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Seaside: Truman Show

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The Truman Show is a 1998 film directed by Australian Peter Weir and starring Jim Carrey and Laura Linney. Set in the fictitious town of Seahaven, it chronicles the life of a man who does not know his entire life is a constructed reality designed for a television show. He was chosen from six unwanted babies and grew up wanting to be an explorer, but was strongly discouraged.

Everyone except the central character, Truman Burbank, are actors. He is unaware that he lives for the entertainment of those outside, who all, including his wife, fake friendship. The film follows his discovery of the situation and his attempts to escape.

Eventually, Truman picks up on little details which lead him to think he is being watched, and that those close to him aren't what they seem. His mother, wife and 'best friend' pressure him to stay in Seahaven when he talks about leaving the town. When he does try to escape things happen to prevent him; choreographed traffic jams, a bus breakdown, an artificially created hurricane-force storm and other obstacles.

In case you've not seen the film, we won't give anymore away. Once you know more about its intriguing background, you may just want to rent it out.v

Seaside is midway between Fort Walton and Panama City on 32 hectares of Florida panhandle. It is a walking community with paved streets, and very few of its 100 residents own a car. The population swells to more than 1500 in summer.

There are around 350 homes and cottages — 270 of them can be rented — a stretch of white sandy beach on the Gulf of Mexico and a town centre with 55 shops and restaurants.

Long pathways link it all together, porches face each other, and there are three pools, six tennis courts, croquet lawn, fitness centre, children's camp and many activities.

Seaside is an example of the implementation of new urbanism. Most love it, but detractors say it is overly rigid, with strict limitations on external aesthetics creating a manufactured fantasy or conformity rather than creativity. Those who live or visit there say it's the best place on earth, and their friendliness is proof of contentment.

It certainly is chocolate-box pretty. Pastel-hued buildings, white picket fences (there can be no two alike in the same street) and groundcover rather than grass. Beautyberry, verbena and loblolly pines grow well, as do Carolina jessamine, wax myrtle and wild rosemary.

Sarah and Charles Modica who had cameo roles in the film, opened their grocery business in Seaside over 15 years ago. Modica Market is a gourmet's delight. It is stocked floor to ceiling with fine foods and wines, kitchenware and barware. You can enjoy a coffee while wandering around the store. The market has become one of the country's leading sources of gourmet lines and their picnic hampers and postal service are thriving.

There are lots of things to do in Seaside: Join in a game of petanque with locals on the green in front of the chapel; watch the sunset from Bud 'n' Alley's roofdeck; or rent bicycles to explore the town. Taste a delicious ice-cream in the Cinderella Circle, visit the open-air market which features bohemian beach styles for women, and browse one of the many galleries in Ruskin Place.


Florida in the south-east of the United States.

More information

11 East Ruskin Place
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459

Rosemary Beach
PO Box 611040
Rosemary Beach, Florida 32461
Ph: 0011 1 850 278 2031

Beaches of South Walton
PO Box 1248
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459
Ph: 0011 1 850 267 1216

Modica Market
109 Seaside Central Square
Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459
Ph: 0011 1 850 231 1214

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