Ted and Andrea Spring are no strangers when it comes to moving.
They’ve lived in 11 different states; from North Carolina, to West Virginia, to Maine, Arizona, and many more for Ted’s job in higher education.
Now, the Springs are officially permanent Destin residents as of last week.
"My aunt was one of the original snowbirds," said Ted. "She bought this property on Calhoun Avenue in the early 1940s. There used to be a mobile home here before we built the house."
The couple has been very active with the Destin Snowbirds Club, and Ted is looking forward to his position as the first vice president for next year’s snowbird season. Andrea is on the prize committee.
"It’s a good group of people. We’re well into the planning for next year. It’s great to connect with others who are also in their later years," said Ted.
They moved into their newly-built home facing the bay just four days ago and are still in the process of unpacking and settling in.
The house is full of natural light with subtle coastal touches throughout.
"We picked this countertop because it reminded us of the water as you cross over the bridge," said Ted.
The countertop is soft-toned white granite with touches of subdued teal.
Ted has been coming to Destin since 1962.
He was 14 when he first came down from Upstate New York to visit his aunt in the old mobile home. For years to come, it became the go-to spot for family vacations. No matter what state the Springs lived in at the time, Destin always remained a constant.
Ted and Andrea, now married for 45 years, met in Bowling Green, Ohio, while attending graduate school. He brought her down to Destin in 1972.
"When I came over the bridge for the first time and saw the color of the water and the white sugar sand, I thought ‘wow, this is really neat,’" Andrea said.
The couple always saw themselves retiring in Destin, but now that it’s a reality, it seems almost surreal.
"It’s really different for us," said Ted. "For the first time in our lives we’re settled. We’ve always lived with boxes in our garage and boxes in our attic. This is the first time in our lives we’re fully unpacking."
Their two children grew up coming to Destin for beach vacations, family visits, and summer jobs, so with all the fond memories it seemed like a natural place for the Springs to stay for good.
As for retirement, the Springs are looking forward to cooking in their new kitchen, entertaining friends at their home, and becoming regulars at their favorite restaurants in the area; Dewey Destin’s, 790 on the Gulf, and McGuire’s all made the list.
"It’s important to have hobbies for retirement," said Ted. "My career was everything to me, so I would encourage people to start leaning towards some activities that you want to do regularly."