Archive for the Island Enthusiasts Category

Short blog today…

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This is going to be a quick blog today. Friday night Sunshine Cindy and I were honored to be named as the Emerald Coast Parrot Head Club’s Volunteers of the Year! Wow and thanks is all we can say. We appreciate the honor!

Saturday we hung out with our friends Alan and Jackie at Landshark Pizza for a while.

We missed the Destin Christmas Parade and the harbor lighted boat parade. We will make both next year for sure!

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Living in Destin

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I think I can honestly say we just finished one of the best weeks of good weather we could possibly hope for in early December in Destin. Every day was in the mid 70’s with lows in the 60’s. I wish it would stay that way till spring and then warm up. LOL

Sunshine Cindy and I got out a little this weekend. Thursday night we went to Harry T’s for happy hour and to watch the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game. The game was good and the bar area stayed pretty full. Of course it’s always good when the Lightning win.

When we left Harry T’s we saw the new outside bar up the harbor across from Hogs Breath called, “The Other End” was open. We pulled in to check it out. They have a great set up. There is an Airstream trailer that they use as a kitchen for cooking food. There are several decks that look out over the water. And they have tons of craft beers available. We sat down and started talking to the bartender Clay. It turns out he is the son of a friend of ours. I remember Clay from his days behind the bar at Hogs Breath. It was cool running into him again. We finished our drinks and headed home for the night.

Friday was a day for Sunshine Cindy and I to relax. We didn’t feel up to doing much although Sunshine Cindy did work on decorating the house for Christmas. We were supposed to meet some friends at the Legion but we were not up for it.

Saturday we had a little more energy. In the afternoon we headed to The Crust Pizzeria to talk to the owner Charlie about his ad on our Crab Island Mambo web site. Charlie has some new specials for the season that we are getting posted on the web site. While there Sunshine Cindy and I both had one of their pasta dishes. They do a great job with the pasta. I could eat them every day! We enjoy going to The Crust.

When we left The Crust we decided to make a quick stop in at Hogs Breath. Rikki was working the outside bar. A good group of locals were there watching the Alabama football game. Hogs Breath has great football drink and food specials. We love sitting at the outside bar watching the world go by on Hwy 98. One of the locals there was actually at our Holiday Chaos party last week at KC’s. That was fun talking to him. About the time we were getting ready to leave Cajun Mike and Terry walked in so we had to stay a little longer. We still made it home kind of early as we wanted to keep charging our batteries.

We decided that Sunday we would head to Chips to watch the Browns football game. I wish I had not subjected myself to that torture. The Browns are real close to being a good team but the quarterback play is holding them back. It is frustrating watching them but it could have been worse. Tommy was there to watch the Saints and they got killed. After the game we stopped in at Landshark Pizza. As we walked we were greeted by Kenny and Becky. There were there having a pizza so we joined them. Then Alan and Jackie came in and joined us. It was a good time chatting with everyone. Jason was working our table and he was his usual funny self.

This weekend I published the Crab Island Mambo monthly recap. This is pictures of the Chaos we had in November. You can read it here:

Have a great week. See ya Thursday!

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Life on the Emerald Coast

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This has been a very quiet week for us. Sunshine Cindy and I have stayed in so we can work on Crab Island Mambo things. I published the Weekly Update. You can read it here:

This is the time of the year when we have local places close down for the winter. It was not too long ago that you would have almost all bars and restaurants in Destin close for the entire winter season. But with Destin now becoming a year round tourist destination and many snowbirds staying all winter, we only have a few places that close for a while and only one, Gilligan’s that shuts down for the entire season. Gilligan’s will open back up in February right before Spring Break hits.

Our friends at The Boathouse are closed from December 1st through December 17th to give everyone some much needed time off. They will though open for a while on Sunday December 14th for the Holiday Boat Parade that goes through the harbor. The Donut Hole in Destin is also closed till almost Christmas. But other than that, I have not heard of anyone else closing for any significant amount of time. I wonder if they will all survive?

A new mescal and tequila taco bar is opening in downtown Fort Walton Beach soon. I don’t know much about this place other than the sign I see in front of the building. It will be taking over the old Salty Duck location just down from KC’s Sandbar. With construction getting ready to get started on the new Landmark Center hotel and restaurant complex downtown, this area is taking off.

The new Town Home development on Airport Road in Destin where the Racquet Club used to be is now coming out of the ground. It looks like they will be ready sometime in the late spring or summer.

Over at Lucky’s Rotten Apple in Destin, they have now opened their restaurant, Mother Cluckers. It is a pizza and wing place that will be serving the late night crowd till 4 am. Rotten Apple is a hit with the after hours party crowd. They pack them in for a late night Power Hour they do each night. We will have to check out the food one of these days.

One other new place that has opened in Destin is a Thai restaurant. It is called Thai Tanic and is in the old Noonie’s location. They are right on Hwy. 98 across from the harbor. I have to give them props for creativity on the name!

Not much happening this weekend. See ya Monday!

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Best Beach Destinations in the Florida Keys

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While residents of cold-weather climates are shivering indoors by the fire, the lucky folks who visit the Florida Keys are snorkeling, splashing, and fishing in still-temperate waters. The shores of this island chain—with dazzling coral reefs and an abundance of wildlife—are recognized as excellent spots for water play. Blissfully removed from any signs of winter, these eight beach destinations showcase the best of what the Keys have to offer, from diving to kayaking to just plain sunbathing.


(Photo: Stephen Frink/Florida Keys News Bureau)

John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo
Best Beach For: Diving

In John Pennekamp, endless protected miles of the Atlantic Ocean are host to stunning coral reefs and enchanting mangrove swamps. The undersea state park, the first of its kind in the U.S., offers a variety of guided diving options, from certification courses to clinics for underwater photography and fish identification. Divers shouldn’t miss the SS Benwood, a World War II shipwreck that sits at a depth of 50 feet, and theChrist of the Abyss statue, in almost 25 feet of water near the Dry Rocks reef.


(Photo via Leigh Anne Ference-Kaemmer/

Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park, Key West
Best Beach For: Snorkeling

The waters that surround this Civil War-era fort, located on the very tip of Key West, reflect its location: where the calm ripples of the Gulf of Mexico meet Atlantic Ocean waves. This convergence creates rocky offshore formations that are home to a spectacular variety of tropical fish, hard and soft corals, lobsters, and crystal-clear turquoise waters through which snorkelers can view all the underwater activity. Best of all, snorkeling-gear rentals are available right in the park.


(Photo via Natalia Bratslavsky/

Calusa Beach, Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key
Best Beach For: Family Fun

Located on the Gulf side of Big Pine Key, Calusa Beach is protected from Atlantic Ocean winds, making it a great swimming beach for children. Calusa’s shallow blue-green waters and close-by facilities—showers with restrooms, a covered picnic area with grills, and parking—also help boost its popularity. And if the little ones need to get out of the sun for a bit, the park’s Sand and Sea Nature Center is within walking distance and offers exhibits on native creatures and habitats.


(Photo via Chuck Wagner/

Smathers Beach, Key West
Best Beach For: People-Watching

Key West’s manmade strand, built with sand brought in from the Bahamas in 1961, offers a rare stretch of white sand among the Keys’ otherwise-rocky shores. The convivial vibe of downtown Duval Street extends to this beach, where the people-watching and socializing are just as important as the sun and waves. Beach volleyball and parasailing are also popular activities on Smathers, where the water has a year-round average temperature of 79 degrees.


(Photo: TripAdvisor LLC)

Key Colony Beach
Best Beach For: Fishing

Expect to catch snapper, cobia, wahoo, and much more when you cast a line at Key Colony Beach. Hop on one of the many charter boats that dock in the Key Colony Beach Marina, including Cara Mia Fishing Charters, Best Bet Sportfishing, and The Main Attraction, which offers a no-fish, no-pay guarantee for full-day trips. The islands are known as superb destinations for saltwater angling, so you’re almost certain to land something for dinner.


(Photo via Daniel Korzeniewski/

Curry Hammock State Park, Marathon
Best Beach For: Kayaking

There’s nothing quite like gliding over glassy water with visibility that extends all the way to the ocean floor, where fish weave in and out of sea-grass beds and stingrays skim the sandy bottom. Curry Hammock State Park is a great place to start a Keys kayak tour, as the park offers rentals, a sandy launch area, and a spectacular trail that rings the island and takes paddlers through a mangrove creek. Make your way to the sandbar just off the shoreline, where the snorkeling is excellent and the shallow water is great for a refreshing mid-tour swim.


(Photo: Joy via flickr/CC Attribution/Share Alike)

Bahia Honda State Park, Big Pine Key
Best Beach For: Sunbathing

The beaches of Bahia Honda State Park were named the best in America in 1992 by Dr. Beach—and with more than 2.5 miles of white-sand shores and glistening turquoise waters, it’s easy to see why. Bahia Honda’s quiet, palm-tree-lined strands are havens for travelers seeking pure relaxation. Plop down a beach lounger, pull out a good book, and soak it all in.


(Photo: Susan Hardin via flickr/CC Attribution/Share Alike)

Long Key State Park, Long Key
Best Beach For: Camping

With campsites that are located literally steps from the Atlantic, Long Key State Park is a beach camper’s dream, offering 60 tent and RV sites and full-service facilities that include hot showers, electric hookups, and kayak rentals. Each camping spot overlooks the ocean, which, at high tide, might meander mere feet away from your tent. Wake up with the wildlife—the park is home to egrets, herons, and ibis; loggerhead and green sea turtles; and starfish, to name a few—and take in a private viewing of a vibrant sunrise over the water.

Read the original story: Best Beach Destinations in the Florida Keys by Julianne Lowell, who is a regular contributor to SmarterTravel.

Holiday Season in Destin

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We are officially into the holiday season. Sunshine Cindy and I spent an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day at her parent’s house. Of course we ate too much food but that is to be expected. We drove home about 8 pm. As we passed the Destin Commons the parking lot was already packed with people out doing pre-black Friday shopping. There were a lot of complaints about stores opening on Thanksgiving. How can those poor people be forced to work on Thanksgiving they said. It is real simple, if people didn’t flock to the stores then they would not open. But the crowds are huge so they open.

Plus I can think of a lot of people that have to work on holidays with none more important than our service members who are deployed across the globe protecting us. Say a prayer for the Army, Air Force, Marine and Coast Guard folks that protect us so we can complain about some retail clerks that are working.

Saturday was our Crab Island Mambo “Holiday Chaos” party. But on Friday we were running around getting all the final details worked out. Sunshine Cindy is the creative one who makes sure we create a fun atmosphere and attitude for the party. In the afternoon as she was in full “party mode” I took off to run some errands. When I was done I made a stop at Landshark Pizza for a few beers. A decent crowd was there. Brian, Glen and Bruce were heading to Grayton Beach Brewery to visit their new Tap Room. They asked if I wanted to go but I passed. I can’t wait to hear how it was.

I hung out for a while talking to Tommy, Pops, Capt. Browning, Jason and a guy I had not met before, Dominic. He was a nice guy. I am sure I will run into him there again. Steve came in about the time I was leaving. I talked to him for a bit. He and his wife went to Harbor Docks for Thanksgiving dinner. Harbor Docks gives away free meals…all they ask for is a donation to Habitat for Humanity. Last year they raised over $20,000. Steve said they served about 1800 meals this year so I know they will raise a lot of money this year too. It is all done by volunteers. This is a great example of a community coming together.

Saturday was the party and it was a big success. We had about 80 folks join us for music, food and a good time. We raffled off a bunch of prizes and Corlee won the 50/50 drawing. There were Parrot Heads from Arkansas, Pensacola, Panama City and Illinois show up to party with us. KC’s Sandbar’s staff did a fantastic job. The food we had was great and no one was waiting for service. Matt and Tia worked  their butts off for us. We hope to do a bigger party next year.

And on Sunday we rested! LOL  The biggest activity we did was get the Christmas decorations out of the attic. Other than that we were slugs. I watched football all day while Sunshine Cindy worked on putting together a new jewelry case.

Today is another one of those made-up retail kind of days that stores like Wal Mart push so they can sell more Chinese made junk to us that we don’t need. Yes, it is Cyber Monday. I read a great quote about this day. This sums it up: “Because so much online shopping occurs at work, Cyber Monday simultaneously stimulates the economy and curtails productivity, creating a zero-sum economic game in which we are too busy getting things to make things others might want to get.”

Tonight (Monday) Sunshine Cindy and I will be interviewed on the award winning “Island Time Radio” show out of Cleveland, Ohio. We will be talking about the 21st Annual Phlocking of the Phaithful Trop Rock event we will host next June in Put in Bay, Ohio. We will be on the air about 11:15 pm EST or 10:15 pm Central. You can listen here:

And you can get all the registration information for Phlocking of the Phaithful right here:

Have a great week. See ya Thursday!!!

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The weather

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Like most of the country the big story in Destin this week was the weather. We didn’t get anything severe, just some cold temps. Destin got down to the low 30’s but north of the bay the temps were down into the mid 20’s. I know for someplace like Buffalo that had some areas get up to 8 feet of snow, a little cold weather with sunshine is perfect winter weather but here in Destin we had to actually put on long pants and socks! Oh no…..

This has been a quiet week for Sunshine Cindy and me. We stayed in each evening. I did some Crab Island Mambo work but I mostly just relaxed.

Things are kind of quiet around town too. There was an announcement that Goodyear is opening a service center store on an empty lot in front of Home Depot. I have used Goodyear for tires so it will be nice to have a place closer to the house.

I want to remind everyone about our Crab Island Mambo “Holiday CHAOS” party on Saturday November 29th. We will party down at KC’s Tapworks Bar (or out at the Sandbar if the weather cooperates) from 3-7 pm. Music will be provided by Stevie Hall. We will have food to munch on and you will receive a wrist band to get 20% off your entire tab during the show. We will have a 50/50 raffle and some special surprises. No cover charge either.  Everyone is welcome to join us to celebrate the holiday season.

Short and sweet today. Have a great weekend. See ya Monday!

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Here comes winter

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My life in Destin

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Destin is Quiet

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This time of the year is probably the quietest time of the entire year in Destin. The fishing tournament is over, fall breaks have been completed and the snow birds have not descended on the town in full force yet. This is when you can walk into almost any restaurant and get a table at dinner time! LOL

Sunshine Cindy and I didn’t do much this weekend. We are still winding down from our Key West vacation. Thursday night I headed to Landshark Pizza to watch the Browns football game. It was a big game for them against the Bengals who were heavily favored. Paige, Jason and Austin were working. I settled in at the bar with a pizza and a beer. I watched the first half at Landshark. The Browns were kicking butt. I got home in time for the second half and they continued their domination. Wow is all I can say. They look like a real team this year.

Friday Sunshine Cindy and I ran around town doing a bunch of errands. It was mid afternoon when we were done. We decided we wanted some lunch so we headed to the Boathouse. As we walked in someone was waving at us. It was our friends from Southern Illinois. Alan and Jackie are back for the winter. They also had Kistin, Jeff, Cathy and Dale with them. We knew they were in town but we never expected to run into them at the Boathouse on a Friday afternoon. We had a good time catching up with them.

We saw some other friends there too. Gigi was running around making sure everyone was doing their jobs, Kerby was there fixing some things, Paige stopped by with Lela and Bree was there with her child. We had a nice relaxing time there. We left and headed home for the evening. As I was driving home on Main Street, some old guy riding a bicycle in the right hand lane was weaving a little so I moved over to the outside lane. Just as I got to him he turned right in front of me. Good thing I was watching. I slammed on my brakes and avoided the old guy but it scared the crap out of me.

On Saturday Sunshine Cindy and I worked around the house and on Crab Island Mambo stuff. Plus Sunshine Cindy cooked up a pot of potato soup to take to a party we were going to that evening at Julies. The soup turned out fantastic. The party was a lot of fun. It was nice hanging with friends.

We didn’t go to the harbor on Saturday for the Blues, Brews and BBQ festival. From what I have heard they had big crowds. We were there last year and had a fun time so I am sure everyone had fun this year. I have not seen who won the best BBQ but there are some real good BBQ in this town so I am sure it was deserved.

We were very lazy on Sunday. I watched some football. Sunshine Cindy cooked up a great brunch. The only place I went to was Landshark Pizza to visit with our Southern Illinois friends. I wanted to drop off some flyers for Kirstin to take back to her parrot head club for our June “Phlocking of the Phaithful” Trop Rock party in Put in Bay, Ohio. We would love to see some of their club come up and party with us. In fact we love for everyone to join us for this fun time. Here is the link for all the information:

As I mentioned it is real slow around town right now. Driving home Saturday night there was almost no one on the road. This is such a far cry from just a few weeks ago. But don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. It is a nice break.

It looks like some colder weather is coming in again later this week. I am ready for summer!!! Have a great week. See ya Thursday.

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Still in Key West

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Things have been hectic but we are having a great time on our trip. We have been to the Punta Gorda area and then drove down to Key West on Monday.

The weather has been perfect, the music off the hook and friends from all over the country make this a perfect vacation.

Our “Crab Island Mambo Welcome to the Island Party” on Wednesday was a fun time. We had several hundred friends show up to party with us. We will do it again!

This is a short update today. No pictures and nothing about Destin but we will get back to our regularly scheduled program next week. See ya then!!!

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Short and Sweet today

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Sunshine Cindy and I are getting ready for our trip to Key West so this will be short today.

We got out Wednesday evening for a stop at Chan’s Craft Bar. The place was not as busy as we have seen it in the past but they still had a decent crowd with many folks sitting on the outside patio. I had three different craft beers. Each one was good. One was a Founder’s IPA, one was a Cigar City brew and the last one was a Sweat Head Big Nose or something like that. I enjoyed each of them even if I can’t remember their names.

Sunshine Cindy and I also split a burger. Their burgers are fantastic. It’s a half pound of grain fed beef. We asked for it to be cooked “medium” and it came out perfectly cooked. That is unusual for a burger especially one that was as thick as this one was. They have made The Craft Bar a nice relaxing place.

We are close to being ready for the trip. This is always a fun vacation for us. It’s like a giant family reunion when we get to Key West. Once again Crab Island Mambo will be sponsoring a “Welcome to the Island Party” on Wednesday October 29th at Dante’s from 11 am to 3:30 pm. Everyone is welcome to join us for this free Trop Rock party. Here are all the details:’s-Key-West-4th-Annual-Welcome-to-the-Island-party.html

I will try to send out the next couple of blogs with updates on our adventure but you never know how things will go. Have a great weekend. If you can, get over to KC’s Sandbar in downtown Fort Walton Beach on Sunday. Michael Allman, son of legendary rocker Gregg Allman will be playing with his band. Gunner opens at 1 pm and Michael goes on about 4 pm. I think there is a $5 cover charge. We are sorry we will miss this show.

See ya down the road!

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