The History of Alys Beach

Alys Beach
Rivard

If you've ever driven down Scenic Highway 30A, you know this community - but do you know how it all came to be?  

Commonly compared to visions of Greece, Alys Beach in South Walton is instantly recognizable for its bright white cement buildings, blooming community spaces, and pristine shoreline. You'll immediately feel whisked away by the palm tree-lined center of this charming community, and there is even more enchantment waiting around every corner.

Believe it or not, the 158 acres of land now known as Alys Beach was purchased in the 1970s for a measly $1.2 million bid. Alys and Elton Stephens had been vacationing in the area (primarily in Seagrove Beach) since the 1950s and were driving through one day when they placed a bid on a whim...and won. Development began in the early 2000s, and the town has continued to evolve more and more every year via an expertly executed community development plan.

Alys Beach was designed by Marieanne Khoury-Vogt and her husband Erik Vogt, who also happened to be the town's very first residents. Architect Andres Duany of the DPZ Firm took special care in designing this resort town, learning lessons from the earlier developed neighborhoods of Rosemary Beach and Seaside. Aside from just being aesthetically pleasing, Alys is an architectural dream inspired by global trends and rooted in sustainable development. Buildings are inspired by Guatemalan and Bermuda style that is characterized by stark white exteriors, careful use of ornamentation, thoughtful use of color that mimics nature, and outdoor living spaces in the form of courtyards. Almost every Alys Beach residence is built around a central courtyard, which promotes community, while still allowing for privacy. In addition, every home is required to give a "gift" to the street in the form of a bench, a fountain, a garden, or a sculpture. These features instantly transform the cobblestone streets and walkways to be beneficial to pedestrians and neighbors. It's as practical a town as it is picturesque.

While the houses and buildings are stunning on the surface level, they are also built to last. Alys Beach was one of the very first Florida communities to achieve the label of an officially fortified community. Every structure is built to weather natural disasters making the community durable and environmentally sound. The expert masonry isn't just for show!

It's a neighborhood that lives in harmony. Residential homes, businesses, and restaurants all come together seamlessly to create this airy and ethereal village. If you want to explore further, stay in one of our countless rentals in the neighboring towns of Seacrest Beach or Seagrove Beach - you will just be a short skip away from everything Alys Beach has to offer.

 

Image courtesy of Sowal.