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The Emer ald Coast Maga zine

Second Time’s The Charm Bagging affordable fab finds is très chic

SALARY SURVEY SAYS ... We sneak a peek at some local paychecks and reveal who makes what

‘30A STYLE’ SCRIBE Lynn Nesmith's newest book opens the doors to 22 spectacular homes

PLACE YOUR ‘BEST’ BETS This year's 'Best Of the Emerald Coast' ballot is inside! June–July 2011


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contents The Emerald Coast Magazine

June + July 2011


58 The Second Time Is a Charm

Like the fashions they resell, these local boutiques are all one-of-a-kind. By Zandra Wolfgram

For assistant fire chief Ralph Everage Jr., training heroes is all in a day’s work, but how much is that day worth? Take a peek at the pay stubs of nine Emerald Coast workers on page 68.

Photo by Scott Holstein

68 Earning Power

From nannies and nurses to politicians and painters, locals bare it all for our Emerald Coast salary survey. Learn what they earn, how they spend it and what they’d rather be doing for a living. By Wendy O. Dixon June–July 2011


contents in the e.c. 17 Snapshot Michael Percy gives us a fresh perspective. 18 Chat Who’s that girl? It’s Jami Ray. 20 What’s Haute A new Zoo, wild jewelry and clever shoe embellishments are sure to make the summer haute. 22 Personality A salty story from the (harbor) master himself. 24 Historicity The first shots in Florida rang out … across the Emerald Coast! 28 Well Worded This 30A resident wrote the book on style (again). 32 Giving Back The Emerald Coast Autism Center schools us (and our kids) with great care.

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happenings 39 Spotlight The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic tips the scales for fishing, fun. 40 Culture A local band rises in popularity, but keeps close to its “Heritage.” 44 Calendar Celebrate summertime with this superb lineup of special events. 50 Social Studies Are you out and about in the EC? Find out who is.

the good life 81 Eudaimonia The perfect picnic won’t make you a basket case. 82 Going Places Speed your way across spectacular Spain. 86 Mind + Body Stay on your toes with “heeled” foot care. 88 In Motion Ready, set, train your way to a triathlon victory. 92 Dining This comprehensive guide to dining along the Emerald Coast has what you are hungry for.


A word with You 10 12 13 14 98

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Photos by Scott Holstein (Percy and Owl Ring), Kansas B. Pitts (Nesmith) and courtesy Alys Beach (Digital Graffiti)


37 Scene This is what we’ve seen and heard about your Emerald Coast colleagues, friends and neighbors. June–July 2011


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Vol. 12, No. 3 June–July 2011 The Emerald Coast Magazine

Publisher Brian E. Rowland Editor Zandra Wolfgram Associate Editor Wendy O. Dixon Designer Beth Nabi STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Scott Holstein Staff Writer Jason Dehart Contributing Writers Jared Cramblet, Wendy O. Dixon, Christy Kearney, Jack Macaleavy, Ann McQueen, Lilly Rockwell, Zandra Wolfgram Contributing Photographers Kansas B. Pitts, Shelly Swanger, Jacqueline Ward, Allison Yii Editorial Interns Brittany Barriner, Holly Brooks, Ana Goni-Lessan, Terrika Mitchell, Bianca Salvant, Janeen Talbot TRAFFIC Coordinator Abayomi Bamiro sales executives Jessica Hathorn, Rhonda Simmons, Chris St. John facebook: emeraldcoast, twitter: emeraldcoastmag

President Brian E. Rowland Director of Publishing OPerations Tim Fordyce Creative Director Lawrence Davidson Production DIRECTOR Melinda Lanigan Director of Editorial Services Linda Kleindienst Manager of Finance and HR Angela Cundiff Manager of Integrated Sales Dan Parisi Administrator of Sales and Events McKenzie Burleigh Client Service Representative Caroline Conway Assistant Creative Director Saige Roberts Art Director Tisha Keller Senior Editorial Designer Beth Nabi Graphic Designers Marc L. Thomas, Daniel Vitter Magazine Ad Builder Patrick Patterson Network Administrator Daniel Vitter Receptionist Amy Lewis, Editorial Office 1932 Miccosukee Road, Tallahassee, FL, 32308 Customer Service & Submissions EC Magazine and Rowland Publishing, Inc. are not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photography or artwork. Editorial contributions are welcomed and encouraged but will not be returned. EC Magazine reserves the right to publish any letters to the editor. Subscriptions & Availability $30 a year (six issues). To subscribe, call 850-878-0554 or visit EC Magazine can be purchased at Barnes and Noble in Destin and Books-A-Million in Destin and at Sun Plaza in Mary Esther. Copyright June 2011 Emerald Coast Magazine Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited. Proud member of the Florida Magazine Association June–July 2011


from the publisher Here They Go Again

This time last year, all one heard about was the never-ending doom and gloom over the oil gushing from BP’s Deepwater Horizon well and how it was affecting the beaches and wildlife along the Gulf Coast, including Northwest Florida. Turning on the TV, one would see the same oil-coated bird over and over again — along with the constant commentary about the oil heading toward the beaches and the expected tainting of the seafood supply. In the end, other than a slight dusting of oil on the far western edges of the Florida coast, our area was mostly unaffected by the oil itself. Yet the perception that Florida’s beaches were covered with tar balls caused the bottom to fall out of our tourism-based economy. Phones rang off the hook with summer cancellations of resort and charter boat bookings and billions of dollars were lost during what is considered “the season” for our region. By the end of summer, many coastal community businesses that directly rely on tourism for their survival were destroyed or suffered major economic setbacks. And there was a trickle down effect that impacted many other businesses throughout Northwest Florida. The good news is that BP has stepped up in a big way over the past year, pouring billions into the region’s economic and environmental recovery efforts. And I have seen first-hand that it is working. Spring Break was exceptional this year and many area resorts are posting double digit increases over their projections for summer reservations. Clearly, the public wants to come to our beaches to relax and escape from their everyday stresses. But now we’re facing another media onslaught. Not over the oil threatening our beaches, but by high gas prices. A recent New York Times article proclaimed that skyrocketing gas prices would prevent Americans from their annual ritual of loading up the family for a summer vacation. The same theme has been repeatedly echoed in other publications and on TV. Here we go again. The majority of tourists that visit our area in the summer drive here — and the last thing our region needs is another damper on what appears to be a recovering economy. Instead of inducing fear in American families that a driving vacation will plummet them into bankruptcy, can we take a moment and put this into perspective? Let’s do a little math. For an example, let’s take a family that lives 750 miles from Northwest Florida’s beaches or our beautiful capital city. If they drive a car that gets 15 miles per gallon, they would use 100 gallons for a roundtrip. In the summer of 2010, retail gas prices hovered around $2.76 a gallon. For 100 gallons, the cost would be $276. In the summer of 2011, the price for a gallon is now predicted to hit close to $4. For 100 gallons, the tab would be $400. The difference: $124. For a one-week vacation, that amounts to $17.71 a day. Is that really going to keep the average American family home, shuddering in fear under their beds? I don’t think so. If the budget is tight, eating a modest-priced dinner or lunch would even it out. Or buy one less T-shirt for each kid. It’s unfortunate that national media attention focuses so much on the negative when Americans, more than ever, need to hear some good news and be encouraged to become part of our nation’s — and our region’s — economic recovery. The message I’d like to see? It’s time to go on a summer vacation. Get away from it all, even for a little while. Refresh your spirit and give your neighbors a little economic boost.

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— Brian Rowland

on the cover

Navarre model Amanda Fedrich gives new meaning to “second takes” in this resale fashion feature. She tops the charts at Central Records in a black YigalAzrouël sleeveless pant suit available for $49 at Ava’s Attic Consignment Boutique (retail $1,200); DE designer eyewear, $12 (retail $21); metallic and rhinestone dangle earrings, $14 (retail $39); Carlos by Carlos Santana Entice stilettos, $45 (retail $89); bangle bracelet set, $19 (retail $48); etched statement ring, $8 (retail $26). Hair and makeup by Barbie Ortiz, Avantgarde AVEDA Salon. Photo by Scott Holstein.


SECOND TIME’S THE CHARM Bagging affordable fab finds is très chic

SALARY SURVEY SAYS ... We sneak a peek at some local paychecks and reveal who makes what

‘��A STYLE’ SCRIBE Lynn Nesmith's newest book opens the doors to 22 spectacular homes

PLACE YOUR ‘BEST’ BETS This year's 'Best Of the Emerald Coast' ballot is inside!

Photo by Scott Holstein June–July 2011


editor’s note A Theory of Relative-ity

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—Z  andra Wolfgram

Photo by Allison Yii

editor’s pick Here’s to You, Seaside Thirty years ago, the vision behind Seaside started with the notion of reviving Northwest Florida’s building tradition of wood-frame cottages. The simple choice became a movement. And today, the town of Seaside is a shining example of New Urbanism, a sustainable concept that has rocked the foundation of planned communities around the world. When we were seeking a backdrop for a fashion photo shoot with a quirky twist — the fashions are all resale — the first place we looked to was Seaside. We knew this was just the place to frame our one-of-a-kind fashion finds. Luckily for us, Seaside General Manager Pam Avera graciously welcomed our crew and we could not have felt more at home. The Inn at Vera Bradley, Seaside, was the picture-perfect home base for us. Not only is it centrally located, but it is luxuriously comfortable, peacefully quiet and serves a healthy breakfast, which we needed to get through our jam-packed day. Thank you to Amy Coble and Jon Ervin at Cottage Rental Agency, Seaside, for making sure we all got tucked in for the night. What gives Seaside true color is surely the vibrant personalities of its merchants. Their adorable eateries, steamy bars, popular hangouts and eclectic shops brought our photos to life. Our heartfelt thanks go to Mike at Frost Bites, Tom at Central Records, Chris at Crush and Mo at Bud & Alley’s. From an 80-acre plot of family land to a beloved international architectural sensation, Seaside has truly come into its own. Beautiful, charming and unexpected, we cannot wait to see what Robert and Daryl Davis have planned for the next 30 years. Happy Anniversary Seaside!

Seaside Photo Courtesy Steven Brooke Studios

I have a tendency to gravitate to father figures. When I was in my early 20s I was a theater publicist. I worked on a production of “King Lear” in which Hal Holbrook starred. By the end of the production, I had morphed into Cordelia, the King’s one loyal daughter. One evening, as per usual, I went backstage after the show to meet with Mr. Holbrook about his upcoming media interviews. His performance was staggering every night. But for some reason on this night, when I looked into the kind, blue eyes on his welllined face, I simply couldn’t restrain my emotions. Maybe I was crying for the powerful King Lear who is completely devastated by the mistaken thought that his daughter betrayed him. Maybe I was crying for my father, taken too soon. Probably both. Mr. Holbrook was very kind about the whole thing and simply held my hand. Suffice it to say, unsuspecting kind-hearted men upward of 60 should be forewarned of my attachment tendencies. Perhaps, in part, this is why when I had the privilege of meeting George Einstein, at an event held in his honor this past winter, I nearly blew it. The name alone is at once fascinating and intimidating. Yes, he’s an Einstein. His “second cousin” is Albert Einstein, the “father of physics,” whose genius birthed the Theory of Relativity, unlocking many secrets to the universe. My husband is a scientist. My stepson is studying physics. My youngest son is a budding scientist whose one request for Christmas was to convert his bedroom into a science lab. In my house, Einstein is a superhero. To learn that his relative, George Einstein, a successful science devotee for more than 40 years, was basically a neighbor, was an exciting discovery for us. I anticipated An Evening with Einstein, as the event was called. Despite the fact that my husband injected me full of probing questions sure to reveal the secrets to the spry 90-year-old’s success, when the big moment approached and I was finally shaking his hand and looking into his kind blue eyes, I was lucky to eek out a meek hello. Yes, I was star struck by this living legacy. He graciously granted an interview. I looked forward to meeting again. But before we had that chance, he passed away on Feb. 22, 2011. Though I didn’t get to learn of his “secrets” first hand, I have learned from his family and friends that he was an accomplished engineer, cellist and skier. He was a risk taker, who as recently as last year tried parasailing. He could be mischievous, and, truth be told, a bit of a flirt. He loved living on the Emerald Coast. And though he did not have children of his own, he was certainly a father figure to many. Good night, Mr. Einstein. It was a sincere pleasure to meet you. I will never forget my Evening with Einstein. On this Father’s Day, I encourage everyone to remember their “fathers” kindly this year without delay. Remember, it’s all “relative.”


lilly rockwell

jared cramblet

ann mcqueen




Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Lilly Rockwell graduated from the University of Texas (UT) with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and government. Her stories have appeared in The Florida Times-Union, The Wichita Eagle, The Austin American-Statesman as well as 850 and Tallahassee magazines. She enjoys long-distance running and hosting UT alumni events. ▪ Lilly gets our hearts racing with expert tips on training for triathlons.

Jared Cramblet is currently completing his senior year at the University of West Florida. Aside from being a full-time student, Jared works at Mellow Mushroom in Destin and enjoys reading, live music, disc golf and paddle boarding. ▪ Jared’s story about the Heritage band made the Culture column sing.

kansas b. pitts

Ann McQueen has been living and writing on the Emerald Coast since 1997. She holds degrees in journalism and psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. When she is not writing, she spends time with her son, Wes, or with her dogs training, hiking or swimming. ▪ Ann takes us inside a local school that is making a significant difference in the lives of autistic children.

photo g r a ph e r

Kansas B. Pitts is a lifelong Walton County resident. Along with her husband, Jonathan, she owns Kansas Studios specializing in fresh, bold, chic photography. When not pursuing her addiction to photography, she loves to create, read and go to the beach with her husband and their three crazy kids. ▪ Lynn Nesmith’s stylish flair has never been prettier. Thanks, Kansas.

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A BIG congratulations to @EmeraldCoastMag who today unveiled its fantastic redesign! Can’t wait to dig into it this weekend. Great job! (April 8, 2011)

Valeria Lento Fort Walton Beach

I love it and am so happy the mag is in digital form. It makes it easier to share with friends and family out of town. Love the new look and “feel” of EC. I’m impressed! Stacey May Brady Destin

Very fresh and modern! I like all the little touches (like highlighting “ec” on “the calendar” section). Becky Fowler Pegram, Tenn.

Beginning this issue, we’ll be using Quick Read (QR) codes, like the one below, as a generated way to better connect with you. Scanat the code with your smart scan it! phone using a free app (search “QR code” in your app store) to start an email, play a video or take you to a website. Let us know what you think. 14 June–July 2011

Have a thought? Let us know what you think at, emeraldcoast or

Absolutely amazing! Needless to say I was wowed! Thanks for keeping the Emerald Coast connected. Great work, Zandra and team!

Tracy Louthain Freeport

Love the new design! Can’t wait to dive in and read all the interesting stories I saw while inspecting the new look! Judy Ricks Fort Walton Beach

Love the new EC, this is very exciting. Congrats! Mary Kay Samouce Destin

Thank you for doing a story about the oil spill and the effects it had on the local fishing fleet. Both the writer, Mr. Monigan, and the photographer, Scott Holstein, made the experience easy, professional and relaxing, and they both did a great job. Many of us started the new year with concerns over possible lingering effects the spill might have on our economy, unsure whether it would be a soft spring or not. I am happy to report from the Destin Harbor that it has been a great spring break and the fishing has been very good. A lot of folks were in town to enjoy our coast and many businesses had a very strong spring break. While everything is not back to normal for all of our local businesses and we have a long way to go with BP and the restoration process, we are “cautiously optimistic” for the future. Thanks for your great publication. I look forward to it every month, and I think you “knocked it out of the park” on your redesign. Mike Eller Destin Charter Boat Association June–July 2011


Say hello to Michael Jones’ new partners. And yours. For years Michael Jones has served your region with diligence, compassion and integrity, in the field of personal injury and estate planning. So when one finds others that share those same strong values, there is no question about joining forces. That’s why Michael Jones has joined Dana C. Matthews and John W. Hawkins, who have been serving northwest Florida in the fields of corporate and business law, capital restructuring, commercial litigation, real estate and land use for more than 30 years. We’re building stronger relationships to build a stronger region.


insight | integrity | innovation Best Law Firm

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d e s t i n l a w. c o m | D e s t i n | N i c e v i l l e | D e F u n i a k S p r i n g s

in the e.c.

Peopl e + St y le + H y p e


Michael Percy, XL adventurer

If you need to get a fresh perspective, Michael Percy is your man. Owner of XL Kites ( in Fort Walton Beach since 1989, Percy has three adventurous ways to appreciate the Emerald Coast. The amphibious aircraft, also called a “trike,” can take off from land or water. It whisks two guests (10 years old and older) up to 18,000 feet in the sky to drink in spectacular views. Kiteboarding, the company’s signature sport geared to those at least 18 years old, is a combination thrill of sailing and surfing waves simultaneously. The half-day course with the XL Kite trainers allows water lovers to “dip their toe” into the sport before they invest in pricey equipment. Haven’t we all dreamed of flying? Glide over the gulf in a paragliding parachute propelled with a motor on your back. “These rides are fun and safe. You don’t have to do extreme sports to have an adventure,” Percy says. — Zandra Wolfgram

Photo by Scott Holstein

scan it! June–July 2011



A Ray of Starlight Jami Ray embraces the challenges of a new job, husband and baby with her signature laid-back style By Zandra Wolfgram


emember “That Girl” from the ’60s? Bouncy brown tresses, a winning smile, a get-hold-ofthe-world-by-the-tail attitude? That girl is Jami Ray. Savvy, creative and a sucker for all things girly, Ray, 27, is a communications star on the rise. A native of Tallahassee who now lives in Freeport with her new husband, Hunter, Ray is putting to good use the master’s degree she earned in corporate and public communication from Florida State University in 2008. Last fall, she was recruited to the Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council as the community relations and public relations coordinator, tasked with promoting the area as a cultural destination. She is particularly excited about another responsibility: social media. “I love social media. I love the immediacy and the impact you can have,” she says. It’s a perfect fit for this social girl. Ray’s Facebook days date back to the fall of 2004, when she and her college sorority sisters looked to Facebook (then only available to users with .edu emails) to find high school friends and get updates on homework assignments. Though she was on the forefront of social media, it took awhile for business colleagues at her first professional job as marketing director at the Santa Rosa Beach Club to catch up. “At first, no one was using it at work. It was a social time-killer. No one saw it as useful,” she tells. But Ray soon changed that, and the Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club was one of the first companies on the Emerald Coast to integrate Facebook into its communication strategies. While at the Santa Rosa Golf and Beach Club, Ray, a self-proclaimed daydreamer, made up quite a business idea — literally. When one of the club’s


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Some people may be stressed by what I do on a daily basis, but I am pretty laid back and just take it as it comes. — Jami Ray

wedding coordinators needed a last minute make-up artist, Ray, who says she “loves an excuse to experiment with makeup,” grabbed the opportunity along with her make-up brushes. That was when she took a first blush at forming her own company called Pretty Sweet Makeup, which she still manages as a side business. There is much more to Ray’s makeup. She is actively engaged in several professional associations. When she shifted into a public relations-focused job role, she traded in her board role with the Emerald Coast Advertising Federation to serve as membership chair for the Florida Public Relations

Association. She is also on the steering committee for YP (Young Professionals) at the Beach, a group managed by the Bay and Walton chambers of commerce that fosters young leaders. At press time, Ray was helping to arrange a speaking engagement for former Arkansas governor (and likely presidential aspirant) Mike Huckabee. Though she is a recent graduate herself, Ray somehow finds time to teach communication classes twice a week as an adjunct professor at Florida State University-Panama City. And as if that isn’t enough, another significant deadline: delivering a baby girl, Emery, in March! How is Ray handling the many “life events” that have come her way? “Some people may be stressed by what I do on a daily basis, but I am pretty laid back and just take it as it comes,” she says with a smile. What does the future hold for this rising star? “I’m still figuring it out. I love what I’m doing now but I also love the possibility of something I’m not even aware of being out there.” ec

Photo by Scott Holstein June–July 2011


what’s haute Great Style in a Snap Shoe Jewels will surely help you put your best foot forward this summer. Operated by Julie and Frank Kovach, this new boutique in Destin Commons has created an innovative way for you to reinvent your summer wardrobe. Change your shoe’s “personality” with a pretty embellishment that snaps onto your shoe’s dual lock system. Choose a shoe style and then accessorize with a pair of shoe jewels made from colorful fabrics, leather, crystals, feathers and more. Bring in your favorite shoes and allow the boutique to bedazzle them with shoe jewels ($5). The shop also carries “casual comfort” women’s apparel. Complete your look by adding a belt, handbag or jewelry piece. What a kick! The RCK Bella “Wendy” sandal in white ($24) with a crystal encrusted black floral shoe jewel ($29).

A Real Ringer The animal rings at Frock Candy are a hoot. We love the big-eyed owl, which has a flexible band, and the brass-plated elephant with crystals on his ears. Take your fashion flair to the wild side with one of these bold statement rings. $12-$14

What a Zoo! The first Zoo Gallery location opened in 1979 in Fort Walton Beach, making the “elegant gallery with a funky twist” the oldest locally-owned gallery on the coast. Owners Roxie and Chris Wilson have opened a new shop in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin (they also have a shop in Grayton Beach and an outlet store in Destin). The gallery carries eclectic and colorful gifts, accessories, greeting cards, jewelry, art, handcrafted furniture and the shop’s signature T-shirt, which many customers collect. The Zoo Gallery carries work by more than 100 artists. We love Aletha Rector’s whimsical clay bird sculpture ($55) and Lisa Kaus’ “hearty” piece of art called “Big Dream” ($25). The doggie doormat ($24) by Stephen Huneck is sure to get your guests’ tongues wagging.

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Photos by Scott Holstein June–July 2011



The Master of the Harbor Greg Featherstone is navigating his life from the helm of a dream job By Zandra Wolfgram


ust one look at his sparkling blue eyes and wide, easy smile and you have a feeling there are plenty of tall tales this face cannot wait to tell. This harbor master — responsible for the traffic flow, safety, Coast Guard compliance and even event activities at HarborWalk Marina — has certainly seen his share of doings on the docks at the 200-slip Destin marina since it opened in 2007. But one of the most interesting stories just may be his own. Greg Featherston, 65, has always loved the water. He grew up near the shores of Lake Erie, taking every opportunity to motor around on the family’s 16-foot Thompson runabout. He volunteered to go into the Army at 18 and was sent to Vietnam, experiencing first-hand the 1968 Tet Offensive during his two-year tour. “You grow up quick,” he says. Featherston came back from the war, but his brother didn’t. Capt. Fielding “Wes” Featherston, an Air Force pilot stationed in Da Nang, was listed as Missing In Action when he failed to return from a covert operation over Laos in 1969. After leaving military life, Featherston worked his way up through the ranks in various hotel jobs around the country and eventually moved to Panama City Beach in 1976, taking a position as a sales manager for the Miracle Mile Resort — “my first time to see sugar white sand.” He took to hospitality like a duck to water and was soon recruited as an “advance man,” charged with inspecting venues for an international production company. “It gave me the opportunity to travel the world,” he says. The water lover he is, he was especially taken by the

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English Channel; the cold, European mountain streams; the placid lakes of the Orient; and the vast oceans of the world. But while he liked the job, the constant travel wore on him. When he had to look at the newspaper to figure out what city he was in, Featherston realized he needed to make another change. He moved to Jacksonville and worked at a property management business. After giving a talk to a homeowner group, a developer named Peter Bos called and

offered him a job at a beautiful property in Northwest Florida called Sandestin Resort. After nearly 30 years and various boats, trawlers and “go fasts” later, Featherston still enjoys working with Bos. For this boatman, his job is a “dream come true.” “I believe what you give you get in return. But, in this case, I think I’ve come out on the better end of the deal,” he says with a smile in his eyes. ec

Photo by Scott Holstein

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Standoff in the Emerald Coast Union troops and secessionist forces jockeyed for position in Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach during the early days of the Civil War By Jason Dehart

24 June–July 2011


he white beaches and welcoming green waters of the Emerald Coast were not so calming and serene 150 years ago. In 1861, the first tentative shots of the Civil War in Florida were fired in Pensacola, and even Fort Walton Beach saw some action as the war progressed. In January of 1861, as delegates from across the state gathered in Tallahassee to

Photo courtesy Florida Archives


vote on secession, Florida troops seized federal arsenals and forts within the state. Pensacola was an important naval port. It had no less than five federal installations around the bay. Fort Pickens, on Santa Rosa Island, was the largest but stood unoccupied. Fort McRee, located on the eastern tip of Perdido Key, was likewise empty. Fort Barrancas, located in the heart of the modern-day Pensacola Naval Air Station, sat on the mainland across from Pickens. Like the other posts, it too was unoccupied but several U.S. artillerymen were at Barrancas Barracks nearby. The Naval Yard, meanwhile, was an active facility. The first shots in anger were fired on Jan. 8., two days before Florida seceded. According to a blog by historian Dale Alan Cox, state forces (there was no “ConBefore there was a Confederacy, federacy” until FebSouthern ruary ’61) had already troops rallied to Pensacola (left) to taken the U.S. arsenal “evict” U.S. troops at Chattahoochee and from the forts Fort Marion in St. occupying the important harbor. Augustine. With tenThe first shots of sions running high the war may have and Southern militia been fired here, rather than roaming the area, U.S. in Charleston soldiers guarding Fort Harbor, South Carolina. Barrancas in Pensacola Bay were jittery. That night, shadowy figures advanced across the drawbridge but disappeared when a sentry spotted them and fired off a warning shot, alerting the tiny garrison at nearby Barrancas Barracks. “So far as I know, the gunfire at Fort Barrancas did involve the first hostile shot of the war,” Cox wrote in his blog for Explore Southern History. “The firing there took place hours before cadets from The Citadel opened fire on the supply ship Star of the West at the mouth of Charleston Harbor and, of course, three months before the bombardment of Fort Sumter, also in Charleston Harbor.” Florida Gov. Madison Starke Perry soon decided to grab all the federal property he could in Pensacola, and troops converged here from not only Florida but Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia. On Jan. 10, 1861, Florida seceded from the Union and two days later the navy yard surrendered to Southern troops. Forts Barrancas and McRee were vacated by the federals. On Santa Rosa Island, the U.S. troops settled in at Fort Pickens and warily watched events unfold around them. “The eighty-one officers and men in the fort were now all that stood between Florida

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26 June–July 2011

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forces and their complete domination of Pensacola Bay,” wrote the late Stetson University professor John E. Johns in his 1963 book, “Florida During the Civil War.” Lt. Adam Slemmer, the federal officer in command at Pickens, refused to surrender, and both sides began to prepare for war. The U.S. garrison dug in while the Florida troops drilled and practiced for an assault. On Jan. 13, the U.S. troops exchanged potshots with a landing party sent to scout the fort’s strength, but again there was no actual bloodshed. A couple of days later a truce was called so both sides could sit down and talk over the situation, but again Slemmer refused to leave. Political machinations then ensued in Washington, D.C., during which representatives from Florida agreed with President James Buchanan that there was no need to shed blood over the situation — either in Pensacola, or the similar situation brewing at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. “An attack on these forts, they argued, would play into the hands of the Republicans who desired hostilities to commence before the inauguration of Lincoln,” Johns wrote. The Southern delegation then cabled the Florida commander, Maj. William Chase, that, “The possession of (Fort Pickens) is not worth one drop of blood to us. Bloodshed may be fatal to our cause.” In his blog for Explore Southern History, Cox writes that he’s often thought about just when, and where, the “first shot” actually occurred. Historians may date the actual “beginning” of the war with the events at Fort Sumter, but other shots had been fired, facilities seized and “separate countries” declared as early as December 1860. “A state of war clearly existed from the point that South Carolina took Castle Pinckney and Fort Moultrie in December of 1860 and began mounting guns aimed at Fort Sumter. In Florida, a state of war existed from the moment that Governor Madison S. Perry ordered the seizure of the arsenal at  Chattahoochee on January 6. The same kinds of things were going on in other states and Mississippi even began placing cannon at Vicksburg to block commerce on the Mississippi River,” he said. “So it really comes down to a matter of opinion ... The first hostile shots were fired at Fort Barrancas in Florida on January 8, 1861. The first exchange of fire took place at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861. And the first bloodshed of the war took place even after that, as no one was killed in the fight for Fort Sumter.” That was the situation until April, when the war began in earnest not in Florida

but in South Carolina. That same month, volunteers from Walton and Santa Rosa counties formed the Walton Guards. They pitched camp at a strategic location near East Pass on Choctawhatchee Bay, in what is now Fort Walton Beach. There was no actual “fort” here, but the local troops used a huge temple mound for protection. Since this area was part of Walton County, they called this post Camp Walton. From here the local troops could react promptly to whatever threat approached the bay. Later that summer Union troops burned the Pensacola dry dock, then torched the Confederate schooner Judah. The Confederates fought back in October when they destroyed a Union camp outside Fort

Historians may date the actual ‘beginning’ of the war with the events at Fort Sumter, but other shots had been fired, facilities seized and ‘separate countries’ declared as early as December 1860. Pickens, but they failed to capture the fort itself. Casualties were high on both sides, and the Battle of Santa Rosa Island “brought a realization of the horrors of war to Florida communities,” Johns wrote. Back at Camp Walton, the Walton Guards proved so much of a nuisance that in April of 1862, federal troops from Fort Pickens trudged through the Santa Rosa sand and set up a cannon opposite Camp Walton. From here they shelled the defenders. Following that attack, Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg — in overall command of defenses around Pensacola — sent an 18-pounder cannon to Camp Walton for protection. But the camp was later evacuated and its men sent to fight in Tennessee with the First Florida Infantry. The Camp Walton cannon is now on display at the Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park. In May, Pensacola surrendered to Union troops and the navy yard was used as a base for ships of the Union naval blockade. ec June–July 2011


well worded

Lynn Nesmith brings ‘Style’ to 30A This beautiful book explores the homes and hamlets that make 30A a distinctive place By Zandra Wolfgram


ynn Nesmith has written the book on style — literally. Her third book, “30A Style: Florida Cottages and Family Homes Along the Gulf” (written under her given name of Eleanor Lynn Nesmith) peeks into the doors of 22 homes along scenic highway 30A in Walton County and explores several New Urbanist towns such as Seaside, WaterColor and Alys Beach — which are the very reasons this area is affectionately referred to as “the design coast.” Though she grew up on the shores of North Carolina, Nesmith, who fits the model of a quintessential beach-girl with her golden hair, tanned skin and laid-back attitude, has enjoyed a longtime love affair with the Emerald Coast. In 1988 things “turned serious” when Architect magazine assigned her to write a story on Seaside. Once she saw 30A, it was love at first sight. “I thought the Carolina coast was special until I came here,” she says. After she moved to Birmingham in 1994 to join Southern Living magazine, where she advanced up to architecture editor, she continued to return to the area often. In 2000, Seaside hired her as a consultant for its 25th anniversary, which drew

28 June–July 2011

Nesmith even further into the community. Ready for a career change, she moved to “a little beach house” on 30A in Seagrove the following year. Her freelance writing for prestigious national publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, House Beautiful, Traditional Home and Coastal Living continued, and her public relations clients grew to include projects for The St. Joe Company and Alys Beach, as did her love for the area. While working with Seaside, Nesmith met internationallyrenowned architectural photographer Steven Brooke, who pitched the writer on the idea of authoring her second book, “Seaside Style” in 2004. (Her first book is “Instant Architect.”) “Seaside Style” was produced with the support of a publisher. “I sent it to New York, and nine months later it appeared. I didn’t know how it happened,” she jokes. With the success of “Seaside Style,” it was just a matter of time before Nesmith would be wooed to write about the “place unlike any other” she now calls home. “For years people said, ‘You need to write a book about 30A,’” she says. When Jean Allsopp, a friend and colleague Nesmith knew from her Southern Progress magazine days, said she was ready to take on

Photos by Kansas B. Pitts

Lynn Nesmith at the Bermudan-inspired Deco Moderne Alys Beach home of Maureen and John Fiacco designed by architect Gary Justiss. June–July 2011


well worded

Nesmith tells us, ‘the home embraces the spirit of a relaxed coastal lifestyle.’ (Below) An interior courtyard, which Nesmith describes as ‘sentimental and modern, yet utterly practical.’


… There are so many sides to 30A. Living here, we forget how unique our architecture is and how particular our landscaping is. We give much more attention to detail than most parts of the world. I hope people see this book as a story, not just a collection of 22 houses. — Lynn Nesmith

30 June–July 2011

a project, Nesmith eagerly launched into what she says was a “fun, two-year collaboration.” With Nesmith’s writing chops for architecture and Allsopp’s artful eye, they were a perfect creative team. Rounding out the publishing group is Keri Atchley with Design 360, who oversaw the design and printing. The result: a beautiful, 192-page hardcover “coffee table” book with more than 230 stunning photos. With so many beautiful homes on 30A, the task of selecting just two dozen may seem daunting. Not for this editor. She immediately eliminated rental homes and narrowed the list of potentials to local residents. “I knew going into it, every house was going to have real people, who have a real story to tell,” she says. One such person is Lori Hadley, whose great grandparents started Staff’s Restaurant in Fort Walton Beach in 1913. The house that Hadley and her husband, Mark, fondly named The Retreat, is “cradled amid native scrub and dunes overlooking Draper Lake.” In her book, Nesmith writes, “This house possesses elegance and sophistication, yet its appeal lies in an almost unexplainable emotional force.” Nesmith deliberately featured homes that differ from one another. “I wanted to show the diversity of 30A from its old, funky cottages to its new, upscale homes. I wanted to reflect a mix of architecture and designers,” she explains. Though she doesn’t claim to have a favorite architectural style, Nesmith is drawn to “a home that is contextual, in scale, comfortable. Those intangible aesthetics that make a house feel good.” “Writing this book reminded me there are so many sides to 30A. Living here, we forget how unique our architecture is and how particular our landscaping is. We give much more attention to detail than most parts of the world. I hope people see this book as a story, not just a collection of 22 houses,” she says. Since the project was self-funded, Nesmith was hands-on in many aspects. In addition to writing it, she styled each photo herself. And with no budget for flowers, she admits she resorted to snipping clippings from local gardens and even her neighborhood bank. “We asked permission, of course,” she says blushing. Though she is happily deluged with promotional events, book signings and recruiting book shops and merchants to sell her book, she beams at the thought of a follow up edition. “I think every community should have one of these books,” she says. Hmm. “Emerald Coast Style” does have a ring to it. ec “30A Style” is available for purchase online at and at Books-A-Million.

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giving back

A World of Opportunity Children with autism and their families thrive at the Emerald Coast Autism Center By Ann McQueen

(Top) Staff supervisor and therapist Brandi Zwak works with 5-year-old Tyler Parkinson on spelling exercises. (Above) Teacher and therapist Brooke Talley leads a classroom session at the Emerald Coast Autism Center.

32 June–July 2011


ost families are thrilled with Disney World vacations. Heidi Blalock, however, was apprehensive as her family’s trip neared. Her son Max, 6, has autism, and she was concerned about his response to the barrage of sights and sounds. “I was terrified,” she said, flashing a good-natured smile. She has learned that maintaining her sense of humor along with a dauntless resolve are keys to her family’s success, keys that have opened doors for her son and other Emerald Coast students with autism. It was her family’s discovery of autism and its treatment that led her to co-found the Emerald Coast Autism Center.

Photos by Shelly Swanger

A Day in the Life Heidi and her husband, Brad, adopted Max and his younger sister Abigail, 5, raising both children from birth and maintaining relationships with their birth mothers. Max was a typical 1-year-old but began to withdraw into his own world. Tests pointed to autism. The Blalocks relocated to Miramar Beach in 2006 to be near Heidi’s mom, who retired here. They tried everything to reach Max. Having read about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), a one-on-one approach to treating autism that identifies children’s particular motivations to help engage them, Blalock tried hourly therapy. Max responded. When he started school, though, his progress slowed. Full-time ABA was prohibitively expensive. Fast Friends Staci Berryman was a therapist who worked at a clinic Max attended. With a background in special education, a master’s degree and board certification in behavior analysis, she and Blalock immediately became friends. “We talked about the need for a program here, and the idea for a school naturally unfolded,” Berryman said. A year later, they co-founded the Emerald Coast Autism Center (ECAC) and opened its doors to five students in 2009. Today, 25 students attend ECAC, the only school of its kind in Northwest Florida. Berryman serves as its executive director. ECAC “What’s this?” asked Brooke Talley in an exaggerated voice as she showed several students a picture of a car. “Car,” answered one student. “Very good!” she exclaimed, playing a recorded verse from a children’s song. She celebrated each word the children spoke and ignored fidgeting and boredom. The drill continued over and over while other teachers took notes on their student’s behavior. This is the verbal behavior approach to ABA. Teachers at ECAC use it to show students that language is how to get what they want. “Our teachers are like Mary Poppins on steroids,” Berryman said, explaining that it keeps kids engaged. Unwanted behaviors like meltdowns are ignored. “That’s called the flinch factor. You can’t flinch or react at all,” she added. In another class, some student/teacher pairs sat at small tables reading or practicing numbers while other pairs learned through games. Classes are based on skill level, and enrollment is open to children June–July 2011


giving back ages 2 through 11. No geographic limits are placed on admission since it is a non-profit, private school. Daniel Mareno, 11, started school at ECAC in 2010. He, too, had slipped into his own world but reemerged with verbal behavior therapy. “It is such a blessing to see the progress Daniel has made since we’ve been here,” said Brandi, his mom. “They are giving him words. They are giving him a way to communicate. This affords Daniel to one day have a job, to have the freedom to make his own choices.” Ultimately, ECAC’s goal is to provide an educational foundation that fosters success in adolescence and adulthood. Cost Tuition costs $39,000 a year, but there is help. Florida’s McKay Scholarship is a voucher program that allows parents of qualifying children to pursue school options. It has helped many families at ECAC. ECAC established a scholarship in memory of a student there that has helped defray costs for others. A portion of the proceeds from April’s Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation benefitted this fund. Florida’s Window of Opportunity Act mandates that insurance companies cover and pay to treat people with autism. In practice, however, its exclusions have limited its scope, though some families have received benefits, Blalock said. Facing the Future Although tuition covers some operating costs, the school must be subsidized through grants, private donations and other means. Capital is critically needed. Another challenge is space. Administrators are looking for a satellite location. The school needs a shuttle bus, new playground equipment, and job coaches to help students prepare for employment. When Berryman and Blalock dare to dream, they see a campus with a 20,000-square-foot building full of classrooms, administrative offices and therapy rooms on 20 or so acres with other facilities and services that help people with autism learn, live and thrive on the Emerald Coast. Max and Abigail loved their trip to Disney World. Splash Mountain was Max’s favorite ride. Though he remained uninterested in most of the characters, he enjoyed meeting Mickey Mouse and offered him a high-five. The Blalocks had fun. “Establishing our school has been much more than watching the kids thrive. It’s watching the families thrive. To see this is life changing,” Blalock said, smiling. ec 34 June–July 2011 June–July 2011


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850.650.4688 or 850.650.4689 34745 Emerald Coast Parkway / Destin

scene Here are a few things we’ve heard about on the EC scene … New brand image … ▪ The Emerald Coast is looking good. The Emerald Coast Convention and Visitors Bureau has launched a new brand image. To go with its new image are a few new faces. Lauren Rich joins the Emerald Coast CVB as the travel industry sales coordinator. Nicole Scott comes aboard as sales and public relations associate. The Emerald Coast Conference Center has also changed its name to the Emerald Coast Convention Center and filled its walls with a series of large, vibrant coastal-themed paintings by local artist Donna Burgess.

New address … ▪ Carr, Riggs and Ingram, LLC and the law firm and title company of Porath & Associates, P.A., have relocated their firms to larger offices in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.

was formed to promote and support cultural, educational, religious, environmental, literary and other charitable activities in the Rosemary Beach and South Walton County area. Kudos to … ▪ WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, polled 750,000 newlyweds and has selected Eventful Planner, owned by Tammy D’Agostino, to receive the presD’Agostino tigious annual WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards 2011 for catering and event planning. Dine By Design Catering, LLC, owned by Kim Pitchford, received an award for its catering services. Abrakadoodle

New jobs … ▪ Silver Sands Factory Stores welcomes Katie Johnson to fill the shoes of public relations manager. ▪ The Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council welcomes Elisa Smith as communications coordinator.




▪ Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has added Terri Marsh, Florencia Shiffer and Melissa Weeks to its sales team. ▪ Malayne DeMars has joined the Rosemary Beach Foundation as executive director. The foundation

▪ We salute Abrakadoodle Art Education for adding a new location at Eglin Air Force Base. The hands-on art education program will hold summer art events at the Eglin Youth Center. ▪ Okaloosa Aids Support and Information Services (OASIS), won an honorable mention and $50,000 award for its nonprofit work in the prevention of the spread of the HIV infection and support for those affected by the syndrome who live in Northwest Florida. ▪ A big cheer for Fort Walton Beach High School Cheerleaders who were catapulted to the top of the list by the Florida High School Athletic Association’s State Champions (Small Varsity Coed Division) in 2011. This peppy team is ranked fourth in the nation. Go Vikings! ec

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38 June–July 2011

happenings Events + Culture + Causes


Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic tips the scales for family fun

Ranked as one of the Top 10 “big money” tournaments in the world, the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic (ECBC) is the fastest growing billfishing tournament on the Gulf Coast. The ninth annual tournament — now a key stop for the World Billfish Series and the International GameFish Association Offshore Championship — is June 21-26 at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. In addition to exciting nightly weigh ins, the event features fishingthemed activities, music, food and beverage, and vendor booths at the Baytowne Marina. Running the week-long event is 33 year-old tournament director Shawna Meisner. Who will tip the scales with the winning blue marlin, wahoo and tuna and claim $1.2 million in cash prizes? Meisner can’t say, but she estimates as many as 350 anglers from around the country will try their luck. Last year, the scales were kind to Chip Temple of Destin. After an eight-hour fight, he hauled a 124-inch, 714.7-pound blue marlin onto Jasper Time to earn his team $325,204 in prize money and a tournament record. Why should folks come out to the ECBMC? “To see the big one weighed in!” Meisner says. A big time indeed. — Zandra Wolfgram

Photo by Scott Holstein June–July 2011


Photo Courtesy Heritage Music, LLC


40 June–July 2011

Know Your



The Destin-based band talks touring, success, community and giving back By Jared Cramblet

Shortly after taking stage on the local music scene for the first time in 2009, the six members of Heritage have released a full-length album, toured the country, won various awards and competitions and want nothing more than to give back to the community that has so graciously embraced them. Heritage, a rhythm and blues/reggae rock band, began in 2007 when vocalist Tony Verrecchia and ukulele player Damien Kealoha began writing material together. They soon joined forces with guitarist Hunter Dawson, percussionist Dave Posey, bassist Matt Moore and drummer R.J. Hernandez to begin work on a recording project inspired by the sounds of 311, Incubus, Sublime and Bob Marley. “We went into the studio just to see what we could get done,” says Verrecchia. “We did four songs in about two days. We really connected and we barely knew each other. That was the push that got us started.” Following that first studio session, Heritage released its first fulllength album “Natural High” in 2009. Excited to get the word out, they began playing in as many local spots as possible in support of the album. “Our first big show was the CD release party at Blue Point,” says Verrecchia. “And ever since then we’ve just been more and more blessed.” Word of Heritage began to spread rapidly as well as the number of shows the band was playing. Local venues such as Mellow Mushroom, Funky Blues Shack, The Swamp began booking the band regularly. Within a year, the group developed a huge local following playing to crowds in excess of 1,000 people, who responded to their message of positivity and unity. Things began to heat up locally for Heritage. In an attempt to avoid over saturating the local music market they decided to take their music and message on the road. In spring of 2010, less than a year after their first show, the band members found themselves Clockwise from left, Dave Posey (percussion), Damien Kealoha (ukulele), Tony Verrechia (lead vocals), Eric Yra, Hunter Dawson (guitar), RJ Hernandez (drums, lying down) and Matt Moore (bass). June–July 2011


culture in a full-time touring schedule across the Southeast U.S. “(Touring) was insane,” says drummer Hernandez. “I got out of the Air Force and was touring shortly after. When I think about that transition from year to year, it’s nothing but good.”

When it comes to Heritage’s message, it seems to be one of unity, gratitude, peace and love that stems from the various spiritual backgrounds of the band’s members.

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While on tour, the band played a show in Greenville, N.C., where they caught the ear of a local promoter. Upon building a relationship with the promoter and discussing plans for a future festival, Heritage Fest was born. “We had been talking about doing our own festival for a while with our genre of music,” says bassist Moore. “When we were up there, he suggested that we do it there. We were going to do it here, but when the oil hit, that kind of killed it.” Heritage Fest took place over two days on the beaches of North Carolina with more than 700 people showing up on the first day. Heritage played both days of the festival. “It was unbelievable how well it went over,” says percussionist Posey. The event was such a success that the planning for Heritage Fest 2011 is already in the works. Upon returning from a summer full of touring, performing and fun, the band members took their talents to GoPensacola. com and TK101’s contest for “Take Your Shot at the Opening Slot,” a contest similar to Battle of the Bands, where the winner earns a spot opening at DeLuna Fest. Earning a slot at DeLuna Fest, a three-day music festival on Pensacola Beach, meant that Heritage would get to share the stage with big name musical acts such as Willy Nelson, 311, Stone Temple Pilots, Bush and Galactic. Eager to win the contest, which was based on fan voting, Heritage began using every outlet possible to encourage fans to vote for them. “All of our friends were sick of us,” says Dawson. “Everyone in the band was

Heritage play the third annual Beachcomber Music Awards Feb. 22 at LA Lounge in Destin. Below, band members hang out with a fan after their April 5 performance in Seaside.

Check out Heritage on these local stages

telling everyone they knew every day until they were tired of hearing about it.” Although friends, family and fans may have been growing weary of the encouragement to vote, it paid off as Heritage won the contest, earning them an opening slot at a major festival. “When we got there our fans really made a big showing,” says Dawson. “I had to put in ear plugs they were yelling so loud. I’ve never had that happen at any of our shows. It was a lot of fun.” With rapid success stemming largely from the support of family, friends and a supportive local community comes the responsibility of giving back; a responsibility Heritage takes very seriously. Photos by Shelly Swanger

They’ve had the opportunity to raise thousands of dollars for local and national charities such as Planting Peace, March of Dimes, The American Cancer Society and Camp Sunshine. “We helped Camp Sunshine raise enough money to send an entire family to the camp within the branch,” says Verrecchia. Camp Sunshine is a one-of-a-kind national retreat in Casco, Maine, for children with lifethreatening illnesses and their families. “We all feel the same way too. The more money we make, the more money we can use to help other people, and overall, that’s how we know we’re going to enrich this experience for ourselves.” When it comes to Heritage’s message, it seems to be one of unity, gratitude, peace and love that stems from the various spiritual backgrounds of the band’s members. “There are certain beliefs and certain morals that transcend religion,” says Verrecchia. “Regardless of what you believe, you can still have unity amongst humanity.” Adds Dawson, “That’s huge for us. If you have an understanding of something greater than yourself, then you’re accountable for your actions. You’re accountable for not loving people that need to be loved or helping people who need to be helped.” With such success in a short amount of time it would be hard to argue that Heritage doesn’t have the right idea. With hard work, an aggressive touring schedule, talented musicians and a positive message, it’s easy to see how Emerald Coast Magazine readers voted Heritage “Emerald Coast’s Best Musician/Vocalist of 2010.” ec

June 2 Mattie Kelly Concert in the Park, 6 p.m. Funky Blues Shack, Destin, 10 p.m. June 3 Ms. Newby’s, Panama City Beach, 9 p.m. June 4 Billy Bowlegs Festival, Fort Walton Beach, noon Grand Marlin, Pensacola, 8 p.m. June 5 Habitat for Humanity, Destin, 7 p.m. Funky Blues Shack Baytowne, Destin, 10 p.m. June 10 The Fish House, Pensacola, 9 p.m. June 24 The Fish House, Pensacola, 9 p.m. June 26 AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, Destin, 8 p.m. July 24 AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, Destin, 8 p.m. July 27 The Fish House, Pensacola, 9 p.m. For more information, visit June–July 2011


thecalendar june + july

Photo courtesy The Merchants of Seaside (Apache Relay)

Nashville’s The Apache Relay plays the Seaside Summer Concert series June 29.

44 June–July 2011

For more events in the EC, visit

+ music

Seaside Summer Concert Series June 1–29 Calling all music lovers to the Seaside Summer Concert Series for five weeks of musical excitement presented live at the Seaside Amphitheatre each Wednesday evening. The DEFiBULATORs, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, Tony Lucca and a number of top bands making their 30A debut, will bring the sounds of rock, country, reggae and blues to the Seaside outdoor stage. This event is free and welcomes all ages. Performances begin at 7 p.m. Free parking is available around Central Square, Quincy Circle and Smolian Circle. For more information, contact Adam Shiland at (850) 428-0825 or visit June 1: The DEFiBULATORs June 8: Mockingbird Sun June 15: Tony Lucca June 22: Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes June 29: The Apache Relay

Through April 16

Tuesdays and Saturdays June 1–25

Mondays, June 6–Aug. 8

Tuesdays, June 7–Aug. 9

‘Honky Tonk Angels’ This toe-tappin’ country classic is a story about three good ole gals who follow their dreams to Nashville. Songs include “Stand By Your Man,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “9 to 5,” and “Harper Valley PTA.” $30. Seaside Repertory Theatre, 216 Quincy Circle, Seaside, 7:30 pm. (850) 231-0733, Magical Mondays Enjoy an evening of laughs and illusions as magician Rick Moore pulls out some of his best tricks. Visit his shop after the show to create your own magic. FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin in the Events Plaza, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy West, Miramar Beach. 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. (850) 267-8186,

Mondays, June 6–27 and July 11–25

The Stinky Cheese Man — Seaside Repertory Theatre Each Monday night, the Seaside Amphitheater hosts an evening filled with learning and entertainment with performances by the magical theatre. FREE. Seaside Repertory Theatre, 216 Quincy Circle, Seaside. 7:30 p.m.

Tuesdays through Oct. 30

Bands on the Beach Enjoy music from local musicians while taking a dip at Pensacola Beach during the Gulfside Pavilion Concert Series. FREE. Casino Beach Boulevard, Pensacola. 7–9 p.m. (850) 932-2257, Pirates of all ages love the pageantry, nostalgia and fun of Billy Bowlegs.

Beyond the Beaches Calendar Show Admire unique artwork exhibits at the Arts and Design Society (ADSO) Arts Center. The best works will be featured on the ADSO annual calendar. FREE. Arts and Design Society Arts Center, 17 First St., Fort Walton Beach. Gallery hours: Tues–Fri Noon–4 p.m. and Sat 1–4 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

Mini Gras and Boomin’ Tuesdays Join the fun and merriment at the Village with special kids activities sprawled around the plaza. At 9:15 p.m. both children and adults can enjoy a special treat, as colorful fireworks light up the sky. Mini Gras activities are FREE; $10 wristband for inflatables. The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Events Plaza, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy West, Miramar Beach. 7–10 p.m. (850) 267-8186,

Tuesdays, June 27–July 1

Clay Hand Building for Children The Arts and Design Society (ADSO) Arts Center invites children ages 7–14 to create hand-made pottery using coils, pinch and slab techniques with Marcy Eady. Supplies are included and all pottery will be glazed and ready for pickup a week later. $50 members, $60 non-members. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St., Fort Walton Beach. 4-5:45 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

Wednesdays May 25–Aug. 10

Destin Commons Open Studio Bring the kids out on Wednesdays to get creative and experience something new and exciting with a variety of art media. This event is for children ages 5–12. $20. Destin Commons Studio near Belk, 4300 Legendary Dr., Destin. 2–3 p.m. (850) 424-5058. Register online at

+ events

56th Annual Billy Bowlegs Festival June 2, 3, 4 and 6 Ahoy! Channel Capt. Jack

Sparrow or your other favorite buccaneer at the best pirate festival in the Southeast. Watch the drama as Captain Billy Bowlegs and his pirate crew make landfall at Brooks Landing to battle Fort Walton’s armed forces for control of the city. The excitement continues with an oldfashioned block party; a festival of food, music and pirate paraphernalia vendors; pirate re-enactments; a torchlight parade and a fantastic fireworks display above the sound. Admission is free. The festivities will take place at Fort Walton Landing in downtown Fort Walton Beach. For more information, call (850) 244-8191 or visit June–July 2011


thecalendar Wednesdays, June 1–Oct. 26

Wednesday Night Concert Series Satisfy your musical taste buds with a monthlong series of alluring sounds from some of the region’s most talented musicians. FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Events Plaza, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy West, Miramar Beach. 7–9 p.m. (850) 267-8186,

Thursdays through June 23

Concerts in the Park Join the 15th annual Concerts in the Park music extravaganza brought to you by the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. Enjoy a wide array of music ranging from R&B to golden oldies. Bring a chair and picnic or purchase dinner on site from Carrabba’s Italian Grill. $5 adults, children (12 and under) FREE. Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village, 4323 Commons Drive West, Destin. 7 p.m. (850) 650-2226,

Thursdays through Aug. 25

Evenings in Olde Seville Square Get ready for Downtown Pensacola’s summer concert series. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy musical styles ranging from big band and jazz to Broadway and modern dance. FREE. 381 E. Government St. Pensacola. 7–9:30 p.m. (850) 438-6505,

+ events

Alys Beach Digital Graffiti Arts Festival June 11 Nearly 300 digital artists from 18 countries will illuminate the pristine white buildings of Alys Beach with an array of colorful projections at this mesmerizing outdoor event. Artists combine design, animation and projection technologies to bring animated images to life. Artists will compete for more than $10,000 in cash prizes. Advance tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for children, and $35 adults and $10 for children the day of the event. The show takes place from 8:30 p.m. to midnight. For more information, contact (866) 481-8390 or visit (850) 424-0600,

Mark J. Katzenstein, M.D. FACC, FSCAI

Michael L. Yandel, M.D. FACC, FSCAI

Joseph A. Pedone, M.D. FACC, FACP, FSCAI

Juan Carlos Zarate, M.D. FACC, FSCAI

Marcello A. Borzatta, M.D. 129 E. Redstone Ave., Suite A Crestview, FL 32539 850-682-7212 1032 Mar-Walt Dr., #110 Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32547 850-862-1753 552 Twin Cities Blvd., Suite A Niceville, FL 32578 850-279-4426

Quality Heart Care Since 1991 46 June–July 2011

Photo courtesy Alys Beach



Best Women’s Clothing June–July 2011


Coastal Cuisine with a New Orleans Flair

The Village of Baytowne Wharf™ AWARD OF EXCELLENCE Wine Spectator BEST OF THE EMERALD COAST Emerald Coast Magazine RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR NWFL Daily News

48 June–July 2011



Best French Restaurant

Thursdays, June 2–30 and July 7–28

Sand Sculpting with Sand Odyssey Learn new and exciting sand sculpting techniques each Thursday with sand master Mark Flynn of Sand Odyssey. Pick up a wristband from Seaside Beach prior to the event; space is limited. FREE. Seaside Beach.1–3 p.m.

Thursdays, June 2–Aug. 11

Sunset Cinema Make it a movie night for the whole family and enjoy some of your favorite movies under the stars. Movies include: “Matilda,” “Megamind” and “Despicable Me.” FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin Events Plaza, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy West, Miramar Beach. 8 p.m. (850) 267-8186,

Fridays throughout the year

The Downtown Art Walk Make a date on the third Friday of the month to stroll Fort Walton Beach’s historic district and visit with merchants from participating shops and restaurants while enjoying art demonstrations, live music, complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvres at many locations as well as special discounts. FREE. Downtown Fort Walton Beach. 5:30–8:30 p.m. For more information, contact Tara Wesley at (850) 226-7763.

Fridays, June 3–24 and July 1–29

Central Square Cinema Grab a blanket and head over to the Seaside Amphitheater for movies under the stars featuring some of your favorite classics and blockbuster series. FREE. Seaside Amphitheater, Central Square, Seaside. 8 p.m.

Saturdays, June 4–July 30

Rock the Docks at HarborWalk Village Dance the night away at the Rock the Docks Harbor music fest, where local groups perform live every Saturday night. FREE. 7–9 p.m. HarborWalk Village, 10 Harbor Blvd., Destin. (850) 424-0600,

Through July 10

Designer Showhouse for the Arts Come and see the results after a dozen designers utilize their unique talents to transform beautiful homes into stunning showhouses. All proceeds go to the Educational Giving Program of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County. $20 adults, $10 children (13 and under). Noon–5 p.m. For home locations, call (850) 622-5970.

June 1–July 31

Stories by the Sea Bring the kids to experience storytelling in a whole new way, as the Seaside Repertory Theatre presents one-of-a-kind storytelling for children of all ages. FREE. Gateway Lyceum Arch in Central Square. Mon–Fri, 4 p.m. (850) 231-0733,

June 2–10

Fiesta Days Celebration Come celebrate the founding of Pensacola, followed by three exciting events: the boat parade, street parade and sand-sculpting contest.

60 Years Experience | (850) 863-4335

New Location: 420 Eglin Pkwy., Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 (across from Goofy Golf)


Santa Rosa Beach • Seaside • Destin • Navarre • Niceville • North & South Crestview • Florosa Defuniak • Tiger Point • Gulf Breeze • Baker • Fort Walton Beach • Sandestin • Miramar Beach June–July 2011



2011 Creative Ambitions Night of Fashion April 9, 2011. Forget the Avenue. High fashion hit Grand Boulevard with Creative Ambitions Night of Fashion. The innovative creations of Jeremy Pinne, Amanda Jovanic, Caroline Smith and Anna Maria Garza rocked the runway. The eclectic collections inspired by the ’50s and ’60s, punk rock and even Japanese culture were fetching to all the fashionistas in the glitzy crowd. All proceeds benefited Children in Crisis. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram

50 June–July 2011

thecalendar FREE. For a schedule call, (850) 433-6512 or visit

June 3

Beyond the Beaches Opening Reception Here’s your chance to meet and greet talented artists, while viewing an assortment of spectacular art. FREE. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St., Fort Walton Beach. 7 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

June 4

Bravo Amici Dinner Join Sinfonia Gulf Coast Bravo for an amazing evening filled with a selection of tasty Italian entrées. $50 includes food and wine. Carrabba’s Italian Grill at Silver Sands Factory Stores, 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Destin. 6 p.m. (850) 269-7129,

father-son weekend filled food, fun fishing and more. FREE. 10653 Gulf Beach Hwy., Pensacola. $35 adults, kids (12 and under) FREE. (850) 607-7569,

June 20–23 and June 27–30

Green Kids in a Colorful World! Summer Camp Tons of fun this summer at one of Destin’s only kid’s summer camps. Pack a peanut-free snack and a drink for your child to enjoy mid-morning. $85, ages 3–5, June 27–30, 9 a.m.–noon. $125; ages 5–12, June 20–23, 9 a.m.–noon. Destin Commons Studio near Belk, 4300 Legendary Dr., Destin. (850) 424-5058. Register online at

June 22

Art Center Luncheon Enjoy a luncheon and a brief presentation of eye-catching artwork. $12. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St., Fort Walton Beach. 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

June 23, July 14

YOLO Board 2011 Stand Up Paddle Series Water lovers compete in stand up paddle races. FREE. WaterColor Boathouse on Western Lake on 30A. Women’s beginner level 5:30 p.m.; men’s beginner level 6 p.m.; men’s next level 6:30 p.m. (850) 622-5760,


June 9–14 and June 10–15

Surf’s Up! Aloha, li’l dudes and dudettes. Join Abrakadoodle for six weeks of radical, “art”rageous fun. Learn about Ali Mabuha’s fish paintings, study hermit crabs with Eric Carle and “travel” to Hawaii. $80. Destin Commons Studio near Belk, 4300 Legendary Dr., Destin. Ages 3–5, June 9–14 from 2–3 p.m.; ages 2–4, June 10–July 15 from 10–11 a.m. (850) 424-5058. Register at

June 10–Aug. 28

Sounds of Summer Get your dancing shoes ready for the summerlong concert series on the beach. Performances will take place three nights a week at the Quiet Water Shell on the boardwalk. FREE. Boardwalk Amphitheatre, Pensacola Beach. 6-8 p.m. (850) 932-1500,


June 13–17

Kids Fine Art Camp for Ages Allow your kids to utilize their creativity this summer at art camp. Camp activities include drawing, painting, clay and printmaking. $60 per child. Class times: ages 6–8 (9:30–11:30 a.m.), ages 9–13 (1–3 p.m.) Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St., Fort Walton Beach. (850) 244-1271,

June 17

Making It: The Artist’s Journey Rosemary Beach Foundation hosts a contemporary artist talk with Allison Wickey, Beaches of South Walton’s 2011 Artist of the Year, Stefan Daiberl and Shantell Martin. Join us for an evening of conversational interviews and art display. The featured local artists will share sources of inspiration and approaches to their creative process. $10. Rosemary Beach Town Hall, 48 S. Barrett Square. 7:30 pm (850) 231-7382,

June 18–19



Annual Bill Hargreaves Fishing Rodeo Make this Father’s Day one to remember by attending Bill Hargreaves Fishing Rodeo. Enjoy a June–July 2011



Otmar Yakaboski and Elisa Smith

David Mitchell, Kay Phelan, Brenda Mitchell, Barry Wiginton and Tiffany Mitchell

Emerald Coast Cattle Barons’ Ball

Kevin and Marianne Helmich

Ray and Martha Jones

March 19, 2011. The Linkside Center at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort was transformed into the Old Wild West with more than 400 guests, decked out in Western attire, supping on tasty vittles from some of the area’s leading restaurants, chefs and caterers. Guests enjoyed a silent auction, gaming and two-stepping to the sounds of The Modern Eldorados. The event raised a record $128,500 for the American Cancer Society. Photos by Mike Cage and Zandra Wolfgram

The Princess and Pirate Ball March 12, 2011. Fierce pirates and tiara-topped princesses held court at this costume ball held at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort’s Linkside Center. There were white carriages, costume parades, contests, dance demonstrations and a menu including every kid’s favorite entrée — burgers and fries. Proceeds for this inaugural event benefit Shelter House. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram Mike and CJ Hagg Abby Diekman, Christy Willingham, Kacy McMahan, Corey Barber, Erin Campbell, Audrey Diekman

Caroline Carter, Bella Jaehn, Bella Bryant, Ora Wolfgram, Taylor Irwin

Roberta Holloway, Karen Lauer, Wendy Clines, Cindy Launch, Erin Campbell, Michelle Sperzel 52 June–July 2011

thecalendar June 27–July 1

Missoula Children’s Theatre The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation presents “Robin Hood.” Open auditions begin June 27 at 10 a.m. $65 for children grades 1–12. Village Baptist Church, 101 Matthew Blvd. Destin. (850) 650-2226,

June 29–July 30

‘Inspired by Georgia O’Keefe’ Art Exhibit Come witness the Georgia O’Keefe-inspired art exhibits as artists re-create some of her greatest works. Join in an opening night reception on July 15 at 7 p.m. FREE. Arts and Design Society Arts Center, 17 First St., Fort Walton Beach. Gallery hours: Tues–Fri noon 4 p.m., Sat 1–4 p.m. (850) 244-1271,

July 1–4

Red, White and Blue Celebration on the Harbor Gather with family and friends at Red, White and Blue, a celebration that honors local heroes, and offers something for everyone: a World War II flyover, fireworks and kids arts and crafts. FREE. HarborWalk Village, 10 Harbor Blvd., Destin. 6 p.m. (850) 337-8250,

July 2–3

July Fourth Extravaganza on the Harbor Experience the best festivities the harbor has to offer this Fourth of July. Enjoy live entertainment and an evening filled with fireworks. Additional activities include arts, crafts and face painting for children. FREE. HarborWalk Village, 10 Harbor Blvd, Destin. 2–9 p.m. (850) 242-0600,

July 2–4

Red, White & Baytowne Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort’s annual Fourth of July weekend extravaganza features fun in the sun, fireworks, balloon sculpting and an evening filled with live music. Saturday, kids activities are from 6–10 p.m. Live music from 7–9 p.m. Saturday and Monday. See the fireworks show Monday at 9:15 p.m. FREE. The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy W., Miramar Beach. (850) 267-8000,

July 4

Fourth of July Celebration Prepare for the Gulf Coast’s biggest patriotic event. The Fourth of July celebration consists of fireworks and a range of displays. FREE. Perdido Key and Pensacola Beach. (850) 434-1234,

July 4

Ronald McDonald Firecracker 5K Go out with a bang this Independence Day and walk, run or race by wheelchair in support of the Ronald McDonald Charity House. The first 500 registrants will receive a tote bag and a tank top. Complimentary food and drink will June–July 2011


socialstudies EC Magazine Reveal Ceremony April 8, 2011. Fans and friends gathered at Mitchell’s Fish Market to celebrate EC Magazine’s fresh, new look at a reveal ceremony. Photos by Beth Nabi, Otmar Yakaboski and Zandra Wolfgram

Beth Nabi, Zandra Wolfgram, Allision Wickey

Demetrius Fuller, Allison Wickey and Anne Hunter Jacqueline Ward and Zandra Wolfgram

Thomas Monigan and Zandra Wolfgram

Valeria Lento and Kay Phelan

Recycle Art Exhibit Opening by the Arts & Design Society January 7, 2011. The return of the Recycle art exhibit at the Art Center in Fort Walton Beach featured inventive works made from recycled materials. Photos by Zandra Wolfgram First place winner Kathryn Tappy Henson with “Imagine” Nance’ Hudson with “Photos in Bloom”

54 June–July 2011

Carol Prellberg with “Navaho Spirit”

thecalendar be available for each participant. $20 through June 10, $25 June 11–July 1, and $30 on day of race. Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St., Pensacola. 7:30 a.m. (850) 477-2273,

July 4

Stars & Stripes at Seaside: A July 4th Celebration Travel through Seaside for a patriotic celebration. Start the day off with the annual July 4th parade in Seagrove Plaza and end it with the spectacular fireworks finale over the lovely town of Seaside. A sneak peek fireworks show will take place Sunday at Seaside beach. FREE. Seaside Amphitheater. 8 a.m. parade; 7 p.m. music; 9 p.m. fireworks.

July 4–9

Red, White and Blues Week This jam-packed weeklong celebration kicks off with the Pensacola Beach Air Show and ends with the Blue Angels Air Show. The event consists of civilian and military aircraft demonstrations and a fireworks extravaganza. FREE. Pensacola Beach. (850) 932-1500,

July 11–15

Kamp Kellywamba Bring the kids out to experience a week filled with art, dance, music and cooking at Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s art camp. Camp is for children grades first through eighth. $100 per child. Destin Middle School, 4608 Legendary Marina Drive, Destin. 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. (850) 650-2226,

July 11–14 and July 18–21

Surf’s Up! Summer Camp Dudes and dudettes of all ages will enjoy a radical time in this four-day artrageously spectacular summer camp. Please pack a peanut-free snack and a drink for your child to enjoy mid-morning. A minimum of eight children are required to hold this class. $85, ages 3–5, July 11–14 from 9–11 a.m.; $125, ages 5–12, July 18–21 from 9–11 a.m. Destin Commons Studio near Belk, 4300 Legendary Dr., Destin. (850) 424-5058. Register online at

July 15

Gallery Night Enjoy an evening of spectacular music, arts and culture with venues of fine art from local artists. FREE. Downtown Pensacola. 5–9 p.m. (850) 434-5371,

July 18–21

Acrylics for Children Don’t miss this opportunity for your youngsters to learn basic acrylic painting techniques with local artist Pat Roberts. $80 with supplies included. Arts and Design Society Art Center, 17 First St., Fort Walton Beach. 9:30–11:30 a.m. (850) 244-1271, ec

Beautiful Lights



Lighting & Design Consultation | Residential & Commercial Lighting | Lighting to meet any budget

Shops of Destiny | Destin, FL | 36236 Emerald Coast Pkwy, Suite C2 | (850) 650-9417 June–July 2011


56 June–July 2011 June–July 2011


Shopping Resale Boutiques and Consignment Shops is Fashionable, Affordable and Fun

By Zandra Wolfgram


Vintage Just as refreshing as

the blue raspberry snow cones at Frost Bites is this vintage 1970s polka dot and striped belted halter dress in sear sucker cotton, $69; round-heeled leather embellished sandals with gold filigree dangles circa 1970s, $22; yellow green cat-eye sunglasses circa 1950s, $45; vinyl case in lime, $28; basket weave purse with leather handles, circa 1960s, $39; gold filigree and white bobble bracelet, circa, 1950s, $29. Fashions by Shangri-La Vintage Boutique. Hair & makeup Barbie Ortiz, Avantgarde AVEDA Salon.

Photography Scott Holstein Model Amanda Fedrich Creative direction Beth Nabi styling Zandra Wolfgram Accommodations Inn by the Sea by Vera Bradley, Seaside, provided by Cottage Rental Agency, Seaside Thanks to Mo at Bud & Alley’s, Tom at Central Records, Chris at Crush and Mike at Frost Bites Special thanks to Deke Lee at Avantgarde AVEDA Salon Very special thanks to Jon Ervin, Amy Coble, Pam Avera, Pamela Thompson and The Town of Seaside as it celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2011


hank goodness for the woman’s curse,” jokes Fort Walton Beach shop owner Tara Wesley, who says her resale business concept called The Closet Swap hinges on a woman’s prerogative to buy clothing, shoes and accessories thinking she’ll wear them when, in fact, many never do.

Over her lifetime, according to the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail newspaper, a woman spends 25,184 hours and 53 minutes shopping — approximately three years. While the American Research Group says resale shoppers don’t fit into any particular demographic profile type, it reports that 33 percent of all Americans will shop at a “second hand” store in any given year. The resale industry claims to be one of the fastest growing retail segments. NARTS, the National Association of Resale Professionals, reports a 7 percent annual growth in new stores over the past two years, bringing to 300,000 the number of resale consignment and thrift shops across the U.S. that are ringing up to a multi-billion dollar industry. With women making 85 percent of all annual brand purchases — equating to $5 trillion dollars or half the U.S. GDP (gross domestic product) — resale shop owners may be happily thinking, “We may need a bigger bag.” And the good news for shoppers? Shopping reportedly burns 48,000 calories a year, so at least you are assured to look fetching in all of your nearly new fab finds. NARTS claims the resale industry is one of the few “recession proof” segments of retailing. In a 2010 membership survey, the association reported a 12.7 percent growth spurt in resale sales for 2009, while the U.S. Department of Commerce showed a downward trend in retail sales of 7.3 percent. Yet, ironically, despite the drop in sales, the retail prices passed on to consumers remain as stiff as a brand new Ralph Lauren button down. According to Marsha Chouinard, director of retail for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort for the past 23 years, the retail markup on women’s apparel can be 56 percent or more. “Brands that are hot can ask even more because they are in demand,” she says, adding that buyers will pay even higher markups for off-brand styles. “Right now I am seeing a lot of knockoff lines at market that have the look of a trendy shop such as Forever 21 for cheap prices. They are known as ‘ready ships’ that you can order today and get next week, which retailers can mark up three times as much as what they pay for them.” Shoppers don’t want to burn through their hard earned cash or look frumpy even if the economy is in a slump. So, many savvy fashionistas along the Emerald Coast look to resale and consignment boutiques to line their closet with fashion forward styles — but without the designer price tags. Consignment shops operate under a sales system in which the consigner gets paid an agreed upon percentage of the item’s price when the store makes a sale. Resale shops generally pay consigning clients up front in cash or in store credit.

60 June–July 2011

Ava’s Attic

12889 Emerald Coast Pkwy., Miramar Beach (850) 424-6767 Shop here for women’s apparel sizes 0 to 20, shoes, purses, jewelry and children’s apparel. How it works: Any time during store hours, bring in freshly laundered, pressed clothes on hangers. Style of clothing and shoes must be within the last two years. Consignment period is for 60 days. Unsold items available for 70 days are sold as clearance or donated to charity (you can pick up a tax receipt). The deal is you receive 40 percent of the selling price when an item sells within 60 days. Ava’s Attic cuts checks once a month to consigners for balances over $10. Pick up check or use balance toward purchases. Have check with a balance of $20 or more mailed to you for $2 fee. Hot sellers are designer tops and women’s rings. Specialties here are designer labels and furs. One cool feature is the complimentary pickup service for clients with several items to consign.

Working Girl The Grammy goes to this Cynthia Steffe three-quarter sleeved citron tweed suit with embellished ribbon piping and beaded closure, $69 (retail $490); AR racer back tank, $24 (retail $69); Steve Madden satin lace up pumps, $24 (retail $89); Isabella Fiore hobo handbag in gold leather, $219 (retail $495); costume pearl necklace, $14 (retail $60); etched silver statement ring, $8 (retail $26). Fashions by Ava’s Attic Consignment Boutique. Hair & makeup by Barbie Ortiz, Avantgarde AVEDA Salon. June–July 2011


All consignment, resale shops sell nearly new items at a discount that ranges from 30 percent to 75 percent below the retail cost. And with price tags still hanging from some merchandise, the buyer can snag a brand new item at a huge savings. The stores are obviously a hit with local bargain hunters, as local resale and consignment shops often turn over their inventory in a matter of weeks, if not days. Whether you are going for a particular look, or simply find the savings too attractive to pass up, there are plenty of fashionable options available in the area to suit any budget, taste and style.

IT’S HIP TO BE GREEN With a degree in sociology, easygoing Tara Wesley, 37, says she had no clue about what she wanted to do for a living when she graduated Florida State University. But she was certain about one thing: “I couldn’t sit still long enough to have a desk job, so I took those out of the equation and came up with service and real estate.” Her first jobs included working as a makeup artist and in a hair salon. Once children came along, she wanted to be certain her time away from them was spent on something she absolutely loved. She set up the first iteration of The Closet Swap with a college friend in Destin six years ago. In 2009 she decided to go solo and relocated her store to downtown Fort Walton Beach, where she also makes her home with her husband and two kids. She says it was a great business decision. “I couldn’t imagine my store anywhere else. The sense of community is fantastic. We’re a group of merchants that really care about what we do,” she says. One thing Wesley cares deeply about is operating a “green” store. “When I opened my store, I drove my contractors nutty because I insisted everything in the store was going to be recycled, repurposed or organic,” she says. She pillaged flea markets, salvage yards and Habitat for Humanity for materials for the historic 1933 space. She left all of the beams exposed and dropped the old cast iron sprinkler system down, converting the pipes into clothing racks. “I recycle and compost. I try to make my footprint extremely small,” she says. “I think now more than ever it’s trendy to do that. We’re a resale shop, so it makes sense.” Wesley’s shop embellishes the typical shopping experience. In addition to offering a kids’ playroom and hosting style parties, where she makes experts available to

62 June–July 2011

help her customers with everything from fashion advice to hair trends, she contends she has the only shop along the Emerald Coast that pays cash “on the spot” to customers who bring in items for sale. What’s “hot” in this Closet? Wesley says designer denim is her shop’s number one item and she devotes two large racks to it. As for fashion trends, Wesley says dresses are a sure bet. “We sell a lot of cute, comfy casual dresses paired with flip flops or booties. Dresses that are versatile and comfortable that don’t have a specific season are popular.”


Beach Casual Make a shapely statement as impressive as

the Coleman pavilion in Michael Kors’ maxi dress in a brown/tan geometric print, $69 (retail $150); Seale beach hat, $12 (retail $25); orange beaded chandelier earrings, $12 (retail $28); gold-plated bangle bracelets, $10 (retail $38); Chico’s embellished gold plated bracelet, $12 (retail $38); ruffled flats by Dusica Dusica, $59 (retail $180). Fashions by Ava’s Attic Consignment Boutique Hair & makeup by Barbie Ortiz, Avantgarde AVEDA Salon.

With more than 1,000 consigners bringing in more than 400 designer apparel pieces, shoes, bags and accessories each week, Ava’s Attic is a resale treasure trove. Owned and operated by 26-year-old Courtney Hood, the Miramar Beach shop named for Hood’s 3-year-old daughter has been in full swing since 2009. Relatively new to the consignment scene, Hood is proud her store earned the “Best Of the Emerald Coast” award in its second year of operation. Ava’s is truly a “fashionable” family affair. Hood’s mother, Susan Henry, manages a consignment furniture store under the same name that connects to Hood’s shop. They are hoping the concept of “clustering” like shops will attract even more shoppers than having separate locations. It appears to be working for Peggy Schweppe, a customer from Freeport. She bought a “one-of-a-kind picture of a chicken for her bathroom” from Ava’s Attic furniture store two months ago and though she doesn’t usually buy resale apparel, on this trip she was browsing the racks to see Continues on Page 66 June–July 2011


Formal Are you game for this

bead encrusted Lillie Rubin gown in shimmering taupe? $999 (retail $2,300); gold plated cocktail ring with an amber stone, $10 (retail $34). Fashions by Ava’s Attic Consignment Boutique. Hair & makeup by Sarah Barto, Avantgarde AVEDA Salon.

The Closet Swap

222-A Miracle Strip Pkwy., Fort Walton Beach (850) 226-7763 The vibe of this shop is artsy and urban. How it works: On Tuesdays and Thursdays the shop accepts freshly laundered apparel in perfect condition that is one to two years old, designer shoes and jewelry. The deal is for your accepted items, you can choose cash on the spot or a store credit valued at one-and-a-half times the value of cash. Hot sellers are designer denim, dresses, belts, skirts and shoes. One cool feature is the kids’ playroom where children can hang out while mom shops, sipping a freshly brewed coffee.

Date Night Heat up “date night” in

this White House Black Market boat neck halter polyester/spandex dress, $28 (retail $148); Colin Stuart rhinestone sandals, $25 (retail $98); crimson clutch with floral and bead blossom embellishment designed by Michelle Schiess for the J & Em Clutch Co., $95; ice pink rhinestone and drop pearl chandelier earrings, $12 (retail $50); rhinestone encrusted petal pink rose statement ring, $12 (retail $26). Fashions by The Closet Swap, Inc. Hair & makeup by Sarah Barto, Avantgarde AVEDA Salon. June–July 2011


Continued From Page 63


124 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE, Fort Walton Beach (850) 862-4588 The vibe of this shop is laid back, funky and fun. The owners are “hippies at heart and believe in peace, love, understanding and recycling.” Shop here for quality, unique vintage pieces for women and men, funky furniture and artwork by local artists. The deal is consigners receive 60 percent commission. Hot sellers include the ’50s pin-up look. A cool feature is donations made in the name of charities get 70 percent commission.

66 June–July 2011

what they had. Though she didn’t find anything on this trip, she said her passion for “vintage jewelry bracelets” will likely bring her back again. For Hood, who earned an apparel merchandising degree from the University of Auburn in 2006, trying on the role of shop owner was as comfortable as some of the Juicy Couture tracksuits she sells. “I’ve always wanted to run a retail store,” she says. “My mother and I started with the furniture and thought there was a need with the clothing. It worked out perfectly. I love it.” And it shows. Hood’s shop became so popular with locals and visitors that they were able to add two full-time employees and expand the store to include the retail space next store, doubling their floor space. For many retailers, the economy has demanded belt tightening, but not for this chic shop. “I think this is a good business for a slow economy. We have low overhead costs, so it has not had a negative effect on us,” Hood confides. One of the benefits of being in the resale business is the tight-knit community. Hood knows many of the other shop owners and says they are friendly with one another. “It’s like antiquing when people go into a consignment shop. If you don’t have something no one is reluctant to offer a referral. We all want the customer to be happy,” she says. Tracey Sharp, a 44-year-old from Panama City Beach certainly is. She and her husband heard about the shop from a friend and decided to stop and check it out on their way to a Bluegrass concert

in Crestview. Though she only began shopping resale a few months ago, she doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. “I used to be a Caché-White-HouseBlack-Market-kind-of-girl, but now I am trying to watch what I spend. I still get great styles, but at much better prices,” she says as she takes a strapless sundress and two tops into the changing room. Sharp spent $100 on her last resale purchase and got three pair of jeans and three tops. “I used to spend that on just one pair of jeans.”

WEARABLE ART Denise Embler, 51, and Kay Filson, 48, call themselves “vintage soul sisters.” The two friends, who are self-proclaimed “hippies at heart,” have owned and operated Shangri-La, a vintage boutique in downtown Fort Walton Beach for three years. Like many of the one-of-a-kind frocks she sells, Embler’s passion for vintage dates way back. After shopping the hip, funky shops in Philadelphia with her mother in 1976, Embler was enthralled. “The more I looked at the quality of the fabric, the attention to details and the uniqueness of the piece, I was hooked!” she says. Filson credits her grandmother’s dress-up closet as the place where she “learned to appreciate vintage as a serious art form.” The 3,000-square-foot shop, which the pair says customers describe as “cool, beautiful and unique,” is home to more than 1,000 vintage pieces that date back to the 1920s. Unlike “big city” vintage boutiques, prices are kept affordable, so they are accessible to everyone. Shangri-La attracts a variety of shoppers, from those looking for a costume rental to the “collector” who considers vintage “wearable art” and displays framed vintage wear in their homes. Still, Embler realizes vintage isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. “Not everyone is into vintage, which is OK because authentic vintage pieces are one-of-a-kind and when it’s gone, it’s gone,” she laments. Crazy for couture and bold prints, Filson is always on the lookout for great finds. “Wherever we travel, we are on the hunt,” she says. The shopping duo has been collecting for years and considers a great find to be a successful “rescue.” For many, much of the attraction of ShangriLa is novelty. Customers of this boutique can find quality, unique pieces that are no longer produced. “Our motto is One of a Kind: Just Like You,” Embler says. In addition to vintage clothes, the shop sells funky, mod furniture and local art. “We are a candy store for the creative person who can look at a piece and see the possibilities,” says Embler. For these hippie chicks, being “green” by operating a resale shop is a natural lifestyle. “You can’t get any greener than vintage, except naked,” she jokes. ec

Girls’ Night Outshine the

setting sun in this Zoa-New York ruffled racer back blouse in taupe sateen, $25 (retail $86); 7 For All Mankind flared denim jeans, $60 (retail $174); red leather Bebe strappy sandals, $25 (retail $68); etched pewter and glass dangle earrings, $10 (retail $26); gold elastic rhinestone statement ring, $8 (retail $17.50). Fashions by The Closet Swap, Inc. Hair & makeup by Sarah Barto, Avantgarde AVEDA Salon. June–July 2011


We offer a peek at a subject that makes a lot of people uncomfortable — their salary. The secretive subject of salaries is a no-no at dinner parties or in casual conversations. For some professions it is a firing offense. We asked friends, acquaintances, EC readers and pretty much anyone who was willing to talk to us, “How much do you make?” To our relief, many of them actually responded.

earning power

By Wendy O. Dixon

long distance trip. I’ve just come back from Austin where I was attending an archaeology conference.

Education: Florida State University, bachelor’s and master’s in anthropology with a specialty in archaeology; Ph.D. in same field from Washington State University.

What do you like most about your job? That’s easy. I like having ideas and seeing things grow. I’m a builder by nature. I love seeing the new dormitory go up and seeing students in there. I love the marketing and I love the athletics, and seeing the growing of the brick and mortar. Growth and development.

First job: It was in a dime store in Panama City. I was 14 and made 51 and a half cents an hour. I don’t know why we got paid half-pennies. I didn’t much like the work but I loved every penny. Current job: There are two ways to describe this job. The mayor of a small city and the CEO of a large corporation. I’m responsible for everything at the end of the day. I have other people that really run the institution who have very specific areas they take care of. My daily routine is to get up at 5:30 a.m., first meeting starts at 7:30 a.m. and three nights at work until 7 p.m., or have an event to go to like a basketball game. Every month I take one 68 June–July 2011

What do you like least about your job? The demanding schedule. I hadn’t gotten up at 5:30 a.m. in a long time before this job. I’m almost used to the back-to-back meetings now. Worst job ever: My most difficult job was an archeological project for the TennesseeTombigbee Waterway with the University of West Florida. It was either stinking hot or very cold. I knew if I didn’t succeed at that project it would ruin my career. But I finished it and it made my reputation as a

finisher. Now people know I’ll die trying and think of 14 ways to get it done. Dream job: This one, but I never dreamed I’d be doing this. It’s out of the blue and it’s the biggest compliment of my life. Heidi Jo Medina, 23 Private nanny, $25,000 (based on $12 hourly wage) Education: I have my general associate degree and am currently obtaining my bachelor’s in elementary education. I plan on graduating in spring 2012. First job: I was a waitress at Okki, a hibachi/sushi bar in Pace, Fla., for my first job. I loved that job. I think everyone should be a server at some point. It really shows you how you should treat servers and tip. Current job: During the day I straighten up and organize the house and keep things semi-together. With four kids it can be hard for one person to keep it all together,

Photo courtesy Universty of West Florida

Judith A. Bense, 66 President of the University of West Florida, $275,000


Judith A. Bense, 66, president of the University of West Florida June–July 2011



Heidi Jo Medina, 23, private nanny so I help the mom by doing dishes, laundry, folding and putting away clothes, sweeping, wiping down counter tops and tables and putting toys away. I’ll run errands such as grocery shopping, taking the cars to be washed or worked on. I house sit for them when they are away, and I’ve been on vacation with them twice to help out with the children. What do you like most about your job? The girls. I work with four girls: Chloe (8), Sophia (6), Mia (3) and Laila (3). They are such sweet and caring children. I have worked with the family for three years and I feel so close to them. I really do love them and I know it will be a sad day when I have to move on in my career as a teacher. What do you like least about your job? Cranky girls. I’ve experienced several tantrums, fits and fights. It can be a lot to take and sometimes very comical. Worst job ever: I was a hostess at the Fish House. When I worked there it was winter. I was cold and bored most of the time. A lot of older men also awkwardly hit on me. Dream job: I hope to go to graduate school at the University of Florida and get a master’s in art education. My dream job is to be an art teacher. I’ll be able to do and teach what I love and get to work with children.

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Ralph Everage Jr., 47 Assistant fire chief — training and safety, City of Crestview Fire Dept., $59,000 Education: Okaloosa-Walton Jr. College (now Northwest Florida State College), associate in electronics technology; Troy State University, bachelor’s in resource management. First job: When I was 16 I was a part-time grocery store clerk. Current job: I’m responsible for the development and implementation of the fire department’s training program, including monthly and annual training, firefighter certification courses and record keeping. Also, I serve as the fire department safety and infection control officer, ensuring departmental, fire ground and emergency scene safety and providing safety, infection control and accident and injury prevention training. What do you like most about your job? First, helping our citizens in their time of need — serving the public. Secondly, providing training to our firefighters to help increase their knowledge and ensure their safety on the job. What do you like least about your job? Seeing some of the worst times in people’s lives, tragic times.

Photos by Scott Holstein


Ralph Everage Jr., 47, assistant fire chief — training and safety, City of Crestview Fire Dept. June–July 2011


Who Makes What? Emerald Coast Salary Samples Commercial real estate property marketing director $65,000 Freelance writer and publicist $57,756 University professor $102,695 College professor $53,125 University campus librarian $71,412 College campus librarian $51,347 Second grade teacher $50,242 Circuit court judge $145,080 Senior engineer $100,914 Pharmacist $47,448 Janitor $20,601 Local and State Government Officials Mike Anderson, mayor of Fort Walton Beach $5,500 David Cadle, mayor of Crestview $15,000 Randall Wise, mayor of Niceville $0 Sarah Seevers, mayor of Destin $0 C. Harold Carpenter, mayor of DeFuniak Springs $9,000 Rick Scott, governor of Florida $0.01 Jennifer Carroll, lieutenant governor of Florida $124,900 Pam Bondi, attorney general of Florida $129,000


Source: City of Fort Walton Beach, City of Crestview, City of Niceville, City of Destin, City of DeFuniak Springs,

72 June–July 2011

Lisa Gonzalez, 47, registered nurse, Intensive & Progressive Care Units at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast

Worst job ever: I worked in a manufacturing facility at one time. I had to clean part molds using a chemical bath process outside during the winter while wearing a respirator. I did not like that job. Fortunately, it was short-lived.

them, which is where family and spiritual support play a significant role.

Dream job: I’m not really sure. The one I have now is pretty great. Retirement maybe?

Teresa Cline, 50ish Painter, $30,000–$90,000 (it’s feast or famine)

Lisa Gonzalez, 47 Registered nurse, Intensive & Progressive Care Units at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, $52,000 (average salary of nurses at Sacred Heart)

First job: I was a carhop at the A&W Root Beer drive-in in Deadwood, South Dakota.

Education: University of Central Florida, bachelor’s in nursing; Florida International University, master’s in nursing. First Job: My very first job at age 16 was to clean the public parks in New York City. My first job in the medical industry was when I worked my way through nursing school as an EMT and firefighter.

Photo courtesy Teresa Cline

Current Job: A nurse has many roles, from serving as the patient’s primary advocate to being part of a multidisciplinary team that works together to restore the patient’s health. Nurses help facilitate communication, ensure that a patient’s plan of care is followed and embrace quality and safety initiatives. Most importantly, I believe in healing hands and the power of touch, which is a unique part of the nurse’s role. What do you like most about your job? I love seeing the sigh of relief on a patient’s face when we explain that we are going to be able to treat them. It’s truly rewarding to know that you can make a difference in someone’s life. What do you like least about your job? The sadness in a patient’s eyes when we explain that there is nothing else we can do to help heal

Dream job: To be a nurse practitioner in a geriatric center. I have been blessed with a passion to help the elderly.

Current job: I do it all — I’m the web designer, administrator, bookkeeper, artist handler/ slave driver, artist-painter/ slave, dog walker, parrot psychologist, critter maintenance supervisor (poop picker-upper for three dogs, one cat and a parrot), gallery owner, advertising-marketing specialist, graphic designer and studio/house maid. What do you like most about your job? Getting paid to daydream and playing with paint. And I really love doing dog portraits.

$30,000 to $90,000

Teresa Cline, 50ish, painter

Allan “Al” Stearns, 64, director of membership, Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce


What do you like least about your job? Bookkeeping Worst job ever: Waitress Dream job: The one I live every day for the last 30 years. Allan “Al” Stearns, 64 Director of membership, the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, $35,000 Education: University of New Hampshire, bachelor’s in history; University of Nebraska, master’s in urban studies; Troy University, master’s in public administration. Current job: I seek businesses and individuals who desire to join the chamber of commerce, and I assist them through the process. I am also heavily involved in the community

Photos by Jacqueline Ward (Gonzalez) and Scott Holstein (Stearns) June–July 2011



Dr. Ty Julian Handy, 48, president of Northwest Florida State College through government, social and religious activities. At the chamber I am staff leader of several active committees and I am the driver of the chamber fire truck. What do you like most about your job? I like every aspect of my job because it changes every day. I am able to be out in the community, visiting our members and prospective members every day, and am not tied to a desk or a fixed routine. I particularly like the team that I work with at the chamber. I have been at the chamber for 10 years now and am sort of the historian of what has gone on in the past. What do you like least about your job? It would have to be dealing with negative people. Fortunately they are rare. I try to end every communication with a positive affirmation that I cull from books and other publications. I sometimes make them up. If I can’t be positive, how can I expect others around me to be? Worst job ever: I had several bad jobs, but probably the worst job was serving as a sales rep for a chemical company, selling cleaning products and equipment. 74 June–July 2011

The leading item I sold was an acid based drain cleaner. I demonstrated this product everywhere I went. It involved dissolving a feminine tampon in a glass beaker (imitating a clogged toilet or drain) with my cleaning product. Dream job: I’d love to be a tour guide and a character at a national landmark like Williamsburg or Gettysburg. I love speaking in front of audiences. I think I would enjoy playing the role of a Civil War general. Dr. Ty Julian Handy, 48 President of Northwest Florida State College, $196,000 Education: Western Kentucky University, bachelor’s in finance; Drexel University, MBA; University of Memphis, Ed.D. First job: I was a financial analyst for R.R. Donnelley and Sons Company in Chicago. Current job: As chief executive officer I manage day-to-day operations of the college, including student enrollment, degree programs and classes, the operating budget of the college, the capital budget,

facility growth, human resources, etc. The college has seven physical locations in Okaloosa and Walton counties so I am out and about a bit. I also manage the activities of the NWFSC Foundation, one of the 10 largest two-year college foundations in the country. I report to a volunteer board of eight community members appointed by the governor. What do you like most about your job? Seeing the impact this college has on the lives of students. We exist as a college with a mission to improve lives. I take great pride in being in a key leadership position of an organization that day-in and day-out is focused on student success. What do you like least about your job? I guess I would have to say that sometimes the realization of just how high the community expectations are for this college set in and I feel the stress of knowing that, as the gateway to higher education for Okaloosa and Walton counties, if we fail to meet expectations, we are failing students. So, in a phrase, I guess the aspect I like least about my role is the self-imposed stress that I sometimes wrestle with.


Sarah “Sam” Seevers, 53, Mayor of Destin

Why do this job with no salary? I have lived in this community for more than 30 years, and I could not think of a better place to live and raise my family. I believe if you want your community to be the best it can be then you must be part of the process. I love Destin, the people, the beautiful harbor and beaches, and I am honored to be its mayor.

Tony Manthey, 46, Mortgage Broker Worst job ever: Prior to college I spent a short time as a “lungsucker” in a chicken disassembly plant in Kentucky. I worked in a disassembly line operating a suction gun that I placed up a chicken’s tail end in order to remove the lungs from the poor bird. I was expected to remove the lungs from every third chicken coming down the line and I’m betting the line moved at a pace of about 1,000 birds per minute.


Dream job: I once asked my father many years ago about what age he planned to retire. He said to me, “The key is to find a job you love, do it to the best of your ability, and you will never have to concern yourself with such follies as retirement.” Tony Manthey, 46 Mortgage broker, $250,000 Education: Kennedy Western University, bachelor’s degree in engineering with a minor in finance; Florida State University, MBA. First job: I was an industrial engineer for a military defense contractor called Metric Systems Corporation in Fort Walton Beach. Current job: I am president of Manthey Capital Group. We provide financing sources for both commercial and residential real estate. We also are the consulting representatives for many private investment groups that are purchasing existing commercial real estate from banks, the FDIC and private individuals. What do you like most about your job? I love being able to provide financial solutions for clients going through a difficult time right now and being able to strategically bring a deal together that is a win-win for both parties, as well as the independence that comes from being a business owner. What do you like least about your job? Not having benefits (medical and dental insurance) that would be supplied by working for a corporation. Worst job ever: I worked as an electronic component assembler for very little pay before I obtained my degrees. Dream job: I always wanted to be a jet pilot. ec Photos by Scott Holstein June–July 2011



Local Fashion Show Inspires Trends and Generosity


Saturday, April 9, hundreds gathered at Grand Boulevard in Sandestin to see the 2nd Annual Creative Ambitions Night of Fashion. The evening featured four talented designers as they sent their distinct looks down the 80 foot runway. Music skipped and dress straps snapped backstage, but because of quick thinking professionals, the event was fun, memorable and extremely well executed. At the end of the night, money was raised for a wonderful cause: Children in Crisis, a charity that gives a home and hope to the foster children of our community.


Ramal Productions’ Okeye Mitchell and Jeremy Pinne were inspired to produce the chic fashion show to provide a platform for talent on the Emerald Coast. Mitchell, a local photographer and graphic designer, created an elevated image for the show while fashion designer Pinne coordinated the event.

Pinne’s designs opened the show, as the night’s only men’s wear designer. He began his career designing costumes and garments for private clients but noticed a gap in the local market for high-end men’s fashions. He started his line AVID YMER shortly after last year’s show. Because of the attention from the Night of Fashion, he has been invited to show at Atlanta’s Fashion Week. Next out was fashion newcomer Amanda Jovanic. A native of Australia, Jovanic is a self taught designer. Her clothes in hues of red and black were accented by the models’ avant-garde hair and make-up designs. The night’s third designer Caroline Smith won the fan favorite vote of the night. Her Janie G. Couture designs were inspired by classic styles from the 1950s and 1960s – Audrey Hepburn meets Marilyn Monroe. Smith graduated from Parsons, made famous by the hit TV show Project Runway. She has shown in several other fashion shows, including Jacksonville’s Fashion Week this spring. Designer Anna Maria Garza closed the show with fashions inspired by Native American culture. Garza officially launched her line REHCY VONNE after last year’s show. This show displayed a variety of her fashion designs, including everything from evening gowns to bathing suits and even her jewelry line.

As the evening drew to a close, co-creator Pinne was visibly moved when he expressed his personal connection to the charity. “Children in Crisis is close to my heart because of what they do for kids,” Pinne said, “I grew up in foster care, and I know how important programs like this can be. The skills and attention given to the kids will stay with them forever.”

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Mitchell and Pinne plan to use their current momentum to create a fashion week on the Emerald Coast next year. Several of this year’s sponsors, including headline sponsor Quality Imports Mercedes Benz, have already signed on for the event. Their ultimate goal is to make the Emerald Coast known in the fashion world.

Photography: • Jeff Gammons | Copy: Lauren Von Bergen





Angela Longton (garments by Rehcy Vonne)

Damarice Sims (garments by Avid Ymer)

Vlada Turbina

2011 June–July 2011


Alyona Zheryakova (garments by Janie G. Couture)


It’s time for you to be the judge. You decide who will be “Best of the Emerald Coast 2011.” In exchange for your votes, the hardworking folks at each winning restaurant, store or business get the appreciation and recognition they deserve. An independent firm will identify the top vote-getters in each category. Then, we’ll feature the honorees in the October/November issue of Emerald Coast Magazine. Finally, we’ll celebrate and feature all the winners at the annual “Best of the Emerald Coast” event at Grand Boulevard on Saturday, Oct. 15, a fundraiser for the Junior League of the Emerald Coast. For more information on the event, please call the Junior League of the Emerald Coast at 862-2665.

78 June–July 2011

2011 official best of the emerald coast ballot brought to you by:

THE RULES OK, get your pens ready. But first, please take note of our rules, which are designed to make the contest as fair as possible: • Only ballots printed on original magazine pages will be accepted — no copies (color or black-and-white) or facsimiles of the ballot. • Ballots must have votes in at least 20 categories. • All votes must be for Emerald Coast-area businesses. • Only one ballot per envelope is permitted. • No incentives, prizes, goods or services may be offered in exchange for votes.

• Businesses may not require ballots to be turned into a central location; they must be filled out independently and mailed to address listed below. • All ballots must be mailed directly to the post-office box address below: “Best of the Emerald Coast” PO Box 531 Fort Walton Beach, FL 32549 • Ballots must be postmarked by June 30, 2011. Ballots to be counted under the auspices of Fountain, Schultz, & Associates, L.C. • Obvious attempts at ballot stuffing will be disqualified.


Food & Beverage

Happy Hour:_ __________________________



Bagel Shop:____________________________

Ice Cream Shop:________________________

Bakery:_ ______________________________

Italian:_ _______________________________

BBQ:_ ________________________________

Locally Owned 

Bloody Mary:___________________________

Margarita:_ ____________________________

Breakfast:_ ____________________________


Brunch:_ ______________________________

Mexican/Latin American 
Restaurant:_ ______


Outdoor Bar:___________________________

Buffalo Wings:__________________________

Outdoor Dining:_ _______________________

Cajun:_ _______________________________



Romantic Restaurant:____________________

Chef:_ ________________________________

Sandwich Shop:_ _______________________


Seafood Market:_ _______________________


Seafood Restaurant:_____________________


Service-Food & Beverage:_ _______________

Fine Dining:____________________________

Sports Bar:_ ___________________________

French:_ ______________________________


Gourmet/Food Shop:____________________





Wine List:_ ____________________________ June–July 2011


Service Providers

Rug Retailer:___________________________

AC/Heating Company:___________________

Spa Services:___________________________

Accounting Firm:_ ______________________

Surgery Center:_________________________

Acupuncture Clinic:______________________

Vacation Rental Company/Service:_________


Veterinarian:_ __________________________


Wedding Planner:_______________________

Automobile Dealership:_ _________________

Wedding/Reception Venue:_______________

Boat Sales and Service:_ _________________ Builder/Contractor:______________________


Car Service:____________________________

Antiques Shop:_________________________

Charter Boat/Watersports: _______________

Bath & Body:___________________________

Chiropractic Practice:____________________

Beachwear Retailer:_ ____________________

Cosmetic Surgery Practice:_ ______________

Children’s Clothing Store:_________________

Customer Service:_______________________

Consignment Shop:_ ____________________

Dental Practice:_________________________

Eyewear Store:_ ________________________

Dry Cleaner:_ __________________________

Furniture Store:_________________________


Gift Shop:_ ____________________________

Event Planner:__________________________

Jewelry Store:__________________________

Eye Doctor Practice:_____________________

Locally Owned Retailer:__________________

Flooring (Carpet/Tile):_ __________________

Men’s Apparel:__________________________


Sporting Goods Store:_ __________________

Gym/Health Club:_______________________

Toy Store:_ ____________________________

Hair Salon:_____________________________

Wedding Shop:_________________________

Heating and Air Service:__________________

Women’s Accessories:_ __________________

Home Repair:_ _________________________

Women’s Apparel:_______________________

Interior Designer:_ ______________________

Women’s Shoes:________________________

Interior Design Firm:_____________________ Landscaping/Lawn Service:_______________


Law Firm:_ ____________________________

Art Gallery:_ ___________________________

Lighting Store:_ ________________________

Golf Course:_ __________________________

Limo/Shuttle Service:____________________

Local Attraction:________________________

Massage Therapist:______________________


Medical Group/Provider:__________________

Place To Be Seen:_______________________

Medical Practice:________________________

Place To Go Dancing:____________________

Nail Salon:_____________________________

Place To Take the Kids:___________________

Pet Care/Shop:_________________________

Place To Watch a Sunset:_________________


Radio Personality:_______________________

Pool Building/Service Company:___________


80 June–July 2011

the good life Food + Travel + Hea lth + Home


Photo Courtesy PicnicTime, Inc.

Picnic Packin’

Part of the fun of going to the beach is enjoying a meal while relishing the great outdoors. Before you dip your toes in the sand, planning for the perfect picnic will make your outing a real day at the beach. First, consider how you’re going to carry the food. A picnic basket is an option (Picnic Time’s Barrel-Botanica is pictured,, as is a tote. But the picnic backpack has become a popular choice. Shaped similar to a regular backpack it holds dinnerware and utensils, including a corkscrew, dividers and pockets, which makes keeping everything in place a cinch. Most cost under $70 and can be purchased at Bass Pro Shops, Pier 1 Imports, Orvis and some major department stores. The Emerald Coast has no shortage of hot picnic spots. The Landing Park and Ferry Park in Fort Walton Beach and Calhoun Park on Choctawhatchee Bay in Destin are all ideal and offer easy access. For a pretty view, dine on the top of the tower at Ed Walline Park. And picnics are always nice on the green in any of the beach communities. Pick your favorite — Seaside Amphitheatre, WaterColor Western Green or Rosemary Beach Western Green. — Wendy O. Dixon

*happiness is ... June–July 2011


going places

Destination: Andalusia (Capital: Seville) / Distance from The E.c. Approx. 4,630 miles / Airport: MadridBarajas Airport (MAD), 342 miles Northeast of Seville, about Two hours by Train / Direct Flights from: New York, Boston, Atlanta, Miami, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington

82 June–July 2011


adventure High Speed Trains and Highways Make it Easy to Explore Southern Spain By Jack Macaleavy


Sprawling across a hilltop in Granada, the Alhambra served as both a fortress and a palace complex.

n early 1492, an explorer and risk taker made a plea to the king and queen to invest in his journey west to prove the world was not flat and to discover and claim ownership for Spain of any new lands he and his crew would discover. It took several tries, but he eventually sold the royals on his idea, and they made the capital investment he needed to equip and supply his three ships. His name was Christopher Columbus — and the rest is history. Spain is steeped in history with settlements dating back more than 2,000 years. And more than four centuries ago, the royal government recognized the value of and acknowledged its responsibility to restore, maintain and invest in the preservation of the country’s rich heritage. Since the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Spain has made considerable investments in creating a highway system that connects most of the major cities. In addition, it recently completed and opened a high-speed rail system that allows the leisure and business traveler the ease and convenience of rapid access to almost all major cities in Spain (and they are working now on a high-speed train between Madrid and Lisbon, Portugal). On this journey we chose to explore Andalusia, a Southern region of Spain that encompasses the Rock of Gibraltar and most of the southern coastline. Although Madrid is in the middle of the country, with direct flights from Philadelphia and Atlanta, it was our chosen point of entry. After a mid-morning airport arrival, it was a short cab ride to the train station and after just a two-hour, 175 mile-per-hour trip, we were in Seville, Andalusia’s largest city. Seville is a city of 800,000-plus, which requires using public transportation and June–July 2011


going places

Spain is steeped in history with settlements dating back more than 2,000 years. And more than four centuries ago, the royal government recognized the value of and acknowledged its responsibility to restore, maintain and invest in the preservation of the country’s rich heritage.

84 June–July 2011

walking. Dating back to BC period, Seville is steeped in history and home to Alcazar, palace of the kings and queens that you need at least a half-day to wander through. Tour the El Toro Museum, housed within the ancient bullring or, if your timing is right, attend a Sunday bullfight, a ceremonial activity that has not changed in centuries. Once in Seville, a rental car, which cost about $250 for a week’s use, was delivered to the hotel. Ours was equipped with a GPS navigation system that took 95 percent of the pain out of traveling the roads of Spain. Make the time to explore the 1,250-squaremile Sierra de Grazalema Natural Park, just a short drive outside Seville. The Fuente Lodge overlooks the pristine mountain town of Grazalema. One of Andalusia’s “white villages” — where all the buildings are whitewashed — it is a place where one can experience the simple daily life of rural Spaniards. There are many wonderful hiking trails well marked and designed for the simple to the most advanced hiker abilities. Ubrique, another white village of the region, is known for its leather industries with

a shop-lined street filled with international designer brands selling at a fraction of the cost those goods go for after making their way to America. One could complete a holiday shopping list and come home a hero. For those who hike, or just love the outdoors, the trail system within the park is incredible. There are trails for all levels of experience, from a day trip to venturing deep for the overnight experience in a region where nature has created a breathtaking experience. The delights of other Andalusian cities are easy drives away. The three-hour drive to Granada takes you through agricultural regions of olive and almond orchards and wheat fields as far as the eye can see. They’re all immaculately groomed by generations of families living off their land. If you plan early and are lucky, you’ll land a reservation at the Parador de San Francisco in Granada. The present-day five-starrated Parador owes much of its architectural heritage to the construction of a Franciscan convent on this site soon after the fall of Granada in 1492. The Parador overlooks the Alhambra, a sprawling palace-citadel filled with royal residential quarters, court complexes flanked by official chambers, a bath

and a mosque that can take most of a day to fully explore. Also, consider a side trip to Cordoba, with a cityscape that showcases a whole world of striking history. People of diverse cultures and religions (Jews, Muslims and Christians) have greatly contributed to the beauty of this outstanding place. Contemporary Cordoba is home to those most culturally “Spanish” activities — flamenco and bullfighting — and is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous places to visit in Southern Spain. You might also choose to head westward to the coastal city of Cadiz, a trading port between Africa and Europe that pokes into the Atlantic Ocean and is connected to the Spanish mainland by a tiny isthmus. A city guide would be a good idea to help new visitors take in the high points and gain a more thorough historical Opposite page, insight. You may recclockwise from top ognize some of Cadiz’s left: The coast of Cadiz; bullfighting beaches and buildings, can be found which were used to throughout Spain; portray Havana in the Grazalema, one of the country’s 2002 James Bond film “white villages”; “Die Another Day.” Barcelona’s If you have time left still-unfinished Holy Family on your itinerary, head cathedral, which back to Madrid and has been under construction catch another highfor more than a speed train to Barcecentury. lona, in the northeast of Spain. A trek to Barcelona is well worth the effort. Home of the 1992 Summer Olympics, Barcelona’s waterfront is lined with fabulous modern art and fivestar hotels. The ultra-modern Hotel Arts Barcelona (a Ritz-Carlton property) was named one of the top hotels in the world and the service, room layout and location overlooking the Mediterranean is worth the investment. The two-day bus tour pass is the only way to get around, allowing you travel on the three city routes and get on and off anytime. One of the most incredible sights is native son Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family) cathedral. It is designed in his original, sensuous curving avantgarde style with elements of Gothic and Art Nouveau. Under construction since 1882, this architectural marvel was consecrated just last November by Pope Benedict. Even though modern methods have speeded up the construction process, it isn’t scheduled for completion until 2026. Once finished, it will definitely be a monument for many centuries. Tours are available so one can see the many master craftsmen at work. For more information on Spain, check out, the official Spain tourism site in English. ec

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mind + body

Happy Feet Keeping Your Tootsies in Tip Top Shape and Looking Great

By Christy Kearney


ell-heeled and perfectly tipped feet may be the hottest accessory this summer. In flip flops, strappy sandals or no shoes at all, sun-kissed toes are in the spotlight and must be at their best both aesthetically and physically for summer at the coast. Because even prettiest feet are vulnerable to the unique foot health challenges of summer, the first step to making feet look good is making sure they feel good. Dr. Whitfield Roberts of Destin Podiatry says his most common complaints year-round are plantar fasciitis (heel spur syndrome), ingrown toenails and fungal infections of the toenails. During the warmer seasons, Roberts often sees a rise in heel spur occurrences. “Interestingly, plantar fasciitis seems to peak in my younger patient population right before summer as people often start an exercise regimen getting ready for bathing suit season,” shares Roberts. “People also become more aware of other conditions like fungal infections or athlete’s foot when they start wearing sandals and flip-flops more.” Fortunately, common foot conditions can be addressed by a podiatrist, and many times with basic procedures, injections or medication. Roberts stresses that a good pair of shoes is the best thing you can do for your feet but, as a beach lover himself, understands the appeal of going barefoot. The open-air footwear of the season brings with it dry cracked heels, says Melissa Wheeler of Fusion Spa Salon in Grand 86 June–July 2011

Boulevard at Sandestin. A pedicure is the answer for many who suffer from dry heels. The soaking, exfoliating and moisturizing process of a pedicure helps soothe the pain and address the dry skin of cracked heels. Many spas are offering nature-based products as part of pedicure services to better rejuvenate and hydrate skin on the feet. Fusion features Aveda products, naturally derived from plant and flower botanicals. Likewise, Serenity by the sea Spa at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort recently started using Kneipp’s nature-based hand and foot care line for spa pedicures. For the best foot maintenance, Hayley Haftmann, salon team leader at Serenity, recommends a pedicure every four to six weeks. For the time in between pedicures, she suggests using products with glycolic acid, such as Skin Authority, along with heavy moisturizers such as Biotone and Pure Fiji body butters to keep feet in optimal shape. “It’s almost like giving yourself a pedicure every night, and a little goes a long way,” she says of the products. As for seasonal trends Fusion’s Wheeler says, “A French pedicure is always classic,” but she is excited about the bright and bold polish colors coming in for summer. These days the name of a shade is almost as important as its hue. According to Haftmann at Serenity, favorites such as OPI’s Cajun Shrimp and I’m Not Really a Waitress stay in demand. For pedicure indulgers looking for a little sunny inspiration, playful OPI shades like Miami Beet purple, Party at My Cabana coral and Strawberry Margarita pink may be the perfect picks. So, whether you opt for sensible shoes, strappy sensations or au natural, make sure you take time to keep your feet healthy and happy and make the most of summer’s stage. ec

Toe Tips from Dr. Roberts Buy good shoes that fit well. Use Internet resources with caution. If you don’t recognize the provider of the information as a trusted source (for example, the Mayo or Cleveland clinics, or American Diabetes Association), you may be following the advice of someone who knows less than you do to treat a condition you possibly don’t even have. Get to the doctor if something is getting worse. See a podiatrist who specializes in diabetic concerns if you are diabetic (even if you don’t seem to have issues with your feet and have blood sugar under control). June–July 2011


in motion

The Sandestin Triathlon challenges athletes with a half-mile swim in the Gulf, a 20-mile bike ride and a four-mile run.

Give the Sport a Tri Tips for training and finishing your first triathlon By Lilly Rockwell


any people hear the word triathlon and think of ripped Ironman athletes, crossing the finish line after 10 straight hours of exercise, exhausted, red-faced and dripping in sweat. Good news. The Ironman is the most grueling of all triathlons, an event so intensive and time-consuming that most triathletes never do it. Just like running races, there are much smaller triathlons that just about anyone — yes, even you — can participate in. The shortest triathlon is called a “sprint” distance, which is a 750-meter swim (less than half a mile), a 20K bike ride (12.4 miles) and a 5K run (3.1 miles). Fitness experts say it’s entirely possible to go from couch potato to triathlete in less than six weeks. Here are some tips for training for a first triathlon: 88 June–July 2011

■ Don’t buy a $2,000 bike. There is no need to buy a fancy bike

or special outfit for your very first triathlon. “I’ve seen people do the whole race in a pair of cargo shorts,” explained Andrew Rothfeder, a seasoned Pensacola Beach triathlete, who placed first in the 2010 Sandestin Triathlon for men ages 40-44. “The culture is very open and accepting and it is the kind of thing where everyone is supportive of everybody else.” The only essentials are a good pair of running shoes and swimming goggles, Rothfeder said. ■ Find a training plan. Whether it’s online or through a group or

coach, find a training plan that suits your goals and stick with it. “If Photos by Allison Yii (Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort)

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in motion you Googled triathlon coaching you will find 100 different sites of coaches that do online training,” Rothfeder said. “But don’t do it by yourself. Get at least one person to go on this journey together.” Some training plans are free while others cost money but usually come with personalized coach and other extras. ■ Start slowly. “In the beginning, for

the first three months, I would focus on general activity,” said Mark Sortino, the co-owner of Pensacola-based Multisport Performance Institute. “The key is to keep the frequency and consistency and not get overwhelmed.” If the goal is to run 10 miles a week, break it up into smaller, manageable chunks of only two miles at a time for five days a week. ■ Strength train to avoid injury. Some-

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times triathletes are so focused on getting in their swims, runs and bike rides that they neglect any strength training which can lead to injury. “The most important thing for any athlete is achieving balance,” said Brett Bartholomew with the Andrews Institute. He explained that triathletes tend to have strong quadriceps but weak glutes, hamstrings and low backs. By incorporating a strengthtraining routine at your home or gym two days a week you can prevent injury.

Tri For Yourself June 18 My First Tri Eglin Air Force Base August 20 25th Annual Sandestin Triathlon Miramar Beach October 1 16th Annual Santa Rosa Island Triathlon Pensacola Beach October 9 The Destin Triathlon Seascape Resort

■ Practice biking and running together.

It takes several weeks for your legs to get used to following up a bike ride with a run, Sortino explained. Even if it is a short run, train your body to what that feels like, so on race day your legs won’t feel as if they are made of lead. These back-to-back training sessions are called “bricks” and are typically done on a weekend. Experts say they are mandatory for a good race day performance. ■ And practice transitions. That means

how long it takes you to transition from swimming to biking and from biking to running. Practice changing out of your swim clothes to biking clothes and check out the transition area for the race ahead of time. ec


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Igloo Cryosauna is a boutique spa treatment center in Destin owned by Aga Guzik and Barbara Ochal that will reenergize your entire body and improve your sense of wellbeing — all in a matter of minutes. Safe and non-evasive, a Cryosauna treatment uses blasts of nitrogen gas to lower the body’s skin surface temperature by 30 to 32 degrees for two to three minutes. The skin reacts to the cold and sends a powerful message to the brain that acts as a stimulant to all regulatory functions of the body. Areas of the body that may not be operating to full potential receive a “wake up” call and are re-invigorated. The result is a chamber therapy process that accelerates metabolism, improves circulation and adds health and energy to your body, which in turn decreases muscle soreness, fatigue and injury recovery time. Cryotherapy is an effective method for relieving pain, reducing muscle

tension and reducing edema. Popular with athletes, Cryosauna has been used in the treatment of physical injuries by many sports and wellness experts; most notably perhaps, Dr. Oz. But you certainly don’t have to be an athlete or unwell to benefit from this treatment. It is also used as a wellness beauty regime. The fact that one session can burn up to 500 calories and reduce cellulite, is reason enough to try “chilling out.”

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This innovative therapy is new to the Emerald Coast, but was originally developed in Japan in 1978 and has been refined in Europe over the past two decades. One session costs $80 for up to three minutes in the chamber. You can enjoy one session at a time, or you may opt for an intensive series of 10 daily consecutive visits. The frequency is up to you. Don’t waste another minute. Improve how you look and feel at Igloo Cryosauna, The Coolest Place in Destin. June–July 2011


dining The Key

The restaurants that appear in this guide are included as a service to readers and not as recommendations of the EC Magazine editorial department, except where noted. ★ B l d

Best of the Emerald Coast 2010 Winner Breakfast Lunch Dinner Outdoor Dining Live Music

$ Inexpensive $$ Moderately Expensive $$$ Expensive

Alys Beach George’s at Alys Beach American. Seafood, burgers and sandwiches at the perfect beachy-casual spot. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. 30 Castle Harbour Dr., 850-641-0017. $$ l d

Blue Mountain Beach Basmati’s Asian. Asian and Asian-inspired meat, seafood, poultry and vegetarian dishes. Open Mon–Sat 4 p.m. for sushi and 5 p.m. for dinner. 3295 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-3028. $$$ d Grecian Gardens Restaurant Mediterranean. Traditional Greek cuisine served in an open-air atmosphere perfect for special occasions or parties. Open daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 3375 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-3011. $$ l d

92 June–July 2011

Destin Aegean Restaurant Greek. Sip an ouzo at the beautiful stone bar before savoring the flavors of the Mediterranean at this authentic Greek restaurant. Breakfast 8 a.m.–11 a.m. Lunch 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Dinner 4 p.m.–9 p.m. 11225 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-460-2728. $$ B l d AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar ★ Seafood. Choose from fresh local seafood, sandwiches, pasta, chicken or specialty dishes like the oysters Eugene or Rockefeller. Open daily 11 a.m. 116 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-1913. $$ l d Another Broken Egg café ★ Breakfast. Breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. Open daily 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Closed Mondays. (Open Memorial and Labor days.) 979 E. Hwy. 98, Suite F, 850-650-0499. $ B Bonefish Grill ★ Seafood. Daily seafood specials cooked on an oakburning wood grill. Bang-Bang Shrimp is a crowdpleasing appetizer. Mon–Thu 4–10:30 p.m. Fri–Sat 4–11:30 p.m. Daily happy hour 4–7 p.m. 4447 E. Commons Dr., 850-650-3161. $$ d Cabana Café American. This eatery, boasting specialty coffee and ice cream, was voted Best New Business in 2008. Open daily 11 a.m.–2 a.m. 112 Seascape Blvd., 850-424-3574. $B l d Callahan’s Restaurant & Deli ★ American. Voted Best Locally Owned Restaurant of 2008, Callahan’s serves up great sandwiches, seafood specials and prime rib. Mon–Sat 10 a.m.–10 p.m. 791 Harbor Blvd., 850-837-6328. $ l d Capt. Dave’s on the Gulf Seafood. Enjoy delicious fresh seafood dishes. Open daily 4:30 p.m. 3796 Hwy. 98, 850-837-2627. $ d Carrabba’s Italian Grill ★ Italian. Carrabba’s blends warm Italian hospitality with family recipes handed down for four generations. Mon– Thu 4–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 4–11 p.m. Sun 11:30a.m.–9 p.m. 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-837-1140. $$ l d

Ciao Bella Pizza Da Guglielmo Italian. Authentic Italian pizza, pasta, salads and more. Open daily 11 a.m. 29 E. Hwy. 98, Silver Sands, 850-654-3040. $$ l d The Crab Trap Seafood. Offering fresh seafood, steaks, salads and soups beachside. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m. –10 p.m. 3500 E. Hwy. 98, 850-654-2722. $$ l d Dave’s Dogs ★ American. When only a hot dog will do, Dave’s serves it up right, grilling the bun on each side. Open Mon–Thu 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Destin Commons, 850-240-3353. $ l d Dewey Destin’s HarborSide ★ Seafood. One of Destin’s most popular restaurants serves up charm and award-winning seafood in a quaint house overlooking the scenic Destin harbor. Open daily 11 a.m.–8 p.m. 202 Harbor Blvd., 850-837-7525. $$ l d Dewey Destin Seafood Restaurant & Market Seafood. True local charm in an outdoor setting and some of the freshest seafood around. Open 11 a.m.– 8 p.m. 9 Calhoun Ave., 850-837-7575. $$$ B l d Donut Hole Bakery Cafe ★ American. Head to the Donut Hole for an out-of-thisworld breakfast or savory lunch — don’t forget the cinnamon raisin bread. Open 24 hours. 635 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-8824. $ B l Emerald Grande Resort Grande Vista bar and grill Seafood. Fresh seafood, steak, pasta, salads, sandwiches and more. Indoor and outdoor dining available. Full bar. Open daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m. Located in HarborWalk Village. 10 Harbor Blvd., next to the Marler Bridge, 850-337-8100. $$$ B l d Fudpucker’s American. Burgers and sandwiches, and specialties like the Fried Fudpucker (triggerfish). Open 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 20001 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-654-4200. $$ d Graffiti Italian. Traditional Italian favorites and house specialties like seafood pizza. Sun–Thu 5–9 p.m. Fri–Sat 5–10 p.m. 707 E. Hwy. 98, 850-654-2764. $$ d

on the menu


ere are some of the tasty temptations we have recently enjoyed at eateries along the Emerald Coast.

Breakfast You can get your ’cake on at The

Pancakery. Located at 960 Highway 98 East in Destin, The Pancakery serves up gourmet, made-to-order pancakes that would make

Mrs. Buttersworth proud. You choose the batter (buttermilk or whole grain), choose add-in ingredients (fresh fruit, pecans — even M&M candies) and your topping (fruit, whipped cream, powdered sugar, chocolate sauce, etc.). Hey Pancakery, you had us at whole grain! $6.99

Lunch A bright spot in Fort Walton Beach’s

resurgence is definitely Holly’s on the Main. This cute lunch spot really hit the spot. The Tree Hugger sandwich is filled with creamy goat cheese, alfalfa sprouts, fresh sliced tomato, avocado and chili lime vinaigrette and served on five-grain bread. What a delicious way to go “green.” $6

Appetizer After a walk on the beach on a

bright, sunny Saturday, the only thing that could make it get any better is the crab claw appetizer at Pompano Joe’s, located at 2237 Scenic Gulf Highway in Destin. A half pound of these succulent seafood delights sautéed in garlic oil and lightly seasoned arrives in a basket with a wedge of lemon. They were so good we ordered a second one. Yes, life at the beach is tasty. $12.99

Dinner Frank and Hallie Nick’s 1956

fish camp on Highway 20 in Freeport has crawled a long way. It was fashioned into a restaurant in 1963 and in 1998 Frank Nick III or “Trey,” as locals call him, took over the family tradition now called simply Nick’s. The steamed blue crabs are available by the dozen and are served “clean and hot” with melted butter. Chase it with plenty of homemade iced tea or an ice-cold draft beer. Nick’s gives a whole new meaning to feeling crabby. $26 per dozen

Photo by Scott Holstein June–July 2011


dining 2010

Harbor Docks ★ American. This surf-and-turf restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open daily 5 a.m.–11 p.m. 538 E. Hwy. 98, 850-837-2506. $$ B l d Hard Rock Café American. Rock ’n’ roll, great drinks and mouthwatering menu. Open daily 11 a.m. 4260 Legendary Dr., Destin Commons, 850-654-3310. $

l d

HARRY T’S BOATHOUSE Seafood. Lounge on the beautiful patio and watch the passing boats as you enjoy an endless variety of delicious dishes. Mon-Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun 10 a.m.–10 p.m. 46 Harbor Blvd., 850-654-4800. $$ B l d Jim ’N Nick’s Bar-B-Q ★ Barbecue. Southern smokehouse barbecue. Beer and wine. Open daily 11 a.m. 14073 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-351-1991. $ l d Johnny O’Quigley’s ★ American. Award-winning steak, seafood and barbecue in one of Destin’s favorite sports bars. Mon– Thu 11 a.m.–midnight. Fri–Sun 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Double Happy Hour Mon–Fri 3–6 p.m. and 10 p.m.–close. 34940 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-837-1015. $ l d Louisiana Lagniappe ★ Cajun and Seafood. View the Old Pass Lagoon while dining on steaks and a wide variety of fresh seafood. Open daily 5–10 p.m. 775 Gulf Shores Dr., 850-837-0881. $$ d Lucky Snapper Seafood. Family-style, open-air overlooks Destin Harbor. Open daily 11 a.m. 76 E. Hwy. 98, Destin, 850654-0900. $$ l d Marina Café American. Gourmet pizzas, Creole and American cuisine. Open daily 5–10 p.m. 404 E. Hwy. 98, 850837-7960. $$ d McAlister’s Deli American. The popular chain offers hearty soups, crisp salads, a variety of hot and cold sandwiches and “Famous Sweet Tea.” Open daily 10:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. 10859 W. Hwy. 98, 850-650-6646. 985 E. Hwy. 98, 850-650-0923. $ l d McGuire’s Irish Pub ★ Irish American. Drinks, steaks, burgers and fries and Irish fare. Open daily 11 a.m. 33 E. Hwy. 98, 850-654-0567. $$ l d NOT JUST BAGELS ★ American. Bagels, breads, pastries, salads, soups and sandwiches. Mon–Fri 6 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat–Sun 7 a.m.–3 p.m. 4447 E. Commons Dr., Suite 112, 850-650-0465. $ B l Osaka Japanese. Known for its sushi, but serves a variety of dishes including chicken, steak and seafood. Lunch 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Dinner 5–10:30 p.m. 34845 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-650-4688 or 850-650-4689. $$ l d Panera Bread ★ American. Fresh-baked breads and pastries, sandwiches and salads. Destin Commons and Sandestin. Mon–Thu 7 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri–Sat 7 a.m.– 10 p.m. Sun 7 a.m.–8 p.m. 850-837-2486. $$ B l d Pepito’s ★ Mexican. Voted Best Mexican on the Emerald Coast, locals love Pepito’s for its authentic Mexican cuisine and mouthwatering margaritas. Happy Hour specials all day Mondays, including small rocks margaritas and all beer and well drinks for $1.99. Open daily 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 757 E. Hwy. 98, 850-650-7734. $$ l d Rutherfords 465 at regatta bay American. Located inside Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club. Open to the public for lunch 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Offering a variety of salads and sandwiches. Full bar. Specializing in on- and off-site catering including weddings, receptions and special events. 465 Regatta Bay Blvd., 850-337-8888. $ B l d Ruth’s Chris Steak House Steak and Seafood. New Orleans-inspired appetizers, desserts and award-winning wines. Mon– Sat 5:30–10 p.m. Sun 5:30–9 p.m. Silver Shells Resort. 1500 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-337-5108. $$$ d Sarah k’s gourmet ★ Gourmet Take-out. Chef-crafted, ready-to-heat cuisine. Jumbo lump crab cakes and fresh chicken

94 June–July 2011

salad are the house specialties. Open at 11 a.m. 34940 Hwy. 98, 850-269-0044. $ l d Vin’Tij Wine Boutique & Bistro ★ French. Traditional favorites and unique house dishes. Open daily 11 a.m.–midnight. 10859 W. Emerald Coast Pkwy., Suite 103, 850-650-9820. $ l d ZoËs Kitchen ★ American. Healthy sandwiches and salads. Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Destin Commons, 850-650-6525. $ l d

Fort Walton Beach Bay Café French. Traditional French bistro café with seating overlooking the water. Lunch daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m., dinner Mon – Sat, 5 p.m.–10 p.m. 233 Alconese Ave. SE. (850) 244-3550 $$ l d

is hot. Lunch Thu–Fri 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Dinner Mon–Thu 6–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 6–10 p.m. Brunch Sun 11 a.m. 55 Clayton Ln., 850-231-9020. $$ l d Pandora’s Steak and Seafood. Warm, traditional steakhouse with early evening specials. Weekdays 5–10 p.m. Weekends 5–11 p.m. 63 DeFuniak St., 850-231-4102. $$ d Picolo’s restaurant Seafood. Dine on delicious fresh seafood while listening to live music. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. 70 Hotz Ave., 850-231-1008. $$ l d Red Bar ★ American. A favorite among locals, visitors and celebrities and a must-visit when in Grayton Beach. Kick back on the funky furniture and listen to live music while enjoying great food and cocktails — especially the award-winning Bloody Mary. Breakfast 7–10:30 a.m. Lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner 5–10 p.m. Bar open 11 a.m.– 11 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight. Cash or check only, no credit cards. 70 Hotz Ave., 850-231-1008. $$ B l d

Trattoria Borago Italian. Enjoy a balsamic-laced pork tenderloin or panseared grouper from the open kitchen. Open 6 p.m. daily. 80 E. Hwy. 30A, Grayton Beach, 850-231-9167. $$ d

Miramar Beach Another Broken Egg café – On the Bay ★ Breakfast. Breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. Open daily from 7 a.m.–3 p.m. The Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-622-2050. $ B Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Family Sports Pub American. Wings, sandwiches, salads, burgers. 24 TVs, plus a kids’ game room. Open Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun noon–10 p.m. Happy hour Mon–Fri 3–7 p.m. 9375 E. Hwy. 98 (The Market Shops at Sandestin), 850-837-9710. $$$ B l d

Benjarong Thai Cuisine & BBQ Thai and Barbecue. Barbecue, chicken, ribs, steak and spicy Thai food. Lunch and dinner Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m. 251 Mary Esther Blvd., 850-362-0290. $$ l d Big City American Bistro ★ American. This little gem has big charm, a vibrant vibe and amazing food, not to mention great service. Big City is open for lunch and dinner and serves an award-winning brunch on Sundays. Lunch Tues–Sat 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Dinner Tues–Sat 5 p.m.–close. Brunch Sun 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. 171 SE Brooks St., 850-664-0664. $$ B l d The Black Pearl Steak and Seafood. Dig into some coconut shrimp and a juicy steak while enjoying a lovely view of the gulf. Located in The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. Open daily 4 p.m. 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850-833-3016. $$ d Fudpucker’s American. Burgers, sandwiches and specialties like the Fried Fudpucker (triggerfish). Open daily 11 a.m. 108 Santa Rosa Blvd., Okaloosa Island, 850-243-3800. $$ l d Magnolia Grill Steak, Seafood and Italian. Steak, seafood, pasta, soups, salads and desserts. Lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.– 2 p.m. Dinner Mon–Sat, open at 5 p.m. Closed Sun. 157 SE Brooks St., 850-302-0266. $$ l d Old Bay Steamer Seafood. Fresh, steamed and grilled seafood served in a lively atmosphere. Dinner served daily from 4 p.m. No reservations. 102 Santa Rosa Blvd., 850-664-2795. $$$ d Pandora’s Steak and Seafood. Early evening specials weekdays 5–6 p.m. Happy Hour weekdays 5–7 p.m. Weekdays 5–10 p.m. Weekends 5–11 p.m. 1226 Santa Rosa Blvd., 850-244-8669. $$$ d Pranzo Italian Ristorante Italian. The Montalto family has been serving classic and contemporary Italian cuisine in Fort Walton Beach for nearly 30 years. Dinner Mon–Sat, 5 p.m. 1222 Santa Rosa Blvd. (850) 244-9955$ d Sealand Steak and Seafood. Serving American cuisine as well as Thai offerings in a homey atmosphere. Lunch Sun 11 a.m. until. Dinner Tues–Sat from 4:30 p.m. 47 SE Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850-244-0044. $$$ B d Staff’s Steak, Seafood and Pasta. In operation for more than 100 years, Staff’s is the oldest family-operated Florida restaurant and a local favorite serving homemade American cuisine in a casual, rustic atmosphere. Open daily for dinner from 5 p.m. 24 Miracle Strip Pkwy., 850243-3482. $$ d

Grayton Beach Another Broken Egg café ★ Breakfast. Breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. Open 7:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Closed Mondays. (Open Memorial and Labor days.) 51 Grayton Uptown Cir. , 850-231-7835. $ B Fire ★ American. With New Orleans natives in the kitchen, it’s no surprise that this casual fine-dining restaurant June–July 2011


dining Bistro Bijoux ★ Steak and Seafood. Coastal cuisine with a New Orleans flair. Fresh seafood daily. Featuring our signature dish — “Black Skillet” filet mignon topped with a tempura-fried lobster tail. Open daily 5–10 p.m. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-622-0760. $$$ d Cantina Laredo ★ Mexican. Boasting a contemporary décor and fiery flavor, the new addition to Grand Boulevard offers gourmet twists on Mexican favorites. Save room for dessert, and check out the Sunday brunch. Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 585 Grand Blvd., 850-654-5649 $$ B l d Carrabba’s italian grill ★ Italian. Flavorful dishes, including calamari, chicken Marsala, fresh fish, seafood and grilled steaks. Open Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon–Thu 4–10:30 p.m. Fri–Sat 4–11:30 p.m. 10562 W. Hwy. 98, 850-837-1140. $$ d Fajitas Grill Mexican. The freshest ingredients and best-tasting Mexican food in Northwest Florida. Try one of our many flavored margaritas. Open Sun–Thu 11 a.m.– 9:30 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. 12889 Hwy. 98., 850-269-7788. $ l d Fat Clemenza’s ★ Italian. Feel like part of the family as you enjoy homemade classical Italian cuisine. Lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Dinner Mon–Wed 5–9:30 p.m., Thu–Sat 5–10 p.m. Holiday Plaza/Hwy. 98, 850-650-5980. $$ l


Finz Beachside Grille American. Wide range of seafood and American dishes. Catering available. Open seasonally. Call for hours. Beachside at Sandestin, 850-267-4800. $$ l


Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar ★ Steak and More. This award-winning restaurant offers prime steaks, chops, chicken, seafood, fresh salads and a variety of unique sides and desserts served in a comfortable but elegant atmosphere. Featuring 100 wines by the glass. Open Mon–Thu 5–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 5–11 p.m. Sun 4–9 p.m. 600 Grand Blvd., 850-269-0830. $$ d Johnny Rockets American. Enjoy a smooth milkshake with your burger and fries as you jam to the tunes on the jukebox. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun 11 a.m.–7 p.m. 625 Grand Blvd., Suite 107, 850-650-3100. $l d Lillie’s On Pigs Alley Barbecue. For lip-smacking good barbecue, try Lillie’s sandwiches, ribs, beef or chicken. The restaurant won the Barbecue World Championship in Memphis in 2007. Open Tue–Sat 11 a.m.–7 p.m. 9848 W. Hwy. 98, 850-654-3911. $ l d Lin’s Asian Cuisine Asian. Chef Qun Lin whips up steaming portions of your favorite Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes. Open Mon–Thu 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri–Sat 10:30 a.m.9:30 p.m. Sun noon–9 p.m. 130 Scenic Gulf Dr., Suite 5B, 850-424-5888. $ l d Marlin Grill Steak and Seafood. Fresh seafood, steaks, salads and appetizers served inside or outside. Open nightly at 5 p.m. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-351-1990. $$$ l d The Melting Pot Fondue. Dip into something different and enjoy an interactive, hands-on, four-course dining experience with a cheese fondue, salad, entrée and chocolate fondue dessert. Open Sun–Thu 5–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 5–11 p.m. 11394 Hwy. 98., 850-269-2227. $$$ d Mitchell’s Fish Market ★ Seafood. Chef-driven dishes such as Cedar Roasted Atlantic Salmon or Hoisin-Glazed Yellow Fin Tuna. Lunch Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Sun 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Dinner Mon–Thu 4–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 4–11 p.m. Sun 3–9 p.m. Grand Boulevard Sandestin, 850-650-2484. $$ l d P.F. Chang’s China Bistro ★ Asian. Sample crunchy lettuce wraps or Chinese favorites like Kung Pao Chicken in a chic atmosphere. Open Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 10640 Grand Blvd., 850-269-1806. $$ l d Poppy’s Seafood Factory Seafood. Enjoy fresh seafood, steak and poultry dishes with a view of the bay. Open 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-351-1996. $$$ l d

96 June–July 2011

Royal Orchid ★ Thai. Escape to Thailand at this authentic Thai restaurant. Sink into a traditional sunken table surrounded by pillows or dine American style at a table or booth. Thu–Tue 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Closed Wed. 11275 Emerald Coast Pkwy., 850-650-2555. $$ l d Rum Runners American. Caribbean/coastal/Mediterranean menu with sandwiches, seafood, steaks, chicken and pasta. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Village of Baytowne Wharf, 850-267-8117. $$ l d Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood ★ Steak and Seafood. Premium steak, fresh seafood and caviar. Open 6 p.m. daily. Hilton Sandestin. 4000 S. Sandestin Blvd., 850-622-1500. $$$ d Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar ★ Caribbean. Get a taste of the islands with jerk spices, fresh fish and the best desserts on the coast, as voted by readers of Emerald Coast Magazine. Open Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–midnight. 525 Grand Blvd., 850-654-1743. $$ l d

Café Thirty-A Seafood. Seafood, lamb, duck, filet mignon and pizza. Open daily 5 p.m. 3899 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-2166. $$ d Crush American. Crush features an extensive wine menu, sushi and small plates. Open daily for lunch and dinner, noon–10 p.m. 25 Central Sq., 850-468-0703. $$ l d Gravel Road American. Cozy bistro serving chicken, fish, beef and pasta. Lunch 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon–Sat. Dinner served at 5 p.m. 4935 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-534-0930. $$ l d

dinner Mon–Fri 4–11 p.m., Sat–Sun 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 4281 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-0716. $$ l d La Cocina Mexican Grill & Bar Mexican. Traditional Tex-Mex with a coastal twist. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Bar open until 10 p.m. 10343 E. Hwy. 30A, 850-231-4021. $$ l d Old Florida Fish House and Bar Seafood. Rustic seafood restaurant featuring a new take on old seafood favorites. Full bar. Dinner daily 5 p.m. 5235 Hwy. 30A. (850) 534-3045 $$ d

Great SOuthern Café Southern. Jim Shirley serves up Southern comfort food with a twist. Open daily for breakfast 8–11 a.m., lunch 11 a.m.–4 p.m., dinner 4-11:30 p.m. 83 Central Sq., 850231-7327. $$ B l d

Seagrove Village Market Café Steak and Seafood. Enjoy surf-and-turf and a glass of wine, then shop for gifts and souvenirs in the adjacent gift shop. Open 10:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m. daily. 3004 S. County Rd. 395, 850-231-5736. $$ l d ec

La Botana Tapas. Small plates of Latin-inspired cuisine served in a casual but elegant atmosphere. Wine bar. Lunch and

For even more dining options in the Emerald Coast, visit

Niceville Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Family Sports Pub American. Wings, sandwiches, salads, burgers. Open Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun noon–10 p.m. Happy hour Mon–Fri 3–7 p.m. 4540 E. Hwy. 20, 850-897-3964. $ l d Giuseppi’s Wharf Seafood. Proudly serving steaks, pasta and sushi. Newly remodeled. Open 11 a.m.–10 p.m. 821 Bayshore Dr., 850678-4229. $$ l d Trade Winds Italian. Fish, shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels combined in a marinara or white wine sauce with pasta; thin-crust pizzas. Open Tue–Sat 5 p.m. 205 Government St., 850-678-8299. $$ d

Santa Rosa Beach 98 Bar-B-Que Barbecue. Four generations have perfected Southern barbecue served with your favorite sides. Lunch and dinner, 11 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon–Sat. 5008 W. Hwy. 98. (850) 622-0679 $ l d Basmati’s Asian Cuisine & Sushi Asian. Asian dishes and full sushi bar. Open 4 p.m. daily. 3295 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-3028. $$ d Café Tango American. Seafood, poultry and pasta served with specialty sauces. Homemade desserts. Open Tue–Sun 5–10 p.m. 14 Vicki St., 850-267-0054. $$$ d Fish Out of Water Restaurant Continental. Southern coastal cuisine with an Asian flair: tuna, crab cakes, shrimp and scallops. 5:30–10 p.m. daily. Located in the WaterColor Inn, 850534-5050. $$$ d Louis Louis ★ American. The only thing that isn’t over the top at Louis Louis is the menu pricing. The Moulin Rouge-inspired interior décor is outrageously wonderful. Dine outside or in. The menu has six tasty items, from crab cakes, panned chicken, blackened fish and a few pastas. Mon–Sun 5–10 p.m. 35 Mussett Bayou Rd., 850-267-1500. $ d Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club American. Seafood, beef, poultry, lamb, veal, pastas, soups and bisques. Open Tues–Fri 11 a.m.– 2:30 p.m., Wed–Sat 5–9 p.m. 4801 W. Hwy. 30A, 850-267-2305. $$ l d

Seaside & Seagrove Beach Angelina’s Pizza & Pasta Italian. Authentic homemade pizza pie and Italian dishes in a casual atmosphere. Lunch and dinner daily: 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. 4005 E. Hwy. 30A. (850) 2312500 $ l d Bud & Alley’s Restaurant American. Serving fresh seafood, steak and vegetarian options. Open 11:30 a.m. Mon–Fri. Roof bar open 11:30 p.m.–2 a.m. in summer. 2236 E. Hwy. 30A, 850231-5900. $$$ l d June–July 2011


the last word Finally, one night in mid-March a late night poker party led us back to his apartment and we kissed. I’m a bit ashamed that my first thought was: “Wow, he kisses just like a younger guy would.” I had imagined that he might kiss differently, but was pleasantly surprised to discover some things only get better with age. We fell into an all-consuming infatuation. I slept at his CAPITOL LOVE apartment frequently and he Mark and Lilly reminisce about took me on actual dates at nice their days in restaurants. This blew the mind the Capitol of a 21-year-old who had been Press Corps. romanced before with video games and potato chips. When the gossipy press corps learned of our relationship, Mark got all the high-fives and fist-pumps, while I got curious glances and probing questions. For the most part, our age difference didn’t matter. The conversations flowed easily and we had our passion for journalism in common. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t question Old enough to know better, but young enough not to care is just right our relationship at times. I fretted over the long-term consequences. I pictured myself By Lilly Rockwell at 60, a working woman with plenty of enf I could climb aboard a time machine and tell my 20-year-old self I was ergy, and Mark as a crippled old man of 78 going to marry a man 18 years my senior, I wouldn’t have believed it. with one foot in the nursing home. To my younger self, it would have seemed as unlikely as aliens invading When my internship ended in May, Mark our planet. helped me drive back to Texas. We vowed In college, I didn’t have a “type.” There was the rocker with shaggy hair to try a long-distance relationship after exand hipster jeans, the smart engineering major who taught me how to play poker, changing “I love yous.” and the funny guy from Spanish class who wrote much better fiction than I did. I had been down this road before. One The only thing they had in common was they were all about my age. boyfriend sent love letters from Australia Like most young romances, none of them lasted longer than a few months, and that got progressively shorter and less arquite a few were undone by long-distance romance. dent before breaking up over a long-distance By the time I was 21, I was eager to start my career as a journalist. I accepted phone call. an offer to write for the Florida Times-Union for its Tallahassee bureau during With Mark, it was different. We sent the spring legislative session. I drove the 16 hours from Texas to live in a small, dozens of e-mails a day and spent hours on shabby apartment. the phone every night. We flew to visit one The Times-Union had an office on the third floor of a beige three-story building another every few months. that housed most of the city’s Capitol Press Corps. I was on the third floor, right I fell deeper in love. Mark was a good across the hallway from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel offices. man, the kind that cooked my favorite meals My first week on the job a tall man with blue eyes stood in the doorway of my upon request, put up with my obsession with office and introduced himself as a Sun-Sentinel reporter named Mark. bad reality television and stayed up with me I stood to shake his hand and was struck by how handsome he was. I learned all night when I had a bad migraine, rubbing that Mark was 39, a soon-to-be divorcée with a nine-year-old daughter and a my head until the pain faded. boyish grin. He encouraged me to take a job in Austin, I dismissed him as too old for me, with too much baggage. Texas, working for my hometown newspaYet every time he came into my office, I got that queasy feeling in my stomach, per, even though it meant our long-distance that said “you like this guy.” He was an expert at the wonky topic of Medicaid relationship would likely drag on. reform, and I found excuses to ask for his “help” on the subject whenever I had to Even if I did have to care for Mark later write about health care reform. in life, it would be worth 40 years of him He seemed awfully thirsty, going for frequent trips to a water fountain just outtaking care of me. When he proposed atop side my office door. And every time he joined me for after-work drinks he asked an Austin hill at sunset, my answer was lots of questions about myself, curious about my life in Texas and my family. “Yes.” ec

In Love, Age Is Just a Number


98 June–July 2011

Photo by Scott Holstein



SEPTEMBER 23, 2011 6PM–2AM EMERALD GRAND Thanks to your nominations, the top salons have been selected to compete for the title of Emerald Coast’s Top Salon! Now the competition begins. Mark your calendar for the Top Salon celebration September 23 at the Emerald Grand at HarborWalk Village. Ten salons will make over a contestant at this exciting event, and the transformations will be unveiled in a runway show. A panel of judges and all attendees will cast votes to determine the Top Salon of the Emerald Coast. Make sure to check out the salons and the before pics in the August/ September issue of Emerald Coast Magazine The competition is sure to be fierce, but only one establishment will earn the right to call themselves Emerald Coast’s “Top Salon”! TICKETS ARE $50 and include two drink coupons, heavy hors d’oeuvres and automatic entry to win a 3-day/2-night getaway. Visit to purchase your tickets before they sell out! (Tickets go on sale June 1, 2011) The TOP SALON OF THE EMERALD COAST wins an advertising campaign developed by Rowland Publishing and a year-long ad campaign in Emerald Coast Magazine. Plus, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the winner’s favorite charity. Your favorite salon can’t win unless you nominate them. Nominations must be received between April 1-30.



Emerald Coast Magazine June/July 2011  
Emerald Coast Magazine June/July 2011  

Capturing the essence of Florida’s thriving Emerald Coast with award-winning writing, bold layouts and stunning photography, Emerald Coast M...