Rosemary Beach, Florida on South Walton's Scenic 30A
This month our focus is on Rosemary Beach, my favorite village on 30a in SoWal. Rosemary has grown from a small 3 building spot on the beach to one of the busiest villages on 30a. Let's hang out for a day or two.
The Feel of the Town
Rosemary Beach, named for all the wild rosemary that used to grow here, is really the first village on the east end of 30a. As you turn onto 30a you're suddenly greeted by a lovely tunnel of trees covering the road ahead. Everyone loves that, right? How could you not feel a sense of idyllic beauty. As you get closer to the town center, the view opens onto an almost Mayberry-like tiny town. Families playing ball, couples strolling the walkways, and what appears to be thousands of children and adults biking the streets. It must be one of the perfect vacation towns. Really, you could stay for a week without getting in your car, but PLEASE, at least get in your car and stop by ART & SOUL to see all our local art and jewelry. :)
Tree-lined 30a near Rosemary Beach
Playing boules on the green in Rosemary
Maybe I like Rosemary because I've seen it progress from a very small, three building lot to a bustling town. When we moved here in 2002, Rosemary Beach consisted of the Town Hall and Post Office, a tiny ice cream shop called The Sugar Shak, and a restaurant in a portable building called The Summer Kitchen (which has moved 2 times since then). Even back then the town would have small concerts on the green. Sometimes our friends would play music, and we would hang out there with hammers banging in the background. I had no idea then that it would eventually be a town of businesses and homes built within inches of each other.
Today most of the town revolves around the horseshoe streets that circle through the village and connect to 30a, called Barrett Square North and South. This is where you'll find all the shops and restaurants.
You may notice that the town architecture reminds you of homes in the Caribbean because, the style is based on the architecture of the West Indies. Although, I'm sure when built the homes had to be approved by the village, there is still a wide variety of styles and colors throughout the town. As an artist, I find this much more appealing than some of the other villages with stricter regulations.
Photography and artwork by Christine Ramey
Be sure to take the path less traveled
As you stroll around Rosemary Beach, be sure to veer off the main streets. The town has many pedestrian only, wooden walkways that meander through the beautiful homes, gardens and backyards. There are even little pocket gardens to sit in and take a break. Being November before Thanksgiving, it's off season, and we had every walkway to ourselves. The only sounds were the trickle of little waterfalls and birds singing. It's a very peaceful place.
Cute pedestrian walkways in Rosemary Beach
And, of course, you're here for the beaches. Rosemary's beach accesses are all private, and you must have the secret code to go out and to come back in. If you're a tourist for the day, you can always go to the Inlet Beach public access (see Inlet Beach post). If you're a rebel, you can take your chances on blending in with a group of beach goers, or try jumping the fence if you're in good shape (I think that may be frowned upon).
A Town of Inspiration
The artist in me finds lots of inspiration at Rosemary Beach while I sit and watch people go by. My Biking 30a series was originally inspired by girls in Rosemary Beach. There's such a variety of families, children, clothes, hats and pets. You see some unusual and really cute things. I love to see dads riding around with their kids in tow, or girls with tiny puppies in their baskets. I Just sit around with a coffee or a beer and my sketchbook taking it all in. So, if you're in Rosemary, just remember, you could be the inspiration for a local artist.
A Few of My Favorite Things
Of course, if you've already vacationed here, I'm sure you have your favorite spots. If not, it's easy to explore the small village and find a favorite. Just go out and wander around, you'll love it.
Stellar , is a cute little shop that moved to Rosemary from Seacrest maybe 2 years ago. It's a store for tweens and has some really cute items. I love the look of the store from the street. It's got an inviting Boho feel with pillows of all colors and patterns on the benches, and strands of hand-tied "wishes" throughout the store.
Eat, Drink and Listen to Great Music
Another favorite spot for me is Wild Olives restaurant and wine bar. I have to admit my connection here, the local musician, Frank Faust is my man. He is an amazing 12-string guitarist and harmonica player, and his deep voice is so wonderful to listen to. You may have heard him playing his own song (one of over 300) "I Love the Beach". It's become the theme song of many visiting families that come down on a regular basis. I think they play it in their cars on the way down to get in a beachy frame of mind. It's been so popular, we even created a children's book. I Love the Beach , the book, has the song on cd and is illustrated by me, Christine Ramey. You can pick up a copy when you see him play. Frank also performs over 600 cover songs, I bet he can play your favorite Neil Young or Bob Dylan songs or Coldplay and everything in between.
On Fridays at Wild Olives, they have a great wine tasting. The owner, Chris, usually pours a generous glass of 5 wines. He's so nice, you can't help but enjoy talking to him. He is a huge
wine lover and very knowledgeable, so if you have any questions just ask. A night at Wild Olives is best spent outside if the weather is cooperating. The atmosphere is wonderful, and Frank will let your kids play maracas with him. Believe me, they will LOVE it.
If you enjoy cocktails, you've probably been to Havana's open air, roof-top bar inside The Pearl hotel. For a long time, I've loved to sit here looking over The Green and out to the open Gulf of Mexico. It's wonderful to sit with family and relax.
Pool at The Pearl Hotel
The Pearl's pool area is so pretty too, with the yellow umbrellas and black and white striped awnings. Even this little scene gives inspiration.
Just the other night, we went to Havana's, and it was closed. Walking around, I saw some people on the top floor of a new building having dinner. This is how we stumbled upon
Pescado, my new favorite cocktail space in Rosemary. It, by far, has The BEST view of sunset in the village. The drinks are perfectly concocted, and although we didn't eat, the food looked and smelled wonderful.
If you happen up here ( to the right of Town Hall), be sure to ask for Bradley as your waiter. He's kind and will serve you graciously. Also, you have to be 18 to enter except on Sundays for brunch, so no kiddos.
Adorable Rum Flip
Pescado's Roof Top Restaurant and Bar
Every Sunday there is a Farmer's Market on the north side of the Square from 9-1. They have all the local produce plus baked goods and good smells. Be sure to check that out if your in town.
In November the town is getting ready for Christmas at the beach. Barrett Square is lined with twinkling lights in the oaks, and a 25 foot Christmas tree is set up on the south side of town. The weekend after Thanksgiving is when they light the tree. Characters dressed from the time of Dickens walk around the village caroling and you can even have breakfast with Santa.
Beginnings of Christmas decorations at Rosemary Beach