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Weekend Wandering in Watersound

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If you travel a few miles up the road from Seaside, you will come to another planned development named Watersound – not to be confused with Watercolor – which is a few miles the opposite direction.  Years ago, when I first read about the plans for Watersound, I was beyond thrilled.

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To say that I love the beaches in that area, would be an understatement.  No offense to any other coastal region, but those Gulf beaches in the Panhandle area of Florida with their sugar white sand are the most beautiful to me.  But as far as coastal architecture goes, my favorite has long been the style you find in New England.  My two loves came together in Watersound.

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It is a community of buildings in that wonderful old weathered shingle and shake style.  We drove through the development  in its early years when only a few homes dotted its landscape.  I thought they were gorgeous, and many more have been built since then.

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Everywhere you look there are shingled homes with contrasting trim.  I couldn’t ask for a larger dose of my favorite architecture.

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One of the first homes built at Watersound Beach was this one.

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You might recognize it as the 2004 Idea House for Southern Accents magazine.  The nautical rooms in it were all designed by Suzanne Kasler and her team of talented people.  I liked this bright kitchen when it was featured back then.

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And you probably recognize this children’s space with its rope beds.

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If you have $4,000,000 waiting to be invested, the home is for sale here.  Of course there are boardwalks to the ocean and pathways throughout Watersound.  Biking is encouraged.

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I had hoped that Watersound was going to be a development with the feel of a coastal “village” with shops, parks, and community pools – like nearby Seaside.  And while it does have restaurants and a gorgeous pool area (a 7,000 square foot pool at that!)…

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It is a resort not a village.  When they built a golf course and condos it changed the vibe for me.  I’m not saying those things are bad, I just thought I wanted Seaside with New England architecture on the Gulf coast.

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(Is it just me, or do the condos at Watersound remind you of these Yacht Club accommodations at Disney???)

Disney Yacht Club @ tripadvisor.com

I have to admit the Watersound condos do have beautiful rooms.  I love the wall treatment and the framed photos in this one!

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And this condo was featured in Coastal Living magazine several years ago.

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I believe Watersound has the longest stretch of beach of any of the developments there on 30a (a mile, if I am correct.) By building the condos more people can enjoy that beautiful beach, and it is often less expensive to vacation in one of those than renting a full house.  Plus many people don’t need the space that a home offers (but some of the condos are very large, too.)

Although these are very well done and not the old shag-carpet-and-sliding-glass-door condos I remember from years ago, I still prefer the charm of a house at the beach.  We almost rented this one at Watersound (below) many years ago but decided to  stay in a waterfront one at Seaside instead.  As gorgeous as this one was…and I truly mean gorgeous…I just couldn’t pass up oceanfront in Seaside.  Take a look at this one in Watersound…

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You can take a fun virtual tour of the house by clicking here.  The view of the water from there was really wonderful, and I should have made the decision to stay there.  It was brand new as a rental, and the owner was offering an unbelievable rate.  The Seaside cottage was wonderful too, but I don’t think we will ever find anything as good in Watersound ever again.

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There are many beautiful homes in Watersound.  In my next post, I want to share with you my favorite house there (designed by one of my favorite architectural firms! 🙂 ) And on this summer weekend, since you already know my favorite beach, I will leave this question for you to talk about….

What is your favorite beach?

I am looking forward to hearing from you!

 

 

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Paula B. - June 25, 2013 - 8:35 pm

Love the tour, Kelly, that looks like an amazing place to stay. I’m with you, though, a real community vs. resort development, community wins. Favorite beach: too many! I do love Cold Storage in Dennis, Massachusetts. Not fancy, a snug stretch of sand bordered by dunes. It’s found at the end of a residential area filled with old (amazing) Cape homes. There’s a small parking lot which really limits the amount of beachgoers to early risers and those who can walk in. Then, there’s the beach on the other side of the Cape, West Yarmouth, where I spent part of every summer for many years. Oh, and must mention the South Carolina beaches of my married years’ vacations, Hilton Head and Litchfield Beach.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs - June 24, 2013 - 10:11 pm

Kelly…another gorgeous post…What a magnificent place to be!

Dawn - June 24, 2013 - 9:20 pm

I do love the Gulf Coast and we have vacationed there many times. One of my favorite beaches is St. Augustine beach, FL. We are headed there to vacation this year. We have rented a cottage right on the beach not far from the pier. I love the red lifeguard chairs on the beach and how there are few people on the beach. I am looking forward to walking to the local restaurants as well as just hanging out by the water. We plan to tour the fort and go on a horse drawn carriage ride around the town.

Marianne in Mo. - June 24, 2013 - 9:02 pm

Love that area! We stayed on 30-A in Rosemary Beach. Our girls and their families and us split the cost on a three story rental. Not as fancy as those shown here, but it was clean and comfy, and a block from the beach. It was my first trip to the ocean, except for our trip to Hawaii and Maui, and I have to say, loved this beach the best. So soft, not crowded, and the water was a perfect temp. It was July, and awful humid, but the breeze was good. We had one day that was still and muggy, so we just did indoor activities that day. Visited Seaside and Watercolor, but felt it a bit pricy for our limited funds. I would stay there again, but hubby doesn’t like to revisit the same places. BOO!

Laura - June 24, 2013 - 11:11 am

Kelly,
I am always excited to receive an email that you have a new post written up! This was such a fun one too!

I grew up in Wisconsin and then moved to Northern Indiana but in both locations we were by lake Michigan.
The beaches on the Michigan side are gorgeous! I love the cute beach towns too!
My husband is in the Navy so we are currently living in the Virginia Beach area and when we visited Duck, North Carolina I fell in love! I felt like my heart stopped while we were seeing the ocean and the beautiful homes!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life - June 24, 2013 - 9:10 am

Such a beautiful area and so different from the west coast which I am used to. All the homes are amazing. Hugs, Marty

Garden, Home and Party - June 23, 2013 - 10:20 pm

Kelly,
These homes and even the condos are lovely. I love the sugar white sand. How pretty. Are there certain seasons that are better than others in Watersound? My favorite beach, if I could afford to have a home on the beach, would be in Carmel, CA.
Karen

Arlene@Nanaland - June 23, 2013 - 10:01 pm

Hey Kelly we are in Santa Fe, enjoying all the adobe houses. It is very different out here and the houses have a beauty of their own. I am thinking of painting my back door turquoise!

Sandy - June 23, 2013 - 8:41 pm

I haven’t been to the Florida panhandle since I was a child…it looks gorgeous. Thanks for sharing these places with us.

My favorite beaches are Nantucket, the Outer Banks, Turks and Caicos and, believe it or not, Cancun, Mexico. I have been all over but the prettiest combination of white sand, crystal clear blue water AND waves is in Cancun.

I hope you had a great weekend! xoxo
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I have not been to Cancun, but hope one day to visit there. If it has crystal clear blue water, it should be on my list of places to go! Thank you for the recommendation.
Kelly

Penny Neeld - June 23, 2013 - 8:21 pm

I live fairly close to the Fla panhandle and have visited many of the beaches there. I have to say, I love Mexico Beach and St. George Island, as well as Panama City. The water seems to change color in layers, all the turquoise, blues, greens and the sugar white sand….so beautiful. I have decided when I grow up, I want to be a beach bum! : )
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You are so right about that amazing color of the water in Gulf. St. George Island is a place where you feel like you can have your own private beach! Being a beach bum is wonderful aspiration! I would like to be one, too. 🙂
Kelly

Barbara Hinske - June 23, 2013 - 7:56 pm

What gorgeous developments! Being a west-coaster, I love the beach on Coronado Island, CA. It’s a gorgeous mile long (more than a mile) with a dog beach on one end. I love walking along that beach with the wind blowing through my hair. It’s 106 in Phoenix today — nice to think about the beach!
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106? That’s not good!! The California beaches are amazing – especially the views from up high. You definitely don’t get that in Florida. I have not been to Coronado Island – only to San Francisco and northern California. The pictures of Coronado look beautiful, though.
Kelly

Mary from Virginia - June 23, 2013 - 7:14 pm

Beautiful photos! Since I live 45 minutes drive from the Virginia Beach oceanfront, as a teenager I loved Croatan beach, just south of Rudee Inlet, but now mini mansions have taken over. My family rented cottages in Sandbridge, and I mostly went to Nags Head, NC with friends or my aunt and uncle. My mother hated the drive. I also love Chic’s beach on the Chesapeake Bay-near the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. Give me the ocean any day! My favorite beach is Nags Head NC. Of course if we are talking the Caribbean, it would be Eagle Beach, Aruba hands down!
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We are jealous of your 45 minutes to the beach! I remember how cold the water in Nags Head was in May. Florida spoils you into thinking it should be warm then. We have never been to the Caribbean, but I know the water there has to be gorgeous. Thanks for reading and naming all these beaches for me to check out.
Kelly

lynne - June 23, 2013 - 7:06 pm

We love Grayton Beach and Cape San Blas, both on the Gulf Coast. I also like Amelia Island alot because of the neat little town there, Fernadina. But thats on the Atlantic and my favs are on the Gulf side. When I get in the ocean I like to see what is in the water. You can only do that on the Gulf ☺
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You named some of my favorites! We must travel in the same circles. 🙂 And I am with you on wanting to see what is in the water! That beautiful clear blue green water of the Gulf certainly allows you to do that.
Kelly

Kathy - June 23, 2013 - 4:27 pm

Ahhhh! I love looking at beaches and beach houses! Thanks for the mini-vacation. I have actually never met a beach I didn’t like. I love, love, love the white sandy beaches and Caribbean color of the water on the Florida panhandle. I also love the tiny shells you can find in the sand there. So, I love Destin, Rosemary Beach, and Panama City (but not the crowds). On the east coast of Florida I like New Smyrna Beach. In South Carolina I love Litchfield Beach, Isle of Palms, and Sullivan’s Island. In the Caribbean I love the Turks and Caicos and those private islands like Half Moon Cay. In North Carolina I like Oak Island and the Outer Banks. As I said….I never met a beach I didn’t like….but I will certainly keep trying.
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You are quite welcome for the mini-vacation! You sound like a true beach girl!! I loved the Outer Banks too when we visited there, but I have never even been to a beach in South Carolina. I need to check out those you have named here. Thanks for the info!
Kelly

Louvina - June 23, 2013 - 3:59 pm

I feel so relaxed having followed your wanderings on the beach– just beautiful! I, too, thought the first picture was of a New England beach with snow! I now have a longing for the beach. My favorite beach is Ormond by the Sea on the Atlantic- north of Daytona. But don’t get there very often– I really like to go in the fall and winter after the “season” is over. Love walking on the beach–so peaceful!
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I will have to check out Ormond by the Sea. I believe I have heard of it. Walking on the beach is a favorite past time of ours too…sigh.
Kelly

Nancy - June 23, 2013 - 2:01 pm

I look forward to your weekend “trips”. 🙂 And I love the names they picked out for the communities. The condo’s def look a little Disneyish. I’m not a huge fan of development but what lucky people to be right on the beach! Most of the beaches I’ve been to are on the west coast, and love them all. But we did go to Coco Beach while in Florida last year. It was ok. 🙂 My favorite part was when I looked north and realized we could see Cape Canaveral. lol
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I wish these weekend trips were in real life! A beach trip would be great right now. Too funny about your favorite part of your Florida beach trip being the Space center! West coast beaches are different but very beautiful. In fact, my boys would prefer the California coast over Florida anytime. There is so much beauty in our country.
Kelly

Barbara (WA) - June 23, 2013 - 1:44 pm

PS: When I first saw your email I thought the ground was covered with snow! That IS white sand which I’ve never seen before!
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Barbara – It is REALLY white. In fact one of my children does not like it because he says that it “blinds” him! It is unbelievably soft underfoot, too. You are so right about all the differences in the beaches in the US.

Kelly

Barbara (WA) - June 23, 2013 - 1:43 pm

Well, being over here in Western WA the coast is very different from other parts of the nation. My favorite beach (besides La Jolla, CA!) is Cannon Beach, Oregon. Very charming village, long beaches to walk, the famous Haystack Rock and normally very nice weather. Very interesting to read about the Panhandle beaches and houses!

House Crazy Sarah - June 23, 2013 - 1:17 pm

wow – I feel like I overdosed on loveliness!
My favorite beaches are where I am right now: on Lake Superior in Northern Ontario. Rustic pebble beaches with the most amazing sunsets.
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Sarah -Oh I am jealous as I go outside to work in the yard in this Georgia humidity! Enjoy your beach!

Kelly

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