Luckiest Fishing Village

DESTIN, Fla.—I’m in a traffic jam. Standstill. Cars are backed up to the horizon. I am stuck among them, trapped on Highway 98, suffocating within a cloud of blue exhaust and unspeakable misery.

We are moving at 0.002 miles per hour. I look out my window and see a gopher turtle crawling past my truck.

Our town has been having bad traffic lately, ever since the city began highway construction shortly after the Civil War. There are a million-and-one orange construction barrels located on our roadways. And these barrels keep multiplying.

At night when everyone sleeps I’m convinced these barrels all get together and have wild parties and reproduce lots of little baby construction barrels.

The powers that be told residents these highway “upgrades” would be finished a few years ago, but things keep getting pushed back. Currently the Florida Department of Transportation does not expect current upgrades to be finished until the installation of the next pope.

Thousands of years from now, when Florida’s coastline is underwater, archaeologists will find millions of petrified automobiles still stuck in Destin gridlock, miles beneath the Gulf, awaiting the completion of upgrades.

Most of the vehicles in today’s congestion belong to summer tourists. Such as the flock of Range Rovers Autographs ahead of me with Georgia plates. A few of these motorists strike me as the uppity type because they occasionally glance at my rusted, ugly Ford and wince.

Something also tells me they aren’t crazy about my bumper sticker, which reads: “You mess with me and you mess with the whole trailer park.”

It’s hard to believe our town used to be a sleepy village, complete with captivating trailer parks. But there was indeed a time when Destin had about 7,500 full-time residents, and one small grocery store that played Hank Snow on the radio.

Today, the summer population here swells to somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000. And I firmly believe that most of these visitors bring their own construction barrels with them.

Truth be told, I don’t recognize our city anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, but it’s difficult watching this place get torn down only to be painstakingly rebuilt into a Wayne Newton stage set.

In olden days this town had one stoplight, four feral cats, and a few old guys on a porch counting cars. Everyone’s kids looked like Opie Taylor, and October’s annual Fishing Rodeo was the apex of civilized life.

The only traffic jams occurred whenever someone’s chicken crossed Highway 98. The Shell station still did repairs. And every mom in town still shared casserole dishes with each other.

At church, during covered-dish suppers, I’d hear stories from the elderly men who still remembered ancient Destin. They’d talk about when William Marler built the first post office facing Calhoun Avenue in ‘34.

“Built the whole dang thing himself,” they’d say. “Every cabinet and joist from scratch.”

Or they’d tell you about the legendary four fishermen in ‘29 who used nothing but hand shovels to dig out East Pass.

“Didn’t use no ‘quipment a’tall. Nothin’ but their backs.”

I was married in a little church on Matthew Boulevard, a place with a leaky roof and a busted Hammond organ. But it’s only a memory now. Today the old church is dwarfed by surrounding multiplex high-rise condominiums with parking garages, poolside bar service, and a nightly Jimmy Buffet impersonator.

But I still miss the old chapel. I miss Easter Sunday mornings when the crowded sanctuary would transform itself into a fire marshal’s worst nightmare. There were so many church visitors that when we sang “Up From the Grave He Arose,” the light fixtures rattled.

Then everyone would leave church and head to the in-laws’ house for Sunday dinner whereupon we’d eat carbohydrates until our pancreases gave out.

Those days are long gone.

And I suppose that’s just how life goes. I realize nothing stays the same. You cannot stand in the way of progress, and you can’t stifle “upgrades.” Otherwise, you’ll be living in the past, recalling an era when people still slowed down at yellow lights instead of speeding up.

No, if you don’t embrace the steamroller of modernism you’ll forever be stuck daydreaming about that little cinderblock house on 1st Street where your mother once lived, and her little tomato garden, and the pleasant glow that followed Sunday dinner.

And the next thing you know you’ll be alone in a dark room singing “Precious Memories” to your longneck bottle.

Such things are not healthy. You don’t want to be one of those nostalgic fools who is always talking about how great life was before cell phones, back when we still had Sadie Hawkins dances, hand-battered fried chicken, out-of-town gospel quartets, games of horseshoes, and homemade ice cream.

You can’t just sit around and constantly reminisce about dirt roads, cars with chrome bumpers, AM radios, shelling peas, summer romances, neighborhood fish fries, or the way the sand dunes once looked, all covered in sea oats.

So I’ve decided I’m going to roll with the times. I am going to embrace all the changes life throws at me. No matter how this little town keeps altering itself, I promise myself that I’m going to be happy about it all and keep living in the present.

And I will do this just as soon as this highway construction finishes.

51 comments

  1. Steve Winfield (Lifer) - June 11, 2021 7:43 am

    Somewhere there’s a black and white photo of me sitting in the giant monkey’s hand at Miracle Strip Goofy Golf. I was probably two. Every year growing up dad took my bother & me to P.C.Beach. From about 7 on we’d do an all day fishing trip at Captain Andersons. Back when you actually caught good fish. My brother won the “pot” one year with an 18 lb. Grouper. Boy, what a fish!
    We always stayed in really low end dives out on Thomas Dr. Rode go-carts & 3 wheelers. Played Putt-Putt. Bought our nanny back home a $2 “Greetings from Panama City” ash tray.
    We’d stop somewhere near the Alabama line on the way home & load the pick-up with watermelons. We would sell them roadside near our house & quadruple what we paid.
    If anyone had a better childhood I really, really wanna hear about it.
    Dad hauled gas for Chevron for 39 years but I actually thought we were rich.
    Your stories about the panhandle always bring back these great memories. I live 4 1/2 hours from you but truly feel like we’re neighbors.
    You keep writing & I’ll keep reading. As long as I’m around. Promise.
    I know I’ve said this a few times but I can’t wait until you do another book signing in B’ham.
    Your friend,
    Lifer Steve

    Reply
  2. Jimmie Slaton - June 11, 2021 8:04 am

    Sean, I’ve spend many afternoons in that same sitch! Haha situation. The beauty of Destin is remarkable. So many people want to experience it that they become part of the problem. Then you get toll bridges and outlet malls. Beer is on the end of the list of important issues of the day! My cousin pastors a church there. A Lutheran Church not our normal Baptist Church. He is an outstanding Man and his wife is the BEST ever! Enjoy life above 70 and keep playing those resonators! You rock my friend and you are my scraggly red bearded hero! Jaye

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  3. Steve McCaleb - June 11, 2021 8:14 am

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. I miss the days when you could grab a chair at the Donut Hole and be entertained for hours by a gaggle of WW2 veterans who would swap lies for hours. By the time they had to get home to hang out the wash on the line for their wives, at least one of them would have fought off the entire Japanese Imperial Navy with a BB gun and a rusty Barlow knife. Great stuff. I I also agree with your assessment of the way today’s churches have changed from the old days days . Mind you, this is in no way a criticism….but I think the small neighborhood churches of my childhood were much more cozy and inviting than these “6 Flags Over Jesus” mega churches they building these days. But then, what do I know ?

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  4. Susan Corbin - June 11, 2021 8:34 am

    We have memories in different places and times but they still seem the same. Thank you, Sean.

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  5. Vicky - June 11, 2021 9:38 am

    OK, I get it-I shouldn’t be one of those that longs for the good ole days, but how am I to not do that if you write about them and it makes me want to go back? Progress is needed, but not all progress is for the better. There is too much that has been left behind that never should have been. But the memories are all good.

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  6. Becky Moon - June 11, 2021 10:14 am

    Going from Panama City to Nannie and Pops house in Pensacola driving over the Destin bridge was the highlight of the trip, the water was every color of green and blue. That’s what people said about the Caribbean. When I grew up and realized the Gulf was the Northern Caribbean I fully believed I grew up in paradise and going over the Destin bridge was the center of that paradise.

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  7. James of the 50s - June 11, 2021 10:44 am

    I remember the Holiday Inn was way out by itself, and out back was a 3-horse electric merry-go-round swing set. From there you had to drive “forever” to eat at the Seagull Restaurant or the Wharf. Bliss.

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  8. Te - June 11, 2021 10:56 am

    Love your bumper sticker. My favorite is “You’d be a great driver if that cell was shoved up your ass.”

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  9. Amanda - June 11, 2021 11:15 am

    . . . . “recalling an era when people still slowed down at yellow lights instead of speeding up”…wow!

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  10. Sonya Tuttle - June 11, 2021 11:17 am

    We were there in the early days before “progress” arrived. Over the years we lived in Northwest Florida a Concrete Jungle took over and it was no longer a “village”. The Beach is still nice if you can find it!! The only thing I miss is friends. Many hurricanes gave us the impetus to move. Memories are what remain, but I have no desire to return.

    Reply
    • Sharon Brock - June 11, 2021 3:40 pm

      I was stationed at Eglin AFB from January 1974 to April 1975. My son was born in Okaloosa County. Destin was unspoiled then and the best restaurant in town was the Sand Flea. I lived in the unincorporated community of Cinco Bayou on the western side of Ft. Walton Beach. A group of us Air Force airmen spent Thanksgiving Day at the Destin Beach. It was glorious. We left in October 1975 and returned to Kentucky. I didnt step foot in the Gulf again until 2018. Great memories.

      Reply
  11. jill - June 11, 2021 11:34 am

    Amen yes. The good ole days, when kids played outside the summer long, and you knew your neighbors, it was safe to walk 2 miles to church, school, downtown, no bike helmets and we all survived, riding in the backs of trucks, or in a station wagon with the back window down. Swimming in the creek, running thru wheat fields, family reunions, the black instrument that was attached physically to the wall where if you dialed the number you could talk to someone miles away. The sound of the fan whirling back and forth put you to sleep at night or the sounds of the crickets and frogs you heard thru the wooden screen that held the single pane window up in summer. Yes change must come, but as I get older the wiser some of the ole ways were. Thanks Sean.

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  12. Gary Fleming - June 11, 2021 11:35 am

    Great column Sean! As most who live in the area, I have found myself in the US98 parking lot at different times of the day. As for construction I haven’t observed much if any activity. I have seen a lot of parked construction equipment and occasionally some guys standing around, but not sure how that will get the road finished. Maybe I am just not there when it is busy as a bee hive, but I think if you put a time lapse camera on it you would find out why it always to seem just about the same..

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  13. Dee F.Hoomes Wichman - June 11, 2021 12:02 pm

    You are wrong, Sean. I can constantly sit around and remember times when morals, manners, ethics, kindness and propriety all meant something. All I have to do to find peace, dirt roads, peas to shell and precious memories is to go home to Damascus.

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  14. Sid C - June 11, 2021 12:11 pm

    Sean, thanks for conjuring memories of the best fishing village on the Gulf Coast. Landmarks like the Green Knight, Donut Hole, the Sand Flea and the Back Porch when it was in that little house with the best view of the beach. The memories with family and friends at Grayton Beach and Walton County will never be replaced with the ultra modern conveniences that progress brings us today. Being able to launch our 16 foot ski boats off the beach for some local fishing was always an adventure! My hope is that these current travelers to the best beaches are able to create their own memories for their families.

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  15. Linda Elaine Kerr - June 11, 2021 12:12 pm

    Great journey. Thinking Florida underwater is almost around the corner in the scheme of things. We were all born in the most unique time period ever, yes?

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  16. Kate - June 11, 2021 12:30 pm

    At least you don’t live in the metro Atlanta area where the traffic backs up at least 50 miles out especially on a Friday. Who ever thought running TWO interstates through the middle of town down Atlanta was a good idea. But that was probably 60-70 years ago, and there was so little traffic or travel. When Jacksonville, Florida wanted to improve their traffic patterns they ran ads saying, “we don’t want to be the next Atlanta”. They were smart. I read that 1,000 people a day were moving into Florida.

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  17. Patsy A. Boshears - June 11, 2021 12:32 pm

    Each summer when I join the tourist convoy, I go back to the 60’s when there were no hotels, only pure white dunes ! As teenagers we roamed the dunes and sand-skied down Matterhorn out between the NCO and Officer clubs. I make the trek down the long beach at Ft Walton out to Destin and share the stories with my children and grandchildren of how this is where I met Bob. He was a “beach guard” which was held in high esteem to teenaged girls! Oh the sweet memories!

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  18. Olivia Grizzle - June 11, 2021 12:32 pm

    What a great story. I can just imagine Destin as you describe it, although it now seems impossible it was ever that way. The same goes for a lot of our small towns. I grew up in Gainesville, Ga. when the square was the only place to shop. When we went to town on Saturdays, we knew almost everyone we saw, but not so now. I now live in Dahlonega, Ga., and it has also changed from a sleepy little mountain town into a tourist trap. We have been here almost 46 years. I wish we could all go beck to those times, but that will never be. We used to volunteer at Grayton Beach State Park, and we always enjoyed our time there, and met some great friends. I enjoy your stories very much. Thanks for sharing your memories and humor with us.

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  19. kristiknits - June 11, 2021 12:52 pm

    I remember camping on the beach in my dads RV. Which was very modern back then. I also remember the first condos being built on the beach, and my dad saying “ soon you won’t be able to see the beach from the road”
    Prophetic ,

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  20. Robert J Laplander - June 11, 2021 1:01 pm

    We have much the same issue with road construction here in Wisconsin, the seasons of which seemingly are: almost winter, winter, 2nd winter, and construction. Construction season is really a constant though, and I’ve finally figured out why. I am convinced that the reason construction continues around the state even in the depths of winter is that they simply just don’t have any place to put all those orange barrels. Therefore, with nowhere in the state to store 37.8 million orange barrels in various conditions, the only choice is to keep moving them all over the place and doing stuff.

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  21. Helen De Prima - June 11, 2021 1:40 pm

    I feel blessed to have grown up beyond the far edge of suburbia — nothing east of my grandfather’s farm but more farms and a grocery store the size of a three-car garage. My cousin and I rode our horses along Westport Road which didn’t have street numbers until I was halfway through grade school, only a rural route number. Nothing left of those fields now, just an endless string of shopping malls and apartment complexes, but the memories remain, just as yours do, Sean.

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  22. Patricia A Schmaltz - June 11, 2021 1:51 pm

    We live in FWB, and avoid Destin like the plague between Memorial Day and Labor Day. It loses the charm in the summer traffic.

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  23. Suellen Dehnke - June 11, 2021 1:53 pm

    We once watched a construction process going nowhere outside our church. We talked to one of the workers and he told us that the company bids out on many projects at the same time and then comes and sets up the cones or whatever kind of like marking their territory. Then they go back to whatever they were working on and hit a lick on each one of them now and then. That’s why it takes so long to get any one of them done.

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  24. Christina - June 11, 2021 1:54 pm

    I like holding a sacred place to reminisce.

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  25. Ellen Harry - June 11, 2021 1:59 pm

    I remember those days when the whole family would crowd into a little house on the beach. We would play on the beach all day, play rook at night, and listen to the waves as you fell asleep. I sure miss those days.

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  26. Tammy S. - June 11, 2021 2:08 pm

    Just left Destin, a week ago Saturday. 5 of us best friends who have recently “retired” had such a great time on the Emerald coast. We stayed at a place (only 3 stories tall) right on the beach and it was heavenly!! And this Friday morning I am now missing that calming seashore and craving a donut from The Donut Hole. Their maple donut was out of this world amazing. And the carrot cake slice, HUGE and delicious!

    I get that the tourist traffic and high rises are now a pain and an eye sore, respectively. But, thank you to all you locals for sharing such a beautiful place God placed in this world. I could sit and stare at that water allllll day!! Our NC beaches are pretty and SC too. But those beaches in Destin are like no other! Breathtaking!!

    Also, it leaves me a little sad when I go to the small sleepy town where I grew up. For opposite reasons. Many grew up and moved away. I moved away at 11 with my parents and 4 sisters. When I go back now it is smaller and smaller. Population is down because the younger have moved away. Our home church is still there and they still have Homecomings and “dinner on the ground” with singing all afternoon. Love that!! I always loved that day for two reasons: choice of the best chocolate cakes for miles around and no church on Sunday night since we stayed pretty much all day. Sunday night CBS specials were always good but I always missed them. Except for every year on Homecoming Sunday. When I visited recently for the funeral of a beloved cousin I walked through the church and over the church grounds and could hear the echo of 20 or more cousins running around. Some were double first cousins if y’all know what that is. I could also hear my Aunt Louise teaching us our SS lesson, or her playing “I’ll fly away” on the piano. Sadly, she did just that at 45, way too soon, one Sunday afternoon when a drunk driver hit her on her way back to pick up my Mamaw and her son for Sunday night church. Too bad it wasn’t Homecoming Sunday. I could also hear the echoes of over a hundred children attending that small church in the country for VBS. Best cookies and kool-aid around!! And many of us rode in the back of a pick-up truck to get to VBS. We’d come down the dirt, gravel road making stops to pick up more cousins for that whole week. Our cousins from Memphis would come and stay the whole week at Mamaw’s. The rest of us cousins would beg to stay to, so Mamaw’s house was coved in pallets each evening and filled with her grandkids. And she was tickled pink! She was the best, and it was the best childhood. We had everything and didn’t realize we didn’t have much. Now, the quiet is deafening and that tiny church gets smaller and smaller. It would be nice to see a little life going on there in that small Tennessee countryside. Just maybe no orange barrels and road construction. I‘d wanna keep the dirt, gravel roads. Otherwise how would people know company was coming down the road.

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    • Dave - June 12, 2021 1:49 am

      Beautiful-so many of my childhood memories-thank you, God bless!

      Reply
  27. Bill - June 11, 2021 3:00 pm

    We reminisce because it was a time of feeling good about the good-old days. We felt comfortable. We felt good about what we were doing and what was going on around us. We rejected change. We wanted everything to remain the same because we could depend on those events to come back and make us feel good again. But, the only thing constant is change.

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  28. Steven - June 11, 2021 3:16 pm

    Good stuff

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  29. Susan Marler - June 11, 2021 3:19 pm

    William Marler that you mentioned is a distant cousin of my husband, Tom Marler. It happened when the youngest Marler brothers of the 19th century moved across the US. One to Florida, 2 to Texas, one to Tennessee and the others stayed in Georgia, while one went as far as Utah. Thanks for all you write, we read you in our emails each morning.

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    • Thomas Marler - June 11, 2021 9:50 pm

      When we went on vacation it was not unusual to go to Pensacola or Panama city. Don’t remember Destin but do remember seeing signs for a Marler fish camp. For some reason my Dad never wanted to visit it.

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  30. Bill Harris - June 11, 2021 3:27 pm

    Thank you Sean

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  31. Harriet - June 11, 2021 3:28 pm

    Sean. I completely agree with everything you said. My husband and I are so lost in Atlanta which we both grew up in. Now Atlanta is known as East LA (Los Angeles) !! I HATE LA and I’ve never even been there! The movie market is here now. It’s disgusting.

    I want my 1970’s Hot Lanta back. “The City in the Forrest” is gone. Gone. Gone.

    I know the Range Rove BS your talking about , believe me we get a tiny break from that snobbery in the summer- Buckhead goes to the beach- Destin.

    I love your bumper sticker.

    Take care and watch for turtles.

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    • Bill - June 11, 2021 7:34 pm

      Nice to hear others feel as I do. Some comfort. Thanks. And I’m from NW Indiana originally and I feel the way you do..

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  32. Patricia Gibson - June 11, 2021 3:42 pm

    I miss those simpler days!!

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  33. Ken Baker - June 11, 2021 4:55 pm

    Sean, we lived in Gulf Breeze for almost 5 years, about two football lengths from Hwy 98. It was constant construction the whole time we were there especially with the new 3-mile bridge over to Pensacola. The orange barriers do party at night and replicate in some manner and there’s also a lot of smoking of non over-the-counter substances.

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  34. Linda Moon - June 11, 2021 5:08 pm

    Destin’s not the place it used to be. I don’t want to be messed with about “upgrades” because I’m not convinced that the direction is “up”. I hope the highway construction is very, very slow in its completion and never stops us from remembering simplicity and harmony of former times. LIFE ITSELF was slower then. I lived THEN, I’m living NOW, and I won’t be rolling over for disruptions to my simple rhythm and journey. And, hopefully, you won’t be either…not now nor in your future. Be Happy by being You! You add to my happiness, Sean Dietrich.

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  35. Karen Holderman - June 11, 2021 6:26 pm

    I loved your description of the old Destin. My memories are in a number of places as the child of a Navy family. Home base was Norfolk, VA with family members in Camden, NC. It is such a blessing to have experienced the life of small town places, little churches , grandma’s house and people interacting with each other. I miss it but feel so blessed to have experienced it. These are treasured memories. Thank you for sharing yours.

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  36. Ed Smith - June 11, 2021 6:43 pm

    Thank you Sean for sharing your very whimsical perspective. We do miss the days of Jimmy Trammel’s, Jewel Melvin’s, Staff’s, Seagull, Perri’s, Hawaii Kai, June’s Dunes, etc. We can forever embrace the memories that today’s generation will never know.

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    • Larry J Wall - June 11, 2021 7:44 pm

      Ed Smith, Totally agree with your comments. Each and all. We thought Melvin’s and Staff’s had the best seafood in Destin and, Perri’s was the best Italian food this side of Milan. I will forever think of Destin as when it was ‘the luckiest fishing village…’

      Reply
  37. Larry J Wall - June 11, 2021 7:30 pm

    Sean, your wonderful story of Destin took me back a shocking number of years when my wife and I first started going there to vacation on our anniversary week beginning in 1975 and did so for the next 14 or 15 years, most of the later with our young folks. Many times other couples and their families would join us. For many years we would stay in a group of townhouse units called ‘Southbay by the Gulf’. There were only two high-rise condo buildings at that time and the ‘Backporch’ was a crude structure that served cold brews and oysters on a back porch. We got burgers and fried amberjack sandwiches at the marina in a place called ‘Bayou Bill’s’ in the evenings and watched the charter fishing boats unload their catches. Then go back to ‘Bill’s’ for more oysters and longnecks.
    We stopped going because of the traffic and the crowds and moved west to Orange Beach to vacation. It is pretty busy now itself but it beats “Little Atlanta”. I just miss fishing there with Capt. Tommy Carter on the Blue Runner II. It was the best! Thanks for a bit of the nostalgia of those times.

    Reply
  38. Joyce Daniels - June 11, 2021 8:45 pm

    I feel your pain. My grandparents built the third house on the beach at Seagrove in 1951. There was no 30A. My sisters and I sold it in 2014 upon my father’s death. Sad day but great memories of Jeep’s and bonfires on the beach, and all those seaoats! Daddy fished with Captain Marler when he didn’t launch his 13 foot boat with its 25 Evinrude and another in the boat in case the first conked out. He winched it down the bank. Went 3 miles out to the snapper banks and came home with dinner fit for the gods. Mama fried it up with hush puppy recipe from Babe Mghee wife of Cube, our good friend. He helped his daddy develop Seagrove.
    My family began going to Seagrove in 1939 when my great aunt had her honeymoon at the old hotel. My daddy was a baby sleeping in a drawer in the room with my other great aunt who went along on the honeymoon. Don’t ask me why!
    Times they are a changin!

    Reply
  39. David S Doom - June 11, 2021 8:49 pm

    You’ve got “The Orange Barrel Blues”.

    Reply
  40. Pam Ramos - June 11, 2021 9:19 pm

    My sister is among your visitors to Destin ,every chance she gets
    !! She lives in Wicksburg , Al and they love Destin . Me,I live in Texas and sometimes we go to Galveston ,Tx . I’m with you ,I believe that everything has changed so much . It really makes me sad that we are losing all the great places to “progress ” .

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  41. Ginger Smith - June 11, 2021 9:36 pm

    Wow. If I’ve ever been through Destin, it was when it was still sleepy. Hmm…Sean, y’all need a “summer” house further north…Brewton or Evergreen might work. I wouldn’t fool with all that mess, just get away for those months if you can. Or head to Shell Point, Panacea or that way. Though I imagine those areas have changed, too. St. Mark’s area might still be quiet. But my vote’s on Brewton.

    P.S. I don’t drive in Atlanta, either. God Bless them, but they can keep it. And I have ideas about the Brewton area. Really.

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  42. Sandra - June 11, 2021 10:45 pm

    Oh the memories of those days. Good work Sean. ♥️🙏🏻

    Reply
  43. Budd Dunson - June 12, 2021 4:20 am

    Oh How I miss the fried chicken for Sunday Dinner ( that is as close to noon as possible after the preacher went after it hard for at least an hour) the horse shoe games and the ice cream socials. I also miss shelling peas and butter beans and shucking corn , and Su day afternoon visits , and revival services . You ai t Baptist if you don’t remember last week of July revival service , an out of town preacher , morning service at 10 evening service at 7. Sweat running down the preachers face, pulling off his jacket and his shirt being soaked, he and the pastor going home to eat Dinner with some family . I remember wondering what all the city folk meant about vacation or going to the lake or river. Now on U.S. 71 it is all ski boats , party barges , and ATVs.

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  44. Joann Thompson - June 12, 2021 3:46 pm

    Lovely column. I’m older than you, but I’ve reached this same stage of life since both of my parents died, having lived in a small Alabama town that has changed considerably, and not for the good in my opinion, Anyway, we were living in North Texas when I retired from teaching 10 years ago. My middle son, who still lives in Baldwin County wanted us to check out Port St. Joe for a possible retirement home. In January of 2012, we took the scenic route on Hwy. 98 from Fairhope to Port St. Joe, going through Destin, Panama City, etc. It took us forever it seemed, and it wasn’t construction but traffic that slowed us down–in January. We came home via I-10, and it wasn’t much better. We could only imagine what it would have been like in the summer. We moved to San Antonio instead.

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  45. Lynn Carol Owen - June 13, 2021 3:14 pm

    Love the story!

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  46. Saundra Kelley - June 14, 2021 3:20 am

    My cousin just shared this article with me. Tallahassee, as Imprinted on my soul from birth is but a vague representation of itself. I miss home.
    Saundra Kelley

    Reply

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