Back in April Will and I flew to Pensacola on assignment with Garden & Gun magazine. Since moving to Charleston it has been a goal of mine to work with Garden & Gun, so of course we leapt at the opportunity to go with them on this learning and photography adventure.
Pensacola, famous for its white sand beaches and crystal clear ocean, wants to share the story of its thriving arts community, and the magazine sent a content creation crew to explore and find out more about it.
What we discovered was an absolutely charming little city; a clean picturesque, walkable downtown, historic architecture, excellent restaurants and no end of friendly welcoming people genuinely excited to share the story of this historic place.
The arts pack a real punch for a town with a modest population, featuring a ballet, orchestra, theater and an art museum. The university is actively involved in the revival, buying and repurposing the land and buildings that have been abandoned by industry, and turning them into cultural and learning exhibits that benefit locals and tourists alike.
The Saenger Theatre is the beating heart of the arts — sold out for Symphony and Ballet events in advance. We were lucky enough to meet with Peter Rubardt, the lovely Symphony Director who, over 21 years, has seen the transformation in the city first hand. He has played an integral role in growing the reputation of the symphony by attracting world class musicians to perform to sell out crowds.
We kicked off culinary tour with dinner at Union Public House, a fun bistro pub with excellent cocktails and a large menu that focuses on local ingredients. Other culinary highlights of the trip included Restaurant Iron, and the food trucks that have moved in to serve the growing downtown population. We finished our trip with a visit to Fish House that sits directly on the water with lovely views. It’s a very fun place where locals and tourists come together.
No trip to Pensacola is complete without a trip to the lighthouse. We climbed the steps to look out for the Tall Ships arriving for the festival that day. As Will scoured the horizon I clung to the edges of the building limpet-like before descending backwards both hands on the rail!
We stayed at Lee House, close to everything and perfectly situated for sunny morning strolls in the historic district — porch living at its finest!
Thank you to Garden & Gun for having us, and to Vacation Artfully for sponsoring this post.