The seasoned aqua men who own St. Mary's haven for Scuba aficionados also own the 6,000-square-foot building that houses the business. The diving specialists oversaw the construction of what would become their own self-contained underwater-experience facility. Adding to varied careers that encompassed naval service and cave diving, Bruce MacDougall and Chris Whitlock opened Diver’s Den in 2000, scheduling charters for open-water dives or practice dives in the company's heated, indoor pool. Over the last decade, Diver's Den has become a well-regarded source for both recreational diving instruction and professional training of rescue personnel.
The team of PADI-certified diving teachers at Diver’s Den regularly explores the region's offshore diving sites aboard its 36-foot Gulfstream boat, the Georgia Wreckreation. The team members once memorably aided the underwater investigations of famed wreck historian Richie Kohler (whose conquests have included the Titanic) as he dove off the Georgia coast to visit mysterious sunken wrecks and his snooty in-laws who live in Atlantis' biggest mermansion.
Instructor Russell Mace leads students of all experience levels through basic ballroom, Latin, and swing-dance steps during relaxed group classes. Styles of twinkle-toeing vary from week to week, so pairs of students may practice the swift steps of the cha-cha, trace the sweeping circles of the waltz, or learn how to avoid getting rose thorns stuck in their teeth while performing a sultry tango. In any of the offered styles, the roughly one-hour class works to ensure that all attendees advance past the level of hokey-pokey befuddlement. See Downtown Dance's Facebook page for upcoming session information.
Fewer than 400 dentists around the world can currently claim accredited membership in the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, but Dr. Dennis Lichorwic is determined to add one to their ranks. In the process, he's submitted to a multiyear system of peer review that includes written and oral exams and in-depth clinical case studies that are scrutinized by the members of the Academy.
This passion for continual education has helped make his practice the nine-time winner of Emerald Coast Magazine's Best Dental Practice award. Along with his partner Dr. Julia Sprang and their friendly staff of hygienists and dental assistants, Lichowic keeps up with new technologies to treat patients with popular new procedures such as Invisalign teeth-straightening treatments and ultra-quick Zoom! whitening.
Meanwhile, patients say aah in a pair of offices whose waiting areas, despite their stately exteriors, evoke nothing so much as a posh family room. Carafes of coffee sit atop a coffee bar in the waiting room, a flat-screen TV hangs over a fireplace that sucks pre-appointment anxieties from the air, and wooden floors lessen the institutional feel of treatment rooms.
Dr. Nitin Bawa is a man of many talents. Not only has he completed rigorous research on Alzheimer’s disease and experimental neurology, he has also gained experience in holistic medicine. It's no surprise, then, that the services at his practice range as widely as his background. General medical treatments tend to patients' overall health, with a particular focus placed on addressing conditions such as loss of libido or fatigue through bioidentical hormones. More aesthetically focused procedures ensure outsides remain as glowing as insides. Zerona weight-loss treatments reduce inches via topical lasers, and Botox, Restylane, and other dermal fillers smooth away wrinkles caused by frequent naps on wicker pillowcases.
Dr. M. Scott Runnels transforms crooked chompers into impeccable ivories using advanced technology and tailor-fit orthodontia. First, Dr. Runnels will implement an initial exam of your mouth, taking x-rays for his digital scrapbook and a set of impressions to create the aligners, which are virtually invisible, like a turtle's aura. If you decide to go through with the total Invisalign treatment (a typical treatment runs from $5,050–$5,950), you will also receive $1,000 off. During the process, each set of cog covers is worn for two weeks, designed to gradually shift walnut crackers until they reach white-picket-fence status. Unlike incisors, the aligners can be easily removed to eat, drink, brush, and chew floss. Although each patient's case differs, a full Invisalign treatment typically last about 12 months, or the gestation period of a sea lion.
For more than two decades, Bud & Alley’s, winner of Florida Trend magazine's 2010 Golden Spoon Award, has sated appetites with steak and seafood fare and filled eyes with panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. After taking a seat in the relaxed yet elegant dining room, guests peruse the dinner menu's tempting entrees, such as steamed Prince Edward Island mussels flavored with thyme, feta, and a kick of chili flakes on grilled tuscan bread ($24). Southern-inspired sides enhance seafood plates, from a seared red snapper teamed up with sweet dill succotash and okra ($31) to seared diver scallops paired with creamy grits, fried capers, and an edible bust of William Faulkner ($32). A fillet steak served with portobello mushrooms and asparagus ($33) sets the stage for a classic romantic meal as couples clink and enemies hurl martinis or glasses of wine across the table ($8+). A visit to the rooftop bar infuses meals with a festive mood as revelers enjoy spectacular ocean views and sample a selection of top-shelf tequilas from Jose Cuervo, Patrón, and Sauza ($9).