I recently shared coffee with Abigail in Nashville after discovering her work online. The colors were soft and inviting... her subject matter was interesting. She had a few photographs of emerald water and white sandy beaches and I knew that place.
I reached out to her immediately and from our initial meeting, a spark was ignited and this new gallery series was born. As well as a good friendship centered around a mutual passion we share for our 30A and the beaches of South Walton, Florida.
Where do you call home?
I currently live just south of Franklin, TN. Franklin is one of my favorite little small towns... it never grows old and it always welcomes you back. It's a little bit like 30A with a chance of snow.
How did you discover the beaches of South Walton?
When I was nine years old, church friends offered my parents a stay at their beach home in Grayton Beach for two weeks. It was a kid's dream; a lanky beach house a five minute walk from the waves. Grayton is very warm, quiet and walkable with a private inlet perfect for paddling in a boat.
How often and when/where do you visit?
My parents and I now rent a beach house in Seacrest/Rosemary beach. Schedules permitting, we go down every September and stay for a week to two weeks. All three of us own our own businesses, so it's nice to completely unplug for a break; the constant flow of email tends to eat away at your headspace. We take our dogs, get tons of groceries so we only have to go out if we really want to and turn on auto-respond.
Typical beach itinerary
What itinerary? Just kidding! :) After a restful night, I like to walk to breakfast a couple of times a week in Rosemary... I love getting a salad bowl or smoothie. A morning walk on the beach is another favorite thing...
Then it's a trip down to the shore for a swim. Sometimes we spoil ourselves and rent beach chairs so that all we need is a beach bag and a noodle. I love to swim in the water and read an engrossing novel on the shore. Sometimes I'll bring all the art and design magazines I never have time to read during the year.
The past couple of years, I've also started watercoloring on the beach. I'm fascinated by the way the sand builds and gradates on the shore and the ever-changing tones of the water. I walk down the sand until I find an interesting pattern and drop down to paint.
When we feel too fully baked, it's back to the house for lunch. After eating, I'll grab some knitting and watch a movie while my mom sews on her antique machine. The cool air conditioning and whir of the machine usually put me to sleep.
When I wake up, I go down to the pool to swim a few laps and float in the water. Seaside has the most amazing five level pool and it's so quiet in September, you can swim the whole length back and forth.
At last, we all make dinner and sit on the porch with the dogs, who happily bark at all they see!
If we are in town for longer, I like to drive to Seaside for an Italian ice and an afternoon at the bookshop. But if it's only a few days, Rosemary's shops and smoothies are perfect... I can't bear to not soak up every second of peace.
What is inspiring about the beach to you?
The light. Always the light. It chases and slants and bounces off the plants and water to warm you down to the core.
I also love the sound of the waves... it matches in cadence perfectly with the sight of the waves. For a couple of weeks after I leave, I can hear the ocean when I'm falling asleep.
Why is 30A your beach?
30A is private, natural and calm. With thoughtfully planned amenities, it is beautiful and European. There aren't a lot of touristy distractions from the perfect serenity of the place.
Not to mention, I've built up memories there. It's lovely going down to see how things have changed... always something new to blend with the old. I remember the happiest times with my family and that we had no worries there.
What are your must-visit spots in between relaxing?
La Cocina is the tastiest Mexican around... one serving of their tacos leaves me feeling fuller than after a thanksgiving meal. Usually I like to eat there when I'm in the mood for a nap (food coma.) I wish they did takeout to Nashville.
In Seaside, I always have to go for an Italian ice and to Sun Dog books for a new read.
In Rosemary, the farmer's market is a must. Multiple trips to The Summer Kitchen Cafe are in order for fresh breakfast bowls and smoothies. And I always find a new piece to wear at Bombora Surf Shop... usually something that reminds me of the beach with a more versatile style.
What is your best beach memory from 30A?
My best beach memory is having very few distinct memories from such a special place. I know that sounds strange, but remembering that I went to a place where I could let go of every single thing and be enveloped in a warm haze with plenty of rest can keep me going for a whole year.
However, a memory that really sticks out is the whole first time that I went. It was magical; I was nine years old, I had a blow up raft to paddle in the inlet, we took trips for ice cream, rode our bikes as a family and went to the book shop. Every night, I fell asleep with the sound of rain or wind on a tin roof. I think every time I go back, I'm looking for that nine year old girl and hoping that I will find her.
To view more of Abigail's work, visit www.abigailbobo.com and follow her on Instagram @abigail_bobo