Adventures in House Hunting + a Hurricane

Last Tuesday, my friend Kelley and I left Mississippi bright and early and headed to Florida. We were going to check out homes in neighborhoods where Bobby and I are going to move, which is TAMPA! I already shared this news yesterday with my email subscribers, but figured it was time to let you guys in on it as well. 🙂 We are looking north of Tampa, to be precise. So anyway,  we drove, and we drove, and we drove. It was a gorgeous day, so it was hard to believe a hurricane was coming.

How cool is this rest stop? It has a “stretch your legs” trail!

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We finally made it to Clearwater after 10:00 at night. We stayed at the Sheraton Sand Key and really liked it. It’s right on the beach (well you have to walk out a bit but no big deal). Too bad it was chilly and overcast. It didn’t stop us from sitting out there a few hours anyway!

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We eventually ventured up to the pool before grabbing lunch and meeting with my awesome realtor.

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Our plan was to look at homes all afternoon and into the early evening since we were going to head out Thursday afternoon instead of Friday because of hurricane Matthew. We saw some great houses and neighborhoods. After awhile they just all start running together though!

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This pool was awesome but unfortunately the rest of the house was not.

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How cool is this kid’s super hero room?!?

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Loved this kitchen but the neighborhood would be way too long of a commute for Bobby.

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We even rode a golf cart in one neighborhood.

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That night we hit up a restaurant in Clearwater before turning in for the night.

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The next day we were up early again for more house hunting. The Sheraton was so awesome and let us cancel out last night and refunded us no problem because of the hurricane. It was super simple and we were so grateful.

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We loaded up my SUV and were just going to meet the realtor at the first house that morning. Well, the directions I put into my map app on my iPhone were not exactly right. They took us through these back roads and down a dirt road where we came across this gentleman. We then went down ANTOHER dirt road and Siri told us to get out and walk to our destination. OMG. I felt like we were in a horror movie where the two young girls get led down a series of winding dirt roads to their deaths. We couldn’t stop laughing!

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We finally made it back to a main road and found where we were going, but whew what a way to start the morning. We saw gorgeous new neighborhood and some model homes, and then made it out of the area heading north just as the first rain bands started.

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Someone please explain the below photo?

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We had a LOT of traffic headed up 75 to I-10, and I-10 was basically gridlocked all the way to Talahassee. What should have taken us 6 hours took well over 7, and I was over it by the time we finally got to Destin around 7:15 that evening. We very much deserved good food and drinks so we headed to Rockin’ Tacos which was delicious.

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The next morning, we woke up to SUNSHINE! We were finally going to get some beach time. We were legit out on the beach by 7:45 in the morning, and we laid in the sun until around 12:15 when we finally packed up the car and had to head back to Mississippi.

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Hello sugar white sands! Oh how I missed you.

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It was totally worth driving in the traffic to get to Destin for a morning at the beach. Also it was nice to break up the 11 hour drive into two parts coming back.

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My friend Kelley was SO super sweet to spend her vacation time with me looking for houses and neighborhoods. She in her last year of residency at the hospital and could have been doing a million other things with her limited time off, but she chose to help me out.  I think I may have killed anyone else in the car for that long but we talked, listened to awesome playlists, and made it work. We also may have eaten at Chipotle twice. She had never been so I thought it was necessary. We had a great time and now I feel more confident as we narrow down where to live in just a few short weeks, so hopefully our house sells soon!

QOTD: What is your favorite beach? Do you like house hunting?

Montgomerys on the Move

Well, the time has finally come to share some BIG news with you. I shared it first with my email subscribers yesterday, because I always tell them news first (sign up here), and I already felt so much better last night after getting it off my chest.

I explained to my subscribers that lately I have felt like I was doing something wrong by keeping a secret from you all. It has become difficult to share personal stories of things going on in our lives simply because if I did, it would give my secret away. I know my blogging lately has been sporadic, and unfortunately it will continue to be that way for a little while longer, because my friends…the Montgomery family is packing up and moving to FLORIDA!

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I cheated. This picture is from last summer.

Whew. Ok, now I really feel better for letting the cat out of the bag to everyone. Funny how when you withhold information, even if you have a good reason, it can feel like a lie/wrong doing. There was still a lot up in the air until recently (and frankly, there still is,) but I decided now felt like the right time to share, just…because.

Ok, so here are some of the details. I am not ready to share everything 100% yet for various reasons, but here is what I can tell you:

WHO: Me, Bobby, and Emma Kate, of course. We have been within 3 hours of our families for years, so this will be WAY out of my comfort zone.

WHAT: Moving. We already established this right? Smile with tongue out

WHEN: Sometime in mid to late November. So, soon. This is scary because our house is still on the market. We had an offer a couple weeks ago that unfortunately fell through. We can’t buy another house until this one sells…so you get the picture.

WHERE: All I am willing to say right now is “central Florida”. More to come. Stay tuned.

WHY: Bobby has gotten an awesome new job, something he has worked really hard for, for a long time now. Thankfully both of my jobs are work from home, so I will still be doing what I love!

HOW: That’s a really good question. There is a lot to get settled, so we would so appreciate prayers right now for a few key things to fall into place. I know God’s timing is perfect, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about all of the things working out in time for us to move. It gives me a headache just to think about it. I would also be lying if I said I wasn’t sad about leaving our current town. This is where Bobby grew up, and we truly do love it here. In particular, our church and gym, and the friends that come along with both are going to be very very hard to replace, and I’m frankly not sure it’s possible. I have gotten to know so many great people who have helped me a ton, especially in the past year, and if I think about leaving them it really upsets me.

Change has always been hard for me, and I’m incredibly sentimental so this whole process has been overwhelming. Please know if I take a little longer to answer emails or seem out of sorts for the next couple of months, that I’m just super busy doing all of the things for all of the people, and I will hopefully get back into a new routine once we get settled. I have had a couple of people ask me why I haven’t been marketing my new book much anymore, and now you know why. I have been packing boxes, doing research, and so many other things as we prepare to move. I can’t wait to share a new area, new adventures, and a new life with all of you here in my little corner of the world! Thanks for hanging in there with me.

QOTD: How do you handle change? Are you sentimental? Thoughts on Florida?

Beach Trip 2015: Day 3-5

In case you missed part one and part two, you can check them out before reading today’s installment.

I combined the next days because, well….we did pretty much the same thing! We got up, stuffed our faces with a delicious breakfast overlooking the beach, then Bobby left for his meetings, and my parents and I hit the beach.

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After lunch with Bobby, we all went to the beach.

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Then of course, happy hour.

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We had dinner scheduled at the Beach Walk Café, the nice restaurant at the Inn. We got dressed then walked over for our reservation.

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I started off with a blackberry martini which was delicious!

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I had the filet with mac ‘n cheese, and it was very tender, and the mac ‘n cheese was my favorite.

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Bobby had the lobster tail, and got a side of the mac ‘n cheese.

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My dad had the catch of the day, and my mom had shrimp ‘n grits. Everything was SO good and rich and we were stuffed after.  However, we still had enough room to all split a slice of peanut butter chocolate cheesecake made in house. Heavenly.

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The next morning my parents packed up and went home and I was pretty sad because we had such an amazing time. I hung out at the beach reading by myself until Bobby got back from class, then we ate lunch and headed back for our last bit of time on the beach.

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Some dark clouds rolled in in the afternoon, but it never actually rained. We enjoyed one more happy hour, and went to dinner down the street.

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Afterwards we went for a walk on the beach and the clouds cleared up just enough for a beautiful sunset. We also saw the Beach Walk Café setting up for “toes in the sand”, which is  ocean side dining with a private waiter. I want to do this one day!

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We sat on a swing and watched the sun go down one last time in Destin.

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Then, because we are old people, we headed up to the room for bed. Sad times.

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The next morning we enjoyed our last delicious Henderson Park Inn bed and breakfast before packing up and going home. We had an amazing trip, and I think that makes it even harder to leave! I was however glad to get home to family and routine, but I do hope we get to go back to Henderson Park Inn very soon!

QOTD: Have you ever dined next to the water? Favorite place to watch a sunset?

Beach Trip 2015: Day 1

We woke up early Sunday morning to drive down to the beach. We had thunderstorms and heavy rain most of the way down, which is not something you care to drive through on your way to the beach. We finally arrived after lunch and my parents were already there. We checked into the Henderson Park Inn in Destin, Florida, and our room was ready.

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It was still cloudy, but not raining, and the forecast looked good for the rest of the trip, hooray!

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We were in an executive suite on the second floor. They have so much room, and of course a great view (beach photo above was taken from our balcony).

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When we entered our room, there was music playing, and roses, grapes, and wine on our bed.

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We unloaded the car, caught up with my parents, and soon enough it was time for happy hour! Henderson Park Inn has daily happy hour from 4-5 for the guests in it’s 35 rooms. It’s up on the deck overlooking the beach.

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After hanging out at the tiki hut, Bobby and I went down to the beach to take some pictures in my new shoes ASICS sent me. The Gel Quantum 360 comes out July 15, and I wanted to get some shots in t hem to share on social media and my blog since the “gel” shoe is “jellyfish” (jelly =Gel-y) themed.

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We decided we didn’t feel like getting all dressed for dinner, so we ordered pizza and had them deliver it to the deck. We sat outside listening to the waves eating pizza. It was perfect! Later, we went for a walk on the beach.

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We were all tired from traveling so we hit the hay. Bobby and I managed to watch about half of a movie before I fell asleep. I needed my rest for a big day at the beach the next day, of course.

QOTD: What is your favorite beach to visit?

Summer Travel Plans

Every summer, Bobby and I go to Destin, Florida for three days. He attends a work conference in the mornings, and then we get to hang out in the afternoons. Last year my parents went with us, and this year they are coming again! (It’s nice to have someone to hang out with while Bobby is in his meetings). Baby girl will be staying home with Bobby’s mom. She lives out of town and so she doesn’t get to see Emma Kate a lot, so I know she is excited!

We can’t take the baby because we are staying at Henderson Park Inn, an adult’s only bed and breakfast. I have written about them before, and I cannot wait to go back for the third year in a row.

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At Henderson Park Inn, they spoil you rotten with an amazing buffet breakfast with create your own omelets and waffles, fruit, bacon, grits, you name it. Included in the price are water front beach chairs, towels, snacks, water and soda, and a happy hour every night.

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Rooms are gorgeous and spacious as well.

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Not to mention, we will be right in the heart of Destin just minutes and walking distance to restaurants and shops. It is just across the highway from the Destin Commons, the huge shopping complex, and down the road from the Silver Sands outlet mall. I love to explore Destin and find new restaurants and places to go. As a kid, we went to the beach most summers, so while I am familiar with the area, every year there are new places to go!

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We always try to get away somewhere in the summer, and I try to look for ways to make our travel easier and more efficient. The Discover It Miles credit card is a great option for your summer travel plans, wherever you are looking to go. This card has no annual fee, and includes a $30 credit each year for in flight Wi-Fi! For those of you traveling out of the country, there are no foreign transaction fees. Discover it Miles cardmembers can redeem miles at any amount for cash, or as a statement credit toward their travel purchases, including commercial airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, commuter transportation and taxicabs.DSC_0893

You can learn more about the card and explore rewards to see for yourself how it can help your summer travel plans!

We leave for our trip in less than a month, and I can’t wait to sink my toes into the sand again, and enjoy that Florida sunshine.

QOTD: What are your summer travel plans? Do you use a credit card to help you travel? Reward points?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Beach Trip 2014 Part 3

Tuesday morning we woke up to gloom and rain, booo! We ate our amazing breakfast again, and Bobby headed off to class. Me, mom and dad just hung out and read books until about 9:00 when the sun came out! We headed to the beach until lunch.

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After we ate we went back down to enjoy the afternoon, I was so glad Bobby got to enjoy some sunshine on the beach. He and dad threw the Frisbee a good bit and chilled in the water, while mom and I stayed under our umbrellas.

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Action shot! I really did want to get out and play but was worried about my ability to balance, jump, and catch a Frisbee. I’m sure I would have been great entertainment for the other beach goers.

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As we were heading back up to the inn for happy hour and dinner, we saw this set up:

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Apparently, through the restaurant at the inn, you can pay to set up a private dinner on the beach. Super romantic and fun, but not sure I would like all the people walking up and down the beach catching crabs and running around my table. But, good idea in theory!

We ended up walking down the street to a restaurant Bobby and I had tried last year called Camille’s. Bobby got sushi and was a happy boy!

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The boys went to look for crabs when we got back while mom and I stayed on the deck watching the water. I was really starting to not feel great and feel all the bad food, walking around, and general tiredness of a trip when you are pregnant. I however was sad it was our last night, 3 nights is just so short for a vacation!

The next morning we had breakfast, Bobby headed to class, and we checked out of the inn before heading to the outlet mall and picking up Bobby at lunch. What a whirlwind! SO glad we went, but hopefully next year can go for longer.

Goodbye Henderson Park Inn, until next time.

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Check out part 1 and part 2 of our trip, too.

QOTD: Have you ever had dinner on the beach?

Beach Trip 2014 Part 2

Happy 4th of July everyone! Have a great and safe holiday weekend.

The first full day we were at the beach, I was SO looking forward to breakfast. I am not normally someone who gets excited about breakfast, but yall, this one is amazing. Cooked to order omelets, mini Belgian waffles, apple wood bacon, hash browns, grits, sausage, yogurt, cereal, pastries, and the most sweet, juicy fruit you have ever seen.

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After sufficiently gorging ourselves, Bobby had to leave for class so I went down to the beach with my mom and dad. I picked out a novel from the shelf at the inn to read, and we settled in for over three glorious hours of sunshine and relaxation.

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Until this happened.

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It got darker and darker by the minute, and since Bobby was due to be done with class soon, we headed up to the inn, and we did at the perfect time! The wind picked up like crazy and beach umbrellas were flying in the air.

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Run, people, run!

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Sadly it rained all afternoon so Bobby didn’t get to hang out at the beach that day, but we still had a good day. We went to dinner at a place called Captain Daves, and closed out the evening with a walk on the beach.

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We hunted for the little sand crabs, and found a handful of them before letting them go and calling it a night. Doing nothing all day really wore me out!

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We had one more full day at the beach and I really hoped it would be a sunshine filled day so Bobby could enjoy some beach time!

QOTD: What do you do when it’s a rainy day on vacation?

Beach Trip 2014 Part 1

Our annual beach trip to Destin was a success! We only went three nights this year though so it seemed REALLY fast. I think I could stay there for weeks and never get tired of it. Bobby had class every day from 8-12 to keep his law license active for another year, but we still had a blast!

We left in the morning so we could get into Destin by lunchtime. Of course we had to stop at the rest stop at the Florida state line and get some orange juice.

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I happened to see Disney signs everywhere and of course had to take a picture with one.

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We made it to Destin in time for lunch, and stopped at the Destin Commons outdoor mall to eat at Panera Bread and do some shopping. For a couple weeks now Godiva has been posting these delicious chocolaty frozen drinks on Instagram and I have been craving one but have no idea where a Godiva store is located. So….when I saw one…well, you know what happens next.

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It was absolutely delicious. Bobby and I split the milk chocolate flavor. We walked around for a bit then headed to Henderson Park Inn to check in for three nights. It’s an adults only bed and breakfast with 36 rooms and it’s the most relaxing place on the beach I have ever stayed.

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Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we sat outside on the deck in some rocking chairs looking at the ocean. Beautiful and relaxing!

Finally our room was ready (we snagged the only 4 person room in the place!) and unloaded before heading down to walk on the beach.

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Our room was on the first floor right on the main deck. Honestly, at first I was a little nervous about it’s location with foot traffic and all, but we ended up loving it. The bathroom was way too small for four people (our bathroom last year for a two person room was huge) but we made it work.

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When you stepped out the double doors this is what you saw (excuse the chairs all tossed about, they were redoing the tiki hut which took FOREVER. I was bummed we only got to enjoy it one night, but oh well.)

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We changed into our swimsuits, and headed out for a walk on the beach and to play in the water for a bit before dinner.

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Bumpin on the beach

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I love that the inn borders the state park. Nice and quiet on this part of the beach! You can see the inn in the background on the left.

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The boys played in the water and mom and I hung out under an umbrella. A great way to spend an hour or so before dinner time!

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Every night the inn has happy hour from 4-5, free wine, beer, and margaritas/pina colodas/strawberry daiquiris. Because the tiki hut was being refurbished they had happy hour inside, and therefore said they couldn’t make me a non-alcoholic drink, so I was pretty bummed to just sit there while everyone else had drinks. I am NOT really a drinker, but fruity drinks at the beach are a must, right?

I have no pictures, but we ate dinner at McGuire’s then headed back and were asleep by 9:00! Travel days always get to me. But we needed our sleep for a day on the beach the next day!

QOTD: When you go to the beach do you stay in a hotel, condo, bed and breakfast, rent a house, etc?

Henderson Park Inn

Back in July, my husband and I had the privilege to stay at an amazing bed and breakfast in Destin, Florida called Henderson Park Inn.

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My parents have raved about this place for years, but we are just getting around to going.

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It’s an adults only inn, and includes a gourmet breakfast, boxed lunch’s, cookies and tea in the afternoon, happy hour, and all the candy bars and sodas you can eat and drink.

Bobby and I stayed in an executive suite, and it was beautiful. When we checked in, there was soft music playing in our room and a rose, bottle of wine, and some grapes were on our bed. You also get turn down with chocolates at night!

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The suite included a kitchenette fully stocked with plates and utensils as well as a keurig coffee maker. There were also bottles of water already in the refrigerator!

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The executive suites have a king sized bed, as well as a flat screen TV and DVD player (there are free movies to borrow as well).

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We had a balcony overlooking the ocean with two chairs and a little table outside.

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When we checked in, we were shown around the Inn, it felt so personal and cozy to have someone walk us around. They only have 36 rooms by the way, so it never felt crowded. Also included in the price is free beach chairs, towels and umbrellas. Simply walk to the beach and claim a spot. That was definitely one of my favorite things. No fighting with my beach tent or my own chairs and towels.

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The inn borders a state park on one side so it’s a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the beach.

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From 4-5 every afternoon, there was happy hour out at this tiki hut that overlooks the ocean. They had margaritas, pina coladas, wine, beer, etc. We loved walking up form the beach for a  drink before getting ready for dinner.

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There is a restaurant that we ate at one night called the Beach Walk Café. It was amazing and I will be posting about it as well.

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During the day, the restaurant is home to the amazing breakfast, and where you pick up your boxed lunches and cookies/tea in the afternoon. Breakfast was by far m favorite. Made to order omelets and waffles, apple wood bacon, grits, the juiciest fruit ever, hashbrowns, sausage, you name it. Awesome.

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There are also other opportunities for lounging such as hammocks below the upper deck. The chairs/tables are the outside portion of the restaurant. You can eat meals oceanside!

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There were also some cozy chairs surrounding a fire pit that was lit at night.

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We will definitely be back here next summer, but that seems so far away. Would love to go back sooner, we had an amazing time and have absolutely no complaints. Such an amazing relaxing retreat. If you have any questions about the inn feel free to ask and I will try my best to get an answer!

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QOTD: Have you ever stayed at a bed and breakfast? Would you like to?

Beach Trip Part 4

 

Good morning friends! Before we get started, don’t forget to enter my Good Gear giveaway and like Good Gear on Facebook if you would like. This gear is so so soft, you don’t want to miss out!

This installment of my trip report will wrap up our time at the beach, and then I will be sure to go back and finish up the recap of my Disney trip from May (gosh I feel so behind!)

Ok so where I left off, we had eaten dinner at the Baytowne Village area of Sandestin and we then headed back to our condo across the highway and checked out the observation deck on top of our condo tower.

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We were the only ones up there, so it was nice and relaxing to just take in the beautiful scenery. We called it a night after some TV watching, and the next morning I did much of the same as the day before, I headed to the pool!

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After a couple of hours, I went back up to the room to get some work done. Some new Disney travel deals had just come out, and I had some clients ready to book. I worked for a couple of hours and then Bobby came and picked me up. We headed back to the Baytowne Village area for lunch. They had a Broken Egg Cafe there, and since we KNOW their food is amazing, we settled on it for a delicious brunch/lunch.

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Ham and cheese omelet, cheese grits, English muffin

We headed back to the condo and decided taking naps was an awesome thing to do on a beach vacation. We woke up to some thunder and lightning. It was storming!

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We decided we were enjoying being lazy way too much to put on “real clothes” and go out to dinner, so we did what any normal person would do, we ordered a pizza and watched endless episodes of Law and Order. Then we ate ice cream. It was the perfect evening for the last night of our trip.

The next morning we packed up the condo and checked out and I went with Bobby to the conference center and sat out in the hall bumming off the free wi fi because I had a LOT of work to do. After a couple of hours of work, I headed to the outlet malls by myself, which is becoming a little bit of a tradition of mine. Since this trip falls near (or on my birthday like last year) I never feel bad about buying a couple of new things!

I headed back to the conference center at noon to pick up Bobby, and we headed to Panera bread for lunch before hitting the road back to Mississippi! Goodbye beach until next year!

QOTD: Do you work on vacation?