Monday, May 24, 2010

Blue Mountain Beach (Or, How Sally Got Her Groove Back.)

Yesterday, we left early in the morning and headed a little over an hour southwest to a village on the Florida panhandle, called Santa Rosa Beach. That is the name of the village; the beach there is named Blue Mountain Beach, because it is the highest point on the entire Gulf. Right before you get to Santa Rosa Beach, you need to cross over the Bay on one of those magnificent, arched bridges that overlooks the phenomenal bay.

We noticed, at the start and the finish of the bridge, many folks were out there with nets. Men, women, children were prancing about, scooping for something just off the shore. After asking, we discovered that the crabs were in and folks were catching their evening meal. What a delight!

Back to Blue Mountain Beach; here is a photo I took:

It is impossible to see the bands of deep green in the water but they are there. These are what give the name to that section of the Gulf, 'The Emerald Coast.' It is beautiful. The sand, as you can tell, is white, in contrast to the beige sand of the east coast ocean beaches. It is called 'sugar sand.'

Blue Mountain Beach is accessible by climbing down wooden steps perched on a low bluff. The photo I posted was taken standing about half way down those stairs. Immediately above the stairway is a row of empty Spanish style mini-mansions.

All of these houses are named, most with exquisite Spanish names but this one made me smile; it's called Fried Green Tomatoes, after its color. (obviously the owners opted for humor over beauty and I like that.)

No, the house is not leaning; your photographer was..:) Sorry about that. Can you imagine sitting under that ceiling fan on the balcony in the mornings, drinking coffee and watching the sun rise over the Gulf of Mexico? Or relaxing in the evening with a frozen daiquiri, looking out at the pink sky over the sea?

But the best reason to visit Santa Rosa is to stop by and visit my friend, Sally. Sally is a transplanted Yankee who moved down here about 15 years ago after a divorce, with her two teenage kids. She opened a store that goes by the tongue in cheek title of Sally's By The Seastore. Sallys' store is unique; it's really a combination store, restaurant and bar and the locals adore her. I found this brief review of her place from a site called 'Coastal Classics.'

Sally’s by the Sea Store

Just a couple of miles west of Coastal Classic in the beach community of Blue Mountain Beach is Sally’s by the Sea Store. Aside from gasoline and small grocery items that you may have forgotten to get when you were at Publix or Winn Dixie, Sally has the best breakfast sandwich menu on the our end of Hwy 30A. If you get up early and are hungry before your crowd rises to prepare breakfast, drive, bike or walk to Sally’s for a great breakfast biscuit (egg, cheese, sausage, bacon, ham, croissants, etc.) and a good cup of coffee.
Depending on the season, Sally usually barbecues on Friday night and serves great pork barbecue on Saturday.

This article failed to mention Sally's bar with the singing bartender. This bartender lady takes song requests several evenings a week and belts out a song while she pours your drink. Let me tell you, the place is packed on those nights, and the writer of that little blurb shouldn't have failed to at least give her an honorable mention; the locals love that singing bartender!

Redd The Singing Bartender:

Sally is an earthy, always smiling, energetic naturally pretty lady ,even sans as much as a touch of makeup. And she is my friend. The decor of her business can only be described as festive. Here are some photos of her place, to give you an idea of what I mean:

EVERYTHING on the outside is yellow, blue and red.

These are functional hurricane shutters just in case one of those belligerent off coast nasty visitors rolls in to reek havoc.

Sally's window treatments. Even I couldn't kill those plants!

Sally supports local artists and they support her. The artist who painted this sign also does block screen shirts for Sally. Sally told me an interesting story about her. Apparently, this artist lady moved down here and married a local chef who had quite a following due to his culinary capabilities. The only problem, he hated cooking! After a few years of marriage and watching the joy his wife derived from her art, he decided to chuck the chef business and turn to art himself. He did quite well. But, alas, the marriage could not survive the competition between the two, and they each took their own easels and parted.

Sally told me this over some cog. Cog...this is the nickname for Sally's coffee, better known locally as a Cup Of Gossip..COG.

Speaking of coffee, I feel a cup of cog calling my name, so I am off to imbibe. and if you find yourself down by Blue Mountain Beach, stop in to see Sally and tell her I sent you. She'll give you a cog and a smile that will make your day.


Sally's bar is located at the back of her store. It's called 'Sally's Backside' and when Redd is bartending, you need a reservation or you will not get in. It is packed.




  2. Isn't it? To be honest, I've never heard Redd sing in person. I only know what Sally has told me about her. Now I want to go spend a week at Blue Mountain Beach.

    Sally gave me one of her block screen 'Sally's by the Seastore tees. Now I wish I had opted for the 'Sally's Backside' shirts!

    I also heard a clip of Redd singing Willie's 'Crazy.' Now that was way cool!

  3. I don't recall Santa Rosa Beach, but I spent two years in the panhandle at Milton thanks to the Navy.

    When long haul trucking I got as far south in Florida as Orlando, been to Florida, done that, fuck it. Enjoy it while you can though if that's your gig.

  4. Billy, we live almost on top of the Alabama/Florida border. We also moved here from Florida. I love everything about it. I'm even delighted to meet tourists...except when they come here and try to harm our wildlife. We used to spend a lot of time at Alligator Point, a nice secluded beach that is usually not inhabited by tourists. I remember one time, however, when some tourists happened upon it. It so happened the sand dollars were in to breed. These tourists took mountains of them and set them out in the sun to dry, which is highly illegal. They said they were going to take them back up north and sell them. these same people allowed their kids to torment and kill a ghost crab, one of the coolest things on the shore. I tried to intervene but the dad told them to ignore me. I could not find the beach patrol or his ass would have been grass.

  5. Come to think of it, I'm going to encourage everyone to move to Florida, it is a pretty state in some ways, especially the beaches, for now anyway, and I damn sure don't want more of them moving here and using up and over loading our pristine area.

  6. I am quite crazy about florida. I spent a lot of time there as a young person with my friends and I am nuts for the wildlife and everglades. Of course I also love the beaches! Those are some pretty impressive houses. And guess what came to my mind as I first saw them? "Can you imagine the house work?" How long would it take to wash all the stairs and sweep the floors etc. ha ha.

    but they are really lovely...


  7. hi there. sounds lovely.. i wish i could move to florida.. but no way... to far away from my mom.. i am far enough but that is out of the question..maybe someday..

  8. Candy, the housework aspect never entered my mind for some reason! I had a huge house in Va tho, and I can attest that the cleaning was nonstop. It's one reason we opted for a (somewhat) smaller house after that.

    Tweetey, Florida is every bit as lovely as you can imagine. Some people think there are more bugs there but that's easily rectified with a bug control person; we have a 'bug guard' around our house and never have a single critter crawliing around inside that isnt supposed to be here. Nothing gets in.

  9. still sounds beautiful... thanks for sharing..

  10. Some people think there are more bugs there

    There are, compared to here anyway, and they are bugs that bite. Not many bugs here bite.

    I've been in both areas so I consider myself a bit more knowing about the two areas. :-)

  11. To each his own, Billy. You can keep your cold weather. :)

  12. Ouch, that hurt but I have to agree with you, I do wish it was warmer here, at least in the summer. But winters are mild and it's green here all year.

  13. Hey Beej,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blog posts about Blue Mountain Beach to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)

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