The Thirty-A Review, "A Review of 30-A's Finest People, Places and Things™" focuses on 30-A and the surrounding areas. Our audience is very upscale and we tell the stories of the artists, restaurants, galleries, retailers, real estate developments, entertainment and beauty that make 30-A the incredibly special place that it is today. We tell the human interest stories that make 30-A's entrepreneurs, developers and artists tick, making the magazine appealing to both tourists and locals alike.
a new spring
INSIDE: Delicious Dining on 30-A • 30-A’s Special Communities Hot Real Estate • Health & Wellness Art, Business, Culture & More…
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Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Miles K. Neiman
SPRING IS IN THE AIR
Managing Editor Jennifer Thompson
Changes abound in the world today. But the one thing that’s constant is the beach on 30-A. Like the tides slowly lapping the Gulf shore, 30-A remains a respite for the soul. A place where one can come with family or friends and loved ones to “get away” from it all. What better time to leave the troubles of the world behind than now. 30-A and the surrounding area is full of life, good food, natural beauty, and the natives are friendly. In the pages that follow, you will find some of the best 30-A has to offer. We welcome you to peruse the pages and taste the many offerings of the area. We are sure you will be pleased. Until next issue, stay safe, enjoy life, and may God bless you. Cheers,
Graphic Design Brenda J. Oliver - Cover Design & Magazine Layout Sharon Jollay - Ads
Photography Jacqueline Ward
Contributing Writers Jessica Badour Susan Benton Andy Butcher Susan Cannizzaro Julie Herron Carson Wendy O. Dixon Tess Farmer Tom Fitzpatrick Tracey M. Hawkins
Miles K. Neiman
View the entire publication online at www.ThirtyAReview.com
Ellen Howle Anne Hunter Denise K. James
The Thirty-A Review is published every other month by Thirty-A Review, LLC. Reproductions in whole or in part, without expressed written permission of the publisher, are strictly prohibited. The Thirty-A Review is not responsible for the content or claims of any advertising or editorial in this publication. All information is believed to be accurate but is not warranted. Copyright 2006-2021. Send inquiries to 227 Sandy Springs Place, Suite D-288, Sandy Springs, GA 30328. Send press releases and e-mails to email@example.com
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about the cover
Photography Chandler Williams, Modus Photography 39 Logan Lane Suite 9, Santa Rosa Beach, FL @modusphoto; (850) 714-7997
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a new spring
INSIDE: Delicious Dining on 30-A • 30-A’s Special Communities Hot Real Estate • Health & Wellness Art, Business, Culture & More…
Distribution Manager: Warren Butler
Go to www.ThirtyAReview.com to view the entire publication online.
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14 dining The Citizen at Alys Beach 16 treats Panama City Coffee Co. Nigel’s Frozen Bananas
20 local artist Chandler Williams 22 local interiors Tracery Interiors
24 local reads Pathway to Paradise on Florida’s Emerald Coast Cars of 30A
28 local culture An Interview with Artist Jamie Zimcheck
30 local fitness Grayton Beach Fitness
32 local business Furniture South
34 real estate Kevin Boyle: Keeping It Real on 30-A
36 wellness Organic… Let’s Do This!
38 legal eagles Family Matters
40 turf talk Camp Creek College Golf Invitational
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The Citizen at Alys Beach b y K e v i n B o y l e
I guess it would be cliché to start an article writing about a cool, new, groundbreaking restaurant concept with “Back in my day...” Color me cliché then because back in my day, 15 years ago, there were five places to eat: Shades in Inlet, the bar at Borago, Paige Schnell’s house, a Sunday Red
The focus on the bev- erage service is obvious with Better Together Beverage owner and Alys Beach veteran Christine Tarpey as the master- mind behind the menu. “Whether it be a shaved ice cocktail or a house-infused spirit, the bar program at The Citizen is built to strad- dle the line between classic cocktails done really well to curations designed with the ad- venturous diner in mind,” Tarpey says. “The wine list contin- ues to walk that line by
Bar burger, or the 2AM Tom Thumb Burrito. I’m not proud of that last one. You could not find a craft cocktail joint or a raw bar where you were not concerned of nicking your elbow on an exposed nail and getting lockjaw. I also did not want to say, “Boy, times have changed...” in my article. But boy, times have
changed. Enter concepts by multiple chefs and fam- ilies, including Shirley, McDonald, Nickerson, the Corchis family, and the Freers. Now the dining options in South Walton are matching the growth of our bustling tourist destination.
offering allocated gems from all over the world to innova- tive natural wine producers who are paving the way in the wine industry. The non-drink- ers are also represented by way of the ‘Zero Proof ’ portion of the beverage menu, which of-
Photos by Julia Kate Mace
One by one, these new concepts raise the bar in quality of both the restaurant design and the menu selection. Last one, I did not want to say, “Well, there’s a new Sheriff in town...” And I won’t say that. I have always said that this area needs a true whiskey bar or tavern, so I was excited to see the words “seaside tavern” included in the description of the The Citizen restaurant. When you read that, you almost think that the Gorton’s yellow jacket fisherman is going to be the host to greet you as you enter. And I mean that as a compliment. The entrance, albeit lacking a cartoon captain mascot, is a dramatic one. And that’s just the beginning. “The 3 things that I would say define the restaurant are really the first 3 things you see when you walk through the front door,” describes owner Jeremy Walton. “One, a really large and beautiful bar; two, the Raw Bar; and three, the ten-foot wood burning hearth. “We wanted to work to build a really nice bar that serves great food. As to what sets it apart, I think is in large part due to the experience and vibe that the
fers seasonal creations for all to enjoy.” One more I definitely did not want to end with: “Things were better back in my day...” And I won’t because this kind of growth is delicious for our community. See you at the raw bar! Inspired by coastal cuisine from around the world, The Citizen is a seaside tavern located within the town center of Alys Beach. For more information, call (850) 909-0702 or visit CitizenAlys.com. Reservations not currently accepted. Kevin Boyle has been a staple of 30-A and South Walton for over 15 years, establishing himself in the community through performing theater, events, professional consulting, and now as a Real Estate Advisor with Engel & Völkers. He lives with his wife, two children, and a dog, all of whom have more authority than he does.
combination of product, service, and design creates. It was definitely the entirety of my focus in working to design it with our team and our creative partners.” I can sense from some of you reading this article wondering why I haven’t mentioned what food or drinks they serve. I apologize for the delay. Highlights of the food menu include the raw bar oysters and ceviche, roasted grouper, house made tagliatelle, and a coconut curry butternut squash soup. If it seems a bit scattered, you’re right. That is exactly the point. “We wanted to be able to draw inspiration from a variety of cuisines but still be rooted in a sense of place,” Walton says. “A lot of time was spent trying to develop the right mix of offerings and to recognize that in a lim- ited number of options people were going to be looking for different things. Striking a balance between comfort and healthier clean options, as well as people who look for more familiar and classical offerings, as well as more innovative options. We worked to not be perceived as a seafood restaurant or a meat centric restaurant.”
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Panama City Coffee Co. b y L i e s e l S c h m i d t
W hile economic depressions and times of national crises would hardly be the most ideal moment to start a business, it was during the height of the COVID quarantine in 2020 that Daniel Pratt decided to seize the day and launch something he’d been dreaming of: A grassroots company that would “bring life back to the community.” In a way, it all began in October 2018, when Hurricane Michael destroyed the Panama City area and left the surrounding communities feeling broken and lost. Driving around two years later, Pratt was struck by the amount of damage still left behind. It was seeing that devastation, those remaining ravages, that inspired him and soon became an epiphany for something creative in a time when people needed to be given a reason to smile. “I went to sleep with a burden to do something meaningful and woke up with an idea: ‘From Panama, For Panama’,” says Pratt. “My grandmother is from the country of Panama; so, I’m familiar with their culture and, most importantly, their delicious COFFEE! I thought that serving fantastic coffee in a brand-new way was exactly was needed to bring back some of the much- needed life in our communities.” From that idea came the plan for Panama
Sourcing all their beans from major distributors based in the country of Panama, Panama City Coffee Co. has hopes of changing their practices to establish direct and fair trade with the farmers of Panama in the future. “COVID has placed travel restrictions on getting into the country, but we plan that once the borders open back up, we can work directly with the farmers rather than going through the major distributors.” He also envisions brick-and-mortar locations to be somewhere in the future. “I’ve got lots of ideas,” he says with bright eyes full of excitement. “More bikes, coffee shops, wedding catering, airport shops… But sincerely, I just want people to have a meaningful experience any time they encounter the Panama City Coffee Co. brand. The news paints the picture that the world is looking grim and dark, but my experience has been the opposite. People are caring and genuine, generous and servant hearted. I want every person that encounters my company on a bike or in one of my future coffee shops to leave knowing they had a meaningful human interaction, and that the world does, indeed, have good, loving people in it. As long as that is being accomplished, Panama City Coffee Co. will grow in whatever capacity it needs.” Clearly, there’s more to this little coffee company than just coffee, and people can sense that. It could well be said to be the secret to his success, even in times such as these. “I think what people love best is the experience they get when they buy coffee from me on the bike,” Pratt posits. “I try to genuinely have a meaningful
City Coffee Co., using a unique business model that takes the notion of mobility to a whole new level. Rather than setting up shop in a food truck or even a coffee cart, Pratt has done something even more novel: employing bicycles to literally pedal his wares to his customers. “We get our coffee exclusively from Panama, roast it ourselves locally, and then sell the beans online or as nitro cold brew from a bicycle,” Pratt explains of his process, which is amazingly simple and focused. “People are always in awe when they first see a bicycle selling nitro coffee!” A musician by trade, Pratt has long seen a correlation between coffee and music. Having grown up in DC, he saw no end of coffee houses that hosted open mic nights and small hometown concerts. “There was one particular coffee shop called Jammin’ Java that always had amazing musical acts come through. I remember thinking that coffee and music go together, hand-in-hand.” And while he might not have loved his first sip, he began drinking black coffee at the age of 13. “I forced myself to drink it until I liked it!” he laughs. “I pretty much never looked back after that.”
conversation with everyone that comes by. Some days, it can be lonely just sitting on the bike all day. Sometimes, I probably keep people around too long, asking them questions about their life, their kids, their work…But I’m the crazy guy on a bike! I get to ask those questions!” Serving his coffee with a smile and a genuine interest in his customers, Pratt has brought back something we’ve all been craving even more than caffeine: Human connection.
We get our coffee exclusively from Panama, roast it ourselves locally, and then sell the beans online or as nitro cold brew from a bicycle.
For more information, visit www.panamacitycoffee. com or follow them on Facebook.
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Ripe for Success Nigel’s Frozen Bananas Will Open This Spring b y D e n i s e K . J a m e s
O ne night in late 2009, 30-A native Simon Sullivan had a very strange dream. His late father, Nigel, ap- peared to him and informed him that bananas would play a significant role within his life. Upon waking, Sullivan felt under- standably baffled, as well as determined, at what the message might mean…Today, he says that during the years following the vision, he felt like the mystery was always in the background, a quiet hum behind every- day existence. Fast forward several years, and Sullivan,
seating will be at 124 Quincy Circle, a bustling area of the beach that is known for shops and other services. Nigel’s will be the first food item in the plaza, and Sullivan and Carter are looking forward to a busy spring and summer, dipping bananas as well as ice cream bars for scores of locals and tourists, while playing feel- good 1970s music in the background. Carter’s and Sullivan’s children, ranging in age from 4 to 17, are eager to get on board with the fun and
Chef Sullivan dips a banana into gourmet, dairy-free chocolate.
a professional chef, decided to finally put the dream’s meaning to the test and pursue a sweet business idea: selling chocolate-dipped bananas at the local farmers’ market. His partner, local photographer Marla Carter, cautioned him that the enterprise may prove too time-consuming for their busy lifestyles. Still, the idea persisted, and by the time late summer 2020 rolled around, Cart- er and Sullivan; after researching a similar business in Newport Beach; had been suffi- ciently convinced they might be onto something. So, they named their new ven- ture Nigel’s Frozen Bananas and offered a pop-up shop during the holiday season, with a very promising response from the community. “I grew up here; I went to Seaside Neighborhood School, and as kids, we would always go to Frost Bites,” Sullivan says. “Seaside is known for food trucks and innovative food concepts, and this seemed like the perfect place.” Sure enough, the concept took off in a big way over the holiday season, with kids and adults alike going bananas for the freshly dipped fruit topped with all kinds of goodies, from peanuts to cookies. Nigel’s Frozen Bananas are coated in a rich, Belgian chocolate—made with coconut oil so it is actually dairy-free—and then “made as healthy or as indulgent as you want them to be,” according to Sullivan and Carter. The topping assortment over the festive winter season included Biscoff butter cookies, Oreos, peanuts, fresh coconut flakes, Reece’s Pieces, pretzels, and even a special gingerbread topping. The bananas are frozen,
Nigel’s signature Ice Cream Bar
exciting new business as well, with the older ones volunteering to work and the younger ones hoping to taste-test all the delicious concoctions. As for what Nigel would think about the family’s business, Sullivan isn’t quite certain, but he has a good feeling about it. “I think he would say that we’re on the right path,” he muses. “He would be proud. I’m not sure if this is the mark I was supposed to hit, but when I hit it, I’ll know.” It sounds like it’s
Treats the whole family will love.
Photos by Marla Carter
skewered, and then dipped and topped in front of each individual customer, who of course is able to choose their custom toppings. Ice cream bars are also available, but the couple affirms that most people enthusiastically order the namesake bananas. “We are definitely going for the retro, beachy nostalgic feel,” they explain. “The population is here, and the request is here. The age range is really diverse, from kids to older people, who love the nostalgic vibe. It’s
on the right path to us— and we can’t wait to sample the yummy new treats at Nigel’s Frozen Bananas, just in time for a Seaside summer.
honestly marketed for everyone, and everyone has really responded favorably to it. For parents, it’s a healthy choice for kids, and for adults, it’s something healthier to treat yourself with.” May 2021, Nigel’s Frozen Bananas will make its debut in a more permanent location, likely to the delight of their raving fans. The new walk-up with outdoor
To learn more about Nigel’s Frozen Bananas and view photos of their mouth-watering treats, visit them on Instagram: @Nigels30A.
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Picture This Photographer Chandler Williams Expands His Business b y D e n i s e K . J a m e s
W hen an independent study opportunity during his senior year introduced Chandler Williams to photography, he unknowingly found his newest life passion. A competitive athlete, Williams learned from a sports photojournalist how to artfully capture motion and light, while “…developing 35mm film using changing bags at a kitchen sink. The creation process that happens when film is developing really got me hooked,” he says. Before completing high school, Williams had already independently moved to explore the country: first living with his sister in New Mexico and then in the Midwest with friends. He continued his travels across the United States, Mexico, and Central America, constantly taking photographs of nature, scenic landscapes, and cultures. In 2007, after getting married and starting a family, Williams decided to revisit the idea of a side business in photography. He was working full-time in a thriving property management business, meanwhile maintaining his photography skills as a creative outlet. Could he turn it into a full-time business? The answer was a resounding yes. By 2014, Williams decided to depart property management and embrace his photography business full-time. Today, Modus Photography is a creative hub for the 30-A corridor, and Williams is selling
“I Need Some Space”
Artist of the Year Award
workshops, he believes the concept will be well-received. “There’s nothing like that here, for either young students or older retirees. There really is nothing else like it in the area for locals or tourists,” he points out. “My theo- ry is that we all want personal growth to
some degree. Just like brushing up on your second or third language skills, photography is a language, and like with any language, the more you know, the more you can speak slang and break the rules.” In addition to these upcoming workshop oppor- tunities, Williams is looking forward to launching his new gallery website, where photography lovers can peruse and purchase fine art images for their homes or businesses. Despite this upgrade in his digital presence, however, Williams believes that having the gallery and studio and teaching his craft personally are important to the business. ““I think having a gallery—where you can view physical prints and see different textures in the variety of media—allows people to experience some of the creative process,” he says. “There’s a connection that visitors experience while in the gallery, and I really do believe that the landscapes and seascapes of South Walton fuel this connection. It’s very cool to now be able to offer workshops in an area that I have grown up in.”
Photo by: Chandler Williams, Modus Photo; Talent: Strother Allen
fine art and landscape photography in his gallery as well looking for ways to teach the community more about the medium itself. As of three years ago, Williams’s wife Jessica also opened Mahalo Grayton, a boutique retail space, and has recently launched RockPaperScissors30, a kids’ art studio. However, according to Williams, who was just named South Walton’s Artist of the Year, more is on the horizon. “It’s safe to say that I am obsessed with and love photography. It has opened a lot of different avenues for me, and I am constantly learning,” he notes. “I’ve taught at local schools, both private and public, and I’ve also taken opportunities to teach domestic and international workshops. Now, I’m looking to bring these workshops here to 30-A. Today’s art world can offer an amazing blend of mixed mediums, and I feel that photography,
although it is not recognized as an art to some, is fundamental to all artists.” Williams credits his own three children for illumi- nating the idea that art and creative output is important. “I have three boys, and I think that’s partially why I, as a parent, see the need for creative outlets,” he muses. Based on his philosophy that one creative person should share their passion and expertise with other peo- ple, Williams and his team are planning to host all sorts of local photography workshops – from “crash” courses to five-day programs—and even have a new Sprinter van to host pop-up workshops in other locations. A native to the South Walton area, Williams is confident that the picturesque environment is ideal for showing his stu- dents the concepts of photography. Furthermore, because the area hasn’t previously offered these types of
To reach Chandler Williams, visit the gallery, located at 39 Logan Lane, or visit www.themodusgallery.com.
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Matters of the Interior b y L i e s e l S c h m i d t
I t’s amazing to see what can happen when someone with vision is given room to work in a space. Suddenly that space has life and personality, dimension and texture. Above all else, it is finally home. That is the thing that makes Paige Schnell so passionate about her work as an interior designer, the mission at the heart of her company, Tracery Interiors, since she founded it in 2004. Initially begun as an interior design shop and design studio that would work with clients and customers on projects of any scope; from offering advice on accessories for finishing a room to designing and furnishing entire homes. Nearly two decades later, the company has grown; but they have never strayed from that vision. “We love being able to offer great options of beautiful products, no matter how big or small,” Schnell explains. “One thing that makes us unique is that we have a design studio as well as retail stores, which also allows us to offer clients quick turnaround. If someone approaches us to help furnish a home through our design studio, we are able to select items from our warehouse and retail stores in Inlet Beach or Rosemary Beach to create a beautiful home that their family can enjoy. Both of our shops offer an array of beautiful items for your home, and our Tracery retail team is there to help you select just the right item.” That team includes five women at the two retail stores and three designers, including Schnell. Holding degrees in Interior Environments from Auburn University and a degree in Interior Architecture from Auburn University between them, all three women are impressive in their knowledge of the industry—not to mention the talent that gives them such an edge. With 15 years of working in Atlanta largely focused on kitchen and bath design, Beth Nash joined the Tracery team in 2014. AK Tisa has been with the company for 15 years, having joined as an intern from Auburn. “Tracery has a team in the studio and the retail shops that brings multiple years of experience to assist our customers and clients create the home of their dreams,” says Schnell. “I think our dual approach with a design studio and shop sets us apart from others, because even after we finish a project with a client, we see them when they come back to town and stop by our shops to look around or visit.” Offering design services of all types, Tracery has also taken on many renovations over the past years. “We love new homes; but we love working on renovations, as well,” says Schnell, going on to enumerate current renovation projects in Seaside, Alys Beach, and Rosemary Beach. “We offer complete design services from the
Photos courtesy of Tracery Interiors
COVID, we’ve struggled with receiving prod- ucts and product availability,” Schnell notes. “Many items are taking much longer to receive; but we have pivoted and have stored items, expanded our Inlet Beach shop, and changed decision time frames with clients. Having that ability is one of the great things about working with a team.” No matter what they face, it is their clients that keep them passionate about their work. “We love creating dream homes,” says Schnell. “I received a note last Christmas that said, ‘Just thinking of you today as we enjoy our beautiful home in this shut-in moment. Forever grateful for our years of working together on our happy, restful, artful homes.’ The reveal is another amazing part of what we do, and we love doing reveals like you see on TV: Candles lit, home complete. It’s seriously the best part.” For more information, visit www.traceryinteriors.com or call (850) 213-3216 to reach the Design Studio; (850) 231-6755 for the Inlet Beach shop; or (850) 213-3746 for the Rosemary Beach shop.
beginning of planning all the way through the last pillow placed on a bed and everything in between.” While most of their clients are along 30-A, they do take on out-of-town projects and have travelled to such cities as Nashville, Tennessee; Wilmington, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Aspen, Colorado; and even as far as Napa Valley, California. “Besides creating homes for so many wonderful clients over the years, we’ve also had the honor of being featured in a great number of publications,” says Schnell. “We have been published in almost every national interior design magazine, and we also published a coffee table book in 2015 with Abrams. It was sold internationally, and a friend sent me a note from Florence saying she’d seen it in museum shop window. It’s amazing to know your work is spreading that far across the globe.” Even with such success, however, they have faced their challenges—most notably over the past year. “Since
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Pathway to Paradise on Florida’s Emerald Coast New Book Offers Comprehensive History of How 30-A Came to Be b y Te s s F a r m e r P athway to Paradise on Florida’s Emerald Coast is a full-color hardcover book that makes
quite a statement as a coffee table book, but as they say, don’t judge by its cover… It also includes what is likely the most detailed description and history of the area available. Have you heard the story of the ‘haunted house’ at Point Washing- ton that later became Eden Gardens State Park? How did the moniker ‘Redneck Riviera’ come to be? Or the background on how old town Santa Rosa came to be and what led to its demise?
Clockwise from top: Jeeps gathered for the Fourth of July at Seagrove Beach circa the 1980s; An early brochure advertising the amenities at Dune Allen; The trailer Eric Allen used as his office when he began building homes in Dune Allen Beach circa the early 1950s; Author Robert Reynolds; Book cover.
Pathway to Paradise on Florida’s Emerald Coast details the history of one of Florida’s most sensational destinations and tells the story of one of its most notable roads, Scenic Highway 30A. Author Robert Reynolds’s first work Simply Seagrove was published in 2018 and covered the history of Seagrove Beach. He now broadens his scope to cover all the communities along Highway 30A, with background on the entire Emerald Coast. From its creation in 1937 by the Florida legislature to its designation as a Florida Scenic Highway in 2008, 30A has witnessed the milestones in the development of the Emerald Coast. At first opposed by developers because of fears of congestion, 30A became the pathway that would connect and unify the diverse coastal communities along its path. When Reynolds was in junior high in Montgomery, AL, his parents discovered Seagrove Beach, a beach community that was close enough to drive to for weekends and as he puts it, “offered a lot more water sports than central Alabama.” The destination was Seagrove Beach, and his book Simply Seagrove portrays not only how they found it, but how Seagrove came to be. Reynolds’s family did a lot of boating and exploring by Jeep and in his books, he describes adventures ranging from navigating shallow canals in a Boston Whaler, to excavating and piecing together pottery in the dunes, and photographing a comet from the bluff. He covers the huge variety of waterways, including the history of the coastal dune lakes and tales of some devastating hur- ricanes. He describes all the plant and animal life you can expect to see that makes up the diverse ecosystems here, as well as a host of other phenomena from squeak- ing sand to red sunsets. Readers are sure to appreciate Reynolds’s clever storytelling, rare photographs, and vin- tage maps also included in the book.
parks and trails, and covers the many facets
that make life on 30-A all it is today, in- cluding the cultural arts, festivals, land- marks, and food scene. Whether coming to the area for a one-time vacation or to make a home and a life, Pathway to Para- dise is a must-have resource. “All in all, powerful, sometimes op- posing, forces will influence the future of Highway 30A and the Emerald Coast,”
He invites readers to ex- plore the towns that developed along the scenic route, from family-built communities like
Dune Allen Beach and Seagrove Beach to architect-de- signed layouts managed by large corporations, such as Rosemary Beach and Watercolor. The book also outlines the creation of unique community designs, such as in prominent Seaside and Alys Beach. Learn about the larger-than-life figures who spearheaded the developments over the decades, from Chicago snake oil salesman Charles Cessna, who dreamed of a dynamic city at Santa Rosa, to Edward Ball, who bought Cessna’s property after the hopeful empire collapsed. Ball went on to build the St. Joe Company into the largest private landowner in the state. Developers continued to be a driving force thorough the years, with J.J. and Robert E. Lee McCaskill and the development of Inlet Beach, to C.H. McGee, Sr. and his son Cube at Seagrove Beach. The hardbound book also explores the natural phe- nomena of the Gulf of Mexico, bays and lakes, state
writes Reynolds. “A long economic expansion has helped propel prices in the region, and the basic draws that have helped Florida continue to gain population are still in place. But environmental factors always in the back- ground are becoming more pronounced, and disagree- ments over access to beach areas have continued to raise concern. Let us hope that all interested parties will work together to help keep Scenic Highway 30A the idyllic place it has become, truly a pathway to paradise.” Pathway to Paradise on Florida’s Emerald Coast is available at Florida libraries, online retailers, and featured at local retailers including Sundog Books in Seaside, The Hidden Lantern in Rosemary Beach, The Studio Gallery in Uptown Grayton Beach, and Stock & Trade Design Co. in Miramar Beach. Further information is available at emeraldwaterspress.com.
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Cars of 30A Automobiles, Beaches, and the Ultimate Mind Escape b y C a r o l B a d a r a c c o P a d g e t t
V intage Broncos, restored Defenders, rare Ferraris, custom Porsches. Car enthusiasts, marketers, and dream- ers Davis Brackett and Ashley Loyd could probably just stop right there in their creation of a new business venture. But they’ve added one more magical element that seals the deal: the beaches of 30-A. Together, the friends launched Cars of 30A on Instagram in May 2020, fol- lowed by a soft launch of their website carsof30a.com in July. Their original con- cept is now coming to fruition with a chronicle entitled Cars of 30A , a high-end, hardcover coffee table book that features the cars and stories behind the brands, businesses, and local car enthusiasts along 30-A in every beach town from Dune Allen to Rosemary. “Cars are where I go when I need a minute to hit the reset button and let my
Many of 30-A’s biggest influencers and iconic business owners are showing keen interest in sharing the story of their cars. “The original idea with this book was to highlight the staple brands and businesses along 30-A,” Brackett notes. “They are all about supporting their community and our book will certainly build upon that.” In addition to their hardbound book, unique automotive-inspired gear will be available at local shops along 30-A and at carsof30a.com. “This could easily turn into a series of books,” Brackett hints. “I have peo- ple sending me pictures of their cars along 30-A all the time and wanting to participate.” After all, fellow die-hard car and
Land Rover Range Rover on Grayton Beach
beach enthusiasts are not difficult to find… they number like shells along the sand at low morning tide. As Brackett puts it, “There is something mag- ical about driving an epic car along the coast. It’s the ultimate mind escape. The ultimate freedom.” Brackett’s thoughts roll back to a childhood passion that put him on the road to Cars of 30A .
Ford Bronco in Grayton Beach
mind wander,” says Brackett, the business’s founder, and Atlanta-based automotive marketing and advertising professional who has spent years vacationing with his wife and two children on the beaches of 30-A. Over the years, Brackett confesses, he developed a deep infatua- tion with the cars he saw and photographed while visit- ing and driving the 24-mile stretch of coastal highway along the sparkling Gulf of Mexico. And he was intrigued to learn the stories behind the cars he had seen and those of area influencers. “I have always been interested to learn why people drive what they drive” he muses. “Cars are an extension and outward expression of ourselves… and they are the best conversation-starters.” His personal favorite at the moment? “My 1999 Mercedes-Benz C43 AMG. It’s a rare AMG that repre- sents a lot for the brand and is a total blast to drive.” Brackett met Loyd, his business colleague, current 30-A resident, and a marketing executive who is designing the Cars of 30A book, when their wives worked together as entrepreneurs in the wedding industry. “At the time,” Loyd remembers, “I still had my first dream car, a 1996 Mustang Cobra with a Mystic paint job.” Between their shared love of cars and the fact that both were college athletes, Brackett and Loyd’s camara- derie clicked and their families became the best of friends.
Photos by Davis Brackett
“I have loved cars my entire life. As a kid I would build model cars, detail them, and place them in specific spots in my room. Since then, I’ve loved everything about cars—the experience, the smell, the speed, the challenge of shifting gears perfectly.” As an adult, what could possibly complement the thrill of the exquisite car-driving experiences of his youthful imagination? “The coastal breeze blowing through the cabin of a car is ‘it’,” he smiles, of course. Find a preview of the book at carsof30a.com or on Instagram: @carsof30a.
Aston Martin Vanquish Volante in Alys Beach
Dreams of starting up a 30-A-based business always swirled in the air between Brackett and Loyd as they lolled on its beaches each vacation. “Every visit was filled with plenty of beach time, where we were often scheming business ideas that could potentially lead to us living on the coast,” Loyd says. With Cars of 30A , the friends have found their “in”; and 30-A residents and visitors alike are warmly embracing the new venture. “Virtually everyone has jumped at the opportunity to share their car’s story and even throw Davis the keys sometimes,” he shares.
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An Interview with Artist Jamie Zimcheck b y A n n e H u n t e r
A rtist Jamie Zimchek moved from Connecticut to Northwest Florida in 2015 and quickly advanced in the local art scene with solo exhibitions at several galleries, pop-up shows at Anthropologie, and multiple collaborations with fashion designer Nicole Paloma, not to mention her own jewelry line. Between painting and design, she manages to squeeze in time for throwing pots and creating sculptures. You might recognize her unique artistic style on a billboard somewhere in Walton County as part of the Cultural Art Alliance’s Billboard Art Project. Zimchek describes the Florida Panhandle as shockingly beautiful but “it would be better with fewer tornado warnings and hurricanes.” Nonetheless, the artist continues to pursue her craft along our beautiful beaches. Tell us about your educational background and the story of the moment you decided to pursue art. I think I always wanted to be
Who is a female artist that you respect and admire? I’m very fond of the American artist, Julie Mehretu. I appreciate her rich and varied approach to topics that range from ancient architecture through the WWII bombing of Berlin to more current themes, like the Arab Spring. Her work is a language of ideas that provides a new lens for exploring traditional topics, which I think is inspiring. I’m of a school that believes art, done well, will have some kind of message, or provoke thought, which is what I get from her work. What are your thoughts about art and New Urbanism? One of the things that most interested me in my early days here was New Urbanism, which led me to a series of paintings that drew on the movement for inspiration. This forward-thinking approach to urban design can be seen in communities here like Seaside, or Alys, but also in international locations. I spent seven years living, studying, and working around Europe, and I appreciated the live/work design concept driving New Urbanism, an echo of what you might find in any thriving European city. Describe your genres of art and what inspires you about each. Though I started as an oil painter, and studied
“Redacted: Unexpected Harangue”
Artist Jamie Zimchek
an artist, but it didn’t feel like it was a really viable option, so in- stead I spent my free time painting while pursuing a degree in History and then an MA in Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London. After that, I started a doctorate there with a focus on US foreign policy and lectured in the US and UK over the next few years, but I was always more taken with muse- ums than slogging for hours over books in the British Library (even though it’s a great place). I had my aha moment back in NYC at the Met, when I realized if I was going to put serious time into anything, it needed to be something I loved. And I love making things. I walk-
under a realist, my style is a far more abstract amal- gamation of style and objective. For me, art is a kind of analysis, or reframing of information, so it has that component secondary to the art itself. A series I did re- cently, Redacted, is a good example. On the face, the im- ages are these black and white skyscapes, punctuated with strategically placed colored strips hand-stitched to the canvas. Conceptually, the series also explores the dual ideas of overlooking and removing information that doesn’t fit our personal narratives and plays with the is- sue of censorship. It’s a concept I visited before with pho- tography but had more fun with here. Some of you might know me better from my jewelry, which hints at the lines and structure in my paintings, only in wearable form. I’ve also been working with porcelain lately, which helps keep things fresh, and my house smelling like a hot kiln.
shown in any way that’s boundary pushing or fresh, despite the number of talented artists who live here. We have a very engaged Cultural Arts Alliance, but there needs to be more. I under-stand that this is a tourist area, but it’s a shame that this fact has to preclude the presence of true artistic vitality.
ed outside and phoned a friend back in London to tell her I was quitting the PhD. She was horrified, but I’ve never regretted the decision. What concerns you about the future of the local art scene? What excites you? What has disappointed you? I know a number of us came into it here full of hope for a solid, inspiring arts movement, but the reality is, there’s a real dearth of places and spaces where art can be
What is your advice to young, aspiring female artists? My advice to aspiring artists, female or otherwise, would be to do what you really love, and if you’re going to do this, you’d better really love it. Also, though there are exceptions, I think you really need to be great at social media, which is what makes me want to pull out my hair. Please reach out if you have social media skills and want to work with someone local who is possibly missing large clumps of hair.
For more information: Visit Anne Hunter Galleries, 25 Central Square, Seaside, Florida 32459; www. annehuntergalleries.com, www.zimchek.com.
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Grayton Beach Fitness b y A u t u m n M u r r a y
previous location. Nestled among the trendy restaurants and art stores in the heart of Grayton just north of 30-A, it is not uncommon to see the outside bike rack full as members begin their workout with a ride along 30-A to the gym. Paul has been a student of biome- chanics, exercise physiology, function, and movement since graduating from Spring- field College, MA with a degree in exercise science. Professionally, he has worked with several leaders in the fitness industry over the years and has served as a national pre- senter and educator teaching Biomechan- ics to personal trainers and other fitness professionals.
Grayton Beach Fitness offers memberships with annual commitments from $55 a month for singles to $140 a month for a family of four. Month-to-month memberships are also available for their shorter-term guests as well as weekly guest passes of three days or seven days for vacationers. In meeting the needs of members who prefer instruction, they offer three levels of fitness instruction. Members and guests can participate in Basic Group exercise classes ($5). Then there is Specialty Group Coaching ($25), which offers a more affordable and individualized class for specific needs such as Lengthen and Align for corrective exercises or Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s patients. And finally, Personal Training where they offer one-on-one and duet (two people) for members and guests seeking individualized strength
Grayton Fitness is a family run business. Paul has been a pillar in the community for over 26 years and is well-known all along the Emerald Coast as one of the first personal trainers in the area.
Shortly after taking ownership of Grayton Fitness in 2004, Paul was diag- nosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He didn’t let his diagnosis set him back. Instead, it reinforced the value of a posi- tive attitude, healthy lifestyle, and to rely on the best community of member-friends for support. It was a trying, yet beautiful experience demonstrating the importance of community. As a result of Paul’s experi- ence with cancer, during the month of Oc- tober, he wears pink exercise attire and other fun pink accessories in an effort to raise funds for Breast Cancer Awareness. He was recently featured on the cover of The 30-A Review in his pink tights. Debbie has served as a swim instructor
training, balance training, special event preparation, or simply the motivation and accountability that is offered through a relationship with a personal trainer. Grayton Fitness is a family run business. Paul has been a pillar in the community for over 26 years and is well-known all along the Emerald Coast as one of the first personal trainers in the area. His mission is to im- prove the quality of people’s lives through the quality of movement and outlook on life, and can often be heard announcing, “Make it a Great Day!” As a professional, highly educated, and highly experienced personal trainer and gym owner, he often receives referrals from Physical Therapists and Physicians who are moving their patients to the next level of wellness. Likewise, all of the trainers at Grayton Fitness are degreed or certified and demon- strate excellence in their profession. Check them out! The community of Grayton Beach Fitness can’t wait to help you meet and/or exceed your fitness goals! Call today and schedule a free consultation at (850) 231-7075 and follow them on Instagram and Facebook @GraytonFitness. They are open 24 hours 7 days a week. They are located at 55 Logan Lane, Santa Rosa Beach, FL, 32459.
Paul and Debbie Hunter
G rayton Beach Fitness is known as “The Locals Gym Where Guests are Welcome”. When guests and members open the doors to Grayton Fitness, they instantly step into a community of like- minded friends. Having owned and operated this gym since 2004, Paul and Debbie Hunter focus on community, education, and fun; a focus that has allowed Grayton Fitness to grow into its newly constructed 4500 square-foot facility just a stone’s throw away from its
for students 3 years to 80 years old, occasionally serving personal training clients, and has taught group exercise for over 12 years including Ride, Yoga, TRX, HIIT, and strength formats. She is on the schedule for teaching fit- ness classes, but she mostly enjoys hanging out in the gym and greeting members. The new and larger Grayton Beach Fitness facility offers more opportunities for Debbie to fo- cus on finding new and innovative concepts to best serve the members, front desk staff, and all fitness instructors.
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Furniture South Continued Growth In Housing and New Construction Fuels Boom in Furniture Sales b y Te s s F a r m e r
More and more customers are taking advantage of the hassle free one-source shopping to get their home or condo move-in ready.
Frank and Julie Kovach
W ith the largest showroom in Santa Rosa Beach, Furniture South offers quality furniture, home décor, and accessories, as well as complimenta- ry design services to their customers. Established in 2012, Frank and Julie Kovach opened the store when the housing market was beginning to grow after the last eco- nomic recession. They are seeing those same trends return with the surge in home sales in Walton County. The couple had been in the furniture and interior design business for 30 years in Destin and prior to that for ten years in Birmingham. They operated the largest furniture and interior design store on the Emerald Coast called Resort Interiors, which closed in 2009 due to the downturn in real estate. Now in 2021 Frank Kovach notes how the surge of home sales and new construction has increased demand for home furnishings and once again created a growth in their business. “We’ve been able to offer more people the opportunity to view and purchase furniture and home décor for their new home, usually before they end up moving,” says Kovach. “The impact of COVID-19 has allowed us to be even more accessible to our customers.” The showroom has over 3,000 pieces of furniture stocked for the bedroom, living room, office, dining room, and kids’ room. Customers will find distinctive styles from a large selection of mostly American-made manufacturers. Each piece of furniture is hand-picked for its quality, value, and durability. The store also offers same day delivery, which has been a real value for customers who otherwise would be facing shipping delays this year. Furniture South’s team of five designers, which in- cludes Julie Kovach, who holds a NDCIQ national inte- rior design designation, offers customers all services re- motely, including virtual tours of the Santa Rosa Beach
more. “With that comes our responsibility to give back to this wonderful community we serve,” says Kovach. The company supports Haven House’s faith-based treatment program through the annual clearance sale each December. “I saw firsthand the importance of their mission in our community and we are
showroom and collaborating on design boards via email. The team can also measure rooms and gather dimensions to plan the best layout of the furnishings, provide paint and floor covering selec- tions, lighting and window treatments, cabinets, and down to the details of bed- ding and kitchenware.
More and more customers are taking advantage of the hassle free one-source shopping to get their home or condo move-in ready. This model has proven to be much appreci- ated during this time. They also offer private appointments after hours in addition to online consultations. “Our services are seamless, so there’s no need to make multiple trips to different stores or to stress over what colors will work best—we can marry the function, style, and comfortability to make your home flow beautifully,” adds Julie Kovach. Another trend continuing to grow is performance fabrics and the extra durability of furnishings to hold up to seasons of use in rental properties. “The wear and tear on a product is a big consideration and we have a range of options for customers to consider,” says Frank Kovach. “You’ll find you can still get the linen look with a performance fabric more suitable for a beach house.” The Furniture South team also has a depth of expe- rience working for commercial properties, including hotels and local banks. With the surge in new develop- ment in the area, the company is positioned to grow even
proud to support them each year through their pro- grams.” They also support the work of the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, serving families in Walton and Okaloosa counties. “My mother always told me you have to give to receive and that’s true in any facet of life, especially in business. To give back to your employees, your commu- nities; it’s just what we do, always stay humble and kind,” adds Kovach. Furniture South is celebrating eight years in Santa Rosa Beach and is located at the Landings Shopping Center on Highway 98. The Kovach’s chose the central location between Destin and Panama City to make it convenient to 30-A shoppers as well as all of Walton and Bay counties.
Furniture South is open Monday through Saturday, 10a.m.–5p.m., (850) 267-1411, furnituresouth.net
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