I get asked a lot about "exactly" where I'm from, so I'm going to do my best to tell you. Many eyes have yet to see the secluded, beautiful and hospitable version of Florida that I know... The Florida Panhandle.
It's absolutely a magical place - especially the stretch from Mexico Beach to Apalachicola where I've called home since a child and still consider it the place where my soul rests.
Here are a handful of my favorite things to do when I'm home -- some of these suggestions are what the locals do, so you just might need to meet a nice local.
GET ON THE WATER
Experiencing The Beach from the water is altogether different. There's nothing like the feeling of leaving the land behind, hearing that rev of the motor pushing you across the blue depths. It's daring at its core. From my experiences, time spent on a boat is scared and for the crew on board, you arrive back home with a fresh bond and more in love with the day spent together.
COOK & EAT
A cooler of oysters, a fresh pint of bay scallops, mullet on the grill, the fresh catch and that iconic stock pot full of boiled shrimp. All very real cravings when I'm away from home. My cravings are mostly wishes for the memories and good times connected to "let's cook & eat."
My favorite shell has always been the tiger's paw. I'm constantly finding one in the bottom of the beach bag. I have a vivid memory of shelling with my grandmother and talking about those shells. We found dozens that day. Grey and orange ones.... Still, the charm of those moments washes over me.
TAKE A DRIVE
"Let's go see what we can see!" I grew up on the passenger side and in the backseat of my dad's Ford Bronco -- and we kept the road to Indian Pass and Cape San Blas hot. My parents were experts on maximizing our tiny hometown and creating a playland for our family. I still remember the smell of my dad's truck. We'd make a stop at our family-owned gas station down the street, Pic's, to buy drinks and chips. Always Cheetos puffs. I remember when they got Fresca. Windows down, the wind was too loud to talk until The Beach. People say they miss conversation. It's still a thing at My Beach.
PACK A GOOD BAG
I have a dear friend that can pack a beach bag and cooler like no other. Boat and beach days went to a whole new level - inclusive of good champagne and chilled rose. Focusing on the simple luxuries are where it's at -- especially when you're packing for a day in the sun. My Beach just gets better and better.