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Lf.: A portion of the National Seashore near Panama City, FL

Header for the newsletter

Enjoy our visit to the Gulf of Mexico
Opening Comments from Bob (Intro from the newsletter)

Traveling South: This month we traveled to Florida for sightseeing and visiting my aunt, uncle, and cousin. You can read more about it in the vignette.

On the way to the Gulf, a stop in Nashville and Vanderbilt University
Bridge over to Pensacola Beach, FL
Miles and miles of powdery dunes
On display, the first rest stop in Alabama on I-65
Bayshore shopping
Welcome to the beach
One of the multi-million dollar homes in Seaside, FL
The Dunes and Tree
Trying to keep the sand and seagrass
Vignette: Sam, Kay, and Todd

One of the joys of moving on from your regular 8 to 5 job is the time to appreciate what you seldom had time before. At least, you thought you didn't. However, as one time management presenter once said, we make time for what we think is priority. In America that priority is often work. But that is another vignette.

An option I have chosen is to take more time to spend with friends and relatives. Jim and I meet weekly for breakfast. Ray and I lunch together monthly to discuss poetry and life. Kristi, a wonderful writer, joins me for lunch to read my work and share hers. Weekly, my sister Pat, my mother, and I go to our favorite Indian restaurant for lunch. Every three weeks I join the Apple Valley poets for several hours of critiquing, discussing, and yes, snacking. (You might be noticing the food theme.)

Recently, Jan and I chose to do something unusual for us. We headed to Florida to escape the winter for a week but also to visit my Uncle Sam, Aunt Kay, and Cousin Todd. Though we have periodically seen them for brief periods of time, we have not spent quality time for years. What a treat we had in store. On our first night in Panama City we were invited for dinner. Upon arriving at their stylish home, we had a tour of the house they and their sons built from scratch. This is Sam's second home that he designed and then built. The interior had Kay's beautiful, unique touch to decorating. Kay is also quite a cook, actually that was part of her career path. What a spread was laid out before us! Following several hours of eating and mutual catching up on life, Todd found an old wheelbarrow and rolled me out to the car.

On day two we explored on our own. That evening the five of us had dinner at Captain Anderson's. Unbelievable food and a fun time! (See Suggestions below.) Even better, despite my protests, Uncle Sam paid.

Late morning of the next day we met Kay and Sam at their home. From there they drove to areas, including gorgeous housing developments, that only locals would know. Despite the clouds we enjoyed a picnic – again, not your average one – along the beach. We concluded the tour with a brief stop at the Donut Hole before returning to our car and back to our condo. My donut never made it back to the condo.

On our final morning before heading north, we had breakfast with them. Please note the food theme again. Once again Todd got out the wheelbarrow.

As we left, we both commented on how wonderful it was to spend time with these individuals whom I have known for much of my life but have been too busy to realize the joys that could be had. Perhaps with age comes some wisdom. I hope you are wiser than me and are taking quality time socially to interact with others.


Visit the Emerald Coast of Florida

I have never seen such white, fine sand as the beaches there. They go on for miles. Yes, there is too much development for my taste, but you can visit the National Seashore sections and see nothing but sand for miles. Though February is too cool to swim, the pluses are that the traffic and crowds are minimal and hotel rates are really low. By the way, the beaches are clean, no oil spill in this area.

Restaurants: So many to choose from! I will name several that we found outstanding, especially with a focus on seafood. Remember I only recommend restaurants that have had at least 8/10 in service and 8/10 in food quality.

Pegleg Pete's in Pensacola Beach, FL (Food: 9 Service: 8 Decor: 8.5 - very popular, expect a wait.)

Native Cafe (Breakfast and Lunch only) in Pensacola Beach, FL (Food: 8 Service: 8 Decor: NA - This is a great place for breakfast!

Captain Anderson's in Panama City, FL (Food: 10 Service: 10 Decor: 10 - upscale in appearance and price but worth it.)

Donut Hole Bakery & Cafe in Destin and near Santa Rosa Beach, FL (If you want to sin a bit and enjoy a sugar fix, then stop at one of two locations, downtown Destin or on HWY 98E near SRB. We did not eat there so no recs. But we enjoyed two stops for takeout donuts. Yummy!)

Pegleg Pete's on Pensacola City Beach

Pier at Bayshore

Beach in Panama City, FL
An unspoiled National Seashore beach
One of the entrances to the beach in the gated community of Carillon
Bayshore, FL
Another picture from Bayshore
Destin Harbor channel
Bridge into Destin, FL

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