Ruskin Place, a mixed-use neighborhood and park in Seaside, did not exist in the early master plan drawings for Seaside — only an axial thoroughfare connected the chapel site to the town center. The formal parallel rows of trees in the southern portion of the space help reinforce the definition as well as create an intimate and comfortable feeling.
Ruskin Place has always been somewhat of a hidden treasure, surprising visitors who come upon the small outdoor rooms to the north of Central Square. The tranquil park, surrounded by boutiques and art galleries, rewards those who want to take an afternoon spent relaxing under the twisted oaks.
Installed in 2014, Ruskin Park added an artistic metal gate in front of the lawn of the park. Three years in the making, it was the Ruskin Place homeowners who conceived the idea. Resident artists Laura Granberry and Mary Florence Forsythe drew the initial designs and Freeport-based metal fabricator Jos Bekkers constructed the final piece.
While most gates are meant to keep people out, this gate does not restrict access to the green space in Ruskin Park. Rather it diverts high-intensity traffic — mainly bikes and strollers — toward the perimeter of the lawn framed by sidewalks, park benches and shops, keeping the lawn in tact for anyone who wants to enjoy a blanketed picnic or walk on the grass through the back portion of the lawn.
“It’s too beautiful to be a gate,” says Seaside resident Glen Seawell, the official “keeper” of the gate’s massive modern medieval key. “It’s more of an artistic structure. Because of the artistic nature of the gate, it’s attracting people. It’s become a great photo op.”
The hand-crafted gate features hidden elements — paintbrushes, fairies, dragonflies, butterflies, a fishhook and even a fishbone, that guests can have fun trying to find.