Trip Log – Day 387 – Andalusia AL to Seaside FL

to-seasideDecember 10, 2016 – Sun, 50 degrees

Miles Today: 98

Miles to Date: 20,245

States to Date: 48

 img_8727Florida!! State #48!!

I couldn’t decide if I was happier to get to my 48th state or get the heck out of Alabama, a state whose sweet demeanor and excellent food is blunted by lousy shoulders and motorists who ignore cyclists at every turn. Either way, it was a great day to head south and escape colder temperatures.

When I passed Lakewood – the highest elevation in Florida at a whopping 345 feet above sea level – I realized my days of climbing are fully behind me.

img_8731DeFuniak Springs was founded as a Winter Chautauqua and has a lovely round lake surrounded by cottages and the impressive meetinghouse. The town is also famous for McLain’s buffet restaurant, a welcome break for a hungry cyclist on a long day.

As soon as I passed south of I-10 travel turned super smooth. US 331 is still under construction, but most of it is fresh blacktop with a dedicated bike lane. I reached the beach by 3 p.m. and then tootled down Scenic 30A along a very nice bike path, mostly empty on a December afternoon.

img_8739 img_8745

I spent some time in Seaside, a 1980’s era planned community often credited for spurring the term ‘New Urbanism.’ low-rise, high density, mixed use. Everything old becomes new. Seaside Florida is really not that different from Seaside NJ, and virtually identical to the nineteenth century Ocean Grove NJ, except that the Florida version is polished and tony.

img_8736 img_8741

Still, I do not want to sell Seaside short. The development dates from 1981 and signals a departure from the isolated oceanfront towers typical of Florida beaches in the 1960’s and 70’s. Seaside doesn’t seem so innovative today in large part because so much that has come after emulates it. Yet, as I pedaled through adjacent communities modeled on Seaside’s success, none of them achieve Seaside’s level of planning, architecture or community. Seaside really slows the car down; it puts pedestrians and cyclists on par with the vehicles. It is too upscale and resort-like to be a realistic town, but the scale is very good. Later communities, sometimes gated, almost all with more private space, copy Seaside’s bric-a-brac vocabulary but miss the main point – which is to celebrate connecting with others rather than maximizing the private view.

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About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, theawkwardpose.com is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog, www.howwillwelivetomorrw.com, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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3 Responses to Trip Log – Day 387 – Andalusia AL to Seaside FL

  1. David Gibson says:

    Congratulations on the 48th!
    David G.

    Like

  2. Gary Ralph says:

    re completing the 48: Ta-da! Nobody can ever take that away from you!

    Like

  3. Chuck Latovich says:

    Many congrats on achieving this milestone! You’re remarkable, Paul!

    Like

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