*This post contributed by Travel Editor Carolanne Roberts
If you know Rosemary Beach, you’re saying aaaaaaah right now and nodding your head as those-in-the-know often do. If you don’t—and it’s still something of a secret, even in Southern reaches of Florida—then you’ll want to this place the rest of us rank high on our Beaches to Sigh For list.
This resort community is first an eye-pleaser, in calm colored tones slathered over Caribbean, East Indies, and Lowcountry cottage styles. It’s a jewel along that stretch from Panama City to Destin, the strip known as 30A (for the highway that connects the dots of beaches). It’s nice to know that this is a proud example of the New Urbanism approach—which means a town easy to navigate on foot. But you think less about theory and more about ease when you stroll to the white sands of the beach, ride your bike like a kid again, and generally enjoy staying put without feeding your car even a whiff of gas. I love the little shops—from shoes to shabby chic décor—and the food (see below), the friendly new friends I always make, and the total escape from care. Last time I actually coaxed my e-mail to work—then shut it down when I realized one thing: Who needs it? I’ve got Rosemary!
Onano comes to mind (dinner-only, a bit pricey, good to celebrate your arrival or departure), but so does the informal Cowgirl Kitchen with its Drunken Cowgirl pizza (the vodka sauce doesn’t get you sauced). Summer Kitchen lures us for eggy breakfasts, then turns into Blue by Night for flip-flop easy dinners. Wild Olives, a deli/eatery, is sandwichy and provides a sit-outside view of life along 30A.
Sunset on any Rosemary Beach boardwalk. Grab your wine and go early enough to appreciate the drama of the sun’s many stages of slinking away. It’s the place you often meet the folks you’ll go to dinner with—honest.
Best Dash by Bike
Pedal less than a mile west down 30A (sidewalks provided) to Fonville Press at Alys Beach, the all-white resort village next down the road. It’s a delightful setting for coffee and morning goodies/wine at Happy Hour. Great selection of style books, magazines, and dreamy tomes of faraway places.
For more, including photos and play-by-play on Rosemary rentals: www.rosemarybeach.com.