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Posted on Sep 01, 2013 in Blog , Seaside Stories , Memories , September-October 2013

Blogger Amanda Green Bottoms, with husband Kevin in Seaside, shares her travel adventures with more than a million readers each month. Photo by Amanda Green Bottoms

Talented storytellers share their memories of Seaside By Wendy O. Dixon

Not long ago, mom blogs consisted mainly of family photos and Christmas letters, shared by extended family and a few friends. As the medium evolved with the explosion of social networking, modern moms found a broader avenue in which to share tales of family life and tips on dealing with diaper rash, temper tantrums, teen apathy and other practical parenting tips. Now, mom blogs rival newsstand magazines, with advertisers, professional-quality photography and audiences in the thousands. With such large readerships, bloggers can play a part in guiding their readers toward certain products, entertainment options and vacation destinations.

The most talented and business savvy bloggers are afforded opportunities to travel the world to write about exotic destinations. Seaside, many bloggers have discovered, is the perfect family vacation destination. Here are three mom bloggers, all worth bookmarking, who visited Seaside recently and shared their experiences.

Nest Of Posies

Kellie Tate, writer for popular blog Nest of Posies (nestofposies-blog.com), shares family stories, craft ideas and recipes with her 11,000 Facebook fans and 21,000 Pinterest followers. Tate lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., with husband, Ronnie, and five-year-old twins, Mason and Madison, and son Graham, 7. In addition to everyday tips, Tate shares personal stories of her own family. “I call that category Mommy Tales,” she laughs.

Tate considers herself a Seaside regular now, after visiting here for three years in a row. “We absolutely love it here,” she says. “And I hope my audience might get a nice surprise from hearing about Seaside.”

Once they arrived in Seaside, the Tate family abandoned their car immediately, and spent the majority of time in the water. “We love that everything is within walking distance,” she says. “And my kids love the amphitheater at night.”

After enjoying meals and treats at Great Southern Café, the Shrimp Shack, Frost Bites and Amavita Coffee & Tea, as well as shopping at Modica Market, it was time to head home. “Every day I’m trying to think of how we can get back there.”

An excerpt from her blog:

“If you’re reading this, then you already know about the love we all share for Seaside. If you were writing up adjectives on how to describe it, the words pastel, white, emerald, bikes, classic, Southern and ice cream would all come to mind. Only Seaside could unite the states, our families and kids. It is truly one grand place to vacation.”

Blogger Kellie Tate, with husband, Ronnie, and children, Mason, Graham and Madison, says her family shared noteworthy memories during their stay in Seaside. Photo courtesy Kellie Tate

Tidy Mom

Self-proclaimed neat freak (hence the blog name Tidy Mom), Cheryl Sousan of TidyMom.net, has nearly one million monthly page views, 37,000 Facebook fans and 150,000 Pinterest followers. “It’s opening so many doors for me,” she says of her five-year career as a blogger and brand ambassador for companies such as Bush’s Beans, Whirlpool, ConAgra, California Milk, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and Arm & Hammer, among others. The St. Louis, Mo., mom writes mainly about food, photography and family life, and has built her brand and online persona, along with her obsession with tidiness. “Through my blog I’ve had a lot of opportunities to travel to great destinations,” she says, citing Montana, Utah, Vermont, Tennessee, New York and California.

She and her daughters, Heather, 25, and Allison, 17, visited Seaside for the first time this summer. “My daughters had never been to Florida or seen an ocean,” she says. “They loved the whole experience of Seaside. It’s a real family place, not overly touristy. We loved how peaceful and quiet it was compared to other vacation towns.” The tidy mom and her daughters relished the view from their balcony overlooking the town center. “Great Southern Café was our favorite for dinner,” Sousan recalls. “We devoured the grilled shrimp and blackened shrimp. Bud & Alley’s was the main spot for lunch. We loved their sweet potato fries. And we loved Barefoot Barbecue. I can’t think of anything we didn’t like.”

Blog excerpt:

No one is in a rush. You will see families riding to the ice cream shop, bike following bike following bike. It’s surrounded by renowned restaurants, quiet cafés, gourmet food trucks, clothing and jewelry boutiques, art galleries, home and garden stores, a quaint book and record store, a surf shop, toy store and dozens more. No fast food chains, no Starbucks, no hotels….. just independent entrepreneurs in this small iconic coastal town.

One of our favorite parts about staying in Seaside is, we felt like we were at home, not vacationing in a hotel. Where life is simple, the white sandy beach and emerald water is just a simple walk away.

Tidy Mom blogger Cheryl Sousan from St. Louis, Mo., brought her daughters, Allison and Heather, for their first trip to Florida. Photo by Cheryl Sousan

Kevin {&} Amanda

Read by more than a million readers each month, nationally renowned blog Kevin {&} Amanda (kevinandamanda.com), has more than 11,000 email subscribers and 43,000 Facebook fans. The mom to two Boston terriers, as Amanda Green Bottoms describes herself, writes about food, travel, shopping finds and anything that makes her happy. “I always enjoy sharing travel destinations with readers,” says the Auburn, Ala., native, who is also a photography instructor. When Visit South Walon invited her and her husband, Kevin, to the area, she was told she could visit any beach town. “When my friends returned from their visits to Seaside, I envied their souvenirs with the famous Seaside logo,” she recalls. “So of course we knew it had to be Seaside.”

The couple stayed in the String of Pearls cottage booked through the Cottage Rental Agency. “I loved that we were able to stay in a home,” she says. “The kitchen was a massive gourmet kitchen. We could have cooked in there but we loved going to all the restaurants.” Bud & Alley’s and Great Southern Café were among her favorites.

Once she wrote about the invigorating weekend, her blog post on Seaside was pinned nearly 200 times on Pinterest, and her Facebook posts on Seaside and South Walton received approximately 500 likes. She even set up hashtag #kevinandamandainseaside to share her photos on Instagram. “Before we even left, I sat in a chair on the front porch and told my husband he would have to drag me off that chair,” she says. “I’m dying to go back.”

Blog excerpt:

I love the idea of living in a small neighborhood and walking to everything. We got a taste of that in Seaside this weekend and I fell in love. In Seaside, travel is by foot or bicycle. The narrow cobblestone streets are lined with charming cottages, white picket fences, and picturesque storefronts. On the relaxing stroll to lunch our first day in Seaside we spotted a gelato shop across from Seaside Neighborhood School where kids were playing soccer. (We totally came back for gelato after lunch.) In the center of town there’s a field that hosts a weekly farmers market, outdoor concerts, and movies under the stars. There’s also the famous Modica Market with every gourmet grocery item you could ever dream of. Did I mention they have coffee ice cream made with beans roasted at the local coffee shop? It’s the idyllic life.