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New Development Coming to Watersound Origins

The Watersound Company has announced a new development phase for the Watersound Origins community. The new phase should be complete by summer 2017. The phase will consist of 107 new lots adjacent to Watersound Origins’ activity center, the Village Commons. Home packages and lots will be available next summer—homes that are currently available in the community are listed in the mid-$400’s range. “We are thrilled for the new development phase of the Watersound Origins community,” said Bridget Precise, vice president of development. “In the last two years, we’ve seen almost 125 new homes built in the community, and we are excited to keep growing that number.” As part of this, the company is also planning a permanent realignment of the Watersound Trail, which will continue through the new phase. Spanning five miles between Walton and Bay County, the Watersound Trail winds through St. Joe’s timberlands, beginning at the Village Commons and then connects with Gayle’s Trails in the Panama City Beach Conservation Park. “We are proud to build a community that promotes a healthy, active lifestyle,” Precise said. “We are looking forward to reopening the Watersound Trail in 2017, which is accessible in the Watersound Origins community and open to the public for walking, jogging or bicycling.” These new additions will further enhance the unique outdoor amenities that are offered to Watersound Origins homeowners and to the surrounding community. For more info on home ownership opportunities, visit www.watersound.com or call 866-563-0070. Read More


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30A Bottle Caps Find Their Way Into Philadelphia Student Art Piece

By Caroline Giddis  We’ve all seen the iconic, round 30A stickers displayed on car bumpers and water bottles around the country, but 13-year-old Henri Waché prefers to show off his love of 30A by collecting a different trinket — bottle caps. “I first got a 30A bottle cap when I was in Grayton Beach a few years ago,” said Henri, who lives in Haverford, Pennsylvania. “They’re a reminder of our times at Grayton Beach and the community down there. My mom grew up in Fort Walton beach because my grandpa was an airforce pilot, so we come down every year.” The bottle caps look like miniature 30A stickers and bring a little bit of small-town beach life to Henri’s collection. Henri has been collecting bottle caps for three years — and he’s dedicated to the task. He doesn’t hesitate to dig through dirt and concrete to score a colorful cap. He loves the aesthetic differences between the logos and designs on each one and the memories that come along with it. “To me it’s not just a collection. I can really relate to every moment where I found one,” Henri said. “If anyone enjoys collecting something, I say go for it. I really think that collecting helps you to remember special moments.” Instead of letting his collection of hundreds of caps sit in a drawer or a jar, Henri wanted to make something with them. One summer, he created a colorful, spiral design and mounted it to a framed corkboard. “I wanted to display my collection in a different way so I thought making it into some sort of collage would be a good way to show all of them,” Henri said. “I enjoyed having my mind expand and really seeing what I could make with them.” Henri attends The Haverford School, a private school for boys, where his artwork was recently displayed during an alumni reception in the upper school, an opportunity he is very proud of. “My art teacher requested if anyone had done any artwork outside of school, and at first I hesitated, but they really embraced it and the upper schoolers loved it,” Henri said. Henri’s mother, Robin Waché, is a native to the South Walton area and very proud that her son used 30A caps in his artwork. “Every summer since my three children were born, we have managed to spend time in Grayton Beach,” Waché said. “Slowly but surely the word is spreading that the most incredible beaches on earth are situated along 30-A. Shhh….don’t tell too many more people,” Robin said. “We hope to savor our little paradise forever.” Read More




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Unique 30A: Catch a Movie Under the Stars

By Lindsey Rogers Jazz up a regular movie night in South Walton with a film screening under the stars. More and more of our local communities have started outdoor movie nights and they’re perfect not only for families, but even date nights or picnic dinners after a day in the sun. Movies in the park add an exciting twist to watching a movie on your couch. First and foremost, you’re outside enjoying the night sky. In addition, your kids will love the freedom to run around in the grass and make new friends while watching a movie. Make sure to come prepared with your lawn chairs, blanket, bug spray and cooler. Some locations offer food and beverage for purchase. Movies in the moonlight are offered all across South Walton. Whether you’re staying in Rosemary or Sandestin,  a film is bound to be playing near you. Here’s your list of where to catch a movie on the lawn: Rosemary Beach Rosemary Beach holds their Moonlight Movies and Face Painting on Thursdays at the Western Green. Face painting begins at 6 p.m. and show time is 8:15 p.m. Make sure to bring your blankets and lawn chairs. DogManDu will be selling popcorn and hotdogs. (They’re said to be the best on the beach!) Alys Beach The amphitheatre at Alys Beach is perfect for a family night. Catch one of their Summer Reels on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Kids can enjoy a movie and also run off some energy in the fountains. Bring your blankets and low-back chairs to comfortably enjoy the evening. The Hub If you don’t feel like bringing your own chairs, then The Hub is for you. With provided seating and lots of food and drink options, you’ll be set for the night. Movie Night is every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Seaside Enjoy a movie at Seasides‘s Central Square Cinema on Friday nights. Bring your blankets to the amphitheater for an 8 p.m. screening. If you’re looking for a bite to eat or treat to cure the sweet tooth, Airstream Row has you covered. The Village of Baytowne Wharf Spend your Sunday exploring the shops and restaurants of the Village. Test your strength at the Baytowne Adventure Zone or relax on Captain Rex’s Sailing Adventure. End the day with a Sunday Cinema at 8 p.m. in the Events Plaza. For a full list of events in the area, including movie nights, check out our events calendar. Lindsey Rogers is a summer intern with The 30A Company.  Read More


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Grab Your Boards, It’s Time For YOLO’s Relay Series

Each year, YOLO Board hosts one of the most fun outdoor activities you can find in South Walton — the YOLO Board Relay Series. The three-part, family-friendly event is open and encouraging to paddle boarders of all skill types. (Believe me, I should know, I raced last year and it was my first time on a board!) It’s carefree and friendly competition, offering an opportunity for people of all skills to get involved, spectators to cheer on their favorite teams and for everyone to learn more about the increasingly popular water sport of stand-up paddling. This year, the ninth installment of the series, is presented by Garden of Life and again held at The Bay restaurant on the beautiful shores of the Choctawhatchee Bay.  All races start at 4:30 p.m. The final race will be held July 21 at 4:30 p.m. Check out this video from the 30A Team at last year’s race: The 2015 men’s race: This year’s edition will feature team relay-style competition in three recreational divisions: men’s, women’s and coed along with the return of a division dedicated to Special Olympics Florida-Walton County and Special Olympics Florida-Okaloosa County athletes. The event also includes giveaways, live music, refreshments and kids’ activities. “Each year we are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and participation of the local SUP community for the race series,” said Jeff Archer, founder of YOLO Board. “When the series began, we had no idea that it would still be a highlight of our season nine years later. Adding the Special Olympics athletes has been such a rewarding experience for all involved. “I love how this sport brings joy and empowerment to everyone who tries it!” For more information regarding sponsorship or team registration, please visit www.YOLORace.com, call 850.424.6852 or email info@YOLOBoard.com. Receive race updates by joining the Facebook event at www.facebook.com/events/ 945811502161318. Find more info and how to register here. Check out these awesome photos by Shane Sauer from last year’s races: Read More

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30A For Adrenaline Junkies

For those who prefer a little more action in their daily diet (instead of just beach bummin’ it all day), South Walton offers plenty of activities that will get the adrenaline pumping. Here’s our list of the Top 5 activities for all of you thrill-seekers along 30A. Kiteboarding Kiteboarding combines aspects of wake boarding, windsurfing, surfing, paragliding and gymnastics into one extreme sport that is not for the faint of heart. The kiteboarder straps their feet into a board and uses their arms to control cables attached to a large kite, allowing them to catch wind and make incredibly jumps high into the air. “I think one of the most compelling aspects of kiteboarding is your ability to be completely in tune with your environment,” said local Ed Rolen of Rolen Studio. “Engaging in the surf conditions, being pulled around under your own volition and being immersed in the amazing beach environment we have along 30A makes this sport something I try to do as much as possible.” Where to find it: You can often find Ed sailing through the surf and sky along Grayton Beach. Cave Diving Around 30A, freshwater springs have formed some deep-water caves that are perfect for the thrill-seeking cave diver. To access most of these caves, divers need the use of scuba gear, so certification and experience are absolutely necessary to ensure safety. For those with the proper credentials, these caves are filled with crystal-clear water and a view of nature that only the daring get to behold. For those without certification, area springs offer guided courses and lessons. Where to find it: Morrison Springs, a free public park, boasts three underwater caverns, including one about 300 feet deep. Definitely hire a guide or instructor to accompany you. Vortex Springs, a private park, also offers equipment rental and scuba lessons on site. Parasailing Parasailing involves a parachute towed behind a boat, sending the rider about 500 feet into the air. Feel the rush of the wind and enjoy the quiet peacefulness of the sky as you sail over the emerald waters around 30A. No experience necessary for this adrenaline rush. Want to see our beaches in a way you’ve never seen them before? Fly through the sky and catch a glimpse of South Walton from a pelican’s-eye view on a Parasailing adventure! Hop on an inflatable banana boat to hitch a ride out to the parasailing boat and enjoy your time in the air. Off-Roading Throw together a rainy day and the vast amount of nature trails and back roads in the area and you have perfect conditions for off-roading! The 15,400-acre Point Washington State Forest is criss-crossed with dirt-and sand trails, popular with both off-roading motorists and bicyclists. “After a really heavy rain, splashing through the muddy trails of Point Washington Forest is simultaneous relaxing and exhilarating.” -Mike Ragsdale, The 30A Company Where to find it? Find more information and maps of the Point Washington State Forest trails here. The Longleaf Pine Trail system, which has 3.5-, 8-, and 10-mile loops, is great for off-road mountain biking as well. Surfing Although 30A’s Gulf waters are often as smooth as glass, on many days of the year, the waves are ideal for surfing (particularly when there’s a tropical storm brewing somewhere down in the tropics). Professionals and amateur surfers alike patiently bide their time, waiting for red flag beach conditions or a tropical surge that might create the perfect moment. Everyone starts off as a beginner, but kids visiting the beach this summer have a really cool opportunity to get some surf experience at 30A Surf and Stand-up Paddleboard camp! “Surfing is very different from all other board sports due to the fact that everything around you is moving and the ocean can be very unpredictable,” said Chef Phil McDonald of Bud & Alley’s Pizza Bar. “The feeling you get from catching a really great wave is something I can’t quite describe. You are so focused on that exact moment and nothing else matters. I guess the best description of feeling while surfing would be freedom.” Where to find it: Anywhere along the Gulf is a good place to start. If you haven’t been on a board and want to learn, 30A Surf Camp‘s experienced instructors can get anyone riding the waves in just a few hours on the water. Book a day for you and the kids with 30A Surf and SUP Camp now! Author Jordyn Knott (who reportedly had the “best summer ever” interning at The 30A Company) contributed to this article. Knott lives in West Lafayette, Indiana, until she can get back to the beach. Check out her blog at happilychic.com. Read More

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