Good Eats: Food is my favorite subject! In my opinion, Lillian’s Pizza in Perdido Key is some of the best pizza around. I loved the old location right on the gulf the best, but when the restaurant moved across the street after Hurricane Ivan, the pizza and ranch dressing stayed the same. Georgio’s Pizza is a close second for great pizza and a more convenient location in town. For the freshest menu in town, I recommend Cactus Flower Cafe. They have the best guacamole made with a whole avocado and the chicken tacos and shredded beef chimichanga are to die for! A few of my other favorites are Dharma Blue, The Fish House, and Jerry’s Cajun Café.
Retail Therapy: Jewelers Trade Shop, in historic downtown Pensacola, is my favorite fine jewelry store in town. You can always see the jewelers hard at work in the loft area making custom pieces of jewelry. When my husband and I purchased our wedding and engagement rings, Corbett Davis, III and Sarah Biggs made sure that we were happy and even made a few secret phone calls to keep everything a surprise! Another favorite store of mine is Trinity Collection off Garden Street. Their selection of sterling silver jewelry and gemstones makes this one of my first stops whenever I am looking for a reasonably priced gift for any occasion. A few of my other favorite shops in town are Celebrations The Florist for all seasons, Aqua Pool and Patio, and The Linen Corner.
Watering Holes: Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen and Taproom is a great place for beer connoisseurs. The downtown location boasts having over 200 different beers. Personally, I am content with the Belgian fries – fried in duck fat and served with roasted garlic herb dip. With the addition of the new location on Nine Mile Road, Hopjacks is sure to gain even more popularity as a local watering hole. If drinking wine with a water view is more your style, I recommend Jaco’s Bayfront Bar and Grille at the end of South Palafox. They have a light food menu and a good selection of wine that can be enjoyed as you look out at all the yachts docked at the marina. The Maritime Park stadium can be seen from the back deck making Jaco’s a good location to enjoy some drinks before a Blue Wahoos game this summer.
Outdoors: With warmer weather coming soon, I can’t wait to get back on my Innerlight StandUp Paddleboard. The gulf side of Pensacola Beach is my favorite place to paddle because the water is so clear you can see all of the stingrays, fish, and dolphins underneath your board. I also love the beach at Perdido Key for a more relaxed and quiet atmosphere during the busy summer weekends at Pensacola Beach. The nature trails at Big Lagoon State Park and UWF are two of my favorite locations to enjoy the outdoors when not in the water.
Arts & Culture: Pensacola is full of culture, events and festivals, and downtown Pensacola is alive with new businesses and attractions. Gallery Night is a good excuse to browse the shops along Palafox, and Seville Square is the place to be for local festivals. Two of my favorite festivals are the Pensacola Seafood Festival and the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival. Seville Square is covered in beautiful oak trees and is surrounded by historic buildings like Old Christ Church. A newer addition to the area surrounding Seville Square is the Lee House Bed and Breakfast owned by Norma Murray from Norma’s On The Run, along with her husband Patrick Murray. The long porches, rocking chairs, and views of the bay make this a great place to relax and enjoy some Southern hospitality! Lastly, one of my favorite local businesses is Rae Leytham Photography. Owners Rae and Wesley Leytham are a husband and wife duo that are excellent wedding, family, and infant photographers. Their photography speaks for itself, but their sense of humor and ease to work with are for sure what has made them so successful with clients.