Thursday, April 7, 2011

ResortQuest Offers Competitors of Helen Drake Invitational Tennis Tournament 10 Percent Off Luxury Accommodations  

The largest U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) event in Florida returns for its 28th season to TOPS'L Beach & Racquet Resort in Destin, Fla.

TOPS'L Beach and Racquet Resort, a professionally managed luxury property by ResortQuest® by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, will welcome the Helen Drake Invitational Tennis Tournament this month for its 28th season on the breathtaking beaches and emerald-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. As one of the largest USTA events in Florida each year, this sanctioned tournament is expected to attract participation by hundreds of competitors from across the southeastern United States from its kickoff date on Wednesday, April 13 through Sunday, April 17, 2011.

As the proud host of the annual Invitational, ResortQuest is offering 10 percent off a three-night stay for registered tournament players at resort condominiums in TOPS'L Beach Manor, TOPS'L Tides, TOPS'L Summit, TOPS'L Tennis Village and TOPS'L Captiva. This special rate is available from the beginning of the tournament through its close on April 17.

Situated on 52 acres in Destin, Fla. and bordered by both the Gulf of Mexico and a tranquil nature preserve, TOPS'L Beach & Racquet Resort is renowned as a top tennis destination year round. Tennis Magazine has named TOPS'L among the "Top 50 Tennis Resorts in the U.S." every year since 1987. Tennis Resorts Online, rated it a "Gold Medal Resort" for 2010, designating it as one of the 10 best tennis resorts in the world.

Tournament Director for the Helen Drake Invitational, Joe D'Aleo, has run the tournament for more than a decade and also serves as the District 1 President of the USPTA. D'Aleo leads the team of professionally certified tennis instructors on staff at TOPS'L. The Tennis Desk at the TOPS'L Club offers player-matching services, round robins, tennis clinics, and private and group lessons. Resort guests enjoy complimentary use of 12 newly resurfaced rubico clay courts, including 10 that are lighted for night play.

To take advantage of ResortQuest's Helen Drake lodging discount, guests should call 1-800-380-4808 and mention Promo Code A3030. Availability is limited, and reservation must be booked by phone. More details, including terms and conditions, are available online at

Monday, March 7, 2011

Destin Cobia Tournament

With a name like “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, Destin is a town that takes their fishing very seriously.  That’s why the 15th Annual Harborwalk Marina Destin Cobia Tournament is one of the highest anticipated events of the year.  Weigh-ins will take place at the Harborwalk Marina (66 Harbor Blvd, Destin, FL 32541).  Anglers come from all across Northwest Florida (along with some visitors, too) to compete for cash and prizes.  The tournament begins in March and ends on May 6th with an Awards Ceremony at Harry T's (46 Harbor Blvd., Destin, FL 32541). 

There are many categories to the tournament, including 30 foot and under, ladies, senior, junior, pee wee, and more!  Anglers look forward to the excellent payout, in which last year over $35,000 in cash and prizes were awarded.  All proceeds benefit the Miss Destin Scholarship Fund, helping local girls further their educational goals.

Even though the tournament has already begun, as of today, no one has caught the first Cobia!  Join us this spring in one of many Destin and Ft. Walton Beach vacation rentals, and maybe you can take home the prize!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Orange Beach Festival of Art

If you’re visiting the Gulf Coast in March, be sure to check out the Orange Beach Festival of Art, the first fine art and fine craft show of the season.   The festival will be at the Orange Beach Art Center (26389 Canal Rd., Orange Beach, AL, 36561) on March 12th and 13th.  It is held each year during the second weekend in March, and has been a highly anticipated event for almost twenty years.  There will be over 65 artists, two stages, and two specialty tents to choose from at this FREE event.

The Literary Arts Tent will showcase local and celebrity authors for book readings and signings.  See dance perfomances and theater troops in the Performing Arts Stage.  Kids will be able to dabble in six hands-on exciting art experiences in the Kid’s Art Alley.  Catch a glass blowing demonstration at The Hot Shop, or enjoy amazing regional talent at the Songwriters and Musicians stage as they share their wonderful music.  There will also be artwork on display from artists from all over the nation.

Throw some fine art into your family vacation, as this festival has something to please everyone!  There’s still a lot of availability for spring along the Alabama Gulf Coast and in Perdido Key.  Don’t miss out on this great event!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mardi Gras on the Emerald Coast

Laissez les bon temps roulez!  Mardi Gras is coming up, and although Fat Tuesday isn’t happening until March 8th, there are plenty of upcoming celebrations happening all along the Gulf Coast.  Bring out your masks, boas and beads and join us for these unforgettable festivities!

Panama City will play host to the St. Andrew’s Mardi Gras Festival on February 25th & 26th.  There will be a Kids Parade on the 25th down Beck Avenue, and the 26th will feature the Annual Grand Parade along the same route.  In addition to the parades, there will be a two-day festival in the Oaks by the Bay Park (1000 Beck Ave., Panama City, FL, 32401) with entertainment for the entire family.

HarborWalk Village on the Destin Harbor (10 Harbor Blvd., Destin, FL, 32541) is bringing us two celebrations: Enjoy the parade on February 26th with beads, live music, and traditional New Orleans revelry, or join them March 8th for the Fat Tuesday Mardi Gras Bash featuring free red beans and rice, performers and live music that’s sure to be a good time!

The islanders of Pensacola Beach definitely know how to have a good time, as they are also featuring two parades.  February 26th will host the Kids & Kritters Parade ($5 fee for your furry friend to participate) from the Beach Fire Station (901 Via de Luna Dr., Pensacola Beach, 32561) to the Pensacola Beach Community Church.  Check out the costumed kids and pets in this fun and furry parade.  March 6th will feature the big celebration, the Krewe of Wrecks, down Via de Luna Drive at 12pm.

The Gulf Shores area is the closest to Mobile (the true birthplace of Mardi Gras), and they are having five separate parades!  March 4th is the Mystical Order of Mirams Mardi Gras Parade in Orange Beach at 6:30pm from Wintzell’s Oyster House (24131 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL, 36561) ending at Rite Aid.  The Mystics of Pleasure Mardi Gras Parade is March 5th in Orange Beach at 6:30pm from Live Bait (24281 Perdido Beach Blvd., Orange Beach, AL, 36561) ending at the Perdido Beach Resort.  March 8th is Fat Tuesday, so there are three parades to choose from: the Gulf Shores Mardi Gras Parade at 10am along Highway 59, the Orange Beach Mardi Gras Parade at 1:30pm beginning at Wintzell’s, and LuLu’s 7th Anniversary Celebration and Boat Parade, an all-day event at LuLu’s at Homeport (200 E 25th Ave., Gulf Shores, AL, 36542)

The Emerald Coast is proof that you don’t need to be in New Orleans or Mobile to celebrate Mardi Gras in style.  Come join us in one of many properties all along the sandy white beaches, and be ready for lots of beads (and maybe a Moon Pie, too).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sandestin Gumbo Festival

When I think of good southern food, gumbo is always one of the first things that comes to mind.  It has a flavor that only comes from true southern home-cooking.  Get your own taste of southern hospitality at the 22nd Annual Sandestin Gumbo Festival on February 18th and 19th.  This year, the festival has moved to The Village of Baytowne Wharf and is now stretched over two days during the President’s Day weekend.  

Friday will offer the first-ever “Taste of the Village” from 6-9pm, where guests can enjoy samplings of the region’s finest cuisines from assorted Village merchants.  The main event will take place on Saturday from 12-4pm.  Guests can sample gumbo and Bloody Mary’s and cast their vote for People’s Choice.  Celebrity judges will have a blind judging to determine the award for Area’s Best Gumbo.  Our own Hank Taylor, Executive Chef at TOPS’L Beach & Racquet Resort, is the current two-year reigning champ!  There will also be an award for the business or restaurant with the most innovative booth.  Enjoy live entertainment in the Events Plaza courtesy of Dikki Du & the Zydeco Krewe, and Cajun dancers.  

Tickets can be purchased at Graffiti & Funky Blues Shack in The Village of Baytown Wharf, or online.  Weekend passes are $15 in advance and $25 the day of the event.  If you need to purchase a ticket the day of the event, bring in five or more non-perishable food items and receive a $5 discount off the ticket price.  Proceeds will benefit The United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties.  Take advantage of this President’s Day weekend and book your stay today with ResortQuest