Being self-employed in the blogging world is certainly a blessing, but it also has its drawbacks. Isolation can often set in, leaving me occasionally feeling lonely. Finding community is essential, and if you can find just the right fit for you, you’ll be inspired, educated, and rejuvenated every time you connect. After years in the blogging world, I’ve found a community of women who make me better every single day, and last weekend, we traveled to the Emerald Coast of Florida for a blogging retreat.
The Emerald Coast of Florida includes Destin, Ft. Walton Beach and Okaloosa Island, and is nestled between the Gulf of Mexico and the Choctawhatchee Bay. Our vacation home for the weekend was located in South Walton, right off of Miramar Beach. The nine of us who flew in all traveled through the Destin-Ft. Walton Airport, although I’ve also learned that the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is also an option. Several of us landed at the same time, and rented a car at the airport to take us about 40 minutes east to our vacation home.
Newman-Dailey kindly hosted us in a gorgeous vacation home just steps from the beach. Blue Heaven, as the home was called, was perfect for our girls weekend. It offers 7 bedrooms, 6 1/2 bathrooms, a pool, outdoor kitchen area, and absolutely stunning gourmet kitchen. It would also be perfect for a family reunion or multi-family vacation, and it sleeps 18. (For those with smaller groups, Newman-Dailey does offer a variety of different vacation homes). After we all arrived, we split up to do grocery shopping and take-out food pickup, and then settled in for the night.
We spent Friday night and most of Saturday in the house, following our pre-determined agenda of blogging topics. The venue, of course, was stunning, but the collaborative spirit was the most invigorating part of the weekend. It truly was an inspirational getaway. After lunch, we decided to head down to the sugar-white sands of Miramar Beach to do our final session on the beach. Although it’s winter, the 60+ degree temps felt perfect.
On Saturday evening, we headed down to the Destin Boardwalk to take some photos and explore the area. I definitely want to return to Destin and explore this area further. There are so many fun shops and restaurants.
Dinner was at Brotula’s, which recently opened this past spring. As a huge seafood eater, I was especially excited for this dinner, and it did not disappoint. Not only did our waiter memorize our entire order (which was a big order with 10 of us), but the food was fantastic. I ordered the grouper, and learned about the new Gulf to Table movement. My fish came with this QR code, and when I scanned it, I was able to learn all about where my fish was caught and the captain who caught it. Everyone in our group truly enjoyed their food.
Real life called, so after a few sessions on Sunday morning, I headed back to the airport for my flight home. I hope to return someday, and when I do, I’ll definitely want to check out more of the South Walton area. There’s even an outlet mall located right near our vacation home. They kindly provided us each with a gift bag, although my schedule didn’t allow me to check it out on this trip.
I highly recommend planning a getaway like this – whether you are looking to reconnect with family or friends. I had a fantastic time.
Visit the Newman-Dailey website to learn more about their vacation homes.
Disclosure: Newman-Dailey provided the vacation home at no cost, and our meal at Brotula’s was comped. All opinions are my own.
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