Snowbirds of a feather flock together.
Minnesota-natives Corky and Ramona Berg, Dave and Rita Dragt, Mary Lou and Jim Krengel are the Minnesota-natives who call themselves the Destin Six.
Meeting one another so many hundreds of miles away from home was initially unplanned; it was complete happenstance when the six Minnesotans met each other on the Emerald Coast about seven years back.
During one of their first visits to Destin, before becoming snowbirds, the Dragt's were spending time at the Destin library when they were stopped in their tracks by a voice they recognized from home.
"I said, 'that has to be Ramona Berg,' " said Rita. "And sure enough, it was."
Ramona and Rita were familiar with each other because they had both been teachers for more than 30 years in and around the same parts of Minnesota. After that chance encounter, the Dragts joined the Bergs and officially became members of Destin's Snowbird Club.
Avid tennis players, the Dragts and the Bergs later met the Krengels, while playing tennis — and "the rest, as they say, is history," said Jim.
Snowbirds are nothing new to Destin — for years our neighbors to the north have been flying south in search of warmer winters. But the Destin Six are a bit different — a slightly rarer avian breed. The Destin Six resemble the retiree version of the situation comedy "Friends."
Displayed on the matching shirts they had made are their favorite activities — tennis, bicycling and drinking wine. They have also recently added a fourth patch for their Appalachian Trail hiking trip planned for later this year.
The group said they feel like they are at home when they are in Destin.
"It's a good fit," said Dave. "And we're all a good fit together; too. We're all active."
The Six said that you never know what the future holds, so it's important to make the most of all of the time you are given.
Spending most of their time together laughing, the Destin Six said they can make any time together fun.
When the unpredictable Florida weather strikes, keeping them from enjoying their outdoor lifestyles, the group told The Log they also enjoy having movie and popcorn nights, puzzles and games.
The friends now see each other outside of Destin as well, making a point to take trips to each other’s homes and plan other trips together throughout the year.
"We deserve this," said Mary Lou. "Our kids joke with us sometimes because we take the Destin Six so seriously, but we've worked hard our entire lives."
As the last of the snowbirds fly home and the second wave of tourists wash ashore — the spring breakers — the Destin Six once again say goodbye to Destin on Friday. See you next year.