or a writer reading books from great authors.


Think back to your childhood. When you were young, it may not have occurred to you that you were even paying attention to your dad as he tapped the side of his thumb on his desk to drive his ongoing thought process. Now, you do the same thing. Maybe your childhood vacations were laid out on a road map and the push pin marks are still impressed in the desktop, or the drawer on the right is worn around the handle from years of opening and closing.

discover, the most important of these early life lessons is grit. It’s tough to define, but it helps to make us the people we will become as adults.

We grow up under the guidance and care of our loved ones, and then one day, we’re grown up and our loved ones are no longer there to teach us the things that no one else ever would. People taught us things like honesty and turning your cheek but also things like how to tell white lies and to use frozen peas to reduce swelling on a new shiner. Where did you learn to tie a knot for fly fishing? Who taught you to remember to oil your tools? When did you learn to clean your rifle, and that a dull knife is only good for butter? Who taught us those things, and what can we do to make sure that kind of relationship doesn’t disappear?

Armored Frog’s Valor furniture series is for the ones who hope to have the stamina to work half as hard as the ones who inspired them to do it all in the first place.

Armored Frog plans to do that by honoring the art of grit and dedication that it takes to be successful. As researchers across the world are starting to

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According to American psychologist and author Angela Duckworth, “Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Reaching back in time, Armored Frog chose to honor people, places, and things with grit for the memories and lessons they have instilled in us, both as individuals and as a nation. Their stories serve to remind us of the work it has taken to be in the places we are, and the importance of their continued existence in our own lives.

More and more, trade skills like carpentry are dwindling among average people. At the same time, more and more heirlooms are being discarded, simply because the new owners aren’t aware of how to fix the problems or imperfections they might have. That’s the beauty of heirloom quality furniture; it’s meant to be fixed.

Above: No detail is left unattended by the team of skilled craftsmen at Armored Frog. Pictured here: The Espada, the Commander, and the Louis desk.

Another mode of honoring grit and dedication came as second nature to Armored Frog in the form of the materials used to build the Valor series. Sinkovich has always impressed upon himself, his team, and his clients the imperative to use the highest quality materials and techniques available. That is how to create something truly special. Using raw woods, topof-the-line tools, hand-forged hardware, and hand-rubbed oil stains and varnishes are just a few ways Armored Frog creates masterpieces. The studio’s craftsmen hand check every piece to ensure top quality. The Valor series includes pieces with names honoring such figures as Andrew Carnegie, Winston Churchill, George Gershwin, Queen Elizabeth II, Frank Lloyd Wright, and many more. Learn the story behind each piece when you discover the collection by visiting Armored Frog or contacting them today.


P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018








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WHILE THERE ARE SEVERAL CITIES WITH PARADES, THERE ARE FEW WITH SO UNIQUE A CELEBRATION AS PENSACOLA’S FIESTA OF FIVE FLAGS. Established in 1949 by the local chamber of commerce, Fiesta—as the series of events is commonly called—has become the largest heritage and tourism celebration for Pensacola. While activities happen throughout the year, the main focus is the weeklong festival, usually in the first week of June. Central to the creation of Fiesta is Pensacola’s unique history. Unlike any other city in Florida, Pensacola has had five flags flown over it. The Spanish arrived first, planting the Cross of Burgundy flag in 1559. (Original Fiesta organizers used the flag of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who discovered Florida in 1513, because of its “pretty, oldworld look,” but this flag never flew over Pensacola.) Being established in 1559 meant Pensacola became the first city in what would be the continental United States settled by Europeans. Led by the conquistador Tristán de Luna, the expedition consisted of almost two thousand Spaniards, Aztecs, and African slaves. In comparison, the Jamestown expedition in 1607 involved just over a hundred settlers. The Spanish in Pensacola built a fort and other buildings; however, a hurricane and poor leadership caused them to abandon the city. In the Fiesta celebration, an upper middle-aged male is crowned “de Luna” and is escorted by a “queen” who is a dazzling beauty, usually college aged. They make periodic visits around town in masks and the

costumes of sixteenth-century Spaniards throughout the year and eventually unmask during the Fiesta Coronation Ball. Today in Pensacola, one can see signs saying “First City” or “America’s First City” that refer to this bit of trivia about the de Luna expedition. There is also a brass monument at Plaza de Luna honoring this attempt at settlement. Conversely, Saint Augustine, on Florida’s east coast, receives most of the attention as the oldest U.S. city. It was established by the Spanish in 1565 and has been continuously occupied. The Spanish did not return to reestablish Pensacola until 1698. They settled where the city’s Naval Air Station is today, but the French conquered and burned the city in 1719. Thus the French flag of the time, a white background with gold fleurs-de-lis, was raised. (Again, original Fiesta organizers used the medieval French flag, which has a blue background, to obtain better contrast between the flags.) The French did not repopulate the town, but

Below: Photo curtesy of Fiesta of Five Flags

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Under British rule, Pensacola thrived. The town was surveyed into the grid system that it has to this day. It became the capital of British West Florida, which spanned from the Apalachicola River in the east to the Mississippi River in the west and as far north as Natchez, Mississippi. By the time of the American Revolution, Pensacola was the largest city in Florida. A costumed male and female represent the British era during the Fiesta celebration.

instead occupied the charred remnants of the city with a dozen soldiers. During Fiesta, a costumed Frenchman represents this part of the history. After the war, the Spanish returned to Pensacola but relocated the city to Santa Rosa Island—near where the Fort Pickens campground is located on the Gulf Islands National Seashore. The city prospered until 1756 when a hurricane forced the relocation of the town to where the modern-day city is. The city’s beach location prompted the original Fiesta organizers to sponsor a treasure hunt on greater Pensacola Beach for many years. A chest full of valuables was buried annually, and clues to its whereabouts were published daily during the month before the main Fiesta activities.

BEING ESTABLISHED IN 1559 MEANT PENSACOLA BECAME THE FIRST CITY IN WHAT WOULD BE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES SETTLED BY EUROPEANS. The Fiesta treasure hunt on Pensacola Beach became a hugely popular community-wide event as thousands would descend with shovels to find the treasure chest. Indirectly, they discovered some other artifacts like old cars, boats, military items (from the two invasions that occurred there), and some real Spanish doubloons. By the 1980s, the digging had gotten out of hand, and the hunt transformed into a search for a Fiesta medallion that was hidden somewhere in the community. While this medallion—worth thousands of dollars in prize money or discounts—did not bring the same numbers as those who wanted to dig for treasure, it still attracted many seekers until this tradition was canceled due to too much property destruction accompanying the searches. The hunt is now a trivia contest from which the winners are randomly selected to receive daily prizes. The Spanish community on the mainland only lasted from 1756 to 1763, when all of Florida was ceded to Great Britain. British forces arrived in 1763 and planted the Union Jack, thus establishing the third flag to fly over Pensacola. Not one Spaniard remained to welcome the British. 82

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Pensacola’s prosperity and its strategic location, having the best deepwater port on the Gulf of Mexico, made the city a key objective for the Spanish when that country declared war against Britain in 1779. Eventually, in 1781, Spanish General Bernardo de Gálvez led an invasion force of about seven thousand troops against a smaller, heterogeneous force of Brits, Loyalists, Germans, and Indians fighting for the British. The battle became the longest siege of the American Revolution and remains the largest battle ever fought in Florida. Within the last few years, following the U.S. Congress making Galvez an honorary U.S. citizen—one of only eight foreigners to receive such a distinction—Fiesta has added more recognition of this important leader and his accomplishment in Pensacola. Spanish victory returned the city under the Spanish flag, but in 1821, European ownership ended. That is when General Andrew Jackson accepted ownership of West Florida from Spain.

Since 2016, this important transfer of ownership has been reenacted during Fiesta at the exact site where the original twenty-three-starred American flag was first hoisted in Plaza Ferdinand. Jacksonian troops, clad in shakos and authentic uniforms and bearing muskets, march into Plaza Ferdinand to the tunes played by a period-dressed fifer and drummers. Personnel representing the Spanish battalion that lowered the Spanish flag welcome them. After the ceremony, which includes more music and firing of muskets, the uniformed reenactors invite the public to participate in some of the same period dances that Jackson and the other Americans enjoyed.

AFTER THE CEREMONY, WHICH INCLUDES MORE MUSIC AND FIRING OF MUSKETS, THE UNIFORMED REENACTORS INVITE THE PUBLIC TO PARTICIPATE IN SOME OF THE SAME PERIOD DANCES THAT JACKSON AND THE OTHER AMERICANS ENJOYED. Lastly, the Fiesta organizers honor the city’s brief control under the Confederacy. The Stars and Bars flew over Pensacola from January 1861 to May 1862—a shorter amount of time than the French flag flew over the city. The Confederates left because their forces could not wrest control of Fort Pickens, which remained in Federal control throughout the war and guarded the entrance to Pensacola Bay. While Pensacola had the second-largest shipyard in the South, the Confederacy could not make use of this asset with Fort Pickens controlling the mouth of its bay.

Pensacola became a ghost town during the Civil War as most of its citizens evacuated to Alabama. Federal troops reoccupied the city and burned much of it upon their departure. Later, marauding Confederate troops burned other portions. Like the French period, the Confederate period was a dark time for the city, ending with destruction. Only one Confederate monument exists in Pensacola today. The city supplied one regiment—approximately a thousand men— during the war. Fewer than half returned unscathed. The monument remembers those who died for a cause in which they believed, and another male and female pair represent the era during Fiesta. The costumed people who represent the periods of Pensacola flags take their roles seriously. They act with much pageantry in their costumes, but their objective is to energize other citizens to reflect on the community’s past. Besides their honorary roles during Fiesta, these actors attend numerous activities throughout the year. De Luna’s 1559 landing is reenacted at Pensacola Beach. There are 10K and 5K run/ walks. Activities for children include treasure hunts at the park and other fun things to do. There is a boat parade, a motorized parade

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IN PENSACOLA, REMEMBERING THE PAST THROUGH THE FIESTA OF FIVE FLAGS HAS EVOLVED INTO A TRULY UNIQUE, COMMUNITY-WIDE CELEBRATION THAT IS FULL OF TRADITION, FUN, ACTIVITIES, AND LOTS OF FOOD AND PARTIES. down the main thoroughfare of Palafox Street, and food festivals. There are lots of parties and a coronation ball, where de Luna is unmasked. Because the Fiesta representative spots are limited in number and expensive to obtain, many civic groups over the years have organized to participate in Fiesta in an adjunct, unofficial capacity. One such group is the all-male Krewe of Lafitte, which pays tribute to the pirate Jean Lafitte, who operated on the Gulf Coast in the early nineteenth-century. Another group is the Mayoki Indians, who represent no real tribe but are a couples-only group who participate in Fiesta and the other social celebrations that occupy the annual calendar in Pensacola. Numerous other groups have sprung up, like the Hip Huggers, SWAT, and more, each with its own character. 84

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In Pensacola, remembering the past through the Fiesta of Five Flags has evolved into a truly unique, community-wide celebration that is full of tradition, fun, activities, and lots of food and parties. Wesley Odom is the owner of Go Retro, which operates Pensacola’s Hop-on Hop-off Tour and other historic area tours.



sunglasses by Oakley, Ray-Ban, Costa, Smith, and more; and Reef and OluKai sandals and casual shoes. When cooler temps hit the coast, Islanders also features outerwear, such as jackets by Patagonia.

The shops sell board shorts, swimsuits, hats, and Sun Bum sun care products; surf apparel from brands like Billabong, Hurley, and Roxy;

Iconic to the Islanders brand are its pig logo shirts and hats. Developed exclusively for Islanders, the original Beach Bacon character was a hot seller from the start, becoming a legend along the Gulf Coast and beyond. Today, the logo has evolved to a more modern, stylized pig face with sunglasses. “I got the idea of the Island Pig from when I lived in Hawaii. Maybe it’s the idea of a laid-back pig with no worries,” says Islanders owner John

slanders has long been established as the locals’ choice for cool beach and outdoor gear. Founded in 1980, the original Islanders location was in an old two-story tin-roofed building in downtown Fort Walton Beach. As the Emerald Coast grew into a popular beach destination, so did Islanders. Now, thirty-seven years later, Islanders has two store locations—the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk and the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk in Fort Walton Beach—as well as an online store at IslandersOutfitter.com.



Hambleton. “If we make our customers happy, then that’s all that matters. The Island Pig represents the ‘Aloha Y’all’ culture in our Islanders team and is a cool souvenir for our customers.”

Visit the Islanders location at the Boardwalk on your next visit to Pensacola Beach, or shop online at IslandersOutfitter.com, and enjoy free shipping to anywhere in the continental United States. Gear up with quality at Islanders!



in Downtown Pensacola


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n the heart of revitalized Historic Downtown Pensacola lies the SOGO District (named such because it’s SOuth of GOvernment Street). The pulse of the SOGO District is Palafox Street, named one of the top ten “Great Streets in America” by the American Planning Association and home of the Bodacious Family of Shops. There’s no better place to shop, savor, and share a wonderful day! Start by finding your perfect cup at the Bodacious Brew and Brew Thru, with gourmet coffees and espresso, made-to-order smoothies, and homemade breakfast items. Explore the joys of cooking and entertaining at So Gourmet, with its extraordinary kitchenry store, cooking demonstrations and classes, wine and cheese shop, and more. Sample the world’s finest gourmet and flavor-infused extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars at the Bodacious Olive. It’s truly a taster’s paradise, but eventually you’ll be ready for some more serious noshing. So Chopped is a delightful lunch spot where you can build your own gourmet salad or enjoy signature wraps, delicious soups, and built-to-order sandwiches, all made with the freshest and finest ingredients available. Stroll down to Blue Wahoos Stadium, our beautiful waterfront ballpark and home of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, the Double-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. The Blue Wahoos are a hometown team that’s owned by a hometown sports hero, Bubba Watson. Bubba is a world-famous golfer with two Masters Tournament championships, nine PGA Tour wins, and the 2014 World Golf Championship to his name. Our Blue Wahoos have won their fair share of awards, too, including “Best Minor League Ballpark Experience” by Stadium Journey and “Best Fan Experience” by Turnkey Intelligence. Take in a baseball game, let the kids run the bases, and delight in summer fireworks over Pensacola Bay. On the way home, swing by Bubba’s Sweet Spot for homemade ice cream, handcrafted chocolates, classic candies, and the mother of all M&M gravity drops. It’s a blast for families and kids of all ages who delight in Whirly Pops, PEZ, and Jelly Belly jelly beans. There’s something for everyone in Downtown Pensacola—from upscale shopping and fine dining to wholesome family fun and the best ballpark food this side of the Mississippi, including the Bubba Dub Grilled Cheese, a double-decker sandwich packed with melted deliciousness and crispy hash browns. Whatever you’re into, it’s a great place to explore unique experiences that enchant and entertain. To paraphrase Petula Clark, everything’s waiting for you, “SOGO” Downtown!

BodaciousOlive.com P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018



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Finding THE



Pensacola’s Belmont-DeVilliers district, once a thriving entertainment hub, makes a comeback By T.S. Strickland | Photography by Invoking Media

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t’s five o’clock on a Sunday, and Willie Jackson stands at the corner of a dimly lit bar inside the DeVilliers Cultural Heritage Museum. In front of him, about two dozen people are seated at tables or in scattered chairs, many dressed in their Sunday best. A few enjoy plates of collard greens and baked chicken, while others sway back and forth in their seats or stand fanning themselves and shouting “Hallelujah!” in time with the music. It’s Back to Gospel night at the museum, which is housed inside the historic Bunny Club in Pensacola’s Belmont-DeVilliers district, and Jackson is the evening’s distinguished host. Tonight, they’re sharing the stage with another group whose leader’s lung capacity seems matched only by his stamina. He paces back and forth while singing, spreading his arms heavenward, and mopping the sweat from his brow with a four-foot-long cloth, which trails behind him like a bridal train. Jackson watches the holy commotion from the bar, looking dapper in his jet-black suit and homburg hat. His shirt and tie are lilac and royal purple, and he keeps a matching handkerchief tucked neatly into his breast pocket. Deep lines descend from either side of his broad nose, joining with a neat, gray beard. The wrinkles—the only ones on his face— seem to hint at Jackson’s capacity for joy more than anything else. He has at least one reason to keep smiling these days. The neighborhood, which locals know simply as “the Blocks,” is on the verge of a rebirth, with a wave of investment bringing new life into what was once the center of business and culture for the city’s African American community. At the center of this story, as has always been the case in the Blocks, is the music.

Jim Crow and Ambassador Satch

The Bunny Club is no stranger to rhythm. For the better half of the twentieth century, it was filled with the stuff—though, perhaps, of a less holy variety than Jackson’s. The Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood was the center of black life in Pensacola during the segregation era, when Jim Crow laws and mounting racial tension pushed most black business owners out of the city center. The Blocks became a place of refuge, a “city within a city” on the western fringe of downtown Pensacola.


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Outside the neighborhood, life was rough for the city’s black residents, but, within the Blocks, business boomed. As the economy thrived, so did the entertainment industry. The area hit its stride in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, when a string of nightclubs hosted some of the most iconic names in American music. There was the Bunny Club, of course. Then, there was the Saber Club and Abe’s 506 Club next door. Across the street was the grand dame of Pensacola nightclubs, the Savoy Gardens (also known as the Savoy Ballroom), which later merged with Abe’s and became the Savoy 506.

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Through the decades, the Blocks played host to such artists as Louis Armstrong, Aretha Franklin, Ike and Tina Turner, and Fats Domino. Blues musician Sam McClain, who would later be nominated for a Grammy, was a regular performer at Abe’s 506 in the early 1960s, where he was “discovered” by disc jockey Papa Don Schroeder. Jackson moved to the Blocks at the end of this era, in 1969. He remembers it fondly. Standing outside the Bunny Club, he points south, across Belmont Street, to where the Savoy 506 used to stand. “In the 506, you had different sections,” he says. “You had your lounge downstairs, when you first walked in. Then, you had the Stardust Room upstairs, where you’d get the live band. They’d play by the window, and the window would be up, so you could be coming around the corner and you’d hear the music. People in the neighborhood could hear it. It really was a good time.”

“ mean—you hear B.B. King talk about having to end a gig at two or three o’clock in the morning, get in the bus, drive five hundred miles, get a few winks of sleep, and do it again. That’s what the circuit was really about.”

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The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Birth of Rock ’n’ Roll

In those days, Belmont-DeVilliers was part of what is now known as the Chitlin’ Circuit, a network of black-owned music venues, talent agencies, and promoters that sprang to life in the nation’s “dark towns” during World War I and nurtured some of the biggest names in American music. In his definitive history of the subject, The Chitlin’ Circuit and the Road to Rock ’n’ Roll, author Preston Lauterbach argues that the circuit was integral to the birth of rock ’n’ roll. “B.B. King, Ray Charles, James Brown—all of these guys started on the Chitlin’ Circuit,” he says. Belmont-DeVilliers and other neighborhoods like it nurtured the careers of artists who might otherwise have been left without a platform. Still, life on the circuit wasn’t easy. Often, it was exhausting. “They did one-nighters,” Lauterbach says, “so it was this whole huband-spoke kind of system where the artists would have gigs booked one night after one night after one night. I mean—you hear B.B. King talk about having to end a gig at two or three o’clock in the morning, get in the bus, drive five hundred miles, get a few winks of sleep, and do it again. That’s what the circuit was really about.”

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It was this hardscrabble reality, in Lauterbach’s view, that inspired the name “Chitlin’ Circuit” in the first place. “The venues were either themselves chitlin’ joints, or they were connected to chitlin’ cafés,” he says, “so I think it had some literal connection, but I think it had more of a spiritual meaning as well. You know, the chitlin’ is the hog intestine. It’s not a very appealing cut of meat, and yet African Americans turned it into cuisine, and the culture on the Chitlin’ Circuit is sort of the same thing. I mean, they took what little American society gave them and made something beautiful out of it.”

Integration and the End of an Era

It is an ironic but generally agreed-upon fact that the end of segregation spurred the decline of black business districts like Belmont-DeVilliers. As the specter of Jim Crow withdrew from the South, many black Americans were eager to explore their new economic freedom. In many cases, that meant venturing into areas that, until then, had been off limits. However, as more and more blacks began to patronize white businesses, black businesses suffered. “Desegregation—the ability for people who used to work and play in a confined area to go wherever they pleased—definitely upset the economic base for these clubs,” Lauterbach says. Bigger changes in the music industry didn’t help matters, either. “Being able to make gobs of money in records definitely changed the shape of the music business, and everything got bigger, again, with integration. Black acts could play stadium concerts, venues that had been off limits to them with the old way.” And, so, the music slowly faded in Belmont-DeVilliers. As businesses moved out, crime and blight muscled in, and the neighborhood’s proud history was all but forgotten.

A Story of Resilience

By the time Robin Reshard arrived in Pensacola in the early 1990s, most of the storefronts in Belmont-DeVilliers had been shuttered for a long time. She had come to the area to train as a military cryptologist and encountered Belmont-DeVilliers on an informal list of “places not to go” that was given out to new recruits. Intrigued by the unusual-sounding name, she asked some of her colleagues to tell her more. “That’s where black folks go,” she was told. “Well, then, that sounds like my kind of place,” she recalls saying. Reshard first visited the neighborhood one weekend after a night out with friends. She had a sandwich from the Dwarf Chicken Stand—a late-night neighborhood staple that’s been there for decades—and was hooked. She is now one of the neighborhood’s biggest advocates. She recently completed a documentary on the history of Belmont-DeVilliers, and her production company is headquartered across the street from the Bunny Club in a renovated furniture warehouse owned by architect Eddie Todd and developer Quint Studer.

Reshard is optimistic about the neighborhood’s future—and with good reason. Downtown Pensacola is booming, and growth is starting to trickle outside the city’s commercial core. As development creeps westward, Belmont-DeVilliers is poised for growth. The signs are already visible. Todd and Studer’s DeVilliers Square building is one example. The renovated, three-story building houses low-cost office space for a number of small businesses. The University of West Florida’s Innovation Institute moved into the top floor of the building in January 2014, and Studer Properties moved into the ground floor, relocating from its old digs in downtown Pensacola. Located just across the street is Five Sisters Blues Cafe. The restaurant sits on the former site of one of the neighborhood’s earliest nightspots, the Two Cronies saloon, which opened in the late 1800s. The brick building’s association with music and merriment continued well into the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and the renovated structure was home to both Gussie’s Record Shop and WBOP radio in decades past. Today, Five Sisters serves up classic soul foods like pot roast, fried chicken, and red beans and rice, and it hosts live jazz and blues performances on the weekends. The restaurant has enjoyed tremendous success since opening and was recently bought by the Great Southern Restaurants group, which also owns Pensacola staples Jackson’s Steakhouse, the Fish House, and Atlas Oyster House. The acquisition is a sign of just how far the neighborhood has come in the last few years. To Reshard, the resurgence isn’t really a surprise: it’s very much in keeping with the story of the Blocks—a place that could wring flavor out of something foul and find beauty in the midst of brutality. It is this history that drew her to the neighborhood, and it is this “spirit,” she says, that will sustain the Blocks in the years ahead. “I think our future lies in observing and celebrating our past,” she says. “It’s a story of resilience.” Or, maybe, it’s a song.

Back to the Blocks

It’s been an hour since the last brunch stragglers headed home from Five Sisters Blues Cafe. At the Back to Gospel event, things are just winding down. Around six o’clock in the evening, the final notes fade out over the sidewalks. The holy hopper wipes the last bead of sweat from his brow. The final spoonful of collard juice is savored and the last hallelujahs whispered, and, then, the doors are closed. Jackson moves from his station by the bar and steps through a stage-side door out onto the sidewalk. While the band members break down the equipment, he reminisces. “The Bunny Club would be popping until twelve, one o’clock in the morning,” he says. “We’d go there, and then to the Elks right around the corner. It was after hours, the Elks Club. And then you got the Saber, and a lot of times, daylight caught us coming up out of there.” He smiles. “But it was good times.”

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Photography by Jay Flynn

Wishing to breathe new life into your beach property? If your condo needs a bit of “refreshing,” turn to the design team at Aqua Decor and Design for advice on updating your beach paradise. Aqua believes that surroundings affect mood, so why not allow the serene beauty of the Gulf of Mexico to inspire your condo’s renewal? Come along as we walk through the process of creating a welcoming coastal haven. START WITH PAINT If your condo is several years old, it is likely in need of a new paint job. Over time, walls and millwork require repair, and nothing makes a bolder statement than freshening them with a new coat of paint. First, call on a trusted professional to assist in caulking and patching areas throughout the property. Then—and this is where the fun begins—choose a paint color. Aqua’s advice? Take your cue from Mother Nature and step outside with your paint deck in hand. Let the Gulf of Mexico provide color inspiration. We suggest colors from natural surroundings, like the dry beach sand underfoot or the warmer color of wet sand. Be sure to study the color of the sky on an overcast

day. In doing so, you will likely discover just the shade of gray you have been searching for. Allow the beauty of the beach to inspire your color palette. We recommend painting a calming hue throughout your home. Breaks in color on walls and trim can confuse the eye, so keep in mind the continuity of the view outside your windows and let that guide your decision.

TURN ON THE LIGHTS Never underestimate the impact of good lighting. Lighting can be both alluring and functional, and calling on the help of a designer can be a positive step toward a well-lit interior. Lighting is a complex arena these days. Evidence of this

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complexity can be found in a simple trip to buy a light bulb. There are many choices in today’s lighting market. An expert in interior design can provide advice that can be both timesaving and budget-friendly. Aqua recommends creating synergy among your ceiling and lamp lighting. Lighting fixtures and lamps should relate to one another, creating a positive flow between your spaces. Aqua’s team can work with your specific lighting needs and budget to provide glowing results!

Relatable art will set the tone for relaxation and can allow your unique personality and design preferences to shine. WELCOME WITH ARTWORK Well-dressed walls add life and warmth to a space. Consider art pieces with modern coastal subjects. Aqua Decor is a great resource for artwork—you will find original works from local artists, eye-catching architectural pieces, and one-of-a-kind accents from all over the globe. Relatable art will set the tone for relaxation and can allow your unique personality and design preferences to shine. Don’t get too caught up in a certain theme; rather, keep the scale and quality of the pieces central to your selection.

QUIET DOWN YOUR UPHOLSTERY You need only to stroll through the Aqua Decor showroom to feel what we mean by “quiet upholstery.” Our buyer works tirelessly to seek out unique and livable furnishings that provide a comfortable place to land following a day on the beach. In many cases, we will recommend pieces with washable slipcovers for your beach condominium. Aqua offers high traffic–rated, performance fabrics that help compensate for the rough wear indicative of a vacation property. Our designers will specify neutral, durable fabric selections that meet your condo’s needs while providing a transitional element that holds its value during evolving design trends.

WARM UP WITH RUGS Many condo owners are hesitant about the idea of area rugs in their coastal property, but with the new technology in rug materials, the struggle can end. Polypropylene, a type of synthetic resin, is a welcome component in many of our rug specifications. With this type of rug, manufacturers have married outdoor


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rug durability with classic indoor rug styling. Many poly rugs can be cleaned with a simple solution of soap and water, making them the first choice among Aqua’s designers. Another favorite is the natural rug. Whether derived from sisal, hemp, or jute, these rugs are a natural fit when anchoring and warming up a space in your coastal property.

WEAVE IN SOME TEXTURE Adding a few textural elements to your design plan will provide an instant invitation to relax and enjoy the view. Consider the impact made to a simple armchair when a chunky knit throw drapes over the side. How inviting is a monochromatic space with different textures of pillows and other unique accessories? Don’t forget the top of the bed! This is an area where clients often forget to place emphasis. We spend so much time resting in bed, why not spend the resources to make it a wonderful experience? Seek out quality, affordable bed linens that have soft hues and bold textures. Look for layering pieces like woven duvet covers and plush blankets. We encourage you to pamper yourself and your guests while also creating aesthetic beauty with texture.

Often the area that drew you to condo ownership in the first place takes the last place when creating a design plan. Consider the value of creating an oasis in your outdoor space. THE BALCONY IS CALLING YOU! The balcony tends to be pushed down the list when clients are updating their condominiums. Often the area that drew you to condo ownership in the first place takes the last place when creating a design plan. Consider the value of creating an oasis in your outdoor space. Choose the type of materials and the comfort level with the utmost scrutiny. Aqua offers unique vendors with unmatched materials used to create their outdoor furniture. Pay close attention to the strength rating of woven items and the types of fabrics and cushion cores used. What is the weight of the furniture? Should you go with teak, aluminum, or synthetic wicker? Concrete furniture is an excellent idea for side tables and pottery pieces. The sky is the limit in today’s outdoor furniture market, so be sure not to leave this area to chance. Aqua Decor and Design can assist you in designing an outdoor space worthy of your upscale condominium and that stellar view! Aqua’s desire is for you and your guests to be uplifted every time you pass through your front door. We encourage you to consider the seven steps above when refreshing your condominium, inside and out. Our hope is that you will call on us to make it a stress-free and enjoyable experience.


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let’s get Wild! Portofino was built in a way that put the environment first. Each of Portofino’s five towers are designed to have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment. In fact, the position of each tower not only makes way for wide-open views but also leaves 64 percent of the twenty-eight-acre resort in a natural state. The ten-mile stretch of Opal Beach east of Portofino Island is a nature lover’s paradise.


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The beautiful coastline of Northwest Florida is dotted with national parks, protected wildlife areas, and other outdoor destinations.

P O R T O F I N O LIFE 2017 – 2018




co-adventures are plentiful within the Gulf of Mexico, Santa Rosa Sound, and the Gulf Islands National Seashore. Hike, bike, kayak, or cruise along the shoreline to catch a glimpse of indigenous flora and fauna. Shorebirds such as sandpipers, gulls, and plovers provide guests a wonderful show as they hunt for food along the shoreline. Meanwhile, great blue herons, ospreys, and other birds of prey make their nests and search for food within Santa Rosa Sound and the park. The Gulf of Mexico is teeming with marine life, ranging from endangered sea turtles and rare fish to dolphins and stingrays.

Parks and Sanctuaries The beautiful coastline of Northwest Florida is dotted with national parks, protected wildlife areas, and other outdoor destinations for locals and visitors to enjoy. These are some of the favorites: · Gulf Islands National Seashore · Johnson Beach · Fort Pickens · Perdido Key State Park · Tarkiln Bayou Preserve State Park · Big Lagoon State Park · Project GreenShores · Marcus Point Wetlands Boardwalk · Bay Bluffs Park · UWF Edward Ball Nature Trail Top: Fort Pickens State Park includes campgrounds, trails, and wildlife all around the ruins of Fort Pickens, built in 1834.


Bottom: Gulf Islands National Seashore spans mainland areas and parts of seven islands from Northwest Florida through Mississippi.

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Birding and Wildlife Miles of unspoiled beaches, lakes, and woods make Pensacola Beach and the surrounding Gulf Coast areas a haven for wildlife. Keep an eye out for these species: · Least tern · Black skimmer · Wilson’s plover · Brown pelican · Great blue heron · Green heron · Osprey · Bald eagle · Loggerhead sea turtle · Green sea turtle · Kemp’s ridley sea turtle · Leatherback sea turtle · Bottlenose dolphin · Perdido Key beach mouse · Florida alligator

Snorkeling and Diving The warm, clear waters off Pensacola Beach, plus numerous artificial reefs and dive sites, make this area of the Gulf of Mexico ideal for snorkeling and diving. Popular sites include the following: · Perdido Key (snorkeling) · Park East (snorkeling) · Three Coal Barges (shipwrecks) · San Pablo (shipwreck) · Pete Tide II (shipwreck) · YDT-14 (shipwreck) · USS Oriskany (shipwreck) · USS Massachusetts (shipwreck) · Antares (shipwreck)

Learn more at VisitPensacola.com.

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Whether you’ve just purchased a vacation rental home or you are looking for a property management company that can better serve you, we want to ensure that you are aware of your options for a better, local property management company.

W E O F F ER O W N ERS : • INCREDIBLE OWNER BENEFITS: Experience complimentary cruises

aboard our 63’ private catamaran! Enjoy beach chair and umbrella set ups, kayaks, paddleboards, bicycles, surfboards, boogie boards and more with Premier Adventures! Owners also receive free rounds of golf at Tiger Point, and multiple discounts at select merchants on the Pensacola Beach Boardwalk including Salty Beach Outfitters, Envie Boutique, Cactus Flower Café and The Wine Bar, a Bistro.

• AN INDUSTRY FIRST: Premier offers sliding scale management fees to better serve your specific needs, in addition to zero requirements or restrictions on owner property usage.

• NO LONG TERM CONTRACTS: Keep the relationships that help you

reach your goals! If Premier doesn’t exceed your expectations, you are free to leave the program at any time.

• COMPLIMENTARY REVENUE ANAYLSIS: Premier will project annual rental income by using past rental history. We host “increase your return” consultations where we will suggest upgrades, design improvements, coordinate deliveries and installations.

• MARKETING: In addition to our own Premier website, we advertise on

AirBNB, Homeaway, VRBO, Expedia, Booking.com, and social media sites. We have a photographer on staff to ensure your property looks its best. Premier also has their very own App which allows our owners and guests to stay connected before, during and after the trip!

Switching to Premier couldn’t be easier. Our team will handle all of the details and ensure that your income and reservations progress as expected. With a seamless reassignment process established, transferring the management of your property to Premier will be a breath of fresh air and a step in the right direction. CONTACT OWNER RELATIONS TODAY! 850.916.3881


2200 via de luna drive | pensacola beach, florida 32561


Pensacola Beach, Downtown Pensacola, and the other areas near Portofino Island are constantly abuzz with activity. Year-round, visitors and locals alike can experience events of every genre and size.

FOOD AND DRINK Smokin’ in the Square (March) 2018 dates TBA. Come enjoy BBQ, raffles, and live music at Smokin’ in the Square. This event was started by the Knights of Columbus to raise money for charity. Visit the website for information on competitors, vendors, and VIP passes. SmokinintheSquare.com Pensacola Hot Wheels Food Truck Festival (April) 2018 dates TBA. Located in Downtown Pensacola at Plaza de Luna, this event rounds up local food trucks in one place to benefit Pensacola Habitat for Humanity. Come eat delicious food and donate to a great cause! PensacolaHotWheels.org Crawfish Festival (April) 2018 dates TBA. Enjoy over sixteen thousand pounds of crawfish and other Cajun dishes, like seafood gumbo and jambalaya, at the Pensacola Crawfish Festival. For more information on events like the crawfisheating contest, visit the website. FiestaofFiveFlags.org/pensacola-crawfish-festival Soundside Splendor (April) 2018 dates TBA. Enjoy special dinner and wine menus curated by Pensacola’s celebrity chefs at Soundside Splendor, taking place at Portofino Island Resort on Pensacola Beach. All proceeds benefit the Children’s Home Society of Florida. CHSFL.org/soundsidesplendor2017 Bushwacker Festival (August) They say the bushwacker originated at the Sandshaker, so come pay tribute to one of Pensacola’s most famous drinks at the Bushwacker Festival on August 4–6, 2017, at the Sandshaker on Pensacola Beach. Events include live music, a bikini contest, and the Bushwacker 5K. Sandshaker.com


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Emerald Coast Beer Festival (September) Calling all craft beer enthusiasts! The Emerald Coast Beer Festival will take place on September 7 and 8, 2017, at Rosie O’Grady’s in Seville Quarter. There will be a beer pairing dinner on September 7, followed by beer tasting on September 8. EmeraldCoastBeerFest.com Taste of the Beach (September) The Tenth Annual Taste of the Beach takes place September 15–16, 2017. Enjoy food from Pensacola’s celebrity chefs and watch live cooking demonstrations and competitions. TasteofPensacolaBeach.com Pensacola Seafood Festival (September/ October) Taking place at Seville Square from September 29 to October 1, this festival has all the seafood one could possibly imagine. Sample dishes from fried shrimp to lobster mac and cheese, and enjoy local artwork at the Pensacola Seafood Festival! FiestaofFiveFlags.org/pensacola-seafood-festival Palafox Market (Weekly) Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, vendors set up their stands and sell locally made goods from fresh produce, meats and cheeses, naturally made soaps and candles, arts and crafts, and other great products. PalafoxMarket.com

MUSIC, ARTS, NIGHTLIFE, AND CULTURE Pensacon (February) Pensacon is Pensacola’s premier pop culture convention. Pensacon 2017 saw special guests like Henry Winkler and Vern Troyer, but next year’s special guests include Lou Ferrigno, Paul Blake, and Lita. Pensacon 2018 will take place February 23–25 at the Pensacola Bay Center with various after-parties around Downtown Pensacola. Pensacon.com

Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival (October) Listen to original songs and get the chance to meet the songwriters themselves at the Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival, taking place October 4–8, 2017. This year the festival will be working with Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame to host a workshop at local schools to promote creative writing and music. PensacolaBeachSongFest.com

Pensacola JazzFest (March/April) Pensacola JazzFest 2018 will take place April 7–8, 2018. At last year’s Pensacola JazzFest, musicians like Wayne Bergeron, the Don Snowden Big Band, and the Greg Abate Quintet graced the stage and the free 2018 JazzFest will be no different! JazzPensacola.com Blues on the Bay Every summer, on select Sunday evenings starting at 6 p.m., live musicians, such as the Modern Eldorados, the Emerald Coast Blues Brothers, and the Astronauts, take the stage at the Hunter Amphitheater at Community Maritime Park. Come enjoy these free concerts and maybe even catch sight of the Blue Angels. PlayPensacola.com/1161/Blues-on-the-Bay Bands on the Beach Every Tuesday from April to October, visit the Gulfside Pavilion on Pensacola Beach for live music from local and regional bands like the True Blue Band, Johnny Earthquake and the Moondogs, Southern Breeze, and the Scenic Heights. VisitPensacola.com/events/at-the-beach/ bands-on-the-beach Frank Brown Songwriter Series The 33rd Annual Frank Brown International Songwriters’ Festival will take place November 9–19, 2017. Come hear a variety of music styles by singers and songwriters from all over the US. FrankBrownSongwriters.com Greek Festival (October) This 3-day festival featuring traditional Greek food and music takes place October 13–15, 2017, at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church (located on 1720 West Garden Street). Experience live music, church tours, dancing, and delicious food at the perfect place to learn about Greek culture. PensacolaGreekFestival.com

Photo courtesy of Visit Pensacola

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Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival (November) This arts festival features various artists showcasing their work along with live music, performances, food, and heritage arts. The festival runs from November 3 through 5, 2017, and takes place at Seville Square. GGAF.org Foo Foo Fest (November) Enjoy twelve days of art, music, performances, and more at the Foo Foo Fest from November 2 through 13, 2017. The Foo Foo Fest brings together the best of art, music, and food through various cultural events around Pensacola. FooFooFest.com Interstate Mullet Toss The greatest and most unique party along the Gulf Coast is the Interstate Mullet Toss at Flora-Bama. Enjoy the sun and sand with your friends and family and try your hand at the mullet toss, taking place April 27–29, 2018. FloraBama.com/events/interstate-mullet-toss-andgulf-coasts-greatest-beach-party Blue Angels Naval Aviation Events Pensacola is synonymous with aviation and it’s known as the Cradle of Naval Aviation for a reason. Don’t miss the honor of watching the Blue Angels fly at various practices and events, like their Homecoming Show on November 10 and 11, 2017. BlueAngels.navy.mil Saenger Theatre From the Pensacola Children’s Chorus to Broadway shows like Mamma Mia!, the Saenger Theatre offers a variety of musical and theatrical performances. PensacolaSaenger.com Upcoming shows: An Evening with Jeanne Robertson – Saturday, Photo by Trubach September 30 at 7:30 p.m. Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music – Wednesday, October 25 at 7:30 p.m. Elf the Musical – Thursday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. Jersey Boys – Monday, March 26, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Rent 20th Anniversary Tour – Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. Gallery Night On the third Friday of every month, Palafox Street is closed to motor vehicles and everyone can enjoy art, music, food, and drinks. The main events start at 5 p.m. and go to 9 p.m., but the bars stay open for everyone to enjoy. VisitPensacola.com/events/signature-events/gallery-night Upcoming Gallery Nights (2017): July 21, August 18, September 15, October 20, November 17, December 15 Historic Pensacola Historic Pensacola offers a variety of attractions for guests who want to know more about the history of the United States’ first multiyear settlement. Learn how the locals used to live with living history demonstrations taking place almost every day of the week.


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HistoricPensacola.org Upcoming Events: Victorian Tea Program – Every Tuesday through Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Dorr House Victorian Holiday Traditions – November 15 through December 23 at 2:30 p.m. at the Lear/Rocheblave House Living History Demonstrations – Tuesdays through Saturdays National Naval Aviation Museum Besides being the largest naval aviation museum in the United States, the National Naval Aviation Museum has various events throughout the year. NavalAviationMuseum.org. Pensacola Lighthouse Looking for the best view in town? Climb the 177 steps to the top of the Pensacola Lighthouse to enjoy a view of the Gulf and learn more about Pensacola’s history for only $7 ($4 for children, seniors, and military). PensacolaLighthouse.org

Fort Pickens Fort Pickens is the largest fort in Pensacola, dating back to the early nineteenth century. Free tours are offered daily at 2 p.m. and families can use the campgrounds year-round. Fort Information: FortTours.com/pages/fortpickens.asp Camping: Recreation.gov Vinyl Music Hall Vinyl is Pensacola’s premier music hall featuring a wide range of entertainment. VinylMusicHall.com Upcoming shows: STRFKR w/ Reptaliens – July 7 B.O.B - July 21 Corey Smith – August 17 Lake Street Dive – September 8 Pensacola Bay Convention Center Concerts, conventions, and commencements galore, Pensacola Bay Convention Center hosts a variety of events. Visit their website to learn about upcoming events, shows, and concerts. PensacolaBayCenter.com/events

SPORTS AND OUTDOORS McGuire’s Annual St. Patrick’s Day Prediction 5K Run The 41st Annual McGuire’s St. Patrick’s Day Prediction 5K Run TBA. Every March, Pensacola’s favorite Irish pub hosts a 5K run/walk plus an after-party. Once you cross the finish line, stay for drinks and live entertainment! RunSignup.com/Race/FL/Pensacola/ McGuiresStPatricksDayPrediction5kRun Pensacola Triathlon (April) April 29, 2018. The race takes participants through a swim in the Pensacola Bay, a bike ride on a scenic trail, and a run through Historic Pensacola. After the race, enjoy music, food, and a well-deserved beer. Find more information at TriPensacola.com and for a full list of race events in Pensacola, go to VisitPensacola.com/events/sports/ running-endurance. Ciclovia Open Streets 2018 dates TBA. Beginning in Colombia in the 1970s as a grassroots movement, this event closes Main and Palafox Streets to motor traffic and allows all cyclists, skateboarders, and anyone else to enjoy free rein downtown. PensacolaOpenStreets.com Snowball Derby (November/December) This three-hundred-lap automobile race takes place at Pensacola’s Five Flags Speedway on November 30, 2017, and, besides the race, includes entertainment such as live music, open practices, and a Miss Snowball Derby competition. 5FlagsSpeedway.com/snowball-derby Blue Wahoos Games Grab your friends, a hot dog, and a beer and go see Pensacola’s favorite baseball team, the Blue Wahoos. BlueWahoos.com

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Photo courtesy of Visit Pensacola

Ice Flyers Games Prefer to watch games on ice? Enjoy a Pensacola Ice Flyers hockey game with friends and family! PensacolaIceFlyers.com

Pensacola Memorial Day Pride Fest During Memorial Day weekend, Pensacola becomes the site of one of the largest LGBTQIA+ gatherings in the nation.

UWF Football In 2016, the University of Florida welcomed its first-ever football team. Be a part of history and enjoy UWF Argonauts football games this fall at Blue Wahoos Stadium. For a full schedule, visit GoArgos.com. Upcoming home games: Saturday, September 9, 6 p.m. Saturday, September 16, 6 p.m. Saturday, September 23, 6 p.m. Saturday, October 7, 6 p.m. Saturday, October 14, 4 p.m. Saturday, November 4, 4 p.m.

Fourth of July Pensacola hosts a variety of Fourth of July holiday events, including several fireworks shows. VisitPensacola.com/events/ holidays/4th-of-july-roundup

HOLIDAYS Pensacola Mardi Gras Parade Can’t make it to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras festivals? There’s no need when you can see some of the best Mardi Gras Krewes parade down Palafox. Pensacola’s Mardi Gras celebration has a history dating back to 1874 and is family friendly. PensacolaMardiGras.com


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Winterfest 2018 dates TBA. Celebrate the best time of year with family-friendly fun at Pensacola’s Winterfest. Events and activities include an elf parade, reindeer games, photo opportunities, and various Christmas performances. PensacolaWinterfest.org Pelican Drop (New Year’s Eve) This free New Year’s Eve celebration was named one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society in 2014. Forget Times Square—come ring in the new year at Palafox Place with the Pelican Drop! PensacolaPelicanDrop.com


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mikoh • vitamin a • mara hoffman • acacia • frankies • l space • for love & lemons • melissa odabash


wildfox • poupette st barth • tularosa • spiritual gangster • faithful • helen jon • camilla P O R T O F I N O L IFE 201 7 – 20 18