A few months ago, I answered my phone to hear my dear friend and power house soul sister, Hannah Martin say “Surprise! Pack your bags, we’re going to New York City for your birthday.” Two days later, I was swooped up by limo with a handful of my best friends in tow, headed first class to the Big Apple for a weekend I will never forget. I had no idea what the three days would hold, but everything was planned from start to finish. The weekend consisted of over the top dinners, museums, and unexpected surprises, all in my favorite city with five of my closest friends, making it a weekend I will grow up and tell my kids about (well most of it J).
When my birthday celebration came to an end, I sat and thought every night, how on earth can I repay these earth angels I am so blessed to call my best friends? How in this world can I show these girls how truly appreciative I was for taking the time, energy, and resources to pull off what was, hands down, one of the top five most incredible experiences of my life? Then it hit me! What about a localized version of the Big Apple Adventure? And hence, the Slaycation was born.
The weekend started with a 4 p.m. check in at my favorite local resort, The Henderson, where we were welcomed with personalized notes, charcuterie and wine (the key to our hearts) compliments of the incredible staff. Local décor company, Mingle, adorned our joining suites with dazzling balloons to add that extra pop of surprise.
The ladies trickled in, we powdered our noses and headed out on foot (well, heels!) to Beach Walk Café. Located just steps from The Henderson Resort, this hidden gem has been dubbed a local’s favorite restaurant for over twenty years. We were whisked onto the back deck of Henderson Park Inn and welcomed with panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico paired with the breeze flowing through our hair (giving the perfect photograph). General Manager and local celebrity, Michael McIntosh, sabered our welcome bottle of champagne and officially kicked off the weekend. We each enjoyed a different dish on the menu, from the surf and turf to the lobster to the short rib, each cooked impeccably and paired with delectable wines hand chosen by Michael. The perfect start to a weekend (I hope) they never forget.
The next morning, we took the elevator down to Primrose, The Henderson’s signature restaurant, and enjoyed a full-service breakfast paired with mimosas and the most incredible service. After breakfast, we spent hours on the terrace overlooking the Gulf and the neighboring state park while catching up, laughing and telling stories – hours of relaxation that each of us hard-working business owners needed more than anything. Early afternoon hit and we wanted to venture out. We headed to the Destin Harbor and enjoyed a delectable lunch at Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer complete with crab legs and champagne!
It was then time to experience our next surprise (now THIS was certainly a highlight of the weekend). Our chariot awaited us as we walked to the docks located at Mid Bay Bridge to be taken away for an evening harbor booze cruise by our friends at Legendary Marine. Todd Royall and his team spoiled us with a $1 million center console boat complete with a licensed captain to allow us girls to take in the sights and sounds of the Choctawhatchee Bay and historic Destin Harbor by boat. We sang, we danced, we took plenty of photos and we had the time of our lives!
We then headed back to the resort and enjoyed quality time in the suite together and ordered room service to end our evening. We slept in on Sunday, packed up and then headed back to our homes – just a short 20-minute drive away. Overall, we had the time of our lives. It certainly may not have been a grand vacation in the Big Apple, but it absolutely was precious time spent with dear friends in our very own hometown.
Moral of the story is: A) I am blessed with the best of friends and B) if you’re having trouble figuring out what to get those who have it all, get them an experience, a staycation at Destin’s finest resort, and spend a weekend enjoying all of the things we’re telling those who visit us about. I encourage you to give it a try! I am grateful for my best friends and I am grateful for my incredible clients and community partners for rolling out the red carpet for us. Cheers to your next Slaycation!