Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wine, sun, and the sea

Toe-tickling waves
In mid-April, I had the delicious opportunity to pop in on the SanDestin Wine Festival with a group of girlfriends. What a fun trip!

I drove down to Florida from New Orleans (where I'd been on business) on Friday evening. The weather was absolutely glorious, so I put the top down on the convertible and enjoyed the ride! Once I arrived, I checked in to the beautiful SanDestin Golf and Beach Resort. (We'd all been there before during an industry conference back in 2012.) We'd booked two double rooms for our party of four.

After settling down a bit, it was out to the resort for dinner at Acme Oyster House. A dozen oysters later, we legged it around Baytowne Wharf before bed. The next morning, after a quick coffee and bagel at Cafe Siena, we headed to the beach. The day was warm, even if the water was a bit chilly. I walked along the water's edge and let the surf tickle my toes. Something about being near the ocean always washes me out inside. It's as if everything I've been worrying about is small and temporary next to something so old and vast.

I love these ladies!
By this time, the wine festival itself was in full swing. We popped around to most of the booths (and there must have been one or two hundred, honestly),  sampling every type of wine and champagne imaginable. A couple of the booths had little snacks/appetizers (merlot chocolate cupcakes. mmmmmmmm.), coupons for shopping in local stores, and other freebies on offer as well. There was live music, tons of wine enthusiasts and just a general celebratory atmosphere.

Feeling a little woozy, we grabbed some lunch back at Baytowne Wharf, at the Lazy Gecko Deck Bar (I don't know if I'd label their fish tacos the "world's best," as they do, but they were quite yummy!), followed by a smidge of ice cream at Moo La-La's. Then, we did a little shopping. (One member of our party bought a KILLER dress at one of the on-site boutiques. I'm usually not a fan of paying inflated prices to do such shopping, but it was on sale, completely classic, and she looked absolutely fantastic in it.)

On the back deck at Pompano Joe's
After such a marathon day, it was back to the hotel room to rest and freshen up before dinner.

In our group of four, two of us wanted to stay on property for Italian that night, and two of us were jonesing for seafood with a beach view. We split up, and Sandi and I headed to Pompano Joe's, in Destin. We got a gorgeous table on the back deck, where we watched the sun set and nibbled on our grilled fish. Kids played in the waning light, and after darkness fell, we watched families creep out with their flashlights to observe tiny crabs skittering across the sand. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Late that night, we met up again at the hot tub, dipping our feet in the bubbly waters in the dark, talking, and laughing as the moon hung suspended overhead.

The beach at sunset. Aaaaaahhh!
In the morning, it was breakfast at the Destin Donut Hole Bakery and Cafe. This place is very popular, so expect a wait on weekend mornings. Our party of four was seated after a short wait, and then we ordered giant plates of breakfast deliciousness. I chose the Texas sweet potato pancakes with praline sauce. Oh. Em. Gee!! I ate until I couldn't hold any more, then waddled back out to the car, put the top down, cranked the radio, and headed back home.

If you are considering the SanDestin Wine Festival as a girls' trip, I can't recommend it highly enough! We loved our trip!

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