The best beach towns give us deep-down good feelings. Every stretch of waterfront has its own character and each of the communities along Scenic Highway 30A has a personality to match.
Florida boasts thousands of miles of tidal shoreline, yet Northwest Florida and its beaches aren’t like the rest of the state. And the 20 miles of coast that parallels a modest county road known as Scenic Highway 30A, isn’t like the rest of the Panhandle. There are no incorporated towns, and for a long time it was barely indicated on the map. Yet this string of beach communities nestled along the Gulf of Mexico between Destin and Panama City flourished in their relative obscurity. Over the years, the area evolved and grew in popularity.
Take a journey with Eleanor Lynn Nesmith and photographer Jean Allsopp along Scenic Highway 30A, for their words and images illustrate why this vivacious, pristine stretch of coastline is so special. Decades before Seaside drew national attention in the 1980s, generations of Southerners flocked to South Walton’s pristine beaches for summer holidays. Santa Rosa was a thriving town and Grayton was emerging as a coastal resort 100 years ago.
From Seagrove to Seaside to Alys Beach, 30A Style opens the doors of 22 homes within historical villages and vibrant new towns. Along the way, discover the rich traditions of the region and pioneers who saw the potential in protecting the natural landscapes of this corner of Northwest Florida. Explore New Urbanist towns that prompted the unofficial title of “The Design Coast” for these 20 miles of Scenic Highway.
30A Style is a full-color, 192-page coffee table book showcasing diverse communities and individual houses, as well as the homeowners who share a role in this unique architectural proving ground. Each home featured in 30A Style is a distinctive expression of the personality of its inhabitants and the characteristics of the terrain.
The book offers both the novice and aficionado of architecture an engaging take on why homes matter to a community and how communities come together. Whether the owners are born-and-bred locals or loving transplants doesn’t matter. They share a passion for the locale and belief in a broader purpose. 30A Style is a celebration of a unique way of life along the Gulf of Mexico. It’s a book worth going back to again and again.
Eleanor Lynn Nesmith