There are many options for beach getaways that incorporate gay culture as a central draw. Rehoboth, Fire Island and Provincetown sometimes conjure up visions of tea dances, drag shows and rainbows. If you are looking for something on the other end of the beach and culture spectrum, head to the Florida Panhandle and the sleepy little town of Seaside.
The sugar-white sand and turquoise-blue waters easily make Seaside one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. And, as the first fully developed New Urbanism community, there are no towering skyscrapers to unload elevators full of beachgoers. There are beaches that are certainly closer to Central Texas and have much more availability, but Seaside is well worth the trip and the ticket!
Last year marked the thirtieth anniversary of Seaside. The land had been in the family since the 1940s, but it wasn’t until 1981 that development and planning began. And as iconic as The Black Dog is to the Vineyard, Seaside’s First Dog, Bud, is happily not only the namesake of Bud & Alley’s, Seaside’s first fine dining restaurant, but also the inspiration for the blue dachshund logo found throughout the area. As the pet and constant companion of the founders of Seaside, Bud not only attended all the initial development meetings, he also married his gal pal, Guinness, on the beach.
One of the core principles of New Urbanism is a well-defined and accessible central square. For Seaside, the town center is appropriately marked by an adorable post office, converted from one of the oldest original buildings of the area. A massive half-domed lawn wraps the building and contains an amphitheater, which is host to everything from farmer’s markets to movie nights. Rounding out the design is a crescent of shops, restaurants and galleries, all locally owned and all equally inviting.
Most everyone here uses cars only for arrival and departure as the layout and roads are ideally equipped for walking and biking. There is one main highway (30A) that separates the town from the beach. Be sure to get a bike with a basket and pedal down to Modica’s Market, the central store for staples that stocks everything from gourmet food and wine to sunscreen and floaties. Almost a museum of sorts, it is one of the original stores that has remained family run even after the passing of Charles Modica in 2010. Start your morning with a coffee or fresh- squeezed mimosa and watch the sleepy resort town wake and gather.
With all of the active options that Seaside has to offer, you will need the fuel.
Story by Lynn Yeldell
Photos by Lynn Yeldell
L Style G Style – Storyteller of the Austin LBGT Community.