Urban light


Although I am on vacation, I’m working this week. And I felt a need to blog.

Each year I make this swing through the Panhandle speaking to Gator Clubs. I’m a lot more in demand now that Urban Meyer has toned down his schedule. So it was Tallahassee on Wednesday, Pensacola on Thursday and the Emerald Coast Gator Club tonight near Destin.

And I’m here to tell you this — the beaches are just as beautiful as ever. I talked to several people and they said they have only on rare occasions seen a tar ball about the size of a quarter. It seems the Pensacola Beach restaurants really struggled with the perception that the beaches were covered in oil but the ones in Destin are still doing well.

At each stop they have been eager to hear about the Gators and what I think about this season. With the lack of information coming out of Gainesville they are feeling even more distant.

This is a great trip because the people have been so great. Tallahassee had an overflow crowd and Charlie Crist showed up to give a little talk to a jammed-pack crowd in Pensacola. We dined at McGuire’s after the talk, a great pub with signed dollars on the wall. They have to count them every year for the IRS and the total the last time they counted was $1.25 million! Best peppercorn steak I have ever eaten.

The best thing about this trip is where I am staying in Destin. I’m lucky in my job that I get to stay in a lot of great hotels but I will tell you the Emerald Grande is my favorite. It is spectacular with amazing views and a great Harbor Walk that has great restaurants. The only downer is that it has rained both days.

I’m ready to come home and ready for the start of another football season. It’s game week starting Sunday. Are you ready for some football?


  1. Raised in Fort Walton Beach and Destin, with family property — for sale — on water at Santa Rosa Beach, and a Florida alum, I especially appreciate your good report. We’re too far removed in Raleigh, NC to visit our property and examine our beloved white sands. And I’m glad to see a recruit out of Pensacola commit verbally to UF. It’s been awhile since UF successfully, or even actively mined the Panhandle, which is high school football crazy. Thanks for your updates! And for a special little treat, try the old Lighthouse restaurant in the older part of Destin. Best grilled amberjack on the coast from Texas east.