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  DogFancy May 2001
10 Great Getaways: #6 Surf's Up

Hi, my name is 'Freeman' (aka Jackie)
Jackie the German Shepherd Dog spends his winters swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, chasing balls on the sand of the Florida Panhandle, and exploring the pine forests that surround the idyllic town of Seaside. He sleeps in a luxurious four-bedroom beach-front home. Luckily, his owners, Carol and Jerry, willingly share this little piece of paradise with other dogs.

The Truman Show
"People don't believe we allow dogs because it's such a nice house," Carol says. "But a well-behaved dog it just as much a member of the family as anyone else."

Located right on the beach in Seaside, a pastel-colored town where the movie The Truman Show was filmed, Idyll-by-the-Sea has many amenities for canine guests -- from dog biscuits in the welcome basket to a special doggie shower (with warm and cold water) on the deck.

Dogs are allowed on Walton County beaches on mornings and evenings with a permit. The sugar-white sand and calm, blue waters make this one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Nearby Point Washington State Park offers leashed dogs plenty of room to roam and nice afternoon shade.

-- Phil Davis

Article Copyright © 2001 by Fancy Publications Inc.
http://www.dogfancy.com

  DogGone Newsletter Vol. 8, No. 4, July/August 2000
A Seaside Utopia in Florida

In the movie, "The Truman Show," Jim Carrey's character, Truman, lives in a utopian community, unaware he was being filmed 24 hours a day. That visionary village really exists. Seaside, Florida, where much of the movie was filmed, lies on Dog Gone the Gulf of Mexico in Florida's panhandle, tucked between Grayton Beach and Seagrove Beach. Pet owners can't rent Truman's house (though you can photograph its exterior), but lucky dogs and their owners can stay in a gorgeous waterfront $2-million plus vacation home. It's virtually the only Seaside rental that will accept pets.

Idyll-by-the-Sea is a vacation rental cottage (it's really too luxurious to be called a cottage) owned by Carol Irvine, Jerry Jongerius and their German Shepherd Dog, Jackie. They are happy to rent their little Shangri-La to owners of perfectly behaved pooches. The home's hardwood floors tolerate sandy paws and dog sheets are provided to protect the furnishings. And Idyll-by-the-Sea is well furnished, indeed. You can tell the owner's business is antiques and interior design. The beach house is a comfortable mix of new and old, with just the right touch of whimsy for a relaxed feel. Thankfully, there's not a shred of Salvation Army style that pervades many rental units I've leased over the years. Of course, the rental fee reflects this. Idyll-by-the-Sea goes for $724-$874 per night.

Downstairs, the house has four bedrooms (thick down mattresses, fine linens, remote-control fans and lights, and a fireplace in the master), each with its own bath; a hot tub and hammock on the screened porch; and a lovely herb garden you may take advantage of in the small yard enclosed by the ubiquitous Seaside fence. While Iggy was exploring the courtyard, we discovered it was not fenced all the way around. Our escape artist bolted and headed right into traffic on Hwy 30-A. I got quite a tour of Seaside's back yards while chasing my little rascal.

Dog Gone Back at the house, we headed upstairs to survey the main living area (it's upstairs to catch the breezes and the view above the vegetation along the dune line). The stairs lead to a comfy sitting area. Accoutrements include fireplace, board games, TV, VCR and tapes (yes, even The Truman Show), and a custom davenport/chaise/bed that's to die for. Enclosing this room is a wall of windows framing the Gulf view. The sitting area is separated from the dining area and fully equipped kitchen (a dishwasher's a must on vacation, in my book) with a fantastically carved wood frieze along the ceiling. Outside is a huge porch -- with eating table and enough lounging chairs for man and beast -- where we spent the majority of our time. Yes, there are a few casual restaurants in Seaside where your dog may help you enjoy a sandwich, but we couldn't tear ourselves away from our Idyll, choosing to eat virtually every meal on the lovely second-story porch, stirring in the sea breeze as the final delicious ingredient to our feasts.

Idyll guests may opt to purchase passes to Seaside Swim and Tennis Club. The pass also gets you equipment for the croquet courts, where you may go enjoy the nearby shade while you whack croquet balls through wickets under the broiling Florida sun.

Architecture buffs will want to be sure to bring plenty of film and fresh batteries for their cameras (you can't get unusual-sized replacements in the village, I found). Not a camera buff? Not to worry; you can hardly take a bad photo in Seaside. The sherbet colored homes, the unique fences bordering each property, the architectural details all make for supremely satisfying pictures. And the town, consisting of only 80 acres, is eminently walkable. Besides the fanciful vacation homes, Seaside also has some charming shops, including an open-air market, selling wares from clothing to beach toys. Grab your leash, your dog and your camera and explore the charming brick streets. Maybe you'll snap an award-winning photo.

-- Wendy Ballard

Reprinted with the permission of the publisher
Article Copyright © 2000 by DogGone
http://www.doggonefun.com

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