The cove ended up being ‘home’ for another night, as we relished the calm waters and white sand. Dolphins surfaced, and one heron guarded the cove. Sailboats anchored out, and flounder fishermen putted through the cove with their ‘pitchfork’ spears in the dark. It was a peaceful respite, but on Thursday 11/8 we headed to Pensacola traversing the bay, and ended up in a great marina just a short walk to the old historic district. It’s called Palafox Marina, and has been home for 4 nights. The marina has floating docks (so nice in the tides) and is full of little jelly fish. The trees here never change colors, so I guess autumn is officially over for us, but summer is back.
In need of navigation charts, Jim contacted Harbor Master Gary Lake. He was such a godsend, and a plethora of information. He picked us up at the marina, brought us to West Marine for charts, to the grocery store for food, to the Liquor Store, and to the Home Depot and Lowe’s for denatured alcohol for the stove. We stocked up big time! That evening we met up with Chris Wallace, Terry & daughter Rebecca. Chris was aboard the ‘River Rat’ who we traveled with on the Mississippi and Tennessee Rivers. They introduced us to a great place called the Seville Quarter, a unique building like those in New Orleans, that houses several bars, restaurants, pool hall, outdoor terrace and stage, with live entertainment at every turn. We had dinner, then Jim and I went to the Dueling Piano show, which was really an entire band with 2 pianos. It was a great time!
On Friday we had to catch up on the laundry, but had a heck of time finding quarters. Jim ended up walking to the nearest bank after several other attempts failed. We cleaned the boat again, and walked around town to check out some of the historic sites. We toured part of the TT Wentworth Museum which showcased Florida maps from the 15, 16 and 1700’s.
Pensacola is nicknamed the City of Five Flags because it has flown 5 different flags since it was first founded in 1559: the Spanish; French; English; Confederate States and the United States. Hurricanes have wiped out the oldest structures, but the historic district is full of old buildings with unique architecture. And there always seems to be something going on!
Chris Wallace picked us up about 6:00 and we went to Pensacola Beach, a 15 minute drive across the bay. The beach is dotted with open air bars and a landmark ferris wheel. We went to ‘The Dock’, then to the ‘Sand Shaker’ to try their famous ‘bushwhackers’. Then we toured Chris’ shop and went back to his place for some fabulous shrimp and sushi that Terry had made. It was another fun and memorable evening.
On Saturday the 10th, Pensacola hosted ‘Martini Fest’ in downtown, the Music Writer’s convention at Seville Quarter, and the Shakespeare and Champagne fest at De Luna Plaza. Eric and Karla MacGregor showed us the sights. We met them back in Minnesota while boating with our eldest son Michael, but they have recently moved to Pensacola.
Streets in downtown were blocked off, and shows were done in the middle of them. The best were street dancers that were recent contestants on ‘America’s Got Talent’. Martini’s of all kinds could be sampled. Later we went to the Seville Quarter and got entertained by a magician named Dave who gave us one of his business cards – a five of diamonds with his phone number. He did a great trick where I signed my name on a 10 of hearts, and somehow it ended up in a sealed envelope in his pocket!
Jim and I finished off the evening by seeing a fabulous show put on by the Music Writer’s Convention. Two females sang songs they had written – both have been in the Nashville circuit, and are on the cusp of becoming famous. One also does a show on HGTV. They could both sing – I got goose bumps they were so good!
11/11 we planned to leave Pensacola and head to Destin. But in the morning the forecast had changed – high easterly winds prevented us from crossing Pensacola Bay. We asked the gas dock guy his advice on venturing out of the protected harbor. He said he would go out on the bay “only if there was a fishing tournament with a $10,000 prize, or if someone needed rescuing”. So we went to ‘Plan B’. We paid for another night’s slippage, and took a cab to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola. It seemed fitting as it was Veteran’s Day, and it was a pretty amazing place. My favorite exhibits were those on the astronauts, the POW’s during the Vietnam War, and the tours through sections of ships.
We will make another attempt to head to Destin tomorrow. However, Jim just received a warning on his phone for flooding, high winds and tides this evening. Rain is forecasted along with a few thunderstorms, so we will have to wait and see what tomorrow brings!