Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Beautiful Weekend In Panama City, Florida

There is nothing quite like traveling over to Panama City Beach, Florida in the Summertime to enjoy the amazing white sand beaches, brilliant emerald blue-green water, and the cloud-filled beautiful blue skies.

I don't know too much about the weather,  but I think the clouds we see off in the distance in these two photos are thunder clouds.  They sure are pretty from a distance and this one looked like it was posing just for my camera.

Panama City Beach in Northwest Florida is located just 100 miles from Tallahassee, Florida.  For us it is a short two hour drive across Interstate-10 West and Highway 231 South.

We try to visit Panama City Beach a couple of times a year.  
But,  this time it seemed like the sky was bluer and the water was greener than ever.

They say Panama City Beach fishing is world famous with many varieties of fish,  including Blue Marlin, Red Snapper, Mackerel, Trout, Pompano and Cobia.  I know for sure there are lots of Shrimp and Grouper as well.

Spanish explorers first came to this area in the 1500s.  It is interesting to know that Pirates came to this area also.  They would lie in wait for the richly laden European ships on route to Mexico and Spain.  It is even said that Pirate treasure can still be found in these waters.

On this day there were a lot of folks out on the beach enjoying the day. 
If you look closely,  you can see a bird or two flying through the air enjoying themselves also.

There is something so peaceful watching the boats out in the distance and watching the waves come and go as they reach the shore.  Can't you just feel the warm breezes gently flowing through the air.

I was taking these photos from the balcony of Long Beach Resort Condo where we were staying.  Later in the day I went back out on the balcony just to take a look again.  I thought it was so pretty to see the sunlight reflecting on the beautiful water down below as it began to be later in the day.  Florida is appropriately called the Sunshine State.

And again we see the sun slipping lower in the Western skies,  leaving a beautiful reflection on the waters below.  We were going out to dinner with friends later in the evening, and I knew we would not be able to capture the amazing sunset we so often see when we visit this area.  

Do you see that little bird in the extreme right top corner of the photo?  He  just flew into the photo to get his picture taken.

As we went out on the patio when we returned later from dinner,  of all things the moon had come out and was shining so nicely on the water.

I am not a real photographer.  I just set my camera on automatic and whatever happens happens.  For some reason the camera did not want to focus, but I did like the photo anyway because it showed the beautiful night sky.

The buildings in the below photos are part of the Long Beach Resort 
located in Panama City Beach.  These condos can be rented by the day, week, month, etc.

There are many beautiful places to stay in the Panama City Beach area.  We always choose to stay at this lovely Long Beach Resort because the grounds are the site of what was once called the "Hang Out."  Yes,  just as the name implies the original Hang Out was a favorite for many of the teenage visitors from near and far.

In the above photo we see the small restaurant located around the pool area.  

Even though the original Hang Out is long gone,  this is still a reminder of the original site.  This new complex was built exactly where the very popular Hang Out use to be located.

This very inviting pool is located between two of the Resort buildings.

These pretty flowers were blowing in the breeze,  but I still was able to snap a close-up photo. 

On this day, the outside temperature gauge in our car registered 100 degrees, 
so I imagine this pool water was very refreshing.

Thanks to Mr. Google I was able to find some old photos of the original 
"Hang Out" Pavilion that was located exactly in this area.  

My husband remembers coming down here from his home in South Georgia to "hang out" when he was a teenager.  He especially remembers the dancing, the music and the snack bar with hot dogs and hamburgers.  From what Mr. Google tells me there was a whole lot more in the area which included a skating rink, miniature golf, souvenir shop, a restaurant, amusement rides and much more.

The original Hang Out was built in 1940 and lasted until it was torn down in 1975.

Even though it was very hot outside this weekend the breezes were blowing nicely,
 which made a nice walk on the beach a lot of fun.

In the above and below photos we see the Sea Oats plants which are so often seen along the beaches in the Panama City Beach area.  These plants survive in the southeastern United States and in some Caribbean islands.  

They are important because their growth helps protect the beaches.  They also provide food for birds and small animals.  Who would have thought this simple little plant could do all that.

Taking a drive west down Highway 98 we see the entrance into Pier Park.  This is a fun place to visit because there is something for everyone.  There are several very nice restaurants, An amusement park,  a movie theatre, IMAX theatre, many specialty shops and major department stores.

As you can see there are many stores up and down several streets.

You can see the Amusement Park for the children in the below photo.

More shopping.

And more shopping.

The IMAX theatre and the other theatre.

    In the below photo we see this pretty lake which is located close to the back entrance of the Park.

I love these Palmetto bushes we see surrounding the lake.  
They are what I call a Florida plant, but they may grow other places as well.

These plants are so tropical looking.

This restaurant is toward the front of Pier Park.  We have not eaten there, but hear it is very good.

And this restaurant is also supposed to be very good.

The below photo shows across the front before the entrance to the Park.

Later in the afternoon after visiting the Park we passed this 
restaurant and decided to go in for a small snack.

We were going in for a snack because we were curious what this restaurant looked like inside. 
It was very open and tropical with the breezes blowing through.  

We were seated in one of these benches with an awning to keep the sun away. 
 It was a real treat to be here and we enjoyed this little oasis.

While we were enjoying a nice refreshing cold drink and snack, 
we noticed this cute little bird walking in the sand.

Isn't he so cute!

Well, the weekend was coming to a close and it was time to head back home.  You can see the highway stretching eastward way off in the distance.  As we were driving along it was so nice seeing this pretty cloud-filled blue sky most of the way home.

And passing a building along the way I spotted Old Glory 
at the top of the building blowing in the breeze.

I hope you enjoyed traveling along with us as we visited this beautiful North Florida Beach area.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your week with many blessings wherever you may be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Special 19th Birthday Party

As we all know there are many important things going on in this ole world.  And, yes, we are all busy with our work, responsibilities, errands and keeping life running smoothly for ourselves and for those we care about.  And, of course, we are also busy trying to help others when we can.

Therefore, with all the activities going on around us to keep life running smoothly,  it is such great fun to pause and take time to celebrate a family member's birthday.  How special to celebrate the day our loved ones took their very first breath of life here on this earth.

Our grandson John Scott turned 19 years old two days ago.  In the below photo we see him as just a little tyke.  As we all say so often,  "How did he grow up so fast."

Here he is again as a little fella helping make brownies in the kitchen.
We have had many of these special moments while he has been growing up.

His mom asked him what kind of birthday cake he would like to have for this birthday.  He requested a white cake with white icing from Publix, our local grocery store.    As you can see in the below photo Publix cakes are so beautifully decorated ... And, they are delicious too.

If you have ever visited Sweet Southern Days previously,  you know how I love to take pictures.   I took my camera and went all around my daughter's home snapping photos of some of the birthday decorations.

In the below photo we see a birthday envelope addressed to John Scott.  His Mom and Dad knew he wanted "FSU student-season-tickets" to all of the home Florida State University football games.  So, yes, when he opened this special envelope, much to his delight, he saw the season tickets given as a birthday gift.

Another photo I snapped was this very special keepsake, hand-painted pottery Happy Birthday plate,  
given to John Scott by his other grandmother many years ago when he turned one year old.
What a special treasure this is for him to keep forever.

Our daughter Sharon has this large, nicely framed chalkboard in her kitchen.  She uses it to make note of special days.  I have seen many special messages displayed here on her chalkboard ... Love this!

She even has her cookie-jar decorated with a birthday hat and in the background  
you can see her "Happy Birthday" nightlight.

Her dining room table is all ready for the party.

I snapped a photo of some of the family in the kitchen while we were all getting everything ready. John Scott requested Hot Dogs and Bradley Country Sausage dogs for the main dish for the party.  We also served Salad and Aunt Stephanie's Macaroni and Cheese.

In the below photo we see John Scott's brothers Preston, Lawson, and then his cousin Chase, our daughter Aunt Stephanie,  John Scott and his Mom, our daughter Sharon.

Yes, and in the below photo,  we see Aunt Stephanie, 
and one of John Scott's grandmothers (me), and his Mom Sharon.

What a pleasure it is for me to have two of our daughters living here in Tallahassee.

And, in the below photo we see the yummy large chocolate-chip-birthday-cookie-cake 
Aunt Stephanie made especially for John Scott.  

And in the below photo we see John Scott's whole family.

Lawson 10, his Mom, John Scott 19, Will 16, Preston 13 and then Charlie his Dad (who, by the way, is one of the very best Dads in the whole world) ... I have told him many times he should write a book on how to be a great Dad.

In the below photo we see John Scott with his family, including his other grandmother.
She did the most wonderful job raising her son Charlie who is John Scott's Dad.

Little brother Lawson had the great pleasure of lighting the candles on the cake.

John Scott is busy making a wish before blowing out the "19" candles on his cake.

It was fun singing Happy Birthday and then watching him blow out the candles.

Looking on during the celebrating was Aunt Stephanie's new little puppy dog Ella.

After the cake and ice cream it was gift opening time ... One of John Scott's favorite gifts was a Seminole Sammy Logo Decal for his Jeep.  Yes, he and the whole family are Florida State Seminole fans.  And, John Scott could not stop talking about how thrilling it is that football season will be beginning soon.

The first year of college will be beginning for John Scott,  not this coming Monday, but the next.  He is excited about the new adventure about to begin in his life.   He hopes to study hard, do well, and then enter Law School eventually going on to practice Sports Law in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thanks for coming along with us as we celebrated such a fun 19th birthday for our grandson along with his family.

Wishing you a wonderful rest of your week wherever you may be.