The Beach I Overlooked for Almost Five Decades

Have you ever waited too long to visit someplace for the first time? After spending three days at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in the Florida Panhandle, that is exactly how I feel about the sands and surf of this stretch of seaside in the Sunshine State. Tucked in between the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay in the Destin area of Northwest Florida, Sandestin is an award-winning luxury resort community that passes every eyeball test. But its greatest allure is its chief natural amenity – the sugary white sand and crystal clear water of the Gulf Coast. Having lived in Florida for most of my 48 ... [Read More]

Disneyfication

  March means a lot to sports fans in America. For many it’s the madness of the NCAA tournament as their favorite college basketball teams battle for glory. For others it’s the beginning of the NFL free agent signing period. To those of us devoted to America’s pastime, it means baseball is back. Our long winter of discontent is finally over! In the timeless classic Field of Dreams (at least classic to those of us who understand that “can of corn” really is a sports term, “chin music” is not a calming lullaby and a steal shouldn’t always warrant an arrest), James Earl Jones’ character said America has ... [Read More]

Sandestin Report, Day Two: Baytowne’s Like an Old Friend

Baytowne 16

After our welcome by Sandestin’s beaches on Saturday, it was time to tee it up on Sunday morning. After all, you can’t have surf without some turf. The Baytowne Golf Club at Sandestin was designed by Tom Jackson and then renovated by him in 2005, not long after resort developer and operator Intrawest acquired the resort and invested in a $400-million makeover. Just last week the course was selected to host the NCAA Division III Men's and Women's Golf Championships in May 2013. So it ought to be quite a mountain to climb for people who barely have time to pick up a club anymore, right? Wrong. ... [Read More]

Super Saturday at Sandestin

Sandestin Beach

"It's more beautiful than I thought it would be." "I love it here." "Listen to those waves. Look at that moon." Those comments from my wife Carrie, our nearly nine-year-old daughter Audrey and me, respectively, sum up our first 24 hours at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Fla. (The last were said to myself before dawn, my favorite time of day whether on vacation or not.) Now is the time for sun seekers from Canada to the Carolinas to begin their journeys toward the Sunshine State. As a public service my family has trekked through L.A. (Lower Alabama) in order to deliver a resort report from "Florida's ... [Read More]

Alligators, transexual cats and corn fritters

My mother collects cats. She had seven in her home when I arrived this week, clearly an inferior number which local folk would no-doubt ridicule. So today we headed to the vet to "rescue" a new one. When we arrived at the Micanopy Animal Hospital we were introduced to an orange tabby named Jazzy. One of the attendants told us he was a great cat, even though he was a “he-she.” I looked up, startled, waiting for someone to laugh or explain the comment. No one did, and even my mother seemed unfazed. I had surely never heard of such a thing, and was going to need ... [Read More]

I’m in Micanopy. On purpose.

I come to Micanopy for vacation. How many people can make that claim? Those of you familiar with Florida who can’t quite place Micanopy will likely know it as the exit on I-75 between Gainesville and Ocala featuring the “World Famous” Café Risqué, advertised for miles in either direction on old, dilapidated billboards proudly proclaiming “We Bare All.” Café Risqué is in what appears to be a double-wide trailer and apparently offers the best in BYOB nude entertainment. Their multitudes of roadside ads also note that they have “pool tables and video games!," I guess hoping parents will bring the kids on in. They also offer showers. A strip club, ... [Read More]