As we hunker down on the Forgotten Coast, our main outdoor activity is walking on St. George Island. Since the beaches remain closed, we walk on the paved multi-use path that runs parallel to the main road for six miles from the state park through the core residential and commercial area of the island. We also walk on the quieter side streets, and all this walking gives us exercise as well as a chance to see a spectrum of architecture. One of the things we most like about St. George is the variety of styles in the houses, and our walks have reinforced this.
There are small, sweet beach cottages in pastel colors. There are grand homes with southern style porches. There are Spanish-style homes with stucco exteriors and barrel tile roofs. Some homes have a contemporary flair while some feature Asian-influenced rooflines. A few exteriors sport weathered cedar shake in the style of New England beach homes. There is even a wild geodesic dome structure that sits on a lot directly on the Gulf. The homes are different on every possible dimension: size, color, style, and even level of care and upkeep. There are million dollar waterfront mansions within blocks of decrepit tear-downs. And the settings also vary, from beachfront homes perched atop sandy dunes with no landscaping at all to homes nestled in the scrub oak and slash pines that dominate the bay side of the island.
Beyond the colors and styles, we also enjoy the fun names that owners have bestowed upon their homes. In the category of relatively tame names are predictable ones like Bayview Cottage or Island Retreat, as well as names that highlight these homes as a place of family fun and relaxation like Pawpaw’s Playground, Siesta Key, and Happy Ours. We really like the creative names that feature puns and connections to the place, like Sea N Stars and Loony Dunes. Many names are based around local animals, like Carapace, Black Skimmer, Divine Porpoise, and Heron Now. The genre of fishing-themed names includes Reel Close and Hooked Up, while there is also a contingent of Jimmy Buffett inspired names like St. Somewhere. If there is a way to work the word “beach” into a name, you will find it here in names like Don’t Worry Beach Happy. Some names focus on the color or style of the home, like The Blue Pearl, East Hampton, or, in the case of the very distinctive dome, Dome-Ecile. There are also some names that give clues to the owners’ work pursuits, such as Brief Escape and M’Ocean Carried. We don’t even know if we want to have a name for our home — most of the named places are rentals and we may not choose to rent our home out when we travel in the summer. But thinking about possible names gives us an added challenge on our daily constitutionals.