Posted on 11/18/2011
Along the Emerald Coast we have a huge array of shopping opportunities which include unique fine boutiques, art galleries and a myriad of clothing stores. Although just about every national store is represented here, (especially at Silver Sands which is the nation's largest Designer Outlet), many shops are locally owned and operated with special offerings that cannot be found anywhere else. One of the newest and most delightfully upscale shopping venues is located at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin.
Grand Boulevard in magnificent Miramar Beach was completed at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in late 2007 and serves as the Town Center for this Five Star resort. The entire complex encompasses fifty-two acres and you can't miss the lush landscaping that was meticulously planted to highlight this newer shopping mecca. In fact several million dollars was spent by the developer here for a wide assortment of tropical foliage. These include giant Royal Palms which accent not only Grand Boulevard but create another boulevard effect on The Emerald Coast Parkway that parallels the site. Other plantings include Birds of Paradise, Live Oak trees, Crepe Myrtles and lots of plant containers that boast ever changing floral colors which are kept seasonally up to date.
The town green at Grand Boulevard is called Grand Park serves as a grassy lawn where children are encouraged to frolic and is also the place where art shows, special exhibitions and charity events are held. Next to this mini park is a playful fountain with gushing geysers that spurt out of a stone patio in a constant flux of varying sprays.
Ladies clothing stores abound at Sandestin's Grand Boulevard including such nationally popular stores as Billabong, Chico's, Coldwater Creek and Victoria's Secret to name a few. There is even a spa and hair salon for pampering and beauty at the Fusion Spa Aveda which has become quite popular. Specialty boutiques for women include: Pretty Please, a high end retail store for baby, child and tween clothing; Bodacious, a fabulous luxury interiors store with lots of ladies accessories; Hello Sunshine, a unique store that sells both vintage and modern interior items as well as beach styled clothing and J Jill which sells comfortable and fashionable seaside apparel.
"Resort Casual" which is the norm on the Emerald Coast defining upscale, fashionable beach wear for natives and visitors alike, can be found at a number of different stores on Grand Boulevard. They include: Tommy Bahama's, J Crew at the Beach and the Brooks Brothers Country Club store. Tommy Bahama's pretty much defines resort casual in any place that
has a tropical environment. In fact they have ensembles which cater to the "beach lifestyle" including sportswear for men and women, swim wear, footwear and all the accessories you would want to have to go with your new outfit. J Crew at the Beach is a special division of this internationally known company and carries men and ladies clothing, footwear and jewelry all earmarked for the beach. Brooks Brothers, the iconic New York City clothier for gentlemen since the 1800s, has opened a Country Club Store for both genders. Their classic clothing defines casual preppy or beachy in this instance with Rugby type stripes, blazers, shirts, blouses and lots of impress dress with old money style. There is also a Sunglass Hut in case you have forgotten your own or need a new look. Sun glasses are not just a fashion statement here; they are a necessity due to our almost blinding white, quartz crystal sandy shores. Although not defined as resort casual, certainly the sports apparel sold at The Orvis Company is always acceptable to the outdoor set. It is also quite popular for those who plan on doing some fishing while in town either out in the gulf or the backwaters of Choctawhatchee Bay.
There are a few locally owned specialty stores and galleries to stroll through along Grand Boulevard which include the Donna Burgess Gallery, Fusion Art Glass, Magnolia House and The Zoo Gallery.
Donna Burgess is a local award winning artist and has been on the scene for many years. She specializes in colorful original artwork, limited editions and prints. She uses acrylics, watercolors and mixed mediums for her work. Donna Burgess has received local and even national acclaim with distinctively heartwarming renditions of children at play, cute pets and of course lots of beach scenery. Lovely images also include sea life, shells, quaint sea cottages and the beauty of the gulf.
Fusion Art Glass started out in Seaside years ago with their original store and opened this second gallery soon after Grand Boulevard was completed. Visiting the Fusion Art Glass Gallery is a sensation for the eyes to behold. They represent over 200 artists from around the world who create crystal and hand blown glass art objects, vases, chandeliers, mobiles as well as couture jewelry in more than a rainbow of colors. In fact they represent so many different glass artists that their name is becoming synonymous with excellence and high quality craftsmanship. Many of Fusion's artists have original works of art in museums across the nation as well as private commissioned works completed for US Presidents and celebrities.
Magnolia House is an off shoot of the popular original store in Grayton Beach which was once an old beach house. It is absolutely charming and is owned by a very gracious lady named Nancy Veldman who always makes her guests feel right at home when she is there. Ms. Veldman loves to play piano, so don't be surprised if you get serenaded by beautiful, almost ethereal music while you shop and visit. Her music has also been published and is available in her store with instrumental pieces that will take you to Heaven. Magnolia House carries rich home accents including luxurious velvet throws, blankets, pillows, sensational stemware, dinner serving pieces, lamps, rugs, candles, scented French soaps, body lotions, pearls and vintage jewelry.
The Zoo Gallery originated in Ft. Walton Beach way back in 1979 and became almost a household name among those who fell in love with and collect their fun, multicolored art which has a distinctively tropical look. They sell original art cleverly disguised as furniture, lamps, picture frames, pottery, jewelry, storage boxes, candles and other "cool stuff." The range of their wares has one thing in common which is vivid bright color. However other than that, these exotic one of a kind items really have little in common with each other because they are so originally unique. Some look vintage and nostalgic while others are quite bizarre in a fun, good way. Most will definitely bring a smile to your face and you will delight your friends or family with any of the colorful "objects de art" you may choose to buy.
Shopping often makes people hungry and/or thirsty so it's nice to know that you have several dining and drinking options available to you at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin. On the western end of the Town Center you have Mitchell's Fish Market which serves delicious fresh seafood and bar beverages either indoors or out on their patio cafe. A little further down on the park you have Tommy Bahama's, the restaurant, which adjoins their clothing shop. They specialize in Caribbean styles cuisine which is served in a plantation like atmosphere. Be sure to check out their glassed in garden room or outdoor patio deck which overlooks the mini grassy lawn of Grand Park. On the other side near the geyser fountains is Cantina Laredo's which serves gourmet style Mexican cuisine and fantastic Margaritas. They also have outdoor seating as well as a wonderful bar inside. If you love cheese and flank steak try their Nachos El Carbon as an appetizer, which is large enough to enjoy as a complete meal unto itself if you're not sharing that is, (you may not want to!) Fleming's Steakhouse and Wine Bar offers delicious USDA Prime beef served in a comfortable, club like atmosphere with deep leather booths and nicely dressed tables for all you carnivores out there. They also have an extensive Wine Menu covering both international and US west coast varieties. P F Chang's is a bistro of sorts that has tasty Chinese cuisine and is marked outside by the statue of a giant battle horse which certainly provides a perfect photo op occasion. The interiors are chic and urbane looking with soft lighting. These surroundings are accented by the aromas of delicious food cooking which really stirs your appetite.
Here at Ocean Reef, we are sure you will enjoy your upcoming Grand Boulevard experience. Shopping, fine dining and the Palm Beach type ambiance doesn't get much better than this. After all, Grand Boulevard IS the new Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort Town Center so it is what you would expect to find at such a world class establishment. We have wonderful, private Sandestin vacation rental accommodations at Beachside I and II as well as at Westwinds. Beachside Towers I and Beachside Towers II are beautiful beachfront complexes comprised of two luxury towers facing south with seasonally heated pools, a Fitness Center and a convenient location next to Finz Restaurant. Westwinds is a luxurious twenty-two storied high-rise with gorgeous gulf vistas towards the west and an expansive pool deck overlooking the emerald green waters. Extensive landscaping, cascading waterfalls and a beach side Tiki Bar complete this luscious tropical setting. If you prefer to stay in a private single family home instead, we have plenty of choices throughout Miramar Beach both on and off the beach along Scenic Gulf Drive. Enjoy checking out our multiple picture gallery for each property and choose the one that best suits the needs of your family and friends.
Happy trails to you and may one of your days be filled with shopping pleasure, creating another special memory of your visit to paradise!