By Joanie Fuller
Pioneers and adventurers always find the best kept secrets. And, lucky for us, one of those is smack dab in the middle of Goodland. Drop Anchor is a unique and sparkling waterfront community for those 55 and older, consisting of 62 manufactured homes with boat docks, a beautiful sunrise view to the East and a slew of interesting people.
I have always wanted to learn more about the history of Drop Anchor and of the adventuresome types who reside there. Fortunately, I have become friends with a few of the seasonal residents and they offered to help me with my quest.
Ron and Donna DePatie love to garden and they share their talents by making some of the common areas attractive and well-tended, especially for holidays. Aren’t the pumpkins cute?
Denny Grill and Agatha Norton, kindly introduced me to some of the pioneers – the first settlers, if you will – who have been in Drop Anchor for years. And, boy, they loved reminiscing about how it was in the beginning.
Dub Abbott, 98 years young, came from Kentucky in 1985 and is the oldest current resident and a great guy! He told me only eight original owners still live in the park and there are only ten year-round residents. Dub also explained that the Drop Anchor Association bought the entire park from Alan Greer, the original owner of the park, in 1990, and enthusiastic folks paid off the mortgage in several years.
Jack and Bobbie Swisher came from Iowa in 1975 and they told me how it was back then. Jack related, “We used to sell the fish we caught for gas so we could go fishing again the next day!” Pretty smart, huh?
Bobbie told me about the telephone service or lack there of….. “There was a community phone for all to share and everyone could hear what you were saying,” she said. Can you imagine being able to hear everybody’s business?
One could say the early folks were roughin’ it, but that’s what they liked about it. In a way, it’s still roughin’ it for new residents like Mike and Natalie Siavrakas from Connecticut. But guess what? They love it so much that they named their home “Emerald City.”
You might ask, “How does someone find this hidden jewel?” I asked Natalie and Mike that very question. When they were visiting Marco Island a few years ago, someone told them they should check out Goodland. So what do you think happened next? Natalie chuckled, “We went to Stan’s and Little Bar and loved both so much that we decided to rent something on our next visit.” And now they own!!!
Social life in this lively place includes special Valentine’s Day meals, pot lucks, and the most extravagant of all – a Cape Romano breakfast by boat. Doesn’t that sound fantastic? The lifestyle in Drop Anchor is simply relaxing – walking, boating, fishing or sipping something cool on the patio with a neighbor – pretty typical of Goodland life.
Natalie and Mike described their purchase as an “investment in our health.” Judging by the great lives led by Dub Abbott, the Swishers and Denny and Agatha, they just might be right.
The hidden jewel of Drop Anchor is no longer a secret now that I have written about it, but the charm of it is definitely worth sharing. Drop in sometime and you’ll see what I mean.
Joanie Fuller is the President of the Goodland Civic Association. She and her husband of 48 years, David Fuller, are residents of Goodland.