I've seen a lot of magical sunsets in my lifetime, like the vast, Zambian sun dropping over Victoria Falls and the purple-pink striped Costa Rican globe falling beneath the Pacific. But there's something about the sunsets of Alys Beach that I find quite enchanting.
I ventured down to Alys and the communities of 30-A a year ago with a buddy for a much-needed winter getaway. I had never been to the powdery white beaches of the Florida Panhandle before, but had read the accolades from Conde Nast. After working intensely for a long stretch, I longed to dip my toes in some warm, toasty sand and hear seagulls chirp to the sound of crashing waves. We arrived late that night, so I couldn't rush down the boardwalk right away, but when the next day awoke, heading to the beach was a top priority.
We quickly found a spot along the gentle Gulf shore. I plunked my beach chair down and dug my heels deeply in the sand. It felt soooo good! I looked up and marveled at the brightness of the sun, particularly as it bounced off Alys' shocking white, Cycladic-like homes. It reminded me of walking amongst the sacred churches of Santorini along the bright blue Aegean Sea. Now I understood why this sea spot ranked among the world's top 10.
Surprisingly, as we headed back to our house late that afternoon, we bumped into friends who lived at Alys. I remarked about how impressed I was by the day's light. They invited us to meet on the beach at dusk to catch what they called a spectacular show. With a bottle of bubbles, we rolled up our pant legs and went off to gaze at the setting sun. The bright white sky quickly turned to a gorgeous deep orange and golden dark amber. With the last rays of the day about to fade, we gratefully raised our sparkling flutes to say good night. I have since returned to Alys for those sunsets…and a few bubbles, too.