The Dream of a Simple, Beautiful Life in Seaside, Florida

April 15, 2013 by admin

You know Seaside. The pastel houses and the picket fences. Families pedaling to the ice cream shop, bike following bike following bike. It seems impossible to imagine, but long before what you see today, Seaside was just a dream. A dream of one man.

J.S. Smolian had always had an intense connection to this part of the Gulf Coast. The sugar-white sand. The turquoise-blue water. He loved the way the place pulled his family together. He loved watching his grandchildren become brilliant beach-castle architects. He loved watching his children become themselves again.

The connection was so strong that in 1946 he bought 80 beach acres. Undeveloped land dense with live oaks and scrubby brush, barely navigable but for a couple of dirt paths.
J.S. had a vision for the acres. He had peered into that untamed territory and recognized a certain grace. An elegance. His plan was a summer camp. A destination he could share. The plan never materialized, however. The land rested.

Until 1978, when J.S. deeded the 80 acres to his grandson, Robert Davis.

Robert knew the connection. He had felt the same magic J.S had. His memories of gulf beach summer nights spent here on wide porches were as indelible as the sound of the waves or the sea breezes drying his arms after a swim. They were idyllic. Simple.

Robert shared his grandfather’s dream. This could only be a place to share. He made his own plan. A town seamlessly tied by a common sense of community. In 1981, Seaside was born.

Over 30 years after J.S. first acted on his dream, Robert realized his own. It was the dream we all have for life itself. Simple. Beautiful. Graceful. Elegant. 30 years later, the Seaside dream continues.

“When I closed my eyes and let my mind wander, I could almost feel the sea breezes evaporating the moisture on my skin. I could recall the special pleasure of relaxing on a porch rocker after a shower at the end of the day on the beach.”
– Robert Davis reminiscing on his summer family vacations on the Gulf Coast.

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