IHG Hotels has a program called “points breaks”. Several times yearly a number of hotels are available for the bargain rate of 5,000 points nightly. For my third time, I spent two days at a Holiday Inn Express in Destin, Florida.
I drove due north on I-75, then travelled west on HWY-10, a boring journey only rivaled by the trip from London, ON to Detroit, MI on HWY-401. There were two surprises along the way. There are cotton fields along the way, and west of Tallahassee there’s a time change.
Destin is one town among a number along the panhandle, frequently referred to as the Emerald Coast. Truthfully, not much there. A short trip to nearby Pensacola proved quite interesting.
The architecture on Palafox Street reminds me of Ybor City in Tampa. Exterior galleries on the street and balconies above, with intricate fretwork. The street contains more than a few interesting visuals.
The above are two examples. The first shows how the original storefront has been maintained, down to the original store’s name in the tile. The second photo shows a new business that has had their name incorporated into the tile store front.
What at first glance I thought was a storefront was actually the beautifully restored Saenger Theatre. Originally opened in 1925, it was finally closed in 1975 and donated to the City of Pensacola. It was re-opened after restoration in 1981.
Plaza Ferdinand VII is a small park on Palafox Street. It was here, in 1821, that General Andrew Jackson received West Florida from Spain. The park has a bust of General Jackson and an obelisk in the centre.
And finally, on your way out of town:
Make a slight right turn and visit Pensacola Beach. Cross over a long bridge, pay a toll, and you’re there. From here you have easy access to Gulf Islands National Seashore.