Math at the Beach

On April 1, I celebrated 24 years of marriage to my husband. Married on April Fool’s Day, I’ve been married half my life. How fast the years fly was on my mind when we spent spring break in Seaside, Fla.

Todd and I first visited Seaside soon after we married while vacationing with friends nearby in Panama City. Other than for a triathlon Todd competed in, we’ve never again returned to Panama City, choosing instead Seaside.

Seaside is the 80-acre vision of Robert Davis, who laid down the plat for the town in 1981. Davis, his wife, and architectural partners traveled the south studying small towns to create an old-fashioned beach town with a social and cultural atmosphere. Every house in Seaside is colorful and different, ranging in style from Victorian, Neoclassical, Modern, Postmodern, and Deconstructivism.

While we have stayed in many types of homes in Seaside, this year we returned to a special place with our sons that we first stayed in 20 years ago, The Mathematician, a residence in the earliest community building there. Designed by architect Steven Holl, The Mathematician features a tower and rooftop terrace overlooking a green that collects vacationing kids’ beach bikes (kids really can roam free in Seaside, like we did when we were kids), the famed 30A beach highway, and the emerald Gulf linked to the foliage-lined streets by nine beach pavilions.

Folks who don’t “get” Seaside, thinking perhaps it is a resort, not a town, might not understand how cottages like The Truman House (featured with the town in the 1998 movie, “The Truman Show”), modern buildings like The Mathematician, and retro Airstream food trucks  work together. They do.

Last year, Seaside was named Travel & Leisure’s Best Beach for the Family in its first Best Beaches on Earth poll.

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