Friday, September 25, 2015

Morgan's birthday - day 2!

At LuLu's Destin
When Morgan informed us she was bringing a camera for the weekend with us, I felt we had to do something special.  It didn't take much time until I decided we would do Florida's Scenic Highway 30a.  This is one of my favourite parts of Florida and, if I had my way, I would love for all of the Northwest Panhandle area to look like this and not be so built up and over developed!

But first, the daily visit to Okaloosa Pier!  This is the first time I have been fortunate enough to see a Sea Turtle almost every time we have visited the pier!  I don't think it is the same one either since sometimes there are marks on their faces through fishing accidents or other things.

I love how the dolphins swim on their backs to try
to catch fish off the fishing lines!  I do believe
they are playing a game!

Then we went directly to Highway 30a and were able to show off this gorgeous part of Florida to a Florida girl who had never been to this sort of beach resort. The houses are all different, soft colours and the beaches are that stunning white with shades of blue and turquoise water.

My favourite town is Grayton Beach, and it is one of my earliest memories of being in Florida.  When I was 5 years old, we visited my Aunt and Uncle who were based at Eglin AFB.  They took us to this empty and beautiful beach.  In my 5 year old memory, there was one house that looked like the beach was slowly taking it over.   However, whenever I visit Grayton Beach, it still does not look like there are many houses there!  When you look closely, there are quite a few small houses and some tastefully done modern and larger houses that obviously cater to tourists. The beach is a huge expanse of empty, white sand and is very inviting.  However, the sun was so bright when we were there, I could not get a decent photo!

Coastal Lake at Grayton Beach

Although I had heard of coastal dune lakes, I really didn't understand the concept until two women appeared after apparently having lunch in Grayton Beach.  I had noticed the two kayaks sitting at the lake's edge and when they came to begin their return to Grayton Beach State Park, they explained how these lakes actually are fresh water, but are located within feet of the Gulf of Mexico, separated by a natural "berm" of sand.  This might be only a few feet wide. These berms can be breached during times of bad weather or other conditions and the fresh water will flow into the Gulf, while salt water takes the place of the fresh water.  This happens periodically and the water will then remain brackish until the natural process of filling the lake with fresh water, mainly by springs, will return the lake to its original make up.

Looking back at my photos, I noticed I had never gone to the shore and even looked at the berm, to get an idea just what is separating the Gulf from this lake!  But I will be back here again and will make a point to do that then.   If you look at the top of the photo with the kayaks, that would be the berm.  But like I said, I never thought to have a look up there...

There is a lovely gift shop in Grayton Beach, there are probably many others, but this is the only one I have been too and I would not miss a chance to visit it anytime I was nearby.  It is called the Zoo Gallery.  In finding the link, I learned that there is also one in Destin!

Door to the Red Bar 

We stopped by the the Red Bar.  Lucky for us, we needed a snack and it was the perfect place to sit down, cool off and share some loaded pizza bread before heading off to Eden Gardens State Park!
Selfie in the Red Bar

I wonder why they cal it the
Red Bar?

This is another special place with a gorgeous antebellum looking mansion.  The legend behind this is that it was built after the Civil War to replicate a mansion that the owner had sheltered in while travelling home when the war ended.  All of us had difficulty getting decent shots of the house because first there was a couple having their engagement portraits taken, and then there was an outdoor wedding.

Personally, I don't see how they can cope with being outdoor for extended periods of time like that.  But folks from this area must be used to this.  The reception dinner tables were already set and waiting for the guests, yes, this was outside too!  But before that, the entire wedding group had to have photos taken in front of the house.  Patience is a virtue when you are toting a camera around!

Our next destination was a new restaurant in Destin that my friend, John, had told us about when we saw him earlier in the week.  It is the second restaurant opened by Jimmy Buffet's sister and is called LuLu's.  This restaurant opened in June and the original one is in Gulf Shores, so I decided this would be a great place to take Morgan for her belated by 24 hours birthday dinner!

This was a fabulous and colourful restaurant.  I even hesitate to use the term restaurant to describe it. The building is so colourful and feels as if there are no walls.  As you look over the rooms, you are looking directly at water and white sand.  There are loads of activities for kids to do so they would never get bored.  There is also a boat shuttle, so if you pass by on your boat and decide you are hungry or need a drink, it will come out to get you.  Oh, and the food was tremendous!  Alan got Crazy Sista Burger and has raved about the grilled onions ever since.  Morgan and I shared a shrimp salad and a fried shrimp basket. It was the perfect mix for dinner and we enjoyed every bite.  I also had my first ever Fried Green Tomatoes and they are as delicious as I have always been told they are!

So ended the second day of celebrating Morgan's 20th birthday!  So glad she came up for this weekend causing me to think of different things instead of the same old stuff Alan and I always do.

"At 20 if you have not figured out what to do with the rest of your life, you’re on the right track! Enjoy!"

taken from -

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