Monday, April 30, 2012

Back to the Beach

View from my balcony—Fall, 2011
I HATE TO ADMIT that it has been almost 7 months since I've visited our condo at the beach. Other travels and work obligations have kept me away for far too long. SO...this month— come hell or high water—I'm heading south for a bit of Emerald Coast energy. There are so many reasons to stay close to home, but one solid reason to go—I need my 30A fix!

The Dunes on the stretch of beach at 30A

I like to visit  on the "off" months, before schools let out and the crowds arrive—so the window is tight. (May, September and early October are ideal). But, thanks to the (still relatively newSouthwest direct flights, deciding when to go last minute is no longer a tough decision.

Picnic with friends on Rosemary Beach
First I want to see the sunset that only this stretch of ocean can provide. From our balcony it looks fantastic, but it is even sweeter when shared with great friends on the beach. A low rise table from Crate&Barrel is a must purchase, as it folds easily into a tote and elegantly displays wine, cheese and candles just as the sun disappears into the sea.

The perfect table (and portable!) for a beach gathering
Since I no longer care to spend my days sunbathing (yes, aging stinks), I've discovered the most interesting shops to explore. My top choice for furniture, accessories and above all, books, is Tracery Interiors. I can get lost for hours in this space and in the nearby Patchouli's at Rosemary Beach. For other romping, I often try out the events going on daily at Watercolor—they offer everything from nature hikes to wine tastings.

Shopping in Rosemary Beach
FOR EATING ALONG THE WAY, I like buying groceries and preparing my own beach fare with a little help from Modica Market in Seaside. On days when I want to pick up something Southern without hassle, I always count on Chan's Wine World, where great cheeses and sandwiches are paired with the best vino on the beach.

And, if you want to know my favorite isn't in some tourist haven, but rather at our own place hearing the waves crash. Windows open, makeup off. Just us and the relaxed vibe that can only be found in this stretch of sand on the Gulf coast...