Not a loss, but a gain

A somewhat unique blog this month as I sit on the east coast of Florida (Crescent Beach) preparing for the marriage of our son tomorrow morning beachside, at sunrise. Yes sunrise, as I’ve had to repeat that many times over the last few months, not 6:30 PM, but 6:30 AM. Our family has been arriving since Wednesday and we officially kick of the festivities tonight at the rehearsal dinner.

It’s been a little tough this week as I think it finally hit home. As I drove around town it seemed every place I went reminded me of when he was so much younger (which seems like just yesterday). His old elementary school and high school, the parks, the soccer fields… all jarred such good memories. But in the end, we aren’t really losing a son, we’re gaining a beautiful, smart and kind daughter-in-law who is the perfect fit for our Nick.

Our March editions are at the printer, all early this month so we could concentrate on this weekend. Our customers and contributors were all understanding and had their material to us early, which we appreciate so much!

The theme of this issue? Festivals and more festivals. The BrewFest in Perry, The Lower Suwannee Art and Nature Fest in Suwannee and the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key. All great events so please plan to attend one, if not all of them!

Our Fishing Lowdown publication will be out as well, with the second edition since we started back. Feedback and comments are all positive and we are very excited to have it back on the streets.

Finally, we hit a big milestone this week. We topped 3 million views on our website! A big number which we are so excited to share. Of course, we couldn’t do it without our advertisers, contributors and readers. Thank you, thank you for your continued support. We are proud of our magazines and look forward to promoting this area for a long time to come.

Until the next time, Happy Spring!

Where did the month go?

February is here, but where did January go?!? Time continues to be my worse enemy – I need more of it!

On a positive note, we are one month closer to warmer weather and that 7-10 day stretch in the spring that gives us that “perfect” Florida weather. Not too hot, not too cool and the colors of the trees, bushes, plants and sky all brilliant. With that being said, what better time to start planning to attend some of the local festivals we are promoting in this month’s issue. The Fiddler Crab Festival in Steinhatchee (February), the Lower Art & Nature Festival in Suwannee (March) and the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts in Cedar Key (April). All fun family events put on by some great volunteers in these communities. So put it on your calendar to attend one, if not all this year. You can enjoy the beautiful weather, help support these local venues and have a great time.

We have maintained our 56 page count again for this round, and I am so thankful to all of our wonderful advertisers and contributors. They make this happen (I just put it all together) so you can have a monthly magazine filled with stories, history, shopping, real estate, restaurants and information. All focused on The Hidden Coast!

While we are happy to announce our continued pages in The Hidden Coast, we are even more excited to announce the return of The Fishing Lowdown. This is our monthly tab we started last year, but it was put on hiatus after the hurricane. After much contemplating, and feedback from readers and contributors, we decided to bring it back this month. Look for it where you pick up your copy of our other magazines and check out our website as well. We have webcams, weather information and the entire issue for you to read, each month. Also don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

One a side note, we are happy to be a sponsor of the North Florida Gulf Fishing Club again for 2024. They put on monthly tournaments throughout The Hidden Coast region and give away some hefty prices of both cash and goodies. Check them out on their Facebook page and look for the 2024 schedule in this month’s edition of The Fishing Lowdown.

Until the next time. Enjoy, explore and discover this beautiful area we call “The Hidden Coast.”

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year, and like every year, the holidays came and went in a blur. Family, food, decorations, presents and everything else, in and out of our lives in a minute. We see, hear and think Christmas for almost five months (as of this year), and then BOOM it’s over. I think we all should get a week’s vacation to celebrate the holiday and remember the real reason for the season amongst all the other chaos thrown at us.

Our first edition for January is out and right off the bat we are promoting a local festival, the annual Fiddler Crab Festival in Steinhatchee. I call January-April “Festival Season” on The Hidden Coast since there are so many events planned. If you have never attended one of these festivals or events please plan to do so this year. The locals depend on them quite a bit and most, if not all, are put on completely by volunteers. Stay connected with us for dates and times and we move forward into 2024.

We bring you another 56 pages full of great content for January. This includes new advertisers, great stories and of course good eats from around the region. Look for a copy throughout the area and you can always read the entire edition on our website, www.thehiddencoastmag.com

We are also happy to announce The Fishing Lowdown will be back starting in February. We had planned to start it back in January, but read my first paragraph for an explanation. Many of you know this publication was started a year ago to give our local charter captains (many who already write for us) a platform to get their work out there. They offer their tips and tricks, as well as knowledge, about the local waterways. We also have marinas, bait shops, tournaments and other retails to help you have a successful outing on the water, or in the woods. Look for it and in the meantime check out our website at, www.thefishinglowdown.com

Until February, enjoy this beautiful area of Florida we call home and buckle up for another fast year ahead!

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas!

Our December issue has been printed and we finished distributing them this past weekend. Our last edition of 2023. Wow, time continues to pass at warp speed and we slide into January in just a couple of weeks. A new year and our 9th year in print for The Hidden Coast Magazine. Five years in print for The Real Estate Magazine. We started doing the math in July and came to the conclusion that the July edition of the Real Estate Magazine was our 100th magazine we have produced. And we’re not done.

We are very thankful to have made it through Hurricane Idalia. She made her presence known for sure, but like everyone in the area we navigated our way through the damage, the aftermath and then getting back up and running again. It’s been a long couple of months, but we finished 2023 very strong and we look forward to carrying it over into the new year.

Our goal for the new year is to continue to grow in all aspects of our business. Print, digital and retail. We have been working on ambitious plans and we’re now ready to put them into action. It’s going to take time, money and a lot of work but I feel very confident we can succeed.

A big thank you to all of our advertisers and writers for another great edition for December. Without them we would not have a product to offer you each month and we are deeply grateful for their continued support and trust of us. We also thank our readers, wherever you might be! One additional thing we saw this fall was an increase in our subscriptions. New York, Illinois, Georgia… Thank you, thank you!

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and all the best for a happy and healthy 2024. Enjoy your time with family and friends and maybe spread some cheer to those who might be alone or in need of some help this holiday season.

Blessed.

Our November magazine is hitting the streets this week. The second edition of our new size and format. The response to our October issue was overwhelming with almost 100% of our customers and readers liking the new look. We appreciate everybody’s input and feedback and will continue to tweak it as we get closer to 2024.

Two things we noticed last month were request for getting a hard copy of our magazine mailed out and everyone’s hope that The Fishing Lowdown will continue. We have good news on both. A link has been placed on our home page to get readers added to our mailing list via a subscription. We enjoy mailing our magazine out across the country and all we ask is that you pay the mail cost – that’s it! Regarding The Fishing Lowdown, we are definitely going to continue this publication. We are working on how we can keep its own identity in our current format, along with some other ideas, so bear with us. It’s not going anywhere.

With the holidays officially upon us, there is a lot going on throughout the region. We have several festivals and events highlighted in our November edition. These along with our local contributors and advertisers, many who are new, give us another 64 pages of local content! Also, please remember to shop locally, now more than ever. You can find some unique gifts throughout the region, and these folks could use a shot in the arm after the last few months.

2023 has definitely been one for the books. My mother passed in February, our son became engaged in April, We finally did our “Bucket List” cross country trip in May, faced a devastating hurricane in September, dealt with some health issues in October, and now come to the finish line of 2023 stronger and better than before! We are truly blessed with both our families and business. Hurricane Idalea dealt a crushing blow to the region and the repercussions are still being felt. Although many towns, communities and businesses have reopened, we continue to see many businesses deciding not to reopen or rebuild. This is very sad to see, for after seven years they were more than just customers, they were friends. We wish them all the best in their future plans and goals and thank them for their patronage and trust with us since 2016. We are also very grateful to the local Tourist Development Councils and individuals who have stepped up and paid for several ads over the past two editions. Helping those in need and letting the rest of the world know The Hidden Coast is “open for business.” It continues to show what a special part of the state this is and why we are so lucky to be a part of it.

We wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving this year and thank you for the blessing you have bestowed upon us.

Unwelcome Visitor

October, 2023. This was our goal to print our next magazine and I am very proud to say and show that “we did it.” The week Hurricane Idalia hit The Hidden Coast was probably one of the longest of my life. It was agonizing to see the pictures and videos coming from the area we know so well. We decided immediately to shut down production and help out in other ways. My wife and I hit the road on Labor Day weekend and started dropping off needed supplies throughout the region. The first sites we saw were unbelievable. As we traveled towards Perry, we passed miles and miles of downed trees and power lines. Some splintered, twisted and even blown apart. Structures damaged one right after the other. As we headed south into Keaton Beach, more of the same.

But when we got into Steinhatchee, it was quite the site. Cleanup was well underway. Machinery, trucks and individuals making their way through the debris. When we reached the drop off point, there were stacks and stacks of supplies. It was like this for the rest of the day and it was an amazing sight to see. I was told that 1K+ volunteers showed up the first week in Cedar Key. The state of Florida had a make-shift office park setup in Horseshoe Beach, offering aid and support for those who desperately needed it. At the end of the day, my faith in humanity had been restored and I felt like this on each additional trip we made down to the area.

Now, just over a month later, many businesses have already opened, with several more in the process of doing so. Clean up still goes on but the roads are cleared, the restaurants and stores are open and these communities only need one thing… you.

That is why we though it was important to print a magazine as quickly as we could and let everyone know, THE HIDDEN COAST IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS! These small towns and communities took a big hit over the last month. And they could sure use some visitors. Festivals and events are back on schedule and the weather will be cooling down a bit here in North Florida. What better way to enjoy a weekend than by getting outdoors and supporting those in need. Please pick up a copy of our latest edition and see all the events planned or simply click on the link to read  the entire October issue online.

www.thehiddencoastmag.com

It’s Hot Out There

Our July/August edition has been out for a month already and I am just now writing this blog. A show of how busy we have been this summer. Between short weekend getaways, office moves and the normal daily grind, it has been a unbelievable crazy summer. We were actually two weeks behind getting our other two publications out in July, so hopefully things will start to settle down a bit for us as we move closer to fall and some cool weather. 

Our July/August edition was again a big hit this year. SeaHag Marina did an outstanding job on the cover and we had several new advertisers and contributors join us for this round. Advertisers include Tie The Knot with In the Slot, SeaHorse Landing, BBQ From the Hart, Ta-Ja-Pa, Southern Canvas, IFAS and 2 Sweet Donut Shop and Bakery. Most of our contributors focused on the scallop season and they supplied us with great tips and tricks for the ongoing season.

So far it has been a very successful season for many of our advertisers and contributors and we are very happy for that. it’s been a long couple of years for everyone on The Hidden Coast. Between the pandemic and two rainy summers, the scallop season was mostly a flop for many of them. Glad to see restaurants, condos and retail shops filled this year! On top of that there is a lot of growth going on all over The Hidden Coast. Many of the old-timers are not happy about, and would have like to remained “Hidden”, but it’s sign of the times for all of us in North Florida. It’s coming whether we like or not and we put our trust in our elected officials to manage and regulate it correctly.

On a side note, my wife and I finally did our ultimate bucket list trip with a 7-day, 9 state trip in May. We flew into St. Louis and ended up on Jackson Hole, 2K+ miles later. We saw everything on our list plus some, The Arch, Lincoln’s Tomb, Mark Twains home town, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Devil’s Tower, Little Big Horn, Yellowstone, Old Faithful and Grand Teton. Amazing trip and America the beautiful for sure. We have a incredible country with amazing people. Everywhere we went we were welcomed with open arms and great hospitality. Flights, hotels, restaurants – spot on! Don’t let the nightly news fool you with “Gloom and Doom”. Much more good out there than bad for sure! They only downside of the trip? When we came home we were both hit with a major case of CoVid. Knocked us for a loop for sure, but we are slowly getting back to normal.

Until the next time, enjoy what is left of summer and stay cool! This heat has been oppressive for even the hardcore Florida residents. We look forward to several events planned for the fall, so make sure to pick up a copy of our next edition for all the details.

Happy Spring

Spring is here. The Renaissance, or rebirth, of our annual year. The weather is beautiful and the outdoor recreation is in full swing, with more to come in June with the kick off Scalloping season. 

We thank Jason Lowe, J Lowe Guide Services, for passing out our publications at the Cast and Blast Expo in Ocala and the Kay Mcallister, Dixie County TDC, for passing them out at Rural County Days at the Capital in Tallahassee. We are so grateful for our all our customers and thankful for all that they do for us. 

Things are starting to slow down a bit around the area, as we promoted 12 events in the region since January 1st. So glad to see this and we’re happy to say we participated in one of them. We are promoting the annual Chiefland Watermelon Festival on our current cover plus two inside pages with local businesses. We thank the Chiefland Chamber and Woman’s Club for their assistance in this project. This is a fun event and my wife and I actually went to it last year. They offer slices of cold, sweet watermelon for free! What else can you ask for on a hot day in June?

Compass Homes and Land Vacation Rentals joins us as a new customers in our May/June issue. Nancy has been a long time customer in our Real Estate Magazine and wanted to let our readers know that she offers vacations rentals as well. The Williston Chamber is in promoting the Peanut Festival that will be taking place in September and James Chewing, Nikki Douglas, Tony Johns and Rhonda Rogers leads the pack of our local contributors with some great reading for these spring days! 

Look for our next issue in July, and if you are a local business think about advertising with us. This is our biggest edition every year and we have thousands of visitors coming into the area. Been see in print and online with us! 

Until the next time, happy spring. 

Hello’s and goodbye’s in spring

Our March/April edition is upon us. There has been so much going on, in our little piece of paradise, since January 1st and it continues for the next few months. 

We kick off this weekend with the Lower Suwannee Art & Nature Fest (March 11). Next weekend will then be the Brew Fest (March 18). The following weekend has the Trenton Quilt Festival (March 25) and we wrap up the month with the Florida State Bluegrass Festival (March 31-Apr 1), Old Florida Celebration of the Arts (April 1-2) and the Horseshoe Beach Spring Festival (April 1). In April we have the Cross City Fly-In & Cruise-In (April 15) and we wrap it up with the Cedar Lakes Woods and Garden Spring Festival (May 6-7). Lots to do so please take advantage of the beautiful weather and attend a couple of these events. Most, if not all, are put on by volunteers and the local towns and cities would appreciate it! 

We have some unique stories in this issue again thanks to all of our contributors.  We are happy to welcome two new contributors as well, Brian Bowen and Carla Antico. They both bring informative and entertaining articles to kick things off. We also welcome some new (and old) advertisers, Cedar Key Pottery, Putnam Hotel RV Resort, Steinhatchee Marina and Deadman Bay and Dek Kat Boats. Also joining us this round are two new businesses from the east coast in St. Augustine. FishBites Trading Post and Bob’s Bait and Tackle. We are very excited to have these two in with us and thank Captain Tony Johns for his help on this.

Although this has been a very busy year for us already, we had to take some time to reflect on the loss of my mom in February. She was 87 years young and lived a wonderful life. She and my dad (who we lost in 2006) uprooted their five kids and moved cross country to Florida where we have spent 50 years of making memories and having our family continue to grow. She ran a tight ship back in the day and she took care of the discipline since my dad was on the road quite a bit. She taught us respect, manners, and accountability for our actions. I feel lucky to have had her for my mom and thank her for all that she did for us. With that, I will leave you with a few quotes I found online this weekend.  Until the next time, enjoy.

• “My mother is a walking miracle.” — …

• “A mother understands what a child does not say.” — …

• “The world needs our mothers.” — …

• “A mother’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” — …

• “There is nothing as sincere as a mother’s kiss.” — …

• “Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face.” —

Happy New Year 2023!

Happy New Year! What a year 2022 was indeed and we limped across the finish line December 31. My wife came down with CoVid two days before Christmas and our house was turned upside down for a week. No holiday get togethers, no baking, no festive mood… basically no fun. Our kids bailed on us and we didn’t do our family gift exchange until the 28th. A different Christmas indeed but we survived and made the best of it. And yes, thank the Good Lord, my wife is doing fine. She shed a lot of tears but I did the best to entertain her (lots of Christmas movies, carols and fires in the fireplace).

We start year number six of The Hidden Coast Magazine and we are blessed indeed for such great support from all of our wonderful customers. All of our current customers resigned with us and we picked up some new ones, and old friends at the end. We are looking forward to a great year and it kicks off with several festival planned throughout the area for the first quarter.

We start with Fiddler Crab Festival, then Miles of Smiles, The Lower Suwannee Art & Nature Fest, the Brew Fest, the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts and finally the Horseshoe Beach Spring Fest. Knock on wood we have had a mild winter so far, so get outdoors and enjoy these great events.

We have some great articles in this edition from our regular contributors and Dawn Taylor, Unexpected Adventures with Dawn, gives us an overview of some of the events mentioned already, plus a few more. We have all of our regular charter captains giving tips and tricks to fish the winter waters and Nikki Douglas gives us an Old Time Cracker Christmas. A little late, we know, but it’s well worth the read.

Finally we are excited to announce the launch of a third publication. We’ve had several charter captains contact us about writing in The Hidden Coast Magazine. Unfortunately so many that we don’t have the room for them anymore. Hence, we decided to start The Fishing Lowdown. A monthly tabloid publication that zeros in on the fishing right here along The Hidden Coast. We have several captains already in with us and the reception has been far greater that we ever expected. They are a tough bunch, all with big hearts, who are excited to promote the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Be on the lookout for our first issue this month and be sure to check out our website for additional information and updates. www.thefishinglowdown.com

Until the next time, enjoy The Hidden Coast.