The Gulf County Tourist Development Council held its first Winter Guest Reception last week to celebrate those who make Gulf County their home over the frigid months of the year.


The Gulf County Tourist Development Council held its first Winter Guest Reception last week to celebrate those who make Gulf County their home over the frigid months of the year.



Conversation wasn’t difficult to strike up since everyone had at least one thing in common: they all loved Gulf County.



More than 100 guests arrived at the Welcome Center and enjoyed seafood, snacks, drinks and live music as they mingled with other visitors to the area.



The event included the launch of the official Winter Fun Schedule, located at www.gcflwinterfun.com, which keeps snowbirds and visitors in the know when it comes to local events that will take place from Jan. through March.



TDC Advisory Council chairman David Warriner and executive director Jennifer Jenkins welcomed, or in many cases, welcomed back, the visitors to the area and thanked them for choosing Gulf County as their winter escape.



“I thought the event was wonderful,” said Jenkins. “It really was the first time we connected with our winter guests and I enjoyed meeting them.”



Since 2010, Carol Hunsberger has spent two months out of her year living in a house on Cape San Blas.



Hunsberger originally found Gulf County when searching out pet-friendly vacation destinations and has made the trek back every year since her initial visit.



“There’s always something interesting and exciting to do,” said Hunsberger, a graphic designer and photographer.



Though the remaining months of her year are spent in Columbus, OH, Hunsberger spends her time on the Cape enjoying the beaches, kayaking and taking photographs.



Her work has appeared on many area flyers and promotional materials, including the brochures for Cape Escape Vacation Rentals.



Hunsberger said that she’s looking into lengthening the amount of time she stays each year.



Dan Underwood of Indiana was enjoying his second four-month stay in Gulf County.



He said that he was looking to venture out to some of the surrounding towns he hadn’t seen and was looking forward to finding out why Wewahitchka’s Tupelo honey was so good.



“I was looking for somewhere laid back, relaxed and quiet,” said Underwood. “I found it.”



Russ Galatz was enjoying his first visit to Gulf County along with his wife, Faith, and their dog, Missy.



He’d heard about the area from a friend and decided to stay on the Cape near the Barrier Dunes. The Galatz’s rolled into town on New Year’s Eve and would be staying through February.



“It’s a great community,” said Galatz. “It’s quaint and not overly developed.



“It seems to attract good people.”



Even though temperatures during the reception were in the 60s, Galatz said that it was better than the temperatures he had been experiencing in northern Minnesota, his home for the remainder of the year.



Galatz said he was “enamored” with the seafood and had just enjoyed a fun trip to Apalachicola. He said that he and his wife had many day trips planned and anything that they didn’t knock out this year, they’d be sure to hit on a return trip.



“I felt the reception was important because these folks actually live with us for months and we should welcome them,” said Jenkins. “They were all very excited about the new schedule of events we have put together with partners throughout the county.



“It also promotes our businesses and shopping locally. The more people we have the more jobs we can retain.”



Complimentary GCFL ice scrapers were given to attendees upon sign-in and though the likelihood of having to use them was slim, they’d be sure to be thinking of Gulf County when chipping away back North.



The next winter guest reception will take place at the Welcome Center on Feb. 19.