Inside Red Bay Grocery (crispphotoworks.com)

Inside Red Bay Grocery (Photo: crispphotoworks.com)

By Susan Benton, 30Aeats.com

“We are proud of our store. We think we’re on to something. We are doing business the way it is supposed to be done.”

If heading to or from the beaches of South Walton, you may have passed a small local eatery just off State Road 81 in Red Bay called Red Bay Grocery. I highly recommend stopping into the store when in east Walton County for breakfast, lunch and dinner. To the locals that live in the small community the store is a necessity, but to visitors it is a gem of a find that draws them back time and again.

Exterior Red Bay Grocery

Red Bay Grocery

The original grocery has been in operation since 1936 and has had over 28 owners, but through time became dilapidated and closed in 2008. Leaving the community with a minimum 20 minute drive for bare necessities, and no gathering space, they rallied 64 residents/partners who chipped in money to renovate and revive the old building. These 64 joined business principal Charles Morgan (think Harbor Docks), also a Red Bay resident, in reopening the business in 2009 featuring essential items, canned goods, homemade treats and accessories. Cooperatively, they own and operate the business. A hand-carved wooden plaque on the front porch lists the owners and a picture of the red bay tree after which the community is named.

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Grayton Beach Fishing Dead Fish

Fishing Charters launch daily from Grayton Beach

Professional and amateur anglers alike have been coming to South Walton’s sugar-white shores for over a century, because they truly offer some of the best sport fishing in the world.

Although the bustling harbors in Destin and Panama City Beach are better known for deep-sea fishing excursions (mainly because their harbors have direct access to the Gulf), that certainly doesn’t mean that you need to drive to either place to satiate your fishing fix.

In fact, every day, fishing charters depart directly from our sand at Grayton Beach, returning a few hours later with Grouper, Cobia, Wahoo, Red Snapper, King Mackerel, Flounder, Jack Crevalle, Amberjack, Trigger Fish, Spanish Mackerel, Blackfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi and other fresh treasures.

From the beach, you can catch Pompano (if you know how to catch sand fleas… or if you know Pompano Jim), and South Walton’s Choctawhatchee Bay is filled with Redfish, Flounder and the silvery Speckled Trout.

Or, get a cast-net like the true old school locals and have an old-fashioned mullet-fry. Hey, don’t knock it ’til you fried it, folks.

For a complete list of our local fishing guides, visit 30Afishingcharters.com!

photo-1Friends of the Coastal Branch Library are pleased to announce their artist of the month for August: Jean Rice.

Rice grew up in the Mississippi Delta and now lives in Miramar Beach, where she enjoys painting fishermen, boats, beach scenes and city scenes.

“While my husband was in the military we lived and traveled in many different places which influenced my art. I have painted a variety of scenes from veiled faces to Mediterranean villages, cypress bayous, old barns and Little League players,” said Rice. “I continue to explore life and art, enjoying the journey as well as the destination.”

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South Walton Cheerleaders

Congrats to our 2013-2014 South Walton High School Cheerleaders!

They worked very hard this summer to raise money so that they could attend the National Cheerleaders Association cheer camp at Florida State University this week. They’re learning cheers, chants and dance routines and will perform a final evaluation this Wednesday.

Go, Seahawks!!

Havana BeachLocated in The Pearl at Rosemary Beach, Havana Beach Bar & Grill is set to open this month.

The culinary program — led by Executive Chef Michael Guerra — explores an ingredient-driven cuisine that is said to redefine what it means to live and cook on the southern gulf, featuring a fusion of the flavors and ingredients of the Creole back country, Mexican fishing villages, and the soul of Cuba.

Chef Guerra joins The Pearl from the Montage Deer Valley in Utah, where he served as Executive Banquet Chef and Restaurant Chef. The lifelong self-proclaimed “culinarian” brings a passion for Gulf Coast cuisine to The Pearl’s food and beverage program, focusing on the development of key relationships with local purveyors. Chef Guerra crafts his menu around the freshest products from artisans in the region including Sexton’s Seafood Market, Ocheesee Creamery, and Camp Flowers Honey, among others, in order to offer an unparalleled destination venue for guests to discover and celebrate ingredients and flavors indigenous to the southern coastal region.

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30A YOLO Board

We completely sold out of both styles of our new 30A YOLO Boards, but they’re on re-order and we’re hoping a new shipment will arrive soon! Watch 30Agear.com for news when they arrive.