A Truly Extraordinary Place

We used to live in a large custom home that we designed and had built. It was a very nice home, with a great deal of what realtors call curb appeal. We lived there for over 17 years. But as nice as it was, I can’t remember a single time when someone stopped to use our home as a backdrop for a photo session.

Now that we live in a marina, however, it happens all the time. Hardly a week goes by that we don’t have photographers lining the railing above our slip, quite often at sunset, using our boat, our dock and the marina as a backdrop. We’ve seen countless couples pose for pictures, apparently celebrating an engagement or wedding or other significant life event. In the spring, it was high school kids and prom pictures. A few months later, it was cap and gown shots.

Marina At Dawn

The Marina At Dawn

One time while Rhonda was in town having dinner with her sister, I heard thumping in the cockpit. Sticking my head up to investigate, I found a photographer who had somehow gained access to the dock (we’re behind a locked gate, but the code is Pensacola’s worst kept secret) posing three young women on our stern. He apparently thought it would make a pleasant picture.

Returning recently from a long weekend at anchor, we discovered that the local Morgan Stanley brokerage was holding a dinner for their clients in our backyard.


It wouldn’t have been much of a reach to help ourselves from our cockpit.


And then there was the wedding. A couple of weeks back, a trawler pulled up to the dock. A few days after, a small crew busily decorated it. Curious about the goings-on, I struck up a conversation with the boat’s owner. He told us he’d brought the boat down the Tenn-Tom waterway from northern Alabama to get married in Pensacola.

“Well that’s cool,” Rhonda and I said to ourselves. We haven’t seen that before.

It was a beautiful event. While the minister waited for the betrothed on the upper deck…


the guests gathered on the upper walkway directly across.


The groom awaited the arrival of his bride at the foot of the marina ramp…


and then they boarded the boat for the ceremony.


We couldn’t help giving a celebratory toot of our air horn as the newlyweds departed to start their new life together.


So why write about this? Because it’s important that we not focus solely on the destination, our eventual departure for a Life On The Hook™. Each step on the journey is part of the trip, and our time spent living at a marina in downtown Pensacola has created some truly special memories. I imagine that someone whose daily view consists of the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty eventually stops seeing it as something unique. But these continual reminders that others view our current home as a suitable backdrop for life’s special events helps us continue to appreciate how, even with its challenges and inconveniences,  we’re living in a truly extraordinary place.

2 thoughts on “A Truly Extraordinary Place

  1. Steve H.

    It’s nice to see someone appreciating the latest incarnation of Palafox Pier! I spent 7 years on the pier in a different era. My first job out of college was managing the former Bayfront Auditorium from 1989 to 1997. The Auditorium sat on the “Municipal Pier” from 1955 until Hurricane Ivan finally damaged the building beyond repair in 2004, when the auditorium was demolished to make room for the expanded marina.

    There have been a lot of great shows on that pier over the years, from Elvis to Bob Dylan to Yanni to Jane’s Addiction. It was a real hot spot for “New Wave” acts routing from New Orleans in the 90s. We now spend most of our weekends at a marina on Chesapeake Bay in Havre de Grace Maryland on our 36′ Mariner Ketch, and are in year two of a five-year plan to cruise full time. At least I can appreciate having a marina to replace the aging auditorium that holds so many memories for me and generations of Pensacola residents.

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. Robert Post author


      I keep meaning to reply to this but then kept getting sidetracked. Sorry for the delay in responding. I just wanted to mention that the old Municipal Auditorium will always have a special place in the hearts of Pensacolians. I had at least one of my high school proms there back in the 70’s, and saw several concerts there over the years. In 2004 we launched a little side business making concrete countertops, and participated in a home show at the auditorium that August. It turned out to be the last event ever held there. It was already slated for retirement, but when Hurricane Ivan smashed in the south facing wall, well, that was the end for the old girl. In the end, though, the hurricane turned out to be a very good thing for the city, as it lead to the closing of the downtown sewage treatment plant (ole’ stinky) and all the urban renewal and development that has since occurred. Thanks for the comment!


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