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The Panhandle Travel Guide

Seaside

This thriving planned community with old-fashioned Victorian architecture, brick streets, restaurants, retail stores, and a surfeit of art galleries was the brainchild of Robert Davis. Dubbed "new urbanism," the development style was designed to promote a neighborly, old-fashioned lifestyle. There's much to be said for an attractive, billboard-free village where you can park your car and

walk everywhere you need to go. Pastel-color homes with white-picket fences, front-porch rockers, and captain's walks are set along redbrick streets, and all are within walking distance of the town center and its unusual caf├ęs and shops. The community is so reminiscent of a storybook town that producers chose it for the set of the 1998 film The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey.

The community has come into its own in the last few years, achieving a comfortable, lived-in look and feel that had escaped it since its founding in the late 1970s. Some of the once-shiny tin roofs are starting to rust around the edges and the foliage has matured, creating pockets of privacy and shade. There are also more signs of a real neighborhood with bars and bookstores added to the mix. Still, although Seaside's popularity continues to soar, it retains a suspicious sense of Twilight Zone perfection that can weird out some visitors.

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