Saints of Old Florida co-authors (L to R): Melissa Farrell, Emily Raffield, Christina McDermott

Saints of Old Florida co-authors (L to R): Melissa Farrell, Emily Raffield, Christina McDermott

The Authors

The heart behind Saints of Old Florida rests with three women - Melissa Farrell, Christina McDermott and Emily Raffield - who love Old Florida the same, yet with varying perspectives - three different generations, three different lives, and three truths. Meeting one another and realizing a shared passion for place, beauty and story sparked what came to be a book about our home. We’ve collaborated with many locals who love it the same and photographed scenes that share the real story, not a tourism advert or what some may think the Florida Panhandle to be. 

We want to cherish and preserve this coastal way of life in any way that we can. Our book, Saints of Old Florida, stewards that admiration and records how things are today – the essence of an area that is saintly to us. We hope you can cherish it the same or learn about a place worth appreciating.


MELISSA FARRELL Originally from Thomasville, Georgia, Melissa settled in Port St. Joe, Florida in 2000.  A creative entrepreneur, she opened Joseph’s Cottage, a lifestyle store in 2002. The Old Florida coastline has been a constant in her life; as many of her beach memories are based in St. Teresa, Florida with her family for generations. Today, she and her husband are proud to raise their children along the same miles of white sand, finding joy in a life of simplicity and natural beauty. Melissa’s warm spirit speaks to the genuine community found in Old Florida – for her, connecting with others who shared their stories and love for this area was the most meaningful aspect of creating Saints of Old Florida.

MELISSA FARRELL

Originally from Thomasville, Georgia, Melissa settled in Port St. Joe, Florida in 2000.  A creative entrepreneur, she opened Joseph’s Cottage, a lifestyle store in 2002. The Old Florida coastline has been a constant in her life; as many of her beach memories are based in St. Teresa, Florida with her family for generations. Today, she and her husband are proud to raise their children along the same miles of white sand, finding joy in a life of simplicity and natural beauty. Melissa’s warm spirit speaks to the genuine community found in Old Florida – for her, connecting with others who shared their stories and love for this area was the most meaningful aspect of creating Saints of Old Florida.

CHRISTINA MCDERMOTT Christina was born in Monterrey, Mexico. She is an alumna of Trinity University where she earned a BA in Elementary Education and a BFA in Painting. In 1990, she moved to Georgia, where she first discovered Old Florida and spent numerous beach vacations with her daughters. Always drawn to the coastal lifestyle and the beach, she now calls Port St. Joe, Florida home. Christina is a true student of Old Florida; of the culture and daily routines. Cherishing every moment spent on her bike, on the beach and exploring the coast with her friends. Christina has a heart for making the most of her days and breathing in life – her enthusiasm and fresh perspective for our area was a major contribution to the book.

CHRISTINA MCDERMOTT

Christina was born in Monterrey, Mexico. She is an alumna of Trinity University where she earned a BA in Elementary Education and a BFA in Painting. In 1990, she moved to Georgia, where she first discovered Old Florida and spent numerous beach vacations with her daughters. Always drawn to the coastal lifestyle and the beach, she now calls Port St. Joe, Florida home. Christina is a true student of Old Florida; of the culture and daily routines. Cherishing every moment spent on her bike, on the beach and exploring the coast with her friends. Christina has a heart for making the most of her days and breathing in life – her enthusiasm and fresh perspective for our area was a major contribution to the book.

EMILY RAFFIELD Emily is a native Floridian, born and raised on St. Joseph’s Bay just outside of Port St. Joe, Florida. Although she has lived in other places in various seasons, Emily has kept the road home well-travelled. She finds such value in the quality of life to be had in Old Florida and her fabric is heavy with weekends spent on the boat, a dozen raw oysters, and quiet back porch mornings as the sun warms the day. These simplicities give her balance and have enriched her life indefinitely. Experiencing her hometown through the collaboration and creation of Saints of Old Florida has been a gift – and the opportunity to share the area, and it’s richness, with others an honor. Emily works professionally in creative direction, branding, and marketing.

EMILY RAFFIELD

Emily is a native Floridian, born and raised on St. Joseph’s Bay just outside of Port St. Joe, Florida. Although she has lived in other places in various seasons, Emily has kept the road home well-travelled. She finds such value in the quality of life to be had in Old Florida and her fabric is heavy with weekends spent on the boat, a dozen raw oysters, and quiet back porch mornings as the sun warms the day. These simplicities give her balance and have enriched her life indefinitely. Experiencing her hometown through the collaboration and creation of Saints of Old Florida has been a gift – and the opportunity to share the area, and it’s richness, with others an honor. Emily works professionally in creative direction, branding, and marketing.