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NORTHWEST FLORIDA – COLA 2 COLA ®

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PERSPECTIVES An Impassioned Voice Founder of Hands Across the Sand Speaks

BRICKS & MORTAR High Design Form Follows Function in Seaside, Florida

THE ART OF LIFE Emotions on Canvas Meet Artist Nancy Swan Drew

PLUS: World-Class Cuisine Fish Out of Water

The Galápagos Islands Letters from Latitude Zero

Le Grand Cirque Comes to Town Grand Boulevard Is the Place

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In this issue:

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44 30

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People + Places Northwest Florida Beaches International Grand Opening Ceremonies 94 Green Tie Gala 95 Sandestin Wine Festival 108 Vin’tij Wine Dinner 112 Aesthetic Clinique 144 Le Jardin 148

For the Love of Food World-Class Cuisine: Fish Out of Water 76

Perspectives Hands Across the Sand 18 Personal Pursuits 30 E. F. San Juan 36

The Health Nut Obesity 102

Feature She’s Got Legs – Deja-vu 44 The Art of Life Le Grand Cirque 54 Emotions on Canvas 64 Going Green Grasses in Classes 72

A Sense of Place High Design: Form Follows Function 82 Deidra Stange 90 Henderson Inn 98

Form and Function Felt 116 The Business Corner The Business Corner Announcements 120 A Family Affair 122 A Taxing Problem for Your Estate 128 Voyager Galápagos Islands 132 Argentina 138

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Publisher & Editor Review Photo by Chandler Williams

COLA COLA

®

Distribution Areas by County:

VIE – People + Places® is dedicated to covering the people and places of the COLA 2 COLA® region with a focus on all things uplifting and positive. We would be remiss not to address an important issue such as the oil spill crisis threatening our region (and beyond) and the Hands Across The Sand movement founded by Highway 30A resident and business owner Dave Raushkolb. To stay silent would be on par with putting our heads in the sand. We’ve known Dave for sixteen years—he’s a friend and colleague, and we could not be more proud of him. The passion, conviction, and dedication of creating Hands Across The Sand to educate and empower people in standing against drilling in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida’s coast is both commendable and admirable. His greatest fears came to pass less than ten weeks after the inaugural Hands Across The Sand event on February 13 where thousands of people joined hands across the sands of Florida’s beaches. The horrific Deepwater Horizon disaster appears to be eclipsed only by the fact that a plan B on how to solve this type of problem seems never to have been considered. An environmental disaster of this magnitude brings tears to your eyes just thinking about the marred ecosystem and how the world’s most beautiful coastal environments have been put in jeopardy. Righteous anger from residents and businesses alike is brewing, and it’s time for a collective voice to be heard. It’s not complicated. It’s simply time for big business to grow up and start living by the Golden Rule. Right is still right—and wrong is still very wrong. At the time that this issue went to publication in early June, no oil from the spill had affected our beaches, and they’re still as beautiful as ever. Help our region (and the world's ecosystems for that matter) and support Hands Across The Sand by coming to visit us this summer. Many (if not all) vacation rental properties are offering a money-back guarantee if your vacation is ruined due to the oil spill. Our economy needs your support! To Life!

—Lisa & Gerald Burwell Life is a gift…celebrate to the finish line. 8

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ur stories and distribution cover COLA 2 COLA®—Pensacola to Apalachicola. We explore the people and places of our region in the pages of VIE - People + Places. The magazine is found in all the Tourist Development Council Centers, Chamber of Commerce locations, Sundog Books in Seaside, Florida, boutiques, restaurants, bed-and-breakfast locations, special events and much more! We are thrilled you have picked up a copy of VIE and hope you enjoy exploring the people and places of our coveted area. We have a passion for VIE, our area, and the people and businesses found within and hope you will share in the excitement and know that we live in a great place and that "life is good." VIE is excited to announce that its distribution has now branched out to the airports of Baltimore/Washington International, Houston Hobby, Memphis International, Nashville International, and Orlando International, with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International soon to arrive. In addition to these high-profile locations, VIE is also being added to the shelves of some of the country’s top-selling bookstores, newsstands and supermarkets, giving our advertisers potential access to millions of people.

VIE: People + Places is a registered trademark. All contents herein are Copyright © 2010 Cornerstone Marketing & Advertising, Incorporated (The Publisher). All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission from The Publisher. VIE: People + Places is a life-style magazine of Northwest Florida (COLA 2 COLA®) and is published quarterly. The opinions herein are not necessarily those of The Publisher. The Publisher and its advertisers will not be held responsible for any errors found in this publication. The Publisher is not liable for the accuracy of statements made by its advertisers. Ads that appear in this publication are not intended as offers where prohibited by state law. The Publisher is not responsible for photography or artwork submitted by freelance or outside contributors. The Publisher reserves the right to publish any letter addressed to the editor or The Publisher. VIE: People + Places is a paid publication. Subscription rate: One year $19.95 (U.S. only).


VIE is for Voyager!

VIE Creative Team:

San FranVIEsco! Harrison and Mary-Cole Stange proudly pose with VIE in front of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge during a family vacation in May 2010. Show us pics of you traveling with your issue of VIE and you could be featured in the magazine! Send printquality photos to info@viezine.com

On the Cover:

Lisa Burwell Publisher

Gerald Burwell Editor-in-Chief

Bob Brown VP of Creative Services

Lisa Comeau VP of Account Services

Eric Shepard Creative Director

Jim Ryan Account Executive

Tracey Thomas Graphic Designer

Mary Jane Kirby Account Executive

Tim Dutrow Video Producer

Lisa Ferrick Social Correspondent

Philip Cowart Design Intern

Ainsley Rogers PR Intern

VIE Contributors: Abigail Ryan sitting pretty in a field of flowers at historic Eden Gardens State Park in Point Washington, Florida. Photo taken by Romona Robbins with Shauna Olson assisting. Fashions, jewelry and boots courtesy of fashion designer Stephanie Nichols, owner of Deja-vu clothing boutiques and the Judith March fashion line. Hair and makeup by Rachel London. www.romonasphotography.com www.shopwithdejavu.com www.judithmarch.com

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Published by:

Freelance Staff: Margaret Stevenson Copy Editor

Jessie Shepard Photography

Michelle Smith Ad Design

Romona Robbins Photography

Contributing Writers: Sally W. Boyles Giselle Brantley Steve Cann Kim Duke-Layden Dale Foster Brian Haugen Colleen Hinely Eleanor Lynn Nesmith

Clark Peters Tori Phelps Dave Raushkolb Anne W. Schultz Susan VallĂŠe David Waddle Sandra Woodward

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Pier Park is conveniently located between the “Worlds Most Beautiful Beaches” and Back Beach Rd in the heart of Panama City Beach.

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Impassioned An

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was asked to write this article before the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster occurred. I was going to entitle it “Why this Matters,” referring to the devastation that would impact our coastal economy and environment in the event of a major oil spill along the gulf Coast. I felt compelled to reflect passionately on what could be lost in the event of a major oil spill. Sadly, my worst fears and predictions came true on april 21, 2010. on april 27, 2009, on the last day of the legislative session, rep. Dean Cannon (r) of Winter park cosponsored a bill that passed along party lines in the Florida house of representatives. there was no companion bill in the Florida Senate, but the die was cast,

creating one of the most controversial pieces of proposed legislation in Florida’s history. the first time I heard about house Bill 1219, I was knocked back on my heels. My good friend David pleat told me about the bill that proposed lifting Florida’s ban on oil drilling as close as three to ten miles off our coastline. David, a local attorney, had a clear understanding of every nuance of the bill. according to him, it basically gave the oil industry permission to do whatever it wants while exploring for oil off our coast, including placing a maze of pipelines anywhere it likes. all I could do was shake my head, thinking our beloved home would be altered forever if this were allowed to happen.

Nearly two months later, David announced he was going to run for the District 7 seat in the Florida house of representatives and that a big part of his platform would be directed at stopping the drilling initiative. I immediately offered my restaurant as the place to kick off his campaign. at the october 1 event, David gave an impassioned, informative speech describing what was being proposed in the bill. I had been in conversation with some of David’s supporters, and we began talking about oil. I told them, “We need to draw a line in the sand and stand firm against it.”

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it was a mix of Floridians of varying political affiliations. We had business groups and environmentalists, soccer moms and students, farmers and doctors.

as David finished his speech, he suggested that we contact our legislators if we wanted to be proactive in stopping the bill. I said to myself, “there must be something more we can do.” the words “draw a line in the sand” kept bouncing through my head as he finished the speech. In an instant, I looked at my wife, Carol, and said, “I know what we can do!” What simpler yet more effective message could we send our legislators than an actual line drawn in the sand, made up of Florida’s citizens? In that moment, hands across the Sand was born. Four and a half months later, with the help of thousands of very special people, we created the largest oil drilling protest in our state’s history. on February 13, thousands joined hands on Florida’s beaches, creating lines in the sand against oil drilling in Florida’s waters. It was a mix of Floridians of varying political affiliations. We had business groups and environmentalists, soccer moms and students, farmers and doctors. Every Chamber of Commerce from pensacola to panama City passed resolutions against oil drilling and joined hands with us.

the legislative sponsors of the bill to lift Florida’s drilling ban dropped their efforts in the 2010 legislative session. It was a victory for our citizens, yet I still felt a measure of desperation in my gut. I should have been happy because I basically got what I had hoped for—no passage of the bill and a major postponement until next year. hands across the Sand had been successful in raising awareness among Floridians and played a major role in changing the game. I was pleased but uneasy. I was uneasy because I knew the battle was only postponed; there were still powerful forces determined to open up Florida’s waters to oil drilling. I was troubled because it was likely that the bill would eventually pass in Florida, considering that every representative in Northwest Florida had voted in favor of house Bill 1219. representatives ray Sansom (r), Marti Coley (r), Jimmy patronis (r), and Dave Murzin (r) all voted for the bill. to this day, Senator Don gaetz (r) has not taken a clear stance against oil drilling. he has always given a “qualified” answer to the question, saying that he “won’t vote for a bill that would affect the military.” Even after Eglin’s base commander, Colonel Bruce McClintock, admitted that the bill would adversely affect the military, gaetz responded, saying that

he was still not convinced. Durell peaden (r), our inland senator from Crestview, has always maintained a position against drilling off Florida’s coast and seems to be our lone coastal protector in Northwest Florida. I believe that gaetz, as our coastal senator, and all of our house representatives should have come out strongly against oil drilling as protectors of our beloved gulf Coast from the beginning. In my opinion, this really should be a no-brainer for any and all of them. I shake my head every day in disbelief. then came the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It’s a shame the predictions of this type of accident fell on the deaf ears of Florida’s legislators. We had been telling them for months of our serious concerns regarding drilling off Florida’s coast. Even now that oil is fouling our precious gulf of Mexico, Dean Cannon is against governor Crist’s effort to call a special session to approve a ballot measure this November placing a permanent ban on drilling off Florida in the state’s constitution. Cannon said “preparing for, and preventing, oil damage is more important than constitutionally banning something that is already against Florida law.” It appears to me that Cannon is fearful the issue would be taken out of the politicians’ hands in the event Floridians get the opportunity to decide once and for all on the November 2010 ballot. Before the disaster, my morning ritual was checking the weather and having a look at the marine forecast to see what the day’s surf conditions might be. Now, the first thing I do is

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check the daily oil trajectory forecast to see if or when crude oil might be washing onto our beaches, endangering our marine wildlife, fouling our coastline, and affecting our ability to make a living. I am only one person among thousands on the gulf Coast who never imagined that their livelihoods would hang in the balance as a result of a manmade disaster. how many more accidents can we afford before the entire gulf is a dead zone? We need our leaders to steer our energy future into the light of clean and renewable energy sources. america should be, and could be, the world leader in expanding clean energy, and it is time to embrace energy sources that don’t destroy our environment 824

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or put entire coastal or regional economies at risk. I believe that the oil companies are feeling the pinch of competition from clean energy. that is partially why there is such a strong push for offshore drilling. I feel it is time to take bold steps away from our dependence on oil. the United States has only 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves. We could never drill enough to affect the price of oil nor could we become a major player in the world oil market. our U.S. reserves are a drop in the bucket. our leaders should do everything in their power to protect our treasured gulf of Mexico from the dangers of oil drilling—that is “why this matters.” our leaders should

understand the ripple effect that destroys our coastal economies when an oil “accident” happens—that is “why this matters.” our leaders should have the courage to make the transition to clean energy now, for our children and grandchildren—they are “why this matters.” only time will tell what will become of our beautiful gulf Coast as a result of this disaster. While we all hope that the spilled oil never reaches our shores, I fear we must plan for the worst. It is my greatest wish that the experts working to stop the undersea oil leak are successful and we may then begin the hard work of reclaiming our beloved gulf Coast.


our leaders should do everything in their power to protect our treasured Gulf of Mexico from the dangers of oil drilling—that is “why this matters.” our leaders should understand the ripple effect that destroys our coastal economies when an oil “accident” happens—that is “why this matters.” our leaders should have the courage to make the transition to clean energy now, for our children and grandchildren—they are “why this matters.”

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Dave Rauschkolb is the founder of the Hands Across The Sand anti-drilling movement and the owner/operator of Bud & Alley’s Restaurant in Seaside. On June 26, 2010, a national Hands Across The Sand event will take place on the beaches of America. Please visit http://handsacrossthesand.com for more information.

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PERSONAL PURSUITS B Y E L E A N O R LY N N N E S M I T H

Floor-to-ceiling windows flood this Lake Martin vacation home with natural light. SUMMER 2010 VIEZINE.COM 30 Photo by Jean Allsopp Photography


“I enjoy working on residential projects because I love getting to know my clients.” —PAIGE SUMBLIN SCHNELL

A contemporary soaking tub anchors the master bath in this renovated Rosemary Beach house. Photo by Michael Granberry

D

esigner and founding partner of Tracery Interiors, Paige Sumblin Schnell embraces work, play, family and community with passion and a personal flair. Although it was only six years ago that Paige moved to South Walton with her husband, Mark, and daughter, Mallory, in that short time her career has thrived and her civic contributions are far-reaching. Growing up in the small town of Opp, Alabama, just north of the Florida state line, Paige spent just about as much time along the Gulf of Mexico as she did in her hometown. “Spring break and summer vacations were always at the beach,” recalls Paige. “It was so close we would even come down for a day.” Paige always thought she would end up along the water one day, but she couldn’t predict how it would happen, or the interesting detours along the way. Born with an artistic streak and nurtured by a mother who loves antiques and collectibles, Paige set her sights on design school at Auburn University, from which she graduated in 1998. An internship in Birmingham and a six-year stint with ASD in Atlanta working with corporate, legal and hospitality clients around the country provided Paige diverse experience, but

she longed for a more personal approach to design. “I enjoy working on residential projects because I love getting to know my clients,” says Paige. “At the end of a job I feel like I am part of their family.” By 2004, Paige and Mark were looking for a way to justify leaving the rat race of Atlanta for life at the beach. During a “research” weekend in Seaside, they learned that the Birmingham architecture firm of Dungan NePhoto by Sheila Goode quette had recently opened a Florida office. By chance, Paige had worked with Louis Nequette and Jeff Dungan during an internship with Garrison Barrett Group. On a Monday, Paige called her former colleagues to ask about their plans, recalling, “Jeff said it was ‘kismet’ because they had just been talking about me, but they didn’t know where I was working or how to reach me.”

PAIGE SUMBLIN SCHNELL

And, yes, timing is everything. By Friday that week, Paige had met with Louis and Jeff and had set the wheels in motion to join Tracery, their interiors studio and design shop in Rosemary Beach. Mark had recently left a large planning firm to create Schnell Urban Design, so nothing was keeping them in Georgia. “Two weeks later we found a house and we were moving,” Paige recalls. “We were excited but scared to death.” VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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In Paige’s own Seagrove home, nautical glass pendants hang between the rafters, accentuating the volume of the peaked ceiling. Photo by Michael Granberry

“I love to mix clean-lined furniture with vintage and antique furnishings.” —PAIGE SUMBLIN SCHNELL

From the outset, Tracery Interiors and Dungan Nequette Architects worked independently, yet often in collaboration. Without missing a beat, Paige’s first joint project was the Rosemary Beach Private Residence Club. “I designed everything from the finishes to the forks,” says Paige. As is often the case in a small town, one good thing quickly led to another. Paige met Steve Bradley at the PRC presentation and was soon designing a waterfront home for Steve and his wife, Lori, in WaterSound Beach. Working all along 30A from Alys Beach to Rosemary Beach, from WaterColor to The Retreat, Paige creates timeless and evocative interiors that reflect the personal desires and demands of the client, while also reflecting the sensibilities of the various communities. “I love to mix clean-lined furniture with vintage and antique furnishings,” explains Paige. “The melding of styles and materials instills a home with personality and character.”

lenges. “You are forced to deal with issues you would never confront if you were designing a home from scratch,” she explains. In 2009, Southern Living tapped Paige and Dungan Nequette Architects to design an Idea House. “The magazine had already selected Cinnamon Shore, Texas, as the location, when we first met to discuss the project,” recalls Paige. By chance, her husband Mark’s firm, Schnell Urban Design, had created the Cinnamon Shore town plan, but no one at Southern Living realized the connection when they put together the team. “Mark and I love working together on all types of ventures, so it was the perfect project,” Paige adds.

Mindful of the realities of life, Paige also strives to create welcoming and real spaces, as opposed to heavily decorated rooms. “I like to play with fabrics to keep it casual and comfy, while adding an accent of luxury with a touch of silk that works at the beach or a lake house,” says Paige. Drawing on her Alabama connections, Paige has designed numerous second homes along Lake Martin and Smith Lake, as well as grand permanent residences in Birmingham and Mountain Brook. Paige has also worked on a range of renovation projects that pose their own set of chal32

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Paige's Seagrove home reflects her creative flair for mixing old and new. Photo by Michael Granberry


Designing homes and towns is only one of their successful collaborations. Mark and Paige immediately embraced the varied cultural organizations and artistic offerings of South Walton. For instance, they cofounded the Cultural Arts Association’s first (and incredibly successful) 30A Songwriters Festival with Jennifer Steele Saunders. The couple is also active with the Seaside Repertory Theatre, architectural walking tours in Seaside, and South Walton’s Designer Showhouse for the Arts, open to the public May 29 through July 4. Mindful of new marketing tools and the power of social media networking, Paige created Tracery’s first blog last year. “We wanted a consistent yet ever-changing outlet to discuss our work and reflect our creativity,” explains Paige. “It’s incredibly popular with supporters from Belgium and England and all over the U.S. Our readers seek out our shop when they come to the beach and, even if it’s their first time visiting us, it’s like we already know each other.” One of the blog’s early followers recently turned into a real client, hiring Paige to redecorate her home in Lake Martin, Alabama.

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Paige relishes the opportunity to travel farther afield for commissions, but she also knows that good design starts at home. When Paige and Mark heard that the historic Point Washington Methodist Church was selling its parsonage to make way for a new fellowship hall, it got them thinking about their plans to build a new home from scratch. “We wanted to be environmentally responsible, and renovating an existing structure is one of the most efficient ways to recycle,” explains Paige. They bought the parsonage and moved it to a 120-by-150-foot corner wooded lot in Seagrove. “It was a straight shot, due south along County Road 395 with only one major intersection,” she adds. “Moving a house is a lot more common than one might think.” The renovated home retains the original room layout, but Paige and Mark stripped away the eight-foot ceiling in the living/dining room to expose the structural trusses, providing volume and character. With a welcoming screened-in front porch and a bocce court in the backyard, the house provides a great setting for extended family gatherings or all manner of casual dinner parties with friends. Most of all, it’s the perfect full-time house for a family who obviously loves living at the beach. VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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rdest-hit g the a h e h t f o One nts durin tion e m g e s t e mark ic situa m o n o c e t cur ren lding industr y. is the bui At first glance some might wonder how E. F. San Juan—a Youngstown, Florida-based custom moulding and millwork manufacturer—maintains the resources not only to survive but also to thrive. A closer look, however, reveals an organizational framework that is poised to withstand adversity, as well as to capitalize on marketplace advantages. At the heart of this framework are solid principles and a close-knit family. Traditionally, the San Juan family—who immigrated from Spain and Cuba to the United States between the 1880s and the early 1900s—was mostly known in Tampa for the fine cigars they produced. Ed San Juan’s father (who went by the name of Eddie) opened his own small cigar factories, known as “buckeyes.” He had a booming business until the end of World War II, when the numerous military bases that bought his cigars closed. When forced to start over, this branch of the family tree utilized another talent and passion—woodworking. Patriarch Eddie, who was also a carpenter and master craftsman, opened a factory that produced high-end furniture and store fixtures. Sharing his father’s love of wood, Ed, too, became a master craftsman and worked in his father’s business from 1959 to the time it was sold in 1975. Taking advantage of a shift in market demand, Ed then established E. F. San Juan in 1976. As soon as he was old enough, Edward Jr., the elder of Ed’s two children, held various jobs in the millwork plant where he worked weekends and summers. He was there to help out, but he never intended to make a career of the family business. Edward was aiming for a medical degree and a future as the family’s first doctor of medicine. In college, however, he could not ignore his natural affinity for business. He changed his major from premed to finance and went on to earn his MBA from the University of Florida before returning to Youngstown and E. F. San Juan. The father-and-son team not only enjoyed working together, but they also both acknowledged that Ed’s experience and Edward’s education complemented one another. “I was never pressured,” says Edward. “It just happened.” In 1987, Edward officially became a partner in E. F. San Juan. “It has been nothing but a pleasure for me to work with Edward,” says Ed. Father and son agree that the arrangement has been a great success.

Ed San Juan with his son and partner, Edward San Juan

Supplying millwork for more homes than anyone has taken the time to count, E. F. San Juan has made a profit every year since it opened. Serving two primary geographic markets—Northwest Florida and the Birmingham metropolitan area—the company currently operates with forty-five employees. “We’ve done a good job of retaining them,” says Ed Sr. “Many have been with us in excess of ten years.” Among them is Edward’s wife, the company’s comptroller for the past twelve years. Much of that loyalty, Edward believes, stems from providing opportunities to people who take pride and ownership in their work. Today’s millwork industry is fully automated, so, while woodworking apprenticeships of the past have become obsolete, Edward is happy to train anyone with a strong work ethic on how to operate the high-tech equipment. “Without a doubt, our people are our most valuable assets, and we treat them with the respect they deserve.” Demonstrating the two-way commitment, the owners actually share confidential accounting statements with their employees. “Being open demonstrates that our employees are important to us, and they fully understand the significance of their role in our company,” says Edward. Setting the tone by example, the San Juans go out of their way to make each customer a priority. The relationship begins with a clear understanding of

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ives are n k g n i p a h e s “All of our-house,” says Ed. “W ground inufacture any design.” can man rchitect’s drawing from an a

might relate to selecting an appropriate wood species for an application relative to function, availability, beauty, and cost.

the client’s goals and budget, and proceeds with an effort to make every stage of the relationship a positive experience. “It’s rare that we don’t achieve the desired result and even form lasting friendships,” says Ed. For many, E. F. San Juan’s phase of participation—providing the trim work— is among the most gratifying in the construction process. “After spending a great deal of their budget on elements that go behind the walls, homeowners can finally see their visions take shape when we come along,” says Edward. “We have received many notes from customers expressing their gratitude for what we’ve done,” he adds. “In most business situations, the customer’s check signifies the end of the transaction, but a written acknowledgement truly gives us the absolute satisfaction we strive to obtain.” Satisfaction seems likely since E. F. San Juan can produce a virtually endless array of moulding profiles. “All of our shaping knives are ground in-house,” says Ed. “We can manufacture any design from an architect’s drawing.” Ed says that, early on (once it was determined that E. F. San Juan would market primarily to architectural firms), it was understood that providing excellent support to the professionals in charge would be essential. Those elements include a comprehensive company website, catalogs, product samples, and computer disks with moulding profiles. “Architects occasionally call on my dad and me for our expertise,” adds Edward. Their guidance 38

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Additionally, if a client wants to see more than a sample, E. F. San Juan will manufacture custom tools, if needed, to finish a wall with the moulding under consideration before any agreement is signed. “We will provide preliminary moulding samples so that the builder can assemble a full-scale mock up to demonstrate how the room will look upon completion,” says Edward. “Even at that stage of the game, we may have to grind twenty or thirty knives, but that’s part of our service. You don’t get that from a big box retailer.” Although they specialize in high-end projects—fine homes, offices, and churches—the San Juans understand that even the most lavish properties are built within budgets. Owners appreciate cost-cutting recommendations, especially now. Instead of choosing walnut to finish the study of an elegant home, for example, the customer may opt for a less expensive wood that will stain to give the same appearance. “For a small percentage of customers, money is not an issue,” says Edward, “but the wealthiest did not become that way by being foolish with their resources. It’s up to us to offer thoughtful alternatives.” Property owners and even architects also look to the San Juans for guidance when choosing the best windows and doors relative to the most recent building codes. Technological advances in materials that are now used have also changed product specifications. “We started off manufacturing all of our products,” says Ed, “but, when our customers asked us to supply


A can-do spirit is intrinsic to E. F. San Juan. “Though the real estate market and the overall economy are depressed, I see America as a great country that always comes back,” says Ed. He further states that his pragmatism has paid off during hard times. “As the senior partner, I wouldn’t approve of taking on debt; I pay as I go,” he says. “No matter how well we are doing, I never get comfortable because I always expect something to happen—and it always does! Therefore, we have been able to enter this period on solid financial footings, as well as with a good reputation in a broad market.” Edward agrees, although he has, from time to time, questioned his dad for being too conservative. “It was hard to hear about all the money people were making flipping condos while we stood by,” he says. However, with the benefit of hindsight and the knowledge of others’ financial setbacks over the past few years, Edward is grateful for his father’s low-risk approach, adding with optimism, “When times are tough, we are also forced to be more creative. As a result, we’ve implemented some wise policy changes which will carry forth as the economy improves.”

E. F. San Juan's plant in Youngstown, Florida.

windows and doors, we aligned ourselves with companies that made superior products and also conducted business in ways that coincided with our ethics.” From numerous changes in the Florida wind codes to the ongoing evolution in building materials, selecting windows and doors for a project requires many different considerations that did not exist a few years ago. “If it had not been for our vendors, who helped us address the codes and customer preferences, I don’t know that we could have remained in the window and door industry,” says Ed. No matter its scope, each project comes with a unique set of opportunities and challenges. Ed further confides that many properties, not only the multimillion-dollar mansions, have impressed him. “I will marvel at a home that is modest in price, but it strikes me because of its layout, the way it is appointed, and the overall feel I get inside.” Edward says that, for different reasons, certain jobs stand out in his mind. Among them is Caliza Pool at Alys Beach—from its general design to its intricate screens and millwork components. “We probably spent as much time thinking about that project as it took to build it.” Edward adds that it’s especially rewarding to be part of a creation like Caliza Pool, which is enjoyed by many as well as featured in magazines. For contrast, he cites Seaside Chapel as a favored project for its simplicity. He equally values each opportunity he has to work with some of the world’s most talented architects. “They conceive ideas on paper that seem impossible, yet, when we bring such concepts to fruition, I learn what can be done.”

Edward San Juan at the Youngstown, Florida, plant.

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feelings y, s i h p u s um conom e h g Edward s“ u o t a l It’s this way: cars on the road teel.” yet all the is is the place to b me that th Although not financial risk takers, the San Juans are not opposed to exploring new horizons. A few years ago, both Ed and Edward took flying lessons and obtained their pilot licenses. “Golf used to be our main recreation, but we’d discuss work between each hole,” says Edward. “The golf course was not much of a diversion.” While learning to fly, however, they were too busy thinking about surviving to talk about business. In addition to giving father and son fresh perspectives to share, the two have also gained a degree of humility from the experience. “Our instructors were half my age, one-third my dad’s,” Edward says. “Learning an entirely new field from people who seemed so young was humbling. It also made me more patient as a manager and a parent.” As a parent, does Edward expect a third generation of San Juans to enter the millwork business? So far, 12-year-old Lydia (scheduled to clean the office

floors later in the day) and15-year-old Eddie (who is mowing the lawn) are already learning to be responsible part-time employees. “I certainly hope our business continues to thrive so they have that choice,” says Edward. If they decide to make E. F. San Juan a bona fide career, however, Edward wants them to graduate from college and work elsewhere first. “In the beginning, I didn’t fully appreciate having my dad, who loved me, as my boss,” says Edward. “I could be rather arrogant at times, and anyone else would have fired me!” Despite any glitches that the two needed to work out years ago, Ed and Edward, who reflect genuine admiration and friendship, feel fortunate to spend their days together in a business that gives them joy, gratification, and pride. And, while neither can predict what the future holds, the owners of E. F. San Juan also believe that they could not be in a more desirable situation. Although their total sales volume is down, the San Juans are convinced that Northwest Florida presents the best possible conditions in both boom times and during periods of economic weakness. Neither would want to work or live anywhere else. Edward sums up his feelings this way: “It’s a tough economy, yet all the cars on the road tell me that this is the place to be.”

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She’S Got LeGS And Stephanie Nichols Knows How to Move Them By Lisa Burwell Photography by Romona Robbins with Shauna Olson assisting Hair and makeup by Rachel London

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She’S part rock ’n’ roLL, part Southern BeLLe, and, part Jackie o. Stephanie Nichols has parlayed her creative and adventurous spirit into the successful clothing retail boutique, Deja-vu—an apropos name (the French translation means “to have already seen”) she spontaneously thought of while waiting to open a business checking account. Since that fateful day in the bank in 2008, Stephanie’s dream has taken the Emerald Coast by storm, and she has not looked back. Starting out with a small retail kiosk at Seacrest Village on Highway 30A situated between Alys Beach and Rosemary Beach, she now has two store locations, one in Seaside and one at Pier Park in Panama City Beach, Florida. 446

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The success of Deja-vu was only a prelude to another of Stephanie’s recent ingenuities, the Judith March designer label—a contemporary bohemian clothing collection geared toward women in their 20s to 40s and inspired by the feminine styles of yesteryear but modernized for today’s comfort and style. The company name has significance as it bears the names of two people that are important in Stephanie’s life: her mother, Judith, and her mother-in-law, March. She describes this new collection as “vintage pinup girl meets Southern rock.” The Judith March label made its debut at Atlanta’s January

2010 Apparel Market and achieved success in attracting the attention of retailers from around the country. Getting a face-to-face interview with Stephanie was no easy task. When I finally met up with this high-energy businesswoman at the company’s Santa Rosa Beach headquarters, it was evident why. Earlier that day, a 22,000-piece shipment had arrived and staff were briskly moving in and out of what seemed to be an endless number of rooms filled with boxes of clothing stacked to the ceiling. Judging by Stephanie’s


Left to Right: Stephanie Nichols, Lisa Trapp, Abigail Ryan, Jessie Taylor, Shawn Chick

slight anxiousness, I could tell that she was very busy and that time was a precious commodity. Throughout the subsequent two-hour interview, her story unfolded at a ferocious pace. With a warm smile and Southern drawl, this unpretentious and down-to-earth fashionista set the conversational tone for the interview. A tall, beautiful brunette clad in short shorts and cowboy boots, Stephanie looked more like a model than a fashion designer. Photos of her husband, Justin, and adorable 3-year-old son, Fox, sprinkled her office. A guitar autographed by the Rolling Stones was enclosed in a glass case on the wall, and her dog, Harley, slept in his bed of vintage Louis Vuitton luggage. Throughout the interview, Stephanie was constantly segueing to work issues. Watching her in action was inspiring—feeling fabric, confidently directing and interfacing with her staff. Seeing how prototype outfits make their VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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“i Like to make peopLe feeL Good aBout themSeLveS and cLothinG GiveS them confidence”.

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way to being the next great thing was engrossing: Top-selling dresses were made from blankets with floral patterns. And a $10 vintage scarf discovered in New York was her inspiration for another dress. What was even more impressive was that Stephanie possesses this talent even though she has, to this day, never sewn anything. While she was taking a marketing class at Troy University, a writing assignment about how to start a business gave Stephanie the blueprint for her fashion career. She has an eye for what women want to wear and knows how to communicate that to her staff of designers, all of whom have been with Stephanie for about three years. Many of them now are the tender age of twenty-two or twenty-three. “Megan has been with me since the beginning and used to work for Kay Unger in New York,” beamed Stephanie. Stephanie has created a loyal team of employees by being good to them and giving them respect, which they clearly give back to her. “The girls that work for me are some of the smartest people I know. They see the forest and the trees,” she said.

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“the Great thinG aBout cLotheS

iS that you can Be

Jackie o today and

JaniS JopLin tomorrow,”

She added

with a SmiLe. 850

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The fashion business is a very fast-paced industry, and running two businesses isn’t an easy undertaking. Stephanie employs a staff of twenty-two in Deja-vu, and twelve in Judith March. “Much of the success in the business is about catching the eye of the buyer placing orders,” she explained. “‘Striking gold’ with the retailers is accomplished through a combination of selecting the right print and fit. The Judith March style seems to have the right stuff.” Recent exposure of her Judith March clothing line in Women’s Wear Daily and in the May issue of Seventeen, recognition at Fashion Avenue Market Expo (FAME) in New York City, and headlining one of the largest apparel markets in the country this past April, the Atlanta Apparel Style Runway Fashion Show, are all indicators that reveal Stephanie is well on her way. “I used to read Seventeen in my teens, so when they called to ask for samples to feature in the magazine, I kept my cool but inside I was screaming with excitement.” A visionary needs to possess an innate ability to see and imagine the future, and this Alabama native does both with finesse and panache way beyond her young age of twenty-eight. A girl on the move for several years running, Stephanie is determined to make it big in the fashion industry. “I like to make people feel good about themselves and clothing gives them confidence,” she said. “The great thing about clothes is that you can be ‘Jackie O’ today and ‘Janis Joplin’ tomorrow,” she added with a smile. Running the two companies over the past couple of years has not been without its difficulties. “The business demands have been incredibly fierce,” said Stephanie. “I have missed more birthdays and get-togethers of friends and family than I care to think about. I can only hope that they will understand after reading this article.” One of Stephanie’s greatest qualities is that she cannot be defined or put in a box. She doesn’t have a five- or ten-year plan but would love to be the next big name in the fashion industry. She has certainly proven that she is destined for greatness. Stephanie Nichols is a rising star who is soon to be a household name.

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er

International Blockbust

e u q r i C d Le Gran is Summer Heats Up Sandestin thBy Tori Phelps

NT: AH, THE HOLY GRAIL OF ENTERTAINME THE GLITZ OF A VEGAS PRODUCTION AND THE FAMILY APPEAL OF THE BIG AT TOP. LE GRAND CIRQUE CAPTURES TH MAGICAL COMBINATION AND, FOR A S IT LIMITED TIME THIS SUMMER, BRING DIRECTLY TO OUR DOORSTEP. COME ONE, COME ALL Le Grand Cirque, which has been called the “next generation of Cirque Du Soleil,” has been delighting audiences and breaking boxoffice records with its thrilling yet sophisticated performances. “It’s an immensely successful show that’s played to packed houses all 56

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over the world,” says Stacey Brady, director of communications for Grand Boulevard at Sandestin in Miramar Beach, the show’s temporary home. “At the legendary Sydney Opera House alone, it smashed attendance records by attracting fifty thousand people over a twoand-a-half-week period.” The international cast takes audience members on the ride of their lives with dazzling acrobatics and jaw-dropping stunts like the Wheel of Death—one of the most dangerous acts ever attempted in a live show. Other breathtaking feats include contortion, a strong man, Chinese pole climbing, and much more. This extravaganza of talent and audacity is possible because Le Grand Cirque aspired to be the best in the world from the very beginning. “Simon Painter, the creative producer, literally traveled the four corners of the globe to handpick the more than forty high-precision acts,” Brady explains. “He finds the best of the best. These artists train and rehearse six hours a day and are at the top of their respective fields.”


Adaptability is one of the hallmarks of Le Grand Cirque, and the producers have incorporated new acts specifically for Grand Boulevard performances. Another boon for area attendees is the prospect of seeing talent culled from right here in Northwest Florida. “Two local dancers auditioned and earned a spot in the show,” Brady says, “which is a great opportunity for them— and for us.”

CREATING A PHENOMENON As anyone who has witnessed the spectacle of Le Grand Cirque over the past six years can attest, no detail of the show has been overlooked. From music to lights to brightly colored costumes inspired by the four seasons, the multimillion-dollar production quality is immediately apparent. “The music heightens the impact of the daring acts and then transitions to the graceful, comedic aspects. The sound system and lights also play an important role in propelling the intensity of the performances,” she says.

Boulevard Simon Painter and Grand Howard. th Kei , per develo

ODUCER, R P E IV T A E R C E H T , R E T “SIMON PAIN UR CORNERS O F E H T D E L E V A R T Y LL LITERA MORE E H T K IC P D N A H O T E B OF THE GLO ACTS.”–STACY BRADY N IO IS C E R -P H IG H Y T R O THAN F

Infusing only top-quality elements into Le Grand Cirque was of paramount importance to David King, the visionary behind the show and one of the UK’s most prolific and successful producers. His foresight has earned multiple awards for Le Grand Cirque and garnered the show an international reputation for enthralling adults and children alike. Younger attendees are mesmerized by the non-stop action and seemingly impossible exploits, while adults are drawn in by a level of sophistication usually reserved for colossal productions in major metropolises.

A GRAND CONNECTION Local audiences will experience Le Grand Cirque’s thrilling performances in enchantingly high style reminiscent of its big-top roots. Three cream-colored fabric structures comprise the elegant venue, which boasts luxurious touches like air conditioning and wooden floors. The spare-no-expense aura is a perfect fit for Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, already known to its residents and to visitors as a distinctive dining and entertainment destination. “One of the great things about the show’s

location is that before or after the show you can enjoy great dining at one of the five signature restaurants in the town centre. There are also casual eateries, fun bars, galleries, and shops. It’s a beautiful place to wander around, window-shop, and people watch,” Brady advises. She’s confident that Le Grand Cirque will enjoy a long run in Northwest Florida. “A show of Le Grand Cirque’s caliber is completely unique to our region. It’s two hours of pure edge-of-your-seat entertainment, and I think people will jump at the chance to see a performance or two,” she says. “Based on the tremendous response so far, we’re very optimistic that our market will support this type of world-class live performance, perhaps even on a more permanent basis.” Le Grand Cirque, which has an initial run from May through August, will offer at least eight performances a week. For ticket information and additional show details, visit www.cirquedestin.com or call (866) 973-9610.

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e u q r i C d Le Gran Center At The Mattie Kelly Arts By Colleen Hinely

ON FEBRUARY 17, 2010, THE MATTIE OF KELLY ARTS CENTER, ON THE CAMPUS IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE D NICEVILLE, PLAYED HOST TO LE GRAN T CIRQUE AND A CAPTIVATED, SOLD-OU IZE AUDIENCE. TO ATTEMPT TO CHARACTER THE THEATRICAL EXPERIENCE OF LE GRANDE CIRQUE WITH A SINGLE WORD WOULD BE FUTILE. TO DECLARE THE EXPERIENCE OF LE GRAND CIRQUE G, AND MESMERIC, SEDUCTIVE, CAPTIVATIN ST. STUNNING WOULD BE ADEQUATE AT BE 58

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LE GRAND CIRQUE is part of a movement known as cirque nouveau (serk nüvo)—French for “new circus.” Originating in France in the 1970s, cirque nouveau combines elements of both circus and theatre. Taking its inspiration from more colossal productions, similar to the unrelated Cirque du Soleil, Le Grand Cirque has masterfully created an intimate thriller performance designed for smaller-sized venues. It is a theatrical movement in dance, rooted in the ancient cultures of Eastern Europe, Russia, and China. The show’s performers are world-class dancers, gymnasts, and performers who have been carefully chosen for their precision and agility. They hail from Mongolia, China, Russia, Canada, and the United States. Prior to the evening’s performance, I was escorted backstage by Ji’an, the dance company translator—a crucial link for the dozens of Chinese performers, most of whom are unable to speak or understand English. After a series of introductions to the production team, I met the talkative Ricky, who, ironically, plays the role of an unnamed miming ringmaster. I was then taken onstage, which was


set in its pre-show neon illumination. Dozens of costumed performers sat postured, methodically stretching their athletic physiques, while others communed together in small groups, some speaking in whispered conversations, some laughing. A few stood alone within the dark shadows, seemingly in meditative preparation for the evening’s performance. Although my original intention had been to capture images of the performers prior to curtain call, I refrained. I was unwilling to violate the intimate spaces that they used for physical and mental preparation. As I wound my way back through the dressing areas and elaborate costume closets, the mood of the performers had noticeably transformed. Their meditations had awakened the spirits of their stage characters— they were now ready to perform. Following a few minutes of slapstick hilarity and pranks that were perpetrated on the audience by Ricky, the ringmaster, the stage erupted with the dazzling sights and sounds of Le Grand Cirque. The dark velvet curtain rose and the electric routines of dance and acrobatics began. The vision of blazing red lights and performers in colorful, ornate garments catapulted my senses into overdrive. Eight men adorned in costumes marked with tiger stripes and leopard spots—animals that are esteemed sacred in ancient Chinese culture—and their heads crested in playful Mohawk headdresses jumped onstage. With the agility of jungle cats, the performers effortlessly scaled a pair of towering poles, and then locked themselves into their tiered positions. With the greatest of ease and with obvious strength, the dancers contorted their bodies and performed a birdlike dance of simulated flight in a divinely choreographed routine. Each actor maintained exacting precision at staggering heights above the stage.

fluid motion and precision, she began an ancient contortionist dance, at times pausing to allow the audience to admire her poise. Just as an art lover would revel in the beauty of a Renaissance period sculpture, all of the onlookers were enraptured. With each riveting routine of cycling, pole climbing, and ladder balance, the music of Le Grand Cirque enveloped the theatre with remixed and modernized interpretations of classical compositions. Characterized with rhythmic tribal beats, the Cirque’s musical score pumped adrenaline throughout the bloodstreams of audience members and performers alike. One of the remaining acts, an aerial silk routine, was one the most astounding performances of the evening. A man, dressed simply in flowing white pants, emerged from the darkness into an icy-white spotlight. After wrapping his forearms with two delicate white ribbons, he was mysteriously propelled high above the stage. Under the brilliant glow, the performer unveiled his magnificent Olympic-like abilities. With each fluid movement, this aerial artist displayed his body as a work of art, each muscle fiber visible. A few times during the performance,

ED LIGHTS AND R G N ZI LA B F O N IO IS V E TH MENTS AR G E AT N R O L, FU R LO O C IN PERFORMERS TO OVERDRIVE. IN S SE N SE Y M ED LT U P A CAT

One stage change later revealed an elegant and poised contortionist dressed in a goldleafed cat suit. The thin material of her costume clung to her elastic limbs as she bent and twisted beyond human comprehension. With controlled grace, she lay on her stomach and arched her head, feet, and arms upward, which allowed for the careful placement of candelabras on her headdress, hands, and the soles her feet. With VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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Photo by Colleen Hinely

he floated before the spotlight, resembling a spirit summoned by a divine, heavenly light. Le Grand Cirque is preparing for a muchanticipated local debut on May 25 at Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach. The summer performances promise to be a “grander version of the February show, with bigger acts,” according to the show’s producer, Simon Painter. The Cirque will continue through the 2010 summer season in a custom, state-ofthe-art, air-conditioned tent, which will host audiences of 1,000 plus.

E U Q IR C D N A R G E L F THE MARVEL O BLE. A IB R C S E D IN Y L U R T IS

The marvel of Le Grand Cirque is truly indescribable. Few words exist that are capable of the task. When the word is uncovered, it will, indeed, be bold!

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Emotions on Canvas Art by Nancy Swan Drew | By Susan Vallée

Nancy Swan Drew’s artwork is iconic along the Northwest Florida coast. Often described as whimsical (a term that she says makes her left eye twitch ever so slightly), Nancy has been applying brush to canvas for more than forty years, hoping that her words and images will reach deep into our hearts and stir our emotions. For years, her artwork adorned the walls and buildings near Perspicasity in Seaside, Florida—her artwork and books are gallery favorites. A wife, a mother of three and a grandmother to four, Nancy divides her time between Niles, Michigan, and a lake house in Inlet Beach, Florida. She has spent the last several months cataloging her history of work for a newly developed website. “It has been like a report card,” she said with a look of mock horror, “seeing all your work from

the past forty years or so. Can you imagine? It has been a big project for me.” Her list of professional accomplishments is vast: a master’s degree in fine art from the University of Notre Dame, a national ad design for L’eggs, her book Love Pearls being selected for a Scholastic national book fair, being a syndicated cartoonist for the Chicago Tribune,

five published books, an exhaustive list of pro bono work, and, now, a contributing cartoonist for VIE – People + Places. It was her passion for helping others heal after heartache that inspired her first series of cartoons. A breast cancer survivor herself, she is adamant about art’s ability to heal the wounded soul.

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“The feeling of this book,” she said, “is that until you go through something, you don’t know that you have courage. Courage becomes you.”

Early in her career, she created a character called “Dolly” and often uses her as a means to speak directly to her audience. Her words encourage and inspire—running throughout her artwork is the theme of creative expression. It is a philosophy in which she believes deeply. Within each of us, she believes, is a Dolly of our own. If we just give that voice a microphone, she says, wondrous things can happen. What truly makes Nancy special is her sense of selflessness. She does wondrously thoughtful things for people without being asked and without expecting thanks. After the bombing of the Oklahoma Federal Building in 1995, Nancy created an entire series 466

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of coloring book pages with loving themes and messages, and sent them to the public elementary schools in Oklahoma City. She’s painted elevators at the Ronald McDonald House, donated artwork for charity auctions, sponsored paint-a-thons, and spent untold hours with cancer patients, listening and trying to provide a voice of encouragement during dark days. “I love (big time) to use color, lines, and words to make nice things happen for women and children. It’s really my cup of tea,” she explained. The resolution to continue fighting and putting one foot in front of the other on days when all one wants to do is stay in bed inspired Nancy’s most recent book on courage.

“The feeling of this book,” she said, “is that until you go through something, you don’t know that you have courage. Courage becomes you.” Nancy Swan Drew’s artwork can be purchased at Quincy Avenue Art & Things in Seaside, Florida, or The Studio Gallery. Her work is also sold in fine galleries along the coast of Lake Michigan. Stay tuned for Nancy Swan Drew’s new website, www.nancyswandrew.com, to launch this summer.


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Grasses In Classes story and photography by anne w. schultz “... a little child will lead them.” Isaiah 11:6

The children arrive early one June morning, exceptional in its brightness and clarity. This magical day compares to those I experienced in the Greek islands, where the air is dry and invigorating, leaving a pure, incandescent light—a light that photographers and painters dream about, where every detail is stark and every image illuminated. Standing beneath a live oak tree, I see the children approach. High above, the crown of pine trees glows in an emerald fire, as if each bristled clump is electrified from within. This is a Florida summer day that shall be savored. About forty fifth graders from Jill McCoy’s Bay Elementary School science class are here to plant grasses in front of our bayside home in conjunction with a school-sanctioned science program. I watch them traipse—mostly in single file— down the narrow beach, clutching plastic pots 72

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full of marsh grasses in each hand. Nimble as deer, they leap over a creek, then sidestep around craggy driftwood, weathered tree stumps, and the silvery hulk of a downed tree. Massive oak branches, swathed in Spanish moss, twist down toward them like embracing arms. With the sound of water lapping upon the shore to set the cadence, the excited children’s high-pitched voices join the chorus of the shorebirds wheeling in flight above. My husband and I are so grateful for their help in restoring about thirty feet of wetland that had suddenly vanished from along our bay shoreline. Looking for a more natural and less invasive alternative to a sea wall to protect the shoreline, we agreed to be part of a wetland reclamation project that implements oyster shell reefs and marsh grasses. A few weeks earlier, a large group of volunteers had spent several days constructing the oyster shell reef that would protect the plantings. Now, the children had arrived to complete the project by planting around three hundred clumps of smooth cordgrass as part of the Grasses in Classes program, sponsored by Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) with contributions from

the South Walton Community Council, a local environmental group. Through this science program, children not only learn scientific facts about nature, but through hands-on interaction, they also intimately experience their natural surroundings. With a large percentage of families living in cities these days, I think how fortunate these children are to live within an environment that is alive, instead of one manufactured from plastic, concrete, and steel. In South Walton, children are never far from beaches, dune lakes, and state-owned forests, where they reunite with the family of nature, a larger community of life that they can connect with merely by stepping outside. Children need never feel alone when nature is their companion and friend—a life force that is as ever moving, growing, and changing as they are. While waiting for everyone to assemble, I chat with some of the children. “I hate that not many recycle. It’s like they don’t care,” one girl shares. Another boy bubbles with enthusiasm over the gardens at Seaside School. “You should see the gardens there. They grow tons of vegetables like


tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and herbs—and they’re all organic!” Another child tells me that he learned a lot about grasses, saying, “I never realized they were such a big deal.” Jill McCoy and Kim Cox, the science teachers who accompany the class, tell me that the students cultivated these grass specimens from tiny shoots planted in a kiddy pool behind the school building. Each day, the children took turns tending the plants, checking water levels and sometimes adding salt if the salinity levels were too low. CBA grant manager Alison McDowell periodically visited the classroom to teach them about the many functions that grasses serve in a wetland environment, and also about watersheds. Wearing a visor that shades her face, Alison stands ankle-deep in the bay, coaching the children in finding the ideal site for their plants. “You want to make sure the roots take hold, so keep their feet in water that’s not too deep or too shallow—about six inches is ideal,” she says. She explains that roots are important because they hold down sediment and keep the plant anchored. Soon the kids are busy shoveling holes, inserting transplants, and then patting damp sand around them. They work with a quiet efficiency and concentration that amazes me. After finishing their task, the students stand listening with rapt attention as Alison explains how the oyster reef will expand and protect their new plantings. “Oysters float when they are babies. At the adult stage, they will attach to this oyster shell reef and over time, the reef will grow

bigger and be able to soften the wave action that causes erosion.” Then she quizzes the children on what they learned about grasses. Hands are raised and kids called on. “They make the landscape beautiful,” one girl responds. Others chime in. “They clean the water by filtering pollutants.” “They stop erosion.” “They are habitat for little crabs, shrimp, and fishes that we love to eat,” calls out another. At that point, Alison asks the children a question: “Do your dads like to fish?” “Yes,” most shout out. “These wetlands are nurseries for many fish prized by recreational fishermen as well as commercial fisheries,” Alison adds. “What happens when we have hurricanes?” A hand shoots up. “Wetlands help sponge up excess storm water,” is the answer. “Good answer, and what else?” Alison asks. “They recycle nutrients.” “Great,” she responds. “You all did a terrific job, thanks so much for coming.” As quickly as they appeared, the class waves goodbye and retreats down the same path back to the public access where their school buses wait. The teachers invite us to visit their science class when school resumes next fall, which we look forward to. The children impressed us with their interest and enthusiasm. We are further impressed when a boy returns looking for a BandAid that fell from a cut on his arm. He is concerned that it might litter our property! These students realize what a beautiful place they live in and intend to make sure it stays this way. I’m sure these dedicated teachers and programs like Grasses in Classes deserve praise for inspiring and nurturing these attitudes.

The girl I talked to earlier was right; we don’t seem to care that we are handing down to our children an earth we have abused and exploited for too long. I’d about given up hope that we would ever change the old destructive patterns like clear-cutting and filling in wetlands. Yet, these inspiring children swept into my life that morning out of nowhere, a whirlwind of fresh vitality that stirred up hope—hope not only for reclaiming our lost wetlands, but also for future preservation of the nature I hold so dear. The endearing way they talked about nature and handled it shows that they value its intrinsic qualities as well as its beneficial properties. Now, I’m confident the children will lead us down the path of stewardship as caretakers of nature. That day, I discovered it is true that a child will lead us—into a brighter future for planet Earth. For more information on Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance and ways to help out, check out www.basinalliance.org.

Anne W. Schultz is a freelance writer living in the Point Washington forest area with her husband, Bill. The couple moved from Kansas City fourteen years ago with their adult daughter Alison, who lives nearby. A love for God’s creation keeps Anne outdoors in a kayak, walking the beach or forest trails, or traveling to unspoiled landscapes in remote locations. She and Bill are Master Naturalists in Coastal Systems certified by the University of Florida.

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WORLD-CLASS CUISINE FISH OUT OF WATER

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By Sandra Woodward Photography by Dia Sather

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ne of the joys of dining out (not to be confused with the more common activity of “grabbing a quick bite”) is the anticipation of the gastronomic adventure ahead, especially when one is anticipating a meal in a restaurant with a reputation for excellent food, a lovely setting, great service, a superb wine list, and unique intangibles that mark a truly special experience. Be assured, a reservation at Fish Out of Water, the WaterColor Inn’s signature restaurant, is an occasion for serious anticipation. Daydreaming may occur as well. For starters, in a geographic setting where paradise is available for the price of a beer in a beachfront bar, Fish Out of Water takes nature’s spectacle and frames it with elegance, sophistication, and charm. From the gorgeous décor accents of the entrance and sushi bar to the exhibition kitchen, the private dining room that showcases an extensive and excellent wine inventory, to the Gulf views and muted colors of the spacious dining area, the atmosphere is welcoming and comforting, even at the height of a busy evening. That atmosphere can be the result of excellent service, and that was indeed our experience. We confess to being a bit exacting about service (not too chummy, not too pushy, not too condescending, thank you), and our expectations were exceeded by the thoroughly professional demeanor of our primary server and the entire front-of-house team who left us with the feeling that our presence was worthy of their respect and attention, if not their sole priority. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, the same degree of attention to detail and to excellence was being given to our food selections. We knew in advance that Fish Out of Water is graced with a culinary team with major props, including a 2009 Best Chef: South nomination from the James Beard Foundation for the restaurant’s chef de cuisine, Philip Krajeck. Having read about his interest in local cuisine, heirloom and sustainable products, and sharing that passion, we were looking forward to a menu that reflected those considerations, as well as a high level of execution and presentation. From line-caught fresh fish and locally harvested shellfish to cheeses, vegetables, and meats from local environmentally sustainable farms, the menu is a celebration of the freshest food available. We began with Apalachicola oysters and shared an excellent charcuterie plate—one that set the bar very VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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high for what has become an increasingly popular menu trend nationwide. Few other restaurants will be able to meet this standard. The country pâté with pistachios, which prompted the choice initially, was especially delicious. The lightly pickled cabbage, so delicate and fresh, and the deeply intense violet mustard were perfect accompaniments for the trio of pork selections. Seafood dominated our entrée selections. The line-caught pompano, while somewhat diminutive, was delicately and perfectly cooked with minimal seasoning, allowing its flavor to shine through, as did its pairing with heirloom eggplant flavored with almonds and raisins. This was an enthusiastic choice and is a delightful change-up for those who enjoy pompano, permit, and other members of the jack family, which are not standard restaurant fare these days. The black grouper stew, featuring a base of heirloom vegetables, was equally pleasing. The grouper held its own without overpowering the hearty flavor of the cherry tomatoes, pole beans, zucchini, and field peas.

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FROM LINE-CAUGHT FRESH FISH AND LOCALLY HARVESTED SHELLFISH TO CHEESES, VEGETABLES, AND MEATS FROM LOCAL ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE FARMS, THE MENU IS A CELEBRATION OF THE FRESHEST FOOD AVAILABLE.


Not all menu items are local, but all are selected for their quality, including Oregon lamb, Harris Ranch beef, and Amish chicken. The menu’s $30 fixed-price Cucina Povera menu belies the literal “peasant-food” translation of the phrase. On the evening of our visit, it featured antipasti of gulf shrimp escabeche, heritage pork pâté, Carmen peppers, cauliflower tapenade, and grilled bread; an entrée of lamb ribs with spaghetti squash, minted yogurt and Tupelo honey; and a lemon curd/caramelized sugar tart for dessert. The concept of “enough” is an important one for those who wish to enjoy an entire menu. All too often, plates are overloaded with too much toorich food. Fish Out of Water does an excellent job of orchestrating the menu selections, pace of service, and even portion sizes so that the entire dining experience can be fully appreciated. Thus, we did not hesitate to explore the dessert menu, choosing an individually prepared perfect vanilla soufflé with salted caramel sauce, and bombolini, tiny Italian doughnuts filled with pastry crème and finished with a shot of silky ganache.

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HIGH DESIGN FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION

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By Susan Vallée


Photo by Steven Brooke Seaside in 1997 before the completion of Central Square shopping district. VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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Photo courtesy of The Seaside Institute Town sign in early 1980s. Seaside’s population fluctuates with the seasons— locals used to count the dogs, too.

Robert Davis, town founder of Seaside—the architectural gem that sparked the New Urbanism planning movement—likes to say that he was “marinated in modernism.” He became a developer almost by accident. Robert had recently graduated from Harvard Business School, and he and his friends were lamenting the lack of affordable housing when an idea was sparked; they would buy relatively less expensive land zoned as infill, build a small, compact project, and each person would take two units. Robert found a great parcel of land in Coconut Grove, Florida, and bought it, but somewhere along the way he lost his business partners. “No problem,” he thought. He would undertake the project by himself in his spare time. He now laughs at the idea. “I, of course, was not realizing that with a smaller project you had to do everything yourself, whereas, with a large project, you can contract the work out.”

B

ut he finished it, dubbed the project “Serendipity,” and, after selling units, began to look for his next project. “Apogee” would also be located in Coconut Grove, but for this one Robert was inspired to take a few additional risks. “The houses were more interesting and radical,” he said. “They were the international modern aesthetic with lots of light and space. They were the ultimate bachelor pads.” Robert and his then-girlfriend (now wife), Daryl, moved into one of the units. At the time, Daryl was completing her master’s degree in psychology and community counseling at the University of Miami and working in the field of child psychology. While coordinating a photo shoot of Apogee for House Beautiful, Robert and Daryl were introduced to a young couple, Andrés Duany and Elizabeth

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Plater-Zyberk, who worked at the renowned firm Arquitectonica. A quick friendship was made and long conversations about how architecture and planning impact people’s lives began. “Robert was always interested in high design,” Elizabeth said. “We (Andrés and I) were designing houses and small commercial buildings, but no urban design. That was the recession of the 1970s. We were spending our time with Robert, not being paid, because we were very interested.” Andrés has been quoted as saying, “One day, I went to a lecture by Léon Krier, the man who designed the English model town of Poundbury for the Prince of Wales. Krier gave a powerful talk about traditional urbanism, and, after a couple of weeks of real agony and crisis, I realized I couldn’t go on designing these fashionable, tall buildings that were fascinating visually but


Photo courtesy of The Seaside Institute Architect Andrés Duany in front of the town’s then planning hub early 1980s.

“I realized I couldn’t go on designing these fashionable, tall buildings that were fascinating visually but didn’t produce any healthy urban effect.” —Andrés Duany

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Photo by Steven Brooke Designed by Machado and Silvetti Associates, the Machado-Silvetti Building combines Robert’s vision of modern with traditional architecture. Circa 1997.

didn’t produce any healthy urban effect. They wouldn’t affect society in a positive way. The prospect of, instead, creating traditional communities where our plans could actually make someone’s daily life better really excited me. Krier introduced me to the idea of looking at people first and to the power that physical design can have on changing the social life of a community. And so, in a year or so, my wife and I left the firm and went off to do something very different.”

Robert’s experience with designing and building Serendipity and Apogee, the tours of small Italian towns with Daryl, and the delightful simplicity of the Cracker cottage they called home, all led him to wonder whether they couldn’t do something really interesting with a parcel of land in the

Florida Panhandle.

With their home at Apogee sold, Robert and Daryl decided to embark on a tour to Italy, spending several months studying and learning about Italian towns. Upon their return to Coconut Grove, they found a Florida Cracker cottage for sale in the Grove and promptly purchased it—not letting a little thing like the lack of air-conditioning in southern Florida deter them. “We learned a lot from that Cracker house,” Robert said. “It followed the modernist mantra of ‘form follows function’ in every way. And, you know, we didn’t mind that it wasn’t air-conditioned.” Robert’s experience with designing and building Serendipity and Apogee, the tours of small Italian towns with Daryl, and the delightful simplicity of the Cracker cottage they called home, all led him to wonder whether they couldn’t do something really interesting with a parcel of land in the Florida Panhandle. He had spent summers vacationing in nearby Sunnyside Beach as a youth, his family renting simple little beachfront cottages with screened-in porches. He wondered whether one could successfully combine 86

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traditional and modern architecture and create a town in which people were excited to live. Andrés and Elizabeth began planning Seaside, drawing on Léon for his expertise and insight (it was Léon’s idea to create sand footpaths throughout the town). Then Robert approached Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti of Machado and Silvetti Associates and Steven Holl to design two buildings in downtown Seaside (dubbed the Machado and Holl Buildings). “The Machado was much more successful in the effort,” Robert explained. Now home to retail and office space with condos above, the blue and gray buildings are ubiquitous to Seaside. Commissioning these architects at such an early stage in Seaside’s development exemplifies Robert and Daryl’s faith in the project and their appreciation of fine architecture. Years later, Time magazine would declare Steven Holl “America’s best architect,” while Machado and Silvetti Associates


would be recognized by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for 20 years of “boldly conceived work.” As the town began to take shape and the first homes were built, Robert and Daryl tried everything from hosting a produce market to weekend parties on the beach—anything to entice people to spend a few minutes learning about what Seaside planned to become. Daryl began taking drafting classes at a nearby community college so she could help with the planning and design efforts and evolved her produce market into a (more popular) clothing bazaar. As more people began to learn of Seaside and as the town grew, Andrés and Elizabeth began spreading the message of the “New Urbanism” through the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU), which the couple helped to cofound in 1993. Dubbed one of the most important architectural movements in the past fifty years by the New York Times, the CNU boasts more than 3,000 members and urges members to address community, environmental, health, economic, and design issues through urban design and planning. It is a philosophy that pits fans of modern planning against the New Urbanism model of planning. Robert said he differentiates between modern architecture and modern planning in his discussions, but admits that traveling scholars and past Seaside Prize recipients might not. “Léon Krier is really an anti-modernist,” he said, yet the two recently embarked on a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work in Chicago.

“Wright and Le Corbusier (a pioneer of modern architecture) built some of the most beautiful buildings that have ever been built,” Robert said. “Where they really were dead wrong was the planning ideology. They hated the city. Corbusier wanted to tear down Paris and replace it with large buildings and a grand boulevard. Wright conceived of Broadacre City, where you had oneacre lots and you had to drive to them.” Seaside urges developers and builders to utilize New Urbanism planning concepts in their deSeaside founders, Robert signs through the nonprofit educational arm of and Daryl Davis at the Seaside, The Seaside Institute. Each year, The In2010 Seaside Prize honorary celebration. stitute invites traveling scholars, architects, and artists to the town and awards the coveted Seaside Prize to those encouraging and practicing New Urbanism concepts. If you look closely in Seaside, you’ll find touches of modern architecture in Ruskin Place and a few homes within the town. It is a mix that seems to occur organically, depending on the owner’s personal tastes and styles. “The image of Seaside is that of a Southern coastal town,” Elizabeth said. “But it is an American-style vernacular.” Maybe that is why the town has so entwined itself into the hearts of thousands from across the globe. Within the town of Seaside we see the American dream, the utopia where we all want to spend a few minutes talking to a new friend or delighting in a grandchild who discovers the squeaky, white sands for the first time. It is a place of respite and renewal. As the town continues to evolve, new memories and new experiences will be made. And—the town planners hope—it will continue to inspire others to think harder and dream bigger. Photo by Steven Brooke Key pedestrian axes to the Gulf are defined by prominent architectural components as seen in this photo from 1997.

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Deidra Stange with her children, Mary-Cole Stange and Harrison Stange. Photo by Jessie Shepard

Small Town Girl From Apalach’ Southern Hospitality and Gentility to the Core

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By Sallie W. Boyles


If you ask Deidra Stange, a resident of Miramar Beach, where she’s from, she proudly says “Apalach’,” before rattling off all of the reasons why she counts herself among the fortunate few to claim Apalachicola as her hometown. On the one hand, it’s where the Apalachicola River and Bay meet the Gulf of Mexico, creating an abundance of natural beauty and outdoor recreation. On the other, the quaint town remains true to its Indian name, “friendly people,” and residents act as if they have never met a stranger. Eventually, Deidra will come around to saying that she is living out her dream of working and living in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort with her husband and two children, but her Apalachicola roots run deep. Counting four generations back, she cites her Great-Grandfather Schoelles as an early sheriff of the town. Her ancestors were among the first members of the Trinity Episcopal Church in town and, as a child, Deidra made her own bit of history as Trinity’s first female acolyte. The Schoelles were also known for owning and operating Apalachicola’s only liquor and wine store, which is still known as The Oasis. It’s impossible, therefore, for Deidra to revert to the time when she couldn’t wait to cut ties to the place that she now identifies as her heart. “I grew up thinking that Apalach’ was just a small town on the water where everyone knew everyone else,” says Deidra. “If you needed anything at the gas station or drugstore, you charged it because you had personal credit, not a credit card. To place a local phone call, you dialed four digits!” She says, “Living in the laid-back world of Apalach’ was, in many ways, like ‘falling out of time.’ The

Mary-Susan Galloway, Mary-Cole Stange, and Deidra Stange. Photo by Jessie Shepard

“I grew up thinking that Apalach’ was just a small town on the water where everyone knew everyone else,” says Deidra. “If you needed anything at the gas station or drugstore, you charged it because you had personal credit, not a credit card.”

rest of the world didn’t know we existed until a hurricane hit, and news crews descended with their cameras.” Sadly, the media’s “backwoods” portrayals were far from flattering. Also guilty of overlooking Apalachicola’s rich culture, including its artists, Deidra wondered what it would be like to live beyond Franklin County. Before she spread her wings, however, Deidra would master the skills of being a young lady from Apalach’. This included learning how

Deidra and Mike Stange. Photo by Lisa Ferrick

to (1) back up a boat, (2) shuck oysters, and (3) talk intelligently about college football. Thanks to her dad, she could, by the age of ten, quite artfully maneuver a boat in any direction, and her football savvy would be a big attraction to her husband, Mike. Deidra says that her having been raised to be a strong, capable Southern woman makes her a well-rounded individual. “I can be prissy,” says Deidra. “I love pretty dresses, fine china, and I have my share of beauty crowns in the closet. But I’m also tough-as-nails competitive. You should see me cast my daddy’s cast net before God and everyone, and, more importantly, make it spread. When we were visiting my parents during Easter, I grabbed a fishing pole and told my children, ‘Watch how your momma catches the most fish!’” With that can-do attitude, Deidra graduated from Apalachicola High School, where both parents were teachers and her father coached football, and then attended her parents’ alma mater, Troy State University in Alabama, where she worked toward earning a degree in broadcast journalism. After leaving college, she worked for a swimsuit company in Jacksonville, Florida, and

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then, employed by a cruise line, entered the world of tourism. Unbelievably, Deidra was about to relocate to Buffalo, New York, to enter the airline side of the business when she experienced a lastminute jolt of reality, and changed her mind. “I realized my gills would dry out!” she exclaims. “Besides, nobody would have understood a word I was saying with my Southern accent.” With Northwest Florida looking better and better, she moved to Santa Rosa Beach. “I got a job as an AmSouth Bank teller, where I met everyone,” says Deidra. Making connections, Deidra went on to work for the Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club. This was in the early 1990s. In addition to her managerial responsibilities, she washed dishes and waited tables. “While it wasn’t a glamorous job, it was ideal for learning the hospitality industry,” Deidra says. “I also had a great time because many of my customers were my friends.” With a knack for hospitality, Deidra decided to apply for a banquet position at Sandestin when the opportunity arose in 1995. “The job itself was a step backwards, but joining the Sandestin team was a dream of mine.” While growing up, Deidra and her family had frequently passed through Destin on their way to Orange Beach, Alabama. “I used to ask my mother what was behind the gates of Sandestin, and she’d tell me that I’d have to live or work there to find out. ‘Well,’ I said to myself, ‘I am going to work and live there!’” Photo by Gerald Burwell

Her ancestors were among the first members of the Trinity Episcopal Church in town and, as a child, Deidra made her own bit of history as Trinity’s first female acolyte. From Left to Right: Mike Stange, Mary-Cole Stange, Dewitt Galloway, Deidra Stange, Mary-Susan Galloway, and Harrison Stange. Photo by Jessie Shepard 492

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“There” is where she would also meet her husband, Mike, formerly a Sandestin executive and now an independent consultant. “He married me because I’m from Apalach’,” says Deidra, who engaged him with her Southern accent and went on to impress him with her ability to be one of the fellows. “On our first date, we went skeet shooting, and I shot six in a row. I can do the craziest things!” It wasn’t long before they took that walk down the aisle.

Treat your feet to affo rd able and ado rable shoes at Moonpize Shoe Boutique.

Today, as Sandestin’s director of regional sales for Louisiana, Mississippi, and the West Coast, Deidra is known for achieving her goals. Living on the resort since 1998, she and her husband feel that, with their seven-year-old twins, Mary Cole and Harrison, their lives are complete. While some might argue that Sandestin and Apalachicola present similar small-town atmospheres, the resort lifestyle is quite different from the one that Deidra experienced growing up. The simple pleasures, therefore, are quite important to her family. “We go to the beach almost every day,” she says, adding that they enjoy visiting Apalach’, which is just two hours away.

Add a necklace from one of our jewelry designers with clothing from our new apparel selection and you have a complete outfit! Pick up a gift from our collection of beautiful pajamas, unique shell art or our popular signature candle. We also feature beach totes, purses, straw hats and visors. Visit Moonpize today... a sweet treat for ladies!

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For those reasons, Deidra hopes that Mary-Cole and Harrison will always appreciate where they live. “From Pensacola to Franklin County, you can’t beat the beaches or the people,” she says. Once more expressing her love for Apalachicola, Deidra says, “The closer I get to Apalach’, the faster I drive. By the time I reach Port St. Joe, I’m picking up speed, going seventy-five miles per hour. I can’t tell you the number of tickets I’ve gotten on my way there!” Apparently, the cost is well worth the benefit of returning home.

Photo by Gerald Burwell

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PEOPLE + PLACES Northwest Florida Beaches International Grand Opening Ceremonies Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, the first U.S. commercial international airport to be built in the past 15 years, began operations on 11

Sunday, May 23, 2010. To celebrate this historic

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event, a grand opening ribbon-cutting celebration was held on Saturday, May 22, 2010. The event was open to the public and featured live music, F-15 and F-22 flyovers, speeches, and the first arrival of a Southwest Airlines flight.

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Speakers included Gov. Charlie Crist, Sen. Bill Nelson, Congressman Allen Boyd, Airport Authority chairman Joe Tannehill, Southwest Airlines vice-

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president Bob Montgomery, and St. Joe Company chief executive officer Britt Greene. Photography by Jessie Shepard

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Bob Montgomery, Charlie Crist,

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and Dawn Moliterno Pamela Watkins, Charlie Crist, and Tracy Louthain

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Bob Montgomery, Britt Greene,

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Joe Tannehill, and Bill Cramer

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Charlie Crist and Dan Rowe

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Cathy Greene, Charlie Crist, and Britt Greene

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Ribbon Cutting

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PEOPLE + PLACES Green Tie Gala A Green Tie Gala was held for the opening of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport on Friday, May 21, 2010 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. A special grand toasting was made to the future of Northwest Florida and the immeasurable impact the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport will have on the local region’s economy. 2

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Photography by Gerald Burwell

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Ann Wohlford and Deidra Stange

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Patti Sprawls, Michelle Lacewell, Ann and Paul Wohlford

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Christy Westfall and Nicole Mincey Carter

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Annie Mangrum and Mick Dunn

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Justin Gaffrey and Anne Hunter

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Rose and Heem K. Chee

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Philip Sherrill, Taylor Wright, and Marta Rose VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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Henderson Park Inn back and better than ever! By Kim Duke-Layden

One of the best bed-and-breakfast inns that I’ve ever stayed in happens to be in my own backyard—the Henderson Park Inn, in Destin. In 2001, my husband, John, and I spent an überromantic weekend at the beachside hideaway to commemorate six months of wedded bliss. For many years thereafter, we dined at Henderson Park Inn’s quaint restaurant, The Veranda. Then Hurricane Ivan pounded ashore in September 2004 and delivered a severe blow, causing extensive damage to the B and B. Sadly, it sat closed for years. In the fall of 2008, under new management, the inn finally reopened. Recently, John and I were fortunate enough to return for a weekend stay. I’m happy to say, Henderson Park Inn is back and even better than before! The stately inn sits at the western end of Scenic Highway 98 on a secluded, pristine stretch of beachfront bordering idyllic Henderson Beach State Park. I’ve always admired its New England– style architecture and weathered, cedar-shingle siding, which are more reminiscent of coastal Maine than Destin. Within the inn’s three-storied main house and three-storied annex next door are thirty-five sublime suites with balconies overlooking the emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. On a Friday afternoon in May, after a grueling workweek—and a lingering cold that I couldn’t seem to shake—John and I checked in to Henderson Park Inn for a much-anticipated weekend getaway. We were enthusiastically welcomed by the concierge. With a brief tour, she highlighted an endless list of complimentary amenities, which extended well beyond those of our previous stay. En route to the observation deck, we passed a twenty-four-hour snack station complete with snacks and nonalcoholic beverages. But, luckily, we arrived just in time for the tiki bar’s daily happy hour, where we proceeded to slowly unwind to the soothing cadence of the emerald surf and a glass of crisp chardonnay.

Our second-floor executive suite was located in the annex of the inn. It featured European-style furnishings, a mini-kitchenette, a small seating area, and a roomy bathroom with Jacuzzi tub. Besides chocolate truffles on our pillows, atop our king-size sleigh bed sat a welcome tray with a bottle of cabernet, fresh roses, and grapes— compliments of the new innkeeper, Ryan Olin. How nice! But the pièce de résistance was the private, oceanfront balcony. The balcony was the perfect spot to enjoy sea breezes, sunset toasts and, after that perfect night’s sleep, the day’s first cup of fresh-brewed Wolfgang Puck coffee (an in-room perk—pun intended). Henderson Park Inn’s natural surroundings presented an abundance of options for outdoor activities. The close proximity of the pristine Henderson Beach State Park beckoned us for an intimate morning stroll along one of Destin’s beaches, where we encountered only a handful of fellow beachcombers. The complimentary bikes and kayaks might tempt the athletic adventurer; however, we were perfectly content soaking up fresh air and sunshine from our complimentary beach chairs and umbrella. Aah—we couldn’t

seem to soak up the sun, sand, and sea fast enough—it was just what the doctor ordered. Later, the inn presented a wine tasting hosted by Chan’s Wine World in Destin (check website for dates of tastings). Before dinner, we joined fellow guests on the deck to swirl and sip as dynamic duo John and Moe both entertained and enlightened us about the featured selections, several of which were award winners from a recent Sandestin Wine Festival. The stunning seaside setting and friendly crowd made for a delightful experience. Ask the inn about upcoming dates for future wine tastings that may coincide with your stay— they are complimentary. In the morning, we headed to Beach Walk (www.beachwalkcafe.com) for a gourmet breakfast buffet. In the brilliant, sunny dining room, the wraparound windows afforded us spectacular views of the beach and Gulf. Our made-to-order omelets, homemade biscuits, and fresh fruit were delicious. The grits were some of the best I’d ever tasted. Another unexpected amenity we received during our stay was a complimentary lunch at Beach VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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Walk. We had our choice of four select entrees or a 25 percent discount on remaining menu items. In bathing suits, we sat on the breezy veranda and dined on gourmet croissant sandwiches served with sweet potato fries. Candles flickered in Beach Walk’s cozy dining room as jovial diners splurged on multiple courses of superb cuisine. The venison, pan-sautÊed in a rich, garlicky Shiraz sauce, melted in my mouth. John enjoyed his oven-roasted sea bass with a

mushroom and red wine butter, but the hot molten chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream and golden raspberries left him scraping his plate. Henderson Park Inn gave us a wonderful weekend escape to recharge our batteries. Though we hated for our stay to end, we loved that the commute back home was only fifteen minutes.

Friday and Saturday rates through October start at $249 per night. Beginning November 2010 through February 2011 (excluding holidays), weekend rates are even more enticing, starting at $179 per night. For a complete listing of room rates and availability, go online (www.hendersonparkinn.com), or call (866) 5-RESORT.

Fall and winter discounted rates make a special occasion or weekend splurge more affordable.

Quayside

A RT G ALLERY www.QuaysideGallery.com 17 East Zarragossa Street Pensacola, Florida 32502 850.438.2363 Open Weekdays: 10am - 5pm Saturdays: 10am - 5pm Sundays: 1pm - 5pm 100

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America enjoys the dubious distinction of being the heavies t nation on the planet . Lately, we have been increasing our lead (“lard”). How and why is America so fat? IT IS IMPORTANT to start with the understanding that humans have evolved to store any excess calories as fat. Our distant ancestors often faced food shortages due to weather (up to famine level) and evolved to store any excess calories in the good times as fat to insure against starvation when times got tough (i.e., food was scarce). Of course, today, famine is a remote possibility (at least in most of America), and, indeed, we have a surplus of calories readily available at all times— perhaps too readily. The statistics may put this abundance in perspective. The average woman needs to consume about 1,500 to 1,700 calories per day to maintain her weight. The average man needs to consume about 2,000 to 2,200 calories to maintain his. The food providers of America, who collectively supply “nutritional” products to the country, produce 4,000 calories per capita per day—approximately twice what we need to maintain our weight! Now, admittedly, there is some waste— restaurants throw away most of the food not consumed that day, and individuals throw out most of the leftovers from meals. But be assured the waste factor is nowhere near 50 percent! (Meaning that it is actually much less.) So, as a nation, we are eating more (much more) than we need to maintain our weight—hence weight gain. 102

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WHY? The following list is lengthy and not exhaustive, but it would behoove readers to glance over it in order to understand the various causes of obesity. Then they will be able to react appropriately to those factors that are under their control. And most have to do with our modern lifestyle.

Metabolism: A prior article on exercise (Spring 2010) highlighted the sedentary nature of modern life. Calories are energy. Movement (increasing metabolism through exercise) requires more energy and burns calories. So lack of exercise and all our modern conveniences (cars, elevators, power equipment, remote controls, etc.) allow us to use fewer calories each day. We are consuming more calories than we need and expending fewer calories than we used to.

Unit bias and plate size: Remember your mother’s admonishment? “Think of all the starving children in the world—clean your plate!” Mothers’ urgings became a mantra. We all try to finish what’s on our plates. But know this: plate size used to be ten inches—now it is twelve.

Super size me: Everyone likes a bargain. Since incremental quantities (of calories or food) cost producers very little, they can give us a “bargain” by offering a lot more food for only a little more money. Good deal, right? Not for our waistlines (or our health). This way, the producers sell more (thus making more money) by enticing us to overeat through “bargain pricing.”

Addictive combinations: Our ancestors, though they enjoyed salt, fat, and sugar, actually got very little of those ingredients. Today, many food-like concoctions on the shelf (I hesitate to call them food) are simply layers of salt on fat on sugar on fat on salt, etc. While tasty, these products have little or no nutritional value but are loaded with calories.


THE

H T R I G

The Weight Gain/Loss Equation

N O I T A N A OF

A pound (of human) is the equivalent of 3,500 calories. Recall, men need approximately 2,000 calories and women around 1,500 calories daily to sustain the same weight. So gaining (or losing) weight is actually quite hard. We must create a surplus of 3,500 calories to gain one pound (or conversely, a deficit of 3,500 calories to lose one pound). Clearly, that is a lot of food over (or under) daily maintenance eating. But of course, people do not gain/lose a pound or two a day. Rather, increments of 100 to 500 calories per day add up over time. For example, just 200 extra calories per day translates into an extra pound in 17 days. That, in turn, equates to over 20 pounds per year! A few years of that kind of eating, and, bingo, we are obese. The reverse math is clearly what makes it so hard to lose weight. Depriving ourselves of a few hundred calories per day is much harder than indulging. And, in our society, the temptations to indulge are everywhere all the time.

Sugar Well, all of these factors (and more) have contributed to the nation’s excess weight, but I believe the biggest contributor to our respective girth and ill health is the massive onslaught of sugar in our food supply. Trend data may illustrate why there is reason for concern. Our grandparents (in the 1940s) consumed about 10 pounds of sugar per year, mostly sucrose (table sugar) that was added to coffee, cereal, and some meals during the cooking process. Current data indicates that we consume 150 pounds per capita per year! Unfortunately, much of this sugar is hidden or disguised under other terms. But the fact remains that an enormous amount of sugar (and sugar substitutes) is in almost all packaged products. Additionally, all processed grains (white pasta, breads, muffins, etc.) are basically refined to the point of being predigested sugar by the time they hit the stomach.

So What?

lead to type 2 diabetes in the long run, but, in the short term, it just makes us fat. Most of the extra couple hundred calories per day mentioned earlier can be traced (in my opinion) to the hidden sugar in so much of our food supply. Incidentally, the overreaction to a sugar onslaught by the pancreas causes the stomach to empty quickly and results in feeling ravenous soon after—a double whammy for weight management.

The “ F“ Bomb - Fructose The true stealth bomber of sweeteners is not even called sugar. Although it has a variety of names (none of them include the word “sugar”), it is most commonly labeled as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Fructose is a fancy name for fruit sugar (any word ending in “-ose” is a sugar). Fruit sugar in moderation is good for us—if, of course, we are ingesting it by eating a whole fruit or vegetable (apple, pear, carrot, etc.). But HFCS is a different matter indeed. Back in the 1960s, HFCS did not exist. But when the government started subsidizing corn farming, and food manufacturers discovered that by refining the starch content into a syrup, they achieved a number of (for them) very desirable outcomes:

Today, many food-like concoctions on the sh elf (I hesitate to call them food) are simply layers of sa lt on fat on sugar on fat on sa lt, etc.

Sugars are nutrition-less calories. The body reacts to a sugar overload by secreting large quantities of insulin, which, since the body cannot use all this excess energy for its current needs, packs the excess into fat cells. Continuing to stress the pancreas this way can eventually VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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S C HF

So what? HFCS is just another sweetener, right? Well, all sugar is bad for us—99 percent of refined sugar is pure calories—no vitamins, minerals, fiber, or proteins, just simple carbohydrates. HFCS, however, takes these drawbacks to a new level.

Economics:

HFCS turned out to be the cheapest way to sweeten food.

Taste: HFCS is very sweet and improves the taste of food dramatically.

Mouth feel: The addition of HFCS gives improved mouth feel—that melty, chewy delight on the tongue.

Shelf life: Shelf life is greatly improved with HFCS.

Addiction: HFCS is at least mildly addictive—people come to prefer foods sweetened with HFCS over the same foods sweetened any other way.

Appetite enhancement: HFCS inhibits the hormones that signal the brain that we are full. Well, that’s quite a list of incentives for food manufacturers to use HFCS—and use it they do! HFCS is in almost every packaged food. From 1970 to 1990, our intake of HFCS rose 1000 percent, paralleling America’s surge in obesity. Of the 150 pounds per capita per year mentioned earlier, about half is now HFCS.

HFCS is everywh ere: ketchup, soup, s alad dressings, baked goods, cereals, etc.—pla ces where we least e xpect it.

Here is a short list of how HFCS affects the body: It readily converts to fat in the liver. A fatty liver is less effective at handling wastes and toxins. It raises triglycerides (blood fat)—not good for circulation—think coronary events. It decreases insulin sensitivity—think diabetes in the long term. It is implicated in elevated blood cholesterol and even clotting—think heart disease. Perhaps worst of all, HFCS causes the white blood cells in our immune system to become “sleepy,” thus reducing their effectiveness in dealing with foreign substances. HFCS is everywhere: ketchup, soup, salad dressings, baked goods, cereals, etc.—places where we least expect it. To cut back, please start reading ingredient labels on the package. Manufacturers are required to list their ingredients by weight (from most to least). So if HFCS (or any sugar—none of it is good for us) is in the top three ingredients, that particular product is loaded with harmful, empty calories. In general, we would all do better to eat less food with more of it coming directly from nature, become more active, and, particularly, break our sugar addiction. Reading ingredient labels can at least inform our decisions about whether we put a product in our bodies. Most will be shocked to see how much of our food is packed with those nutritionless calories called sugar, especially HFCS. So to get back to being lean, America must “lick” its sugar addiction. The Health Nut Clark Peters has spent much of his time since his retirement in 1997 researching health and longevity. His purpose in writing these columns is to share his findings with readers in plain English and assist them in making accurate and informed lifestyle choices. The columns are based on the premise that we all want to live a long, vigorous life and are striving to make healthy choices. While Mr. Peters believes these recommendations will result in better health and longevity for almost everyone, the reader is advised to consult with his or her physician before making any major lifestyle changes. You may e-mail Mr. Peters at: hlthnut@earthlink.net.

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You Want To See Her Walk Down The Aisle. 21st Century Oncology is here to make sure you do.

boutique & gallery

RADIATION ONCOLOGY 1026 Mar-Walt Drive Ft. Walton Bch, FL 32547 850.863.5294 6879 Hwy. 98 West Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32549 850.622.3308 RADIATION AND MEDICAL ONCOLOGY 601 Redstone Ave., West Crestview, FL 32536 850.622.3308

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Michael Smith PHOTOGRAPHY

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Interiors Design Firm/ASID Sugar Beach Interiors is licensed by the Florida State Board of Architecture and Design #26000633 106

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One Of a kind heiRlOOm jewelRy by spanish designeR l’aRtista jy. VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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PEOPLE + PLACES Sandestin Wine Festival The Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort held their 24th Annual Sandestin Wine Festival on Saturday and Sunday, April 24 and 25. The acclaimed Sandestin Wine Festival at The Village of Baytowne Wharf is one of the hottest events of the year on the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast. The Sandestin Wine Festival featured the Grand Wine Tastings— the pouring of more than 600 domestic and international wines. Representatives from more than 80 vineyards from across the globe were available to entertain questions, offering a rare opportunity to learn about the finest appellations from all major wine-producing countries. For more information visit www.sandestinwinefestival.com. Photo by Lynda Meyers

In coordination with the Sandestin Wine Festival,

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Photo by Lynda Meyers

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the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation holds concurrent events that appeal to passionate wine enthusiasts. The Destin Charity Wine Auction was held on Saturday, April 24 and featured distinctive wines from internationally acclaimed vintners, poured and paired with fine cuisine created by a selection of the area’s top chefs. While wining and dining, attendees enjoyed a silent auction, a highenergy and entertaining live auction and the excitement of live music. For more information visit www.dcwaf.org.

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Photo by Lisa Ferrick

Photography by Lisa Ferrick and Lynda Meyers

Robby Naylor and Emily Donaldson

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Alan Meyers and Troy Sjostrom

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Brandi Farrar, Lindsey Gardner,

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and Mariah Sargent Ashley Groves and Julia Rutland

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Trish Dean, Linda Harris, and Darce Richardson

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Photo by Lisa Ferrick

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Photo by Lisa Ferrick

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Consign & Design Only the finest new and pre-owned furniture

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Our newest culinary creation... the Cilantro Chicken Salad. Grilled fajita chicken on salad greens with black beans, roasted red pepper, and avocados with cilantro-lime dressing.

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FOOD & DINING

Bombora Sun& Surf

Courtyard Wine & Cheese

Drift

Cowgirl Kitchen

Gigi’s Fabulous Kids’ Fashions &Toys

DogManDu

Moonpize

La Crema Tapas & Chocolate

Rosemary Beach Trading Company

Onano Neighborhood Café

Willow

Restaurant Paradis Summer Kitchen Café The Sugar Shak Wild Olives Market~ Deli ~ Bakery LODGING Rosemary Beach Cottage Rental Company The Pensione Inn

www.rosemarybeach.com on the east end of Scenic 30-A 110

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Shop. Dine. Relax.

FASHION

Amavida Coffee

RECREATION

BEAUTY, HOME &GIFTS Aesthetic Clinique Pish Posh Patchouli’s Shabby Slips Solace Day Spa Tracery World Six Gallery SERVICES Law Offices of Bryan Kiefer, P. A .

Bamboo Bicycle Company

Paul Johnson Photography

Rosemary Beach Racquet Club

Regions Bank

Sea Oats Beach Service

Southeast Institute for Optimal Health TMc Architecture


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PEOPLE + PLACES Vin’tij Wine Dinner Vin’tij Wine Boutique hosted a special wine dinner on May 11, 2010. The dinner featured wines from Frog’s Leap winery with special guest John Williams, owner/winemaker. A culinary expression designed by Chef John Jacob accompanied six different wines including a rarely made Frogenbeerenauslese. The dessert wine is a special project of John Williams and was poured exclusively for the Vin’tij wine dinner! Using the best of Napa Valley’s organically grown grapes and the most traditional winemaking techniques, Frogs’ Leap strives to produce wines that deeply reflect the soils and climate from which they emanate. John Williams discussed wines and winemaking techniques throughout the dinner in Vin’tij’s relaxed and fun environment. For information on

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upcoming wine dinners, please call (850) 650-9820. Photography by Lisa Ferrick

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John Williams, Brenda Barnes,

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Mistei Roebuck, and Mandy Hamilton Brad Shankwiler, Alexis Miller,

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and Cindy and Doug Shankwiler

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Sabrina and Todd Reber

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Yuliya and Norm White

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Tom Richard, Liz Sumrall, and Pat Richard

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John Cook and his team of professionals focus on the details to ensure your transaction is completed successfully.

#1 Coldwell Banker Team in Florida 2007 & 2008 36062 Emerald Coast Parkway - Destin 850-654-4322 artantiquesinteriors.com

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Come visit us for some Southern Hospitality.

It’s easy being green

Relax in our rocking chairs. Learn about Remote Capture, Great CD Rates, Merchant Bankcard Services and more!

Destin East Location Opening Late June! Lobby: Monday – Friday 8:30 to 5:00 - Saturday 9:00 to Noon Drive-Thru: Monday – Friday 8:30 to 6:00 - Saturday 9:00 to Noon Member FDIC

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Through Green Power Choice, we invest in the future of our communities by promoting the conservation of natural resources and the development of natural resources - a win-win opportunity for CHELCO, our members, our community and our environment. By participating in Green Power Choice, you buy green power in 100 kilowatt-hour blocks (equivalent to about 8 percent of a typical month's electricity use). Each block you purchase costs only $2 in addition to your regular monthly power bill.

Where You Come First.

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Green Power Choice from CHELCO gives you the power to turn trash into treasure by purchasing electricity generated from renewable resources like landfill gas.

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THE SALON EXPERIENCE It’s chic. It’s professional. Gina Shiflett

It’s progressive. It’s the finest in hair care products. It’s a place of art. It’s a place of generosity. It’s business and charitable networking at its finest. It’s a place of beauty.

Ashley DeJohn

It’s a place to see and be seen. It’s a place of thanks and giving back. It’s a place of caring. It’s a nurturing place. It’s a place with heart. It’s a place to look good. It’s a place to be good.

Leah Powell

4281 East Scenic HWY 30A Seagrove Beach, FL 32459 850.231.7853 www.salontwist.com VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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Installation piece, Permira headquarters, London

CUSTOM WALL PANEL  Felt with felt Designer: Anne Kyyrö Quinn annekyyroquinn.com

WALL PANEL DETAILS 

This issue: CUSTOM WALL PANEL  Felt with felt and felt Designer: Anne Kyyrö Quinn annekyyroquinn.com

By Eric Shepard

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Wall panels installed in restaurant area of the Lawn Tennis Association’s National Tennis Centre, London


FF1  Felt and flax rope (that's it) Designer: James van Vossel and Tom de Vrieze foxandfreeze.com

If you have any doubts about this chair's strength, watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXASazH8R_E

POT COVERS  Felt and felt Designer: IMEGADITO imegadito.com

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BOA  Form-pressed wood and ... felt Designer: Margarita + Päl tuyodesign.com

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CREATING GREAT

FUTURES

University of West Florida

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

Empowering a student body of 11,000 Degree programs designed to launch careers Dedicated professors invested in students Our buildings have numbers – our students have names Exceptional education – remarkably affordable All 36 UWF online degree programs qualify for an out-of-state tuition wavier: onlinecampus.uwf.edu Extended campuses make up UWF Emerald Coast: uwf.edu/emeraldcoast

W W W. U W F. E D U VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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THE

BUSINESS CORNER W H AT ' S N E W I N B U S I N E S S F RO M C O L A 2 C O L A

THE RESORT COLLECTION OF PANAMA CITY BEACH WELCOMES TIM ROSE Director of Membership and Corporate Partnerships Joins the Company Photograph by Jessie Shepard

The Resort Collection of Panama City Beach announced that Tim Rose has joined the company as director of membership and corporate partnerships. Rose is responsible for generating the budgeted revenue for the activities division and maximizing tournament booking opportunities as well as creating, implementing and monitoring the annual sales and marketing plan. “We are happy to welcome Tim to our growing team,” said Tom Sparks, general manager for The Resort Collection. “His industry experience will be a great asset to our company.”

TIM ROSE

Rose graduated from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., with a bachelor of science degree. Prior to joining The Resort Collection, Jones was the Midwest regional sales manager for the Eagle Golf Corporation in Chicago, which consists of 28 golf properties with over $60 million in annual revenues. In this role, Rose managed 25 sales professionals in five states and created marketing plans, competitive market analysis, key sales initiatives, retention plans and web site enhancement for each property. Throughout his extensive career, Rose has also held sales and marketing positions with 1031 Exchange Experts, Shark’s Tooth Golf Club, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, and Michael Jordan Golf Company.

“I look forward to serving our owners and members and guests of The Resort Collection,” said Rose. “It is truly a privilege to be part of The Resort Collection team, which genuinely cares about the hospitality business and its employees.” —TIM ROSE

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NEW EXECUTIVE CHEF AT THE HELM OF DESTIN CHOPS 30A

Jason Morgan Joins Classic Steakhouse Restaurant on Hwy. 30A Photograph by Lisa Ferrick

Destin Chops 30A owner and proprietor Jim Altamura recently announced the hiring of Jason Morgan as Executive Chef. Morgan, a graduate of The French Culinary Institute in New York City, has gained experience working at several restaurants in New York City, including Saga, L’Ecole and Tribeca Grand Hotel. Prior to joining Destin Chops 30A, Morgan was Executive Chef at Bookbinder's Steak House in Alexandria, Virginia and most recently Chef de Cuisine at 30 Degree Blue at the Bay Point Marriott Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida. Destin Chops 30A, which opened in May 2008, has already been awarded Wine Spectator’s prestigious Award of Excellence. The impressive wine cellar boasts top domestic wines from Napa and Sonoma Valleys, as well as several rare reserve finds from Australia, Italy and France. In addition to their prime steaks, Destin Chops 30A serves up one of the area’s top sushi menus. Special dining opportunities are available, including an early dining menu from 5 to 6 p.m. with half-price drinks and half-price sushi from 5 to 7 p.m. With 30-plus years in the industry, Altamura continues to be one of the well-respected entrepreneurs in the region with an aptitude for selecting exquisite talent and maintaining

Morgan, a graduate of The French Culinary Institute in New York City, has gained experience working at several restaurants in New York City, including Saga, L’Ecole and Tribeca Grand Hotel. a high standard of excellence while owning and managing the parent company, The Harbor Restaurant Group, which includes Destin Chops 30A in Seacrest, Crush in Seaside, and Marina Café, located on the harbor in Destin. Marina Café has been named one of Florida Trend’s Top 500 restaurants for 15

consecutive years, and has received both the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and the Distinguished Restaurants of North America Award of Excellence for 10 consecutive years.

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A FAMILY AFFAIR The Becnels Mix Business with Pleasure

By Lisa Burwell Photos by Jessie Shepard

Tom Becnel

At VIE’s request, an interview with the Becnel family was arranged by longtime employee and friend of the Becnel family, Deborah Horaist. The Becnels, who are low-key and not prone to granting interviews, made this meeting even more special. Their welcoming hospitality, with their children and grandchildren bustling about, set the tone for a relaxed and informal interview. Tom and his wife, Carla, chose their beautiful new home in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort so that they could be part of the community, but they said their company office would remain in Destin. 122

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Damon Becnel

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

A

fter a brief tour of their home and an impromptu photo shoot, I sat down with Tom and his son, Damon, in their large pool cabana. Watching this father-and-son duo finish each other’s sentences, banter, agree and then disagree with one another all at the same time revealed a strong family bond between them. They share a clear vision of how things should be done. They’re driven. They don’t appear to be the type of people to sit around and talk about what to do—they just do it. “We are passionate about our opinions,” Damon said with a big smile. “Intelligent, honest people can disagree without detracting from one another.” The fact that they are not mired in bureaucratic red tape allows them to be nimble and make decisions quickly. This familyrun business is an important one to the Becnels. “It’s your name and not a corporation,” said Damon. “A family-run business can move faster than a large corporation.”

When we met, the Becnels had recently inked the purchase of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort from Vancouver-based Intrawest that had been a year and a half in the making. Throughout the negotiation process, there was much speculation as to whether or not the deal would go through, with many rooting for the Becnels, partly because of the Becnels’ good reputation and partly because they were locals. A track record of success as developers and operators of Silver Shells Resort, the Palms of Destin, and One Beach Club Drive in Sandestin is to their credit. The purchase includes the management contract of Cottage Rental Agency, the primary rental management company in Seaside, Florida, and the management contracts for the Sandestin Marriott Residence Inn and Marriott Courtyard, both located in Grand Boulevard at the entrance of the resort. “It was a complicated asset with a lot of moving parts,” explained Tom. “We were the fourth bidder back in 2000 when we first attempted VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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“We’ve been very well received by the Sandestin Homeowners Association and we’ll continue to dialogue about win-win strategies for success.” —Tom Becnel

to purchase the resort, but we had been beaten out by Intrawest. So, the deal had really been ten years in the making if you count that.” “We’ve been very well received by the Sandestin Homeowners Association and we’ll continue to dialogue about win-win strategies for success,” said Tom. They explained that their immediate course of action was to evaluate costs and benefits, and the subsequent rewards in moving forward to create Sandestin’s future. One of the evaluations taking center stage the day of our meeting was of the tram system in the resort to make sure it was green-friendly. “We plan on implementing environmentally sound principles with all we do in the resort,” said Tom. The Becnels are avid outdoor sportsmen, and to that end they intend to introduce fifteen to twenty coveys of quail to the resort. “We have so much wildlife here that needs to be nurtured and these subtle changes will be noticed in the first few months of our assuming ownership,” noted Damon. In addition, they want the resort to celebrate its Florida locale by planting fruit-bearing trees, including lime, grapefruit, cherry, lemon,

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Damon, Annabella and Tom


“We want the resort visitors to have an aromatic sensory experience upon entering the gates.” —Tom Becnel

orange, and kumquat trees. “We want the resort visitors to have an aromatic sensory experience upon entering the gates,” emphasized Tom. “We are developers, and it’s in our blood,” proudly continued Tom. “We want to make this place that we love even better. When you come to Sandestin, we want to make sure there is something for everyone, so we’re elevating the experience at the Village of Baytowne Wharf, opening a new fitnes center and looking into adding day slips at the marina so we can have more visitors via the waterways, and more family-friendly attractions, to name a few additions.” He went on to say that they were adding more activities to the Village of Baytowne Wharf, like a carousel for the summer months. At the time of our interview, plans were under way to create a beach on the south side of the marina and a marina grill, both of which have since been completed. This simple yet appropriate addition makes a big difference in the ambience of the marina. “Our goal is to be more exclusive as we want visitors and residents alike to choose Sandestin because we’re the best.”

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Carla and Tom with granddaughter Annabella

“When you come to Sandestin, we want to make sure there is something for everyone, so we’re elevating the experience at the Village of Baytowne Wharf, opening a new fitness center and looking into adding day slips at the marina so we can have more visitors via the waterways, and more family-friendly attractions, to name a few additions.” —Tom Becnel

To that end, the Becnels are very pleased with the leadership of Sandestin’s president and head of operations, John Russell, and the team of professionals that he has assembled to lead this mandate for the resort. “John has a background working with the Ritz-Carlton and this will be a helpful commodity in having us achieve a higher level of sophistication.” When asked for their predictions about our local economy, they said that we will feel the recovery before other parts of the country, as Sandestin was experiencing a dramatic improvement in sales over last year. Our interview occurred pre-oil spill, so we can only hope and pray that Tom’s insights are correct and that the oil crisis will be resolved as soon as possible. Damon and Tom 126

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W

ithout intervening action by Congress this year, we will see a significant increase in estate taxes beginning in 2011. You’ve seen the headlines: big-bank and automaker bailouts, loan modifications for distressed homeowners, new home buyer incentives, and now health-care reform. These are just a few components of the massive government spending spree over the past few years. While we could debate the virtues of these stimulus programs, few of us would deny their costs. Judging by our own clientele, astute investors along the Emerald Coast are keenly aware of the immense burden these programs represent to our federal budget for many years to come. So what’s our government to do? We’re willing to bet that higher taxes will emerge front and center, and the estate tax is an easy place for Congress to start. Why? Because this tax requires no new legislation or effort. Ironically, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) is simply scheduled to expire, which effectively means that estate tax rates will revert to pre-2001 levels—and all Congress has to do is nothing! This change will significantly lower the threshold at which your estate becomes eligible for taxation while raising the levels of tax per bracket. Most experts agree that Congress will, in fact, allow the EGTRRA to sunset, and then defer other reforms to a later date. Local estate planning attorney Kevin Helmich, of Kevin Helmich, P.A., notes that “given the current economic climate, I’d have to say that any significant estate tax reform is unlikely at this time. While I believe we will eventually see estate tax reform, I do not expect it to come during President Obama’s first term.” The federal government needs more revenues, and they’ll get an immediate boost by letting EGTRRA expire. With this automatic inflow of tax dollars in the bag, Congress is free to explore other areas for increased tax revenues, like investment income. Political rhetoric aside, allowing EGTRRA to sunset is no different than Congress passing a new tax. “Locally, we’ll see a lot

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David Waddle, Brian Haugen, and Steve Cann of people, whose estates have already lost so much value, become burdened by these higher estate tax rates. The end result is that these estate taxes will further remove money from our local economy,” adds John Marshall, Esq., estate planning attorney with Fleet, Spencer & Kilpatrick, P.A. These changes will affect many along the Emerald Coast, which clearly warrants the need for a comprehensive review of your wealth protection plan. This is quite a change of direction from recent years, when many families were more worried about the declining value of real estate, 401(k)s and investments, rather than their estate tax rates. After all, who cared about death and taxes when personal wealth was shrinking with every breath? Couple that with the favorable tax rates we enjoyed under EGTRRA, and there was good reason to ignore estate planning for a while. But by now your investments have somewhat recovered and real estate values seem to be turning the corner. So, now is a good time to refocus on your estate plan. Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy anymore. In fact, we find that even many self-described “middle-class” Americans will be affected by the looming change to estate taxes. For example, these pre-EGTRRA rules provide


Professionalism and dedication that lasts...

only a $1 million exemption, beyond which your estate is subject to tax rates as high as 55 percent. Before you assume that your estate won’t qualify for this level of taxation, you’ll want to get educated on what qualifies as “your estate.” In addition to the value of your home and savings, you’ll want to include any additional real estate interests, retirement plans, and the biggie—life insurance proceeds. When added together, it’s easy to see how many local families will quickly surpass $1 million. Wealth protection strategies are becoming more complex, and the estate tax is just one cog of the wealth protection wheel. When we add in taxes on capital gains, dividend income, IRA and 401(k) distributions, taxable social security income, real estate transactions, etc., we recognize the true value of a comprehensive plan. So, take the time to inventory your estate and to review your plan, your investments, beneficiaries, titling of properties, titling of life insurance and applicable legal documents, such as wills and trusts. You could benefit significantly from a thoughtful review of how your assets will be taxed and distributed upon your death. The best time to do that is now.

GRAY TON BEACH C. 1949

Kitty Taylor, Br oker, GRI, CRS,

850.231.2886 850.585.5334 133 Defuniak Street Grayton Beach, FL 32459

TRC

www.graytoncoastproperties.com

Changes in tax laws may occur at any time and could have a substantial impact upon each person’s situation. While we are familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, as financial advisors of Raymond James & Associates we are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. Kevin Helmich, P.A., John Marshall, Esq., and Fleet, Spencer & Kilpatrick, P.A. are not affiliated with Raymond James & Associates.

Prepared by David Waddle, Brian Haugen, and Steve Cann of Emerald Coast Wealth Advisors of Raymond James and Associates, which specializes in designing personalized, diversified financial portfolios for high net worth investors along the Emerald Coast. VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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DAVE WADDLE Senior Vice President, Investments

BRIAN HAUGEN Senior Vice President, Investments

STEVE CANN Associate Vice President, Investments

A portfolio as unique as you. You’ve chosen the Emerald Coast for its beauty, hospitality, and individuality. Welcome to an investment firm as unique as you and our region. At Emerald Coast Wealth Advisors of Raymond James, we design custom portfolios for high-net-worth investors. You’ve spent a career building your investment portfolio – we specialize in protecting what you’ve built. You see, we take the time to know you personally, and then consider all the angles to create your unique plan…

…so you can spend more time enjoying all the reasons you’ve made the Emerald Coast your home.

543 Harbor Boulevard, Suite 501, Destin, FL 32541 Tel 850-650-0990 • Toll-free 888-317-8956 emeraldcoastwealthadvisors.com

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Don’t Underestimate Me. CELEBRATING 10 YEARS TICKETS & INFORMATION: 850-231-0733 or SeasideRep.org

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E L A T I T U D

Z E R O

s d n a l s I s o g a p The Galá L E T T E R S

F R O M

BY

DALE FOSTER Two thousand nine wa s a celebratory year fo r the Galápagos Islands. It wa s the 200th birthday of its most famous visitor, Ch arles Darwin. It was th e 150th anniversary of th e publication of his se minal work, On the Origin of Species, and it was the 50th anniversary of the Parq ue Nacional Galápago s, caretaker of the islan ds. The author spent fo ur months living in Galá pagos where he worked as a volunteer at a scientif ic research station.

Darwin Island

Wolf Island

Marchena Island Genovesa Island

E Q U A T O R

Santiago Island Fernandina Island

Santa Cruz Island

Santa Fé Island

San Cristobal Island

Isabella Island

Floreana Island Española Island 132

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UNDRED DS LIE SIX H N A L IS S O G HERE THE GALÁPA ECUADOR. T F O T S A O C HE ALLER MILES OFF T NDS, SIX SM A L IS R O J A EN M OF ARE THIRTE INY ISLETS. T F O S D E R D HUND NS. ISLANDS, AN ED BY HUMA IT B A H IN E Y FOUR AR THESE, ONL

MARCH 25, 2009 “... it seems as though at some time God had showered stones; and the earth that there is, is like slag, worthless . . .”

APRIL 1, 2009 “Nothing could be less inviting than the first appearance.”

Such was the first impression of Fray Tomás de Berlanga in 1535 when, blown off course sailing from Panama to Peru, he became the first confirmed human on the Galápagos Islands. Flying into Baltra Island, I cannot help but have similar feelings. My research had shown emerald waters with beautiful beachscapes inhabited by unusual creatures. Instead, what confronts me is a desolate prehistoric landscape of lava rocks and a few scant cactus trees.

The town of Puerto Ayora is a beehive of activity with taxis, souvenir shops, restaurants, dive centers, cruise ships, and hotels. Lonesome George, a giant tortoise of more than seventy years, lives just a couple hundred yards from me. He is supposedly the rarest species on earth and thought to be the only extant giant tortoise from the isolated island of Pinta.

I am staying on Santa Cruz Island, and at first sight, it is similarly unimpressive. The Galápagos archipelago has been described as one of the most unique, pristine, undisturbed, and biologically outstanding areas on earth. Viewing Puerto Ayora, the largest city and commercial center of the Galápagos, I am beginning to doubt the validity of that statement. Driving by rustic dwellings made of concrete block and dusty lava rock side roads, I am struck by how impoverished the area looks. Civilization, as I know it, is a hemisphere away. The Galápagos Islands lie six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador. There are thirteen major islands, six smaller islands, and hundreds of tiny islets. Of these, only four are inhabited by humans. It becomes apparent to me that the islands’ inhabitants—human and non-human—are carving out a meager existence in a harsh and unforgiving land. Why have they chosen to occupy these rugged and imposing volcanic peaks?

—Charles Darwin

Black marine iguanas are plentiful, making themselves at home anywhere along the shoreline, including restaurants and sidewalks. They seem to be very docile, moving only to swim in search of food. While exploring Tortuga Bay, I find familiar turtle tracks in the sand leading from the water to the dune line. Such scenes along the Gulf Coast would be marked by flags and signs. No worries here about artificial lighting from condos or beach houses—95 percent of all the land and sea area is a national park. The sea turtles have been nesting here for millions of years and will continue to do as nature calls, as long as humans do not interfere. I am struck by the way the animals behave here. Marine iguanas and finches seem uninhibited by the presence of a human and often venture very close. They seem to have no inherent fear of us larger creatures. The same is true of the playful sea lions that roam the harbor. Since the Galápagos Islands remained virtually uninhabited until the nineteenth century, it makes me wonder if fear isn’t a learned trait, and since these animals have spent relatively little time with humans, they have no need to fear us. VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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MAY 14, 2009 Fear and Loathing in Galápagos I am on Isabela Island, near where the equator passes through the island’s northern point. It is the largest of the Galápagos Islands and one of the most active volcanic hotspots on the planet. I ride by horse to the rim of Sierra Negra, the world’s second-largest volcano. It is one of five volcanoes on the island and last erupted in 2005. From there, I hike to the top of Volcan Chico, where you can still feel the heat coming up from holes in the lava. I have a panoramic view of Fernandina, the latest active volcanic island in the archipelago, but its La Cumbre volcano is not erupting that day. Standing on the moon-like terrain of the volcano craters and seeing the hardened lava flows, one can really sense that this was how the planet was formed. What incredible power, heat, and energy must be necessary to explode molten rock and lava rivers from the middle of the earth. But, magically, life does eventually begin to form on this barren field, as evidenced by sporadic cactus shoots. Over the next millions of years, other plants and animals will occupy this now desolate landscape. Isabela was a penal colony from 1944 to 1959, when the prisoners rebelled. The colony was famous for the Muro de las Lágrimas (Wall of Tears), a 22by 300-foot lava rock wall constructed by the prisoners under cruel conditions. Adding convicts to the assorted list of pirates, whalers, robber barons, tyrants, outlaws, adventurers, smugglers, expatriates, misfits, and castaways who have occupied these islands only enhances the uniqueness and mysteriousness of this place. Today, Isabela is often considered the most beautiful site in the Galápagos. It has a population of fewer than two thousand people, most living in the small peaceful town of Puerto Villamil. To me, it is the quintessential tropical village with sandy streets lined by coconut trees, a tranquil turquoise harbor, large beaches, crystal clear water, sea lions, marine iguanas, giant tortoises, white-tipped sharks, blue-footed boobies, pink flamingos, and penguins. Time does indeed seem to slow down on Isabela, which is ironic, considering that locations near the equator are moving faster than any other point on the earth. The laid-back atmosphere of Puerto Villamil contrasts sharply with the bustling tourist town of Puerto Ayora. Returning to Santa Cruz will be like going to New York City. MAY 27, 2009 “Galápagos, Where Life is Just a State of Mind.” —Kurt Vonnegut I continue my island-hopping to San Cristóbal. Named in honor of Saint Christopher, this was the first island in the Galápagos on which Charles Darwin landed in September 1835. It is from here that Darwin began to form his now-famous theory of evolution. 134

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The island is home of the provincial capital of the Galápagos and is undergoing several noticeable improvements such as a beautiful malecón (levee), newly paved streets, an airport, and a first-class interpretative center. Puerto Baquerizo Moreno is the main city and overlooks perhaps the most scenic port in the eastern Pacific. One of the most interesting things about the city is that the sea lions consider themselves as much citizens of the town as humans. They occupy large stretches of beaches and swim along the edge of the malecón. They make themselves at home anywhere in town they like. I travel to Puerto Chino on the island’s southwest tip. It is a small stretch of sandy beach but with ample area for hiking and exploring. The wildlife includes blue-footed boobies, sea lions, and frigate birds. I hike along the rocky coastline into some difficult terrain, wondering if I were the first human to ever set foot on a particular rock or ledge. The look and feel of San Cristóbal is a tempting middle ground between the remote tranquility of Isabela and the hectic Santa Cruz. The harbor is lined with sailing vessels of all kinds, including the sailboats of some captains I meet who are sailing around the world. For them, and for me, San Cristóbal is a welcome and scenic mooring. An interesting transformation of attitude is taking place within me. Among these bleak surroundings, I am beginning to see beauty—color on a backdrop of barren landscape is a sight to behold. There is nothing artificial here. What you see is what nature has taken millions of years to produce, and understanding that fact leaves me in amazement. What I once thought of as impoverished living conditions are actually totally sufficient to meet the needs of island life. Why would you want more? Maybe Galápagos is, indeed, a tropical paradise. JUNE 19, 2009 “But the special curse, as one may call it, of the Encantadas, that which exalts them in desolation above Idumea and the Pole, is that to them change never comes; neither the change of seasons nor of sorrows.” —Herman Melville When not working, I am hiking and sightseeing on Santa Cruz: climbing to the top of Cerro Crocker and Cerro Puntudo, the highest points on the island; swimming in the turquoise waters of El Garrapatero beach and the crystal clear water of Las Grietas, a rare inland lake; and seeing many giant tortoises at Rancho Primicias and El Chato. The Galápagos Islands are a paradoxical paradise. They are a place where some have been forced to go, while others have yearned to live there. It is one of the most isolated and inhospitable environments on the planet, yet life exists here. It must be a “biological imperative”—life just exists, and it grows where it can. It adapts to conditions it cannot easily overtake. Where it cannot adapt, life simply dies. But the human population of the islands is


NE ES THE TOURISM ENGI IV DR T HA W IS Y OG ECOL D AS MORE TOURISTS AN OF GALÁPAGOS; YET, ORE THE ISLANDS, THE M SETTLERS COME TO CTED. THE ECOLOGY IS IMPA growing. Ecuadorians from the mainland come in search of jobs and a better life. The Galapaganos, those born and raised on the islands, are caught in the middle of an economic revolution but with little experience or training to deal with the massive changes.

JULY 4, 2009 “Now I was thankful to realize that I was here at all, and that I had the great honour of being one with all about me...” —William Beebe, Galápagos: World’s End

Many come to Galápagos to lead the simple life, yet the simple life is getting harder to find as increasing tourism, expanding island population, and building construction continue to grow. They are facing the “economic imperative” of satisfying unlimited wants with limited resources. Ecology is what drives the tourism engine of Galápagos; yet, as more tourists and settlers come to the islands, the more the ecology is impacted. History has proven Melville wrong; the Galápagos are changing—geologically, environmentally, and socially. It remains to be seen if the “special curse” of the Enchanted Isles will result in sorrow for the human and non-human inhabitants.

Independence Day in the United States but no mention here. It is a wonderful evening highlighted by fireworks in town—coincidently, in celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Parque Nacional Galápagos.

The human story of Galápagos is one of potential and subsequent failure. Throughout its history, Galápagos has proven again and again how unsympathetic a place it can be. Galápagos is a severe environment . . . in some ways, not fit for man nor beast. However, the animals and plants that inhabit the islands have adapted to the environment, whereas man must adapt the environment for his needs. The islands know no dreams, only the brutal reality of wind, sun, and sea. Nature, with laws of biology and geology, is the ruler here . . . not man, and those who have not paid notice have often paid with their lives.

Today is a good day for reflection, and after three months on the islands, I am beginning to notice changes. The isolation here is more than just physical. It is intellectual and informational if you choose, and it is easy to care less about what is happening in the rest of the world. “Living in the moment” is truly part of life here, and focusing on the necessities of life simplifies it greatly. This wildlife sanctuary can also be a refuge for the human spirit. Some people have more worries than dreams, and for “Galápagringos” like me, living in the Galápagos is a good cure for the ailments from too-muchin-this-world American society. The sound of the Pacific surf or the sighting of a blue-footed booby invigorates the soul. Certainly, living in an island community in a lesser-developed country has its challenges. But as a personal journey, it is refreshing and cleansing to see how other countries and cultures live on a day-to-day basis. It provides a different insight into the world in which we live and reduces once seemingly big problems down to their proper dimension. Living in a “third-world country” can provide many VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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UE ISLAND SETTING, GALÁPAGOS IS A UNIQ ANIMALS AND PLANTS OF ON TI EC LL CO A H WIT HERE ON EARTH. UNPARALLELED ANYW

lessons for those in the “first world”—lessons such as conservation, friendship, getting by with less, and slowing down the pace of our lives to a more tranquil level. Standing in the third world, it is easier to see the conspicuous affluence, wastefulness, and exploitation of the developed world. Achieving the American Dream has not come without costs, and these costs are felt far beyond the shores of the United States. JULY 12, 2009 Galloping Around Galápagos Visited Floreana, the island which hosted the first human settlement in the archipelago. Puerto Velasco Ibarra, a small town of a hundred people, is only a few buildings. Because the island has a relatively stable supply of fresh water, it has been inhabited the longest of any of the Galápagos islands. In the 1930s, Floreana was colonized as a utopian community and reminds me of similar efforts in Fairhope, Alabama. The island later became famous for intrigues involving love, hate, and even mysterious deaths, as chronicled in the book, The Galapagos Affair. The diving and snorkeling around the islands offer amazing adventures. The Galápagos are one of the few places in the world where people actually come to swim with the sharks, not run away from them. The waters are wonderfully clear, offering astonishing views of colorful king angelfish and sea lions as they come down to play. The sea lions are truly graceful underwater and seem to have no fear of humans. The Galápagos are no Club Med; the terrain is treacherous, and the temperature is incredibly hot much of the year. The uniqueness of the Galápagos experience is to see creatures and plants in the context of their natural habitat, but it is not a zoo or an artificially created exhibit. Here, you see plants and animals as they lived thousands of years ago. You experience the harsh climate, the rugged terrain, the waves and the wind, and all the other elements experienced by the flora and fauna. As such, Galápagos is an “involved experience,” not a static display in a museum. What Galápagos offers is a first-hand experience with nature, with lessons on preserving the habitat and learning about the lives of these creatures and plants. 136

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It is ecological conservation that makes Galápagos “holy ground.” The staff of the Parque Nacional Galápagos (PNG) are charged with showcasing the natural beauty of the islands while minimizing the impact of humans—and the risk is not just from tourism. Introduced species of plants and animals also endanger this unique and fragile ecosystem. The lack of predatory animals and invasive plants are part of the reason life is able to survive here. But humans have brought with them species of goats, pigs, wild dogs, cats, and mora (blackberry) that compete with the islands’ native flora and fauna for precious few resources. JULY 29, 2009 “You call someplace paradise, kiss it goodbye.” —Don Henley My last day in Galápagos. Once so remote and shrouded in mystery, Galápagos is now in danger of being overrun by its popularity. Puerto Ayora is a frontier town with a “gold rush” feel to it. Galápagos is a unique island setting, with a collection of animals and plants unparalleled anywhere on earth. But we are at risk of plundering this paradise, and some say we have already gone too far. Just during my time here, I have noticed a substantial increase in the number of tourists. In some places, especially Isabela, it is clear that a comfortable upper limit has been reached, and further increases in the number of visitors will overwhelm the already fragile infrastructure of the small towns and villages. It seems Galápagos is destined to become one of the premier tourists destinations in the world as restrictions on tourists’ numbers are set to explode. The new muelle (dock) in Puerto Ayora and the planned new airport on Baltra all point to Galápagos gearing up for a tourism boom. The impact on the environment could potentially be devastating, although it may not be evidenced in full in our lifetime. Puerto Ayora and surrounding communities are already exceeding their natural boundaries and capacities for human habitation. Electricity, water, and communication services are all intermittent here. Galápagos is a pristine laboratory for studying flora and fauna under isolated conditions. Few, if any, places in the world offer us the opportunities for sci-


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entific research found in Galápagos. This natural laboratory, relatively undisturbed in Darwin’s day, was credited by him as “the origin of all my views” on evolution and the origin of species. It is in this laboratory that many of nature’s secrets can be found, which can then be applied to a better understanding and better stewardship of our world. But Galápagos also serves as a microcosm of the inevitable conflict between humans and ecology. In Galápagos, we can control the destiny of the environment to a certain degree, unless the greed and destructive nature of humans interfere. If we are not able to save Galápagos, what chance is there for our saving the rest of the planet? SUGGESTED READING: Galápagos: A Natural History (Paperback) by Michael H. Jackson Publisher: University of Calgary Press; 2nd edition (1994)

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Dale Foster is a former library director, archivist, television and radio producer, writer, inventor, and consultant. He served four months as a volunteer librarian at a scientific research station in the Galápagos Islands. He currently lives in Santa Rosa Beach. When not sailing, he volunteers for worthy library projects around the world.

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Here we find a well-known corner in the La Boca district of Buenos Aires.

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ARGENTINA C

BY GISELLE BRANTLEY

ome with me to a land where pride and national identity consume its people. A people whose diverse culture is comprised of mainly European influences, but whose only remnants of that heritage are the foods, customs, and languages that find themselves nestled in different regions of their land—a land that has endured economic strife, but which, out of those hardships, has produced figures such as Eva Perón (Evita), a first lady who helped the poor, and Carlos Gardel, the innovator of tango music. This is a land absorbed by a passion for beauty, a dedication to family, and a fanaticism for a sport they call “football.” This land is Argentina, the southernmost country in the world. Throughout my life, I’ve had a yearning that has pulled me to South America—a place that tugs at my heart and piques my interest, but, most of all, a continent that is home to a family I barely knew. So, when my younger brother turned thirty on this past New Year’s Eve, I suggested that we take a trip to the land of our ancestors to discover where we are from, to get to know our family, and to have a little fun in the process. But our travels don’t begin in Argentina—they started with its neighbor, Uruguay. My companions on this voyage were my husband, Tommy, my brother, Darren, and our friend, Blake, from Dallas. We embarked on an eleven-hour trip from Miami to Punta del Este, often called “the Hamptons of South America.” The trip was long and exhausting, but, luckily, there is only a two-hour time difference. Exhilarated and looking forward to the journey, we managed to forget about our sleep deprivation, which was clouding us like a bad hangover. After arriving in Punta, we discovered that our rental car was too small to carry us and our baggage. However, like a scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation, we managed to cram everyone into the car. Despite the body-numbing sensation that resulted, I smiled with grim determination—we were off, and nothing was going to stop us! The drive along the coast was breathtaking as we made our way to La Barra, a quaint surfer town just outside of Punta. At the entrance of town is the unusual and undulating La Barra Bridge—a unique structure that reflects the charm and beauty of the town. A multitude of shops and outdoor cafés line both sides of the street. It may not be Rodeo Drive, but wealth is evident everywhere. The native residents have an urban, bohemian style and possess a charm that oozes confidence. VIEZINE.COM SUMMER 2010

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the stress from the day’s travels melted away with the sweet fragrance of flowers and sunscreen blended together.

Tall, tan, and lean, they look as if they were taken straight from the pages of a fashion magazine. The women have long, thick hair down to their waists and clean, fresh faces. The men are aloof in nature, and they all seem to have mischievous smiles that play upon their lips. Being that far south at that time of year, the sun set at around 9:30 p.m. As the air turned cooler, we went in search of a place with good food and an exotic atmosphere. We grabbed a seat at Pizza Cero, a small outdoor café (which became our favorite restaurant in La Barra) and ordered a mushroom and Italian sausage wood-oven pizza. Then we sat back and soaked in the vibes. I could feel the salt air on my skin as

(From left to right) Tommy, Giselle, Blake and Darren dining at La Huella restaurant at José Ignacio Beach. Photo Courtesy of Giselle Brantley 140

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The raw beauty of the land mesmerizes people vacationing in Punta— even the local natives. They are easygoing, and enjoy the slow pace of life found there; the culture is a cross between that found in Saint Bart’s and the way of life in Laguna Beach. The sun set late, so dinner was served late, and the people danced until dawn. There are amazing places at which to dine, and during the two weeks before and after New Year’s Eve, everything is exorbitantly expensive. We soon adapted to our late dinners and dancing until dawn; we thought it would be impossible to readjust to our routine life back home. Our most memorable beach excursion took us to José Ignacio, about thirty minutes outside of Punta, where the very elite go to play. On the surface, José Ignacio appears subdued in comparison to La Barra. Celebrities, such as Naomi Campbell, own homes there because it is a

Hotel Casapueblo offers the most breathtaking sunsets in Punta del Este. Photo Courtesy of Giselle Brantley


Photo Courtesy of Giselle Brantley

town where you can choose not to be found. A narrow wooden path led us from the main road and then it wound its way down the sand to a restaurant called La Huella. The eatery blends into the beach landscape with its white billowing canopies and wide-open spaces. As sunbathers began to gather their belongings, we capped off our day with white-wine sangria and a cut of bife de chorizo (Argentinean sirloin beef) with succulent potatoes. Another day in paradise was coming to an end—but we were ready to dance and play. Punta offered us spiritual healing with breathtaking sunsets at Hotel Casapueblo, which resembles a white castle in the sky. There, we gazed at the kaleidoscope of colors reflected from the shimmering ocean surface while our ears were caressed by Spanish poetry describing the sun’s descent. Punta also offered revitalization through a private end-ofthe-season party at the mansion Chacra La Silenciosa with five hundred friends and the best DJs we had ever heard. As we listened to the music of David Guetta’s “Delirious,” confetti shot ten feet into the air and people began to jump and dance as dawn made its approach. None of this seemed unusual. After all, we were in Punta del Este … where anything is possible and everything is surreal. Tanned and exhausted, we caught our flight to Buenos Aires. We arrived at the charming Mine Hotel Boutique, which is located within the chic Palermo Soho district of the city, and unwound from the long day with a fantastic meal at the restaurant La Cabrera, which is well known for its steaks.

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Giselle and Tommy leave a little of 30A on the entrance sign to Punta del Este. Photo Courtesy of Giselle Brantley

The next afternoon, we met up with my great-uncle, Oscar, at Romario, a pizzeria just one block from our hotel. After sharing heartfelt embraces, we caught up on family and discussed our plans for the remainder of our trip, including a four-hour tour of the city that afternoon. Some of the barrios (neighborhoods) that we saw on the tour are truly worth mentioning, as they reflect the cultures that have built Buenos Aires into a cosmopolitan city. A few notables are La Boca—a neighborhood originally occupied by Italian immigrants and home to the Boca Juniors Football Team, one of the world’s most successful soccer teams; San Telmo—the birthplace of tango and host to weekly Sunday street fairs; the neighborhood of Plaza de Mayo—home of the national building where Evita gave her famous speech, and where protestors still cry out for things they desire; and lastly, Puerto Madero—the newest and most upscale neighborhood in the city. During the following days, our adventures led us through and around Buenos Aires and finally to the town of Adrogué, located about one hour outside the city, where much of my family lives: my great-uncle Oscar, with his wife, Ines, and my two cousins, Gabriela and Lourda. It was there that I captured the true essence of how my family lives. Adrogué is known for its incredible cuisine, and Alamos Restaurant & Grill, set on a quaint, tree-lined street, did not disappoint. Over an amazing dinner of “sweetbread” (meat from the neck or throat of a young calf), we talked about family back home, the recent passing of my great-grandmother at the age of ninety-seven, and how, in 1906, my great-grandfather, Frederico, came to Argentina from Ukraine during the Russian Revolution. That night, Oscar decided that we should attend a real tango show in Buenos Aires. We joined up at the restaurant Esquina Homero Manzi, named after a famous tango songwriter, located at the junction of San Juan and Boedo Streets—a historic corner of town steeped in local tradition. The original bar, built in 1927, became a symbol of the urban culture of the 1940s; it featured many of the popular musicians who turned tango into the foremost artistic expression of Buenos Aires. 142

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Here, over a three-course dinner, I met my other cousins, (Oscar’s daughters) Carolina and Sandra. The next day, we again joined our cousins at Sandra’s apartment in Boedo, where we learned that she is an aspiring opera singer. We drank mate (a traditional hot South American drink that is sipped through a metal straw) as we listened to her sing, accompanied by beautiful piano and guitar performances by her boyfriend and her son, Julian. The deeply moving songs evoked passion and sadness. Walking out of Sandra’s apartment that afternoon, what amazed me the most was how affectionate and welcoming my family had been to us. They invited us in and shared with us as if we’d always been a part of their lives. They were passionate about music and the arts, and about their children and their customs. There is something about the people of Argentina that is said to capture your heart and spirit. For a place that has endured so much, both economically and politically, the people are fiercely proud. For a country that is comprised of so many immigrants and varied customs, they are surprisingly united—united by music and dance, by sports, and by customs such as drinking mate, but mostly, they are united through family and national identity.

My family at their house in Adrogué. L–R: Cousin Lourda, Giselle holding Lola, Uncle Oscar, Darren and Aunt Ines. Photo Courtesy of Giselle Brantley


There is something about the people of Argentina that is said to capture your heart and spirit. To say that this trip fulfilled all of my expectations would be an understatement. From the beautiful, tan people on the beach to the warm and affectionate life-blood of my family who allowed us to fall in love with the South American people, this was a wonderful, lifealtering trip. From the rugged coastline of Uruguay, where the wealthy play until dawn, to the multifaceted cultural history of a city that is often compared to Paris, we experienced so much. What impressed us most throughout the trip was the way we were taken in everywhere we went, how proud people were to show us their culture, and how open they were to learn about ours. My family connections have been fortified and will only deepen through the years.

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I now understand Argentina. I now understand where I’m from.

Giselle Brantley is the owner and proprietor of 30A Genie, LLC, a boutique full-service concierge company. Since 2006, Giselle has assisted both visitors and secondhome owners with their vacation and home maintenance needs, providing them with the peace of mind they deserve. To contact Giselle or for more information, please visit www.30AGenie.com.

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PEOPLE + PLACES Aesthetic Clinique Rosemary Beach welcomed Jennifer Cirone, reigning Mrs. USA, to be the master of ceremonies for their popular Fourth Annual Spring Bocce Ball Tournament. Cirone is Italian by heritage and traveled from Idaho to participate in the Italian-themed event, which took place on the East and West Long Greens of Rosemary Beach on Saturday, April 3, 2010. VIE had the opportunity to meet with Mrs. USA during her visit to Dr. Steven Weiner’s Aesthetic Clinique. Dr. Weiner and his wife, Sandy, played host to Mrs. USA for the weekend-long festivities, taking

Photo by Romona Robbins

her to local hot spots like Bud & Alley’s and The

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Red Bar. Thanks to Aesthetic Clinique for brightening up our day by beautifying 30A. Photography by Romona Robbins Photos courtesy of Aesthetic Clinique taken by Sheila Goode.

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Jennifer Cirone

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Jennifer Cirone, Dr. Steven and Sandy Weiner

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Jim Bagby, Bryan Johnston, Jennifer Cirone,

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PJ Trammel, and Jerry Miller

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Ken Ganeau, Sandy Weiner, and Keith Flippo

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PJ Trammel, Jennifer Cirone, and Jerry Miller

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lot and home packages starting from $469,000. call st. Joe community sales at 1.866.505.2091 to schedule a tour. ©2010 The St. Joe Company. St. Joe Community Sales, Inc., Licensed Real Estate Broker. “JOE”, “St. Joe”, “WaterColor,” and the “Taking Flight” design are service marks of The St. Joe Company. Access to and rights to use recreational amenities may require a purchase of a separate membership and may be subject to payment of use fees, membership requirements, rules or other limitations which are subject to change. This does not constitute an offer to sell property. This is not intended to be an offer to sell nor a solicitation of offers to buy real estate in the listed communities by residents of Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, and Oregon, unless registered or exemptions are available, or in any other jurisdiction where prohibited by law. Prices subject to change without notice. These homes are built by Huff Development which is an independent, third party not affiliated with The St. Company.2010 The St.VIEZINE.COM Joe Company does not guaranty the obligations of unaffiliated builders who build homes in WaterColor. Obtain the Property Report required by Federal Law and 156 JoeSUMMER read it before signing anything. No Federal agency has judged the merits or value, if any of this property.

VIE - People + Places / Summer 2010  

VIE is a French word meaning “life” or “way of living.” VIE sets itself apart as a Northwest Florida regional, high-gloss publication focusi...

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