Gulf Beaches are a Tram Ride Away

Kathie Farnell

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, located on Highway 98 near the Florida Panhandle city of Destin, has added the Baytowne Wharf Beer Fest to its fall lineup of entertainment offerings. Set in Sandestin’s Village of Baytowne Wharf, the festival featured more than 100 beers from 32 breweries. On October 25 and 26, brewers from all over the United States and Germany served up beers—including specialty and hard-to-find brews—to an enthusiastic crowd over a background of lively music.

The fest kicked off with a VIP beer tasting led by John Lasseter of local partner Goldring Gulf Distributors. The tasting, set in the Village’s Lumpy’s Wine Bar (Lumpy is a dachshund, and no, I don’t know if he drinks) featured a selection of craft beers including a couple of unusual items—Orange Blossom Honey Beer from Florida and Lazy Magnolia Brewery’s Southern Pecan beer. Lasseter likes craft beer festivals as an easy way to introduce visitors to new beers: “Beer lovers can treat themselves to a new taste that they are not likely to sample anywhere else. Then, people can find places that serve the brand or stock up with cases straight from the brewer.” Lumpy’s offered a retail tent at which festival-goers could buy their favorites.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf features accommodations, shops, restaurants, andentertainment options including a treetop zipline and a 98-slip marina. Outside the Village, Sandestin includes 2400 acres between the Gulf of Mexico and Choctawhatchee Bay. In addition to shops and restaurants, the resort offers four championship golf courses, fifteen tennis courts, children’s programs, a fitness center and day spa. A tram service ferries visitors to and from the beaches and a water shuttle operates at night between the Village and the resort’s main parking lot. Sandestin hosts special events year-round including the November Beaujolais Nouveau Holiday Kickoff at the resort’s Market Shops area and a Thanksgiving dinner cruise aboard the yacht Solaris. On December 8, the Baytowne Marina Christmas Boat Parade glides past the village and into the Bay.

Shopping and dining are year-round attractions at Sandestin. The Village eateries include the New Orleans-styled Acme Oyster House, a branch of Jim’n’Nick’s Bar-B-Q, the Marlin Grill for seafood and steaks and the elegant Bistro Bijoux. Shopping opportunities, in addition to the Village shops include the stores at Sandestin’s Grand Boulevard and the nearby Market Shops—and, a short drive away, the dozens of stores at Silver Sands Factory Stores.

Getting There

Sandestin is located on Highway 98 just outside Destin, Florida, between Pensacola and Panama City. The area is served by daily flights into Okaloosa County airport as well as flights into Pensacola and Panama City. For more information on visiting Sandestin, check the website at www.sandestin.com

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