Monday, November 12, 2012


Grand Lagoon Boardwalk
Our hotel is located on a peninsula on the Grand Lagoon of St. Andrew’s Bay…not quite the same beach feel as you get directly on the Gulf.  We wanted that "Gulf Beach feel" so our first destination of the day was the beach.  We stopped at a city park and headed for the water.  PCB’s (Panama City Beach) beaches are pure white sand…almost looks like snow…and powdery soft.  It’s a beautiful contrast to the blues and aquas of the warm waves washing upon the shore.
Shelling on PCB

I suppose you’re wondering where all that white sand came from, aren’t you?  Yeh,  I knew it because I wondered, too.  Turns out that it is quartz crystals washed down from the Appalachians and ground down into fine powder over millions of years by the Gulf's waves.  Now.  You.  Know!

Next stop was the City Pier, jutting over a quarter of a mile into the gulf.  We got lots of great views of the crashing waves and the great shoreline of PCB.  We also saw huge manta rays and some jelly fish the size of softballs…glad we were on the pier!  But our best sighting was three dolphins headed straight for the pier.  Mona spotted them way out and the four of us watched as they got closer and closer.  Just as they got close enough for a good photo they disappeared.  Camera shy, I guess.

See them?!?!
One of the mandatory activities in PCB is souvenir shopping, so off we went hunting for the perfect memento.  Luckily, there are virtually hundreds of shops and mega-souvenir stores to choose from and some of them have bonus attractions like live shark feeding, alligators or even hermit crab racing.  Can it get any better than this?!?!?  (Actually, it can…there are ALL sorts of souvenir shops, catering to your every whim!  You’ll just have to visit PCB on your own to see what they offer.)

Got the shopping done so it was time to do some Veteran’s Day Wine Tasting.  (What vet doesn't like wine?!?!)  We started out with the Sea Breeze Winery which specializes in wines made from the local muscadine grape.  Lots of fun wines here!  Then, off to the Panama City Beach Winery.  This winery offers about 25 different wines, all designed by a chemical engineer and all made from fruit.  Wow, what incredible flavors…mangos, grapefruits, tomatoes and on and on.  They even have an orange based wine that has a perfect coffee finish.  These wines are amazing!!!  They even serve cheese ball samples that are paired with the wine.  Talk about a do-over place!

All that shopping and wine tasting wore us out so it was back to the condo for relaxing by the fire.  This is a great place for just chilling….at least till it was time for dinner.

Mona has been on a grits crusade this entire trip.  She’s had grits every time they’re offered.  Grits and butter, cheese grits, smoked cheese grits….you name it and she’s tried it.  This evening’s meal was no exception…triple cheese grits paired with fried shrimp.  Best grits so far!

First day in PCB is done…and what fun!  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings….what surprises will come...what kind of animals or Art will we see...what kind of grits will Mona have next?!?!

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