I once met Bud.

He was walking along with a man named Robert Davis toward the beachfront restaurant at what was then the fledgling Seaside development along Highway 30-A east of Destin. I had no idea that Bud, who accompanied us quietly, would become a symbol of the Gulf Coast’s reawakening. He seemed too unpretentious for fame.

Robert Davis, on the other hand, was easily going to be a star. His field was architecture, and he had mastered developing Seaside into a village of elegant, colorful and indigenous buildings. What was happening at Seaside would be imitated all along the Gulf Coast, which, with Interstate-10 a few miles to the north having been completed, was opening new development opportunities as it fast- tracked visitors to the white sand shores. Seaside was, and is, one of the nation’s most important contemporary waterfront residential developments.

Davis carried a plastic container in which there were some fillets of freshly caught fish. He proposed that he would get the chef to cook it for our dinner. Bud said nothing. Perhaps as the co-namesake for the restaurant, Bud & Alley’s, he didn’t want to indicate favoritism.

This edition is about new discoveries along the Gulf Cost. It also contains our annual critique of new local architecture. The topics bring to mind that design can be as important to a beach community as it is to a city. Nature, especially along a coast, provides its own symmetry.

 Neither Bud nor Alley are around anymore, but their presence, in silhouette, survives on the restaurant’s logo. Bud is the dachshund to the left sitting peacefully besides his cat friend, Alley. They are likely staring at their surroundings, marveling at what both man and nature, when they are at their best, can create.