Friday, September 3, 2010

Destin Fun in the Sun

Destin is Open for Business

Destin dodged the bullet. It is gorgeous - amazing sugary white sand, clear blue water, and sunshine.

Mickey and Larry Drennan of Hillcrest want you to come on down and enjoy the beauty of Florida in their Gulf front Destin condo.

"The weather is just beautiful, the crowds are gone. You can enjoy the silver-white sands. It's still warm enough to swim. The kids have gone back to school. The water is clean," Mrs. Drennan said.

Above photo is the Drennan's grandson, Noah, on the beach at Destin.

Mickey and her husband had been visiting Destin for almost four decades when they decided to buy a condo there in March 2009. It was their second season to have the condo when one of the nation's worst environmental disasters occurred. BP Plc's crippled Macondo well began gushing millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico after its Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded April 20.

"Our condo is on Miramar Beach in Destin. It was never affected like some of the other beaches in Florida or Louisiana. We were never hit like the other beaches. A few tar balls washed up. BP was there, but they just stood around; there was not much for them to do. BP is still combing the beaches each morning, but there's little there, thankfully," Mickey said.

Thankfully. The stretch of the Florida panhandle that includes Destin has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world - better than the French Riviera or Cancun - for my money.

President Barack Obama vacationed in Panama City Beach last month, declaring the area "open for business." That was good news for a lot of folks heartbroken by the spill, Southerners who grew up vacationing with their families along the "Miracle Strip," collecting shells and sand dollars, and playing miniature golf at wacky surf side parks. And a great ad, of course, for area businesses that rely on tourism.

Even though the oil crisis did not exist in Destin, business owners lost money, because vacationers were wary of coming to the Gulf coast.

Mickey and Larry were very fair to folks who had rented their condo, but then decided not to come.

"People were scared. My husband and I made the decision to refund all money if people didn't feel comfortable in coming. People save for a long time for their vacations," Mickey said.

She and Larry are just "very grateful" the area escaped the pollution caused by the spill. And now, they want folks to know it's time for them to once again enjoy the beauty of the Destin area.

"We have a three-bedroom, three bath Gulf front condo at Surfside. We bought it in March 2009, and we went in and completely redid it - put tile throughout, replaced all the appliances, and the beds.

"The condo itself will sleep 10 people. It has a fully equipped kitchen. There are balconies all the way across the front. They can sit outside on the balconies, having a Gulf front is really nice. You can watch the sun set from the balcony. We've done that many times.

"The prices depend on the season. The rates are extremely good. We will negotiate a little bit for people from Arkansas. We love to have people from Arkansas book our condo, because they take such good care of it."

It is a three-bedroom condo and can be rented fully or as a one-bedroom or a two-bedroom. All rooms open onto a 28-foot, 400-square-foot balcony with clear glass railings that enhance the view.

When you go to the website - - a chart gives you the rates for different time periods. For example, the rate for all three bedrooms during the time period from October 23 to December 31 is $995 a week, a fantastic deal, especially if you are splitting the cost with two other couples.

"Book early," Mickey advises.

"I think it's really tough to beat the beaches in Destin. And Destin offers a lot of things, the wonderful restaurants, coffee shops, three huge shopping centers, golf - even a course that stays open all night, and the fishing. They are still taking people out to fish. There's no problem with that.

"The most important thing people should know, the beaches are clean, and the water shimmering."

By Bobbi Nesbitt