A few more thoughts on Florida’s Planhandle

So long, Planhandle.

We’ll be making the tedious six-hour drive back to Orlando tomorrow morning, but already I’m thinking of an excuse to visit Northwest Florida again. My friends in Pensacola are interested in hosting a remote broadcast of the radio show, maybe this spring. That would be fun.

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In the meantime, you’re probably wondering why Erysse (pictured above) is running again. We took a final walk through our neighborhood in WaterColor this afternoon, and for all the grief this area gets for being overplanned (they call it the Florida “Planhandle”) it’s really pretty nice.

Our hosts here at the resort invited us to dinner at Fish Out Of Water last night. The local seafood was tasty, and the desserts (try the lava cake) can’t be missed. I’m not a big fan of rich food, but if I had my way I’d stay here until Christmas. Look at what’s on the menu.

Today, after doing some last-minute Christmas shopping, we had another look around the neighborhood. The place wasn’t entirely abandoned, as we’d originally thought. There were quite a few families with children and minivans with out-of-state license plates (mostly from southern and Midwestern states). Everyone seemed happy to be out of the cold. I guess compared to sub-freezing temperatures, 60 degrees feels nice.

If you don’t care for the structured way that WaterColor appears — the pine forests that grow in a straight line behind the architecturally-consistent mansions — then head over to Seaside, which has a more organic feel. I actually liked both, but for different reasons.

Seaside kind of reminds me of Berkeley, Calif., where I went to graduate school. Wander off the main thoroughfare, and you’ll find yourself among houses with lots of personality. Everything from the landscaping to the paint job to the lawn ornaments exudes individualism. You don’t find places like that in Florida too often.

The house we stayed in had cathedral ceilings, hardwood floors and bathrooms that are bigger than my office. If I could afford a place like this, I would. But alas, travel writers like me don’t get to live here.

Oh well. We’ll be back soon for another visit.