It’s no secret that I love to travel. Exploring a new destination tops the list of my favorite things. I love discovering local gems like a coffee shop, or a mouthwatering entree comprised of local specialties. My list of places to visit grows longer everyday. I hear fascinating stories about treks through Tibet or the rugged coastlines of Morocco, or the hues of pink terra-cotta bricks that make up Toulouse and the next thing you know, I'm researching and planning and dreaming up another trip to take.
But even though I'm always wanting to go somewhere new, there's something special about those places we find ourselves always returning to. For me, 30A along Florida's Gulf Coast is one of these places. I had the pleasure of spending last week down there with one of my sweet friends Haley, courtesy of Rosemary Beach and 30A Street Style and it was just what the doctor ordered.
It doesn't take very long to develop traditions you love down here- like morning walks to Amavida coffee before heading down to the beach to pray and spend time with God. Or watching the sunset over cocktails by the beach at Bud + Alley’s. Or drinking wine + ordering fondue from La Crema and sitting out under the twinkle lights on their patio.
Every time that I pull up to the stunning Spanish-style Town Hall or walk down Main Street, I feel like I'm right where I'm supposed to be. When I'm here, I feel more alive, more inspired, more at peace and more joyful than almost anywhere else on earth. It may sound over the top, but if you've been- then you know exactly what I'm talking about.
This is a place that never fails to remind me that life is beautiful. I'm convinced it's one of God's love letters to me, because it's comprised of all things that make my heart pitter patter. The Spanish architecture reminds me of my love of travel. The decadent food romances my palate and reminds me of my appreciation for deliciousness. The turquoise waters sparkle and reach as far as I can see, and remind me of God's power and depth and endless nature. The only memories I have here are ones where I’ve grown: where I’ve grown closer to important people in my life, where I’ve grown closer to God, and where I’ve grown as an individual.
I've felt this way about Rosemary from the start, but this particular trip sent me over the edge. This trip was a special one. For starters, we stayed in the most idyllic carriage house you could ever dream up (click here to book this same unit).
Not only were we thrilled about calling this place home, but we never could have anticipated what a warm welcome we would receive and what a wonderful host Jami from 30A Street Style was going to be to us. We met her for dinner at La Crema our first night and hit it off instantaneously. We talked about dreaming big and the timing of life and everything in between while drinking chilled wine and indulging in warm, decadent peanut butter fondue under the moonlight. She had arranged countless treats for us throughout the week: massages and blowouts at Vivo Spa, a shopping trip at Willow Boutique, a photo shoot with Pure 7 Studios (I'll be sharing these pictures in my next blog post), a welcome bag filled with goodies from Rosemary Beach Trading Company, and beach chair + umbrella reservations everyday. But it didn't stop there- she also had made dinner reservations and lunch reservations and coordinated happy hours so we could meet other bloggers. She thought through every last detail to ensure our trip was a memorable one.
Of course all these things made us feel like giddy little girls. How could you not be ecstatic when you're in one of the most beautiful places in the world and feeling incredibly spoiled and taken care of? But what really made this trip so wonderful is all of the conversations that unfolded and the relationships that were built over the course of the week. We got to talk to Cindy + Celia from Willow and hear how their dreams and visions have come to life through all the stores that they've opened in the area, and we were able to attend the opening party for their amazing new men's store, Mason. We met up with Jami and Jessica (from Lipstick, Heels & a Baby) for drinks at The Pearl, which turned into more drinks at sunset on the beach where we told stories and made toasts and cheers-to new friendships and being dreamers and encouraging one another.
Not only did we meet so many amazing people that we could open up to, but even my friendship with Haley grew to another level. We sat on the patio of our carriage house and she did the Blonde Atlas goal workshop with me that I've been pouring my heart into. I got to hear more about her past relationships, the loss of her mom, and what God has been teaching her. I got the chance to vent to her about the things that feel like an injustice and talk to her about the dreams on my heart that seem big and scary. We talked about the boys we were crushing on. We cried to each other (sometimes because we were having soul-baring conversation that was raw and painful, and sometimes because we were laughing so hard from too many margaritas and a series of hilarious Snapchats). We learned about each others quirks- like the fact that she sleeps face down and doesn't move at all during the night (which can feel like you're sharing a bed with a corpse) or the unfortunate fact that I learned I say "YOLO" way too often (which makes me embarrassed and lose major cool points). Regardless, we left knowing each other better and loving each other more.
I've come to discover that's what this place does to you. It cracks open your soul and awakens the part of you that's been sleepwalking through the monotony of everyday life. It reminds you that this life is a beautiful one- full of possibility and things to be thankful for. It invites you to abandon FOMO and live contently right in the very moment where you are. It reveals to you how a painful experience that didn't make any sense actually lead you to this exact spot where you're sitting right now: watching a tangerine sunset with new friends, talking about Jesus, and blogs, and dreaming big and inspiring each other- wondering how life could really look any more beautiful than it does right now.
So thank you to Rosemary Beach for being my happy place. Thank you for being a place where I know I can always come to feel renewed and find the kind of joy that lights a fire in my soul. Thanks for giving me countless memories that I can remember and be encouraged by when I'm back home and feeling stuck about something. Thank you for being the closest place to heaven that I know here on this earth. I'll be back again real soon.
A HUGE thanks to Rosemary Beach and 30A Street Style for an incredible week. To learn more about planning a trip here of your own, visit www.bitly.com/rbsequins or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.