Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Down By The Seashore ~ Seaside, Florida ~ Part One

Northwest Florida Coast
Seaside, Florida

Leave Tallahassee, Florida, and drive west on Interstate Highway I-10 to the exit at Hwy. 331.  Drive south to Scenic County Road 30A,  and you will arrive at the little coastal town of Seaside, Florida.   Driving time is about two hours and 45 minutes.  The total trip is about 150 miles.  There are several beaches all along the route from Panama City Beach all the way to Fort Walton Beach,  they are all interesting and beautiful, but somehow none are as charming as the beautiful coastal beach town of Seaside.

Seaside started with a dream to develop 80 acres of family property into a small charming seaside town with the thought in mind of families coming to the area and making long lasting memories with their families.

As you approach Seaside you know you are about to experience something wonderful.  Even from a distance you can see the cottage towers of the cute little pastel colored cottage homes dotted all along the way.

The town itself is eight blocks wide and was designed where Central Square borders the Seaside amphitheater and is considered the downtown of Seaside.  Here you will find shops, a grocery store called the Modica Market, restaurants, a fudge and yogurt shop, and a Repertory Theater which has performed everything from Shakespeare to Charlotte's Web.

Another popular restaurant across from the Amphitheater.

The Seaside Post Office in the below photo sits in the heart of the Seaside downtown area.  It is a tiny operating landmark the town could not live without.  They say this is one of the country's most photographed post offices.  This post office is there to serve the residents and guests of Seaside and is open year round.  The flagpole is so tall it is fairly easy to see the grand old flag flying proudly from most locations in the heart of town.

In the below photo you will see the grounds surrounding the Amphitheater.  Many activities are held here from concerts, to stories by the sea, to sand-sculpturing, to kid's cupcake night, and kids popcorn night.   Friday night in the spring and summer is movie night under the stars.  The local Farmer's Market is held here on Saturdays each week.  Plus families bring picnics out to the lawn and just enjoy the sunshine.

Although the town was originally designed to mimic small town America, the town has become one of the most popular Florida tourist attractions because of it's unique character.

The founder of the town envisioned residents walking from their cottage homes, crossing the street and walking to the beach through the individual Seaside Pavilions at the end of each neighborhood block.  Each pavilion is a unique landmark. The founder of Seaside envisioned the pavilions as open gateways to the ocean,  shared by everyone living and visiting Seaside.

The below pavilion is directly across the street from the downtown area.
The Coleman Pavilion

A Seaside landmark.

How inviting!

Located directly across the street from the downtown area, across the main street 30A, is the Coleman Pavilion and several restaurants and shopping areas.  Bud and Alleys Restaurant (named after a cat and a dog) has been chosen as one of the 20 best restaurants in Florida.  It is a popular gathering place to watch the beautiful sunsets.

Just had to snap some pictures of the pretty flowers in the below photos as we walked through to the Coleman Pavilion and then back to Bud and Alleys for a delicious dinner.

It was fun looking at the shops near the Coleman Pavilion.

A sign in the Seaside Classics shop.

 One of the outdoor shopping areas

There are 19 miles of paths along scenic highway 30A for biking and jogging.  There were bicycles everywhere.  Plus all of the narrow streets in the neighborhoods are bike friendly.

This pretty little Lantana caught my eye while strolling around Seaside.
Lantana plants are a tropical shrub and a symbol of Florida landscaping, their salt-tolerance making them a favorite flower in seashore communities.

We could not resist this cute little restaurant for a seafood lunch.

As I looked out the back at the beautiful turquoise colored sea this sign seemed appropriate.

   You can choose to sit on the back patio of this little restaurant or go a short distance out to the deck.

    This next sign in the same restaurant also seemed appropriate when we were given the lunch bill.

How peaceful!

It was so nice walking around the beautiful little town of Seaside with the gentle breezes blowing.  We also spent some time visiting in the neighborhood, which is located to each side and to the back of the downtown area.

The cute little pastel colored cottages are all so adorable and each one totally different.  There were some very large homes as well.

So this post will not be so long,  I will be adding Part Two and then Part Three,  and I hope you will join in next time when we walk down the neighborhood streets of Seaside and visit hometown Americana where time seems to stand still and there is a calm and gentle peacefulness. 

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