Welcome to Seaside, Florida!
This is one of my all-time favorite places for relaxing, beach time and generally recharging. I’ve been visiting Seaside since 1983 ~ a couple of years after it was founded in 1981. So much has been written about Seaside and the concept of New Urbanism, that I don’t need to add a lot here. It’s on the Florida panhandle, about half-way between Panama City and Ft.Walton, on state road 30-A. The founder Robert Davis, his partner (and now wife) Daryl, and architectural partners Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk set out to build a small town on 80 acres of ocean front property inherited from Robert’s grandfather in 1979.
They wanted to build an “old Florida town” on the property, originally purchased in 1946. They wanted a town for families ~ walking, porch sitting, visiting with neighbors ~ in the old northwest Florida architecture of small wooden houses, with big porches and lots of windows. Their approach was defined as “New Urbanism” ~ though Seaside is anything but urban. It’s a vacation town, with dedicated full-time residents who live, work and create in their place on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico.
Since Seaside was founded, it’s estimated that more than 600 communities have been created in the United States using the principles of New Urbanism. It has been gratifying for me to watch Seaside mature from a brand-new pastel colored, romanticized ideal into a more real, gracefully weathered but beautifully maintained community. Even though it is a vacation location for me, when I visit it still feels like my little town ~ even if only for a week.
I always do a walk-about and get inspired. As usual, this year I obsessed a little over color, railings and shutters ~ but I never forget it is ultimately about the beach, so plenty of blue water too!
Here’s a little of my bluwater Seaside tour 2011. I’ll give a wave from the porch when I see you walk by 🙂
PS> Still working on the “upgrade” for bluwaterlife, so stay tuned for the new improved site!