Tourists In Our Own Town


October is one of Pensacola's best months for tourism-perfect weather. It's usually warm and sunny in the day, and sit-out-for-supper cool in the evening. Buck and I had thought about taking off to the mountains for a few days, but we have a bunch of projects hanging fire here, and so decided, instead, to stay in Pensacola, get our work done, but grab a few moments to act like tourists in our own town.

Last week, we drove downtown for lunch to the Crab Trap right on the bay in downtown Pensacola. We sat out on their comfortable covered patio, ate award-winning grilled crab cakes, sipped iced tea, turned our chairs to the nice breeze coming off the water, stretched our legs and talked about our dreams for the future.

And speaking of the future, Pensacola's waterfront is changing. Look behind the Crab Trap's sign and you will notice the not-very-pretty sewage treatment plant. Good news is that a new plant has been built in an appropriate location far from downtown, and soon the old plant will be completely dismantled.

Downtown Pensacola, which includes significant waterfront, is evolving (finally) in a positive direction. People are moving downtown again into lofts, townhomes, condos and walkable neighborhoods. The downtown area has developed a "cool" factor that is new and appealing. Our ancient library is being rebuilt and expanded. There's a fine farmer's market (part food, part entertainment) on Saturdays, a symphony, opera, plays, many art galleries, and several downtown parks, plus lots of restaurants and clubs.

On the day Buck and I ate lunch at the Crab Trap, this was our view to the South. See the heaped up dirt and cleared off ground? This will become the Vince Whibbs, Sr. Community Maritime Park, a collection of shopping, dining, festival, sports arena, and living venues.

There's a lot going on in our dinky little town. When "old-timers" like us scrape the scales off our eyes and take a fresh look, we see that Pensacola is well on its way to becoming a vibrant, exceptional place to visit and live.

p.s. The Crab Trap's 29 cent gumbo is outstanding.

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