Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

I was blessed to be raised mostly in and around Destin, Florida and each year our family tries to spend the Christmas Holidays there together.   My grandparents moved to the area in the 1950's so I've seen Destin grow by leaps and bounds! 

This year I went a week ahead of the rest of my family to be with my Mom as her health is not what it used to be and she lives in an assisted living facility.  I wanted to give her a "girls" week before everyone else arrived.  We were able to stay in the Emerald Grand for "our week" and enjoyed shopping and lunching with friends before the rest of the guys arrived at which point we moved to a golf villa in Sandestin for Christmas week.     

The Emerald Grand balcony views from our 11th floor room included a slice of the gulf,  Okaloosa Island- where my parents once had a beach home, and a view of the Choctawhatchee Bay.  Every 
view is a water view!
The sunsets are so beautiful and I made sure I enjoyed sitting out on the balcony everyday.

The resort is beautifully decorated in a coastal theme with lots of blues and neutral tones with pops of yellows for extra sunshine!  

Fish art in the kitchen and 

I loved the sunflowers in the master bath!

I love to take pictures before unpacking, don't you?

The lobby had a life-size Santa and a 
beautifully decorated tree.

My Aunt Pat came down for a visit too!

My mom, brother and his family live along the Emerald Coast and we always get together to enjoy a good shrimp boil on Christmas Eve and then Prime Rib for Christmas Dinner. 

 It's always a fun and delicious time at the holidays!

A favorite family tradition is a trip to Joe Patti's in Pensacola...truly one of the best seafood markets in the country!   Everyone picks out their favorite fish and we buy pounds of royal red shrimp to bring back for our seafood and shrimp feast.  Emeril shops there too,  so if you are in the area it's a must on your places to visit.  

The beignets are to die for and can be found right outside the front door!

I was able to cook for all 14 of my family members  in our rented "golf home"  in Sandestin

...thank goodness for a well stocked kitchen!  We always bring a few things from home like our huge shrimp pot and a Christmas tablecloth so I can pretty up the table! 

Christmas day included a walk (note: dogs are not allowed on most beaches-so be sure to check first)  along the beach enjoying the pristine white "sugar" beaches with the blue watercolors of the gulf.   

     The beach is just a nice stroll across the bridge from our rental that overlooked the golf course
 and duck pond.

Our newly found "friends" made our trip even more fun as they quacked for their breakfast 
and dinner each day. 

The little ones in our family... 
 and yes even the grownups enjoyed
 feeding the ducks.

Everyone enjoyed the golf courses, the beaches, museums, shopping, sightseeing, and  wonderful restaurants.  The heated pools and hot tubs without the crowds make winter a nice time to visit northern Florida!

We are back home in chilly Oklahoma now and celebrating the first day of 2014 watching the
 Rose Parade. 

 We are already planning next year's trip...
family traditions are the best...

even Gigi and Belle had a good time!

Happy New Year!

I'm linking with The Tablescaper's 

Oh,  the Places I've Been!


  1. What a beautiful and relaxing Christmas celebration. Such a perfect setting for family memories!!!

  2. That looks like so much fun! I bet it's extra nice to be there when it's not so covered up with tourists. Looking forward to your beautiful yard in 2014.

  3. Looks like a great time! What a beautiful place! It's SNOWY here, and COLD. I'd love to be a snowbird.

  4. Lovely Sonia! How fun for you to go there! Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing your pix.

  5. Wow that really does have an emerald coast! That Emerald Grand hotel looks marvelous! What a beautiful area to go for a Christmas family gathering. That's so nice of you to get your mom out on a trip. Looks like you feasted well!

  6. There are so many things about your post that make me happy -- your treat for your mother, the trip to the seafood market, and the fact that you take photos in hotel rooms before you unpack. I do that too, and it drives my husband crazy!

  7. Such a lovely visit! Love all of the seafood!

    Thanks so much for sharing it with us at "Oh, the PLACES I've been!"

    - The Tablescaper

  8. Such a delightful way to gather family for Christmas. Love that you had that special week with your mom. Thanks for taking us along to
    Destin. My first trip, happy New Year! Cherry Kay

  9. Hi Sonia! Thanks for visiting! I love the pictures of your trip to Destin. You're right, family traditions are the best. Gigi and Belle are adorable! We are getting ready to get my dad into an assisted care facility but he's going kicking and screaming. Problem is, he can't remember anything and we worry for his safety. Does your mom like where she it?

    Did you watch the Rose Parade on HGTV? We were so excited they covered it this year in its entirety and commercial free. It was just how I watched it as a little girl!

    I hope you enjoy your trip to Avila! We got four days in Pismo in September but, with the issues with my dad, we have trouble scheduling time away. Have you ever been to the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in Fort Bragg? If you get out this way during the summer, the begonias are some of the most fantastic flowers you'll see. The hanging ones grow like chandeliers. A little piece of heaven on earth!

  10. Such great photos!!!


  11. Sonia, trying to catch up on your posts tonight. I've not had a lot of time for the computer of late. Glad you got to spend this holiday with your mom. These years are important. I lost my mom on Thanksgiving morning. She was 99 and lived a long full life, but it's still not easy to let go.
    This is a beautiful area. I had the opportunity to spend a week in Sandestin a few years ago at a friend's home. Lovely area!


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