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Andria Mitsakos: Redefining Sustainability by Weaving Heritage into Modern Design

For Andria Mitsakos, travel breeds tolerance and serves as a constant source of inspiration. She grew up surrounded by creatives. One grandmother made shoes, another wove textiles on a loom, her great-aunt dealt in antiques, her great-great-grandfather was a jeweler in Armenia, and her mother, an interior designer, dragged her around to flea markets all over the world. Her wanderlust continued as she launched her namesake public relations agency, AMPR, 21 years ago, but she still dabbled in design. In 2010, she began designing handbags that quickly became the envy of her friends. Following her move back to Greece, she expanded her creative repertoire to include accessories, decorative arts, and furniture. In 2023, Mitsakos opened the doors to the Anthologist showroom in Athens, in a lovingly renovated 1912 Neoclassical building in Athens’ emerging Plateia Anexartisias. In her downtown Athens studio, a wall of fabrics and tapestries hangs. Some are from Egypt, others from Armenia. There is also stained glass from Greece, mosaics from Mexico, and more. Each represents her dedication to amplifying the arts in danger of being lost around the world. “It’s sustainability in two senses: antique and vintage because you’re not buying something new,” said Mitsakos. “Cultural preservation to me is the new sustainability. “I’m working with women who make these beautiful tapestries, and they’re able to continue their work while feeding their families and teaching other women how to make the craft as well.” The work she does with Anthologist craftspeople takes her back to her roots... Read More

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Mixing Magic: James Murphy’s Secret Bushwacker Bonanza in Seaside

Two vintage silver trailers sit in the center of the iconic Airstream Row in Seaside. They belong to James Murphy, the owner of Barefoot BBQ in Seaside in Walton County, Florida. Everyone calls him “Murph” and his drinks are legendary. Tables are littered with flip flops serving as table numbers, hundreds of stickers from Murph’s travels, doggie dishes so furry friends can stay hydrated, and table tents with the story of the Bushwacker cocktail. Murph brought this frosty beverage over from St. Thomas where he lived previously. A Sudis sticker affixed to the trailer comes from the original home of the Bushwacker. In 1975 the Ship’s Store & Sapphire Pub opened on St. Thomas. Bartender Angie Congliaro and Restaurant Manager Tom Brokamp came up with the drink and named it after a guest’s dog, Bushwack. The cocktail quickly spread through the Virgin Islands and is now served worldwide. But Murph makes the best one around, even Brokamp who recently visited Seaside agreed in a tweet he sent out to the world. “The Bushwacker was our drink on St. Thomas. Then I got to the United States, and I’ve been told it’s from Maine, Alabama, Mississippi, Key West, Georgia, and even Nashville. I’ve tried to trademark it a couple of different ways, but it’s all tied up in courts. Floribama claims they invented it—I respect them; they are the Vatican of bars, but Angie brought it to the Sandshaker in Pensacola so my vote is with her,” Murph said. Though contentious... Read More

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Paella Nights at 87 Central: A Culinary Journey with Chef Joyce

Chef Joyce pushes butter around the three-foot paella pan, dropping in garlic, building the base. It’s Tuesday, Paella night at 87 Central, Seaside’s newest wine bar, and the scents of Spain fill the air around the amphitheater. Joyce competed against the best paella maker in Madrid, “I had 15 ingredients, she had five. I lost. She took me back to her village to teach me to properly make paella and I brought it to the Gulf Coast, incorporating fresh ingredients from this area. I love the process of cooking paella and seeing people’s reactions as they take that first bite, savoring all the flavors.” Community members greet Joyce as they walk by her workstation. She has been a fixture in Seaside since her wine bar Fermentations opened 20-plus years ago. Madison Shirley, Vice President of Jim Shirley Enterprises, added, “She was established in Seaside and that’s how my father met her. Fermentations closed, she was in a transition period and my father offered her a job. I remember he said, ‘You make some damn good paella, any interest in doing it for me?’ The rest is history.” Initially, the Shirleys made the paella part of their catering events, but it was such a big hit, they decided to try it at 45 Central Wine Bar and Sushi. “When 45 Central closed we still wanted to keep going so we brought it to the Chicken Shack and now 87 Central,” Shirley said. Silver canisters filled with chorizo sausage, Gulf shrimp, olives,... Read More

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The Best Things To Do on 30A This Week – May 13-19

This week, 30A is buzzing with a lineup of events designed to engage, entertain, and inspire. From the enriching Longleaf Writers Conference to spirited live music performances and a silent piano concert on the beach, each event offers a unique opportunity to connect with the community and enrich your cultural palate. Whether you’re a literature enthusiast, a music lover, or a connoisseur of fine wines and spirits, there’s something for everyone to enjoy along the scenic shores of 30A. Join us for these exceptional gatherings and make the most of your week! 1. Inspiration by the Sea: 11th Annual Longleaf Writers Conference The 11th Annual Longleaf Writers Conference is taking place from May 11-18, 2024, during Art Week South Walton in Seaside, Florida. This immersive event features a week filled with intensive writing workshops, seminars, and agent consultations, providing a unique opportunity for writers at all levels to enhance their craft. Celebrated authors Adam Johnson and Maggie Smith will headline the event, offering seminars and public readings. Attendees will also enjoy one-on-one sessions with top literary agents in the inspiring setting of Seaside, surrounded by its stunning white-sand beaches. Whether you’re a budding or seasoned writer, the Longleaf Writers Conference is an enriching retreat that combines professional growth with the tranquility of coastal life. Longleaf Writers Conference / Monday, May 13, to Saturday, May 18, 2024, @ Seaside Assembly Hall 2. Groove Under the Stars: Jones & Co. Live at Stinky’s  Join us at Stinky’s Bait Shack on Wednesday, May 15,... Read More

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Riding Out the Storm: Essential Hurricane Safety Tips to Stay Prepared and Protected

Bookmark this page to stay on top of important 30A weather developments, including hurricanes, tropical storms, and other events impacting Florida’s Northwest Gulf Coast. PREPARING FOR A HURRICANE It’s been said there are two things in life that are certain, and I am sure we are all familiar with that old saying. It’s also a reality for those of us who live on our beautiful coasts that Hurricane Season is the third certainty, and like taxes, we face it each year. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, while the Eastern Pacific hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30. Each year hurricanes are responsible for millions of dollars in land and property damages, and sadly bodily harm and deaths. While some folks living in paradise take these stats in their strides, it just makes good sense to be as prepared as possible for this unpredictable certainty. The first thing most hurricane scientists and reporters want you to know is that if you are in the predicted path (aka “the cone of uncertainty) of a hurricane, you should always pay close attention to continuous weather updates, recommendations, and instructions. These reports are available via TV, digital devices, and radios and are designed for one purpose: the safety of the citizens and the first responders who will take up the task of assisting those in crisis. It’s also important to remember hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. High winds, rain, flooding, and even tornadoes can... Read More

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Meet Jeff Beachbum Berry: Master of the Tiki Cocktail Revival

A self-proclaimed bum, nothing slovenly can be found in Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s dogged search for authentic tiki recipes. Years spent excavating potions concocted in the Caribbean led to seven books on vintage tropical drinks, a circuit of lecturing and speaking engagements, the Total Tiki app containing his encyclopedic knowledge, and Latitude 29—he and his wife Annene Kaye’s (or “Mrs. Bum” as Jeff calls her) love letter to tiki in New Orleans. The bug for tiki cocktail culture bit young. Before Berry could even sip on a Mai Tai, his parents ferried him around to Polynesian restaurants bedecked with indoor waterfalls, lagoons, oceanic art, and flaming drinks with ice forming around the straw. “It was all very transported and all-encompassing, so when I got old enough to drink, I sought these places out,” said Berry. When he turned 18, he beelined for Tiki-Ti in his hometown of Los Angeles, California. He ordered Ray’s Mistake, the most popular drink on the menu since 1968 and named after founder Ray Buhen. He was hooked. At the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, he found the mothership. Built in 1956, it has eight dining rooms, a garden path filled with tiki torches and sculptures, lush foliage, waterfalls, and lagoons. It also has the longest-running Polynesian show in the United States. “The first time I walked into the Mai-Kai and ordered a drink at the Molokai bar, my mind was blown,” he said. As tiki bars started closing, Berry embarked on his chase for the elusive recipes... Read More

Free Admission to SoWal State Parks Summer 2024

Summer visitors to Walton County will once again be able to enjoy complimentary day-use admission to Grayton Beach State Park and Topsail Hill Preserve State Park from Memorial Day through Labor Day.    https://sowal.com/story/free-admission-to-sowal-state-parks-summer-2024 Read More

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Q1 2024 Insights for Gulf Coast Beach Real Estate

Explore our Q1 2024 Market Report for a comprehensive overview of the real estate markets in 30A, South Walton, and the Emerald Coast. This report provides a detailed analysis of current market trends and data, making it an essential tool for anyone considering homeownership or evaluating the value of their current property. It includes the most thorough data sets available for these areas, ensuring you can make well-informed decisions. Whether you’re buying, selling, or just staying informed, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Alys Beach Market: Soaring Sales and Rapid Turnovers   Single-family home sales in Alys Beach soared by 133%, with the total sales volume increasing by an impressive 111%—from $18,317,690 in Q1 2023 to $38,737,399 in Q1 2024. Additionally, the average days on the market for these homes decreased by 50% compared to the same period last year. Q1 Sales Snapshot: WaterColor and Santa Rosa Beach For the full report, click here. For more info and updates, visit 30A Real Estate.    https://30a.com/q1-2024-real-estate-report/ Read More

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Memorial Day with Sinfonia Gulf Coast at Alys Beach – May 26

This Memorial Day, the serene Alys Beach Amphitheatre will be filled with the stirring sounds of Sinfonia Gulf Coast, offering a tribute to those who have sacrificed for our nation. In a departure from traditional festivities, the 2024 concert will forego fireworks to maintain a tone of reverence and respect. The decision comes as a direct response to community feedback, emphasizing a more subdued commemoration in honor of the fallen. This thoughtful adjustment aims to provide an atmosphere where attendees can truly reflect on the significance of the holiday while enjoying the exquisite orchestral performances under the sweeping palms. Here are the details of the family-friendly event: Date & Time: Sunday, May 26, 2024, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM Location: Alys Beach Amphitheatre, Alys Beach, FL 32413, USA About the Event: Join in for an evening of FREE family-friendly music at the Alys Beach Amphitheatre. The “doors” will open at 6:00 PM, with the concert starting at 7:30 PM and fireworks illuminating the sky at 9:00 PM. Please remember to bring blankets or low-back chairs to ensure your comfort as you settle in on the lawn for the festivities. The community is invited to experience this unique and respectful observance, ensuring Memorial Day is marked with both solemnity and celebration of freedom through the universal language of music. For more information visit SinfoniaGulfCoast.org or AlysBeach.com.  https://30a.com/memorial-day-sinfonia-gulf-coast/ Read More

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The Best Things To Do on 30A This Week – May 06-12

This week on 30A, get ready to explore a rich tapestry of events that promise unforgettable experiences for everyone. From the magical “Mary Poppins” musical at ECTC to the vibrant Tequila & Tacos Fest, each day offers a unique way to enjoy the beauty and community of 30A. Whether you’re in the mood for live music, gastronomic delights, or engaging in a charitable sports event, this guide highlights the best local happenings. Join us as we dive into the exciting events lined up this week! 1. Fly a Kite with Mary Poppins at ECTC! Dive into a magical world with the Emerald Coast Theatre Company’s presentation of “Mary Poppins The Broadway Musical,” running from May 3 through May 19, 2024. Perfect for all ages, this enchanting production promises a “practically perfect” experience that feels like a “jolly holiday.” Experience the magic at 560 Grand Boulevard, Miramar Beach—don’t miss this supercalifragilisticexpialidocious event! Tickets are available now at emeraldcoasttheatre.org. Mary Poppins The Broadway Musical / Wednesday, May 8, 2024, from 2:30 p.m. @ Emerald Coast Theatre Company 2. An Evening with Corey Fernandez: Live Music at The Bay Join in for an evening of heartfelt melodies with Corey Fernandez, a singer-songwriter from Freeport, Florida. Experience his unique blend of country, folk, blues, and pop live from 5-8 p.m. at The Bay. Drawing on an eclectic mix of influences, Corey’s debut album, ‘Love & Roots’, offers a soulful exploration of faith, love, and his unconventional journey through music. Wednesday Night Bonfire: Corey Fernandez... Read More