When you take the scenic route down the 19 mile stretch of County Highway 30A whether for pleasure or purpose, you pass through dozens of beach communities, both old and new – but there is no mistaking the distinct feeling you get passing through the auspicious white butteries of Alys Beach. Marking the half-mile slice of 30A the butteries, an homage to Bermuda from where the community’s architectural inspiration was gleaned, stand at each end like towers fulfilling the historic symbolism of prosperity, efficiency, retreat, and a collective desire for hope and freedom – all of which you will encounter in your life or stay in the Courtyard Homes, Compounds, or Villas of Alys Beach. If you happen to pass through at sunset, you won’t be the only one scrambling to find a place to pull over and take the perfect picture for your IG account with the hashtag #alysbeach – probably followed by #heaven #beautiful #perfection #OMG #ThisSunsetThough.
But Alys Beach is more than a picturesque scene. It is a community – one that, despite its visual distinction from its surroundings, is in no way separate from our community at large. The Seaside Half Marathon and 5K is so grateful to have The Alys Foundation as one of its Diamond Sponsors. We can’t say enough about them and what they are bringing to South Walton. The innovation of Green Building technologies and features, which are standard for all development within Alys Beach, are raising the bar for the building industry. The progressive nature of this New Urban development is in perfect balance with its almost ancient feeling architecture, softened by impeccable landscaping. Make no mistake, there is not a stone or shrub on site that is not meticulously and deliberately placed.
The monochromatic constructs that make up the community are bold in their fairness. Barely paler than the sugar-sand beaches it overlooks, the community is comprised of elements to sate all of your senses. Formal hedges wall the spaces between the exotic Date Palms that line the stretch and immediately impart the feeling of precision and poignancy – which is exactly the intent behind the New Urbanist community.
Whether you’re visiting for the race or contemplating taking the plunge and buying at the beach, as a retreat or your new home, Alys Beach exudes the experience of quaint yet sophisticated seaside living.
Start your day with a fresh locally roasted cup of Joe, or a croissant and a Cappuccino, if that’s more your style, at Fonville Press – or swing through the beloved Charlie’s Donuts truck with the kids. The active type? Rent bikes for the whole family and explore the 21 acre nature preserve. Or be adventurous and, as rental guest or owner, branch out and take a lesson or rent paddleboards or surfboards. More of the Zen type? Try a lesson in paddleboard yoga, or walk the cobblestone streets or paths and find one of the many Courtyards planted throughout the community. Sit. Relax. Contemplate life. Read an article in one of the literary magazines you picked up at the cafe that morning.
If you’ve worked up an appetite, no need to leave the premises. George’s restaurant at Alys Beach has you covered. Their diverse menu has offerings for the whole family. Go the healthy route with the “abundance bowl” (personal favorite) or go all out with the Best Burger on 30A – even add the bacon, after all, you’re on vacation, right? If you’re a guest or owner you can burn it off on the tennis courts later anyway – or hit up some laps at Caliza pool.
Check out any events at the Amphitheatre or do some shopping to adorn yourself with a new beach-chic wardrobe at the Alys Shoppe. Return to Fonville to catch the famous sunset with a pre-dinner glass of wine…or two while the kids tire themselves out playing at Fonville Park. Try the world renowned Caliza Restaurant or return to George’s to try the Wood Fired Grilled Catch of the Day you were eyeing at lunch. This might be the toughest decision you face all day, but the good news is, it’s a win-win either way.
Whatever you decide to do, capture the moments and share on Instagram with the hashtag #alysbeach, #seasidefl5k, #runseasidefl, and #seasidemarathon and let us know how you lived out your stay. And as though you need another reason to visit South Walton, check out their website at alysbeach.com for updates and info on their amazing events.
The Seaside Schools and the Seaside School Foundation give a huge thank you to The Alys Foundation for their continued support and sponsorship and can’t wait to come together at the race!