As you're driving along 30A and passing Seaside, yet another beach community, instantly you'll realize that there is something unique about this area. Maybe it's the old-school water tower, the clad homes with elaborate porches, fencing and trim. Maybe it's slightly familiar... this was the filming location for the "The Truman Show," a 1998 Jim Carrey movie. In any event, it's well worth the stop to turn in and check out this funky little community.
Seaside - Planting the Seed
It's one thing to build a house, or maybe a subdivision, but an entire town - that takes vision. J.S. Smolian loved the Gulf Coast and the time spent here with his family and grandchildren. He dreamed of creating a summer camp where he could share this same enjoyment with other families and visitors for years to come. In 1946, he purchased 80 acres of undeveloped property, the first step in the creation of Seaside.
Unfortunately, like many visions, this never came to fruition and in 1978, the property was deeded to his grandson, Robert Davis. Having spent many a summer vacation in this area, Robert knew the magic that this beach could impart and was determined to keep his grandfather's dream alive. As most young people do, he had the courage to envision something grander; something that would touch far more people's lives than just a summer camp.
In 1981, over 30 years after J.S. Smolian planted the seed, the community of Seaside became a reality. Although larger than originally planned, the end result was the same - a planned community built on the concepts of family, interacting with friends and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
New Urbanism Fusion
Seaside was developed using the principles of new urbanism that include:
- mixed use
- mixed housing
- quality architecture
- traditional neighborhood design (respects nature and need for habitats, sustains daily needs of its residents)
- increased density (convenient)
- green transportation
- quality of life
Homes in Seaside
You'll find no cookie cutter houses here. Seaside homes and buildings share a buffet of architectural styles including Charleston, Victorian, Antebellum and more. The one main commonality are the wide, welcoming porches that encourage neighborhood chats. Houses tend to be upscale with very little turnover.
The Seaside Vibe
Seaside definitely has a feel all of its own. It's not something you can really describe, but you'll know when you've arrived, there's just something different about Seaside. Here are just a few of the endearing features that help define this town:
- Pedestrian-friendly streets where walking and bike riding is pretty much expected.
- Nine beach pavilions, each with their own style to encourage gathering and family play time at the beach.
- The Seaside Institute, founded by Robert Davis, is a key sponsor for anything artsy in Seaside - from dance recitals and poetry readings to literary events, the institute supports all these and more.
- Seaside school is an award-winning, progressive school, imparting the same values Seaside was built upon.
- The local non-denominational chapel welcomes all faiths, and occupies a charming white building, high on a hill in Seaside.
- Shopping in Seaside includes a pot pourri of independently owned boutiques, specialty shops and restaurants
- The Sunshine Turtle Express - a free downtown trolley service for residents and visitors alike.
- Seaside Farmers Market offering local specialties, cooking demonstrations year round on Saturday mornings.
Airstream Trailer Delight
An article about Seaside is incomplete without mentioning the collection of gourmet food trucks that line the Main Street in Seaside. Working out of revamped airstream trailers, vendors proudly offer such delectables as: smoothies, beach dogs, BBQ, a new take on grilled cheese, and shaved ice, to name just a few.
Plenty of tables are on hand, creating a bistro-type atmosphere where everyone can gather, eat and chat about their day.
So, if you're in the area, be sure to stop by, you'll be glad you did. If you're looking for a home in one of Destin's amazing beach communities, I'd love to take you on a tour of Seaside.
Their town mission statement pretty much says it all: "Seaside - A Simple beautiful life."
12273 US Hwy 98, Suite 204 | Miramar Beach, FL 32550
Office: 850-460-2955 | Fax: 850-807-2999