While you won’t find icicles hanging from tree branches or snowplows scraping the streets, Navarre Beach/Santa Rosa County has a real winter — Southern style. That means an average high temperature of 64 degrees and a low of 47 in December — about 10 degrees cooler than central Florida. But here’s the good thing about that nip in the air: It really lends a Holiday feel to the place!
Local shop owners know this, and they get way into the Holiday and winter spirit — sometimes with special offerings. Here are a few of our favorite treats you can enjoy while you’re here or bring home as gifts (or, of course, keep all to yourself).
Cinnamon Rolls at Sailors’ Grill — What’s better on a pleasantly brisk morning than a cinnamon roll, warmed just so, and a hot cuppa joe? Juana’s Pagodas & Sailors’ Grill — the expansive eating, drinking, and entertainment complex just over the Navarre Beach Causeway — boasts an in-house bakery, and one of its most raved-about treats is the cinnamon roll. It’s soft. It’s delicious. It’s big. And best of all, it comes on a plate that’s swimming in icing. You can get one of these babies (or a box full) to take out, or as part of a hearty breakfast or brunch. One Tripadvisor reviewer summed them up nicely: “Cinnamon rolls to die for!” Juana’s, an institution in Navarre Beach/Santa Rosa County since 1989, serves delectable breakfasts ’till 11 a.m. The cinnamon rolls are available at the bakery all day — or until they run out.
Sweet, nutty treats at T. Porter’s — Set back on a large lot on tree-lined Woodbine Road in Pace, T. Porter’s sells fine, lovingly made nuts, candies and candles. You can buy them by the bag or in decorative gift baskets (available in small, medium and large). The store opened in the fall and its sweet spot is peanuts. They offer the basics (natural roasted, salted roasted), as well as flavored (cinnamon roasted). There’s old-fashioned peanut brittle and classic buttercrunch toffee, too. For true Southern Flavor, T. Porter’s offers shelled, roasted peanuts in different flavors, including a barbecue version called Butt Rub. T. Porter’s is 12 miles from downtown Milton and just under 40 miles from the Navarre Beach Pier, both pleasant drives on December days.
Homemade fudge from Boomerang Pizza — This place is serious about its homemade sugary confections. Owner Deb Becker says the store usually has a dozen flavors available at any given time — from basics like chocolate and rocky road to red velvet cake and jelly donut (and probably gingerbread for the Holidays). Boomerang Pizza sells its fudge from a case in the gift shop adjacent to the pizza restaurant. The place is located in the heart of downtown Milton, a couple of blocks from the Riverwalk. You can buy Boomerang fudge by the quarter-pound, half-pound, and pound (which comes with an extra quarter-pound thrown in for good measure). Free samples, too.
Pumpkin Ice Cream Pies at The Twist — Since 2002, The Twist Custom Ice Cream shop — situated in a large lot just north of Navarre Parkway, less than two miles from the beach — has served locals and visitors an enticing array of made-in-house ice cream (basic and soft-serve), gelato and more, plus all the toppings. When the holidays roll around, the shop unveils its much-loved Pumpkin Ice Cream Pies, which are on their way to becoming legendary. (Ahh, pumpkin — the ultimate Holiday flavor.) But don’t dawdle. On its Facebook page, The Twist cautions, “Available for a limited time only, while supplies last.”