Thousands of visitors are drawn to Grayton Beach every year to experience the nostalgia and Old Florida architecture and atmosphere.
Kitty Taylor's family is one that goes way back and first visited in the 1930s.
Her grandmother, who lived in Opp, Ala., bought a house in Grayton in 1934 from the Butlers. It was a place she came to on her honeymoon. The house was built by Ed Walline using a lot of pine. The now-named Cole Bin on Garfield Street is still in the family.
Taylor grew up coming to Grayton Beach every summer of her life since she was a baby.
Before the 331 bridge was built, they rode the ferry across the Bay to get here.
"We were all a bunch of families from Alabama, and we had a community mailbox that everyone used," remembers Taylor. "There was no air conditioning and no one had a phone except Mr. Butler. It was all families, and the Freeport and DeFuniak kids would come down and join us at the old Butler Store. There used to be a big red and white checkered water tower next to the Cole Bin. I remember my mother dancing at the store. Malcolm Patterson used to row across the lake standing up to dance with Cat Cole (her mom)."
The old Butler Store had a lot of different owners, said Taylor.
"The men would play pool at the store and whoever won would own the store for a day," she said. "But when they had to wake up early and meet the beer truck, they didn't like that, so, they began to lose on purpose."
"The Breauxs, Florences, Haynes, Laurents, Murphys, us, and the Davises had horses and we rode horses all over the sand dunes. We had a beach buggy trail we called the roller coaster that we would take and we would end up at Alligator Lake. Everybody had a beach buggy of some kind. Our favorite holiday was July 4. Everybody would be on the beach and all the moms would ski on the Grayton Lake (Western Lake) and in the Gulf. Then we would go to the Butler store and listen to music. The favorite was 'Crystal Blue Persuasion," said Taylor. "We painted our names on the wood at the store, and my mother's name is carved into the wood by the front door."
Taylor's parents, Catherine and Jim Taylor, moved to Grayton from Atlanta when they retired in 1985 and built a Gulf-front house on Auburn Street.
Taylor moved to Grayton in 1992, where she raised her two children. She lived there for 10 years.
She still goes to the old store, which is now the Red Bar, and her mom went before she died and said it still has the old soul.
"Those aren't the original booths, but similar. And all the posters are covering up the paint," she said.
She is still very close with all of the old Grayton crowd and they have their own Facebook page.
"We all have the same memories of dancing in the store," she said.
Taylor has worked as a Realtor in Grayton since 1992.
"It's gotten a little out of control," she admits. "Everybody wants to make a buck off Grayton. But Grayton needs to take it back to just families and Code Enforcement needs to enforce the laws. I don't want driving on the beach to be taken away, and boats are OK. But beach vending chairs are out of control. Some of them don't even have beach driving permits. We locals can't find a place to sit at the beach. I love Grayton, but Walton County has to enforce rules."