Surprise! I’m in Florida. Actually, it’s not really that much of a surprise if you’ve been following my Facebook page or Instagram account—I’m @LunaticAtLarge, FYI; same as my Twitter name). The downfall of the Internet generation: I don’t go out of my way to keep my current locale at any one time overly secret.
So what are we doing here? Well, we’re on vacation in Blue Mountain Beach with 15 family members and four close friends. We’ve been eating together every meal, but last night, us “kids”—SVV, Kari, me, our friend Mallory, her son Gabe and Ella, of course—went down to Seaside for a little picnic while the “adults” had an unchaperoned adult night out in Destin. Sounds scandalous to me, compared to our evening of wholesome, old-fashioned fun.
Despite the dozens of times I’ve vacationed in Florida, I haven’t spent much time in Seaside—the ritzy planned community that played setting for the Jim Carrey movie The Truman Show—other than to drive through it, as that corridor of 30-A is always so jam packed with traffic and speed traps. But when we were staying down in South Walton back in March, I headed out this way to get gas and was immediately intrigued by the setup of Airstream trailers—makeshift stationary food carts—along the downtown boulevard.
One thing you should know about SVV and me is that one of our way-on-down-the-line pipe dreams is to buy an Airstream so that our camping trips can be a more frequent occurrence. Another thing you need to know is that we take our food carts seriously. So obviously, we had to check these bad boys out!
Much like we’d do during our weekly dinner at Off the Grid when we still lived in San Francisco, we tried a little bit of several things: egg rolls, a Caprese grilled cheese, two kinds of fancy hot dogs, pink lemonade (me), Fanta (him) and Butterbeer-like cream soda I mooched off my sister. Ella might even have stolen the leftovers, much to our surprise; sneaky, unassuming pup.
On the lawn of the Seaside Amphitheater, more than 50 kids ran about, tossing Frisbees and footballs and practicing their hula hoop skills. Gabe was flitting in and out of groups of girls trying to flirt and being ignored (girls, they start with the attitude early); when I tried to join him, he halted me with an “as if” hand in my face and said, “KWISTIN! STOP! JUST GO.” Shut down. By a four year old. My ego has never been so bruised.
The lighting was particularly beautiful that night—but when is it not in Florida, really?—so after we had licked our paper bags and wrappers clean, we headed down the path to the beach to take some photos.
Gabe wasn’t much for posing for my camera until Mallory said he’d get ice cream if he cooperated. Bribery—a tactic I’m fully in support of using whenever necessary—when does that not work with four year olds?!
Then, it was Kari’s and my turn to recreate our jumping shots from Cocoa Beach three years ago. We didn’t quite succeed as I kept flashing the camera my underwear (comes with the only-wears-dresses territory, I suppose).
Kari grabbed the camera, and SVV, Ella and I posed for an awkward family portrait next.
You’ve really got to catch this guy candidly, or else you get that forced “I’d-rather-be-anywhere-but-here” smile. Or the crazy eye. Or sometimes a mixture of both.
Handsome husbands aside, I was awestruck by the beauty of the coastline. I’ve been coming to this stretch of the Florida Panhandle regularly since I was a wee tot, and I still think there’s no place in the continental United States that I’d rather continue to revisit year after year.
It’s just so windswept and rugged and surprisingly quiet in parts.
On our way back to the car, we stumbled upon a quaint—and a bit pricey—outdoor bazaar with a lot of pretty things for the ladies (by way of clothing and jewelry, I mean).
Then, we stopped at a dessert parlor—gelato for Mal, ice cream for Kari, frozen chocolate-covered key lime pie-on-a-stick(!) for me—and called it an early night, waiting impatiently in our condo until the “adults” got home safe and sound and we could sleep peacefully knowing they were tucked into their beds for the night. It’s so hard having to be the responsible “kids” sometimes to such unruly parents.
Sounds like the most fun family trip ever! LOVE these shots!!!
Oh just wait until I reveal the videos of my dad playing Cranium… 😉
Love the village of food carts! Seaside looks like such a great place to visit! It seems like a much more relaxed, Cape Cod vibe than, say, Miami. Very nice!
Yes, it does! We were in Cape Cod last year, and the tall grass and beaches *do* look very similar.
So beautiful! We love Seaside… especially the Frost Bites trailer 🙂
That was the one trailer we didn’t get to try! The line was a mile long, so we went to the ice cream parlor on the square instead.
Love the airstream trailers turned food trucks. I’d love to own one for camping one day–what a great idea!
Airstream trailer for camping in the fall and spring, food truck for the summer? It’s a brilliant money-making idea!
I am still loving how great your redesign looks!
I’ve had that key lime pie on a stick! At the Minnesota State Fair (somewhat ironically!). I remember it being delicious.
It was delicious! Though I could only take a few bites because it was soooo rich (which generally isn’t an issue for me! few things are too rich).
What is crazy is I have never been to that side of Florida! I must put it on my list!
Yes, you must! It’s so much less crowded than the Atlantic coast of Florida. I absolutely love it–a true, relaxed vacation spot!
You are talented. Florida has never been an NVR favorite, but this bumps it up a bit. Those food carts look fantastic.
Meet us here sometime! There were many bourbon shots last night–and bourbon Nutella milkshakes in our future =)
I’ve always admired the Airstream and can never walk by a hotdog stand. Plus Love your jump shots. Haven’t been to Florida in many years.
I sense a winter trip for ye olde fifth wheel.
Not this winter as I’m off to Central America.
I had no idea they had food trucks in Seaside! I will have to truck out there next time I’m in South Walton.
I totally support your dream of owning an Airstream. I think they’re adorable!
Maybe we can start an Airstream enterprise in Tennessee!
Looks like a great family vacation! Gabe is too cute!
And you should hear his voice! It’s like a little mouse. Yesterday, he threw a glass of water in my face in the pool, and his mom scolded him, and immediately he piped in: “I sowee, Kwistin!”
Hi Kristin, I really enjoy looking at these pictures! May I ask you what is that white tower that’s in the background of some of the pics?
That’s a good question–you know, I actually have NO idea. I just assumed it was like some sort of lighthouse, though there are no windows so that wouldn’t make sense, huh? It was on the public beach in Seaside, so probably some sort of building for public use, I would guess.
SO much better to have food from airstreams – they just look that much cooler than your standard run-of-the-mill trucks here in the city. I am the same, my co-workers make funs of me as I usually get 3 or 4 things from different trucks to try because I want to try everything! They laugh less when I share my goodies because it it too much for one person. I love the color and lighting at that beach – perfect for photos and they turned out great!
If I still lived in SF, I’m confident we would have monthly dates to OTG!
Beautiful, Kristin! Loving the look of your photos. Are you using a filter over them?
No, ma’am! All natural lighting (shot in manual mode), with a bit of vignetting on some of the photos.
Seems like beautiful lighting follows you around! Your photos are always magical. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Sonja! I’m constantly working on using light to my advantage when shooting–sometimes it works (like this time); other times, I have to get creative and try something else!
We used to vacation there when I was a kid! Lovely little town.
The South has so many charming coastal towns, doesn’t it? And there are too many that I’ve yet to visit, too, like St. Augustine, Wilmington and the Outer Banks, and more.
Fantastic photos – we haven’t seen much of Florida outside of Orlando and St. Petersburg but seeing your pics makes me want to do some more exploring there. Love that “Gotta Have Grilled Cheese” airstream!
Not sure if I told you before but I love your redesign so much! I particularly like the Destination Facts and the More Reading in the sidebar. It all looks amazing!
Thank you, Lisa! I love it, too–I just need to go back and build out actual facts from all my past posts (as well as tag, resize photos, etc.). Someday it will all be done! =)
Nice! Automattic (where I work) had our 2010 company meetup there and it was lots of fun (if not pretty hot and humid when we were there). Make sure to get some Bloody Mary mix from their little general store and the blue cheese-filled olives and make some in your house. 😉
That’s a fun and different place for a retreat! Sad I missed the Bloody Marys, but I have a feeling I’ll be back soon…
Living in Seaside and loving it! Been on 30A and Sandestin for 15 years! Visiting for 40! Hubs in Downtown Pcola. We do alot of traveling on 98! Kids graduated from South Walton this year and last so I will be road tripping now! 30AEATS.com is my blog! So glad you found my home and slice of heaven! Great place to visit. Best time is Early May and October. Slammed summer, bad for crowds on the 4th, Labor Day, Spring Break, over Thanksgiving, and New Years Eve! Nanette, The Tower is called the Coleman Pavillion. It and the post office are frequently photographed. Many of My friends own the Airstreams which are stationary. Got to try the Barefoot BBQ Nacho’s, The Meltdown Triple Cheese, Frost Bites will cool you off and Wild Bills Dogs is new! Owners globetrotted to find the best meat for those dogs! Also own Heavenly’s, Dawson’s, Shrimp Shack and Pickles. The Pickles Burger is Harris Ranch Beef and Awesome! Sara, the general store is called Modica Market and they carry wonderful artisan products like Georgia Olive Oil, house made banana pudding, and Blue Cheese Dip. Excellent selection of wine and award winning and local cheese. Mr . Charlie died not log ago, and part of 30A was dedicated to him last month. Son charles, and daughter Carmel are running it now. See you all soon! 🙂
And now… I’m ready to go to Seaside! I LOVE the Airstreams, am ready for a FL vaca, and am I’m a true Nutella Bourbon Milkshake believer!
If you ever come to TN again–aren’t you due for a trip to Franklin (where I am staying right now, actually)–I will make you that shake!
I’ll be arriving the evening of the 16th and leaving the morning of the 19th. A quick trip, will ya’ll be around? What are you doing in Franklin?
This entrepreneur program we’ve been doing is in Spring Hill (about 10 miles south of Franklin), so we stayed just off Main Street for the three days this weekend as Franklin is way more charming than SH/Columbia.
Hit me up the week of your trip. I’ll be here in Tullahoma on Aug. 16 and 17 and in Nashville on Aug. 18 and 19 for a wedding, so maybe we can figure out a way to get together if our schedules allow!
I just found your blog through @andi_fisher ‘s Twitter post. Great writing and beautiful pictures! Would you mind if I reposted any of them (I am particularly interested in the one of Barefoot BBQ)?
Sure thing! As long as there’s always a linkback to the post, I don’t mind at all.
I love the beautiful white sandy beaches of the panhandle. Frequented there while growing up in Georgia. And Seaside is adorable!
My parents are looking at buying a place in Grayton Beach–three miles from Seaside–so we’re all keeping our fingers crossed that this happens!
nice photos, one of my fav blogs
Fingers and toes crossed for Grayton! Lots of friends there. The Taylor’s are a great family to get to know. I would love to share your piece on Seaside as a guest post on 30AEATS. 🙂 Love your blog!
Hi Susan. That’s fine by me. Thanks!
Food trucks are one of my favorite things! Back in May, Richmond started a food truck court, where a handful of food trucks converge in one spot and then we all go and eat all of the things they’re offering. They’ve just started doing on at a local brewery on Thursdays and I’m DYING TO GO. Food trucks FTW!
Seaside is right beside Pensacola, so maybe you and Andrew can take a celebratory trip once he’s done with training or on one of his breaks! =)
We have already talked about fitting in a few Florida trips in between the many parts of his training. He’ll likely have breaks here and there, but still won’t be able to come home or take more than a weekend off, and we both want to use those times to explore the area down there.
If you need any recs, let me know! I’ve been going to Destin/Grayton/South Walton for more than half my life. Apparently, Pensacola has gotten really cool, too–I’ve never actually been, but Scott spent his Navy training there in 1996 and one of my best friends from TN lives there now and loves it.
It has Kristin! The downtown improvement board and our new young mayor have shaken things up. My husband has been a surgeon here for more than 20 years, and we have a home in East Hill, but I stayed on 30A and raised the kids in South Walton. We have gone back and forth for many years. You would really enjoy all the great craft beer pubs, micro brewery’s, restaurants and shops that Downtown, especially Palafox has to offer now.
I will definitely keep that in mind! I only flew into and drove out of Pensacola, and haven’t really heard much about it. In fact, I think most of what I know of Florida, beyond Miami, Orlando & Fort Lauderdale, is what I’ve read on your blog. 🙂
We had a great time at Seaside and Sol II. This is a perfectly located condo in the heart of seaside. It is located directly behind Heavenly. Our children especially loved it because they could stay in the ampitheater at night. The condo is well furnished and reasonably priced. I would recommend this condo to anyone.
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