For many Tennesseans, a favorite summer vacation destination remains the pristine Gulf Coast of Florida. With a shorter drive time than most of its Southern coastal counterparts, the Gulf is an easy choice. Nestled between the bustling commercialized cities of Destin and Panama City, youfind a row of quaint beach communities known affectionately as “-A”for the highway they follow. Rosemary Beach is one of several eclectic and unique communities along this stretch, just past its beachfront counterparts like Watercolor, Seaside and Alyce.
Perhaps itfitting to save the best for last in this strip of paradise, because Rosemary Beach is truly that. While you may want to venture over to Seaside for shopping, and Watercolor for a nature hike (or perhaps a wine tasting), plan to spend the bulk of your time enjoying all that Rosemary has to offer. Whether youplanning a weekend getaway or an entire week of family fun, the Rosemary Beach Cottage Rental Program can provide you with any type of accommodation from an ocean-front beach house to a carriage house, loft, or flat located throughout the community in a variety of price ranges. Any location you choose will be within walking distance of one of Rosemaryfour stunning pools.
When you arrive, plan to park your car for the duration of the trip. Rosemary Beach is most definitely a walking and biking town, so head over to Bamboo Bicycle Company to pick up your transportation. Spend some time enjoying all of Rosemaryamenities including the onsite fitness center, pools, playgrounds, Vivo Spa and Salon, and the many shops and boutiques (Tracery Interiors and Pish Posh Patchoulis are two you donwant to miss). Once youexplored all the community has to offer, head out of town on the bike path that follows scenic 30-A to Deer Lake State Park. Be sure to take your camera for a photo at one of the arearare coastal dune lakes that are only found in two other spots in the world —remote regions of Africa and Australia.
If youfeeling even more adventurous, try a Yolo Board class on Western Lake. This hybrid water sport combines traditional surfing with kayaking and canoeing, all in a stand-up position. Another plus is the fact that it affords an excellent view of local wildlife. Other fun options include yoga classes offered beachside, or a tennis lesson with a pro from the Rosemary Beach Racquet Club. After a long day of biking, hiking, or boarding youwant to stop by the Sea Oats Beach Service to rent a comfy chair and umbrella so you can soak up the salt air and the gorgeous Rosemary sunset.
Some of the countrybest restaurants are located along 30-A, so aim to arrive with an empty stomach and take full advantage of whatin store. On your way in, stop by Modica Market in Seaside. At this family-owned gourmet grocery, youfind all kinds of treats to stock your cottage as well as fresh salads, pastries and a great wine selection. Once in Rosemary, youwant to plan breakfast at Cowgirl Kitchen; donmiss their specialties including breakfast tacos and the chipotle bacon breakfast sandwich.
Once youworked up an appetite for lunch, head over to Wild Olives Market, Deli and Bakery on the north side of the town square. Here youfind mouth-watering dishes like the fried green tomato BLT or goat cheese salad. Finally, make plans to enjoy an upscale evening at Restaurant Paradis. Although you cango wrong with the grouper or filet mignon, try branching out with the Stuffed Shrimp Paradis —grilled jumbo wild shrimp, crabmeat-stuffed and pancetta-wrapped. Save room for dessert and split the Chocolate Mousse Cake…a perfect way to end your day in Rosemary.
GOING ON NOW
June 9 and 10 mark the dates of the annual West Indies Market in Rosemary Beach. Throughout the summer youalso want to grab a blanket and catch one of the & Movies”events happening on Thursday nights. For more information or to plan your stay, go to rosemarybeach.com or visitsouthwalton.com.