Emerald Coast Magazine February-March 2011

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Sweet Romance Love and chocolate conquer all in this special season of the heart

Spirited and spunky wedding stories

Five must-see stops on the Emerald Coast

Surefire ways to renew your best you in 2011


FEB-MAR 2011

www.emeraldcoastmagazine.com A product of Rowland Publishing, Inc.

Pictured (left to right): Steve Riggs, CRI PartnerIn-Charge Destin/South Walton office; Dana Hahn, Leasing Administrator Howard Group; Tracy Conerly and Tim Fulmer, CRI Partners; Merlin Allan Vice President of Real Estate Howard Group.

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Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC opens new expanded offices in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin® Why choose Grand Boulevard for your new office?

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• Vibrant and creative work environment with inspiring views • Flexible Class “A” office work space with state-of-the-art business amenities, including conference rooms, teleconferencing and wi fi • Close proximity to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport opening in 2010 • Numerous casual and fine dining options for associates and clients; first-class shopping • Two Marriott hotels offering 300 combined rooms for out-of-town clients • Adjacent to Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Medical Campus

“Grand Boulevard offers our firm an easily accessible, high profile location with a multitude of convenient on-site amenities, including two Marriott hotels and a variety of restaurants that can serve as alternative meeting spaces,” stated Steve Riggs, partner of CRI. “When we meet clients, we can walk to a number of great restaurants while continuing the business discussion and not lose momentum.”

What makes Grand Boulevard a premium location?

Grand Boulevard at Sandestin® is the shop, work, play and stay Town Center located in South Walton County at the entrance of Sandestin® Golf & Beach Resort. The vibrant Town Center offers convenient access to everything you need on a daily basis, from the grocery store to professional offices and even the hospital and doctors offices. Grand Boulevard is located within the heart of Walton County’s business hub of financial, banking, medical and other professional businesses.

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“Welcome home.” Words everyone in the market loves to hear. HOME SALES • RELOCATION • PROPERTY • RENTALS

HOMES & LAND AND RENTAL GUIDE MAGAZINES ARE PERFECT RESOURCES for finding your next home or apartment. If you are moving locally, pick up a copy to see the area’s most attractive places to live. If you are locating outside the Tallahassee area, contact us at 800-277-7800 and we’ll send you a free magazine for your target destination. Make sure you visit HomesAndLand.com and RentalGuide.net to see thousands of new listings and apartments everyday.

February/March 2011


Five Places you Should go

There are plenty of reasons millions of visitors flock to this area year after year. As the official lifestyle magazine for the Emerald Coast, we felt it only appropriate to point out a few for locals to enjoy.



Fun-Lovin’ Love Stories

photo by amanda suanne photography

To Jami Ray of Freeport, some things are just black and white. She walked down the aisle in a bright white taffeta dress adorned with a vintage black brooch and black sandals. What did three brides along the Emerald Coast plan for their big day? Some of it may surprise you.

On the Cover:

The greatest, lasting love of all time: chocolate, of course. These beautiful hand-dipped chocolate covered candy apples from Kilwin’s make the tradition of giving sweets to your sweet a magical affair. Photo by Scott Holstein emerald coast


contents 23

In Every Issue 9 From the Publisher 11 From the Editor 74 The Last Word

Quick Reads 13 One to Watch

The commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base enjoys the privilege of a lifetime.

14 Q&A

Two book authors tell us how to embrace life after 50.

16 Mind & Body

Still shaking the winter blues? Try these eight surefire ways to renew your best you.




Lasso your tickets to the Emerald Coast Cattle Barons’ Ball — a good time for a worthy cause.

The romance of chocolate is still the sweetest story ever told.

29 Spotlight

30 Calendar

Spring forward to fabulous events, lively concerts, fun festivals, memorable movie nights and more.

Home & Garden 58 Habitat

You don’t have to be a celebrity to have a cool pool. Slip into these swank backyard sanctuaries.

23 Historicity

Kathy Marler Blue pieces together her family’s fascinating past.

26 Personality

Jeanne Dailey leads the way to another successful 25.


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Funky Big Mama’s Hula Girl Gallery has a spunky new owner.

69 Dining Guide

From casual to fine dining, savor the delicious flavors of the Emerald Coast with this comprehensive guide.

Are you the toast of the Emerald Coast? Find out who is.

An amazing little activist who does much more than fill big shoes.

20 Arts & Culture

64 Flavor

36 Social Studies

18 Generation Next




Photos by Scott Holstein (Hlatky and Chocolate) and courtesy the Ross and Nell Marler Family (Historicity) and Mattie Kelly Arts Center (Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble)


If cus usto t me to m rs like whatt the hey y se ee o on n pa p ape p r, they’ll seek you ou ut in per erso so on. n. Rowl Ro wland d Pu Publ blis ishi hing ng works wit ith h yo ou tto o d de esign and produce dynamic c pr prin in nt mate ma t riials that inform, inspire and inc nc citte. And our creative solutions will sh An how wca c asse e you ur business without strrai aini n ng ni g yo y our ur b budget. Call (8 (850 50)) 87 8788 05 554 5 or or visi vi s t ro r wl w an andp dpub ubli lish shin ing. g.co com m to toda day. y.

Rowland Publishing Inc. is the proud publisher of Emerald Coast Magazine


February – March 2011

Vol. 12, No. 1

Publisher Brian E. Rowland Editor Zandra Wolfgram Associate Editor Wendy O. Dixon Designer Beth Nabi

Staff Writers Jason Dehart, Lilly Rockwell Contributing Writers Wendy O. Dixon, Christy Kearney, Lis King, Jack Macaleavy, Thomas J. Monigan, Julie Root, Zandra Wolfgram

Editorial Interns Brandon Neasman, Janeen Talbott, Antonio Rosado

STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Scott Holstein TRAFFIC Coordinator Carlin Trammel

sales executives Jessica Hathorn, Rhonda Simmons

Online emeraldcoastmagazine.com twitter.com/emeraldcoastmag facebook.com/emeraldcoast

President Brian E. Rowland

Director of Lisa Carey Publishing Operations

Creative Director Lawrence Davidson

Production DIRECTOR Melinda Lanigan

Director of Linda Kleindienst Editorial Services

Manager of Finance Angela Cundiff HR/Administration

Administrator of McKenzie Burleigh Sales/Events Client Service Caroline Conway Representative Assistant Saige Roberts Creative Director Production Coordinator Carlin Trammel

senior designer Tisha Keller Graphic Designers Beth Nabi, Marc L. Thomas, Daniel Vitter

Network Administrator Daniel Vitter

Web Site rowlandpublishing.com Receptionist Lisa Sostre

Emerald Coast Magazine is published bimonthly by Rowland Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 1932, Tallahassee, FL, 32302. 850878-0554. Emerald Coast 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. Emerald Coast Magazine reserves the right to publish any letters to the editor. Copyright February 2011 Emerald Coast Magazine Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without written permission is prohibited.

one-year Subscription $24.95 (SIx issues) 1-850-654-7881 Emerald Coast Magazine can be purchased at Barnes and Noble in Destin and at Books-A-Million in Destin and at Sun Plaza in Mary Esther.


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Proud member Florida Magazine Association and Florida Press Association

From the Publisher

PHOTO by David eggleston

Our Five-Year Makeover Is Coming In the professional publishing industry it is standard for a magazine to go through a makeover on the average of once every five years. So, as we embark on our 11th year, I want to give you a head’s up that Emerald Coast Magazine is set to undergo it’s second makeover with our April/May issue. Not coincidentally, that will also be the first issue under the leadership of our new editor, Zandra Wolfgram. The timing could not have been better. Before we embarked on this new direction, Zandra challenged me with the idea of conducting market research on our readers, non-readers, clients and representatives of the general population of the Emerald Coast marketplace to understand what they are currently looking for in a local magazine. With her many years of corporate experience, her list of justifications made the decision quite easy. Her idea: Let’s find out what our readers want — and ask them if we are providing it. So, late last fall, we embarked on a three-part research project. First, we engaged the services of a moderator to facilitate a blind focus group. The individuals involved had no idea who was conducting the session, which asked them detailed questions about Emerald Coast and the other magazines in the market. Separately, we invited select leaders in the region to sit with us and share their feedback on all aspects of the magazine at a deep dive idea sharing session. They didn’t hold back and we appreciate their candor. Finally, we emailed a questionnaire to 1,000 Emerald Coast readers. We compiled responses from all elements of the project into a 50-page report that our management team thoroughly reviewed. Though 85 percent of you said you love Emerald Coast and believe we are the best lifestyle magazine on the Emerald Coast, you also told us we could improve. I must admit that a good 25 percent of the information and responses surprised me and provided critical information about how our magazine is perceived and what the readers of the Emerald Coast market want to see and learn. It is a departure from Tallahassee Magazine, which has a 30-year track record in a different market, with a different demographic — even though we use the same direct mail model that enables us to reach homes with an annual $100,000-plus household income.

So, long story short, we are providing a top to bottom re-design of Emerald Coast. Editorially, our content will be different, and you will notice a distinct design change. I won’t tell you specifically what we plan to do, but be assured it reflects what you have asked for. What won’t change is our distribution method. We will continue to provide this magazine to our region’s higher income households via direct mail. Why? Because we feel our advertisers deserve to know who receives our publication. Other magazines in our market have a “drop and pray” distribution method — drop them off everywhere and pray people pick them up. Of those who do, who are they? Our research told us that many people have no idea where to get Emerald Coast Magazine, creating the perception that we are not readily available. But that problem is easy to overcome. In addition to being available for purchase at Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million, beginning with the April issue we will increase our press run so that we will be available at our advertisers’ locations and at carefully selected, high traffic points in Walton and Okaloosa counties. You spoke. We listened. And we will deliver what you have asked for. We will continue to maintain our high journalistic standards that we know the intelligent reader deserves and appreciates. So, if you have been holding out to advertise until we write a story about you and your business, it’s not going to happen. There are titles that will welcome your dollars in exchange for editorial coverage. Emerald Coast Magazine will stay on the high road because there is no other traffic on it. So, here’s to an exciting launch to our revamped magazine and a great 2011 — we have all certainly paid our dues and deserve a good one.

Brian Rowland, Publisher

emerald coast



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From the Editor

PHOTO by Allison Yii

A Time of Change I’m a child of change. My father was a career man in the Navy, so we moved nearly every three years. When my mother passed away a few years ago, I wasn’t surprised to find fully packed boxes in her attic. She was always preparing for the next move. At last count I’ve lived in 13 cities. I moved to Fort Walton Beach 12 years ago and currently live in Destin. Though I’ve lived many places, when I drive over the William T. Marler bridge and see the sweeping view of the Gulf, the jetties and the Destin harbor, I still cannot believe I live here. It is unreal. This is one move I don’t regret. In the past year and a half: I started working for myself, bought a new car, moved to a different neighborhood, enrolled my kids in a new school, adopted a new dog — and joined Emerald Coast Magazine as editor. This year has been about new beginnings. But as much as it’s been about embracing the new, it’s also been about reconnecting to my past. I may have read “Harriet the Spy” one too many times as a girl. I carried a notebook everywhere I went. Much like the book’s heroine, I recorded everything that happened in my day. I observed unsuspecting family members, while peering out of closets and from around corners. My mom called it being nosey; I’d like to consider it early investigative reporting. After penning stories for my mimeographed high school newspaper, I had ink on my sleeves — literally. And I loved it. As a freshman, I declared journalism as my major and spent many nights churning out the student-run newspaper. I was certain I knew what I wanted to do. And did precisely something else for 20-something years. Well, not completely. As a marketing and communications professional, writing and editing have always been a part of my daily work. Still, too often the publishing projects I’ve most enjoyed were often on “the corner” of my desk. I relish the opportunity to put writing and editing front and center, and work with the talented Rowland Publishing team. I have always loved the expression: Change brings opportunity. To be a storyteller in my community … to share the personal stories of the locals — the very people, places and happenings that give the Emerald Coast a true sense of place — is an honor. You’ll be happy to hear that Wendy Dixon remains on our staff

as associate editor, so you’ll still be able to read her fine work on these pages. This change in post allows her to focus even more of her time and talents as editor of Bay Life, our sister magazine in Panama City. Behind the scenes, we’ve been taking stock and taking time to listen to your suggestions for Emerald Coast Magazine. We thank you for sharing your thoughts and opinions through our online reader survey, idea sessions and focus groups. We hope you enjoy seeing many of your wonderful ideas manifested on our pages beginning this spring. To move forward you have to know where you came from. In this issue, we continue our series on Destin’s founding families in Historicity. We hope you find them as fascinating as we do. We are all lucky to live in a worldclass destination. There are so many fantastic things to do all along the Emerald Coast. We didn’t want to let the tourists have all of the fun, so our “staycation” feature highlights some of our favorite local places to visit. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we detail for you just how three distinctly different local couples celebrated their big day. We dip into the history of chocolate, which is, quite possibly, the sweetest story ever told. And we bring you many more faces and places — some familiar, some new — all found on the Emerald Coast. Don’t wait for the next reader survey to keep in touch. Please let us know what’s on your mind. Find us on Facebook, visit our website at emeraldcoastmagazine.com or e-mail me at zwolfgram@rowlandpublishing.com. Surely, a little change will always do us good.


Zandra Wolfgram, Editor zwolfgram@rowlandpublishing.com

In the December/ January issue, we ran a story on the Herrmann family who invented the Shore Surfer and misspelled their last name. We regret the error.

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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 12

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| bistrobijouxdestin.com

Best French Restaurant

QUICK READS people | items | places

Photo by Scott HOlstein


» David A. Hlatky

“This is a privilege of a lifetime,” says U.S. Air Force Col. David Hlatky, 43, of his assignment as commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base. The first of its kind in the Department of Defense, The 33rd Fighter Wing is responsible for F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilot and maintenance student training for the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force and, in the future, at least eight coalition partners. Hlatky, a former academic All-American offensive lineman for the U. S. Air Force Academy’s football team, earned his master’s degree in aerospace engineering at Princeton

University and studied as a National Security Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. His previous assignment was as a division chief on the multi-national Force-Iraq staff in the Strategic Effects Directorate at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. The command pilot has logged more than 2,300 hours in the F-16, including 114 missions and 418 hours in combat. “We have built some incredible training facilities,” he says of the training site, which will train 2,200 students a year and have about 900 on site at any given time. “We actually look like a college campus. “For the next five or six years, Eglin is going

to be the centerpiece of the F-35 world. Many more nations will want to buy this airplane when they visit Northwest Florida and see what this jet can do.” Hlatky and his wife, Dawn, had initially planned to retire at Hilton Head, S.C., but after being stationed in Northwest Florida in 2001 and again now, their plans changed. “We love this community, and the quality of life is as good as it gets,” he says. “Being in the military, we’ve seen a lot of places around the world. But this is the place that has struck the chord in our heart strings.” — Wendy O. Dixon

e m e r a l d COAST EMERALD coast



First-time authors Betsy Smith and Kathleen Vestal Logan describe their newly published book as an almanac for women over 50.

Kathleen Vestal Logan and Betsy Smith Wrote the Book on Cultivating Life in Your Golden Years By Lilly Rockwell ike many women, friends and Pensacola residents Kathleen Vestal Logan and Betsy Smith struggled with the challenges of middle L age. Though each had a long and successful career — Logan as the employee assistance coordinator for Baptist Hospital, Smith as the dean of continuing education at Pensacola Junior College — both grappled with how to approach the second acts of their lives, and how to find meaning beyond careers and families. So the women decided to write a book to help other women cope with this problem. That book, which was recently published, is called “Second Blooming for Women: Growing a Life That Matters After Fifty.” Emerald Coast Magazine writer Lilly Rockwell spoke with Logan, now 68, and Smith, 61, about their book, available for purchase online at major book retailers such as Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com. How long have you lived in Pensacola, and how did you end up here? Logan: We have been in Pensacola exactly 22 years. My husband and I ended up here. He was in the Navy, and his last duty was in Pensacola, and after three years we thought it was a nice place to live, much to our surprise. It’s the longest we’ve lived anywhere. What drew us here is we found a very warm and welcoming community. Smith: When I got the job as dean, my intent was to stay for five years and go back to Texas. But I stayed for almost 22 years. It’s a lovely place, and I felt 14

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I was put there. I left Pensacola two years ago and moved to North Carolina.

When did you decide to write a book? Smith: We were a lot younger when we started! Logan: It was April 11, 2006. Betsy invited me for lunch, and we sat down and talked to each other and she said, “Would you like to write a book?” and I said: “Sure.” We narrowed it down to a book on women over 50. Because we’re over 50 and felt like we had a whole lot left to offer, but the culture we live in dismisses and devalues women over 50.

big one for me was feeling invisible. It used to be that I walked down the street and men noticed I was alive. Now I walk down the street and it’s like I don’t exist. If you look at images on television and in magazines we are not there. This is not unique to me. I’ve heard countless women say the same thing.

What are some of the good things about getting older? Smith: I think some of the positive things about being over 50 is many women now feel that they can make decisions based on them rather than everybody else. Some don’t, and those are the ones that we wrote the book for. Your second half of life is your half of life. And it is the time for you to do the things you’ve wanted to do that you’ve kept on the back burner. Logan: When I was writing the chapter on the “good” losses, it was like a little light bulb went off in the brain. I was abysmally shy for most of my life. I am not anymore. Fear of failure kept me from writing more sooner, but now I’ve lost that fear. And you quit fooling around and do what you want to do. It makes you want to procrastinate less.

Why is getting older something women struggle with more? Smith: That’s an interesting question. Men are picking up the book and reading it and saying, what are you doing for men? They are facing the same stuff, especially in these economic times when they are getting laid off and changing careers. More and more men are also doing soul-searching and deciding how they want to live the second half of their lives.

Photo by Scott Holstein

Flourishing After 50

Tell me about some of the challenges of being a woman over 50. Logan: The

The Tenth Annual

EMERALD COAST HOME SHOW is coming to Fort Walton Beach

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Open from 10 am until 5 pm

Open from Noon until 4 pm

Saint Mary Catholic Church Parish Life Center

This fantastic event will be held at the beautiful Saint Mary Catholic Church Parish Life Center (on Saint Mary Avenue, off of Highway 98, behind City Hall)

www.EmeraldCoastHomeShow.com This event is open to the public, and unlike other Home Shows in Northwest, Florida, this event offers FREE ADMISSION to the public and over $15,000 in Door Prizes. The Event Will Feature:

• • • •

Home Show Vendors, with many Discounted Show Specials Health Care Vendors, with many Free health screenings and evaluations. Home Based Business Vendors, offering products and business opportunities. General Business Vendors, and a free children’s area.

ATTENTION VENDORS Booth Space is now available for this annual event, but is limited to the first 70 vendors who register. In addition, we are offering free admission to the public, and we expect many vendors to want to sign up for booth space. So if you would like to participate in this super event and reach many new customer prospects, please call ASAP to register.

Imagine the success you could have at an event offering the following fantastic vendor benefits NOT OFFERED BY ANY OTHER EVENT IN THIS AREA: • All Vendors Receive Free Lunch both days – so you do not have to leave the building. • All Vendors are invited to a Free Vendor Networking Dinner to be held before the event. • This Home Show is a Selling Event, so you will be allowed to sell and collect money. • We will have a Free Children’s area, with events and activities for children. • 100 posters will be put up in businesses and 10,000 flyers will be distributed. Plus ads will be placed in print and Direct Mail, as well as ads on TV and Radio.

Exclusive Radio Sponsor

Major Sponsor

Grand Prize Sponsor

Media Sponsor

To Register For A Booth Space In This Fantastic Event

Contact Wes Fell (Event Promoter) 850-837-2807 This is another great Paradise Promotion

emerald coast


QUICK READS mind & body

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8 Ways to Renew Your Best You W

hat makes you feel happy? Maybe a brand new lipstick puts a blush in your cheek, or spinning your entire collection of vinyl records puts a song in your heart. Emerald Coast Magazine wants you to step into the New Year in the best version of you possible. But you don’t have to wait for the calendar to turn a new page. To get you started, we’ve gathered surefire ways to renew your spirit today. Give one a try or work your way down the list … it’s totally up to you.


Getting a fresh start doesn’t have to mean tossing out the old entirely. Artist Mary Kay Samouce, who owns Adorn Jewelry Ah’ New, will help you remake the oldies you adore. Gather your favorite pieces and unique finds such as vintage keys, old coins and charms and allow Samouce to update them into a one-of-akind treasure.


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When you are up in the gym workin’ on your fitness, reward yourself with some good-for-you gear. Pick up a pedometer; fan a fitness blog or sign up for a subscription to a fitness publication that really gets you going. If your workout routine has a case of the blahs, try out a trial membership at a new gym, buy a fitness DVD or register for a beach boot camp class. Whatever it is that puts a spring in your step, this year, make a resolution to move it to lose it.


Grab the New Year by the tale. Crack open a brand new book and let your adventure begin. Whether you consult the New York Times bestseller list, Oprah’s Book Club or Amazon.com, why not check off something from that list of must-reads today?


Glamour is in the bag as far as Liz Hamrick is concerned. Known for her unique, handmade handbag line called Bizzy Lizzy based in Pensacola, Hamrick will allow you to relive your wedding day

again and again by making a keepsake handbag out of the fabric of your gown. Not only will it be a work of art, but you will be able to rekindle the magic of your special day every time you carry your special bag.


Life is full of daily lessons. Still, isn’t there something you’ve always wanted to try? Treat yourself to the joy of learning something new and sign up for a cooking class, painting workshop or dance lesson. Buy a foreign language CD, take up a musical instrument or jump out of your comfort zone into a swimming lesson. The only thing lost in the process will be your lack of self confidence.


The recipe for a happy life definitely calls for heaping helpings of great food. Dust off your mother’s recipe box and reinvent one of her famous creations. Ask a friend over and bake something yummy together. Or whip up something sensational from your favorite cookbook, food magazine or blog du jour. Don’t for-

Photos by Scott Holstein (beach boot camp) and Courtesy Mary Kay Samouce (jewelry) and Liz Hamrick (purse)

By Zandra Wolfgram

e m e r a l d COAST EMERALD coast


QUICK READS generation next

A is for … Artist, Actress, Activist 10-Year-Old Ally Woodard Makes a Difference

By Lilly Rockwell


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to speak in front of my peers.” One of Woodard’s favorite projects is Art Miles Mural Project’s Shoes of Hope, which encourages American school children and adults to take donated new shoes, paint them and deliver them to poor children in other countries. As an Art Miles ambassador, Woodard traveled to Haiti to personally deliver shoes, along with other gifts. “They just loved it,” Woodard said. “I was so happy and I had a great feeling inside that I just made these children’s day. They looked so satisfied.” Woodard said when she grows up she wants to be an actress … or secretary of state. It’s clear she has the poise of an actress, and surprisingly savvy political instincts. When asked whether she thought American children were spoiled, for instance, Woodard paused and answered thoughtfully. “I wouldn’t say that. A lot of the friends I know when I told them about (my humanitarian work) are very willing to help,” she said. “I just think everyone hasn’t found the time or got-

“ They just loved it. I was so happy and I had a great feeling inside that I just made these children’s day. They looked so satisfied.” – Ally Woodard, on delivering hand-painted shoes to children in Haiti as part of Art Miles Mural Project’s Shoes of Hope

ten the opportunity.” In between juggling her school and humanitarian work, Woodard is involved in acting, takes a filmmaking class, and piano and voice lessons. That’s not all. She is the president of the Junior Beta Club and is a representative at her school’s student council. Oh, and she’s also a straight-A student. “My days are pretty packed,” Woodard said. “Right after school I either go to an activity or immediately start my homework.” Woodard said she’s very organized and it helps keep her many activities straight. She credits acting with helping her give speeches. “I’ve had a lot of lessons and that has really paid off,” Woodard said. Diane Woodard says she is a little baffled by her daughter’s ease with speaking and activism. She is quick to point out that neither she nor her husband “push” their daughter toward it, nor are they particularly involved in humanitarian work themselves. “I am a much better person because of my daughter,” Diane Woodard said. “She inspires me.”

Photo by Scott Holstein


t an age when most children are preoccupied with watching a big purple dinosaur named Barney on TV, 4-yearold Ally Woodard was worried about a tsunami. Not just any tsunami, but one that had just occurred in the Indian Ocean in 2004, killing hundreds of thousands of people and destroying entire cities and villages. Ally saw a news report on the disaster and immediately wanted to help. “I guess I was a true activist at heart,” said the now 10-year-old Woodard. “The next day I went to school and told my pre-K teacher that I thought we should do a fundraiser.” That fundraiser netted $300 for tsunami victims and sparked an interest in humanitarian efforts for Woodard, a fourth-grader at Van R. Butler Elementary, that resulted in her being the youngest person ever to receive an Enhance Perceptions in Culture (EPIC) Award from the White House Project. The White House Project encourages women to run for office or take on leadership roles in their community. Woodard is no stranger to leadership, having delivered speeches urging her classmates towards activism at the tender age of 8, and traveling the world to meet with impoverished children as an ambassador of the Art Miles Mural Project. “She’s always been like this,” explained Diane Woodard, Ally’s mother. “In pre-kindergarten they called her the little peacemaker. If any children were upset she would comfort and talk to them.” By age 3, she was greeting new children at the door to her school, and made sure to address adults with respectful titles — such as Miss Valerie. Woodard has long brown hair and thoughtful brown eyes. Remarkably poised for her age, Woodard has public speaking skills that rival a seasoned member of a college debate team. Her speeches are so well crafted, one questions if she wrote them herself. “I write my own speeches and my mom proofreads them,” Woodard said, setting the record straight. “I don’t really get nervous about public speaking. The only time I get nervous is before I do a theater production or when I have

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Arts & Culture

Frame Your Day with Fun and Whimsy Big Mama’s Hula Girl Gallery Showcases 45 Local Artists


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Visitors to the gallery will notice a few changes introduced by new owner Laura Holthoff, who purchased the co-op from longtime owner and Alabama folk artist Debbie Weant-Lane. But don’t worry, you can still kick back in the seating area in the middle of the gallery, grab a beer or glass of wine from the fancifully painted fridge and chat up the artists and locals who enjoy hanging out, as well as the ever-personable Holthoff.

Photos by Scott Holstein


f you enjoy dressing to the nines and attending fancy gallery showings, Champagne in hand as you marvel at the fabulous creations of the latest darlings of the art world, then Big Mama’s Hula Girl Gallery ain’t for you, darlin’. But it is one of the darlings of the quirky, laidback art scene in Grayton Beach — a slice of the real Old Florida on the Emerald Coast. This fun and funky artist co-op is jam-packed with colorful and whimsical artwork from more than 45 local artists, from lauded folk artist Woodie Long to oneof-a-kind jewelry creations by multi-talented artist and musician Alice Bargeron. Robin Colletta of Santa Rosa Beach highly recommends Big Mama’s to everyone who enjoys playful and quirky artwork. “I make a point to bring family and visiting friends to Big Mama’s and inevitably someone finds something that reminds them of their vacation here along the most beautiful beaches in the world,” Colletta said. “It’s impossible to go in that place and not find something that speaks to you, even if it’s the crazy, offbeat you that you hide from the rest of the world.”

By Julie Root

(Left) gallery owner and artist Laura Holthoff; (bottom) mermaids, sea creatures and angels are just a few of the themes found in the colorful creations available at Big Mama’s Hula Girl Gallery.

A painter herself and interior designer, Arkansas native Holthoff decided to buy the co-op after deciding not to put off her dream of living and working in her favorite vacation spot of more than 12 years. “I thought doing something like this would come later in life, then I thought, ‘Why wait?’” she said. The business is a family affair, owned by Holthoff and her mother, brother and sister — all artists themselves. Even her nine-year-old nephew Gray chips in with his own paintings. Mother Lois Ann creates acrylic paintings of realistic nautical scenes, often incorporating colorful fish and palm trees. Sister Rachel specializes in handmade stationary and jewelry, while brother Byron paints whimsical fish, crabs and the like on wood plank and metal, as well as creating custom-made wood furniture. Holthoff is making a few changes inside, using her interior design skills to organize exhibits differently to suit her unique style. “I’ll eventually offer interior design to customers from the gallery, since I’ve been in the business for 14 years,” she said. Travel writers the world over have visited Big Mama’s, and word is getting out in the area’s booming tourism industry. “I always tell visitors that when you enter Big Mama Hula Girl Gallery, get ready for sensory overload,” said Tracy Louthain of the Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council. As the area tourism council’s public relations director, Louthain makes an effort to bring visiting travel writers and other influential media professionals to visit what she calls one of her own favorite places. “Our 2006 Artist of the Year, Phil Kiser, is often at the gallery serving up some Southern hospitality and showcasing his brilliant creations made from recycled glass,” said Louthain. Kiser uses hundreds of hand-cut pieces of antique plates, mason jars, recycled mirrors and vintage glass carefully laid together to catch the lightproducing awe-inspiring images that have become wildly popular. Other notable art includes Dwight Ward’s award-winning pottery and uniquely fun and funky folk sculptures by Kris Meigs. If you’ve dreamt of having a sculpture of Willie Nelson or Mick Jagger in your home, Meigs is your woman. She also works on commissions, so a likeness of you can also be made.

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Arts & Culture

“Every artist has their ‘fun stuff.’ Mine is sculpture and I love doing it,” said Meigs. “I will work a month on a series of paper maches and it is like a vacation. Before Christmas I work on a series of gourds … another vacation.” Patrons will also discover cottage décor by Bill Hodge Furniture and Art, and animal lovers will delight in Allison DeVaughn’s custom pet portraits. And Holthoff plans to add more artists to the co-op. “As long as it is funky and colorful, it will fit in here,” she said.

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If you’ve dreamt of having a sculpture of Willie Nelson or Mick Jagger in your home, Meigs is your woman. She also works on commissions, so a likeness of you can also be made. Although the art alone is worth the trip, Big Mama’s is more than just a gallery. It’s a local hangout where the friendly folks of Grayton Beach and surrounding beach communities like to gather and catch up on local happenings. “We keep up a very fun atmosphere,” said Holthoff. “We had an open house which turned into a huge party, and that’s what it’s all about, getting together and having a good time. You could never leave this place in a bad mood,” she added. Louthain agrees. “Laura is a delight to work with and is keeping many of the gallery’s traditions,” she said. Big Mama’s has also continued to offer something for everyone. Holthoff says items are available for as little as 25 cents to up to $5,000. “Laura has also kept the philosophy of offering art at all price points. Whether you’re looking for that large piece for your home or just some fun, funky jewelry, Big Mama’s is a must stop,” says Louthain. To take a virtual tour of the gallery, visit bigmamashulagirlgallery.com. n


(Left) Kathy Marler Blue at the Destin History & Fishing Museum, which houses her family genealogy records and a Marler display. (Below) Her parents, Nell and Ross Marler hunting during the World War II era.

Teaching Life Lessons Photos by scott Holstein and courtesy the Ross and Nell Marler Family

Kathy Marler Blue Has a Passion for the Past


he was a curious 17-year-old girl when her grandmother, Katie Nicholson Marler, died in 1968. Spreading a large piece of craft paper on the floor of her grandmother’s home on Calhoun Drive, she began methodically fitting the pieces of a fascinating puzzle together. Her inheritance: small notebooks filled with handwritten clues. She carefully mined these treasures for telling facts and figures. Though tedious and time-consuming, the process ignited a passion in the teenager for unlocking the past. This was before the age of computers and certainly years before the young historian would subscribe to Ancestry.com. Over the years, Blue interviewed relatives at the Marler–Destin–Brooks family reunion — which became Founder’s Day, a

By Zandra Wolfgram

public annual event held each May. Slowly history revealed itself in the form of interwoven family tapestries. Eventually, the trials and triumphs of these lives would be preserved in thick, black three-ring binders identified by labels now the color of tea. The first binder was dedicated to the author’s great grandparents: William Elisha Marler (1823-1884), and his bride, Sarah Rotencia Lancaster (1845-1932). “I love genealogy. It’s like an Agatha Christy novel. When you learn something new it’s like, woo hoo,” Kathy Marler Blue shouts as she does a little dance in her office at the Destin History & Fishing Museum. Blue is a fourth generation Marler. Though known for their fishing prowess today, the early Marlers were “dirt farmers” who ventured from Webster County

in Georgia, which was ravaged by the Civil War, to more fertile land in Boggy Bayou sometime in the 1870s, where it is thought they operated a grist or grain mill. Sometime after William Elisha Marler died in 1884, his wife moved their eight children into the East Pass area, now known as Destin, to farm watermelon and peanuts in the flatlands behind Wild Cat Hill, now known as Mountain Drive. The oldest child, William T. Marler (known as Uncle Billy), was a boy of 13. Once in Destin, he met and formed a deep bond with Leonard Destin, with whom he would go into the fishing business, and eventually, name the town for some 30 years later. Opening one of her many dog-eared notebooks, Blue carefully unfolded its pages to reveal the lives of Destin’s founders. “When you talk about Marlers and emerald coast


Historicity how they’ve given to the community … some differently than others. Whose name is more worthy?” Blue asks. As she comes to various names on the page, she honors them with their place in the town’s history. The Marlers and the Melvins were fisherman, she says; the Taylors were involved in the schools; the Maltezos were boat builders … “It’s just all inter-linked,” Blue says. William T. Marler, Blue’s great uncle, built the post office and the first school, which doubled as a church on Sundays. He built a fleet of skiffs, operated a grocery store, tended to the lighthouse and, when no one else would, served as the undertaker. “Uncle Billy was the problem solver of his age,” Blue says matter-of-factly. Blue’s father, Ross Clinton Marler, has a black binder, too. Old photos and clippings boast of his career in the Navy, his stint as the first president of the Destin Rotary and his longtime commitment to the Destin Chamber of Commerce, which he often addressed. One chamber event program read: “Ross Clinton Marler will talk to us on a subject that is interesting and entertaining and that is any subject he chooses.” He also served as the postmaster until he retired in 1974; the same service his uncle William T. Marler began by boat in 1896. Among her many civic posts, Blue was the first elected councilwoman in Destin. She is sure her sense of community service and penchant for genealogy was instilled in her from her father. “My dad was about moving forward, but he would say: ‘Don’t forget who you are or where you came from; protect the past and your heritage,’” she says thoughtfully. Surrounded by vintage photos, maps, historical displays and her many family albums tucked neatly under her desk, Blue is clearly at home. “This is so up my alley,” she says with smiling blue eyes. After 31 years of teaching at her alma mater, Destin Elementary School, Blue sees the job of associate director of the Destin History & Fishing Museum as a natural fit. “I miss teaching, but everyone who walks through that door is a learner,” she says with conviction. And being a Marler, she is well-prepared to teach a life lesson or two. n This is the second story on the founding families along the Emerald Coast. Are you a local? Please share your family history and photos at editorial@rowlandpublishing.com. 24

F E B R U AR Y – MARC H 2 0 1 1

William Elisha Marler 1823–1884


Sarah Rotincia Lancaster 1845–1932

Photos Courtesy the Charles and Kate Marler Family and Ross and Nell Marler Family

Meet the marlers William Elisha Marler and Sarah Rotincia Lancaster, married Jan. 24, 1865, are the founders of the Marler family line in Destin. After serving during the Civil War for the Confederate States Army, William came to Florida from Georgia, settling first at Boggy Bayou on the north shore of Choctawhatchee Bay, then moving to East Pass. The couple had eight children, whose children and grandchildren and greatgrandchildren continue the Marler legacy on the Emerald Coast. »

William Thomas marler 1866–1960

Susan Emma Marler 1867–1955

Joseph Elisha Marler 1871–1948

George S. marler 1874–1953

b. Coffee County, Ala. d. Destin, Fla.

b. Americus, Ga. d. Destin, Fla.

b. Destin, Fla. d. Destin, Fla.

b. Coffee County, Ala. d. Destin, Fla.

m. Carrie Bowers, 1892 + Ernest W. + David Henry

m. George Destin, 1886

m. Rose Etta Davis Maston

m. Emma L. Parrish

m. Camela Catherine Brooks, 1904 + Edwin Madison + Bertha + William Thomas Jr. + Edna + Benjamin Franklin + Willie Mae + Nellie + Thomas E. + Clyde

Samuel Tildon Marler 1876–1919 b. Knoxhill, Fla. d. Destin, Fla. m. Bell E. Cheeton, 1895 ch. + Willie L. + Minnie + S. Henry + Charles Roland + May Belle + Joe + Bessie + Grace

ch. + George D. + Gaines D. + Ada + Ida E. + John Angus + Dewey + Leonard E. + “Baby” Destin

David H. Marler 1878–1896 b. East Pass, Fla. d. East Pass, Fla. Never married.

ch. + William Elisha + Mary Ratencia + Clarence Lee + Lewis Absant + Isaac Ed + Joseph Christopher + Pearl Elizabeth + Howard Clifton + Helen Ethel + Wilhelmina

Fannie Rotincia Marler 1881–1965 b. East Pass, Fla. d. Millville, Fla. m. Charles Alexander Sweeney Sr., 1903 ch. + Joseph Daniel + Iva Pearl + Charles Alexander Jr. + Ira Ratencia + Sarah Ethel + Clifton Absolom

ch. + Aquilla + Priscilla + Madeline + “Baby” Marler + George S. Jr. (by another marriage)

Charles Absolom Marler 1883–1953 b. Boggy Bayou, Fla. d. Destin, Fla. m. Katie Florence Nicholson, 1903 ch. + Bruce F. + Hugh Thomas + Ross Clinton

emerald coast



For the Record

The Pinnacle of Passion, Professionalism and Poise in Business By Christy Kearney


s owner and chief executive officer of Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Jeanne Dailey is proof positive that poise matched with hard work, business acumen and integrity can produce 25 successful years in the tourism industry. Dailey’s business savvy and approachability is perhaps a product of the Toledo, Ohio, native’s Midwestern roots combined with the Southern charm she’s picked up from her adopted home along the Emerald Coast. After following a roommate from East Carolina University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing, to Northwest Florida in the mid-1980s, Dailey interviewed with Randy Newman, who was in the process of building a new real estate and resort properties management company. Dailey proved to be the right fit for the position and made Destin her home. With her new diploma in hand and an eagerness to enter the business world, Dailey took a two-week crash broker’s course and began developing the rental program, selling properties, 26

F E B R U AR Y – MARC H 2 0 1 1

keeping the books and researching homeowner association opportunities. “I found out I just loved business,” Dailey says of her early years at work. Select members of the small but growing Destin business community helped her with the framework for the fledgling company, then she took the plan and ran with it. “I guess I just had some good instincts,” she recalls with a smile. Dailey has never been afraid to follow her gut, and her willingness to take on a challenge paved the way for her success. She helped launch NewmanDailey Resort Properties in 1985, and by 1988 she was the sole owner of the company, poised to find a place in the emerging Destin tourism market. Dailey not only discovered that place, but also has been instrumental in establishing Northwest Florida as a tourism destination. Experience pays off

In April 2010, Dailey celebrated her company’s 25th anniversary, but not without a gray haze — namely the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill — tinge-

» Worked her way through college living off $40 a month in food stamps. » Likes to kayak and be outdoors. » Became first female member of Destin Rotary Club (2005 – present). » Named Honorary Commander of the 68th Squadron of the 53rd Wing at Eglin Air Force Base. » Won 2010 United Way Denim & Diamonds Dance Contest with her son, Ryan. » Named “Small Business Person of the Year” in 2001 by Walton County Chamber of Commerce. » Named “Business Person of the Year” in 2003 by Destin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Photo by Scott Holstein

Jeanne Dailey

» Earned an associate of fine arts degree but traded in her palette for a business degree.

ing the festivities. Dailey recalls poor real estate economies and hurricanes of the past quarter century, but confesses the oil spill has been one of the biggest challenges of her career. “It’s made me a stronger business person than I think I’ve ever been before,” says Dailey, joking that she has upgraded from lotion to turtle wax for the hard outer shell she’s developed in business. Dailey says her past experiences were encouraging as she faced the challenges of 2010. She comforted her nervous staff, telling them: “I have no idea how to survive an oil spill. I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I can tell you that 27 years ago when I graduated from college and I moved to this town, I had no idea how to run a rental program. I had no idea how to run a sales division or to make a successful association management division. In 1995, I had no idea how to survive a major hurricane like Hurricane Opal, but every time I figured it out. And, I’ll figure it out this time, too, and we’ll survive it and be stronger and be better for it.” Dailey’s instincts were right again. Already, 2011 is off to a strong start with the continued support of her loyal customer base and the addition of Hidden Dunes Beach Resort to the company’s repertoire of accommodations and real estate sales. PAYING IT FORWARD

When Dailey is not running her 50-employee company, she is actively involved with numerous community initiatives. “I feel so blessed to have come to this community, to live in this community, raise my children in this community and have a great business in this community,” says Dailey. “I feel so positively and so strongly about this community that I want to give back. It is part of my responsibility.” Giving back is what she has done. And now she has her thumb on the pulse of many community organizations, including United Way, the Philharmonic Society of Northwest Florida, Eglin Installation Growth Committee, Sacred Heart Foundation, Scenic Corridor Association Board, Destin Rotary Club, Destin Area Chamber of Commerce and the Walton County Tourist Development Council, to name a few. She’s also an active member of Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association and Vacation Rental Managers Association, presenting at the organization’s annual national conference. Like many of Dailey’s community projects, her work with United Way allows her to utilize her business skills. While serv-

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ing as the chairperson, she worked with the board of directors to create a strategic plan for the organization which led to the launch of Leaders Edge, a program designed to teach leaders of nonprofit agencies how to be strong business leaders. Dailey says she is excited about the prospect of United Way not only serving as a fundraising vehicle for these organizations, but also helping them become more solid, effective businesses. FAMILY FIRST

For Dailey, who has been a single mother for much of her career, family is the most important aspect of her life. She has two children — Tiffany, 24, and Ryan, 22 — and she considers her employees her extended family. Dailey has created a work culture based on care and respect. The Newman-Dailey headquarters in Destin’s Fountain Plaza is warm, relaxed and inviting — a reflection of the woman in charge — yet, as one of the main check-in locations for the company in Destin and South Walton, the office is on point and focused on catering to guests and owners. The company culture Dailey has fostered is another example of how she interweaves her personal and professional sensibilities. As one of the only female chief executive officers of a business Newman-Dailey’s size in Northwest Florida, the hospitality veteran has always focused on the work and not the perceived obstacles. “My philosophy has been to do the best that I can each and every day, holding my head up high, doing it honestly and as fairly as I can,” she says. Dailey draws from the joy she finds in her own work to guide her staff and young professionals. “Do something that’s fun and challenging,” she encourages. “You have to be willing to fail, and it’s OK if you do because it’s just research.” She believes the secret to her success has been her willingness to take risks. Dailey is thrilled her business made it to the silver anniversary, but is even more excited about the 25 years ahead. She compares the challenges and excitement of the hospitality industry to an “unbelievable rollercoaster.” Fortunately for her, her employees, her clients and the entire Destin and South Walton communities, Dailey is not just along for the ride, but leading the way. “I love roller coasters,” she laughs. “I’ll be in the front car with my hands in the air, screaming and hollering.” n



calendar | social studies | charity

photo by Mike Cage


» 4th Annual Emerald Coast Cattle Barons’ Ball

All cowboys and cowgirls will be on hand and ready for fun at this wild, wild Western-themed event. The 4th Annual Cattle Barons’ Ball is a high-energy community event that guarantees a good time for a great cause. All proceeds from the ball benefit the American Cancer Society. On Saturday, March 19, grab your favorite cowboy hat and boots, polish your big belt buckle and mosey on down to the Sandestin

Golf and Beach Resort. Guests will enjoy food from some of the area’s leading restaurants, chefs and caterers. Between noshes on delectable bites, plan on dancing the night away to the sounds of The Modern Eldorados. In addition, live and silent auctions will take place throughout the night. Cattle Barons’ Balls are the world’s largest single-night fundraisers for cancer research.

It’ll be one night of fun that will make a difference for a lifetime. The festivities begin at 6 p.m. and don’t end until the cows come home. Baron and Rancher table sponsorships are available, as well as individual tickets. For further information contact Kay Phelan, 2011 Cattle Barons’ Ball chair, at (850) 376-1551, or e-mail inquiries to kayphelan@ earthlink.net. — Brandon Neasman

emerald C E coast


calendar of events February & march Compiled by Brandon Neasman

Feb. 4 Madeline Bad Hat Day — Children’s Series Come see Ludwig Bemelman’s classic tale brought to life in this national touring show. Students/chaperones $6. Mainstage at Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 9:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. For more information contact Delores Merrill at (850) 729-6065, mattiekellyartscenter.org. Feb. 5 Pensacola Double Bridge Run A 15K course from downtown to Pensacola Beach takes runners over two bridges crossing Pensacola Bay and Santa Rosa Sound. Runners and walkers are also welcome at the 5K course and Kids Fun Run. Park at the Casino Beach parking lot (the lot with the beach ball water tower) on Pensacola Beach to take the shuttle to the starting lines. 15K shuttles begin at 5:15 a.m. and the race starts at 7 a.m. 5K shuttles begin at 6 a.m. with race start time at 8 a.m. Registration $40 (after Jan. 30). (850) 434-2800, doublebridgerun.com Feb. 5 Celebrating Sinfonia’s 5th Love is in the air as the Northwest Florida Ballet dances live to excerpts from Prokofiev’s ballet “Romeo & Juliet.” Violinist Nick Kendall takes center stage in the Southeast U.S. premiere of

Art Strings combines the visual and performing arts to raise funds for Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s educational outreach programs through the James A. Fuller Memorial Fund for Music Education. Up to 24 local, regional and national artists will create individual works of art using violins as their canvases. These transformed violins will be displayed throughout the season at Sinfonia concerts and events and will find their temporary home in the former Elevation storefront at Grand Boulevard Sandestin. FREE. 215 Grand Boulevard, Miramar Beach. (850) 269-7129, sinfoniagulfcoast.org Marianne Valentine Helmich’s “City Symphony” » 30

F E B R U AR Y – MARC H 2 0 1 1

photo by Rhonda C. Schaefer

best bet: through april 30 Sinfonia ArtStrings: A Painted Violin Exhibit

best bet: february 7 Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble — Artist Series Don’t miss the Dance Theatre of Harlem Ensemble as they put on a performance filled with four decades worth of creative expression. Founded in 1969 by pioneering black ballet star Arthur Mitchell, the Dance Theatre has wowed audiences across the world with their innovative and bold forms of ballet. Add in phenomenal inspirational content and audience interaction and you have a show the entire family will want to see. Adults $35, youth (18 and under) $25; students (Northwest Florida State College students with I.D.) $25. Mainstage at Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 7:30 p.m. (850) 729-6000, mattiekellyartscenter.org

photo courtesy Mattie Kelly Arts Center

Chris Brubeck’s Concerto for Violin Spontaneous Combustion. $52.50 per person for gala table seating includes heavy hors d’oeuvres from Carrabba’s Italian Grill. Additional tickets are $37.50. Emerald Coast Conference Center, 1250 Emerald Coast Pkwy. SE, Fort Walton Beach, 7:30 p.m., (850) 269-7229, sinfoniagulfcoast.org Feb. 12 Mardi Gras on the Island Grab your beads and masks and revel in this allday festival with the entire family. The festivities kick off with the Okaloosa Mardi Gras Parade featuring bumper-to-bumper traffic of decorated floats. When the sun goes down, put on your best costume and party the night away at the Mardi Gras Ball featuring entertainment by the Swingin’ Dick Tracys. FREE. Parade starts on Santa Rosa Boulevard at 11 a.m. Mardi Gras Ball is at the Emerald Coast Conference Center, 1250 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE, Destin. 8 p.m.– midnight. (850) 244-8191, fwbchamber.org Feb. 12–13 Strawberry Festival Good music, free games for kids, amusement rides, shopping and of course, strawberries — what could be better? Bring the entire family for a weekend of fun that also includes hay rides, a country muemerald coast



F E B R U AR Y – MARC H 2 0 1 1

events calendar sic contest and the Miss Strawberry Pageant. FREE. Pier Park Amphitheater, Panama City Beach. Dixie Highway performing Sat 6 p.m., Shawn Rader & The Redneck Riviera Boys performing Sun 6 p.m. pcbstrawberryfestival.com Feb. 13 Show Choir Snowbirds Show Northwest Florida State College’s spectacular choir performs a concert to remember. $8 (tickets available at Snowbird meetings at the Destin Community Center or at Northwest Florida State College). Mainstage at Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 2 p.m. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Paul Hewitt at pnatthebeach@gmail.com. Feb. 15 Buffalo Soldier Enjoy a night of entertainment and history with stage actor Cedric Liqueur as he performs an incredible one-man show. Liqueur portrays Sgt. George Jordan, a born slave who, at 19, joined one of the African-American army regiments known as the Buffalo Soldiers. Sgt. Jordan was eventually recognized for his heroics and awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his service. Originally from England and a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Liqueur has toured throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. General admission $10. Mainstage at Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 1:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (850) 729-6000, mattiekellyartscenter.org Feb. 19 Puccini’s ‘Turandot’ — Broadway Series Teatro Lirico D’ Europa, the stellar European touring company which performs worldwide, presents Puccini’s final operatic masterpiece, “Turandot,” as part of the company’s 12th national tour. Based on the Greek myth “The Riddle of the Sphinx,” this story is filled with drama, romance, riddles and twists. General admission $45. Mainstage at Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 7:30 p.m. (850) 729-6000, mattiekellyartscenter.org Feb. 24 Multi-Chamber Business Expo & Taste of Okaloosa County Looking to jumpstart your business? Don’t miss this chance to network at the biggest marketing expo in the region. FREE. Emerald Coast Conference Center, 1250 Miracle Strip Pkwy. SE, Destin. 4–7 p.m. (850) 244-8191, fwbchamber.org

photo by Allison Yii

Feb. 25 Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra — Stars of Tomorrow The concert features winners of the prestigious annual Northwest Florida Symphony Orchestra Regional Concerto Competition, as well as the playful classic by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, “Peter and the Wolf,” to delight and inspire children and adults of all ages. The orchestra’s founding conductor emeritus John Leatherwood will lend his talents as the narrator of this delightful work. Adults $22.50, youth (18 & under) $16. Mainstage at Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 7:30– 10 p.m. (850) 729-6000, mattiekellyartscenter.org Feb. 26 Mardi Gras Kid and Kritter Parade Now 17 years old, this Mardi Gras for kids is a walking parade led by the Krewe of Kids Royal Court and will include other children’s groups as well. $5 entry fee for dogs, kids FREE. Parade will start at Pensacola Beach Fire Station and will end at the Pensacola Beach Community Church. Signup day of event 10:30, parade 11 a.m. (850) 9321500, pensacolabeachchamber.com

best bet: march 3 Krewe of Arfeous Dog Parade Bring the entire family, and Fido, out for this spectacular event that’s sure to be a blast. Now in its eighth year, the Krewe of Arfeous Dog Parade will feature pets showing off their most creative costumes as they prance and promenade around The Village of Baytowne Wharf. Decorated cars, small floats, golf carts and wagons will fill the streets as the pooches are chauffeured around town. Enjoy the live music and activities, as well as the shops and restaurants of Baytowne Wharf at this four-paw event. Proceeds from registration fees and merchandise sales will go to a charitable organization. Registration fees are $10 per dog and $20 per moving vehicle. Admission FREE. The parade begins at 2 p.m. in The Village of Baytowne Wharf. For more information, contact Lanier Motes at (850) 267-8110 or lanier@ baytownewharf.com. March 4–April 17 Arnie Hart Student Exhibition and Faculty Exhibitions Enjoy an artistic experience as Northwest Florida State College students and faculty showcase their pieces during this annual juried art exhibition. FREE. Mclnroy and Holzhauer galleries at the Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. This event kicks off with the opening awards reception on March 4 at 5 p.m. Gallery hours: Mon– Fri, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; Sun 1–4 p.m.; 6–7:30 p.m. prior to Mainstage performances in the theater. (850) 729-6000, mattiekellyartscenter.org



emerald coast


events calendar

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March 5 Pensacola Mardi Gras Parade One of the country’s original celebration sites, Pensacola hosts this family-oriented Mardi Gras parade in the historical downtown area. Crowds can catch beads, doubloons and MoonPies galore as they are thrown from floats. FREE. Downtown Pensacola. 2 p.m. (850) 436-7638, pensacolamardigras.com March 5–6 Gulf Coast Renaissance Fair Step back to the days of old with jousting exhibitions, falconry, medieval musicians, jesters, jugglers, fire breathers, belly dancers, bagpipers and more. Pensacola Interstate Fairgrounds on Mobile Highway. (at the intersection of Pine Forest Road and Mobile Highway south of Interstate 10). gcrf.net March 11 Gallery Night Enjoy an evening of arts and culture by touring downtown Pensacola art galleries open from 5– 9 p.m. FREE, downtownpensacola.com March 11 ‘Rhythm of the Dance’ — Artist Series The Emerald Coast meets the Emerald Isle when this Irish step dance production comes to town. Witness the Celtic pride as dancers light up the stage with traditional dance and music while sharing lore from Irish culture. General admission $35. Mainstage at Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 7:30 p.m. (850) 729-6000, mattiekellyartscenter.org March 12 McGuire’s 5K St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run With more than 5,000 participants, it’s the nation’s largest prediction run. Unlike most races, the awards go not only to the fastest, but you can also win by making the most accurate prediction of your finishing time. Prediction awards go five deep in 14 age groups, plus 50 speed awards. A special gift goes to the top male/female finisher and McGuire’s beer mugs go to the top 10 open, five masters, grand masters and great grand masters finishers. Team trophies are three deep in each division. Register early to guarantee a full-color cotton T-shirt. The post-race party features live music, beer, Irish wakes, soft drinks, water and food. Entrance fee to be determined. McGuire’s Irish Pub, 600 E. Gregory St., Pensacola. 9 a.m. (850) 433-6789, mcguiresirishpub.com March 16–19 ‘As You Like It’ Northwest Florida State College brings one of William Shakespeare’s best comedies to life as they spin a story filled with romance, satire and disguise. Adults $15, youth (18 and under) $10. Sprint Theater at Mattie Kelly Fine & Performing Arts Center at Northwest Florida State College, 100 College Blvd., Niceville. 7:30 p.m. (850) 729-6065, mattiekellyartscenter.org March 17 St. Paddy’s Pops Irish instrumental ensemble Mithril returns to the Sinfonia stage to perform their exciting arrangements with orchestra. The concert will also include the musical suite from the epic film series “The Lord of the Rings” and “Far and Away.” General admission $37.50. Emerald Coast Conference Center, 1250 Emerald Coast Pkwy. SE, Fort Walton Beach, 7:30 p.m. (850) 269-7229, sinfoniagulfcoast.org March 26 Reeling for Destin This lunch and charity fashion show showcasing local retailers’ spring designs is hosted by the Destin Woman’s Club. $45, Linkside Grand Ballroom in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Miramar Beach, 11 a.m., (850) 650-6676, destinwomansclub.org n


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regional best bet: march 11–13 Red Hills International Horse Trials Nestled amongst North Florida’s charming rolling hills, and far removed from the hustle and bustle of state government and college life, the quiet Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park will once again ring with the sounds of horse hooves this spring.

precise yet fluid manner in order to score well. While finesse and communication between rider and horse are critical in the dressage phase, endurance and speed are key in the cross country portion of the trials. Riders are expected to maintain control of their horses while jumping over fixed obstacles set up on a natural terrain course. Points are deducted when a horse refuses a jump or the horse and rider complete the course in a time judged too fast or too slow. The horse’s stamina is again tested on the third day, during the stadium-jumping phase. Unlike cross-

country, stadium jumps faced by horse and rider are temporary fixtures, which can be easily knocked over. In this phase, obedience and the ability to turn and jump quickly are crucial for the horse and rider. The 2011 Red Hills International Horse Trials is sure to be a delightful and exciting event the entire family will enjoy. General admission is $15 per day and $25 for a three-day pass. Children under 12 accompanied by adults are FREE. Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park, 4000 N Meridian Road, Tallahassee. Fri and Sat 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.–til. (850) 580-4020, rhht.org

Riders from across the world will flock to Tallahassee to participate in one of the premiere equestrian events in the country, the Red Hills International Horse Trials. Founded in 1998, the three-day event attracts more than 15,000 spectators each year and features the sport’s best, including Olympic riders. In 2003, Red Hills hosted the first United States East Coast World Qualifier and is expected to be a qualifying event for riders vying to participate in the 2012 London Olympics.

photo by Lawrence Davidson

At Red Hills, competitors are tested in three areas: dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping. In the dressage phase, horse and rider are judged on how they perform a series of classical movements to demonstrate how well the rider controls the horse. Similar to gymnastics, the horse must execute impressive movements in a

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beaches of south walton 2010 annual meeting: 1. John Heiser, Tracy Louthain and Merlin Allen 2. Dawn Moliterno with Allison Wickey 3. Jennifer Day, Phil Kiser, Laura Holthoff 4. Deidra and Mike Stange; 5th Annual Charity Car Show Pre-Party at Porsche of Destin: 5. Marcus Zingaretti, Jeff Henley, Alan Berg and Bob Graubman 6. Marcus Zingaretti, Jessica Hathorn and Mark Ramming 7. Kelly Turner, Jan Roberts, Kristal Edwards and Greg Roberts 8. Jay and Kelly Turner [Photos by Jessica Hathorn and Zandra Wolfgram]


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An Evening with Einstein at the ArtStrings Exhibit in Grand Boulevard: 1. Candy Peters, Lindsey Peters and Bart Fleet 2. Jerry and Doreen Baca 3. Tim Krueger and George Einstein 4. Mark and Jana Rankin with Heidi and Fred Immler; Florida Public Relations Association’s Holiday Toast on the Coast: 5. Kay Phelan, Jennifer Jones Holcombe, Erin Bakker, Steve Barber and Jessica Proffitt 6. Angela and Matt Triplett 7. Nancy Stanley, Valeria Lento and Ron Couget 8. Lori Smith and Jennifer Jones Holcombe [Photos by Zandra Wolfgram]

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Rosemary Beach Uncorked: 1. Mary Green 2. Rebecca Sanford and Tiffani Thompson 3. Ashley Palmer, Hope Jones and Shelby Lagner 4. Kim, Marley and Giselle Shahid; Fisher House Ribbon Cutting: 5. Shirley Pigott, Tom Rice, Doris and George Day 6. Brandy Wunker and Bob Mearns 7. Pat Rennie and Gary Walker 8. James Binnicker and Bruce Marshall [Photos by Jessica Hathorn and Zandra Wolfgram]


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The Taste of the beach: 1. Hillary Fosdyck, Cody Jordon and Briane O’Dell 2. Brett Bartfuff, Nichole Browning, David Rahmanie and Deanna Dugan 3. Ken Hastings and Terri Walker 4. Kelly Pearson, Lynsie Matern, Staci Berryman and JoAnne Meyer 5. Vanessa English, Satin Blair, Perscilla Ritenour and Carol Pauls; Brogan & brera at Studio B: 6. Nick Kokolis, James Murray, Rhonda Simmons, Jessica Hathorn and Chuck Sullivan 7. Chucha Barber, Paul Cohen and Hope Childree 8. Ashley Cortese and Jennifer Merchant 9. Craig and Malgorzata Hoffman [Photos by Jessica Hathorn and Zandra Wolfgram] emerald coast


Forty percent of Walton County is preserved parks and wetlands, making eco-excursions a natural.

Five Places 40

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Day Trips along the Emerald Coast

Photo by Chandler Williams / Modus Photography

By Zandra Wolfgram


tunning sugar-white sand. Check. Emerald water and balmy breezes. Check. A fun, family vacation destination that won’t break the bank. Check, check, check. There are plenty of reasons millions of visitors flock to this area year after year. As the official lifestyle magazine for the Emerald Coast, we felt it it only appropriate to point out a few. With so many entertaining things to do all along the coast, you can start vacation season just steps from your home. Why not? Frommer’s, one of the world’s most respected travel guides, put it on its list of Top 10 Destinations in the World, so who are we to argue?

you should go EMERALD COAST


From the charm of a turn-of-the-century schoolhouse to fascinating Indian artifacts, the Heritage Park & Cultural Center gives us a glimpse into Fort Walton Beach’s rich past.

The Museum Get Some (Historical) Perspective at the Heritage Park & Cultural Center Apparently, there were “bombs bursting in air” in Fort Walton Beach in 1861. According to museum manager Gail Meyer, though there was never really a fort there, there was a camp established by the Walton County guards, and from that the city’s name was coined. In April of 1861, the Walton Guards moved down to the Narrows of Santa Rosa Sound East Pass, where they could react quickly to any threat to commerce in the bay. The Walton Guards pitched camp in what is now the heart of downtown Fort Walton Beach. Their main camp was located near the base of the large temple mound that can still be seen there. The men from Camp Walton engaged in some minor skirmishing with Photographed by Scott Holstein 42

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sailors from a Union blockade vessel stationed offshore, an action that prompted retaliation on April 1, 1862, by Capt. Henry W. Closson of the 1st U.S. Artillery. Gen. Braxton Bragg sent an 18-pound carronade (a short-barreled naval cannon) from Pensacola to help the men at Camp Walton defend against future attacks. The cannon is on display at the entrance to the Fort Walton Beach Heritage Park & Cultural Center in the downtown historic district. The park is also home to the three other historic attractions: the Indian Temple Mound Museum, the Camp Walton School House Museum and the Garnier Post Office Museum. The Cultural Center is open Monday through Saturday from noon to 4:30 p.m. The entrance fee includes admission to all of the attractions. Adults are $5; military and seniors pay $4.50, children ages 4 to 17 are $3; kids under 4 are free. The easiest access to the park is from the back, off of Eglin Parkway. For more information, visit fwb.org/museum. n

The longest fishing pier in the Gulf of Mexico juts out from the pristine sugar-white sands of lovely Navarre. As of June 2010, the newly renovated Navarre Beach Fishing Pier was open for business. The 1,500-foot pier that stands about 30 feet above the water welcomes serious or recreational anglers and sightseers looking to take in the amazing view. Being one of the longest piers on the Gulf gives this one a clear advantage — spotting bottle-nosed dolphin, stingrays and sea turtles swimming by is a common occurrence. Interpretive signs posted along the pier providing fish identification and facts about local wildlife are a nice touch. With luck, you can lure the likes of cobia, mackerel, snapper, flounder and pompano. A recent decision to expand the pier deck means even more fish species may be easier to reel in soon. Plans are also in the works to enlarge the restaurant on the pier. An online photo album posted by the Florida Park Service, which oversees the pier, shows dozens of smiling anglers boasting of bragging rights to their awesome catch of the day (navarrepier.com). Brother and sister Everett Ratliff and Dorothy Slye of Navarre, who say they were pier rats in the ’60s and ’70s, manage the pier, which is open daily from 5 a.m. No fishing license is required. A daily fishing pass is just $7. An annual fishing pass is available for about $240. A stroll along the pier will only set you back a buck. You can purchase passes at the pier office and Sandy Bottoms gift store on Navarre Beach. Navarre is known as one of Florida’s “best kept secrets,” but the locals know the true secret — as destinations go, Navarre is the place to reel in big fun. n

The Pier

Photo Courtesy Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council

A stroll along the newly extended Navarre Beach Fishing Pier provides a perspective of the Gulf of Mexico that is both priceless and peerless.

Pier into Greatness



Mountain Coatimundi are social animals that live on land, in treetops and, occasionally, on head tops.


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The zoo

The Golden Headed Lion Tamarin are endangered animals found only in Brazil. The Gulf Breeze Zoo is home to 11 including two babies. (Right) Several decorative peacocks grace the grounds of this 50-acre zoo.

Go Wild at the Gulf Breeze Zoo The Gulf Breeze Zoo has re-opened for (monkey) business. If you’re looking for a place to go wild, here it is. Originally opened in 1984, the 50acre zoo, located on Highway 98 in Gulf Breeze, was home to 900 animals but then fell on tough economic times and closed its doors in August 2009. It marks one year under the new ownership of Eric Mogensen in March. Changes to the entry area and overall

zoo layout have been made, and plans to add even more animals, update the signage and create more of a safari experience are underway. They even added the Kaitland, a shiny, red and black locomotive that chugs around the park. Giraffes, big cats, monkeys, bats, birds of prey and reptiles are there, along with some new furry faces — black bear cubs, New Guinea Singing Dogs, baby Golden Lion Tamarins, llamas, kangaroos, wallabies and water buffalo calves. The petting zoo is always a big hit with little kids excited to try their

hand at feeding goats, pigs, rabbits, llamas, calves and baby chicks. The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for kids, $11 for seniors. Feeding cups and the safari train, which runs on the half hour, are $3 each. A season pass for four is around $130 and will allow you to monkey around all year. If you have a special day coming up, the zoo is a creative venue for a birthday party. One package option includes a private animal encounter. Now that is one wild party. For more information, visit GulfBreezeZoo.org. n

Photographed by Scott Holstein EMERALD COAST


You’ve heard the expression, “When in Rome.” Well, when in Walton County, you cannot overlook the opportunity to get up close and personal with the stunning nature around you. With state parks, preserves and wetlands making up 40 percent of the area, “green with envy” takes on a whole new meaning. Walco Eco Tours provides hands-on eco-tours guided by owner Murray Balkcom. An avid outdoorsman, Balkcom has been paddling on the coastal dune lakes of South Walton and the Gulf of Mexico since 2002, and has been leading guided nature walks and guided kayak tours in Walton County since 2006. Balkcom describes the coastal dune lakes as rare national treasures that are unknown even to longtime locals. He explains that this particular type of lake is found only in New Zealand, Australia and Walton County, where there are 15. “Our tours are a great way to reconnect with the outdoors, and provide a great alternative to a day at the beach,” he says. Walco Eco Tours offers two wonderful ways to explore Walton County’s Western Lake and the surrounding animals and plant life that call it home. Opt for an excursion that combines kayaking and walking/hiking or try the new offering — a YOLO Yak. YOLO, an acronym for You Only Live Once, is a brand of stand up paddleboard birthed in Santa Rosa Beach. The YOLO Yak is a hybrid board designed with elements of a paddleboard and a kayak to facilitate better stability while paddling. This tour combines a YOLO Yak ride and walking/hiking. Both experiences are two hours long and are customized to the level and interest of the group. Tours launch from the boathouse at WaterColor, located on Scenic Highway 30A. The kayak tour requires two people and maxes out at eight. It is open to kids ages 5 and up. Adults are $60; kids under 10 are $30. The YOLO Yak tour is $60 per person and open to kids ages 12 and up. When you go, wear waterproof shoes, sunscreen and a hat (as long as it is secured). And don’t forget to drink plenty of water before you venture into the sun on the tour. For more information, visit WalcoEcoTours.com. n 46

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the dune lakes

Nature lovers of all ages can hop aboard a YOLO Yak and discover the secrets of the mysterious coastal dune lakes.

Photo by Chandler Williams / Modus Photography

An Eco Tour in Walton County Is a Natural

Boutique shops, lively restaurants and a number of boating options in Destin’s HarborWalk Village, nestled below the Emerald Grande resort, allow families to chart their course for fun.

the harbor Photos by Jody Felder (Harbor) and Jennifer Shillingburg (concert)

Head to HarborWalk for a ‘Grande’ Day Out The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village would not be worth its sea salt if it didn’t have a vibrant fishing harbor. Locals and visitors alike have made HarborWalk Village the hub for year-round festive happenings in Destin. Located at the western edge of town at the foot of the William T. Marler bridge just below the Emerald Grande resort, HarborWalk Village opened on the Destin harbor in 2007 as a pedestrian village filled with shops, restaurants and dozens of fishing boats. The boats are not just for your viewing pleasure, though they are fun to look at. The working harbor is home to doz-

ens of local fisherman and charter captains who are experts at creating memorable experiences for millions of visitors. So why let the tourists have all the fun? Treat your family to a day of fishing or boating. If you want to scout for dolphin, one option is the Southern Star, an impressive 76-foot glass-bottom boat. Looking to lure in big game fish? Consider HarborWalk Charters, the original deep sea fishing charter service with more than 25 years of experience. Want to get a bite on the bay? Backcountry Outfitters Bay Fishing will arrange a trip for lighttackle fishing, bay fishing or even fly fishing. Or simply sail the gorgeous Gulf on a three-hour tour aboard the National Bowditch, a 54’ traditionally-rigged steel schooner. If you want to get out on the water, rent a pontoon boat for the day or fly over the Gulf on a parasailing adventure available through Boogie’s Watersports. With kiosks conveniently located along the dock at HarborWalk Marina (HarborWalk-destin.com), it’s easy to reserve any of these charter boat experiences while strolling around the harbor. If you simply want to be near the water with the entire family, head to HarborWalk Village. With a full roster of special events, weekend happenings, live entertainment and weekly fireworks displays, it is a festive and fun place to spend the entire day. And with so many restaurants to choose from right on the Destin harbor, you can extend the day well into the evening. n



weddings 2010

fun-lovin’love stories 48

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Photo by Amanda Suanne Photography

hile some wedding traditions remain, today’s couples are celebrating their relationship by choosing weddings that are uniquely theirs. And, as it turns out, they want to have fun on their big day. Unconventional menu items — a macaroni or mashed potato bar, gumballs and candied apples — are the bride and groom’s way of saying, “to heck with tradition.” Adding unexpected personal touches is another hot trend. One Emerald Coast bride had the bright idea of incorporating a rainbow of colored sandals on the feet of her bridesmaids as a stark contrast to an otherwise black and white color palette. Another bride nursed beta fish for months to later use as centerpieces for her reception tables. Still another set up a photo booth for guests at their wedding reception, complete with whimsical props that included over-sized sunglasses, hats feather boas and inflatable musical instruments. Unconventional, you might say, but fun for sure. »

Today ’ s weddings are spirited, sp u n ky and sensational By Wendy O. Dixon



weddings 2010

megan + nick march 20, 2010


egan Ashe thought her boyfriend, Nick Engle, was joking when he proposed. “Nick is a very spontaneous guy,” Megan says about her high school sweetheart, who popped the question in a taxi minivan in the company of his sister and friends. “Since he didn’t have a ring, I didn’t think he was serious.” When Nick declared to an irritated Megan that he was entirely serious, she told him to ask the question again. Making it official, the couple chose a new setting for a diamond that had been in the family for years. “Family is really important to me,” Megan says. Staying true to her Southern roots, Megan chose a plantation-style wedding at the Kelly Plantation Golf Club, which boasts a beautiful garden and pond in the


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back of the clubhouse. The couple’s signature drink — Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka infused with lemonade — was served in mason jars. Megan’s gown was a strapless satinback taffeta dress adorned with Swarovski crystals on an empire waistline and lace detailing at the hemline. She tucked a white camellia in her chignon during the ceremony and replaced it with a vibrant purple flower and peacock feather for the reception. Bridesmaids wore eggplant satin dresses and carried bouquets of maidenhair fern, roses, ranunculus and sweet peas. The groom and groomsmen each wore a single-breasted suit with a purple paisley tie. The wedding cake was a six-tiered masterpiece made of a different flavor for each layer and topped with miniature

sugar roses surrounding a large sugar peony. “Rhonda’s (of Confections on the Coast) cakes are absolutely heavenly,” Megan says. “Every layer was simple and elegant.” The groom’s cake, a surprise to Nick, was in the shape of a Nascar racecar. “Nick grew up racing go-karts and full-sized sprint cars a— a hobby he shared with his dad — and something I knew I had to work into the wedding,” Megan says. As guests departed the festivities, they were thanked with wedding favors of candied apples double dipped in caramel, then milk chocolate and drizzled in dark chocolate, all elegantly wrapped in ribbon and adorned with a personalized logo. The fun favors were a huge hit with the crowd. “There were none left,” Megan recalls with a laugh. Photography by JRD Photography

Photos by Dede Edwards Photography

Vendors Wedding Party Attire Simply Elegant / Ceremony/Reception Venue Kelly Plantation Golf Club / Photography Dede Edwards Photography / Invitations WeddingPaperDivas.com / Hair LaDonna’s Redken Salon / Makeup Britney O. Llantin, Mary Kay Cosmetics / Catering Kelly Plantation Golf Club / Décor Celestine’s Special Occasions and Shelby Peadon / Flowers Celestine’s Special Occasions / Cake Confections on the Coast / Officiant Pastor David Malheiro, Grace Tabernacle Church / Entertainment Penny Schenkel, Shawn (A DJ Connection) EMERALD COAST


weddings 2010


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traci + matthew S eptember 1 8 , 2 0 1 0

Photos by Erin Hansen, Caroline Brady and Key Phelan


s an unexpected (and at first, unwanted) birthday gift, Traci Stokes and Dr. Matthew Markel’s friends tricked them into meeting, assured that the reluctant couple would hit it off. It worked. The pair ended up talking late into the night and fell in love over the next several months. Matt chose to propose at their special place — Harry T’s restaurant, where they enjoy many Sunday afternoons following church. He gave Traci a framed poem he had written, then showed her the ring, which he had been holding behind the frame. “I was overcome with emotion because I didn’t expect it,” she says. “The whole restaurant erupted in applause.” And as most modern brides do these days, Traci immediately updated her Facebook status. Traci’s dress was a soft white gown with beaded straps, a ruched bodice and elegant A-line silhouette. She carried dark red roses while her bridesmaids, all sisters, wore dresses in varying styles and shades of red. The flower bouquets, inspired by the Gulf Coast sunsets, were made with hues of warm reds, oranges, yellows and ivories. The groom and groomsmen wore black tuxedos. Incorporating beach elements into the wedding, the couple opted for a sand ceremony, mixing three colors

of sand — red from bride’s family, gold from groom’s family and white to represent God in their marriage. While on the limo ride from Niceville United Methodist Church to the reception at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, the newlyweds updated their Facebook profiles to read, “married.” Traci and Matt also wanted to incorporate the beach into the reception. The centerpieces, fish bowls each housing a dark red beta fish they had been nurturing since March, were later given to some guests. Matt, a trumpet player, played “My Funny Valentine” for the father-daughter dance. “We had a lot of musicians in the audience,” Traci says. “It was fun to see two of our groomsmen, as well as other friends and family, perform.” In addition to the decadent roast, chicken and seafood catered by the Hilton Sandestin Beach staff, the couple chose a mashed potato bar for guests to fill martini glasses with potatoes, bacon bits and other toppings. “Everyone loved it,” Traci says. “It’s something we thought would be fun and good for kids and adults.” The groom’s cake, celebrating Matt’s musicality, was shaped like a trumpet while the bride’s cake was a threetiered masterpiece topped with a monogrammed “M” and fresh roses. In addition, San Gelato Café served four different flavors of gelato for dessert.

Vendors Wedding Party Attire Annas Bridal and Formal / Ceremony/Reception Venue Niceville United Methodist Church, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa / Photography Erin Hansen, Caroline Brady and Kay Phelan / Invitations Kate Kelley, Mine 2 Design / Hair Joseph Rogers at Avantgarde Salon / Makeup Donya Iverson at Avantgarde Salon / Catering Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa / Décor Ashley Watkins with Panache Event Services, Tuscany Events / Flowers Flowers by Vivian / Cake Say Cake Bakery & Cafe / Officiants Rev. Rob Bohnsack and Rev. Dan Newell / Entertainment Swingin’ Dick Tracys EMERALD COAST


weddings 2010

jami + hunter J u ly 2 4 , 2 0 1 0


econnecting years after they first met, Jami Anderson and Hunter Ray met for a drink at Bud and Alley’s Restaurant in Seaside and ended up talking about the meaning of life. “Before we knew it, the whole night had gone by,” Jami remembers. They were engaged six months later, also at Bud and Alley’s. “He grabbed my hand, it was such a blur,” Jami says. “Next thing I knew he was on one knee asking me to marry him.” Hunter, knowing his lady likes things that are a little out of the ordinary, knew exactly what Jami wanted. He found a vintage ring nearly 100 years old in Kent Ltd. in Grayton Beach. “It already had an inscription that read, ‘love’ and it fit perfectly,” Jami says. The bride wore a bright white taffeta dress adorned with a vintage black brooch and black sandals. The bridesmaids wore elegant black cotton sateen dresses and a rainbowspectrum of flirty shoes — cheerful hues of bright yellow, cobalt blue, lime green, hot pink and amethyst purple — while carrying folding fans in the same color. “They loved it, I tried to pick their favorite colors,” Jami says of her bridesmaids’ sandals. The groom and groomsmen wore black suits, and the groom sported a bright turquoise tie while his men donned black and white stripped ties. The flowers were white hydrangeas tied with a black ribbon and pinned with a vintage brooch. The décor at Christ the King Episcopal Church was traditional, while the reception at Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club embraced the drama of black and white, with erupting candy colors throughout. Gumball machines and bright candy added some fun to the event. While guests enjoyed the heavy hors d’oeuvres before a full buffet complete with a carving station and salad bar, the star of the feast was the macaroni and cheese bar. “It was delicious,” Jami says. “It makes me hungry just thinking about it.” Guests danced the night away to the tunes of the Beach Mice, a band specializing in ’80s, ’90s and contemporary music. The couple exited with hands joined in the air as their guests wished them farewell by waving lit sparklers at the newlyweds.

Vendors Wedding Gown Simply Elegant / Bridesmaids’ Dresses Dessy Bridesmaids / Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Outfits Simply Elegant / Ceremony/Reception Venue Christ the King Episcopal Church, Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club / Photography Amanda Suanne Photography / Invitations designed by the bride / Hair Anna Marie, the Change Salon / Makeup by the bride, Pretty Sweet Makeup / Catering Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club / Décor bride’s own / Flowers Emerald Coast Flowers / Cake Cakes by Sheila / Officiant Rev. Frank Cooper / Entertainment Beach Mice 54

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Photos by Amanda Suanne Photography

special advertising section

Local Business Receives National Wedding Award


he Emerald Coast’s beaches have long been ranked among the best in the world. Now, the designation of “the best” also extends to weddings on the Emerald Coast. SunQuest Cruises’ wedding yacht Solaris has brought the national spotlight to the coast by being named The Best Wedding Reception Venue by The Knot. An industry leader for brides planning their weddings, each year The Knot conducts a survey of real brides and real weddings. In a survey of 30,000 subscribers, Solaris was voted a 2010 Best of Wedding Reception Venue. “We didn’t even know we were in the running,” said Gwen Hall, director of Sales and Marketing. “We were honored when we were notied of the award. And it felt good


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knowing that our commitment of resources and expertise to each wedding is so appreciated that our brides wanted to share

“It felt good knowing that our commitment of resources and expertise to each wedding is so appreciated that our brides wanted to share their experience with others.” – Gwen Hall, director of Sales and Marketing their experience with others.” In 2009, SunQuest Cruises hired two full-time event planners to assist brides from

the beginning of the planning process through to the actual wedding event. SunQuest Cruises hosted 90 weddingrelated events in 2010 and is on track to host well over 100 in 2011. The entire staff — from the management, chef and event planners to the servers — keeps the needs of the bride in mind. Everyone is dedicated to offering a full range of services to each bridesand that commitment has been validated by this prestigious award. SunQuest Cruises offers a variety of wedding ceremony and reception options, enough to help any bride realize her dream. Custom cruise packages can be created to accommodate any size group and budget. A wedding aboard Solaris is perfect any month of the year — and any time of the day.

special advertising section

Quick Facts 150 Passengers Private Bridal Suite Bridal Platform Sky Deck Weddings Climate Controlled Dining Salons Award-winning Chef Full Service Bar Impressive Wine List Casual Elegance Unique Guest Experience

For more information about how to plan your wedding with SunQuest Cruises, visit

sunquestcruises.com or call (850) 650-2519. See what real brides are saying at facebook.com/#!/ DestinWeddings

weddings 2010


nother hot trend in romance is finding love through online dating services. Looking for ways to take your search for love online? Here are a few tips for perfecting a profile for some of today’s best dating sites:

Go Low-Tech. For your initial draft, get out your good, old-fashioned pen and paper. Most of us write slower by hand, which means we write more carefully and have time to think before we blurt.

It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect Right Now. Don’t be put off by that big blank spot. Just jot down the things you would like someone to know about you, and worry about the grammar and spelling later. Stick to the facts.

Tell It Like It Is. Linda Mastaglio, a communications consultant who helps business pros write prose more effectively, says, “Honesty will help you attract the kind of person you really want.”

Keep It Simple, Sweetheart. As you turn your draft into English, think about what it is within you that you want to share with someone else — and know that it does not necessarily have to be a deep bonding of souls.

Keep It Clean. Conform to the posting guidelines, and polish up your writing. It doesn’t have to gleam; it just has to not have any glaring errors that would make you feel embarrassed if you spotted them later.

Let It Be. After you write your profile, wait a day or two before posting it. Give it some more tweaks or a complete overhaul, then bring in a friend for a second opinion. — Excerpt from “Get Off on the Write Foot,” by Mark Amundsen, featured in “happen,” Match.com’s online magazine

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pools Pools, new or remodeled, are the stars of backyard sanctuaries


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by Lis King

The raised spa of this Panama City Beach pool has two sheer descent waterfalls. The warm paver decking combined with tropical landscaping transform this backyard into an island oasis.

Photo Courtesy Cox Pools


eady to make a splash? You’re not alone. Even in tough times, we can’t resist the lure of personal water wonderlands, says the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals. And it isn’t just a swimming pool we want. More often than not, our backyard investment continues beyond poolside with such amenities as waterfalls, fountains, spas, decks, lush landscaping and outdoor rooms every bit as functional and comfortable as indoor ones. Emerald Coast pool designers and contractors go even further. They say that the economic situation is actually fostering the interest in converting backyards into personal sanctuaries. “Staying at home and having a good time with family and friends makes a lot more sense than standing in line at the airport and spending a lot of money for borrowed amenities,” explains Steve Helmer of Helmer Pools in Santa Rosa Beach. “The away-from-home vacation may leave you with good memories, but adding resort features to your own property is an investment that keeps paying off, especially in a great climate and beautiful area like ours,” Helmer says.

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This home plays off of its waterfront location with a custom spa that seamlessly transitions into a negative edge pool. (Below) For this pool renovation, the homeowners chose custom features like a sun shelf, an elevated spa with a spillover waterfall and slide, and travertine decking.

Swimming pools have come a long way from the simple water holes you splashed around in as a kid, so shopping for one is almost as much fun as diving into one on a steamy day, says Barbara Gudgel, marketing director at Cox Pools, located in Destin and Panama City Beach. “These days, design choices range from country pond looks to glamorous infinity pools that seem to disappear into the horizon,” she says. “Poolside you can settle for a simple deck or splurge on luxurious, resort-worthy features. And then there’s amazing new technology that can not only heighten a pool’s glamour, but also reduce maintenance and save energy.” First decide how you’ll use the pool, advise the pros. That’ll determine the size, shape and type of your pool. Will you primarily 60

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What’s Your Type?

In-ground pools typically come in one of three types: concrete, vinyl and fiberglass, and the vision you have of your pool — its shape, theme and built-in features — may well determine the most suitable construction method. Concrete pools, often referred to as Gunite pools, are at the top of the price range, averaging between $30,000 and $50,000. They offer the most design flexibility and are the top go-to choice for such gorgeous features as vanishing edges, perimeter overflows, multi-levels and grottos. The cost for elaborate, large-scale projects

Photos Courtesy Cox Pools

Decisions, Decisions

use the pool for exercise? Cooling off? Family fun? For example, if it’s for exercise, you may want a long, narrow pool for swimming laps, and if you want it to maximize the play area for the kids, consider a shallower pool. The diving board that requires an eight-foot depth is becoming passé anyway, notes Helmer. He tells that he has built quite a few pools that are shallow all around the edges with the deep end in the middle. “Shallower pools are definitely taking over where family fun is the main objective,” he says. “Family and friends get more involved in water tag, volleyball and other pool games when not-sogood swimmers can participate, too. They’re also favorites with aging boomers, who like water aerobics.” Second, decide on your backyard theme. As a general rule, freeform pools are perfect for tropical themes, while contemporary designs lean towards geometric symmetry and smooth materials. Traditional pools usually involve straight lines to achieve a more formal look. “If you have trouble choosing your theme, don’t worry,” says Gudgel. “Professional pool designers know how to create the most harmonious look for your house and yard, using your ideas as a springboard, of course. And they’ll help you figure out how big the pool and deck should be, and where to locate it, factoring in sun exposure, privacy, convenience for serving food and drinks, fencing and all the rest.”

can escalate into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The interiors of concrete pools also invite creativity, with such possibilities as plaster in colors from white to black, pebble aggregates, polished marble, glass beads and tile. They can also be painted. You might even opt for an underwater mural. Concrete pools can take a while to finish. You might be looking at anywhere from four to 12 weeks before you can plunge in. Vinyl-lined pools have become very versatile. Now, they can accommodate all sorts of high-end looks, including waterfalls and grottos. They cost between $30,000 and $35,000. Liners come in various colors and patterns, and their smooth surfaces resist algae and are easy to clean. A vinyl-lined pool is quicker to build than a Gunite pool, but the liner has to be replaced every 15 to 20 years. Fiberglass pools are built with predesigned molds to form a one-piece shell. Such a variety is available that practically any design is possible, from free-form looks to vanishing-edge pools. Many molds also feature built-ins, including sun shelves and spas. Fiberglass pools cost $25,000 to $40,000 or more. Pool Remodeling

A new aspect of the backyard spruce-up trend is the remodeling and updating of existing pools. “It has become big business,” says Hank Hollenbeck of Crystal Pools Corp., located in Fort Walton Beach. “There are so many decades-old pools. You know the ones: turquoise water holes surrounded by stark paving. They look sad compared to today’s freeform luxury pools, with their waterfalls, fountains, underwater lights and more. Well, these old pools can be updated in many ways, with design and with technology.” Helmer agrees. “Sometimes we rip the whole thing apart and start over,” he says, “and other times we update with new plaster and/or deck, a waterfall, fountain or spa. Either way, one of our remodeled pools is good for another 20 years.” Terri Ruffini, a Niceville homeowner, says his backyard proves that pool remodeling works. Recently, the Helmer crew converted his old vinyl liner pool to a Gunite version. The 20 feet by 40 feet pool now has steps in the shallow end, a Jacuzzi and a waterfall. “It was an exciting transformation,” says Ruffini. “I enjoyed watching the crew perform its magic.” He laughs and adds, “That includes Steve’s wife Liz. She’s a emerald coast


Habitat master mason. I’ve never before encountered a lady mason. And I’m ecstatic over my new pool.” Design Makeovers

This is not to say that making over one of those old rectangular pools is easy. The pros warn against simply bringing in a bunch of rocks in an attempt to give it that “natural” look. It’ll never succeed, they say. However, there are many tasteful things you can do to upgrade such a pool, according to Gudgel and Hollenbeck. For example, both feel that new decking can be a terrific facelift. Choices include pavers, granite and quartzite. The latter is becoming especially popular because it’s extremely durable, resists stains and doesn’t reflect heat. “Then you could change the coping, using tile or stone,” says Hollenbeck. “Also pay attention to such details as decorative tile trim and dramatic underwater lighting. I love adding fiber optic lighting to the pool perimeter. LED lights, too, can put on a fantastic pool show of changing colors.” For the pool itself, designers and contractors rave about new finishes. One of them is an aggregate plaster, which has a lot of texture, lasts two to three times longer than old-fashioned finishes, and comes in many colors. The classic plaster color is white, which gives the pool a blue tint while tan and beige tend to add a tropical look. Is the garden around the pool old and overgrown? If so, get a landscape designer to help you decide what plant materials are worth keeping and which ones to replace. Some pool companies, such as Cox, will do everything, the pool, the deck, the outdoor kitchen, the fencing and the landscaping. “We call it the Cox Complete,” tells Gudgel. Functional Facelifts

Technology should be part of any pool makeover, says every pool builder and remodeler. “It may not sound as sexy as waterfalls or a pool bottom studded with LED lights,” says Ryan Eiland of America’s Swimming Pool Company (ASP) in Destin. “But wait till you experience the difference it makes when you go swimming, plus it’ll save lots of energy and maintenance.” Gone are the days of sore, red eyes and faded bathing suits from chlorine. He’s excited about ozone generators, which reduce the need for as much as 90 percent of chemicals, and a cartridge called Nature 2 that uses elemental minerals to 62

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inhibit bacteria growth and eliminate contaminants. Going Green

Eiland is an advocate of making pool systems more eco-friendly and has suggestions for a “greener” pool. Switching from a one- or two-speed pool pump to a variable-speed model that runs on a free magnet motor (like those used in hybrid cars) can save from 30 to 90 percent electricity. He says few homeowners realize that a traditional pool pump can use more electricity than any appliance in the home. Go for a computerized control system that can be programmed to trigger the circulation system, heater, lights and auxiliary equipment only when needed and turn on during off-peak hours when electricity rates are lower. If you’re adding a spa, choose the type that recycles waste heat given off by the heater and pumps, redirecting it to help heat the water. Some types even put the jets’ plumbing directly behind each seat. That keeps the warm water from cooling off as it travels through the pipes. Eiland sums it up this way: “Going green can save green as well as improve your quality of life.”


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The Legalities

Consider the legalities of pool ownership. For example, it’s important to know your town’s zoning laws as they apply to pools. In some communities, the setback from the property line is measured from the edge of the pool, but others begin measuring from the edge of the deck. Also, some communities figure a pool and deck into the lot coverage equations. Of course, you needn’t worry about any of that if a bona fide contractor does the work for you. He’ll get the proper permits. How to find the right contractor? By all means, troll the Internet and check pool companies’ websites. It’s OK to drool over the photos, but read carefully what services are offered and how long they’ve been in business. Get at least three to four bids when you’re ready to buy and don’t just look at the bottom line. Pay attention to the types of materials the contractor will use and his specifications for filter, pump and vacuum as well as warranties and timelines. Get references. Obviously you won’t get references from unhappy customers, but at least you can talk to homeowners, who’ve dealt with the company, and get an idea of how specific issues were handled. But most importantly: Enjoy your cool, new pool. n

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The Romance of Chocolate Milk, Dark or White; Solid, Fruit-Dipped or Caramel-Filled — Chocolate is the Sweetest Way to Celebrate Valentine’s Day By Wendy O. Dixon 64

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(Left) Kilwin’s in Destin serves hand-dipped chocolate covered candy apples; (below) white chocolate truffles; (right) A tower of nearly every imaginable flavor of homemade fudge is topped with chocolate-covered English toffee.


ew things have the universal appeal of chocolate. We eat it to celebrate big occasions (a birthday, an anniversary, an A on an exam). And we use it to comfort us in times of stress or sorrow (a break-up, a bad day, a D on an exam). According to the American Confectioners Association, Americans consistently name chocolate as their favorite flavor in desserts and snacks. During World War II, the U.S. government recognized chocolate’s role in the nourishment and spirit of the Allied Armed Forces, so much so that it allocated valuable shipping space for the import of cocoa beans. Today, the U.S. Army’s Meals Ready to Eat contain chocolate bars and U.S. astronauts have taken chocolate into space as part of their diet. As Valentine’s Day approaches, a lover will bestow an elegantly wrapped box of chocolates, a child will give the sweet treat to her kindergarten teacher and a secret admirer will leave the unexpected gift of chocolate on a coworker’s desk as a token of affection. What long ago started as a spicy drink has evolved into one of the most celebrated foods in the world. As far back as 2,000 years ago, in the tropical rain forests of Central America and Mexico, the Mayan Indians were the first to mix the native cocoa beans with various seasonings

chocolate myths to make a spicy, frothy chocolate drink. Later, Spanish conquistadors brought the seeds back home to Spain, and eventually the drink’s popularity spread throughout Europe, becoming a sought-after drink only the rich and elite could afford. The popularity of chocolate eventually made its way to America as Europeans capitalized on the California Gold Rush in the 1850s. “Many of the European chocolatiers moved west and set up businesses in San Francisco, which became one of the great chocolate manufacturing centers in America,” says Peter Ehrlich, owner of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in Silver Sands Factory Stores. Ehrlich buys his chocolate from the Guittard Chocolate Company, which is based in San Francisco. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is another example of a European chocolate manufacturer that set up shop in San Francisco during that time. Chocolate was still a rare European luxury when Milton S. Hershey was born in Derry Church, Penn. in 1857 (renamed Hershey, Penn., in 1906). According to hersheys.com,

Photos by Scott Holstein / Styled by Zandra Wolfgram

Chocolate causes acne. Fact: Neither chocolate nor any other food causes acne. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is a skin condition caused by the over-activity of oil glands in the skin. Chocolate causes migraine headaches. Fact: Chocolate is not a significant cause of migraine headaches. While some foods may be associated with the onset of migraines, one recent study suggests chocolate is not one of them. The study, conducted at the Pittsburgh State University, placed 63 women prone to get migraines on diets that included chocolate or the chocolate substitute, carob. Chocolate proved to be no more likely than carob to trigger a headache. Chocolate causes obesity. Fact: Neither chocolate nor any other food causes obesity. When calorie intake exceeds calories burned through activity, a person gains weight. Studies conducted on the calorie contribution of foods found that chocolate contributes only .7 to 1.4 percent of calories to the average American diet. Source: National Confectioners Association (candyusa.com)



Flavor The Tuttle Krispy, a rice crispy treat dipped in caramel, coated in nuts and drizzled with chocolate, is Kilwin’s own confection creation.

perfect chocolatecovered strawberries To make chocolatecovered strawberries at home, use a dozen large strawberries at room temperature, patted clean with a moist paper towel. Melt 12 oz. of chocolate chips or chunks. While the dipped berries are still moist, add toppings such as stripes of white and milk chocolate, nuts, coconut flakes and mini chocolate chips. To drizzle chocolate stripes, use a zip-lock bag and make a small cut in the corner, fill the bag with chocolate and squeeze it onto the fruit. Allow berries to cool in an area away from heat and sunlight, but not in the fridge or freezer. Putting chocolate in the fridge or freezer is a common mistake because lowering the temperature of chocolate to less than 65 degrees will cause it to bloom. Berries are best made and enjoyed in the same day. Serves 2 Courtesy Kirsten Nykamp, owner of Kilwin’s in Grand Boulevard Sandestin

he worked for a confectioner as a youth, but always longed for his own candy company. When he was 18, he established his first candy business, which failed after six years. Not giving up, Hershey spent years experimenting with sweet ingredients, which led to him making a delicious and popular caramel. With the success of the candy, Hershey became a rich man. And it was during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair that Hershey bought a German machine that could make chocolate. Because of his persistence and passion for chocolate, Hershey finally invented the Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar in 1900. And because of the Industrial Revolution and mass production methods, Hershey was able to reduce the cost of his chocolate bars and offer to everyone the sweet treats once reserved only for the rich. The bars were an instant success. According to research by Simon Fraser University in Canada, chocolate is North America’s favorite flavor, with 71 percent of its chocolate consumers preferring milk chocolate. But we’re not even one of 66

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the top five chocolate-loving nations in the world. Who loves chocolate more than we? Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Germany and Norway. The United States holds 11th place in terms of the number of pounds consumed per year.


hocolate’s evolution has led to endless varieties, textures and potencies of the candy. Many people include it as their daily dessert, even incorporating chocolate into a healthy diet. The use of chocolate for medicinal purposes has been gaining scientific validity in recent years. In addition to making life sweeter, a few pieces of chocolate per month may extend life, says the Harvard School of Public Health. The school’s survey of healthy 65-year-old men revealed that those who ate sweets containing chocolate reportedly live longer. Those who consume chocolate in moderation had a lower mortality than those who indulge three or more times a week. Those who abstained from chocolate had the highest mortality of all the groups.

The Harvard school also found that women who ate one to three servings of chocolate a month had 26 percent fewer cases of heart failure. Those who ate one to two servings a week had 32 percent fewer cases. The research team conducting the survey speculated chocolate might reduce heart failure by lowering blood pressure. But moderation is key, says Elizabeth Mostofsky, the author of the research report, who added too much chocolate (like most other foods) can lead to weight gain, offsetting its benefits. Other studies suggest flavonoids found in cocoa can improve blood flow and blood vessel function. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition found these flavonoids have potent antioxidants, and that cocoa and chocolate products have the highest concentration of flavoniods among commonly consumed foods. If you’re adhering to the “all good things in moderation” mantra, it’s important to choose the highest quality chocolate made from the freshest ingredients. At Kilwin’s in Grand Boulevard Sandestin Town Center, owners Kirsten and Paul Nykamp make chocolate-dipped Rice Krispies treats, chocolate-pecan “tuttles” and chocolate-covered pretzels in addition to the chocolate made in the “Kilwin Kitchen” in Petoskey, Mich. “It’s all handmade and specially marked to identify the candy,” she says. “A chocolate cream has a ‘c’ on it for chocolate, a vanilla cream has a ‘v’ on it.” Nykamp suggests that what makes chocolate so special is that it’s an instantly gratifying, attainable luxury. “It’s not something that’s expensive,” Kirsten Nykamp says, “but it’s a great way to reward ourselves for a job well done, a way to cheer someone up or show someone you care.” The most romantic way to enjoy chocolate, says Kirsten Nykamp, is to pair it with strawberries. But they need a little TLC during preparation. “The strawberries need to be at room temperature before dipping,” says Kirsten Nykamp. “If they are too cold, it will cause the chocolate to bloom.” Chocolate blooms when it gets too hot or too cold and the fats in the cocoa butter separate out from the chocolate. “It tastes fine,” she adds, “but it has white streaks on the surface of the chocolate, which affects the appearance.” Washing the strawberries is a special task when it comes to dipping it in chocolate. Strawberries absorb a lot of water, and rinsing them under a faucet introduces EMERALD COAST







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Who loves chocolate more than we? Switzerland, Austria, Ireland, Germany and Norway. The United States holds 11th place in terms of the number of pounds consumed per year. too much water into the berry. Instead, use a damp paper towel to clean them, Kirsten Nykamp advises. When melting the chocolate, know that it burns easily. Do not melt chocolate directly in a pan, she warns. Use a double boiler method, which applies indirect heat to the chocolate. According to ghirardelli.com, the microwave method for melting chocolate is as effective. Place chocolate chips into a microwave-safe bowl and cook for about a minute at 50 percent power. At the end of a minute, stir the chocolate to evaluate its softness. Melt longer if needed. It’s important to not allow the chocolate’s temperature to rise above about 130 degrees, as it scorches easily, according to the website. But Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory owner Ehrlich warns it’s easy to botch the results by making the chocolate too hot or cool, which results in a bloom as the chocolate returns from a liquid to a solid. “All the stores have a tempering machine to maintain the proper temper, which means the chocolate continues to shine,” he says. “But if you do it at home, it is difficult to do. If you don’t maintain the proper temper, the chocolate is always going to bloom. If you’re hoping to get dipped or molded chocolates like the ones at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, forget it.” If you decide to leave it to the experts, keep in mind that, for Valentine’s Day especially, presentation is important too, says Ehrlich, who sees many a desperate man rushing into the store during the hours leading up to the big day to buy his beloved a sweet treat. “They’re dashing in on their lunch break and are in a dead run,” Ehrlich says with a laugh, “and they’re looking for the fanciest heart-shaped box. It must work, because they come back year after year for it.” n

Best of Emerald Coast 2010................... Breakfast/Brunch.................................. Lunch.................................................... Dinner................................................... Takeout Available.................................. Outdoor Dining..................................... Live Music............................................. Bar/Lounge........................................... Reservations......................................... Most Credit Cards Accepted.................. Inexpensive..............................................$ Moderately Expensive............................ $$ Expensive............................................. $$$

dining guide ALYS BEACH George’s at Alys Beach $$ American. Seafood, burgers and sandwiches at the perfect beachy-casual spot. 30 Castle Harbour Drive. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. (850) 641-0017

BLUE MOUNTAIN BEACH Basmati’s $$$ Asian. Asian and Asian-inspired meat, seafood, poultry and vegetarian dishes. 3295 W. Highway 30-A. Open Mon–Sat at 4 p.m. for sushi and 5 p.m. for dinner. (850) 267-3028 Grecian Gardens Restaurant $$ Mediterranean. Traditional Greek cuisine served in an openair atmosphere perfect for special occasions or parties. 3375 W. County Hwy 30A. 11 a.m.–9 p.m. (850) 267-3011

DESTIN Aegean Restaurant $$ Greek. Sip an ouzo at the beautiful stone bar before savoring the flavors of the Mediterranean at this authentic Greek restaurant. 11225 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Open daily. Breakfast, 8 a.m.–11 a.m., Lunch 11a.m.–4 p.m., Dinner 4 p.m.–9 p.m. (850) 460-2728 AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar $$ Seafood. Choose from fresh local seafood, sandwiches, pasta, chicken or specialty dishes like the oysters Eugene or Rockefeller. 116 E. Highway 98. Open 11 a.m. daily. (850) 837-1913 Bonefish Grill $$ Seafood. Daily seafood specials cooked on an oak-burning wood grill. Bang-Bang Shrimp is a crowd-pleasing appetizer. Mon–Thu, 4–10:30 p.m.; Fri–Sat, 4–11:30 p.m. Daily happy hour 4–7 p.m. 4447 Commons Dr. East (850) 650-3161 Cabana Café $ American. This eatery, boasting specialty coffee and ice cream, was voted Best New Business in 2008. Open 11 a.m.– 2 a.m. daily. 112 Seascape Boulevard. (850) 424-3574 $ Callahan’s Restaurant & Deli American. Voted Best Locally Owned Restaurant of 2008, Callahan’s serves up great sandwiches, seafood specials and prime rib. Open Mon–Sat 10 a.m.–10 p.m. 791 Harbor Boulevard. (850) 837-6328 $ Capt. Dave’s on the Gulf Seafood. Enjoy a wide range of delicious fresh seafood dishes. 3796 Highway 98. Open 4:30 p.m. daily. (850) 837-2627 $$ Carrabba’s Italian Grill Italian. Carrabba’s blends warm Italian hospitality with family recipes handed down for four generations. 10562 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Mon–Thu 4–10p.m., Fri and Sat 4–11p.m.and Sun 11:30a.m.–9 p.m. (850) 837-1140 $$ Ciao Bella Pizza Da Guglielmo Italian. Authentic Italian pizza, pasta, salads and more. 29 E. Hwy. 98 in Silver Sands. Open 11 a.m. daily. (850) 654-3040 The Crab Trap $$ Seafood. Offering fresh seafood, steaks, salads and soups beachside. 3500 E. Highway 98. Open 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Mon–Thu and 11 a.m.–10.p.m., Fri–Sat. (850) 654-2722 $ Dave’s Dogs American. When only a hot dog will do, Dave’s serves it up right, grilling the bun on each side. Destin Commons. Open Mon–Thu 10 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri 10 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.– 7 p.m. (850) 240-3353 $$ Dewey Destin’s Harbor Side Seafood. One of Destin’s most popular restaurant serves up charm and award-winning seafood in a quaint house overlooking the scenic Destin harbor. Open 11 a.m.–8 p.m. daily. 202 Harbor Blvd. (850) 837-7525 emerald coast


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Dining Guide Dewey Destin Seafood $ Restaurant and Market Seafood. For true local charm in an outdoor setting, visit Dewey Destin for some of the freshest seafood around. Open 11 a.m.–8 p.m. daily. 9 Calhoun Avenue. (850) 837-7575 $ Donut Hole Bakery Cafe American. Head to the Donut Hole for an out-of-this-world breakfast or savory lunch — don’t forget the cinnamon raisin bread. Open 24 hours. 635 Highway 98 E. (850) 837-8824 Emerald Grande Resort $$ Grande Vista bar and grill Seafood. Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Fresh seafood, steak, pasta, salads, sandwiches and more. Indoor and outdoor dining available. Full bar. Located in HarborWalk Village, 10 Harbor Blvd., next to the Marler Bridge. Open daily 7 a.m.–10 p.m. (850) 337-8100 $$ Fudpucker’s American. Burgers and sandwiches, and specialties like the Fried Fudpucker (triggerfish). 20001 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Open 11 a.m.–10 p.m. (850) 654-4200 $$ Graffiti Italian. Traditional Italian favorites and house specialties like seafood pizza. 707 E. Highway 98. Open 5–9 p.m., Sun–Thu; 5–10 p.m., Fri–Sat. (850) 654-2764 $$ Harbor Docks American. This surf-and-turf restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. 538 E. Highway 98. Open 5 a.m.–11 p.m. daily. (850) 837-2506 $ Hard Rock Café American. Rock ’n’ roll, great drinks and mouthwatering menu. 4260 Legendary Drive, Destin Commons. Open 11 a.m. daily. (850) 654-3310 $$ HARRY T’S BOATHOUSE Lounge on the beautiful patio and watch the passing boats as you enjoy an endless variety of delicious dishes. 46 Harbor Blvd. Open Mon-Thu 11a.m.–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 11a.m.–11p.m. Sun 10 a.m.–10 p.m. (850) 654-4800 $ Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q Barbecue. Southern smokehouse barbecue. Beer and wine. 14073 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Open 11 a.m. daily. (850) 351-1991 $ Johnny O’Quigley’s American. Award-winning steak, seafood and barbecue in one of Destin’s favorite sports bars. 34940 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Mon–Thu 11 a.m.–midnight. Fri–Sun 11 a.m.– 1 a.m. Double Happy Hour Mon–Fri 3–6 p.m. and 10 p.m.– close. (850) 837-1015 $$ Louisiana Lagniappe Cajun and Seafood. View the Old Pass Lagoon while dining on steaks and a wide variety of fresh seafood. 775 Gulf Shores Drive. Open 5–10 p.m. daily. (850) 837-0881 $$ Lucky Snapper Seafood. Family-style, open-air overlooks Destin Harbor. 76 U.S. Highway 98 East, Destin. Open 11 a.m. daily. (850) 654-0900 $$ Marina Café American. Gourmet pizzas, Creole and American cuisine. 404 E. Highway 98. Open 5–10 p.m. daily. (850) 837-7960 $ McAlister’s Deli American. The popular chain offers hearty soups, crisp salads, a variety of hot and cold sandwiches and “Famous Sweet Tea.” 10859 Hwy 98 West, (850) 650-6646. 985 Hwy 98 East. Open 10:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily. (850) 650-0923 McGuire’s Irish Pub $$ Irish American. Drinks, steaks, burgers and fries and Irish fare. 33 E. Highway 98. Open 11 a.m. daily. (850) 654-0567 $ NOT JUST BAGELS American. Bagels, breads, pastries, salads, soups and sandwiches. 4447 E. Commons Drive, Suite 112. Open Mon–Fri 6 a.m.–3 p.m., Sat–Sun 7 a.m.–3 p.m. (850) 650-0465 $$ Osaka Japanese. Known for its sushi, but serves a variety of dishes including chicken, steak and seafood. 34845 Emerald Coast Highway. Lunch, 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; dinner, 5–10:30 p.m. (850) 650-4688 or (850) 650-4689 Panera Bread $$ American. Fresh-baked breads and pastries, sandwiches and salads. Destin Commons and Sandestin. Open Mon– Thu 7 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 7 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun 7 a.m.– 8 p.m. (850) 837-2486 Pepito’s $$ 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. 757 E. Highway 98. Open 11 a.m.– 10 p.m. daily. (850) 650-7734


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Rutherfords 465 at regatta bay $ American. Located inside Regatta Bay Golf & CC. 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 Ruth’s Chris Steak House $$$ Steak and Seafood. New Orleans-inspired appetizers, desserts and award-winning wines. Silver Shells Resort, 1500 Emerald Coast Pkwy. Open Mon–Sat 5:30–10 p.m., Sun 5:30–9 p.m. (850) 337-5108 $ Sarah k’s gourmet Gourmet Take-out. Chef-crafted, ready-to-heat cuisine. Jumbo lump crab cakes and fresh chicken salad are the house specialties. 34940 Hwy 98. Open at 11 a.m. (850) 269-0044 $ Vin’Tij Wine Boutique & Bistro French. Traditional favorites and unique house dishes. 10859 W. Emerald Coast Parkway, Suite 103. Open 11 a.m.– midnight daily. (850) 650-9820 $ ZoËs Kitchen American. Healthy sandwiches and salads. Destin Commons. Open Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Sun 11 a.m.–7 p.m. (850) 650-6525

FORT WALTON BEACH Benjarong Thai Cuisine & BBQ $$ Thai, BBQ. BBQ-Chick-Ribs-Steak and Spicy Thai food. Lunch and dinner: 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Mon–Sat. 251 Mary Esther Blvd. (850) 362-0290 $$ 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. 171 Brooks St. SE. Lunch 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Tues–Sat, Dinner 5 p.m.–close Tues–Sat, Sunday Brunch 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. (850) 664-0664 The Black Pearl $$ Steak and Seafood. Dig into some coconut shrimp and a juicy steak while enjoying a lovely view of the gulf. Located in The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island. Open 4 p.m. daily. 1450 Miracle Strip Pkwy. (850) 833-3016 $$ Fudpucker’s American. Burgers and sandwiches, and specialties like the Fried Fudpucker (triggerfish). 108 Santa Rosa Blvd., Okaloosa Island. Open 11 a.m. daily. (850) 243-3800 $$ Magnolia Grill Seafood, Italian and Steak. Steak, seafood, pasta, soups, salads and desserts. 157 Brooks St. SE. Lunch, Mon–Fri, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.; dinner, Mon–Sat, open at 5 p.m.; closed Sun. (850) 302-0266 $$$ 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 $$$ Pandora’s Steak and Seafood. Early evening specials weekdays 5–6 p.m. Happy Hour weekdays 5–7 p.m. 1226 Santa Rosa Blvd. Weekdays 5–10 p.m., weekends 5–11 p.m. (850) 244-8669 $$$ Sealand Seafood. Steak. Serving American cuisine as well as Thai offerings in a homey atmosphere. Lunch: Sunday 11 a.m. until. Dinner: Tues.–Sat. from 4:30 p.m. 47 Miracle Strip Pkwy SE. (850) 244-0044 $$ Staff’s Seafood. Steak. 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 Parkway. (850) 243-3482

GRAYTON BEACH Fire $$ American. With New Orleans natives in the kitchen, it’s no surprise that this casual fine-dining restaurant is hot. 55 Clayton Lane. Lunch 11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Thu and Fri Dinner 6–9 p.m. Mon–Thu, 6–10 p.m. Fri and Sat. Sunday brunch 11 a.m. (850) 231-9020 Pandora’s $$ Steak and Seafood. Warm, traditional steakhouse with early evening specials beginning at 5 p.m. Weekdays, 5–10 p.m. Weekends 5–11 p.m. 63 DeFuniak St. (850) 231-4102 $$ Picolo’s restaurant Seafood. Dine on delicious fresh seafood while listening to live music. 70 Hotz Ave. Open 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. daily. (850) 231-1008 emerald coast


Dining Guide Red Bar $$ American. A favorite among locals, visitors and celebrities, The Red Bar is a must-visit when in Grayton Beach. Kick back on the funky furniture and listen to live music while enjoying great food and cocktails — especially the awardwinning bloody mary. 70 Hotz Ave. Breakfast 7–10:30 a.m., lunch, 11 a.m.–3p.m, dinner 5–10 p.m. Bar open from 11 a.m.–11 p.m. and until midnight on Fri and Sat. Cash or check only, no credit cards. (850) 231-1008 $$ Trattoria Borago Italian. Enjoy a balsamic-laced pork tenderloin or panseared grouper from the open kitchen. 80 County Road 30A, Grayton Beach. Open 6 p.m. daily. (850) 231-9167

Miramar Beach Another Broken Egg café $ Breakfast. Breakfast all day, plus sandwiches, patty melts, specials, soups, salads and desserts. The Village of Baytowne Wharf. Open daily from 7 a.m.–3 p.m. (850) 622-2050 $ Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Family Sports Pub American. Wings, sandwiches, salads, burgers. 24 TVs, plus a kids’ game room. 9375 Highway 98 East (The Market Shops at Sandestin). Open Mon–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. and Sun noon– 10 p.m. Happy hour Mon–Fri 3–7 p.m. (850) 837-9710 $$$ Bistro Bijoux Steak and Seafood. Coastal cuisine with a New Orleans flair. Fresh seafood daily. Featuring our signature dish — “Black Skillet” filet mignon topped with a tempura fried lobster tail. Village of Baytowne Wharf. Open daily 5.–10 p.m. (850) 622-0760 $$ 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. 585 Grand Blvd. Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri and Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. (850) 654-5649 $$ Carrabba’s italian grill Italian. Flavorful dishes, including calamari, chicken Marsala, fresh fish, seafood and grilled steaks. 10562 US Highway 98 W. Open Sun 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon–Thu 4–10:30 p.m. Fri–Sat 4–11:30 p.m. (850) 837-1140

Fajitas Grill $ Mexican. The freshest ingredients and best tasting Mexican food in Northwest Florida. Try one of our many flavored margaritas. 12889 Hwy. 98. Open Sun–Thu 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–10:30 p.m. (850) 269-7788 Fat Clemenza’s $$ Italian. Feel like part of the family as you enjoy homemade classical Italian cuisine. Holiday Plaza/Hwy. 98. Open for lunch Mon–Fri 11 a.m.–2 p.m., dinner Mon–Wed 5–9:30 p.m. and 5–10 p.m. Thu–Sat. (850) 650-5980 Finz Beachside Grille $$ American. Wide range of seafood and American dishes. Beachside at Sandestin. Catering available. Open seasonally; please call for hours. (850) 267-4800 Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar $$ Steak and more. This award-winning restaurant offers prime steaks, chops, chicken, seafood, fresh salads and a variety of unique sides and desserts served in a comfortable but elegant atmosphere. Featuring 100 wines by the glass. Open Mon–Thu, 5–10 p.m.; Fri–Sat 5–11 p.m. and Sun 4–9 p.m. (850) 269-0830 Johnny Rockets $ American. Enjoy a smooth milkshake with your burger and fries as you jam to the tunes on the jukebox. 625 Grand Blvd., Suite 107. Mon–Thu, 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri–Sat, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Sun, 11 a.m.–7 p.m. (850) 650-3100 Lillie’s On Pigs Alley $ Barbecue. For lip-smacking good barbecue, try Lillie’s sandwiches, ribs, beef or chicken. The restaurant won the Barbecue World Championship in Memphis in 2007. Open Tue–Sat 11 a.m.–7 p.m. 9848 Hwy 98 West. (850) 654-3911 Lin’s Asian Cuisine $ Asian. Chef Qun Lin whips up steaming portions of your favorite Chinese and Southeast Asian dishes. 130 Scenic Gulf Dr., Suite 5B Open Mon–Thu 10:30 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri–Sat 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., Sun noon–9 p.m. (850) 424-5888 Marlin Grill $$$ Steak and Seafood. Fresh seafood, steaks, salads and

appetizers served inside or outside. Village of Baytowne Wharf. Open nightly at 5 p.m. (850) 351-1990 The Melting Pot $$$ Fondue. Dip into something different and enjoy an interactive, hands-on, four-course dining experience with a cheese fondue, salad, entrée and chocolate fondue dessert. 11394 Hwy. 98., Open Sun–Thu 5–10 p.m., Fri–Sat 5–11 p.m., (850) 269-2227 Mitchell’s Fish Market $$ Seafood. Chef-driven dishes such as Cedar Roasted Atlantic Salmon or Hoisin-Glazed Yellow Fin Tuna. Lunch: 11 a.m.– 4 p.m. Mon–Sat, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun. Dinner: 4–10 p.m. Mon–Thu, 4–11 p.m. Fri–Sat, 3–9 p.m. Sun. Grand Boulevard Sandestin. (850) 650-2484 P.F. Chang’s China Bistro $$ Asian. Sample crunchy lettuce wraps or Chinese favorites like Kung Pao Chicken in a chic atmosphere. Open Sun– Thu 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Fri–Sat 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 10640 Grand Boulevard. (850) 269-1806 Poppy’s Seafood Factory $$$ Seafood. Enjoy fresh seafood, steak and poultry dishes with a view of the bay. Village of Baytowne Wharf. Open 11 a.m.–9 p.m. daily. (850) 351-1996 Royal Orchid $$ Thai. Escape to Thailand at this authentic Thai restaurant. Sink into a traditional sunken table surrounded by pillows or dine American style at a table or booth. 11275 Emerald Coast Pkwy. 11 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Thu-Tue Closed Wed. (850) 650-2555 Rum Runners $$ American. Caribbean/coastal/Mediterranean menu with sandwiches, seafood, steaks, chicken and pasta. Village of Baytowne Wharf. Open daily for lunch, dinner. (850) 267-8117 Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood $$$ Seafood and Steak. Premium steak, fresh seafood and caviar. Hilton Sandestin, 4000 S. Sandestin Blvd. Open 6 p.m. daily. (850) 622-1500

18 Hibachi Tables Sushi Bar • Private Dining Sushi Take Out Authentic Japanese Cuisine 850.351.1006 Located in the Village of Baytowne Wharf ™ 72

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850.650.4688 or 850.650.4689 34745 Emerald Coast Parkway / Destin

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 Boulevard. (850) 654-1743

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

Santa Rosa Beach Basmati’s Asian Cuisine & Sushi $$ Asian. Asian dishes and full sushi bar. 3295 W. County Road 30A. Open 4 p.m. daily. (850) 267-3028 Café Tango $$$ American. Seafood, poultry and pasta served with specialty sauces. Homemade desserts. 14 Vicki St. Open 5–10 p.m., Tue–Sun. (850) 267-0054 Fish Out of Water Restaurant $$$ Continental. Southern coastal cuisine with an Asian flair: tuna, crab cakes, shrimp and scallops. Located in the WaterColor Inn. 5:30–10 p.m. daily. (850) 534-5050 Louis Louis $ American. The only thing that isn’t over the top at Louis Louis is the menu pricing. The Moulin Rouge-inspired interior décor is outrageously wonderful. Dine outside or in. The menu has six tasty items, from crab cakes, panned chicken, blackened fish and a few pastas. 35 Mussett Bayou Road. Mon–Sun 5-10 p.m. (850) 267-1500 Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club $$ American. Seafood, beef, poultry, lamb, veal, pastas, soups and bisques. 4801 W. County Road 30A. Open 11 a.m.– 2:30 p.m., Tue–Fri; 5–9 p.m., Wed–Sat. (850) 267-2305

Seaside/Seagrove Beach Bud & Alley’s Restaurant $$$ American. Serving fresh seafood, steak and vegetarian options. 2236 E. County Road 30A. Open 11:30 Mon– Fri; roof bar open 11:30 p.m.–2 a.m. in summer. (850) 231-5900 Café Thirty-A $$ Seafood. Seafood, lamb, duck, filet mignon, salad and pizza. 3899 E. County Road 30A. Open 5 p.m. daily. (850) 231-2166 Crush $$ American. Crush features an extensive wine menu, sushi and small plates. Open daily for lunch and dinner, noon to 10 p.m. 25 Central Square. (850) 468-0703 Gravel Road $$ American. Cozy bistro serving chicken, fish, beef and pasta. Lunch and dinner, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., Mon.–Sat. dinner served at 5 p.m. 4935 Scenic 30A East. (850) 534-0930 Great SOuthern Café $$ Southern. Jim Shirley serves up Southern comfort food with a twist. Open daily for breakfast 8–11 a.m., lunch 11 a.m.–4 p.m., dinner 4-11:30 p.m. 83 Central Square. (850) 231-7327 La Botana $$ Tapas. Small plates of Latin-inspired cuisine served in a casual, but elegant atmosphere. Wine bar. Lunch and dinner, Mon.–Fri., 4–11p.m.; Sat.–Sun. 11 a.m.–11 p.m. 4281 East Scenic 30-A. (850) 231-0716 La Cocina Mexican Grill & Bar $$ Mexican. Traditional tex-mex with a coastal twist. 10343 East Scenic Hwy 30A. Open daily 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Bar open until 10 p.m. (850) 231-4021 $$ 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. 3004 S. County Road 395. Open 10:30 a.m.– 8:30 p.m., daily. (850) 231-5736 n emerald coast


The Last Word

I Like to Move It Around, Out, Up, Down … and Onward


hen King Julian, the lemur leader in the movie “Madagascar,” starts to bust out his dance moves on a cliff ledge while rhythmically chanting, “I like to move it, move it,” his furry followers respond with a collective: “Move it!” Madagascar or no, when your feet are dancing, it’s hard for your heart or head to be anywhere but in a happy place. What’s not in a happy place is my fitness routine. Many days it feels more like a rut. This on again-off again cycle summons absolutely no sympathy from my fit, motivated husband who works out without complaint in the bathroom. He does not require a gym membership or even gym clothes. The only words of support I get from this military-trained

Sometimes happiness is in finding a new path to the cheese.


F E B R U AR Y – MARC H 2 0 1 1

By Zandra Wolfgram

soldier are: “It’s simple. Just move it.” For me, the only thing more stressful than working out is moving; as in out of your home and hearth. This type of move is a commitment. Once you set a date for the big moving truck to block your driveway, there’s no turning back. Apparently, there is a science to moving. Moving out requires you to estimate how much “stuff” you possess — measured either by pounds or number of rooms. There is also a cost. Moving across town typically costs less than moving across the country, unless, of course, you hire a national company for a local move. Then, you may as well move straight into the poor house. After you’ve done your best impression

of “Clean Sweep” and have sorted your stuff into categories of “toss,” “keep” or “sell,” you will need to determine if your remaining stuff requires one moving truck or two, two men or four. Beware: the movers won’t move anything perishable, fragile or living. So, Aunt Martha’s fruit cake, that Tiffany lamp and Fred the goldfish are a no go. When you move, you need to update your address. This way, bills, junk mail and mothers-in-law can quickly locate you. This requires a visit to the post office. One pre-stamped postcard is all it takes to uproot your entire family; change your zip code; rid yourself of nosey neighbors; and send your Facebook page into a frenzy. Changing jobs is often considered “a career move.” Some want to move up the corporate ladder, while others are eager to ditch their 9-to-5 gig and its big title, salary and stress for a little flexibility, independence and balance. In this economy, many folks are happy to make a lateral move. Either way, you just hope your career choice isn’t a bad move. An employer once gave me a book called “Who Moved My Cheese?” It is a simple story about dealing with change. The main characters live in a maze and look for cheese to make them happy. The “cheese” is a metaphor for what you want to have in life: a good job, a satisfying relationship, peace of mind, etc. “The maze” is the organization you work in, or the family or community in which you live. According to author Spencer Johnson, if you navigate change well, you will be successful and happy — essentially a “big cheese.” However, if you worry about someone “moving your cheese,” you are doomed to an unhappy, unsuccessful cheese-less life. As I try to get my fitness routine in motion, settle into a new home and take on the challenge of a new job, I’m hoping to move into a great new groove. Whatever changes are taking place in your life, here’s to moving onward. It’s simple: just move it, smile and say, “Cheese!”

It all awaits you at Pier Park, conveniently located a short drive east on US 98 in Panama City Beach





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