30A South Walton Book Cover 740 x 480 NEW BOOK! Meet Me on 30A by Susan Vallee

Cover Photo by Brandon Babineaux

We are super-excited to announce that our very first 30A book is now hitting local shelves! The book — published by Southwestern Publishing Group — is entitled Meet Me on 30A and it’s written by long-time local resident and author Susan Vallee. 

In the book, Susan delicately blends together Old Florida village life with New Urbanism’s resorts and towns, protected habitats and pristine beaches, as only someone who enjoys it every day could do. But Susan’s certainly not the only local who helped pull together this gorgeous 128-page book.

“The book features stunning images by so many world-class photographers,” said 30A’s Mike Ragsdale, who wrote the book’s foreword. “The book also features over two dozen recipes from 30A’s top chefs and restaurants.”

The book features photography by Lauren Alsobrook, Brandon Babineaux, Jamie Conley, Tommy Crow, Amanda FaganJack Gardner, Sheila Goode, Paul Johnson, Shelly Swanger, Jay Thomas, Jacqueline Ward and Dawn Chapman Whitty among others. The dozens of images found throughout the book perfectly capture the unique beauty of 30A’s communities, rare coastal dune lakes, state parks, local restaurants and shops, signature annual events, and of course, Scenic 30A’s pristine white-sand beaches.

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30A South Walton web cdl 0420 EPISODE 4 of New Documentary About 30As Coastal Dune Lakes Released

The outfall of Western Lake, the coastal dune lake found within Grayton Beach State Park.

Over the past few months, conservationist and documentary filmmakers Elam Stoltzfus and his son Nic Stoltzfus – who comprise the core team at Live Oak Production Group – have been extremely busy taking photos, shooting videos, and posting online updates about their latest documentary project.

30A South Walton Web Elam Med CDL 3690 Timmed EPISODE 4 of New Documentary About 30As Coastal Dune Lakes Released

Elam Stoltzfus

They recently received funding for the project from the St. Joe Community Foundation, and are now in full production mode — researching, scripting and filming educational videos that reveal fascinating new details about South Walton‘s rare coastal dune lakes.

The documentary is being created to address public awareness and educational needs that surround these natural treasures. Powerful images are being expertly captured to showcase the natural, cultural, recreational, scientific and educational uniqueness of this coastal dune lake region, and then they’re coupled with fascinating stories that include facts about the rich and colorful history of pre-development here.

The team’s blog features numerous related articles and photo essays, as well as video glimpses of the new project. The first video is a basic and beautiful introduction to our local lakes, while the second video delves deeper and features interviews with experts and locals such as Dr. Sarah Schindele, Ginger Sinton, Clarire Bannerman, Edmond Alexander and Jacquee Markel. The third video installment introduces the Coastal Dune Lakes Advisory Board, comprised of volunteers and professionals who care for these precious natural resources. In the newly released 4th video, various locals describe just how much these natural “jewels” mean to them.

Here are 4 video previews of this exciting project-in-progress:

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Ever dream of moving to the beach? Before you do, there’s a ‘secret code’ that permeates our laid-back flip-flop culture. After you’ve been around for a while, you’ll gradually figure some of these things out on your own. But for anyone who wants to study-up in advance, here are 30 tips from 30A locals that will help you ease right in…

30A South Walton Beach Dune Allen Life guard 300x257 30 Tips from 30A Locals

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Heed our beach flag system!

1. “Always pay attention our beach flag system, and swim near one of the nine lifeguard towers stationed at our public beach accesses.”

– Rick Talbert, South Walton Fire District

2. “Don’t text and drive any time, but especially not on 30A. There are simply too many pedestrians and cyclists.”

– Dave Rauschkolb, Bud & Alley’s

3. “Pack healthy snacks for your beach days! At 91% water, watermelon is a perfect snack to keep you hydrated and satisfied.”

– Joe & Crissy Thibodeau, ThiBod Fitness

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PHOTOS: Sheila Goode Photography

30A South Walton BEACH LIFE SWFW 2 3 South Walton Fashion Week Set for Oct 6 12South Walton Fashion Week seeks Emerging Designers to apply for this year’s celebration of fashion and style.

The large-scale, multi-day event along Northwest Florida’s Gulf Coast celebrates high fashion by featuring dynamic events, with proceeds benefitting The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County’s (CAA) Arts Education Program. South Walton Fashion Week in its second year is produced by the CAA and presented by Visit South Walton.

“South Walton Fashion Week set the bar so high with its debut season, the entire week was seamless from model casting to hair and makeup,” said Ashley Ming, 2013′s Emerging Designer Winner. “The production totally reflected South Walton’s undeniable allure and the level of talented professionals I was surrounded by during my show made everything fly by.”

Ming said that the show was by far the easiest runway show she has ever experienced. Continue Reading…

30A South Walton Jessie Taylor 175 WaterColor Merchants Offer Everything Under the 30A SunBy Jessie Taylor

30A South Walton Blue Giraffe WaterColor Merchants Offer Everything Under the 30A SunWaterColor Merchants offer everything that your little heart could ever desire. I know this firsthand after meeting with Debbie Taylor and Christi Sheffield, the owners of The Blue Giraffe in WaterColor. For three hours, Debbie graciously gave me a personal tour of the many fabulous shops that WaterColor has to offer. Not only do these shops have everything that you could possibly need for a fun beach vacation, but these shop owners clearly share a special kinship that radiates all around WaterColor’s main square.

The WaterColor Merchants are not just a family-friendly series of stores: They’re like a family themselves.

Trekking around WaterColor, I got to know each store’s unique personality, and all of the many different things that they offer our community and 30A visitors. Just as I had the chance to get to know all of these wonderful people and their businesses, I’m now excited to offer you the same opportunity. Let’s start with The Blue Giraffe, because without the time they spent personally touring me around, there certainly wouldn’t be any article to read:

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By Ashtyn Smith
30A South Walton Sweet Henriettas 3 Cakes, Pies and All Things Nice at Sweet Henrietta’s

Sweet 30A Locals, Rick & Tina Stanfield

Banana pudding cupcakes, key lime pie cupcakes, even the ’30A Heat’ cupcake… Sweet Henrietta’s has been providing 30A with their mouth-watering cupcakes, cookies, cakes and more since 2007.

30A fans have consistently voted Sweet Henrietta’s as one of 30A’s “Hot Spots for Baked Goodies,” and the owners, Rick and Tina Stanfield, are regarded as some of the sweetest locals you’ll ever meet — literally and figuratively.

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30A South Walton 2014 ECBC Top Marlin Reel Worthless Awards Record Payout Purse for 2014 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic

The 12th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic took place in June at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, and team Reel Worthless scored big. Angler Steve Brown and his team combined with the Reel Fuelish crew to land the biggest—and only—blue marlin of the 2014 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic.

That 594.9-pound fish was worth an ECBC record payout of $498,450, topping the previous mark set by UPTOIT in 2008 by more than $61,000.

Reel Worthless swept the marlin division, top crew and all but one of the optional jackpot entries to claim the biggest share of the overall $1.68 million in prize money.

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30A South Walton george 800 300x222 Georges at Alys Beach Raises $7,500 to Help with 22 Year Olds Cancer Treatment

Bailey Byrd was a carefree twenty-one year old waitress at George’s at Alys Beach when she started feeling tremendous pain in her abdomen. She was later diagnosed with a rare form of Ovarian Cancer Juvenile Granulosa Cell Tumor, which is most commonly present during the perimenopausal or early postmenopausal period, with a median age of diagnosis between 50 and 54 years.

To help raise money for her surgery and medical bills, George’s recently hosted Bailey’s Day at George’s and raised over $7,500 in one day to help her cause.

“It was a pleasure to see our community come together and help such a sweet young woman,” said Ann Hartley of George’s at Alys Beach. “People showed up in their Bailey t-shirts, servers gave their total tips for the day, and customers reached deep in their pockets and put cash in the donation jar. It was truly an amazing day and touched many hearts.”

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