SUSAN MOODY: From sea to stars, planning ahead for 2013


Happy New Year, Emerald Coast! We are still in holiday mode, as my parents flew in from cold, snowy, and wet New England to colder, sunny, and relatively dry Destin to celebrate Christmas.

Now that the presents have been unwrapped, and returns and exchanges made, I’ll turn my attention to ridding the house of pine needles and wayward pieces of wrapping paper, both of which will take until at least July to wrangle.

I’ll spare you the gory details.

Many are anxiously awaiting the New Year, a time to say “good-bye” to 2012 and a chance to start fresh in 2013.

There will be resolutions to get fit, eat healthier, stay more connected to family and friends, read more books, watch less TV — the lists and goals are endless and admirable.

For me, I am resolving to do more exploring, to finally undertake all the adventures that were a “maybe” last summer.

Not to be too overly ambitious, lest I end up with disappointed kids, I have four goals between now and the beginning of spring break — adventures that will allow us to appreciate all the Emerald Coast has to offer before the busy season begins.

Ever since the Buccaneer Pirate Cruise opened for business last summer, Alex and Harper have been clamoring to get aboard. Every weekend we would pass the beautiful ship and they would ask when we would get a chance to explore the high seas with the mighty pirate crew. And, every weekend, we told them, as soon as the crowds die down, Summer turned to fall, fall to winter, and we still haven’t had the chance to look for treasure, sing sea shanties, and hear stories of the high seas. So this adventure is at the top of our must-do list.

My “star gazing” tends to center around the magazines in the grocery checkout lines, and swapping star studded gossip with Jennings, but The Northwest Florida Astronomy Association has a whole different perspective about stars.

The NWFAA sponsors star gazing events at Henderson Beach State Park in both the fall and the spring. Alex has recently become interested in the stars and constellations, so I downloaded an app for the phone and tablet that helps identify them. In an effort to get “unplugged” this year, we’ll head out to one of the stargazing events and look through the telescopes for a better view.

Both Alex and Harper are playing basketball this winter, and I’m certainly thankful for the coaches who are patient enough to teach the fundamentals of the game to a bunch of elementary school kids and preschoolers. I think Alex and Harper can learn a lot from watching the game live and in person.

While most of the country’s attention will turn toward “March Madness” later this spring, we’ll be heading to Niceville to watch the Northwest Florida State Raiders (both the men and the women) in action. We’ve already been to one game this season, and a good time was had by all. These kids are playing their hearts out, and you never know. One of them can make it big, and you’ll be able to say you saw them “when.”

While we look forward to the grand opening of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation’s new amphitheater in early summer, there are plenty of opportunities to celebrate the performing arts while we wait. From Sinfonia’s “Beyond Bond” performance in February and the celebration of the Northwest Florida’s 25th Anniversary Celebration to the children’s program, “The Little Engine That Could” at the college, there will be plenty of opportunities to sing and dance along with professional productions.

So as 2012 comes to a close, I’m excited about what 2013 will bring. They may not be resolutions, but I’m committed to exploring and writing about the people, places, and things that make living in Destin so special.

Follow Susan Moody on Twitter @susanjmoody and visit her blog, The Emerald Coast Insider, at www.emeraldcoasttreasurebox.com.