Mike Matz

Broker / Owner




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Beautiful WaterColor Beach

WaterColor is a very charming resort and residential town of more than 499 acres on 30A that nestles into its natural surroundings and creates a welcoming place for all. WaterColor has thoughtfully planned neighborhoods, parks and trails that are located between the Gulf of Mexico and Western Lake, a natural 220 acre coastal dune lake. WaterColor features nearly 1,200 homes and homesites as well as a 60 room boutique inn which has been awarded the region’s only AAA Four Diamond hotel award. Fish Out of Water, the WaterColor Inn’s AAA Four Diamond restaurant features stunning views with its superb cuisine and impressive wine list. Continue reading »

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Rosemary Beach

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Gulf of Mexico

The community of Rosemary Beach is so impressive to me each time I visit or drive through, with 107 acres along the white beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and its town’s architecture, food and dining venues, shops, professional services,  recreational offerings and green spaces. Its a town that has captured values of long ago, when neighbors knew each other and could walk to stores instead of driving to malls. Rosemary Beach has replaced urban sprawl with neighborhoods filled with shops, restaurants, galleries and a variety of housing options – New Urbanism.

An appealing aspect of the charm of Rosemary Beach is the town ‘s architecture, which is based on the European colonial architecture of the West Indies. These designs are perfect for living on 30A because the building types have been adapted for the warm, tropical weather. You’ll notice the shuttered windows and doorways to keep air circulating, steep roofs to shed rainwater, and big porches for socializing outdoors.West Indies designs are usually raised up to elevate the first floor so residents can catch the ocean breezes. Deep eaves provide shade fom the afternoon sun. High ceilings draw breezes through the house. Building codes require that wood be stained to echo the serene shades of native landscape -amber, sage, ochre and forest green. There are 12 basic house types in Rosemary Beach, including live/work buildings, beach houses, courtyard houses, townhouses, flats and carriage houses. Each home in the community is unique.

The public spaces are the essence of the community, with the walkovers, paths, greens, squares and plazas, boardwalks and pedestrian lanes. Rosemary was designed to be a walking town since walking is really the way to appreciate its beauty, much of which is found in the landscape. Native landscape, such as sea oats and lupine dot the sand dunes. Sand oaks, saw palmettos and wild rosemary are prevalent and an important part of  the look and the feel of the town. You must visit this town to really experience all it has to offer. However, I warn you, there is a strong possibility that you won’t want to leave!


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Holiday Time With Mom and Dad

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The Holiday fun continued as we cruised around 30A with Mom and Dad! We shared a really memorable afternoon touring around WaterColor on 30A. We strolled down the butterfly garden path and enjoyed the lush plantings which were marked with the plants’ names to help you  recreate a garden at home. The center of the path has a water fountain and stream which makes the garden so very relaxing and kinetic. It was so pleasant to watch the Monarch butterflies flitting here and there among the  plantings.  Lots of benches and seating areas to take breaks and have a seat for conversation. We walked back to the WaterColor Boathouse and walked out on the boardwalk over the dune lake. Everywhwere we looked there was something to ooh! and ahh! about.We hopped in the car, drove across 30A and took advantage of the boardwalk next to Fish Out of Water to go to the beach. It was lovely – the water was a little wild that day and sent a bit of a thrill through us as we watched the waves. Good day for surfers. My parents made the comment that the folks who did the planning at WaterColor have not overlooked a single detail. And, I certainly agree!

Grayton Beach called to us so we drove down 30A for lunch and came upon Another Broken Egg, a restaurant that serves both breakfast as well as lunch. We are so glad we did. Wow! The food was fantastic and served in a cheery atmosphere by the very nicest waitstaff ever. Mom had crab cake crostini and claimed it to be absolutely amazing. Beau’s was next on our to do list,so we went down the road a few steps and admired all the lovely home accessories that Beau’s has so beautifully displayed. Waterlillies also had a plethera of  crafted items for your home – displayed market style.

Another day we decided to head up to Watersound and enjoyed lunch at Fen’s

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Butterfly Garden at WaterColor

, a little deli – style cafe that is delightful. It’s so bright and cheery, as are its young owners. They also cater Holiday dinners and I have heard that their catering has been very sucessful for the owners as well as the customers. After lunch we walked through Watersound to the boardwalks that lead to the beach. It was nice to walk over the sand dunes and see the Gulf of Mexico and the white beaches. We sat and enjoyed the view and marveled at the fact that the weather was so lovely and warm just a couple of days before Christmas.

Yes, it has been a fantastic experience sharing life on 30A with our parents. It is so nice to live in an area that brings pleasure to so many and it is even nicer to share the pleasure with family and friends!

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Blue Mountain Beach on 30A

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If you drive on 30A, through Grayton Beach toward Santa Rosa Beach, you will come upon the lovely Blue Mountain Beach. When you do make this scenic drive, please be sure to stop and take a little time to enjoy Blue Mountain Beach and all it has to offer.

The town is a little quirky and does not feel like a typical tourist town. The locals like it that way. Blue Mountain Beach is home to three coastal dune lakes – Little Redfish Lake, Big Redfish Lake and Draper Lake. These lakes offer fishing and kayaking as well as miles of hiking trails and bird watching opportunities. In fact, a few blocks from public beach access on highway 83 is a trail entrance into Point Washington State Forest. The trail will lead you to thick cypress swamps, strands of Longleaf Pine and fields of wildflowers during each Spring and Fall.

It is thought that Blue Mountain Beach earned its name when the first European settlers mistook the sand dunes which were covered with Blue Lupine flowers for mountains after spending so many months at sea.

There is much more happening at Blue Mountain Beach than meets the eye as one drives through the area. Plan to stop to dine at one of the many and varied restaurants. Marie’s Bistro, in Blue Mountain Plaza has a great menu and is open for lunch as well as dinner. Johnny McTighes is a favorite with the locals and you’l always see lots of cars outside. Next door is Sally’s By the Sea Store and Sally’s Back Side for after hours food and fun.Across the street is For the Health of It, a locally owned health food store and juice bar. They also house a message clinic .La Loba’s Bakery is a favorite with anyone who enjoys superb tasting, natural baked goods. Up the road a bit you may enjoy ice cream and yogurts at Blue Mountain Beach Creamery which is open during the visitor season. Nicks on the Beach has opened again and is doing a brisk business. If you head toward Gulf Place you’ll see Basmati’s

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Blue Mountain Beach

, an Asian influenced place to enjoy a fine dining experience.Grecian Gardens is nearby, a place to get a Greek salad or a classic gyro.

Have I convinced you to explore Blue Mountain Beach? Please do. You’ll be back again and again!


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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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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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