Last weekend the husband and I took some time away from the kids, work, and every day life and headed west. We were a little overdue for time alone to reconnect and unwind, so we chose Portofino.
I’ve been a real estate appraiser for 11+ years and I cover Pensacola Beach to Panama City Beach. I’ve seen a lot of condos and homes along the beach and while I always admire the view, there have been few that I have wished to share with my family. Portofino is a five tower resort on the Far East end of Pensacola Beach. It abuts the Gulf Island National Park to the immediate east and is the last development before several miles of untouched white sandy beaches. The development itself is high end with pools, spas, tennis courts and a lifestyle center complete with Starbucks. It is gated and manned 24/7 and they ask for your card key every single time you enter the property.
We stayed in Tower 5 in unit 1001. This property is managed by Pointe South, a Southern Resorts company. The unit is fully tiled with area rugs throughout, granite countertops and enough bathrooms to give everyone privacy. It is well furnished and (to put my appraiser hat on) with minimal deferred maintenance. The couch and chairs were comfortable, the beds soft, the kitchen was fun to cook in and the views were awesome.
The tourist season throughout the Gulf Coast area is from Spring Break through Labor Day weekend. The golden time for locals is autumn as the beaches are more vacant but the weather is still warm enough to enjoy the fall season. The husband and I decided on a romantic getaway at the end of October. We’ve been together for 20 years and married for 15, so it seemed like an excellent reason to celebrate. Waking up two mornings to the sound of the Gulf and enjoying coffee while watching the sea was utterly delightful.
In addition, we also explored Pensacola Beach a little bit and visited Fort Pickens. The last time I visited there, I was a pre-teen. I didn’t remember much about the fort, but I did know that it would be a fun place to take photos. We went to the museum on property and to the original structures which date back to the early 1800’s. The history lesson available is pretty extensive. The fort was one of only four that was not occupied by Confederate troops during the Civil War. In addtion, it was used for military operations from 1834 through the end of WWII. It was turned over to the National Park service in the 70’s and has been open for visitation since then. Several of the original canons are still in place and it is easy to visualize their use. There were several dark tunnels to wander through and the architecture is intriguing.
The entire weekend was wonderfully relaxing and recharging. It was great to get away for a couple of days and to play tourist. We spend so much of the year in our everyday lives juggling work, kids, school, and life in general. Taking time to enjoy the beautiful beaches we live near was important. I know we live in paradise. It is great to confirm it from time to time.
What are your favorite places to visit to getaway?