After Betsy’s brother left, we were family-less for a couple of weeks. Luckily it was not too long a wait before my sister and her husband (Lora and Joel) came to Florida for a visit and to discover why we are so content in this little known stretch of Florida called “30A.” Maybe it was the snow, cold weather, or too many snow days leaving kids cooped up in the house that propelled them to book tickets south, I don’t know but we were rockin’ glad they booked it. They must have really been desperate to leave Baltimore because five inches of the fresh white powdery stuff had to be shoveled from the driveway in order to get to the airport.
The first morning they were here, we were off and running. I had to start them off with our weekly ritual that involves visiting to the Seaside Farmers Market for delicious pastries that have become a must for Betsy and I. A genius baker at Crust Artisan Bakery had the brilliant idea to stop throwing away scraps of croissant dough and put them to good use in a muffin tin filled with ooey, gooey goodness. Hence, the “cruffin” was born. Croissant dough lovingingly wraps itself around blueberries and lemon curd or strawberries and dark chocolate or apples and walnuts and quickly disappears from the paper it is wrapped in. Now isn’t that worth getting out of bed on Saturday morning for?
What better way to top off a breakfast of cruffins than to fill ones stomach with gumbo? Yes, that is correct . . . we moved from sweet pastries and bold coffee to savory gumbo and cold beer in less than three hours. The 25th annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival was a lively event that involved eighteen local restaurants vying for the coveted quest to be crowned best gumbo in the area. Mix a couple of hours of gumbo eating with zydeco music and a cold draught beer or two and you can visualize our afternoon. The immense spectrum of flavors were immensely palate pleasing and the small tasting cups were empty soon after they were placed in our greedy hands. Lora and I approached each booth like ravaged dogs while Joel proclaimed he was pacing himself. There were times we just had to leave him and his self-restraint behind and push on to the next booth (after all, there were eighteen to try). We ate our 20 bucks worth of gumbo and had to keep moving for fear that we would fall into a food comma on one of the many beckoning benches. Guess Lora and I should have paced ourselves!
Showing family and friends around this area is a real treat for us. We have visited the “30A” area of the Florida Panhandle many times over the last fifteen plus years and have come to know the happenings, the happy hours, and the not-to-be-missed. Of course we had to take them to The Red Bar on Sunday afternoon for live music, happy hour at Wine World (which carries on from “12-6, Monday thru Sunday”), 2-for-1 entrees at Café Thirty A, and tacos at Cowgirl Kitchen. The restaurants never disappoint.
Our week quickly flew by. In between the eating, walks on the beach, introducing my family to our 30A friends, and cocktail parties, there were a couple of rounds of golf for Joel while us girls went shopping, perused the galleries, visited historic sites, and checked out the million-dollar model homes. What a fun, busy week.
We are so glad they came for a visit and got to enjoy some of the warm Florida sun before heading back to the cold and snow. Hopefully, there will be no more shoveling for them and they will schedule a visit next winter as we will find ourselves right back here.