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You've got a friend in "beach" places.

A recent comment on our Facebook page asked that questions – Who IS Your Friend at The Beach? As a former journalism major, I was taught not just to answer WHO – but when, where, what and why?

Who?

I started Your Friend at The Beach (YFAB) in 2005. I decided after years of renting my condos through large companies I wanted to take care of my own condos and my own guests. I truly thought I could do it better and offer customized service. As my four children went off to college, I used the skill set of being a mom to “take care” of our condos and our guests. I named my company “Condos on 30A” but quickly changed it when a guest who had just completed a week at one of my gulf-front condos asked if I made everyone feel like I was their friend at the beach? I do – and that became my mission statement and my new company name. I want to be the friend who thinks of every detail from supplying the pack and play for the little ones to surprising guests with a bottle of wine when they arrive. I want to be there to greet you and I have had the pleasure of watching the little ones grow from toddlers to teens as “friends” return year after year.

Where?

The condos I manage, along with my team, are located on the Emerald Coast of Florida – most of our twenty-five luxury beachfront condos are on 30A. Where is 30A? It is fifteen seaside villages in South Walton County. Each one is as unique as its name. In Blue Mountain Beach, YFAB has fourteen condos at Adagio, nine gulf fronts with four bedrooms directly on the Gulf of Mexico. At Adagio, we also have five pool fronts that are three bedrooms and just steps to the beach. The pool that they surround is an 8,000-square foot pool surrounded by palm trees, umbrella-shaded tables and lounge chairs in abundance.

Less than two miles from Adagio, is San Remo condos. San Remo sits on the south side of 30A and has magnificent views of the gulf. Our guests with smaller families appreciate the choice of two and three bedrooms condos that still have beach views, a large pool with lap lane, hot tub and a less than 100-yard walk to the sand.

Are there more condos you manage? Yes. Villa Coyaba in the Crystal Beach area of Destin combines the convenience of being close to attractions like Big Kahuna’s Water Park and the Destin Commons Shopping and Restaurant complex with a private beach with beach chair service included. Villa Coyaba has the same four-bedroom layout at Adagio but with just 32 condos sharing the beach, you’ll have plenty of room to stretch your toes in the sand.

Who have we become?

We are a boutique rental management who has chosen to remain small, taking on only the most upscale condos and treating each one as if it were our own. To do that, I have the help of Larry Snyder. Larry joined YFAB five years ago and he oversees all housekeeping, maintenance and leads the technology. Our free app YFAB is a result of Larry’s diligent efforts to put all the answers to our friend’s questions in the palm of their hand! While we are not the only one with an app, our app is the most used because we only put restaurants, events and activities that we personally would tell our friends. Download YFAB and discover the difference.

How are we different? Why does all this matter?

From the first email or telephone call, we want to assure you that you have found the perfect beach getaway for your family. We provide high chairs, pack and plays, well-stocked kitchens and 100% cotton sheets and towels. We check each condo before you arrive and call you if it is ready before the 4 p.m. check in. Just like a friend would do!

As you enter each condo, you will find special welcome gifts – a beach towel in case you forgot, coffee for your first morning and a bottle of wine to toast your first sunset at the beach. In recent years, we have added more services with our Concierge at the Beach, Tori Fox Stapleton. Yes, my daughter, Tori, grew up helping me clean condos, babysit our friend’s children and now helps YFAB with her skill as an event planner and social media whiz. She can arrange to have your groceries delivered before you arrive, get a sitter for a night out or deliver a crib for the baby too big for a pack and play.

When is the best time to visit Destin and 30A area?

That answer is as diverse as the friends that visit us. For families with children and school schedules, summer is a popular time with warm gulf temperatures, a myriad of local activities to choose from such as paddle boarding on the dune lakes or fishing in one of our storied Destin fishing charters. Young families and retired couples like to visit in the fall when the temperatures and water are still delightful. They also find the rates lower and some fall festivals like the Destin Seafood Festival in October and the Watercolor Film Festival in November. If you enjoy golf, you can visit year-round, but you can escape from the winter cold up north to find sweater-only weather on the gulf and tennis courts in December, January and February.

But the real answer to why we do, what we do is simple. That’s what friends are for. Check back in the next month and find out just what last minute specials YFAB offers for their friends at the beach. Visit our website to let us help you plan your next beach vacation. www.YourFriendAtTheBeach.com And we’d be grateful if you’d “like” us on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

Why “Fall” for 30A?

Today is the first day of fall and we’re looking forward to cooler nights and more outdoor family friendly events in our 30A and Destin area.

October and November are my favorite months to make memories at the beach. It’s still warm enough to go to the beach during the day and the cooler weather at night makes for perfect for beach walks. There are a handful of great festivals going on in October. I can’t wait to attend them. If you are in town during one of the festivals check them out.

Destin Seafood Festival:

Locals like to boast that Destin is "the World's Luckiest Fishing Village.” The access to deep water (and the fish that run there) most accounts for Destin's popularity with anglers. It takes at least twice as long to reach these depths in most other Gulf waters.
Join the locals October 6th – 8th at the 39th Annual Destin Seafood Festival. This is a FREE event. Held at the Destin Harbor, the kids will enjoy the kid zone with its rock climbing walls and zip lines while the adults will love tasting seafood from all the local restaurants and vendors. Where to stay? One of our three condos at Villa Coyaba would give you the beach by day and the festival nearby by night.

The Market Shops Bloody Mary Festival:

We all need to eat more vegetables and Bloody Mary’s count as a vegetable, right? The Market Shops will host the 3rd Annual Bloody Mary Festival benefiting Habitat for Humanity Walton County on Saturday, October 7, 2017 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This year’s festival welcomes many favorite restaurants, bars and culinary artists from around South Walton and Destin. Ticket prices start at just $40 dollars. This is a great festival to visit before checking in at one of Your Friend at the Beach’s 5-star condos in nearby San Remo and Adagio. 

Baytowne Beer Festival:

Time to roll out the barrel and discover unique suds and ales! The Village of Baytowne Wharf presents the 10th annual Baytowne Wharf Beer Fest on October 13 and 14, 2017. Plan to sample and savor specialty beers from around the nation.  

Pumpkin Festival at Arnett’s Gulfside Stables

Come out to Arnett's Pumpkin Festival and pick out your pumpkins. Have a great time with pumpkin painting activities, bouncy house and pony rides. Take a hay ride through the haunted trails of Point Washington State Forest. And get some yummy cotton candy, popcorn, hot dogs and drinks! FREE admission. Tickets for individual activities $5. Wear your Halloween costume if you dare. The Pumpkin Festival takes place over two weekends: Sat/Sun on October 21-22 and October 28-29 from 11a.m. to 4 p.m.

Make sure you download our free APP, YFAB, to learn more about these events and other events in the area. With all these fun festivals, I think you’ll “Fall” for a vacation at 30A and Destin, too.

 

 

Laboring over what to do this weekend?

Are you headed to Destin or 30A for Labor Day weekend? Now what? Hit the beach of course, but what else is there to do on 30A and in Destin? As your concierge at the beach, this is my specialty – telling our guests what we locals like to do at the beach!

Whether you are staying at our gulf front condos at Adagio, San Remo or Villa Coyaba, there is fun for every age! Here are three fun activities that you can take your family to over Labor Day weekend. 

1.    Family Adventures

  • The Village of Baytowne Wharf is fun for the entire family! Zip line across the lagoon or test your balance on the ropes course at the Adventure Zone. Stop in for some pizza at Roberto’s Pizza and end the night at the arcade.
  • Harborwalk Village in Destin will celebrate Labor Day with live music and fireworks over the Destin Harbor, music starts nightly Saturday and Sunday. Fireworks to follow at 9 p.m. on Sunday followed with a fire-spinning performance by Just Add Fire.

2.    Art

  • The Baytowne Art Walk is on September 1st – 3rd from 5:00 – 10:00 p.m. and is a FREE event. Stroll the Village streets of Baytowne in nearby Sandestin as you browse a variety of artwork from regional and local artists. Live music will be on the events stage in the middle of it all each night. A weekend filled with art is good for the soul.

3.    Music

Labor Day weekend is full of music!

  • Arnett’s Farmhouse: Featuring; John Riggins, on Friday starting at 7:00PM. Farmhouse Friday Concert is a series of live music performances in the air-conditioned indoor venue "The Tack Room." A rustic, intimate live music space on a 20-acre horse farm located just one mile from the beach on Hwy 393 in Santa Rosa Beach, FL.
  • Seaside Amphitheater is the place for a free concert with Great Peacock – a country folk band from Nashville on Saturday, September 2 at 7p.m.! Grab your blankets and low back chairs and head to the Amphitheater for a fun night filled with music. Come out early, grab a cold drink and make sure you get a good spot on the lawn! Our guests at Adagio can use the two bikes we provide them and enjoy the scenic bike trail to Seaside, it is about a 4-mile ride or check out the Sunshine Trolley – it provides free trolley rides up and down 30A.
  • Gulf Place in Santa Rosa Beach has another free concert, Kickstand Jenny on Sunday. Contrary to their name – Kickstand Jenny – they are four musicians whose playlist include Van Halen to Bruno Mars back to Aerosmith and Journey. The Concert is from 5:00 – 8:00pm and is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and blankets to enjoy the concert on the amphitheater lawn. Gulf Place is walking distance for our guests at San Remo
  • Finally, Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam, just a short drive away in Panama City Beach. Expect to see a lot of locals as we will be attending the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam is Panama City Beach. Panama City is about 45 minutes away from our Adagio guests. Kicking off on Friday night and ending on Sunday, a 3-day pass is just $169 to see some of your favorite country artists. To mention just a few: Jason Aldean, Little Big Town and my favorite Luke Bryan!

As your Concierge at the Beach, I will be updating our free app YFAB with all the above events and more. Make sure to “like” us on Facebook for more exciting things going on in the area and special condo rates!

 

 

Fireworks: What’s Legal and What’s Not

 
Seaside's fireworks display over the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by 30A Vibe.

Submitted by South Walton Fire District

The 4th of July is right around the corner, a time many Americans observe the holiday by sending bottle rockets into the sky, exploding miniature bombs and unfortunately, breaking a state law.

Most fireworks are illegal for consumer use in Florida, even if they’re available for purchase. That can make stocking up for celebrations confusing for residents, tourists and guests alike.

To help clear up some of that confusion, our South Walton Fire District has shared answers to some of their most frequently asked questions.

What kinds of fireworks can I use legally?

The short answer is not many. Fireworks generally approved for use by consumers include sparklers; small fireworks that emit colored smoke only; and “glow worms,” which burn in bright colors without exploding. The state fire marshal has a full list, including brand names.

So everything else is off limits?

If it explodes flies or lifts off, the law prohibits you from lighting it. That includes the popular Roman candles. Florida Statute 791 is explicit about these fireworks. Consumer purchase and use of these materials is unsafe, a threat and, most importantly, illegal in this state.

If most fireworks are illegal, why are they so widely available?

A loophole in the law allows consumers to buy them if they say they’re intending to use the fireworks for lawful purposes, including certain uses in agriculture and mining. In stores, this can be as simple as filling out a form.

How can I tell which fireworks are legal?

Just ask. Sellers know the difference, and in many stores, consumer-approved items are clearly marked. Sparklers, party poppers and snappers are not banned under the law and can be used with care.

What about sky lanterns?

Florida law bans fireworks including “balloons which require fire underneath to propel them,” also known as sky lanterns.

“These lanterns will blow wherever the wind takes them and can cause fires if they land on combustible material like dry grass, sea oats or a house,” said Sammy Sanchez, South Walton’s fire marshal.

Paper lanterns, or sky lanterns, are also banned under Florida's fireworks law. Paper lanterns, or sky lanterns, are also banned under Florida’s fireworks law.

What’s the penalty for setting off illegal fireworks?

Florida law classifies it as a first-degree misdemeanor, which means those convicted could face up to a year in prison, a $1,000 fine and court costs.

Every year in my neighborhood, there’s a person with enough firepower to entertain a small country. Why aren’t they arrested?

Fire and public-safety officials say the law can be difficult to enforce. Typically by the time law enforcement arrives, whoever shot off the illegal fireworks is gone. This is even more difficult to determine when they are shot off the beach.

fireworks

Speaking of the beach, I’ve heard it is ok to shoot fireworks as long as they are shot off the beach?

Shooting off the beach is still illegal and it causes a huge trash issue since most people do not clean up the debris that is left over.

Is Florida more restrictive than most states when it comes to fireworks?

Although Florida makes most fireworks illegal, some states go even further. Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York have banned consumer use of all fireworks.

I’ve always heard that fireworks are dangerous, but what’s the real risk?

According to a study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association in 2010, 8,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms.

The annual death and injury report on fireworks also showed that about 40 percent of injuries occurred to children younger than 15.

There were also three deaths directly related to fireworks. In addition, the association says more fires are reported on July 4 in the U.S. than on any other day.

If I use legal fireworks, how can I stay safe?

Here are five basic safety tips:

1. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t always realize that young children can be injured by sparklers, which burn at extremely high temperatures

2. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.

3. Never try to relight or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.

4. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.

5. After fireworks have burned, douse them with water before discarding them.

South Walton Fire Chief Rick Talbert said that even legal items burn at high temperatures and can lead to injury.

 

May 2nd, 2017

Seaside Farmers Market

I love a well-done farmers market, I love being able to support local farmers and get fresh meats, vegetables and more for my family. If you get in early on Saturday, Seaside’s Farmers Market is open from 8:00AM to noon every Saturday. 

The Seaside farmers market is one of my favorite markets to go to on 30A. The market is set up around the large grassy amphitheater and there are tents on either side of the sidewalk with vendors. There are about 30 vendors and growing weekly – everything from farm fresh vegetables to organic meats. 

Let me set the scene for you, I pull up to the farmer’s market and see young kids 

running around laughing and playing together. My 5-year-old, Landon, sees "friends" and is in heaven running right down there with them to play. I could walk around, but still able to keep an eye on him. After I got my shopping down, I laid a blanket out so the kids could play longer, and listened to the live music playing. They had to burn off some ice cream, more on that below!

Bread, in the words of Oprah "I love bread," but seriously there is something about fresh baked bread that makes my mouth water. My mouth is watering now just thinking about it! I got the most delicious parmesan cheese bread from Black Bear Bread Company of Grayton Beach. They have 2 sizes, large and small, I got a small since it was just my husband and me. I was told you can freeze the bread to keep it fresh, I may just do that next time. The Parmesan bread was just as good as it smelt. A small loaf was only $5. They also have scones, muffins, danishes and more. 

Got milk? My kids drink chocolate milk like it's going out of style. So, when I walked up to Ocheesee Creamery I was hesitant to ask if they had chocolate milk. Much to my surprise they did! I asked to try it, you know just in case, and it was delicious. It was so thick and creamy, I didn't want my sample to end. So, I got the biggest bottle they offered. The milk comes in a glass bottle, which you can keep or exchange the following week or during the week at Fresh and Juicy to get your deposit back. Ocheesee Creamery has regular milk, cheese and ice cream. I grabbed a small ice cream for the kids to enjoy for being so good. The ice cream is just as good if not better than the chocolate milk! I couldn’t grab a picture with the full bottle, the kids (and I) opened it up when in Seaside. I'll be back for more chocolate milk and regular milk. 

Seafood, the Emerald Coast is known for its seafood. I grabbed 2 crab cakes from Sarah K's Gourmet, who has world famous jumbo lump crab cakes! Sarah K's cakes are slightly smaller than a tennis ball and are covered with a lively golden brown, crisp crumb coating. These are real whoppers, weighing in at nearly a half-pound each! We had some friends in town so, I also grabbed a tub of snappy dip from JC's Gourmet. I served it on cucumbers and Ritz crackers just like they had it at the Market. The dip is very light, but packed with flavor. 

I am looking forward to going back this Saturday, fill up on some chocolate milk, grab some more bread but also grab some organic meat from The Caveman’s Cupboard

Here are some tips: 

* Arrive early, parking can be tricky. If you are already check in at Adagio grab one of the 2 bikes we have for you and bike down. 

* Reusable bags, or any bag. You will need a bag to hold all your goodies. 

* Come hungry! Not only can you bring food home, but just about every vendor has samples and even food you can order and eat right there. 

* Bring cash, although some vendors except credit cards, better safe than sorry. 

Don't forget to check out our Facebook page, Your Friend at the Beach, to see what events are going on during the week!

Shop Local, 

Tori Fox Stapleton

 

 

April 24th, 2017

Our five favorite places to Brunch

It’s that time of year… all our thoughts turn to Brunch.

 

I had a hunch you thought I would say our thoughts turned to love – but as Mother’s Day is just ahead on Sunday, May 14th, we love to share our favorite places to take Mom to Brunch.

There is no better place to treat the family or surprise Mom that the restaurants in Destin and 30A on the Emerald Coast. My only difficult task today is limiting myself to my fave five!

1. Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer tops our list because we just enjoyed brunch there recently. We sat at a table overlooking the Destin Harbor and we recommend asking for Garrett, our server who was attentive, pleasant and full of good suggestions. The revamped brunch menu is amazing, pictured is the seafood omelette. Packed with shrimp and lump crab meat, cream cheese and sweet corn it was delicious. 

You can also order off the lunch menu. I tried their Spinach Salad topped with Grilled chicken – I could have added it fried or blackened fish instead. The Bloody Mary’s were just $5.00 and for $12.00, you can enjoy a bottomless Mimosa. If you want to bring a cake to celebrate, Brotula’s will serve it, cut it and plate it at no extra charge. A family friendly place they immediately brought out the children’s meals so they did not get fidgety in the high chairs provided.  Our five-year-old grandson danced with his grandfather to the live music provided by the three-piece band. A mixture of country and contemporary music, I found myself singing along and was pleased we could still converse over the music. It was a delightful experience and I would recommend making reservations soon as I am sure this will be a popular place not just on Mother’s Day but every Sunday.

2. The Perfect Pig has two locations on 30A, one is just a half mile from San Remo in Gulf Place in Santa Rosa Beach. Their other location is in Seagrove Beach at the Shops of Grand Isle. Although I have eaten at both, I prefer their newly updated location at Gulf Place. We can walk there from San Remo and it is more spacious. Service at both places is friendly and they annually are awarded Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence. I went to the Perfect Pig with girlfriends recently and enjoyed the House made quiche with Applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. The portion was generous and I shouldn’t have finished it all, but it was too delicious to stop eating. As the name suggests, the Perfect Pig does pulled pork perfectly. Succulent, deliciously spiced and freshly cooked, you can enjoy it for brunch on a biscuit with bourbon molasses mustard. As the server’s shirts say, Praise the Lard! You can make reservations for breakfast. It is served from 8 am to 2 pm, they also serve the lunch menu starting from 11 am to 3 pm. Don’t be surprised if you are tempted to pig out – it is the perfect place to do it.

3. If you want to really rock Mom’s Mother’s Day, why not take her to lunch on a 125-foot yacht? While not your typical brunch, the Sunquest Cruise Solaris offers a two-hour cruise (Gilligan and the Skipper not invited) on the picturesque Choctaw Bay. Enjoy fine dining with a menu that includes Chicken Piccata, Tile Fish and Filet Mignon while listening to the live entertainment. We enjoyed a cruise recently on the Solaris. We started on the upper deck with the wind in our hair while we enjoyed a celebratory glass of wine. Then back to the indoor dining area for our meal served without a wave while we cruise from one end of the bay to the other. The DJ got us all to dance and I can just imagine your Mom leading the Electric Slide on Mother’s Day. You can make reservations on line or call them to reserve a most unique Mother’s Day experience.

4. Why do people come to our gulf front condos? Why, the view – and that is why we recommend the Vue on 30A in Santa Rosa Beach. Just minutes from Adagio and San Remo, the Vue is one of the few 30A restaurants that has dramatic gulf views from your table. My husband and I ate there recently for brunch and he enjoyed his favorite Crab’s Benedict while I headed straight for the omelet station to get my favorite mushroom and cheese. You can eat indoors looking out the waterfront windows or on the shaded outdoor patio. For special occasions like Mother’s Day and Easter, there is a fixed price Brunch menu with a buffet. Hurry to make your reservations though, the Vue on 30A is the perfect place to celebrate Mom’s special day in paradise.

5. Take Mama to Mama Clemenza’s on Mother’s Day. Treat Mom to a European style menu complimented by a Bellini with Peach Nectar or a cup of their custom roasted coffee. You will likely be greeted by Mama Clemenza herself and she will tell you about the menu which is special every day – crepes, gouda grits or my favorite, the platter of European-style pastry. Tiny and tucked away in Miramar Beach on Highway 98, it is convenient to our guests at Villa Coyaba but worth the drive for our guests on 30A. The setting is casual but the food is upscale. I would call it a must for Foodies and steer our friends with little ones to one of our other choices. If you don’t have time to fly Mama to Italy for Brunch, take her to Mama Clemenza’s. Call for reservations as being a very intimate size, they fill up quickly.

 

There are many other wonderful choices for Brunch, we list them on our free app YFAB, so if you want to see our other personally reviewed (at great expense to our waistline) brunches, I have a hunch you will find it on YFAB. Not in town for Mother’s Day? You can be, just call Your Friend at the Beach for last minute openings or a summer vacation for Mom. We are in the business of making memories…

 


Do you pack everything but the kitchen sink?
April 17, 2017


So now you have your Gulf front condo rented and you are ready to go and it’s time to pack. So what do you need to bring for your family beach vacation with Your Friend at the Beach? This is a call Your Friend at the Beach gets every week – because what are friends for? 
•    Hair dryers Yes! We provide hair dryers in every bathroom. Plus, we have hand soaps, shower soaps and two rolls of toilet paper per bathroom. Each bathroom also has 100% cotton towels, hand towels and wash cloths.
•    Pack and Play? High chair? Yes, we provide a “pack and play” and a high chair in every condo. New this year, we also provide for a small fee full-size cribs, strollers and other baby equipment. We deliver and set it up for free.
•    Blender? Of course! We have high-powered blenders such as Ninja’s in our twenty-five-gulf front and gulf view condos. Smoothies or margaritas – we’ve got you covered.
•    Stocked Kitchen? We know some of you love to cook for friends and family even on vacation. So, we’ve stocked our kitchens with plenty of dishware, cookware, silverware plus extra items not always found like a crock pot and a large pot for boiling shrimp.  But if you don't like to cook, you can check our free app YFAB for our favorite restaurants like Borago, Cafe Tango and Stinky's Fish Camp.

There are basic items like salt and pepper and coffee filters as well. We check weekly to be sure there are plenty of wine glasses and many of the condos now have stemless wine glasses. The wine glasses with stems seem to break more often – and although that is covered by our damage waiver – we don’t want you to have less than you need! We also provide plastic cups so you can take your beverages down to the pool and hot tub. We will have your first bottle of wine waiting for you when you arrive!
•    Beach towels? While we don’t provide beach towels, we do leave a beach towel as a gift for you to use during your stay – and take home with you as a memory of your beach vacation. It also has our website embroidered on it so you never lose touch with your friend at the beach!
•    Sheets? Yes, we provide 100% cotton sheets for each bed, plus extra pillows in every closet. Although all pillows have a pillow protector we inspect them each week to make sure they are in great shape.
•    Beach toys? Except for the ground floor condos where we keep a box for beach toys, we don’t have beach toys in each condo due to the sand factor. New this year, our concierge at the beach can drop off beach toys along with a rented crib or stroller. Just call Tori at 850-586-5160.
•    Speakers? Yes, we have a wireless Bluetooth speaker in many of our condos so you can wirelessly connect your music to be played in your condo. Jimmy Buffet anyone (listen to Margaritaville while sipping a Margarita)?
•    TV? Like the idea of the family gathered around a big screen to check out the latest blockbuster? There are flat screen TVs in the living area and every bedroom. our TVs are set up to pair with Apple TV or Roku. If you forget to pack yours, call our concierge at the beach to have one delivered for your stay for a small fee.
•    Ceiling fans in bedrooms? Yes, we have ceiling fans in each bedroom with the exception of the bunk bed rooms due to safety concerns. If you need a fan in a bunk bed room, please call our concierge at the beach to have one dropped off for your stay.

So, no need to pack the kitchen sink as we do have that, but you do need to call Your Friend at the Beach if you haven’t reserved your summer vacation at the beach. Our online booking calendars for luxury gulf front condos at Adagio, San Remo and Villa Coyaba are getting packed quickly with summer stays.

 

Spring and Summer Concert Series

April 5th, 2017

Nothing says summer like enjoying an outdoor concert under the stars at the beach. Bring a blanket and some chairs and listen to the music while the children play.

The Destin and 30a area have a free concert almost every night. Here are a few of my favorites:

* Baytowne Wharf, every Wednesday night starting at 7:00PM.

What's not to love about Baytowne Wharf?! They have restaurants, the adventure zone for kids and my husband’s favorite, The Arcade.

We decided to have dinner at the house then made our way to the "Wharf". Popular with both guests and locals, parking can be at a premium. We opted to park just inside the main gate and take the water ferry across to Baytowne Wharf. It was a treat for the kids and we adults too as we glimpsed the setting sun over the bay. Once there, there is a large grassy area by the concert state; we put a blanket down for the kids and us. If you get there early, you can enjoy Bar-b-que and seafood while taking in the amazing sunset at Village Door Dockside Restaurant.

* 30Avenue, on Thursday nights is a great place to take the kids, music starts at 6:00pm. My family and I went early and grabbed some delicious food from Amici 30A Italian Kitchen then walked over to the large grassy area. I loved that 30Avenue wasn't too crowded, they had large tables and chairs set up, corn hole and hula hoops for the kids. We brought a bottle of wine and watched the kids dance and play till about 9:00pm.

Next time, we are going to pick up steamed shrimp from Goatfeather’s on the way. If the kids are good, we may also splurge on ice cream at Marble Slab.

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, starting on May 4th and ending June 29th every Thursday night starting at 6:00PM. Hear live music from musician including Emarld Gold, Alter Eagles and many more! Your Friend at the Beach is a proud sponsor and would love to invite some of our friends to sit at our table each week. We have 4 tickets up for grabs each week, when you book your reservation mention Mattie Kelly Arts and we will have tickets* waiting for you at your condo.

* First come first serve

*The Market Shops, Sunday 1:00pm

The Market Shops just started having Sunday afternoon concerts, which I just love! We stop by after church before hitting the beach and get to hear some really great music. Luck Langford, Donnie Sundal and Chris Alvarado are playing the next 3 Sundays, all are amazing musicians and singers. I also love that the Market Shops isn't to crowded yet, so the kids can run around freely.

Don't forget to bring the bubbly! #sundayfunday

 

Check back to see where to watch movies under that stars. A kid friendly event for sure!

 

 

 

March 13, 2018

We have the corner on luxury condos at Adagio! 

Hello from the Beach! Your Friend at the Beach specializes in upscale Gulf front condos at Adagio. Each one is uniquely appointed for your family’s beach getaway. But the corner on popularity goes to… (drum roll please) corner condos! Yes, guests love to have another whole wall with the view of our emerald green water and the Florida sunsets on 30A.

Newly Updated Exquisite Adagio A305

On the western side of A building at Adagio, this exquisitely appointed beach condo features newly-updated living room furniture. The large outdoor dining table invites you to dine al fresco – or sip your wine at sunset in the comfortable chaise lounges. The Gulf front pool is just steps away, you can take the elevator or just run down the steps outside your door. Adagio has its own private beach with beach chair service available. From Adagio A305, it is just a minute to the beach walkover between B and C buildings. New photos going up this week at www.BookNowA305.com so check your summer calendar now and reserve your stay at Adagio A305.

Spectacular and Serene Adagio A401

If you are looking for a corner condo that is more private, our newest Gulf front Adagio A401 is perfect. On the east side of A building – with no other condos to the east, the view is spectacular and the setting serene. Sip your morning coffee and see the sun rise; then watch the dolphins swim by. Never rented, the new owner has added fresh new mattresses so that your vacation is truly a restful one. Bedrooms include:

* Master bedroom with romantic poster bed with king mattress

* Second bedroom with king-size bed

* Third bedroom with two queen beds

* Fourth bed with whimsical twin beds Reserve Adagio A401 at www.BookNowA401.com now – or call for special introductory rates at 850-586-2978.

Looking out to sea in C building, our corner C401 is one of our most popular for so many reasons. There’s lots of light as you stretch out on the comfortable new sectional. For our friends who suffer from allergies, the all new tile floors in the bedrooms make for an allergy-free stay. There are two king bedrooms – the master with its own private bathroom – plus a second king bedroom with adjoining bath. Our friends at the beach love the Jack and Jill bathrooms connecting the queen bedroom and the fourth bedroom with two full-size beds. Reserve it now at www.BookNowC401.com as this corner condo is filling fast!

Ground Floor Opportunity – A105 Yes, you love a corner condo – but you really would love the ground floor so you can walk right out to the pools and beach? Look no more! Adagio A105 is just what the doctor ordered for young ones who love to romp on the grassy area – and their parents or grandparents who would prefer to watch them from the ease of the patio. Adagio A105 just took delivery of all new patio furniture. You’ll never want to leave the plush seating overlooking the Gulf of Mexico at its highest point. A new Pottery Barn dining table sets the scene for fun family dinners. Adagio A105’s kitchen like all of YFAB’s is well equipped with everything from a crock pot to a shrimp pot. You can see the Gulf front pool from the windows along the side...See the sunrise and sunset from the living room of Adagio A105 - a corner condo with lots of light. Upscale furnishings that you have grown accustomed to with your friend at the beach's condos!

Just out the front door of A105, you will find one of the four gas grills conveniently located for your grilling pleasure. I just checked the calendar – and we have a week open at Easter for A105. Come hide the Easter eggs on the grassy area outside. Reserve now at www.BookNowA105.com.

If you are coming with a smaller family and really don’t need the four bedrooms offered by all the Gulf front condos, your friend at the beach has three bedroom condos at Adagio. Of the five pool fronts that we manage, we have two corner condos in E building.

Cool, Comfortable Adagio E101

Adagio E101 is on the corner nearest the Gulf side. It’s been designed with the cool beach colors everyone is looking for and it has an extra bunk room. I can attest that the living area has a very comfortable sectional couch. My husband and I spent a getaway weekend there recently and he kept nodding off as sat on the couch watching golf on the large flat screen TV! No need to fight over who gets the king beds if there are two couples since there are two bedrooms with king beds. The children love the two full size beds with their own bathroom. And don’t forget the bunk room! But please hurry and reserve now. It’s is our most popular pool-front, corner condo. Soon there will be no weeks left. Reserve now at www.BookNowE101.com.

New, New, New Adagio E305

And finally, our newest corner condo is Adagio E305. The new owner has updated the condo with new living room furniture, new bedding and it has the very popular extra bunk room. It too has two king bedrooms and a third bedroom with a queen bed. And even though it is not a corner condo, you should know we also have the condo next door Adagio E304 so bring friends! You can receive a group discount if you reserve both at www.BookNowE304.com or www.BookNowE305.com.

Every condo has newly updated kitchens so you will find plenty of place settings, silverware, pots, pans and, of course, wine bottle openers! Missing something? That’s what friends are for. Call your concierge at the beach, my daughter Tori, and she’ll see it’s delivered. More on our concierge services in our next Beach Blog.

Don’t wait. Reserve for late spring and summer – we are filling up corner condos quickly! Go to www.YFAB.net to secure your perfect beach front vacation. Summer is just around the corner! Or call me, Nancy, your friend at the beach to ask about available weeks at Adagio.

 

 

What are the Sweetest restaurants in our area?

February 14th, 2017

Happy Valentines Day! Since moving back to the area, my husband Adam and I have been able to go and experience some amazing restaurants with even better food. I always look forward to our date nights, and since we’ve been back we have been able to experience a new restaurant each week. 

Here are our three favorite restaurants to take your sweetheart not only on Valentines Day, but year-round. 

1. Café Tango with just ten tables is the most intimate choice – and always a wonderful meal. Café Tango is the perfect spot to celebrate an anniversary or birthday. Located in one of the area’s oldest cottages on Scenic Highway 30A in Blue Mountain Beach, Cafe Tango strives to create an intimate and romantic dining experience for its loyal patrons. Father and son proprietors, Joseph and Andrew Morris host a cozy dining room that is all at once relaxed and refined while their European-inspired fare unites fresh, local ingredients to create authentic Spanish and Mediterranean flavors. You will need to make a reservation as it fills up quickly. My favorite dish is Grouper Tango!

2.Trebeache’ is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots for happy hour. Tuesday through Saturday from 5PM – 6PM and Sunday’s 3PM – 6PM. My favorite dish to snack on is a toss up, I love the Chargrilled Oysters but the Fried Feta Cheese practically melts in your mouth. For dinner, the Potato Wrapped Grouper is so flavorful and unique. Trebeache is so close to Adagio, Adam and I sometime walk if we are staying at one of our fourteen condos there. Make sure you call and make a dinner reservation, because they do book up quickly. We hope to see you there!

 

3. Lastly, Marlin Grill is conveniently located in Baytowne Wharf. Marlin Grill has indoor and outdoor dining. When the weather permits, we enjoy sitting out and people watching in the Baytowne Wharf. I think it has to do with the setting. Being in Baytowne Wharf the energy is lively and electric. What do you order? The shrimp and grits have an Asian twist to them, or the pan sautéed grouper is always fresh and delicious.  Right now, Marlin Grill is running an amazing 3 course special for $33 dollars. Stop in Sunday – Thursday between 5:00 – 6:00PM to enjoy this great deal!

We are always checking out the local restaurants and share our favorites on our free app YFAB. Download it today to see all our sweet choices for a delicious meal out on 30A.

 

 

 

 

February 7th, 2017

What does Your Friend at the Beach during the off-season?

First, when is the off-season here at the beach? Off-season for the 30A and Destin area starts around November and last until early March. Your Friend at the Beach offers long-term rentals for many of the gulf front condos that we manage.

When the condos are not being rented to our winter guests, we inspect every condo and make sure everything you need is there; from crockpots to wine openers, we inventory each condo to ensure you have everything you will need during your stay. Also, during the off-season, we paint where needed, updated furniture and bring on new luxury condos. Recently, we added new gulf front and pool front condos at Adagio and an updated new ground floor at Villa Coyaba. So, there really is never an off-season for property managers, but we love what we do!

Your Friend at the Beach is also excited to announce that we have not only expanded the number of condos we manage, but we have added two new team members - Nancy’s daughter and son-in- law, Tori and Adam Stapleton. Tori will be assisting in booking condos, checking in guests and is introducing our new Concierge Service.  I will expand more on that later on. Adam has over 10 years of experience with HVAC, electrical, plumbing and appliance repair. Hopefully, you won’t need him while you visit but if you do, you will be delighted by his expertise and his great sense of humor. He will be working closely with Larry to keep each condo in tip-top shape.   

Your Friend at the Beach is growing but is committed to being a boutique rental management company. So, when you call, you are speaking to one of the owners of the company. Even adding new condos has allowed us to offer more choices to our guests. But we knew we needed extra help. This is where Tori and Adam come in. Tori has always seen Nancy in her element growing up and has even rolled up her sleeves to clean condos when her mom needed the help. Some of you even remember having Tori babysit for your little ones during her college breaks from Johnson and Wales University. She has her degree in Sports, Entertainment and Event Management and ever since she was a little girl Tori was always planning her sisters’ birthday parties. She has a passion for making every experience memorable. This leads us to how the Concierge Service was born. Tori and Nancy wanted to offer our friends an unforgettable experience.  When you are on our website you will notice a new tab “Concierge” there will be a drop down menu of all the services we offer. We only have a handful of services, but hope to continue to grow. A service Tori is very excited about is the Grocery Service. Why? Tori has two children, five and one and a half, so she knows first hand what it is like to drive to your destination get into your condo, get the kids settled then fight the traffic and the long lines at the grocery store. With the grocery service, you simply email Tori your list ahead of time and that’s it! She will take care of the rest; you can have groceries for two days or for the entire week. Make sure you schedule your services early because we know they will book up quickly!

We look forward to seeing you at the Beach!
-Nancy

 

 

 

 

 

January 24th, 2017

FAQ's

Answering questions is part of what friends do to help friends plan the best beach vacation getaway. I have listed some questions I get asked on a regular basis and some new places I am finding because my grandson, Landon, is always on the go when at the beach and we have to keep him busy!

How close are you to Seaside?

Adagio in Blue Mountain Beach is just under five miles from Seaside while our condos at San Remo are just about seven miles away. See our recent blog on biking and you will find how easy it is to get there along our 30-A bike trails. If you are staying in our condos at Villa Coyaba, we suggest taking a drive which depending on traffic will have you in the heart of Seaside in about thirty minutes.

Our favorite restaurant is The Red Bar – are you close by?

You can zip over to Adagio in Blue Mountain Beach by bike for lunch. It’s just one village away from Red Bar in Grayton Beach. If you want to go for dinner; it’s a short drive from either Adagio or San Remo. But remember that Red Bar does not take reservations and parking can be limited in the quaint village of Grayton Beach. We recommend guests go early and put their names on the list; then take a pleasant stroll across the street to the artsy fun stores like Zoo Gallery. In any case, the delicious crab cakes (available only on weekends) are worth the wait. P.S.* Check our free app YFAB* for our other recommendations.

Are there any restaurants in walking distance?

This is a question I seem to be getting more and more often. The answer is yes – you can walk to the brand-new Trebeache from Adagio, La Playa and the Perfect Pig (sure, not the best name but it is delicious food) from San Remo and Camille’s from Villa Coyaba. In addition to restaurants that serve lunch and dinner, our guests at Adagio can just walk less than a block away for breakfast scones from LaLoba Bakery. For an ice cream treat at the end of a perfect day at the beach, the Blue Mountain Creamery is a country block from Adagio – and a short two miles from San Remo. It’s the best ice cream on 30-A! Try my favorite praline pecan. Our friends at Villa Coyaba can walk just around the corner to the Marble Slab ice cream in Destin. My husband and I recently took our grandchildren there and they loved the mint chocolate chip. All the other guests couldn’t help but smile when my grandson told me to stop helping him with the drips down his chocolate cone! 

So, what happens if you want to try other restaurants further away ? You still don’t have to drive. If you’re here in the summer (starting daily May 28th through September 5th) you can climb aboard the fun Sunshine Trolley. It takes you all along 30-A for free. They pick up from Redfish Village in Blue Mountain Beach and Gulf Place in Santa Rosa Beach. They make convenient stops along the way so you can enjoy restaurants like Shades and Bud and Alley’s in Seaside. Then just check their state of the art GPS tracking for your ride home – up until 11 pm at night. Bring your BFFs – or make new friends aboard the Sunshine 30A Trolley.

How many steps to the beach?

Saving the most frequently asked question until last, I must smile since my husband always tells me to ask “How big are your feet?”  JK, I take every question more seriously than he does! So, I have done a little research at each of our three-condo complexes.

Adagio: With three Gulf-front buildings and four pool-front buildings, Adagio sits at the highest point of the Gulf of Mexico. It is so close to the dune’s edge that you can’t get any closer … without getting wet. You can be at the beach walkover in seconds even from the buildings farthest away (E and F). There are, however, 52 steps down to the beach. Not to worry though. The beach walkover was thoughtfully built with a landing or two along the way down in case you want to catch your breath and enjoy the view.

San Remo: On the south side of 30A, just 100 yards from the beach, San Remo is a private complex of about 32 condos. When my grandson was just two; I held his hand and timed our walk from the condo elevators (two of them) to the sand. Even with the meandering pace of a toddler, we were at the beach in less than two minutes. He loved the boardwalk by the pond as it is filled with turtles that delight little kids. 

Villa Coyaba: Villa Coyaba in the Crystal Beach area of Destin has the easiest access to the beach. From the elevators (two) to the beach, there is one set of about seven steps to the pool. From the pool, there are another 25-30 gently steps down to the private beach that comes with beach chair service included. 

That is another question I am often asked – beach chair service. I’ll answer that and perhaps a question of yours at the next Your Friend At the Beach blog. 

You can reach me at Nancy@yfab.net or call me at 850-586-2978. 

 

January 17th, 2017

Woman, Wine and Wonderful Weekends!

 I recently came back from a girl’s weekend in Nashville, TN. The atmosphere was full of energy, the food was spectacular and the music was out of this world. Getting to and from Nashville is a quick Southwest flight from the Panama City Beach Airport. We get a lot of people that traveling from Tennessee to stay with Your Friend at the Beach. As I’m sure many people do, we planned our next girls’ trip while on our girls’ trip. This year we are planning to attend one of the wine festivals in the Destin and South Walton Beach area. We have two amazing Wine Festivals to choose from in April. 

One of my favorites (which also happens to fall on my birthday this year) is the Sandestin Wine Festival – April 20th – 23rd. Grab your girlfriends, put on a big floppy hat and taste hundreds of wines from across the globe. The Sandestin Wine Festival, held at the Village of Baytowne Wharf (or Baytowne is what we locals call it) is the perfect place to hold a wine festival. The streets of Baytowne are made of cobblestone you will find beads’ hanging in the trees it is very New Orleans, so it is really fun. Wine novices can learn more about wines, and sample from a comprehensive selection in all varieties, styles, and price ranges. Wine aficionados enjoy meeting winemakers, asking detailed questions, and acquiring hard-to-get selections. An added bonus is the opportunity to immediately purchase your favorite selections at the ABC Fine Wine and Spirits Retail Tent at a discounted rate. Everyone gets to enjoy the live music, interactive experiences at the Culinary tents, and shops and dining of the Village of Baytowne Wharf.

Can’t make it the weekend of the 20th? That’s okay because South Walton Beaches wine & Food Festival is April 28th – 30th. Throughout the Town Center of Grand Boulevard, attendees get to experience Spirits Row, Champagne Lane Tastings, Savor South Walton Culinary Village, Nosh Pavilions, Tasting Seminars, Craft Beer & Spirits Jam, live entertainment and more than 800 wines poured by knowledgeable wine industry insiders.

In addition to the incredible selection of more than 800 wines, South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival offers the world’s finest foods, including cheeses, olives, sushi, charcuterie and, of course, confections. The Savor South Walton Culinary Village offers a multitude of food tastings, food and wine pairings and exclusive educational and entertaining tasting seminars from noted industry experts and renowned chefs. The beautifully landscaped grounds of Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, allow you to stroll freely throughout the entire festival. What I really love about this festival is that there is great shopping at Grand Boulevard, and all the shops will be open during the festival!

 What festival will I see you at? Reserve your stay of three days or more in April now and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free ticket to one of the wine festivals!

*Valid only on a new reservation, not valid on previously booked reservations, available only while supplies last and subject to all terms and conditions of our contract.

 

 Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2017 

Where on 30A is our favorite place to bike for lunch?

This is a question I get almost daily.

One of our favorite places to bike to is Seaside, which has some amazing food trucks! It is an easy 4-mile bike ride from Adagio with some spectacular views of dune lakes along the way. If you are staying at Adagio there are 2 bikes that come with your rental, if you need more bikes, call our friend Bob with, Beach Dog Bike Rentals. Recently, I biked from Adagio in Blue Mountain Beach with my husband Adam and our two children. Bob dropped off a buggy for our one-year old and a ride-behind bike for our five year old.

The food trucks are located on either side of the Seaside Post Office; take a picture in front of the building because I’m sure you have never seen a Post Office like this one.

The MeltDown on 30A serves up some delicious combinations of grilled cheese sandwich; my personal favorite is the brie and bacon on cranberry bread. Amazing. 

My husband Adam’s favorite spot to eat it Barefoot BBQ where sandals are truly optional. I have seen countless people walking up from the beach to get their fix in BBQ. He loves to get the BBQ Nachos with extra jalapenos. They also have a great kids menu offering chicken fingers, corn dogs and mini sliders. If you like Bloody Mary’s this is the place to get one!

Need a quick pick me up? Stop by the Raw & Juicy an organic raw vegan food truck. They have some of the most delicious smoothies. If you love peanut butter you must get the Almond Love smoothie, and the sweet monkey wrap. Both are made with almond butter, the monkey wrap is pressed so the almond butter is oozing with yummy goodness.  

Who doesn’t love a delicious hot dog? At Wild Bill’s Beach Dogs you can get your dog covered in onions, cheese, homemade chili, slaw, pickles the opportunities are endless!

To complete your food truck tour, stop by my 5-year-old son’s favorite spot, Frost Bites for a sweet treat. He loves the rainbow-shaved ice with ALL the colors and flavors. Make sure to bring cash with you, as they do not accept credit cards for transaction less than 20 dollars.

Once you have made your selection, there is outdoor seating to enjoy the surroundings of Seaside. The Food Trucks at Seaside are not just a great place to eat but also to meet and greet the friendly visitors to our 30A area.

Well, after writing this blog, I’m ready to grab a beach cruiser bike and head back to 30A. I hope you stop by one of the Seaside food trucks and enjoy their fun fare, let us know your favorite on our Facebook page.  

 

December 15, 2016

‘Tis the Sea-Sun! Why Christmas at the Beach?

1. You can give the gift of precious time together. What’s a better last-minute gift than a beach getaway with someone you love? Imagine sitting on the balcony of Adagio A304 seeing the dolphins glide through the emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Or cozy up to the fireplace in Adagio E305, our newly remodeled front three bedroom condo by the pool. And as a special gift to you, all of our 2016 holiday dates at our remaining Gulf front condos are 30% off until the end of this year!

2. Wondering what to leave under the tree? This time of the year the specialty boutiques like Perspicasity in Seaside and the Barefoot Princess (exclusive retailer of Lilly Pulitzer)  in Watercolor are having big sales on their summer stock, and offering wonderful Christmas shopping ideas. Last week’s blog detailed my biking adventure. What I didn’t tell you is that I couldn’t resist a little break to sneak in some Christmas shopping. The shop keepers were so friendly and nice. They even offered to hold my bags until I drove back later that day to pick up my purchases. I discovered a new shop in Seagrove called Liz Fashions that carries bathing suits year-round – as well as unique women’s clothing, just in time for holiday parties. And don’t hesitate to call me and I will be sure there is a table top Christmas tree at Your Friend at the Beach’s condo!

3. Dining out on 30A – yes, the restaurants are open! While a few restaurants are closed on Christmas (check our free app YFAB where we list what is open and closed), we have some terrific restaurants on 30A and in Destin open for Christmas Eve Dinner and Christmas Day Feasts. Here are a few of our favorites:

* Cuvee 30A in Inlet Beach is serving a Christmas Eve Dinner from 4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (850-909-0111). Cuvee Destin on Emerald Coast Parkway will serve a Christmas Day Feast 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (850-650-8900).

* Havana Beach Bar and Grill on Main Street in Rosemary Beach is open for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call 850-588-2882 for more information about their special, three-course holiday menu.

* A perennial favorite, Harry T’s Lighthouse on Harbor Boulevard is ready to serve you on Christmas Day while you enjoy the shimmering lights reflected on Destin Harbor.

* Check our Facebook page for more ideas on dining on the Emerald Coast and on scenic 30A for the Christmas Holidays. We’ll be updating it with restaurants and holiday events every day.

4. Holiday Events

* Want to feel the sand between your toes in the morning and go ice skating in the afternoon? You can have the best of both worlds  at Baytowne on Ice skating rink in Sandestin.

* For more holiday cheer, enjoy Seaside Repertory Theatre’s presentation of Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!) playing Wednesday through Sunday evenings at 7:30 p.m. until December 29th.

* Enjoy a bonfire on the beach on New Year’s Eve. Fireworks will dot the skyline from Destin to Panama City and you’ll have the best seat on the beach in Walton County. You can apply for a permit – but it’s much easier to call Rent-Gear-Here  who will arrive with permit in hand and everything else you need from the fire pit to the beach chairs.

My family is planning on wrapping up in our Christmas blankets and enjoying a "White (sand) Christmas” evening on the beach with a bonfire. Will we see you there? You can still make it – just call Nancy at 850-586-2978 for a great rate on a last-minute Christmas getaway.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our friends at the beach!

 

December 6th, 2016

CAN’T YOU JUST FEEL THE WIND IN YOUR HAIR AND THE SUN ON YOUR FACE?

Why 30A is one of the best places to bike.

If you only think of 30A as beautiful beaches and emerald green water; you may be missing out on an exciting biking adventure along the 30A bike path. This scenic ride is a can't miss, and lucky for me (and maybe you) it’s a very gradual incline so I could just relax and enjoy the ride. 

Your Friend at the Beach, along with my daughters and sister-in-laws recently took a breathtaking bike ride (Click here to see a short video of the bike path) along a portion of the 20 miles of Scenic Highway 30A. Beach Dog Bike Rentals delivered our bikes right to one of our Gulf-front condos at Adagio in Blue Mountain Beach at Mile Marker 5. Blue Mountain gets it's name from the high dunes that used to be covered with blue Lupine flowers. You can still find them along the high white dunes.

As we pedaled by Big Redfish Lake, we stopped and took a picture of the water lilies that dot the surface of one of our many dune lakes. Dune lakes are extremely rare and 30A boasts fifteen dune lakes along the twenty scenic miles. At the intersection of Rt. 283 and 30A, we stopped at Grayton General Store for water and peeked next door at Beau – one of our favorite shopping spots for décor and furniture – but more on shopping next week!

Continuing east past Grayton Beach State Park, we were happy to see that they are widening the trail so the path by Western Lake will have easier access to all the bikers and hikers. If you take this ride, you may recognize the breath-taking view as you ride by Western Lake, one often captured by artists and photographers at sunset with the view across the lake to the wide, high dunes of Grayton Beach.

Just beyond Mile Marker 9 East is the quaint little town of Watercolor. Biking is the best way to see this unique beach side community. We took a detour off 30A and enjoyed the trails that wind past the Watercolor Lake House which is home to lots of events including paddle-board races. We wound around beautiful homes and across gravel trails that take you deep into the community of Watercolor.

Back on the 30A bike trail, we are in lovely Seaside in less than a mile. Seaside was made popular by the actor, Jim Carey, in the movie The Truman Show. Seaside is known for its oh-so-charming, pastel-colored homes and picket fences, all gathered around a grassy gathering area behind the picturesque Post Office. The gathering area is home to the weekly Seaside Farmer’s Market. In addition to the many wonderful Seaside restaurants, we pass by numerous food trucks along our bike trail. The timing was right to stop for lunch. We all chose from different food trucks and had an impromptu picnic. Check back later this week as I share our favorite food truck!

Back on our bikes, we pass Mile Marker 10 and glide by Seagrove. At the intersection of 30A and CR 395, there is another bike trail that leads north towards Point Washington State Park. We promise ourselvesto head there another day and stay on the 30A Bike Trail. The trail is smooth and relatively flat allowing us to enjoy the scenery and chat as we bike.

Just past Mile Marker 13, we pass Deer Lake and the entrance to Deer Lake State Park.The more adventurous rider may want to take off on its rugged trails leading to the pristine Gulf beaches. We, however, continue just past the community of Watersound to Camp Creek Lake. The view across the Lake, with its picturesque cabins, is a wonderful ending to our day biking along 30A.

Want to find your place at the beach to bike and relax? Call me, at 850-586-2978, Your Friend at the Beach. Remember, we include bikes with our Adagio rentals!

 

Five Reasons YFAB Is Thankful This Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2016

 

In this season of gratitude, I don’t have enough fingers and sandy toes to count my many blessings but here is a start as we wind up another wonderful beach season here in the Destin and the 30A area.

1. Our friends at the beach. Our beach front condos were filled Spring Break, Summer and Fall with repeat guests – over 50% of our guests returned this year and many left FIVE star reviews like this one: “I always look to Nancy first. After previously spending two full days before each vacation booking, I learned that just looking at Nancy's site gave the same result, but in minutes! We are always happy with Nancy's properties. It is like visiting a relative. We love the welcome gifts. Thank you, Nancy! The detergent for the washer, dishwasher, starter coffee, etc. is unlike anything we have seen in any other property in our 25 years of renting on the 30 A area. Our last vacationing experience was last week. Thanks again for another great experience to Nancy and your team! Thanks, Kay.” 

2. Our owners at the beach. Our owners believe and support our goal to have the most updated beach front and gulf view condos on the Emerald Coast. For example, knowing that a good night’s sleep while on vacation is essential; the owners of Adagio A403 have updated all new mattresses in their four-bedroom gulf front. Adagio D404 owners are investing in a high polish of the marble that will make this pool front condo sparkle. Just when we thought Adagio C402 couldn’t get any better; the owner ordered new balcony furniture. Just next door, Adagio C401 is awaiting the new bedroom flooring that will update this gulf front corner condo. Villa Coyaba 303 is also putting in all new bedroom flooring. San Remo 207 also has all new bedroom carpeting plus a new larger TV in the living area. The list of updates to our 24 condos is too long to list here, please see the new photos as we update on our website.

3. Four new condos for our guests in 2016. We are pleased to welcome Adagio G104, E304, E305 and A401 to our list of FIVE star condos at Adagio. Enjoy the new furniture just ordered for our ground floor closest to the gulf, Adagio G104. Bring family and friends and be side by side in Adagio E304 and E305. Both have been updated by their new owners to include all the special touches like 100% cotton sheets and fresh new bedding. Adagio A401 has one of the best locations at Adagio – top floor, corner unit on the east side of A building. A401 has also been updated so there are two bedrooms with king beds, a third bedroom with two queen beds and a fourth bedroom with twin beds.

4. A rental year that keeps on growing. When Your Friend at The Beach started back in 2005, most guests came in either Spring Break or during the Summer. But as the popularity of the 30A area grew; guests found that Fall has warm temperatures, wide-open beaches and no long lines at the many high end restaurants in Destin and along 30-A. Even the winter has filled up with not just monthly guests, but weekend getaways are being planned to go biking or to attend the

Songwriter’s Festival in January or the Seaside Half-Marathon.

5. Last but certainly not least, Your Friend at the Beach has added two more “friends” to our boutique-style rental management company. Adam Stapleton comes with 12 years of experience in HVAC, plumbing, electrical and appliance repair. He joins Larry Snyder, my business partner, on the weekly checks of each condo to ensure every item in each condo is in perfect working order from the remotes of the flat screen TV’s to the cleanliness of each ice maker. Keeping it in the family, Tori Fox Stapleton – Adam’s wife and my daughter – joins us to provide concierge “experiences” for our friends at the beach. Look for exciting new offerings on our website in early 2017. In the meantime, chat with Tori as she helps me find each guest the perfect beach vacation.

We thank you for being our friends at the beach – and wish you and your families a healthy, happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

The Top Four Signs that it’s Time to Find a New Rental Agent

Beach Blog October 10, 2016


Recently, I read a blog on a popular vacation rental site (Okay, I’ll say it, it was Homeaway) where owners weighed in – and rather negatively – about property managers. One owner commented “I was promised a certain amount of revenue but at the end of the year, it was not even close.” I decided to be my own property manager for our own Gulf front condo in 2005, after we were “promised much but delivered little” by a large rental management company. With the advent of the internet and sites like VRBO, I was able to, not just keep our condo booked, but actually take care of it myself as we lived close by. Friends heard that I was doing this successfully and soon Your Friend at the Beach (a name given to me by a guest who said that is how I made her feel) was a thriving business. My company grew by word of mouth – owner to owner – and now has over 20 luxury gulf front condos in the Destin and 30A area.
How has it grown? It’s simple really. I treat each condo like I did my own. Here are the complaints I read on the Homeaway site – and here is what we do at YFAB to address these issues.
1.    Not enough rental income: Let’s face it, we owners all have to pay HOA fees, mortgages and updates to our properties; so income has to be our first concern. The large property management companies promise big returns but often treat their clients like numbers, not people. My phone calls were not answered and my calendar looked blank when I was a client of a big firm. As a “boutique-size” rental company, I have to have your condo booked in order to cover our costs. Because even though we are small, we offer everything (and a few more services) that the larger companies do. We have an on-line booking calendar, prompt owner reports prepared by our accountants, and offer our free app YFAB. We use social media and email marketing to keep in touch with our past guests. We are committed to quality. Our return rate is over 50% and growing yearly. Most importantly, we don’t “nickel and dime” our owners so your net income is greater. But more on that later…

2.    No attention to detail or quality: The owners on the above-mentioned forum commiserated that rental managers didn’t check the property after each guest checked out. Often broken items and poor cleaning were an unpleasant surprise. Here is what we do: my business partner, Larry (who is as handy as one of those guys on the TV fix-it shows), checks every condo after each guest departure. He has a regular list of items he reviews every time. He changes burned-out lightbulbs, makes sure appliances are working, checks each TV to find that it not only works but also that the remote is there and has a battery. If there is a clogged sink he “zips” it, a broken garbage disposal, he fixes it and if there is a more serious problem like a faulty A/C, he gets it checked that day, before the new guest arrives. Larry’s list is long – too long to put in this blog but suffice it to say, when Larry leaves your property; your beach condo is in pristine shape. 

Our phone numbers are always handy - on the app or in our binder, and we answer promptly if a guest has a concern. Last Saturday, a guest arrived and called to say the TV in the bunk room wasn’t connected to internet.  Our guest Kari texted me an hour later saying thanks, someone is already here!

3.    Your property was not clean.  Here is what I read; “The property manager promised that the same people would clean weekly but it is a different person every week.” Why is that important? We have the same team of housekeepers in the same condos weekly. Each housekeeper has an area of expertise - kitchen, bathrooms, windows, or floors. By keeping the same team in your condo, we notice immediately if something is missing or if furniture has been moved from one room to another. 

As I often say, “you don’t get what you expect, you get what you inspect.” Each of our cleaning teams text me when they are finished cleaning a condo and I come in do a to “walk through.” If a floor is not mopped well or a window is streaky, the team returns to correct it. You can imagine after a couple of return visits; the team rarely misses anything. Once I walk through, I call the guest coming in to say the condo is ready – many times before the 4:00 PM check in.
My feeling is that the happier a guest is when they arrive, the better they treat your condo. We work very hard to present the cleanest and most upscale gulf front condos in the 30A and Destin area. Our guests respond by treating our condos as they would their own homes. One of our Adagio owners arrived last fall after a busy rental summer to say that his condo didn’t even looked used – and we had it rented every week. 

4. Being nickel and dimed: A company that charges $30 to change a lightbulb and tacks on upcharges to every item they purchase for you, is not a company with your bottom line in mind. We charge our owners, once a year, the actual cost for lightbulbs and batteries. We change them as need at no extra cost for our time. If you need a new microwave, we let you know. We give you choices and we charge you the actual price with no fee for our time. One of our gulf front Adagio owner who had used larger companies and has now been with us for almost ten years said this “we have very few days that the condo is empty. During those days, Larry is doing small maintenance work and making sure everything is up to our standards.”

How do we do all of this and have a successful company? We do it by managing only the nicest condos at Adagio, San Remo and Villa Coyaba. Our intent is to stay boutique size. We are proud to say we have never had an owner leave us unless they sold their condo. Our five-star reputation to owners and guests, rests on each condo being exceptional. If you have a top-of-the-line condo at Adagio, San Remo or Villa Coyaba and would like to join our winning team; please contact me – Your Friend at The Beach. We’ll treat your condo as if it was ours!

 

Hmm. Where’s the best place to hold the family reunion this year?

Beach Blog September 20th, 2016

That was the question for our family this year. For the first time in over 30 years, we decided to go south. Usually we go go to Ocean City, New Jersey with my Dad’s side of the family and we’ve always enjoyed it. But this year we’re trying something new. Everyone (27 people so far!) is coming to our reunion in Destin, Florida (which just happens to be where I live with my family). 

We choose the luxurious, Gulf-front, condo complex, Villa Coyaba in Crystal Beach, Florida. We’ll have three condos – each one is spacious and comfortably sleeps ten people.  Villa Coyaba sits right on the beach and just 30 minutes away from the Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport.  My family chose me to plan this reunion since I have a background in Event Management, and was happy to help. I recently joined Your Friend at the Beach to plan our guest experiences so it made sense for me to plan the activities. So what will all 27 of us be doing? I’ll share the highlights with you.

Fishing Anyone? 
I booked a fishing charter for the men in the family (girls welcome too). I chose Charter Boat Destination; a privately-owned boat run by Stan Phillips. The boat fits 12 people, so I “maxed it out” for the six-hour trip. An added bonus is once you get back to the dock, Charter Boat Destination cleans and filets the fish right there for you. Much better than doing it in our shared kitchen! When we return home to Villa Coyaba, we’ll grill our catch on our outside grill and catch the sunset at the same time! 

While some are fishing, others are going to be spending time at the stunning, infinity pool overlooking the Gulf and the beach.  We can enjoy the view of the emerald green water while floating in the large poo; and catching up with my cousins. The condo at Villa Coyaba is just a few steps from the water –  great for the little cousins who need afternoon naps. Your Friend at the Beach not only provides beach chair set-ups but also portable cribs for the little ones’ naps.

Golfing is a Must for our Family.  
We have many avid golfers in our family. There are so many wonderful golf courses along Destin and 30A to choose from but I picked Regatta Bay in Destin as it’s my Dad’s favorite. It’s just a few miles from Villa Coyaba and is a gorgeous course.  The greens overlook gorgeous lakes lined with pine trees and the occasional osprey drifting by. Another golf course we like in Destin is Kelly Plantation Golf Course. There are beautiful holes overlooking the Bay. Make sure you bring extra balls...just in case these water hazard gives you a little trouble.

Just twenty minutes from Destin on Scenic 30A, Camp Creek Golf Club is the favorite of me and my husband. It’s tucked away and feels very private but is right before Rosemary Beach (see last week’s blog for details on this charming village). Keep an eye out for wildlife though; there have been alligator spottings. 

Shopping Away The Afternoon. 
For those who would rather not golf, we have so fun shopping experiences on the Emerald Coast.   One is the Destin Commons or The Commons as we locals call it is a place to not just shop but also relax in its village-like setting. The Commons has grown so much over the years and has shops that will please everyone. H&M, LOFT, Belk, Sephora, and Chicos…just to name a few. Destin Commons is only a mile away from Villa Coyaba – husbands you have been warned. It’s also my four-year old son’s favorite spot. He loves to run through the sprinklers in the childrens’ play area. This is Florida after all – he’ll dry quickly. All of the little ones enjoy the train ride around the Commons while the Moms enjoy an iced coffee at the outdoor patio at Starbucks.

What Would a Reunion be without a Family Photo on the Beach?
No family reunion is complete in our house without our traditional family photo. Everyone dressed all in khaki or white by the emerald green waters just before sunset is an image we’ll all cherish. We’ve already lined up Ryan Manthey of Pure 7 Studios. Ryan has been taking our family photos since I was a high school senior, for my wedding, our first babies’ pictures and now, the whole family. This year is especially important to capture all of us, as my 93-year old grandmother, Nanny Fox will be at the center of the photo. 

A Beach Bonfire With S’Mores.
Won’t it be fun for the entire family to watch the sunset, maybe sing a few songs and enjoy a bonfire? You can have beach bonfires in Walton County – it’s just two miles from Villa Coyaba. Rent Gear Here does everything. They provide the chairs, start the fire and even bring the s’mores. Just don’t let your marshmellow fall in the fire! 

Last But Not Least, Nightlife.
For the older cousins who want to sneak away for a few hours, Baytowne Wharf has always been a favorite of mine. It’s styled after New Orleans; so the atmosphere is always high energy and fun. One place we have to go is the Funky Blues Shack; they always have live music and great drink specials.  Plus, they have twenty-four beers on tap, twelve of them locally brewed.  

Need help planning your activities for your family? Call me. This is just a small taste of what there is to offer in Destin and 30A. I’d love to be your family’s personal event planner at the beach! 

Tori Fox Stapleton
850-586-5160
Tori@yfab.net

Five Day Friend Getaway... last two days!

Second half of Girl’s Beach Getaway

Beach Blog September 13, 2016


Last week, we posted the first three days of a five day girlfriend’s beach getaway… we pick it up this week on ...
Day Four!
Just two days left on our girl’s beach getaway and I think you will find these are two of the most fun days!  So read on, ladies, remember you only live once…
Our 30A area is the birthplace of YOLO – yes, You Only Live Once Paddleboards were developed here – and what’s SUP with that?  SUP is another brand of Stand Up paddle boards here on the Emerald Coast. Stand Up Paddle boarding is a not to be missed adventure either on our emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico or pn our many dune lakes. I am partial to YOLO boards since I have a pink one that I love to climb aboard in the early mornings. The water is clear and smooth then, so I can see the sting rays, sea turtles and even gets close to pods of dolphins as I paddle along.  
If you didn’t bring your own, no worries --- our free APP YFAB lists not only places to rent paddleboards but also paddleboard adventures like YOLO Yoga and Paddle core fitness classes. Whether you spend a morning serenely paddling our tranquil dune lakes on a guided tour or curing workout boredom with a  paddle board interval class, You Only Live Once --- so be sure to add paddle boarding to your girl’s getaway events.
In the afternoon, you should explore Grayton Beach, the oldest of the fifteen unique villages along scenic 30A.  When I first discovered Grayton Beach, I thought I had been transported back in time to the 1950’s.  I found wooden houses made of weathered cypress and bordered by sand streets and an abundance of trees. Over 100 years old, Grayton Beach’s early settlers, the Butler family led the push to keep 30A free of high rises – and Grayton Beach reflects that charming seaside feel of years ago. This quaint village is also almost surrounded by Grayton Beach State Recreation, home to dunes and miles of beach front.  
Walk the wide public beaches and then circle back to explore the most famous “Bar” on the Emerald Coast.  Red Bar in Grayton Beach is so popular that I have guests call me and ask how close our condos are to Red Bar!   Open for lunch and dinner with a short but sweet menu, make sure you get there early as there are no reservations. The seafood is fresh and perfectly prepared but my absolute favorite is the Crab Cake – a generous portion! If the line is too long at Red Bar, try the Grayton Seafood Company just down the street.  One of our guests recently ate there and loved the shrimp and grits. If you go at lunch, enjoy their Po’boys on New Orleans French Bread – you will think you are back in the Quarter! 
While you are in Grayton Beach, stop in at the hidden gem of Craft Bars on the Emerald Cost, Idyll Hounds.  Friendly and fun, Idyll Hounds offers craft beers with the finest ingredients --- three types– The Regulars, The Seasonal and The Specials. Check their Facebook page as they offer food from other popular kitchens and their hours vary.
Then back the few miles to Adagio or San Remo for star gazing or if you are lucky, a far off lightning storm across the gulf. My friends and I call it God’s fireworks – and it is glorious to behold!
 

Day Five… how did it go so fast???

Your last day on 30A should be doing what you love most! For me that would be an early morning walk on the beach, past the dune lakes on our sugar white sand beaches.Then coming back to Adagio to ride the miles of bike trails on 30A –  this time headed to Gulf Place just about two miles west. Sunrise Coffee Company has an outdoor area for sipping its iced coffee and I just might splurge on a chocolate chip muffin. While at Gulf Place,  I would get some last minute souvenirs at the 30A store where you can find the Official 30A Gear.  Head home sporting a 30A T-shirt or tote away some 30A beer or wine for your favorite mister!
While at Gulf Place, pick up some take out from the Perfect Pig, a delightful café and gourmet market.  I love their hickory smoked pulled chicken with homemade sauce. It reminds me that our area is in the south – with its sweet tea hospitality and delicious southern food.  
But don’t leave the 30A area before you and the girls have gone to hear Redd sing! Redd, the singing bartender is just across the street from Adagio at Redd’s Fueling Station. Redd will leave you laughing and sometimes blushing, but always entertained! Tell her your friend at the beach sent you… or better yet, call me and I will tag along as I never tire of Redd’s funny patter between her songs.
I hope you enjoyed reading about the girl’s trip as much as I enjoyed planning it for you. Speaking of plans, next week my daughter, Tori the event planner is going to share some family reunion plans. Real life ones as our family is heading to the Emerald Coast in October!   

 


Here’s my local’s tips: Five Days Girl’s Beach Getaway
Beach Blog September 6, 2016

The perfect time to plan a girls’ getaway beach vacation is the Fall. Summer is over; The kids are back in school; and I’m guessing you could use a break before the holidays begin. Last Saturday I met a wonderful group of ladies from Tennessee visiting the Adagio in Blue Mountain Beach for a girls’ getaway week. I promised to send them a plan for five, full days of fun on our 30A area -  fifteen unique seaside villages connected by a 20 -mile bike trail. Now I’m sharing the suggested itinerary with you.
Day One
For the early birds, the onsite gym at Adagio is a great way to get your blood pumping. If you yearn for Yoga, SoFITco is just across the street and offers yoga, Pilates and hot yoga. Want to keep it simple? A run or walk on our sugar white beach is another great way to start the day. 
Workout completed, cross the street to La Loba’s Bakery. Try their cinnamon rolls, scones and granola –  you’ve earned it! LaLoba’s also offer gluten free baked goods, and they make the best turkey wrap I have ever eaten. Why not bring the goodies back to enjoy with coffee on your balcony overlooking the gulf (that is if you want to share)? Of course since it’s your first full day on sunny 30A in Northwest Florida; you’ll want to experience the pools – and there are several.  The gulf front pool is heated in the off season (once the water temperature drops below 88 degrees) or the three pools linked by waterfalls totaling 8,000 square feet of water relaxation.  Or of course, you could walk down the steps onto Adagio’s beautiful, white-sand beach. The Gulf temperature is still in the low 80s in September and October, and the air temperature is a perfect – the mid to upper 80's.
Now what to do for dinner? How about ordering ahead the steamed shrimp from Goatfeather’s Seafood Market just a mile away? Then pop open our complimentary bottle of wine and enjoy supper under the stars on the balcony. After dinner, how about playing some board or word games in the spacious living area? On a recent girl’s trip with high school friends (yes, we’ve been friends for a LONG time), we played Chatpack– fun questions to spark conversations. My friends and I had fun with the question, “If you were a multimillionaire, where would you be and what do you believe you would be doing at this moment.”  We all agreed – we would be together here!

Day Two:

Our visiting women have busy careers and take care of busy families as well, so my suggestion is to start the day with a massage (ahhhh). For The Health of It is next door to LaLoba’s and has wonderful masseuses. Call ahead of time to get an appointment. In need of some major “me” time? Why not make a day of pampering? Treat yourself to Serenity by the Sea at the Hilton in Sandestin. Arrive early for your treatment to enjoy the sauna, steam room, and whirlpool.   I love splurging on the pedicures, they also massage your feet which is heavenly. Continue your day of relaxation afterwards in comfy white robes and order in lunch in the newly updated lounge.  My friends and I have turned one treatment into a full day of relaxing! Even if you have only one treatment, you can stay for hours relaxing in the lounge.But make sure you return in time for Happy Hour! Just across the street is Johnny McTigues, an Irish Pub with $1.00 drafts. For a more upscale choice, try the new Trebeache which is a block away at Redfish Village. It’s just opened and it’s from the creative team that gave us Stinky’s Fish Camp. Trebeache offers $5 wine, craft beer and martinis and 75 cents oysters! Check our app YFAB for a full list of Happy Hours on 30A and in Destin. Hope you have a great time!
Day Three
What is a girls’ trip without shopping? You may secretly be hoping for a cloudy day so you can enjoy the nearby Silver Sands Premium Outlet. The outlet has designer stores like Kate Spade, Sak’s Off Fifth Avenue, Michael Kors, Nike, White House/Black Market and J. Crew … just to name a few. I always stop by the customer service kiosk across from Vera Bradley to pick up a free coupon book with my AAA card.  Great way to save even more money. If the massage therapy wasn’t enough to lift your spirits, shopping at Retail Therapy just across from the outlets will delight you – dozens of different shops like Kitchenique all under one roof. Check our app “YFAB” before you go shopping because we list special events like the Tax Free Shopping weekend. 
Shopping at nearby Seaside has become a tradition for our girls’ vacations. Jewel Toffier is my sister’s favorite clothing shop and Pizitz is her pick for furniture and accessories.  Because both stores offer unique style and one of a kind items!
If ladies are shopping, they must lunch and there is no better place than Seaside! Great Southern Café is on Central Square. The menu includes new fashioned Southern cuisine, fresh veggies, seafood and the “Littlest Oyster Bar”.  If you are hungry, but in a hurry to get back to shopping, pick up lunch at Song, a Southeast Asian-inspired food truck right on 30A by the famous Seaside Post Office. Speaking of famous, visit Modica’s Market on Central Square. Modica’s Market was made famous in Jim Carey’s movie, The Truman Show. It hasn’t changed; still offering great beach foods to go. If you have lingered long enough for another Happy Hour, 30A’s top spot for sunsets is Bud and Alley’s Rooftop Bar. Celebrating sunset at Bud and Alley’s is a Seaside ritual you’ll want to return to year after year.

Check back later this week, when we finish up Day Four and Day Five of your girl’s getaway week at the beach. And yes, we still have Gulf front condos available – so start packing for your girls’ beach vacation for 2016, and get ready to relax and have fun with dear friends!

 

What Are My Six Favorite Things To Do At The Beach?

Beach Blog August 29, 2018

I grew up on the beaches of Emerald Coast, so I know when you stay with Your Friend at the Beach, you can enjoy, not just the beach, but activities that are offered in our 30A and Destin area.

So, once your sunburn cools off make sure you check out a few of my favorite things to do each year when staying with Your Friend at the Beach.  

 Around Town:

Seaside, Gulf Place and Baytowne Wharf are my top three favorite places for food, fun and shopping! 

1.     Seaside, what is not to love about Seaside? Seaside is 4.5 miles from San Remo and 3.5 miles from Adagio. Stretching 18 miles along the complete length of Scenic 30A, the bike path is paved making it an easy and fun experience for the entire family. Need extra bikes? Call Bob at Beach Dogs Bike Rentals and he’ll deliver the bikes to your condo!

Check out the Farmers Market at the Village Square going on every Saturday before you check in to your condo, or take in the sunset at Bud and Alley’s

2.     Gulf Place, is a half mile from San Remo. Make sure you eat at The Perfect Pig when you go there.  The Pig “Nachos” are to die for and the Pork Tenderloin Medallions are mouth watering. Gulf Place has weekly live music and activities for the kids as well. 

3.     Baytowne Wharf, is jam packed with things to do with the entire family. Listen to live music on Wednesday nights, watch a movie under the stars every Thursday night, and the experience the most amazing obstacle course for the kids. Bring a blanket, a bottle of wine and enjoy.

Wine Festivals:

Need an excuse for a girl’s weekend? Make sure you come to one (or both!) of my favorite wine festivals. April is a perfect time to visit the Emerald Coast. The weather is not too hot and the summer activities are just kicking off. There’s always something fun to do.

 4.The 31st Annual Sandestin Wine Festival will take place on April 20- 23, 2017. The Sandestin Wine Festival has been named the “Best Annual Event” by Destin Magazine, and is known as the Best Event in the Visit South Walton Beaches Wine and Food Festival area. 

5.South Walton Beaches Wine & Food Festival presents great wines, fine foods, world-class tasting seminars, live music from national artists, culinary celebrities and more. It’s a weekend to escape into a lifestyle where you can be yourself, dress up or come as you are, be seen or simply lay low. The ONLY requirement is that you have great time enjoying a convivial gathering at your pace and lose yourself for the weekend. April 27 – 30, 2017.

6. Fishing:

Deep-sea fishing charters have always been a way of life in Destin, Florida. Did you know Destin is known as the World’s Luckiest Fishing Village? When I was younger my Dad would take me deep sea fishing with him twice a year, and it was so much fun. We ate Red Snapper and Grouper for weeks. Spending quality time with family while fishing is priceless and then you can cook what you caught on the condo’s grills. Here are some of the our favorite charters:

·      Charter Boat Huntress

·      Fishing Booty Charters

·      Let’s Fish Destin Charters

·      Grayton Beach Charters

 You can find all this information and MORE on our FREE APP, YFAB.   Like us on Facebook “YourFriendatTheBeach” and tell us what is YOUR favorite thing to do is at the beach – and win a chance at a free bike rental for your next visit!

As the newest teammate of Your Friend at the Beach, I’m excited to help plan your next vacation to the Emerald Coast and see why it truly is my favorite place to vacation.

Tori Fox Stapleton

850-586-5160

Your Friend at the Beach

 

Planning Your Family Beach Vacation?  We've Got the Inside Scoop!

Beach Blog August 16, 2018
 

Your Friend at The Beach loves planning truly memorable family reunions on the beautiful Emerald Coast. I come from a large family and I’ve just been tapped to plan a reunion for my own family. So I thought I’d share my best insider tips on planning the best family beach reunion. 
1.    How am I going to feed all these people? 
Your Friend at the Beach offers a grocery service. You can just send your list and arrive at your gulf front condo to find the beverages chilled and your pantry stocked. You can skip the long lines at the grocery store and head straight to our sugar-white, sand beaches.

2.    Want to have dinner out? Check out our free “YFAB” app to discover our favorite seafood restaurants. YFAB answers the question “who has the best crab cake and where can I get fresh caught grouper!”
•    Do you prefer to dine in your luxury Gulf-front condo? You can order delicious meals from Wendy’s Kitchen or Marie’s Bistro. Enjoy the warmth of our sugar-white sands and escape the heat of the kitchen. Return to your luxury gulf-front condo to find dinner on the table.
•    Feel Like take-out? You can order fresh caught Gulf shrimp steamed and ready to eat from Goatfeather’s Seafood Market. Just call ahead to be sure it is ready – this is a popular take out item for families vacationing on the Gulf of Mexico.
•    Celebrating a birthday or anniversary? Why not splurge on a chef in your own beach-front condo? YFAB can recommend a chef who will prepare delicious meals from cooking to clean up.
3.    Let’s capture this moment in time. 
We are blessed to have my mother-in-law with us at 93 years young. Since all of her seven children and spouses will be here; I’ve chosen Ryan Manthey of Pure 7 Studios to do a family beach photograph. The Destin area has many talented photographers- the best are on our app. 


4.    How to keep the fishermen in the family happy? 
Destin is known as the “Luckiest Fishing Village” so we have reserved a fishing charter with one of our favorite fishing captains. We’re looking forward to enjoying our fresh-caught catch on the gas grills at our condos.

5.     How about shopping? 
While we plan to spend many hours enjoying the beach chairs and warm gulf water; the nearby specialty boutiques like Boca’s and the premium shopping outlet, Silver Sands, call to us when we need a break from the sun. When we visit the outlets, we always stop at the green customer service kiosk to pick up a coupon book ¬– free to those of us with AAA and AARP cards. The coupon book not only provides hundreds of dollars in coupons but also highlights special sales. Here’s hoping we have a day of rain to send us shopping!

6.    But what about…? Our large family has many special requests – but special requests are my specialty as Your Friend at the Beach! We are welcoming a new grandbaby and Crib Connection is delivering a crib to the spacious condo. A beach wheelchair is already lined up for Nanny as they get booked up quickly. 
Are you overwhelmed by all the scheduling and special requests? Call Your Friend at the Beach to help you plan the perfect family reunion at the beach. 

 

Five Reasons Why Everyone Loves Labor Day Beach Vacations

August 11th, 2016

Your Friend at the Beach is asked over and over… is Labor Day a great time to come to the beach?
YES – and here are just five reasons why your next beach vacation on 30A or in the Destin area should be in early September!
1.    The beach is less crowded!  Destin and 30A are family friendly area – so guests with children are already back in school and busy with fall schedules. Our beaches are wide open and you will have your pick of beach chairs!
2.    Is the water in the gulf warm?  Absolutely – the average temperature of the Gulf of Mexico is 85 in early September.  The pools at Adagio, Villa Coyaba and San Remo are just as warm as well.
3.    Enjoy your favorite restaurants, watersports and shopping without the long lines of summer time.   We update our free APP “YFAB” with our favorite restaurants in the Destin and 30A area so you know not just where to eat, but what to eat. Explore the exciting shops of 30A and Destin for end of the summer special sales. 
4.    Concerts and Fireworks – just like Fourth of July but without the crowds. Check our free APP “YFAB” but here are a few beach events for your Labor Day vacation:
-    Fireworks at Alys Beach Amphitheatre on Sunday, September 4th, starting with live music then fireworks 6-9 PM
-    Baytowne Art Walk, Live music from local artists and a variety of art work for three nights, Friday, September 2nd to Sunday, September 4th, 5-10 PM nightly at the Village of Baytowne Wharf.  
-    Destin Labor Day Concert celebration at the Emerald Grande on Sunday, September 4th, starts at 7 PM with free concerts than ends with fireworks at 9 PM.
5.    Labor Day is the end of high season, so not only have the crowds gone home, the rates have gone down. We still have gulf view condos – complete with beach chair service – open for your Labor Day getaway with family and friends. Reserve now at www.YFAB.net with promo code “Sunshine” to get 15% off of your stay (3 days or more, not valid on previously booked stays)  at any of our available gulf front or gulf view condos on 30A or Destin.  But hurry, Labor Day is just around the corner – and the word is out.  Everyone loves Labor Day Beach vacations with Your Friend at the Beach.

 

 

Which Villa Coyaba beach front condo is my favorite?

 August 1, 2016
Villa Coyaba… favorite condo?
Here is the last of three blogs that answer the question; which is your favorite condo?
In Destin, we manage two condos at Villa Coyaba,  Villa Coyaba 302 and Villa Coyaba 303 are side by side on the third floor overlooking the clear waters of Gulf of Mexico. Villa Coyaba which means vale of paradise is truly a gem among beach front condos in the Destin area. Just four stories with a private beach, Villa Coyaba is uniquely positioned close to family friendly fun like Big Kahunas and The Track, but off of the beaten track to avoid vacation traffic.  
Your Friend at the Beach maintains the highest standard for all of our gulf front condos and both Villa Coyaba 302 and Villa Coyaba 303 meets and exceeds our high bar of gulf front luxury condos.
Each of these Five Star condos at Villa Coyaba have four bedrooms, three baths and an oversized balcony overlooking the gulf.  As in all of our condos, we provide 100% cotton sheets and towels, free WIFI, high end flat screen TV’s and many extras like high chairs, pack and plays.  Both of these 2200 square foot gulf front condos have well-stocked kitchens with blenders, crock pots and plenty of serving pieces for the whole family. Villa Coyaba has its own private beach, pool and underground parking for two vehicles per condo.
So how to choose between them?
The answer is revealed in which gulf front style you like most!  Imagine a Tuscan villa with beautiful furnishings including a feather-stuffed sofa, leather chair and oversized chair and ottoman for snuggling for two.  That is Villa Coyaba 302 and the pampering does not stop there. The master bedroom has a top of the line mattress, Pottery Barn linens and a new easy chair by the sliding glass door to the balcony.   The balcony has teak furniture plus two comfortable chaise lounges for sunset watching. Villa Coyaba 302 has the most upscale kitchen which includes a Subzero refrigerator, Thermidor oven, Viking gas cook top and Subzero stand-alone ice maker. All new dishware this year plus a brand new Keurig as well as a regular coffeemaker.  Also new in 2016, the bedrooms all have new wood-like tile to further the look of elegance throughout every one of the four bedrooms.
Villa Coyaba 302’s owner has generously supplied TWO sets of beach chair service from March to October, your gulf front rental includes four beach chairs and two umbrellas set up for you daily.  
You can travel to the beach with up to nine in the condo, here is the bedroom layout for Villa Coyaba 302 is:
Master bedroom with king bed and private bathroom with doubled-headed shower and jetted tub, double sinks and private commode area.
Second bedroom with king bed that shares a jack and Jill style bathroom with the third bedroom.
Third bedroom with a bunk bed with FULL bed on bottom, twin on top and storage drawers beneath.
Fourth bedroom with queen bed and adjoining bathroom.
What more could you ask for in a luxury beach front condo?  If your answer is, beach-inspired décor and more bedding options, then Villa Coyaba 303 is your vacation destination!
Villa Coyaba is painted in a cheery yellow and recently updated with a comfortable new sofa and chairs in the living area with an up close view of the gulf. The kitchen also has a new LG refrigerator along with Viking gas stove top, oven and of course, a stand alone ice maker.   
The furnishings and décor of Villa Coyaba 303 are fun, fresh and friendly to families. Enjoy the many options for the bedrooms:
Master bedroom with king bed, comfortable chair by the sliding glass door to balcony overlooking the beach and master bath with two-head shower, jetted tub and large sink area.
Second bedroom with king bed that shares a jack and jill style bathroom with third bedroom.
Third bedroom with twin beds that shares bathroom with third bedroom.
Fourth bedroom with TWO queen size beds and adjoining bathroom.
Best of all, Villa Coyaba 302 and 303 are side by side for family reunions, girlfriend getaways and any vacation where you want beach front luxury and room to spread out!  Call Your Friend at the Beach to reserve one of these luxury gulf front condos at Villa Coyaba for your next beach vacation in the Destin area!

 

 

 

Eeny meeny miny moe....To which San Remo condo should I go.....?

Part 2 of my favorite condos. 
July 25, 2016 


Eeny, meeny, miny, moe… to which San Remo condo should I go?
San Remo in Santa Rosa Beach  provides the answer to that question with our “favorite” eight gulf view condos from Your Friend at the Beach!
Vacationing with small children on 30A?
 At San Remo, just a few miles west of Seaside on 30A, young families with children have two ground floor condos to choose from that allow easy access in and out to the pool and the beach.
-   San Remo 103’s beach-inspired décor boasts two king beds plus a separate bunk room for the children.  San Remo 103 has beautiful new flooring throughout
 -   On the other side of family-friend San Remo, is San Remo 109 – its corner position gives it additional light and privacy.  San Remo 109 also has two bedrooms with king beds and the third bedroom is great for the little ones with a custom-built bunk bed.   All of our condos at San Remo have kitchens  updated with everything you need for the ultimate beach getaway on 30A.  Plenty of kitchen ware – even a crock pot!
Coming with friends or family? 
Your friend at the beach has the perfect beach solution with San Remo 202, 204 and 207.  A great idea for fall break for three families who want to be close by each other! 
-  Starting east to west is San Remo 202 which has two bedrooms with king beds each with their own bathrooms.   The third bedroom in San Remo 202 is special because it has a full size bed on the bottom so older children will have more room than on just a twin bed. 
- Just two doors from San Remo 202 is San Remo 204 --- brand new to us this year perfect for a small family or just a couple traveling to the beach.   Sleep well on the newly updated mattresses and the custom built bunk bed in the second bedroom with a full on the bottom and a twin bed on top.
 -  You will smile as you enter San Remo 207 with its bright beach colors and room for two couples as it has two king size beds.   The children have the separate bunk room and there is also a sleeper sofa in the living area.
Have to be on the top floor?
Yes, of course there are two elevators - and three family-friendly condos on the fourth floor* of San Remo.
-  San Remo 402 has been upgraded with special touches like crown molding and upgraded bathroom and lighting fixtures for our more discerning beach vacationers.   San Remo 402 also has the popular two bedrooms with king beds and private bathrooms as well as a third bedroom with bunk beds and a pop up trundle to sleep three in comfort.  One the other side of San Remo are two side by side condos that are the answer for two families who travel together but want their separate space. 
-  San Remo 408 has a shabby chic décor that offers a king in the master bedroom, a queen in the second bedroom and a daybed (with trundle) in the bonus room.   Guests who want that extra space for children but don’t want a bunk bed prefer San Remo 408. 
 - And just next door to San Remo 408 is San Remo 409.   Beautifully decorated and updated in today’s modern beach style, San Remo 409 has all the upscale luxury of nearby Adagio but with a more affordable rate.   You will enjoy the large wrap around balcony that includes an outdoor sitting area and a large table for al fresco dining.  Indoors, you will feel pampered by the fresh new sofa and chairs!   San Remo 409 has a king bed in the master and like all of our condos, a comfortable chair for reading by sliding glass doors.  The second bedroom with its cool colors has a king bed, plenty of storage and its own bathroom.   The children’s bunk room connects to its own bathroom and has its own TV/DVD.   
The common theme at San Remo is our attention to detail --- the 100% cotton sheets and towels, large balconies with plenty of seating and beach chair service from March to October.   Your friend at the beach welcomes you to visit San Remo for Labor Day, we still have  gulf view condos open and can offer a free day if you reserve five or more during Labor Day week at San Remo on scenic 30A in Santa Rosa Beach.  
*On Scenic 30A the top floor is always the fourth floor – as we only allow four stories, no high rises on the Beach of South Walton!

 

 Which is your favorite Adagio condo?

                  July 18, 2016

 


Every week I am asked by our inquiring guests, “Which is your favorite condo at Adagio?”   As a mother, it would be like asking who is my favorite child!
Your friend at the beach has eight gulf front vacation rentals on 30A at Adagio.  Each upscale condo is unique – and caters to our vacationing family and friend groups.
For example, a recent guest wanted a fall getaway for three couples.  I suggested Adagio A102 which has three bedrooms with king beds – plus a fourth bedroom with two queen beds if they have another friend tag along at the last minute!   Adagio A102 is on the ground floor for easy access for these active seniors.   Adagio A102 is newly updated with fresh paint, Subzero refrigerator and an ice maker for refreshing drinks in the blenders.   Blenders are a must have in each of our vacation rental condos!
Another vacationer wanted that layout but an end unit with a western view so the gulf front vacation rental best for them would be Adagio A305.   All of our gulf front condos have one underground parking spot, but A305 actually has TWO reserved underground spots.   Truly a second home for its owner, Adagio A305 is meticulously maintained but rents quickly since it is only available in the high rental season.  If you plan on staying at Adagio A 305, you need to reserve quickly for best vacation dates!
Planning a vacation rental for several families?   Your friend at the beach can offer three top floor gulf front condos that are side by side!   Adagio C401, C402 and C403 each sleep 9-10 guests with a variety of bedrooms including kings, two queens, two full beds and twin beds depending on what each vacationing family needs.   Be sure to ask for a group discount if you are reserving two or more condos at Adagio with your friend at the beach.
Young families and seniors alike enjoy the ease of Adagio A105, our corner condo that is just steps to the gulf front pool at Adagio.   The grassy area in front allows parents to watch the little ones play and still enjoy the sound of the surf.
An Adagio vacation rental on 30A that has that extra bunk room for the little ones to enjoy?  We can provide that with our gulf front Adagio A403 --- four bedrooms plus a bunk room for the little ones.   Recently sold to a new owner, Adagio A403 has been upgraded with all new balcony furniture.  The oversize balconies at Adagio gulf fronts provide ample room for sunning, siestas and sipping at sunset!
A gulf front condo that is ideally suited for a girl’s weekend is Adagio A304.   Decorated by its designer owner, Adagio A304 is a beach front luxury condo with colors and décor that truly reflect a seaside inspired décor.   Thoughtful extras like the Keurig coffee maker as well as a regular coffee maker combine to make every guest to Adagio A304 vow to return to relax and renew.
Our Adagio Gulf front vacation rentals on the Panhandle (the Emerald Coast to some but 30A to us locals!) offer every variety of layout to our guests.   But some vacationers want easy beach access but a smaller condo.   Then we can offer Adagio D404, our fourth floor condo in D building, just steps away from the beach access.   Or relax on the patio of Adagio E101 and watch the children play in the 8,000 square foot tri-level pool.  Adagio E101 also has that popular bunk room for children.    And in the fall, we are introducing our newest pool front with E305 – an end unit that boasts new furniture and lots of light!  
So while I can’t say which is my favorite, I do know Adagio on 30A will be your family’s favorite beach getaway for years to come!   Visit our website, read our five star reviews and then call your friend at the beach to reserve your next gulf front getaway!

 

Gulf front Adagio condos...Experience the WOW factor!

 July 11, 2016

A recent review of one of our gulf front Adagio condos explained the Wow Factor, “when we walked into that condo and saw the ocean right in front of us!!! Talk about a "wow" factor”

When you check into one of our gulf front condos, expect the Wow factor.   I am asked daily, is the condo right on the beach?  Yes, I respond and any closer you would be wet!   You will be able to enjoy the sound of the gulf from the balcony.   Another guest at one of our eight Adagio gulf fronts said that every day they saw dolphins swim by in the clear water of the Emerald Coast.
 Once inside our family friendly condos at Adagio, the wow continues – as a recent guest wrote in one of our five star reviews, “The condo was amazing, the view was incredible and the personal service that they provided made us feel right at home.”
Our guests have come to expect the wow factor year after year as they return to find updated appliances, high quality furniture and as another guest said “spotlessly clean”.   Your friends at the beach, Larry and Nancy inspect each condo weekly to ensure your gulf front condo is cleaned to the highest standards.  The same person who helps you secure the condo by email or by phone, is there to be sure your condo on the beach is exactly what you expect and more.
Our guests at the beach return year after year to our beach front condos not just for the wow of the view but for the wow of a dreamy nights. We can’t say it any better than our guest who returned for the seventh time and stayed in Adagio C402, “The beds were all very comfortable”. Or our guest from Adagio A305 who enthused: “ It is furnished with anything you could every want – and then some

Wow is the only word for the all the Adagio has to offer on its beautiful grounds, enter the gates and see the flowers lining the drive. You can enjoy the beach and also the pools at Adagio.  The gulf front pool is heated in the winter.  The larger 8,000 square foot pool is really three pools connected by waterfalls.   Children can spend hours in the pool while parents enjoy sitting in the plentiful chaise lounges.   Tables with chairs and umbrellas surround the pool as well.  
Reserve your gulf front condo at Adagio now through your friend at the beach.   Wouldn’t you rather be wow’d  by your luxury beach vacation?    Read what our recent guest to Adagio C403 wrote in her five star review.  “The beach view was amazing. The condo was so beautiful. It exceeded our expectations”.  
When you want your expectations exceeded on your next beach vacation, come be our friend at the beach, visit us at www.YFAB.net now for late summer specials at Adagio!

Are our condos kid friendly??

July 5, 2016

Yes!  Your friend at the beach loves family to visit with all of the kids.  In each of our gulf front and gulf view condos you will find:
-    Pack and play, high chair and night lights
In some of the condos, there are bed rails – and you can always request one and we will get it to you. The ground floor condos at Adagio and Sam Remo have beach toys neatly stored on the patios.  And on our free APP “YFAB” we not only list Crib Connection who delivers cribs, strollers and more, we also list area activities for the children.   You can find where to take the kids to the playground, movies, fireworks – and my personal favorite, “Grandparent’s Day out with kids”.   That is where we list activities your friend at the beach has taken her grandchildren like the Pirate Ship and the Water Parks.
Do the parents need a night out to enjoy the excellent cuisine of our area?  We can recommend sitters for the small ones.   And our APP also has recommendations for what restaurants are best for children.  
Download the APP “YFAB” now for more family fun and kid friendly activities!

So where can I sit?

5/5/2016

So where can I sit? 
With the cost of beachfront property so high it’s no wonder some beachfront homeowners have begun to put no trespassing signs on their property. But for most visitors as well as many locals the question remains “where does the property line end? I will try and explain this as simply as possible so you know your rights as well as the owners while you are here visiting. 
    The beaches can get very crowded at times in Walton county and you may want to get away from the crowd and move your chair down the beach or just go for a long walk. But what if you are now behind some individual’s private home? Can you sit here? The Walton County Sherriff’s office has set some specific guidelines on what they will enforce if a homeowner complains you’re trespassing. According to the Sherriff’s department and also from court records you may have access without trespassing on the area of beach between the water and the average high tide line. Since this can be a bit of a moving target the best way to think of it is how far inland the waves roll up the shore at high tide – or the wet sand area.  The area to the North (towards the home in question) of the average high tide line is Private Property and you should avoid walking or placing chairs and umbrellas there. 
    Know your rights:
 So what if the homeowner or a beach attendant tells you to move that you are on private property? Only you can decide how to handle this and some owners can get loud or even aggressive so I would be prepared to move even if you are within your legal rights just to keep from being harassed. If you choose to stand your wet sand ground know this. If the home owner does call the sheriff the homeowner will have to produce the following before the sheriff will consider making a determination. This is directly from the Walton County Sherriff’s Department. 
If residents of Walton County wish to have trespass laws enforced on their coastal properties, the Sheriff’s Office will need several documents presented by the owner, and to be retained by the officer for use as evidence in any criminal prosecution. If these items are not presented, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office will not be able to clearly establish the necessary elements for criminal trespassing on private property inland of the mean high water line. Those documents needed are:
1. Copy of owner’s deed. 
2. If property is part of a subdivision or condominium plat, a copy of the Plat 
3. Copy of owner’s driver’s license, which name thereon shall be on the deed.
4. A signed, sealed and certified survey approved by and submitted to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection  

The State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit has clearly stated that criminal action for trespassing along the Walton County coastline will not be taken in the following areas  
1. Wet sand areas 
2. Areas seaward of the mean high tide mark

The full Sherriff’s declaration can be viewed here
http://sowal.com/forum/attachments/wcso-beach-trespass-policy-pdf.58852/

Posted 2/9/2016

Blog Post- Ladies Winter We-treat!

We retreated to Adagio for a winter “we-treat”.   Two fun girlfriends and I took a weekend getaway a luxury gulf front condo.  Adagio is perched on the highest point of the Gulf of Mexico with a view that makes you feel as if you are on a cruise ship.  
My friends treated themselves to some stops along the way – finding great sales at some of our favorite shops like Today’s in Destin and Not Too Shabby Boutique in Santa Rosa Beach.
I arrived early and got right to business of “treats!  Right next door to Adagio is the greatest little bakery La Loba and I picked up several freshly made carrot muffins for our breakfast on Saturday.   LaLoba has gluten-free as well as other items like their amazing turkey wrap and (great idea but call ahead) Sicilian pizza.  
Just a few steps from LaLoba Bakery is For the Health of It – a richly-stocked Health Food store.   I picked up a bottle of wine, some crackers and a salsa that came highly recommended by the friendly staff.   For the Health of It also has a Smoothie Bar where I regularly stop on Saturdays after checking our guests in to their gulf front condos!
Back to the condo – where I oh’d and ah’d over the beautiful new couches and tables in the living area.   Then we toasted the sunset with our wine and snacks before heading across the street to Borago restaurant.   Chadd the maître D’ told us Borago had moved to the restaurant previously known as Nick’s Seafood while they remodel their original location in Grayton Beach.   Borago will move back to Grayton Beach but in the meantime, it is so convenient to just cross the street! 
Another treat – grouper on a bed of pasta and for me, salmon cooked just the way I like it.  Borago never disappoints!
The final treat of the night – a dip in the hot tub with our “Friends at the Beach” tumbler (no glass by the pools, friends!) of wine toasting our girl’s getaway…

Posted 10/31/2015

Blog Post-Villa Coyaba weekend getaway 

Your friend at the beach had a chance to slip away for a fall weekend getaway with my husband when one of our gulf front condos had an early departure. Suddenly Friday night became Funday night – and we found ourselves on the sugar white sands of the Destin beaches just a few minutes from our home.  The underground parking garage of Villa Coyaba has two spaces for both our cars – and we filled one of the plentiful luggage carts and headed up the elevator to one of our third floor condos at the beach. Right next door is 790 on the Gulf, beach front and better yet, with a great happy hour.  October is the best time of year to sit in the outdoor seating of this upscale by casual eatery.   After toasting the sunset, we simply walked back next door to our condo where we had stashed some local shrimp (steamed for free at the nearby Publix) in the brand new Subzero refrigerator.   I tell our friends at the beach, the best place to enjoy dinner is on the balcony – and that is what we did along with the bottle of wine we leave for all of our “friends”. We also manage the condo next door where a happy group of “girlfriends”from Atlanta were enjoying a long weekend.   They had called ahead to ask for extra beach chairs from RentGearHere and had just come in from a long day of basking in the warm autumn sun.   They also ate in – my recommendation of ordering ahead from “Wendy’s Kitchen” is a delicious alternative to dining out.  I was pleased to see them all using our free APP “YFAB” to plan their next day of outlet shopping, bike riding and local events like the Destin Art Festival. We lingered on the balcony long after all the shrimp was eaten, marveling at the moonlight sparkling on the waves – and hearing the sound of the surf.  To us, the best beach music! I often boast about our 100% cotton sheets and towels, the super comfortable beds – and the little touches like night lights in the bathrooms and handy cell phone chargers by the beds --- but how sweet to actually be able to enjoy them! After a great night’s sleep – love the room darkening draperies that open to reveal the morning sunshine – we had our coffee on the balcony and just wished we could spend some hours reading on the two chaise lounges. But it was Saturday – and your friend at the beach had condos to check to be sure they were our standard of clean... and my husband had a golf match to 
play at Shark’s Tooth!  Come visit your friend at the beach and make some sweet memories at www.YFAB.net.   

But will it rain?

Posted on 9/10/2015

 

Blog Post
But will it rain?

Larry and I love to answer the questions our friends at the beach have for us --- and we try to answer them on our free APP “YFAB”. 
Just this morning, I got two more questions.   One was where to get bagels – and being from the north, I am a little picky about bagels, preferring  to go to Laloba’s Bakery in Blue Mt. Beach and enjoy their orange scones.  
Another question – what restaurants offer take-out?   Since we only had one listed on the APP – Wendy’s Kitchen in Destin – I am busy adding more that are on the APP – just not under the take out category!   One that pops into mind is Marie’s Bistro in Blue Mt. Beach and the Perfect Pig in Santa Rosa Beach.    
So while we do get lots of restaurant questions – we also get questions about what to do during your stay at the beach?   Our favorite activity is bike riding along the twenty mile of bike trails on 30A.  Bob of Beach Dog Bike Rentals is our go-to guy – he delivers and picks up – and will provide helmets if asked!  
Fall is a popular time for Festivals --- just updated the App with some this morning ---  Destin Beer Festival September 22nd to 26th and the ever popular Seaside Seeing Red Wine Festival is  November 6-8th.
We try to answer every question quickly --- yes, we do provide starter supplies of paper goods and soaps – but one question stumps us still.   Will it rain?  More on that in our next post!


 

Blog Post:  Staycation getaway to 30A: Adagio E101

 

Posted on: August 25th, 2015 by Nancy


One of the perks of my job is that I live in paradise – and that I am able to slip away to our luxury condos if there are a few days open.  Recently, after a busy Saturday of checking behind housekeepers,  calling guests to say their condo was  ready, and adding more hangers (one of the small details that makes a big difference), my husband Tom and I checked into Adagio E101.  
Adagio E101 is our newest pool front --- it boasts a patio overlooking the 8,000 square foot pool and is just a few steps to the beach.   We took those few steps to the emerald green waters.   The beach chair rental chairs were down but there were plenty of guests still in the water and on their own chairs on the beach.   The waves were unusually big– and like kids, we ran in and body surfed.  The water was warm – no seaweed nor jellyfish.  
Back in Adagio E101, my husband labeled it “well-appointed”.  Meaning that every time you wished for something – it was there!   Take a shower and there are hooks to hang your towels or wet suit.  Sit in the extremely comfortable sectional couch and find the remote at your fingertips and a coaster by your side for your adult beverage.  
  As I prepared dinner, I was delighted by the Calphalon cookware and the Viking gas stovetop.  The owners have not missed a detail --- Cuisinart blender and food processor as well as colorful knives in a wooden block.   I appreciated the spices since while I brought my own olive oils, I hadn’t brought spices.  Plenty of pretty dishes, glasses, silverware – and serving dishes to suit every size of side dishes.
We could have eaten outside on the six person outdoor table but opted to eat indoors on the long wooden table with comfortable rattan chairs.  
We did take our wine in our “Your Friend at the Beach” plastic tumbler to the Hot Tub after dinner (no glass by pools or hot tub).  Although some are not too happy with the age limit (16 and older) on the hot tub, I must say it made for a calm relaxing evening.
We then changed – enjoying the shower soaps and fluffy 100% cotton towels – and walked to The Bowery just a half a block away.   They often have music on their upper deck but tonight we just enjoyed sitting at the vintage bar, chatting with the bartender Rush.  
On our way, we spied the line at Blue Mountain Creamery and on our way back to Adagio, people were still there enjoying their delicious ice cream!  
Back to the master bedroom with the plush top king mattress --- heavenly!   Not too soft, not too firm – even Goldilocks would have loved it!  
To be continued…

Blog Post Stay cation E101  Part 2

After a great night’s rest on the new plush Sealy mattress in Adagio E101 – a newly updated luxury condo, we woke to the sound of rain out on the patio.   One question I am always asked by “friends” who want to come to the beach is “Will it rain?”  The answer is yes, but just wait five minutes!  So the morning rain rolled away and Tom and I rolled out on the two bikes thoughtfully provided by us for all of our Adagio guests.  We pedaled up Blue Mountain Rd, past LaLoba Bakery – sadly it is closed on Sundays because they have amazing oatmeal cookies and the best turkey wrap in the free world.  We veered off on side streets, marveling at how we could be so close to home but feel so set free.   A man and his son walking back from the beach asked us where we got our bikes.   We gladly told him to call Bob of Beach Dog Bike Rentals --- Bob maintains his bikes well, is unfailingly cheerful, and he picks up and delivers. Some of my “friends” at the beach actually ask when they reserve their beach condo –“How’s Bob?  I need to call him for some bikes!”  
A lazy  afternoon on the blue chaise lounge on Adagio E101 reading a book while my husband watches the PGA on the flat screen TV – larger than ours at home!  We were treated to a spectacular sunset.  The best place to see it is on the beach walkover (unless you have a ringside seat in one of our eight Gulf front condos).     Dinner plans had to be made well ahead to get in our favorite restaurant “Café Tango” that is just a mile west of Adagio.   Intimate – only about ten tables total and our friends from New Orleans say it is as good as any restaurant there.  We agree!
Monday meant back to work…. But not before a last walk on the beach so I feel that sugar white sand in my toes!

Emerald Coast Beaches in Fall? You Bet and Here’s Why!

Posted on: November 4th, 2014 by Nancy

Travel to the Emerald Coast Beaches in Fall for FUN! Here are five reasons you’ll find Fall a great time for a visit … all beginning with the letter F –

1. Freedom. The crowds have left, the Emerald Coast Beaches in Fall are uncrowded, the restaurants are open with no lines and the weather and water are warm!

2. Frugal. The condo rental rates have dropped – call Your Friend At The Beach and let’s make a deal!

3. Can you say Festivals? Destin Seafood Festival (October 3-5th), Destin Art Festival (October 25-26), First Friday ArtWalk in Seaside (Oct. 3rd, Nov 7th)… whatever inspires you from art to food to fun, you will find helpfully listed on our Free YFAB APP.

4. Fitness! YOLO! Sorry, it is my new obsession. Paddleboarding is sweeping our Emerald Coast beaches. You can bring your own Paddleboad or rent one to enjoy our many dune lakes. If the water is calm, paddleboard on the Florida Gulf Coast and see the dolphins, turtles and fish swimming below. Or take a Paddleboard Yoga class at Watercolor located close to Seaside. Find it all on the YFAB APP!

5. Friendship – whether your trip is a girl’s beach vacation to reunite friends from your sorority or a guy’s golf trip to get away from it all, there is no time like Fall on the Emerald Coast to renew friendships at the beach.

Vacations at Emerald Coast Beaches in Fall are Fun Too!

Download our APP “YFAB” and find fun vacation activities to better plan your Fall beach travel — look under Activities for Paddleboards and in Events to find all the Festivals — or call Your Friend At The Beach to find the perfect spot for your Fall FUN at the beach! 850-586-2978

Your friend at the beach,
Nancy ‘FALL FUN’ Fox
www.YourFriendAtTheBeach.com

 

Your Friend at the Beach 115 Sunset Cove Niceville, Florida 32578 +1 (850) 586-2978 quotes@yfab.net

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