Hey, where’d everyone go?

Seaside, Fla., may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of a holiday destination. Maybe it should be.

Alright, the weather was cool and rainy when we arrived yesterday. I took this picture almost exactly a year ago, on clear but equally chilly day. But it’s just as empty.

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Only a few people have trekked down here from even colder places to spend the holidays. Smart choice.

I’m here for a few reasons. First, I love this place. Really do. I’d much rather be here than waiting for the next snowstorm to hit the East Coast.

Second, I’ve been meaning to see how Florida’s Gulf Coast fared, post-oil spill. (First impression: no significant changes.)

And finally, my friends at the Beaches of South Walton promised to set up a few meetings while I was here. How could I say “no” to that?

One of the first things you’re struck by when you visit a place like Seaside, Watercolor, or Alys Beach, is how quiet it is in late December.

Quiet, in a good way. I’m told this place is a zoo during the summer, but at this time of year, you can have the beach to yourself.

I’m serious. You can literally walk along the shore and not see anyone.

I’ve often wondered about the wisdom of advising people to visit a popular destination during the off-season, like a ski resort during mud season, or to the Caribbean at the peak of hurricane season. But that’s not the case here.

I can’t imagine coming here at any other time of the year.

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