Mike Matz

Broker / Owner



Holidays on 30A

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Shops of Ruskin in Seaside

We are so very fortunate to be able to share this holiday season with our parents . We are even more fortunate to be spending the holidays by having with them here with us on 30A. So far, the weather has been magnificent with temperatures in the 70s and the sun shining down on us in full force. How nice for them to enjoy the warmth and the sun after having been sun-deprived for such a long time.

We’ve been quite busy, getting out and about. We enjoyed an early evening happy hour at La Crema in Rosemary Beach. The wine was wonderful and the tapas were just what they needed after a day of travel from Pennsylvania. Rosemary Beach looked so pretty, all dressed up for Christmas. We have ventured into Destin to do a little shopping at the Silver Sands Outlet Mall and went to purchase the ingredients for a couple of dinners at  Fresh Market. Grocery shopping is such a treat for the senses at Fesh Market with the most amazing  organic and beautifully displayed food for the picking. You just feel so good when you step into the store – it has a calming effect that you don’t usually feel at other grocery stores. Try it and you’ll understand.

Mom and I had a girls’ night out and went to the candlelight tour at the historic Wesley Mansion in Eden Gardens State Park.The grounds were absolutely breath taking with miles of luminaries lighting the way along the roads and pathways. Each room inside the house was decorated for Christmas by different civic groups and they did an amazing job! So lovely! The tour guides were dressed in Civil War era costumes to set the tone and you felt transported back in time. People of all ages were having a wonderful time and appreciating the efforts made by the volunteers who worked to make the tour possible.

We took a stroll into Seaside and did some shopping at the Shops at Ruskin. What a pleasant way to spend the afternoon! Mom was especially impressed with Eliot Boutique and its selection of clothing and accessories for women. It seemed like a good idea to stop at the Great Southern Cafe to take part in their daily happy hour and we sat outside enjoying the weather and people watching. Spent some time reminiscing and and sharing with each other.

Yes, this is a great visit with our parents and I can’t wait to see what today brings. I’ll keep you posted!

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Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport

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Beaches of 30A

I have a new appreciation for the ease of travel to the towns and beaches on 30A since I darted over to the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City from our office in Seagrove Beach to pick up my parents for their holiday visit. Wow! The drive to the airport couldn’t be easier or less complicated. Hop in the car and in about 20 minutes you are there! The facility itself is very nice and well organized with none of the frantic rushing around you see at so many larger airports. The airport experience just seems to set the tone for a pleasant stay at the beach.

The facility services Southwest Airlines and Delta Airlines and serves non-stop flights to Nashville, Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis, Baltimore, Houston and Cincinnati. The airport provides assistance for those passengers who may need a little extra help during their travels. Companion passes are issued to guests who are dropping off or picking up children and for special needs passengers who require assistance to or from the gate boarding area. Wheelchairs are available upon request .Just contact your airline with your requests and they will see to it that everything you need is ready when you are.

There are five rental car companies at the airport available to help you: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and National. There are also taxi  and limousine services available for your use.

Each airline determines their airfares for flights into Beaches International Airport and should be competetive with other airports. Remember, advance booking, days of travel and other factors will affect the cost of airfare.

Now, there are absolutely no excuses for not visiting the beach towns along 30A. Just catch a plane and come on down. See you then!

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Cup by Cup at Amavida Coffe

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It’s always a pleasure – or maybe even almost a luxury- to take a little time for yourself and declare an official break time by stopping in to one of the Amavida Coffee locations and enjoying a cup of sensational coffee. It gives you time to think, to read something, or to meet with friends. Since there is an Amavida shop in Rosemary Beach as well as in Seaside

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Amavida in Rosemary Beach

it’s not a difficult task to get to one of the shops.  I just read an article about Amavida which makes it even sweeter to go for that cup of coffee.

Amavida has joined forces with a Rosemary Beach church and with a Panama City Beach charity to create an international project that changes communities and people’s lives – one cup at a time. They have created a brand of coffee called Cup by Cup to finance the project. The coffee is grown in southern Dominican Republic and is purchased by a beach-based charity called Global Effect. Amavida imports, roasts and packages the coffe at its beach warehouse. The coffee is then marketed to churches in the United States and the proceeds are invested in poor communities in Dominican Republic to create businesses and provide for families and children.

Global effect operates like a non-profit organization, but uses its profits to finance micro-lending to those in need, provide water filtration and purification, help locally owned and operated factories and provide education so people can form their own businesses. This way, people can be helped without receiving handouts  and are proud of the work they do and of their accomplishments.

The next time you stop by Amavida for that coffee break, please think about getting Cup by Cup coffee. You’ll not only enjoy the excellent coffee, you’ll enjoy knowing that you are doing something for others. And that will make your break even sweeter!

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Every Christmas Story Ever Told in Seaside

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Christmas at the Seaside Post Office

The Rep theater  in Seaside is presenting Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some!) from December 8 -30. Three actors begin by re-telling a shortened version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and decide to add a few twists to the tale  by adding facts about Christmas from around the world. We will watch a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade go very wrong. We will hear every Christmas carol ever written in about 90 seconds. Viewers will hear about Tiny Tim, The Grinch, Ebenezer Scrooge, Rudolph the Red  Nosed Reindeer, and, of course, Frosty the Snowman.

In order to pay homage to the Jimmy Stewart classic film, It’s a Wonderful Life, the actors  manage to combine Marley with Clarence, Angel Third Class and Scrooge with Jimmy Stewart! Now, that takes some talent.

The Seaside Repertory Theater was founded in the spring of 2001 and has attracted some of the finest talent from around the country. The Rep entertains over 25,ooo people each year. The Rep has an indoor home on the stage of the Meeting Hall Theater in downtown Seaside, Fl. The Rep seeks to be the premier arts organization in Northwest Florida by providing programs that will add to the quality of life in our area.

Tickets may be purchased online or by stopping by at Amavida in Seaside or Rosemary Beach. Sounds like an event you will not want to miss!

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Eden Gardens State Park in Walton County

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A short drive down 30A, a turn ot Seagrove Beach onto 395, a drive past the Publix at WaterColor, cross 98 and you are just about at Eden Gardens State Park. It’s really in our back yard! The park has about 163 acres of land that was once part of the historic Wesley homestead. In fact, the Wesley mansion, built in 1897, is a huge draw for the state park. The mansion is surrounded by lawns and gardens and has been restored and furnished with period antiques. The reflection pool gives a glimpse back into time and the camelias and azaleas in the gardens provide beauty for visitors.

Wesley house was once the home of the William Henry Wesley family and was the hub of the Wesley Lumber Company which operated from 1890 until after World War l. Wesley bui;lt his home near the mill and lived there until  his wife, Katie, died in 1863. He then sold the house along with 10.5 acres of land. The buyer, Lois Mason, is credited with turning the home and gardens into the showcase they are today. In 1968 she donated the house and grounds to the State of Florida.

Today, the ornamental gardens are the park’s main attraction. In addition to camelias and azaleas there is a rose garden, a butterfly garden, and a reflection pond filled with Koi and lilies. Trails make it possible for visitors to enjoy the grounds.

Wesley House is hosting its annual candlelight tour on Saturday, December 17  from 5:30-8:30 P.M .Each room will be decorated for the holidays with guides wearing Civil War period garb. There will be a small encampment by the house as well. Guests are invited to the home’s pavilion for refreshments. For the event, admission fees to the park and the event are waived! I will be taking my parents to the  event – I hope to see you there.

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12 Days of Christmas at Shops of Ruskin in Seaside

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12 Days of Ruskin at Seaside

It looks as though the Shops at Ruskin in Seaside are the place to do some of your Christmas shopping this year! The artisans of Ruskin have been planning and working to make your retail experience an enjoyable one , with special pricing, door prizes, and lots of holiday cheer in the form of drinks with goodies and nibbles. The 12 Shops of Christmas event is happening from December 3 – 14 from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. each day.

Ruskin Place is the place to go if you are looking for a unique gift you won’t find anywhere else. A different shop will be featured each day during the 12 days and the  featured shop will have something fun for its customers to make their shopping more fun than ever. Be  prepared to be offered champagne or wine, perhaps assorted cheeses, maybe a few very special holiday tidbits. As a bonus, Modica Market is giving away an entire case of  champagne to each shopper who purchases $25 or more at each of the participating shops! How’s that for an incentive to do your shopping?

The shops will be offering special discounts to their customers and a number of them are giving away prizes to someone very lucky. Ruskin Place will be beautifully decorated and full of holiday cheer. I think it sounds like a nice idea to plan on going, even if you think you have no gifts to purchase. You know how it is. You’ll certainly find that certain something special that is calling to you. Go ahead. You deserve it!

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Hibiscus Coffee and Guesthouse in Grayton Beach

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I was visiting 30A last year with my Mom and Dad and we spent a lot of time either eating or thinking about eating. We were looking for a good place to have a leisurely breakfast. Hibiscus was recommended to us as a place with great, healthy food and an atmosphere that can’t be beat. So very right.

We strolled through the grounds of the restaurant and guesthouse at Grayton Beach and were completely charmed by the beauty and peace which surrounded us. The grounds are the sort of place where you could sit with a book for a couple of hours and be perfectly comfortable, as long as you’re willing to pet one of the house kittys every once in a while.

My parents and I loved the inside of the Hibiscus because it’s filled with vintage furniture and decor that has been collected over the years. We found ourselves fascinated by things that reminded us of the past that served to bring back a lot of memories and discussion. I was especially captivated by all the vintage tablecloths and linens that seem to have been collected during travels. Soon after visiting Hibiscus, I read an article in Martha Stewart Living Magazine about table linens that were collected in exactly this manner – collected from each state that was visited.These linens, of course, have become collectables over the years.

The atmosphere at Hibiscus seems to make for very friendly and conversant people, staff and patrons alike. My parents talked and talked with the folks at the next table who were visiting 30A from Michigan. After a little while, it seemed that they had been old friends, with all the laughing and sharing of stories.. Even if someone came in just for coffee, they gave us a nice hello and smile.

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Scenic Grayton Beach

Makes you feel good!

The food made us feel even better! I wasn’t sure how a vegetarian menu would appeal to my parents, but I can tell you that they loved it! Mom had the waffle with peanut butter and honey, topped with fresh fruit and simply raved about it. Dad and I each had fitattas which were amazing. The entire meal was such a pleasant experience.

I’d like to go to Hibiscus one night to attend Backyard of Love and listen to some music and enjoy great food. The events happen on Sundays as well as every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month. Seems like a pleasant and relaxing way to spend some time. Which just about sums up the Hibuscus – a pleasant and relaxing way to spend some time.

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Alaqua Animal Refuge in Walton County

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Look around 30A. Just about everyone has a well loved dog and they are providing full and happy lives for their special pets. We might tend to assume that all animals have good homes, just as ours do. Not so.

Laurie Hood, a Walton County resident, discovered that huge numbers of unwanted animals were being euthanized due to the shortage of no – kill animal shelters in the area and she decided to do something about it. She worked to create Alaqua Animal Refuge which advocates the humane treatment of animals by providing shelter and adoptive services for neglected and abused animals. Since Alaqua opened its doors on 2007, they have found homes for more than 7,000 animals. About 100 animals are adopted each month and the facility houses more that 250 animals at any given time.

Alaqua is located on a 10 acre farm in Freeport, an idyllic environment for these needy animals.Here, they may run and play in the pastures,  swim in the ponds, take naps on screened porches or graze in the fields. The facility includes several buildings and barns for horses, dog and cat cottages, two quarantine buildings and an infirmary. It costs about $50,000 a month to operate and Alaqua depends entirely on donations with a focus on special events and fund raisers.

A fund raising event is coming up on December 11, 2011 – The 5th Annual Holiday Bone-Anza at Alaqua Unleashed dog park! There will be live music provided by Daphne Willis, Bryan Kennedy, Kyle LaMonica and Derek Givans. Attendees will enjoy the holiday shopping market, gumbo cook off, crafts with Santa’s elves, sweets and treats and children’s games. Yes, you may bring leashed pets! Your $5 donation will be used to help fund this amazing facility. The address for the event is 342 JD Miller Road, Santa Rosa Beach.

Area restaurants donate funds as well. On Wednesday, December 7, 2011, Fish Out of Water in WaterColor  is sponsoring an event called A Dog Without a Home.  They are offering a three course menu for $35 per person from 6 -9 P.M. The best part? 50% of the proceeds will be donated to Alaqua!

Rosemary Beach is helping by sponsoring Rosemary Beach Unleashed

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Roxy Unleashed!

on Sunday, December 4, 2011. The afternoon festival will feature a 6 panel mural  filled with paintings of 90 area pets. Much music will be in the air and there will be lots of games for the whole family! And, of course, there will be pets available for adoption by deserving families.

You may choose to spend some of your time volunteering at the Alaqua facility. Those who do help have told me that it is a very rewarding experience. Please, consider volunteering or attending the fund raising events. You’ll be glad you did!


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Watercolor on 30A

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The communities that dot 30A never cease to amaze me and Watercolor is no exception! On this glorious day, I took some time to explore the wonder that is Watercolor and I can honestly say that I did not want to leave. I am a person who is a great admirer of thoughtful planning, excellent design that appeals to all the senses, and  attention to the details that make a project magnificent. I am, therefore, an admirer of Watercolor.

The neighborhoods that are Watercolor are a pleasure in many respects. They are a pleasure to stroll through, a pleasure to look at, and a pleasure to live in. The homes are planned with cohesive designs in accordance with the architecture of Watercolor, yet each home is unique. It is evident that homeowners take pride in their properties and have made them places of beautiful retreat. Each home has a feeling of privacy, I think due to the natural and planned landscaping surrounding each home. Trails lead from neighborhood to neighborhood and to the community’s ammenities. The green spaces are amazing with lawns, gardens, resting places, playing areas, meeting spots, places to walk dogs, and lots of water features. So many places to relax and take time for yourself or to sit and talk with a friend.

I drove slowly through the community and made a few stops at some of the ammenities. The boardwalk by the boat house led me out over the lake and lily pads. I loved the water fountain and stream with gardens along its banks. Camp Watercolor looks like a fun and safe place for kids to spend time on structured activities and swimming. Tennis courts are available to residents. I saw the outdoor ampitheater and Cerulian Park  with lots of green space in which to play. I learned that over 50% of watercolor is dedicated to green space – very impressive.

The centrally located Town Center has an impressive number of shops  for your retail therapy moments. Across 30A I saw the Beach Club

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Green Space at Watercolor

and the boardwalk called to me. What a lovely view of the Gulf of Mexico and Watercolor’s white beach! The Beach Club is impressive and has a swimming pool with Gulf views. What a way to spend the day! The fitness center is located there as well. Fish Out of Water, a fine restaurant is located here, too. Diners have a spectacular view of the beach, the Gulf and the sand dunes with their natural vegetation.

Luxury Properties on 30A has a listing for a home that is under construction im Watercolor located at 277 Western Lake Drive. We visited the property yesterday and were able to get a real feel for the home it is going to become.Wow! Check out our videos on Living Life on 30A – we made a couple of them at the job site. Let us know if you’d like some information on this amazing home.


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Bastide – a Little Bit of Europe on 30A

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We took some time today to drive to the west end of 30A in search of a shop I read about and just had to see, Bastide. I saw photos of the shop and read about the shop im Vie Magazine and my interest was piqued immediately.

Bastide was a little challenging to find because it’s tucked off 30A, across from Butler Middle School. But, upon arrival, I was so glad I made the effort to find it! As you approach the shop you first notice what appears to be a lovely garden through the wrought iron gate. There, for sale, is a variety of plantings of all sizes to add to your garden or interior decor. Today they were decorated for the upcoming Holiday Season.

As you enter the door to the shop you are immediately transported to a European village and feel that you should have a cup of tea. Or you should rest a bit before heading out to the nearest art museum. The rooms to the shop have a lovely romantic feel and are beautifully merchandised. It’s the kind of place where you want to slow down, take your time and really look at everything.

Bastide specializes in garden design for inside a home as well as outside. The store offers a variety of antiques, home accessories, pottery, linens, fragrances and soothing bath products. These are things you will want for yourself  and are things that would be a much appreciated gift for someone special.

Please visit Bastide the next time you feel the need to do something nice for yourself. You’ll be glad you did!

To get to the shop, travel west on 30A. Continue through Grayton Beach, Blue Mountain Beach,and Gulf Place. Bastide is across the street from the middle school.

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