It was Mardi Gras weekend five years ago that a good friend and I decided to pack up and get out of the cold Nashville weather for a few days. We found a great rate on a studio at Gulf Place and booked it one month in advance. We had no itinerary, just looking forward to a quick winter break.
Little did we know how much fun the South Walton area can be late February. It was too cold to play in the Gulf or even sit by the water for longer than an hour. It forced us to seek out new venues, catch live music and explore the new haunts we'd otherwise be missing on our larger family trip. I didn't have to visit Watercolor Publix daily or plan every meal for 7 days. It was truly a new experience.
We made many new friendships with the locals, bouncing around from Red Bar to Marie's Bistro and all across 30A east to west. We settled at the Naked Grape (now La Playa) during a Gulf Place festival on Saturday; laughing, telling life stories... without a care in the world. We knew that day, this needs to become a yearly tradition. There is little to no traffic, no wait to be seated to eat; just snowbirds and locals.
Since that year, we have noticed more and more traffic, but nothing like the summer. I think more folks have discovered our little late February secret and are taking advantage of the easier times down south before spring break hits. The rates are much better and if you hit the right weekend, the temps are in the 70's and the sun feels incredible.
That weekend trip has become a winter staple in our schedules and we continue to tell new stories standing outside of Red Bar and making new friendships every year. We are calling it the Geaux Down Threaux Down and we encourage anyone and everyone to join us late February on this ongoing, incredible adventure.