We had a very busy week in Destin and we arrived with both sadness and anticipation. Sad because Destin is our last stop in our two month tour of Florida. Anxious because we're meeting our friends Roger and Gail who we volunteered with last summer at Chickasaw. In addition, we're going to meet some new folks - Rod and Diane Thatcher. Rod is the brother of Lloyd who is our next door neighbor in Mission, Texas.
We're staying at Destin West RV Resort which is just outside of Destin on Okaloosa Island. It's a very nice park that sits on the bay, but just a short walk across the street to the gulf.
It's owned by the same guy who owns the Ramada across the street so we get to use their facilities as well. But that sort of turned into a joke as it's off season and all the restaurants there are closed. We were however able to use their exercise facility and did have the beach all to ourselves.
On our first day out we hit some shopping areas. First was Destin Commons which was a mixed use group of stores that reminded us somewhat of the Villages. Next we headed to Harbor Village which has a boardwalk on the bay with many shops anchored by upscale condominiums.
That night we arranged to meet Rod and Diane at their home. It's always a little strange knocking on the door of a house to spend the evening with people you never met, but we weren't strangers for long. Both Rod and Diane made us feel right at home.
They have a beautiful home on the bay with their very own boat dock. While there Rod called his brother (our neighbor) Lloyd and wife Sue. After more chit chat and some appetizers we settled on McGuire's Irish Pub for dinner. It definitely wasn't off season there as the place was packed but we got right in - great meal and great company.
On our third day we took a drive down state highway 30A - the coastal highway between Panama City and Destin. It's billed as one of the most up and coming hot spots in Florida with small communities and shops - without the high rise condominiums.
On Friday, our friends Roger and Gail arrived in the spot right behind us. They are heading to Florida after spending time in Texas and we were crossing paths here. After hugs, they got set up and we went for a walk on the beach. Back at camp Barb prepared a wonderful pork loin roast then after dinner we built a fire and ate smores.
The next morning we headed to breakfast at Pancakery in Destin. It also happened to be the morning of the Destin parade which we saw as we drove by them in the opposite lanes.
That evening we went for another walk on the beach then had a nice dinner at the Black Pearl overlooking the gulf. We hung around the wharf until we could get into Howl at the Moon upstairs for dueling pianos. They take requests and Roger had fun trying to 'stump the pianists' but no luck. They knew every song.
Sunday was our last day in Destin. Gail had invited us over for a turkey dinner which we moved up to 1pm so we could make it to the Harbor Boat Parade that evening. We called it 'Thanks-mas' dinner since it was between Thanksgiving and Christmas and once again very yummy. Who says we can't eat well in an RV?
It turned out to be our coldest day yet so after bundling up we headed to the boat parade down at Destin Harbor. Once again, no ghost town that night as everyone started lining up along the wharf.
The boats were awesome as they journeyed past us with their holiday decorations. But the one that stole the show was a guy totally decorated in lights on a jet pack - what a site. With temps now at 44 and winds off the water, we headed back to our cars and cranked the heat up.
Back at camp Gail made some hot chocolate as we enjoyed our last evening together. But as we say in the RV world - it's never 'good-bye' but rather 'see ya down the road'.