January 30, 2019

Alys Beach

Recently I traveled to Alys Beach to shoot my first wedding of the 2019 season. The wedding was a gorgeous gathering of the couples closest friends and loved ones. An intimate affair nestled along the pristine coastline of Rosemary beach. When I first spoke with the bride about the wedding she mentioned her love for the modern Mediterranean architecture that is Alys Beach. It is unlike anything I’ve seen in Florida this planned community has seemingly created a sort of utopia for residents and guests alike. If you love snow-white sand world class sunsets and quite Mediterranean streets, then you might love Alys Beach.

Designed by Erik Vogt and his wife who happened to be Alys beach’s first residents. The original property owners bought it on a whim. The Stephens family has lived and vacationed here in Walton County since the 1940s. They happened to be driving along County Road 30-A in the 1970s when they saw a few cars parked along the side of the dirt road. They stopped to see what was going on, and it turned out that the 158-acre property was up for auction. They bought it for $1.2 million. Recently, a single lot – the last beachfront property in Alys Beach – sold for a whopping $6.7 million.

Homes in Alys Beach are asked to give a gift to the streets. Alys Beach is best experienced on foot, meandering through the cobblestone streets and public parks. The experience is often enhanced by “gifts” that are designed especially for the benefit of pedestrians. For example, some homes feature a built-in bench where one can sit and soak in Alys Beach’s splendor. A house across the path might feature a bubbling fountain, a massive urn with blooming flowers or a unique sculpture. Part of the Town Architect’s job is to help blend of the homes, parks, and amenities into a harmonious and extraordinary pedestrian experience.

If that’s not enough, you can also eat the plants. Yes, that’s right. Not all the plants, mind you, but in several sections of Alys Beach, the plants are indeed edible. Mint and lemon-line a part of the pedestrian path known as Mojito Alley. Strawberries and bananas can be found in The Daiquiri Garden, while The Soup Garden has Thyme, Chives, Basil and Oregano. And there are four different species of blueberries growing along Lake Marilyn. The edible plants are available for anyone living in Alys Beach to pick and use in their kitchens.

Lastly, Almost all of the of the houses in Alys Beach have elaborately designed courtyards — beautiful open-air spaces that essentially bring the outdoors into each home. Every patio includes at least one water feature — a fountain or pool or even both. Expansive porches and paved pathways are lined with vivid, bright and colorful landscaping.“They have just become these beautifully seductive spaces that one can consider another room of the house,” she said. “I’d love to have a chance to open these up to the public so people can see all of them one day.”

Article Sourced from | Photography by Joseph Rogero