My Seaside Story

For 30 years, our dream for Seaside has been the dream we have for life itself.  Simplicity, grace, elegance. Fashions have changed. Wars have come and gone.  And a wave of technology has changed the way we exist. But the fact remains that Seaside reminds us of what is truly real and significant in life. A simple connection to family and friends and the world around us. The story of Seaside is the story of lives touched by this simple philosophy. We are all Seaside, because we all share the same dream.  And, perhaps, Seaside continues to help us live that dream. The dream of a simple, beautiful life. These are our Seaside stories. Stories of laughter and sadness. Romance and loneliness. Families and friends. Traditions and discoveries. My Seaside Story is a yearlong storytelling experience, a setting for us to share our stories. For the past three decades, hundreds and hundreds of them have washed ashore.

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Bare Feet and Sandy Floors

Posted on February 13th at 3:13 pm 3 Comments

For one week, time slowed down. Our vacation to Seaside was our first beach vacation as a family of three. My wife, our one-year-old son and I met our parents, aunts and uncles here for a weeklong vacation.

The town and the area are unmistakable. Alone in its beauty and imaginative properties. Planned communities and carefully designed blueprints of towns line Florida’s famed county highway 30A. Runners and bikers traverse the road and small businesses frame town squares like Modica Market which sells morning mimosas, chicken biscuits and fresh cut petunias. Sundog Books is a burgeoning reader’s haven, something antiquated and lost in the big business and dot-com craze. The term “running into town” exudes the truest sense of the phrase and the expressive syncope of exercise and necessity. And lying in a float in the Gulf of Mexico feels a little like The Truman Show meets Cast Away.

Call me old fashioned or tired of the same old thing, Seaside had exactly what I was looking for; a break from the ordinary and a place to find good ice cream.

The first-time experiences with our son never seemed to end. I stand up paddleboard for the first time on Western Lake nearby at the WaterColor Boathouse. And my son tasted salt water for first time off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico with Bud and Alley’s in the distance. Waves crashed over him and he didn’t whimper. We rode bikes for the first time in a long time. Our son woke us up in the middle of the night, but it all seemed a little better knowing the ocean waves were crashing a few steps away from the room where you were screaming.

Vacation always seems to intersect life at the most opportune time, call it divine intervention or sunny serendipity. Life is not a vacation and that’s why we only take one once (or twice) a year. But when it happens, it complements everything we’ve tried to do.

The point of living, perhaps most importantly with beach living, is to celebrate the outdoors and the visual representation of God’s glory, not recede from it. I joked with my nieces when asked why there are so many runners in town that video games were illegal in Florida.

Vacation is not a break from changing diapers, late nights and early mornings. The act itself – whether an extended weekend or a full week – rejuvenates, renews and restores. Vacation lets you run five miles in the morning, eat oysters in the afternoon and read a book lit by the setting sun. Vacation is where you’ll hopefully row your first kayak, dogpaddle against the surf and eat a sno cone under a sky gorged with too many stars to count.

Don’t mistake that the world stops because we’re on vacation. Millions of people who are not on vacation still struggle and hearts still break. Lovers still love and dreamers still dream while the homeless still wander and the mourners still cry. Unlike this past week, most days are not like life at the beach.

We encounter endless problems and tomorrow, we’ll try to solve them. We’ll pay bills and worry about our jobs. We’ll go back to watching Nightly News with Brian Williams and see if the debt ceiling crisis will affect our plans for the future. The laundry still needs to be done and the kitchen still needs to be cleaned. The lawn will need to be mowed and we’ll start saving up for birthdays and holidays.

But for one week in Seaside, time slowed down. Our week was one of the best weeks we’ve had as a family. We laughed and we played in the sand. We splashed in the pool and we gave each other kisses just because we felt like it.

Seaside may just be another beach town full of surf shops and tan lines, but for this past week, it was something more. It brought us closer. It is perhaps, revolutionary.

Life Rules for Vacation –

1. Don’t completely change your daily routine. It’ll be that much harder to get back into the normal week.

2. The worst part of vacation is always the drive. You can never get there fast enough on the way there and you never want to leave on your way home.

*I cannot take credit for this phrase. It’s the motto of the official Seaside store.

Ryne Dunkelberger

3 Responses to Bare Feet and Sandy Floors

  1. Denise says:

    I love the street photo with the food vendor (Airstream). I am a partner of 3 who have been working on a national website to promote local and organic food resources. We are getting ready to launch and I saw your photo. We are about supporting local farms, small businesses and promoting local food resources. This has been a 3 year project and we are getting ready to launch in about 6 weeks. Would it be possible to get permission to use your blog photo.

    Thank you and I love Seaside as much as you!


  2. Lori says:

    Please contact us at 850.231.6179 for photo usage. Thank you!

  3. sandy howard says:

    Can you give me suggestions on where to stay and what time of year to visit Seaside?

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