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/ A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 1
32 / A W A R E N E S S M A G A Z I N E
M A R C H / A P R I L 2 0 1 1
ost of us at one time
or another have a
fantasy of escaping
to a deserted beach
paradise with translucent blue
water and sugar-white sand. I
wanted to go to a place where
I could feel as though I was "lost
in paradise" -- no high rises,
crowds, noise or cars. I was in
the mood for a QUIET environ-
Rosemary Beach, tucked into
the gulf-panhandle of Florida,
and a 30-minute drive from the
Northwest Florida Beaches Inter-
national Airport in Panama City,
was the perfect solution for the
destination I had in mind.
Soon after arriving, I discov-
ered it would be easy to spend
hours walking the long stretches
of sandy beaches with hardly a
soul in sight. I spent one after-
noon under an umbrella mesmer-
ized as I gazed at the sun dancing
across the water and laughing as
the dolphins splashed around in
the background beyond the sand-
bar. I have always been amazed
by dolphins and feel like I could
watch them forever.
Dolphins evolved about ten
million years ago. They can leap
effortlessly to towering heights
of 15 to 20 feet while turning
somersaults in the air. They
have been clocked swimming
at speeds up to 25 miles an hour.
As I watched the dolphins, I re-
alized how lucky I was to be in
a place that still feels a little
wild and undisturbed.
Rosemary Beach, founded
in 1995, is filled with unique
and special touches. Building
"green" was an intricate com-
ponent for the foundation and
design of this small beach com-
munity. The town, consisting of
107 acres, is a perfect case study
for incorporating "green" con-
cepts into a way of life. Road-
ways were laid to conform to
the natural contours of the land
and the natural topography was
not disturbed when the commu-
nity was built.
An elaborate network of foot-
paths, boardwalks and pathways
are threaded throughout the
community to protect the frag-
ile eco-system. The town center
is a five-minute walk from any-
where within Rosemary Beach.
Towns like Rosemary Beach are
referred to as the "New Urban-
ism." The idea behind this con-
cept is to put your car in the
garage and walk everywhere you
want to go.
During my visit, I stayed in
a carriage house with a fully-
equipped kitchen and ocean-
view balcony. There are more
than 200 one-of-a-kind cottages,
carriage houses and lofts avail-
able for rent all over town and
they come with every amenity
under the sun, including gour-
met coffee and Bischoff cookies.
The quaint, old-style buildings
with big shutters, expansive
decks and outdoor courtyards
bring up feelings of nostalgia
and remind me of Savannah,
Georgia and Charleston, South
My days at Rosemary Beach
were simple and fun. Cars were
rarely seen and stayed in their
garages most of the time. I rent-
ed a bike from Bamboo Bicycle
Company and walked or rode
my bike everywhere.
Rosemary Beach has every-
thing you could want, including
four heated swimming pools,
spas, wine & cheese bars, bou-
tique shops, top-notch restau-
rants, clay tennis courts, a 2.3
mile fitness trail with exercise
stations, a butterfly garden and
state-of-the-art fitness center of-
fering yoga and Pilates classes.
One afternoon I rented a Ho-
bie Cat and ventured out into the
bay. The next afternoon I wanted
to try stand-up paddle boarding
on a yolo board. Some people
say stand-up paddle boarding is
the fastest growing water sport
in the world and I can see why.
It's a blast and easy to do!
We drove about 10 minutes
to a coastal dune lake where we
met with our instructor before
embarking on our adventure.
He answered all our questions
and gave us perfect instructions
about how to operate the boards
with confidence. We paddled
across the serene waters of the
lake with a perfect view of the
mangrove flats and wide-open
On my last day, I woke up
early and rode my bike on the
ten-mile walking/biking trail to
the Coastal Dune Lake at Deer
Lake State Park. The trail winds
along the coast and goes through
Lost in Paradise at Rosemary Beach
Article and Photos by Ann Nelson