Meet some of the snowbirds who call Destin home for the winter

The Destin Log

This is the ninth year that Ted Caldwell and Joanne Graham have ventured from the cold and ice of Barrie, Canada to winter in Destin. They heard about the warmth and beauty of the Emerald Shores from friends.  

“We came here predominantly for the weather,” Ted said. “But we joined the snowbird club to take advantage of all the golf specials.” While they have nested in several of Destin’s finest accommodations, they are enjoying the hospitality of the Inland Reef this year. 

Mary Pierce

Diane DeVincent and Jim Demers usually wait until January to travel south but decided to come a little earlier this year. They are happy that they did. Diane is from Commerce, and Jim is from Northville, both in Michigan. They have made the Tops’l Beach & Racquet Resort their winter home for the past eight years. Like Ted and Joanne, they heard about Destin and the snowbird club from friends. Both enjoy the golfing opportunities afforded by the club. In fact, Diane has taken over as chair of the popular “Nine and Wine and Whine” events. She has already organized outings at Bluewater Bay, every other Thursday, beginning on January 12. More information will be available soon.  

“We joined the club for more than just golf,” Diane said. “We enjoy playing euchre and I’m part of the quilting club. And, of course, we always attend the T.G.I.T. parties.” 

Dave and his wife, snowbird president Ruth Beckett make a subtle toast to the New Year at The Inn at Crystal Beach.

Ruth Beckett is the snowbird club’s president this season. She and her husband Dave have traveled from Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Destin for six years now, but it is the first time they’ve rented at The Inn at Crystal Beach.  

“We love our condo here,” Ruth said. “It’s convenient to all the activities we enjoy.” Those activities include the T.G.I.T. parties held at Lulu’s Seafood Restaurant on the Bay, The Party Boat Cruises at the Harbor, and the Valentine Dinner Dances which will be held at Lucille’s Kitchen in Seascape again this year. They are also looking forward to the planned bus trips that include going to The Todd Herendeen Dinner Theater in Panama City, the Mardi Gras trip in New Orleans, and, of course, the Good Time Tour casino trips. How did they hear about Destin and the snowbird club? Through friends, of course. 

Ted and Andrea Spring chose Destin snowbird vendor Brotula’s Seafood House & Steamer on Harbor Boulevard in  Destin to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Joining them from Kyiv, Ukraine are their son’s mother and father-in-law Volodymyr and Natalia (front right).

Ted and Andrea Spring enjoyed coming to Destin so much that they decided to build a permanent home here. Both are originally from New York State; Ted from Indian Lake and Andrea from Schenectady.  

“My aunt was a snowbird back before there was even a snowbird club,” Ted said. He remembers visiting her in the 1960’s. In fact, the house they built is on the land his aunt once owned on Calhoun Avenue. Ted and Andrea became involved with the snowbird club about six or seven years ago. They were vacationing in Navarre and heard talk about the beauty of Destin.  

Jim Demers and Diane DeVincent, both from Michigan, ring in the New Year at their favorite snowbird nest, the Tops’l Beach and Racquet Resort in Miramar Beach.

“Our favorite activity is volunteering,” Ted said. They proved it by volunteering for the various committees in the club. Ted served as the club president for the 2019-2020 season. Of course, he added that they’ve always enjoyed the Harbor Party Boat Cruises and the popular T.G.I.T. parties. 

Duane Hall is the Destin snowbird club’s official photographer and has been for the past four to five years. He and his wife Phyllis have been visiting from Hudsonville, Michigan, for seven years and have always made their nest at Capri by the Gulf on Scenic 98.  

Snowbirds from Ontario, Joanne Graham and Ted Caldwell chose the Destin snowbird club’s vendor, The Longhorn Steakhouse on Emerald Coast Pkwy, to celebrate Ted’s birthday, where birthday sundaes are complimentary.

“We used to have a motor home,” Phyllis said. “That’s how we discovered Destin.” Their favorite snowbird activity is golf, but they also enjoy the Harbor Party Boat cruises, and Phyllis is chairing the Quilting Club again this season. 

If you missed the Big Registration, you can sign up before each Tuesday morning meeting from 8:30 to 9:45 a.m. 

For those who have recently arrived, you can pick up your stored items any Saturday morning from 8 to 9 a.m. Please bring your receipt with your box number on it. As usual, updates can be found on our website at And check out our Facebook group page at “The Destin Snowbirds.” 

Phyllis and Duane Hall of Michigan chose the beautiful Emerald Coast shoreline as a backdrop for their 2022 Christmas greeting to family and friends.

I hope to see you all at the 10 a.m. meeting this Tuesday and/or at the T.G.I.T. party from 3-6 p.m. Tuesday afternoon at Lulu’s. Don’t forget to bring your membership card. 

Mary Pierce is the publicity person for the Destin Snowbird Club.