Friday, June 18, 2010

Girls Getaway to the Beaches of South Walton - Day 1

Who knew you could have one of your best Girlfriend Getaway experiences with complete strangers? That’s exactly what I did during my Girls Getaway to the Beaches of South Walton. A few months ago, I received a wonderful, heartfelt letter from Jennie Ann Dean (no relation to Paula although upon meeting her you may think otherwise) explaining that her best friend Sondra (aka Rooster) was in desperate need of a Girls Getaway but they had limited budgets to work with. Jennie Ann simply asked, “is there anything you can do to help us?”

I get a lot of random emails, but this one was different. As I read more about Rooster, I couldn’t help but want to help her. Rooster’s only son recently passed away after a multi-year battle with cancer. Weeks after the funeral her husband left her for another woman. Then came the torturous stalking and harassment from the husband’s girlfriend, which eventually led to the woman’s arrest. Yes, Jennie Ann was right....Rooster needed a fabulous Girls Getaway.

Jennie Ann and I communicated only via email and agreed to celebrate Rooster’s birthday at the Beaches of South Walton during one of my upcoming Girls Getaway press trips.

Not knowing anything about these “new” friends of mine, I was reluctant to travel with them by myself. So my friend Tanya and I flew the new Southwest Airlines route from Orlando to Panama City, FL and rode with Roy about 45 minutes to Seaside, which is just outside Destin. Seaside is where the movie The Truman Show was filmed and is every bit as quaint and charming as depicted in the movie.

Once we arrived in Seaside, FL ( at Seaside Cottage Rental Agency (, we were greeted by our three new friends; Jennie Ann, Sondra (Rooster) and Becky who are all from Marianna, FL. Rooster has had some hard times the last few years, and her friends decided she needed a Girls Getaway, so we met up in Seaside to help Rooster have the time of her life as she celebrates her 44th birthday! We checked in to our “cottages” and Michelle gave us not only our entry codes, but also four bottles of wine! This is going to be one great trip!

We got settled in to our new homes for the next few nights... the Marianna girls stayed at the three-bedroom Sisters Three-by-the-Sea. Tanya and I stayed at the two-story Mahogany Fun. The accommodations are super cozy and decorated really well. We all decided we weren’t going to leave.

With our stomachs growling after the travels, we walked to the town center to eat at Bud & Alley’s Restaurant (, a 15-year Seaside tradition named after a dog and cat. I had THE BEST pork chop I have ever eaten, while the rest of the group loved their Grilled Grouper, Crab Cakes and Salmon. During dinner we laughed and laughed so much that my cheeks hurt. It was so great to finally meet the Marianna ladies, and I could already tell we were going to have a great time together.

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