Kellie Pickler engaged on Rosemary Beach
Just days after appearing on the CMT Awards Show for her video “Best Days of Your Life,” Kellie Pickler had one of the best days of hers.
In fact, the song she co-wrote with good friend Taylor Swift proved to be prescient. On June 15, just six days after the popular awards show, Pickler’s longtime boyfriend, songwriter Kyle Jacobs, asked for her hand in marriage during a vacation to Rosemary Beach, Florida.
He couldn’t have picked a better place. Not only is Rosemary Beach charming and romantic (It’s one of 14 experimental communities along the 26 miles of Florida’s South Walton Beach), but its luscious white sand beach provided the perfect backdrop for Jacobs’ champagne and candle-laden proposal. Yes, he popped the question on the beach at sunset.
Perhaps the best thing about Rosemary Beach is everything is within walking distance: the beach, a coffee shop serving free trade, locally-roasted coffee, a sizable list of really good restaurants (one even serves chocolate-covered bacon), a tennis club, art galleries and, lots of great boutiques.
Rosemary Beach was designed by the architects who pioneered Seaside, the planned community parodied in “The Truman Show.” And like that first development that ended up on the cover of Atlantic Monthly and sparked a whole new movement, Rosemary Beach is an experiment in what’s known as New Urbanism. The idea behind this design movement is to tame suburban sprawl.
Rosemary Beach’s West Indies-style homes, ranging from 450 to 6000-square feet, are linked together by footpaths, secret walkways and boardwalks. Eight walkovers protecting coastal dunes lead to a gorgeous gulf beach where kids build sandcastles and old men throw fishing lines out into the emerald surf.
Proponents of New Urbanism tout the “ice cream social” atmosphere. The test of a town’s success, they say, is whether or not an eight-year-old can ride his bike downtown for a popsicle. In Rosemary Beach, it’s not just eight-year-olds riding bikes. Kids of all ages ride their bikes to Town Square to enjoy weekend Harvest Markets, wine and cheese parties and outdoor Christmas eve services.
Kellie enjoyed Pish Posh Patchouli’s, an apothecary boutique that makes custom scents and carries such hard-to-find bath and beauty products at Tade, Lip Fusion, Kiss Me Mascara and Judy Perfekt. It also sells local soaps by Celeste Cobena, AKA The Soap Pedaler. Yes, she delivers her ware (my fave is her “A Day at the Beach”) by bike.
As for the popsicles, Rosemary’s culinary fare leans more towards gourmet, from Cowgirl Kitchen’s breakfast tacos and twisted lemonade to Restaurant Paradis’ diver scallops, seared and served with wild mushrooms, sweet pea risotto and carrot buerre blanc. It sells locally-grown produce, uses compostable carry-out containers and produces its own sparkling and still waters served in–what else?–reusable blue glass bottles.
At last count, Rosemary Beach had about 200 permanent residents. The other 700 or so residences in the 107-acre community are second homes (okay, so no town’s perfect) available to be rented out to vacationers like me interested in “test walking” the leisurely beach lifestyle.
Pickler and Jacobs aren’t the only country stars making memories in Rosemary Beach. Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood have been known to vacation in this quaint town just a short flight from Nashville.
Located on the Florida panhandle between Destin and Panama City, Rosemary Beach is just 20 minutes from the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, the first LEED certified airport terminal in the country.