Diane Siskin: When it’s Time For A Celebration…Take A Vacation

Thursday, January 5, 2017 - by Diane Siskin

Not everyone can afford to take a big journey outside of the U.S.A. In fact, there are now lots of reasons to vacation in this country. Including, the facts that you don’t have to fly, have passport or visa and you can make your celebration vacation over a shorter time-span.

But consider this for a New Year’s resolution, a Vacation Celebration.
It is the new way friends and families are marking milestone, or not-so milestone birthdays, anniversaries or national holidays.

The biggest celebration season of the year has just ended, and a new year has just started.
You are probably tired of looking at lots of bills and not in the mood to focus on any more holidays or family get-togethers.

Here’s how we planned our own celebration vacation. My husband and I saw the milestone 50th wedding anniversary in 2016. As we started planning a celebration we found the hardest part was coming up with a date on which the most of family and close friends, which are scattered throughout the United States, could attend.

There wasn’t one particular weekend, week or even month good for everyone. So we then planned to take an extensive trip out-of-the country by ourselves. Plan B also didn’t work for several reasons.

Plan C (for celebration) became bringing family and friends to us at different times or going to see them for short celebration vacations.

Our most enjoyable and celebratory weekend took place over New Year’s weekend with friends from Chattanooga, Tennessee, Atlanta, Georgia and Northwest Florida gathering at a rental house in a beautiful community in Destin, Florida.

A house party in an area which features the long stretch of glorious Gulf of Mexico beachfront is enticing to many people including vacationing celebrities.

Less well-known vacationers from all over the United States are also finding their way here. Lonely Planet (guidebooks) just ranked the Emerald Coast in their top 10 destinations in the country.

We secured a great house, which was new to the rental market, from Newman-Dailey Resort Properties. This company has operated in Destin since 1985 and has consistently achieved excellent ratings from guests on TripAdvisor. We had a great experience with the company’s staff, even throughout the holiday weekend we could and did easily reach a team member with any question or need for assistance.

Working with the Newman-Dailey team and the staff of Destin’s new Whole Foods, which is located a five minutes drive away from our celebration home, we put together a fabulous weekend which celebrated, along with our anniversary, birthdays of two of our guests and a delightful New Year’s celebration, all without venturing out in rainy weather.

The fact that sunny Florida, which had been experiencing nothing but sunshine and warm weather up to OUR holiday weekend, turned colder and rainy didn’t mar our plans.
Our guests were up to new “beach” experiences and that was what was planned.

On one cooler and rainy day, the gentlemen of the group took off to explore the Naval Air Station Museum in Pensacola. They followed that with a shopping expedition for fresh seafood and Greek groceries in Pensacola. All proclaimed they had a wonderful day.

While they were on their adventure, the ladies took off to explore 30A and an artist exhibit at Seaside.

Other days found our guests trying out local restaurants or watching football games in sports bars. Or just relaxing at the celebration house by reading; our house offered a large variety of tempting books on travel, food and history. 

Others were happy to take an afternoon nap. There wasn’t any hotel-feeling here, a house located on Tranquility Road had no turmoil.

New Year’s Day found us having brunch around the pool and enjoying the sunshine.
Our celebration house was in a gated community which offers everyone, including home renters, the use of all the wonderful attributes of the community; a heated pool and spa, a club house, fitness center, tennis courts and a walking trail. All were within walking distance of the house.

These amenities are icing on the cake for a celebration vacation which includes vacationers of all ages and interests.

All of our guests found our celebration an easy drive to the Panhandle for a long weekend of four days. For those who would prefer to fly, the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport, just named number one in growth for Florida and in the top 10 nationally, is just 30 minutes away.

A rental house or condo, which can house anywhere from 2 to 28 guests, is preferable to hotel rooms for celebration vacations. Not only are the costs less (especially when shared by multiple people) but these type of accommodations come equipped with almost everything you have at home plus some amenities which you might not have at your house.

Our holiday home boasted a screened-in pool and patio with a gas grill and sink. We all enjoyed blue underwater lights which came on at night. The spill over tub rotated different colored lights.
This house, called Lifestyles of the Coastal Chic, featured a master bathroom with a large shower encased with glass walls and dual shower heads. A separate whirlpool tub was also in the bathroom.

Free Wi Fi and internet access was also included for all the home’s guests. Something more hotels are charging additional for its use.

A two-car garage made easy loading and unloading luggage and other items.
A gourmet kitchen with expansive counters made for fun when several cooks were in the kitchen.

There was no worry when it came to your coffee preference. The kitchen offered two different coffee makers and several guests brought not only their own favorite coffee grinds, but also their own coffee-maker!

So when it comes to planning an occasion in the coming year whether it is a family reunion, college graduation, milestone birthday or anniversary, consider gathering your family or friends ….or both and take a celebration vacation.


The current seasonal rates (through February 28) for home rentals, such as the one described here, is $1,619.00 to $1,862.00 per week. A minimum rental of four nights can be had at this time of year for $270.00 to $310.00 per night. 
During the summer, the weekly rate is $4,699.00.

DestinVacation.com or you can call (800) 225-7652.

Whole Foods, which just opened in April 2016, is located on Highway 98 West, adjacent to Destin Commons Mall and near the Bass Pro Shop (4402 Legendary Drive, Destin, Florida. (850-269-7400). The store offers not only a fresh fish market, cheese and wine shop, prepared foods section, a bakery, take-out market but also indoor and outdoor dining areas.


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