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"Simply Seagrove" - New book tells the full story of Seagrove Beach

Discussion in 'All About SoWal' started by SoWal Staff, Sep 10, 2018.

  1. SoWal Staff

    SoWal Staff Serving the Community! Staff Member

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    When author Robert O. Reynolds was in Junior High in Montgomery, Alabama, his parents discovered a beach community that was close enough to drive to for weekends and offered a lot more water sports than central Alabama. The place was Seagrove Beach, and his new book Simply Seagrove tells not only howthey found it, but how Seagrove came to be.

    The fits and starts in its development are described, from an original homestead in 1904 through an aborted development and a hotel in the 1920s, to the arrival of C.H. McGee in 1949 and his successful development.


    "Even if you've never set foot in Seagrove, this book will make you wish you had."
    - Tim Hollis, author of Florida’s Miracle Strip: From Redneck Riviera to Emerald Coast


    Reynolds’ family did a lot of boating and exploring in a Jeep and he describes adventures ranging from navigating shallow canals n a Boston Whaler, to excavating and piecing together pottery in the dunes to climbing the bluff in a Jeep. He covers the huge variety of waterways, including the story behind the coastal dune lakes, and tales of some devastating hurricanes. He describes all the plant and animal life you can expect to see, as well as a host of other phenomena from squeaking sand to red sunsets.

    Like others in the area, he and his school-age friends discovered the ‘Haunted House’ at Point Washington that later became Eden Gardens State Park. There are a couple of coming-of-age stories like a freezing camping trip on a dune and a poorly-planned visit to a dance hall called the Hangout in Panama City Beach.
    Ever wonder where all those names came from, like “Emerald Coast” or “Redneck Riviera” – this book will tell you. There’s a chapter on art and artists from the area, and another covering the landmarks and attractions that have come and gone over the years.

    “Simply Seagrove will resonate with readers who enjoy memoir and regional history. Seagrove’s small bit of space on the Florida Panhandle opens wide under Reynolds’ deft story-telling, photographs, and maps.”

    Many readers like the relaxing descriptions of time spent walking at Deer Lake, casual boating with the family, or introducing others to the wonders of Seagrove. And there’s a special remembrance of Cube McGee, sometimes known as Mr. Seagrove, and his wife Babe.

    Simply Seagrove is featured locally at Sundog Books in Seaside, the Hidden Lantern in Rosemary Beach, the Studio Gallery in Grayton Beach, and Fonville Press in Alys Beach.

    Further information is available at the publisher website www.emeraldwaterspress.com.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Simply Seagrove: An Intimate History of One of Florida’s Most Beautiful Beaches
    is available on Amazon.com

     
  3. Robert Reynolds

    Robert Reynolds Beach Comber

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    Hi;
    Happy to answer questions about this new book, or about any of the communities along Highway 30A.
    Robert
     
  4. Jim Tucker

    Jim Tucker Beach Fanatic

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    Robert I look forward to reading your book. What is your favorite part or story in it?
     
  5. ShallowsNole

    ShallowsNole Beach Fanatic

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    Just purchased through Amazon. Can't wait to read it!!
     
  6. Robert Reynolds

    Robert Reynolds Beach Comber

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    Hi Jim;
    It's hard to pick a favorite story because there are so many I like, but one is about the time my father and I trailered the Boston Whaler to a ramp at Grayton and put it into the west part of Western Lake. This was back in the 1960s before there were any roads between Grayton and Seagrove, so there was no way to drive and see the large part of Western Lake that is now part of the State Park. The part of the lake near Grayton was nice, and we knew there was a small channel on the east side, but it was too shallow to boat through, so we didn't really know where it led. On that day, we decided to stop the motor (18hp Johnson) and tip it up, and I got out and towed my father and the boat through the channel. At the other end we 'discovered' the large part of Western Lake, and had a great day boating there, with no one else in sight and no signs of civilization visible. That was fun. Thanks for writing!
     
  7. Robert Reynolds

    Robert Reynolds Beach Comber

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  8. Robert Reynolds

    Robert Reynolds Beach Comber

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    Thank you so much, and I hope you enjoy it. I always appreciate comments too, so please let me know what you think.
     
  9. Jim Tucker

    Jim Tucker Beach Fanatic

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    That is great! I wish that Highway 30A would have been built north of all the lakes and dunes with connector loops to villages and hiking and biking trails where the road is now.
     
  10. Robert Reynolds

    Robert Reynolds Beach Comber

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    I've read that people involved with development of some of the 30A communities tried to have the road routed further north, but were unsuccessful.
     
  11. Truman

    Truman Beach Fanatic

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    Yes - and still at it. A route around WaterColor and Seaside is still hoped for.
     
  12. Lake View Too

    Lake View Too SoWal Insider

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    There really was no unified "south Walton community" in those days. Just a handful of very loosely connected villages, miles and miles apart. I'm not sure we were that aware of 30-A going through, regardless of it's path. But I was a young punk in the sixties, so my mind might have been on other things.
     
  13. Teresa

    Teresa SoWal Guide Staff Member

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    Awesome story. Got pix?
     
  14. Robert Reynolds

    Robert Reynolds Beach Comber

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    That could be really nice if done right. It reminds me of the "new" US 98 in Destin, where the "old" 98 was split in the middle but still enters town from both directions.
     
  15. Robert Reynolds

    Robert Reynolds Beach Comber

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    I describe in the book how just to go from Seagrove to Grayton you had to drive up 395 to US 98, then along 98 to 283, then down to Grayton. And like you said, even as portions of 30-A were completed, it took a long time for it to become a unified path between the communities.
     
  16. Robert Reynolds

    Robert Reynolds Beach Comber

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    I included a photo of the Whaler on its trailer in Chapter 7, but doubt that I have any of that day in Western Lake. Another neat adventure was the day Cube McGee, my father, and I put the Whaler in Cube's canal (on Canal St.) when it was completely overgrown. We managed to hack our way down the length of the canal, cleaning the propeller every few minutes. Just for the fun (?) of it. The little channel off Choctawhatchee Bay where we kept the Whaler for a while (Daugette Estates) is still there, although the boathouse at the end is gone.
     

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