Pensacola, Florida
Saturday October 25th 2014

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My Pensacola—Andrea Walker

Name:  Andrea Walker
Day Job:  Adjunct Instructor of Developmental Writing and Reading, Pensacola State College
Pensacola Resident Since:  1956 (except for a 15-year interlude in Atlanta from 1989 to 2004)

Good Eats: The intimate atmosphere at The Leisure Club is great for meeting friends and conducive to literary conversation over a bowl of tomato basil soup. The grouper supreme sandwich at Peg Leg Pete’s can’t be beat. Bob and I like dinner at The Grand Marlin for special occasions; I love the mahi mahi, the moon over the sound and the music of Beach Mice. The Southwestern salad at The Happy Pig is awesome.

Retail Therapy: I’m drawn like a magnet to sale racks at Dillard’s, Belk and J.C. Penney’s for clothes. For items for home I rummage through the clearance shelves at T.J. Maxx, Target and Wal-Mart.  Big Lots and Tuesday Morning are also good places to plunder. The thrift stores are fun too. My favorites are St. Vincent de Paul at Ninth and Fairfield and the Super Thrift on North Ninth.

Watering Holes: Kooter Brown’s has the best wings in town and we wash it down with an ice cold pitcher of brew. They offer plenty of labels to choose from. We enjoy the wide selection of beer , the great menu and the airy open atmosphere at Miller’s Ale House.  Otherwise, give me a glass of cabernet, merlot or chilled white with dinner anywhere.

Night Life: We used to dress up and head to the Saenger for first run movies. Now we go to the classic movie series for good nostalgic fun—no need to dress up unless you want to. The Gulf Breeze Cinema 4 shows the most thought-provoking movies in town, and Bands on the Beach combines the best of both worlds. Jazz at Five Sisters Blues Cafe is a blast. I recently discovered The Showcase—corner of Palafox and Jordan—and look forward to more events there.

Outdoors: Next to swimming, a long walk is my activity of choice. In cool weather the boardwalks at Bluffs Park on Scenic Highway lead down to the quiet shoreline of Escambia Bay. Ft. Pickens is awesome as well along the shore or scrambling up and down the walkways and walls. Plaza de Luna can’t be beat for a leisurely sunset stroll. Commune with nature on the walking trails at UWF.

Arts and Culture: The Pensacola State College Lyceum series offers top-notch performances all year long. The musical and theatre productions are always well-done. I love to run into my students there as well as at the Anna Lamar Switzer Gallery which showcases a variety of excellent art.  Artel is fun and full of aesthetically pleasing surprises. Last year I participated in their Imaginations Squared project created by locals and look forward to this year’s exhibit.

Never Miss Events/Festivals: I have a standing date for the Third Tuesday Open Mic sponsored by the West Florida Literary Federation every month. Wine, cheese and camaraderie at 6:30 p.m. followed by readings of poetry and prose by local writers create an enjoyable evening. This event is held in the Pensacola Cultural Center room 201. I’m a regular at Gallery Night also, preferring the early hours so I can get a good parking spot and wander around in the daylight. New Year’s Eve I enjoy the family night downtown with my grandson.