What’s New in the Pensacola Bay Area Fall 2010
Pensacola, Fla.– May 11, 2010 – Lively festivals, new hotels, restaurants and attractions beckon travelers to the Pensacola Bay Area this fall. Fall is known as our “secret season,” with blue skies, warm temperatures and fewer crowds. Travelers can have our famous white-sand beaches to themselves while enjoying new activities and amenities the area has to offer.
- Visit Pensacola is closely monitoring the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. There has been no impact to Florida’s coastline from the oil spill, and Pensacola Beach and Perdido Key are open to visitors. Daily updates can be found at VisitPensacola.com.
- Visit Pensacola has announced Leslie Mathews as its new convention sales manager. Mathews joins the CVB staff after a three-year career in convention sales with Visit Lubbock, the Convention & Visitors Bureau in Lubbock, Texas. Mathews will recruit meetings and conventions from across the country along with assisting meeting planners with site visits, food selection, registration and welcome gifts.
- Visit Pensacola has launched a new Web site at VisitPensacola.com. The enhanced site incorporates modern technology to be more user friendly for visitors booking vacations. Site enhancements include a clean design to sell the beauty of the area, feature pages on the beaches and mainland, videos and slideshows to meet the growing demand of today’s consumers and interactive panels. The site also features tourism partners, detailed maps on the area and an advanced search option.
Fall Travel Deals
- Fishing and Golf Getaway –With prices starting at $199 per night at Portofino Island resort, guests receive one half-day deep-sea fishing trip and a round of golf free with each night’s stay. Other accommodations and services include a spa, fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, access to bike trails, kayak rentals, volleyball, tennis and more. (877) 484-3405, www.portofinoisland.com.
- Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport (PNS) announced that United Airlines will begin daily nonstop service to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) on Nov. 4. Non-stop service from Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport was also added to Miami and Washington, D.C., this year.
- Pensacola Trolley Tours –Learn about the history of Pensacola on a narrated 90-minute tour from a replica 1880s streetcar. Highlights includeHistoric Pensacola Village, Seville Square, the Port of Pensacola and NAS Pensacola, the first U.S. naval air station. Hear stories of the Civil War’s first Confederate victory, Andrew Jackson’s defeat of Spain, Geronimo’s imprisonment and a category five hurricane. Departs daily at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. from the Visitor Information Center; $16 for adults, $14 for students, seniors and military, and free for children 12 and under. (850) 941-4363, www.pensacolatrolleytours.com.
- Five Flags Trolley Company Pirate Tours – Join a crew of scalawags aboard the red trolley every weekend for a treasure hunt of fun. Along the way, face rival pirates, find clues, learn the secrets of the Seven Seas and dine on pirate fare from Chef Crossbones, including hard tack, shish kabobs and a rare sea octopus. Departs at 6:30 p.m. from the Visitor Information Center; $20 for adults and $5 for children ten and under. (850) 435-0914, www.piratetrolley.com.
Lodging, Dining and Attractions
- The Hilton Garden Inn opened in March with 137 rooms, a full-service restaurant and bar and conference facilities for 300 guests. The Hilton is convenient to the Pensacola Gulf Coast Regional Airport and Cordova Mall commercial district. (850) 479-8900, www.hiltongardeninn1.hilton.com.
- The Grand Marlin opened in March with upscale beach cuisine, an outside deck on Santa Rosa Sound, a private dining room, a bar and live music. Bryan Housley, operating partner of Atlanta’s Ray’s on the River serves as manager, while award-winning chef of the Virginia Highland’s Murphy’s, Gregg McCarthy, is the executive chef. (850) 677-9153, www.thegrandmarlin.com.
- The Barkley House, one of the oldest masonry houses in Florida, has reopened as a special events venue on Pensacola Bay following a two-year renovation. Built by Pensacola merchant George Barkley between 1825 and 1830, the house can accommodate 75 guests inside and 300 guests outside in the garden. www.historicpensacola.org.
- Castaways Restaurant and Entertainment Complex has openedon the popular Portofino Boardwalk at Pensacola Beach. The three-level complex overlooking Santa Rosa Sound features indoor and outdoor seating for 775 guests, a cocktail bar, beer garden, snack hut, sushi bar and live music stage. Chef Will Eberlin focuses on fresh catch such as grouper, mahi-mahi and cobia.
- Five Sisters Blues Café has opened in historic Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood. Chef Cecil Johnson promises a unique dining experience that combines traditional southern cuisine with a soulful, musical backdrop. Owner Quint Studer invested $1.7 million to restore the 1913 building which houses the restaurant. The neighborhood was once a hot spot in the mid-20th century for blues and entertainment and is currently undergoing a revitalization project.
- The Fun Store, a new full-service surf, skate and bike shop on Pensacola Beach, also offers bicycles, kayak, surfboard and paddle board rentals throughout the year. (850) 916-4386, www.funstorefl.com.
- Wintzell’s Oyster House will be expanding to downtown Pensacola. The popular seafood restaurant has been a mainstay in Mobile, Ala., since 1938 and currently operates at 12 other locations. www.wintzellsoysterhouse.com.
Looking Ahead in 2011
- 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation – The National Naval Aviation Museum will host numerous special events and exhibits to commemorate 100 years of naval aviation. The National Naval Aviation Museum is among the largest air and space museums in the world with 150 vintage aircraft.
- 150th Anniversary of the Civil War – The Pensacola Bay Area played a significant role in the Civil War. Visitors can explore massive brick fortresses that once housed both Union and Confederate troops, and tour antebellum homes and the oldest church in Florida that survived the war.
- Upcoming Events
- Jamaican Fest. Sept. 3-5. Featuring live music on Portofino Boardwalk, The Kids Zone, sidewalk sale and an anything-that-floats race in Santa Rosa Sound. (850) 932-1500, www.visitpensacolabeach.com.
- Gallery Night. Sept. 17. Enjoy an evening of arts and culture by touring downtown shops, eateries and art galleries boasting a variety of special happenings. (850) 434-5371.
- Taste of the Beach. Sept. 18-19. Visit the Gulfside Pavilion and let your taste buds guide you to a variety of signature dishes from island chefs while enjoying free live entertainment. (850) 932-1500, www.visitpensacolabeach.com.
- 33rd annual Pensacola Seafood Festival. Sept. 24-26. Sample a variety of mouth-watering seafood dishes, enjoy continuous live entertainment, shop at the many arts and crafts vendors, and participate in a 5K. (850) 433-6512, www.fiestaoffiveflags.org.
- 2nd Annual Pensacola Beach Songwriters’ Festival. Sept. 27-Oct. 3. Hear from some of the hottest songwriters in the country at various venues along Pensacola Beach. (850) 341-0889, www.pensacolabeachsongwritersfestival.com.
- Art & Wine Weekend. Oct. 2-3.This quaint seaside retreat transforms into a bustling festival full of wine tastings, art demonstrations, music and displays. Free transportation provided on the island. (850) 932-1500, www.visitpensacolabeach.com.
- Annual Historic Haunted House Walking Tours. Oct. 15-16, 22-23. A family favorite for Halloween, the narrated tours are led by costumed guides, visiting more than 50 different sites around the historic districts. (850) 433-1559, www.pensacolahistory.org.
- 20th Annual Pensacola Interstate Fair. Oct. 21-31. The fair features big-name entertainment with games, rides and agricultural and educational exhibits. (850) 944-4500, www.pensacolafair.com.
- Greek Festival. Oct/Nov. Traditional Greek dances, gifts, entertainment and dishes such as baklava, gyros and spanakopeta. (850) 433-2662, www.annunciationgoc.org.
- Old Farmhouse Christmas Arts, Crafts and Antiques Show. Nov. 5-7. Enjoy live music and holiday shopping with more than 100 vendors. Cow tours, hay rides, pony rides available. (850) 492-7502.
- Santa Rosa Island Triathlon. Oct.2. Test your fitness in this triathlon along scenic Pensacola Beach. (850) 380-0741, www.sritri.org.
- *De Luna Fest. Oct. 16. Enjoy a weekend of headliner bands right on Pensacola Beach. www.delunafest.com.
- Blue Angels Homecoming Air Show. Nov. 12. With Pensacola as its home base, the Blue Angels perform the season’s final show at Naval Air Station Pensacola. (850) 452-2583, www.blueangels.navy.mil.
- Frank Brown International Songwriters Festival. Throughout November. Talented artists bring new music to the Gulf Coast at Perdido Key. (850) 492-7664, www.fbisf.com.
- Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival. Nov. 5-7. Browse more than 200 fine art and hand-made craft exhibitors in Pensacola’s historic Seville Square. www.ggaf.org.
- Martini Festival. Nov 6. Live music and martini sampling at the JellyFish Bar in Perdido Key. (850) 332–6532, www.jellyfishbar.com.
- *Pensacola Celebrity Chefs Capture the Fort. Nov. 6. Pensacola’s finest chefs prepare a historic feast against the magical back-drop of Gulf Islands National Seashore and historic Fort Pickens. The event includes entertainment by historic reenactors and music by the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra and Pensacola Opera. www.pensacolacelebritychefs.com.
- Pensacola Marathon. Nov. 14. This 26.2-mile scenic USATF-certified course is one of the last Boston Marathon Qualifiers in the Southeast. The course begins and ends in Historic Downtown Pensacola and winds along Pensacola Bay. (850) 435-9222, www.pensacolamarathon.com.
- Creek Indian Tribe Indian Day Celebration. Nov. 20-21. An annual Creek pow-wow in Pace featuring Native American dances, traditional food dishes and authentic crafts. (850) 994-4882.
- Gallery Night. Nov. 19. Enjoy an evening of arts and culture by touring downtown shops, eateries and art galleries boasting a variety of special happenings. (850) 434-5371.
- Seville Quarter Turkey Trot. Nov. 20 Join the Seville Quarter Miler’s Club for a 5K run/walk to trim the waistline before Thanksgiving. (850) 434-6211.
*New events in 2010
For more information on “What’s New” in the Pensacola Bay Area, contact the Visit Pensacola at (800) 874-1234 and (850) 434-1234. Or visit us online at www.VisitPensacola.com or .VisitPensacola.Blogspot.com.