For many, when they hear someone mention “Seaside, Fla
.,” it automatically conjures up images a relaxing (and fun) vacation spot, consisting of a sugar white sandy beach and clear blue water.
While everyone agrees the town attracts worldwide attention because of its location, there something else about Seaside that makes it special.
And Mark Schnell, principal, Schnell Urban Design and tour guide, wants you to know more about it.
Situated on 80-acres, the town of Seaside was the birthplace of the New Urbanism movement.
“While not that old, the town has been very influential, ” says Schnell.
Leading Seaside Walking Tours
, he admits the tour is somewhat different. He mainly focuses on the history and urban design, with a little about the architecture and landscape design included. And some stories, too. (You can’t walk around Seaside without pointing out the house that was used in The Truman Show
“I hit the highlights of Seaside. I can’t cover everything , there’s just too much.”
Some of Schnell’s points of interest include walking down the first street of Seaside, where he talks about the history and how the town grew from there. The tour also covers the town center, Ruskin Place, a few residential streets and lesser known places.
Given the tour to both visitors and homeowners, Schnell says the reception has been good.
“People seem interested. Whether it’s someone who has visited Seaside for years or just stumbled across the town, everyone likes to know the inside story.”
The tour developed out of Schnell’s personal and professional interest. He says he enjoys to show people around Seaside, and other places up and down 30-A. So, he thought, why not give tours.
On the professional side, the urban designer says he more or less modeled his career on design of Seaside. His most recent project is Cinnamon Shore
in Corpus Christi, Texas.
“I’m excited about where it’s heading. There hasn't been anything like this.”
As for the Seaside Walking Tour, it’s $15 per person and last 1.5 hours. The tour starts and ends at Sundog Books
. Reservations are required, and can be made either
by email or phone.
photo credit: personal collection