By Paula Hilton
No, I didn’t win the lottery, although my family and I do continue trying. Our “corporation,” as we call it, invests each week in the Powerball hoping to bring it home one of these days.
Hasn’t happened yet, but I’m still rich. Because living here in Beachcomberland, I’ve found that no matter what I want to do—go out for dinner, go shopping, go out for a walk, I’m always rich in choices. No, we don’t have 821,000 restaurants like New York City, or a mall comparable to Minnesota’s Mall of America, but we do have plenty of great restaurants, great shopping and great people.
We also have a ton of beautiful real estate. Vacation homes prevail. This lends itself very well to my small acting troupe, Act4Murder. Every year I host an elegant awards party—the Act4Murder Accolades, on par with Hollywood’s Academy Awards. We have amazing food, music, and trophies for the winners, even a red carpet and a photographer to capture each guest’s arrival and every minute of our extravagant event.
And the location of the event changes each year because of the large number of gorgeous homes that are available to rent. We’ve had our awards event in Destin, 30A, Navarre, Miramar Beach, Dune Allen Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, and this year we’re taking it out to Pensacola Beach for the first time.
I use VRBO.com (Vacation Rentals by Owner—I have no affiliation to the company, but have had nothing but good luck finding the perfect house each year using this site) to search for property that will suit our needs. We really only need three things—a big kitchen, a big gathering area with a large flat‑screen TV and DVD player, and a view of the Gulf of Mexico.
The big kitchen is necessary because I somehow manage to talk my family into helping me prepare food for the party every year. My mom, sister, niece and two daughters are usually there with me all day long preparing around 20 different finger foods for the event. Between the deep‑fat fryer, stove‑top grill, skillets, pans, oven and numerous crock pots—plus all the platters of cold food that has to be assembled—you can imagine we need a lot of counter space and room to move around.
The big gathering area is needed because we have around 30 guests at the event, and I assemble an awesome (Academy Award‑worthy) slide show presentation of all our shows from the past year, which they enjoy on the big‑screen. I give out trophies to everyone afterwards, so we need room for the acceptance speeches. And it wouldn’t be a party without dancing. Watching a bunch of actors showing off their moves on the dance floor is not only amusing but a great way to end the evening.
And the view? That’s really just for me. Taking a walk on the beach the day after the party is the perfect way to unwind and start thinking about next year’s event. After all, we live in Beachcomberland, rich in beautiful beaches and breathtaking views of the water.
See? I told you I was rich!