Friday, September 25, 2020

A weekend trip to Boca Grande

The treasure of finding and experiencing the historic Anchor Inn added to the pleasure of discovering Boca Grande. Photos by Jeane Brennan

The treasure of finding and experiencing the historic Anchor Inn added to the pleasure of discovering Boca Grande. Photos by Jeane Brennan

Now that the quick paced winter season has come to a close for the year around Marco Island resident, sometimes a quick get a way is necessary. A change of scene, a new outlook, and a relief of duties and obligations is always appreciated in this busy world of ours. Instead of planning all year for the two or three week vacation that goes way too fast, many of us love to fly the coup for a spontaneous two or three day and night off the wall adventure.

Using not even a full tank of gas in my little Miata convertible and traveling only 2 hours, the historic village of Boca Grande, the main town on Gasparilla Island, is our destination today. With reservations at the historic Anchor Inn and access to their bright red golf cart, two whole days were spent traversing this quaint, peaceful, and beautiful locale. Because the Anchor Inn is located in the middle of town and using the Inn’s golf cart for transportation, I took a quick glance at my dream laddened white Miata with tan convertible top every once in a while, but that was it.

Along main street the approximately 500 year around residents and about 3000 winter residents take advantage of the art league, historical society, community center and unique shops and art galleries. Easy beach access is available at most every intersection and the 7 miles of white sandy beach and lush tropical fauna stretching along the Gulf Coast side of the island gives a whole new meaning to the word “paradise.”

There are no stop lights or no cemented high rises in Boca Grande. There are no fast food chains or billboards, creative or otherwise. The shops throughout the village are mainly original or renewed with thoughtful construction and the

Whidden's Marina, a rare find on Gasparilla Island, owned by the 5th generation of islanders.

Whidden’s Marina, a rare find on Gasparilla Island, owned by the 5th generation of islanders.

main portion of the community is in the National Historic Register. Staying at the Anchor Inn which was built in the late 1920’s as a boarding house was so very appropriate and added to the peace and charm that permeated my mini vacation. Whatever stress I brought to Boca Raton was quickly eliminated after stepping out onto my porch and diving into the silky warm waters of the private swimming pool.

A mile or two south of Boca Grande at the tip of Gasparilla is the Boca Grande Lighthouse, the oldest building on the island overlooking Boca Grande Pass (Big Mouth), one of the deepest natural channels in Florida. During this time of year, late spring, tarpon congregate in mass to feast on the abundance of sea life provided by the waters of the estuaries fed by the Myakka River, the Peace River and into Charlotte Harbor before spawning into the Gulf of Mexico. Fisherman come from all over the world to fish this pass during the tarpon late spring season.

It is necessary to enjoy life. I realize we need to fulfill obligations. I know we have issues to resolve. However, without passion, without love, without beauty, what is our world, what is our life composed of? Check out Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island. It is absolutely beautiful. For information about Anchor Inn call 800-741-3074 or go to their website, www.anchorinnbocagrande.com. It is charming. It is comfortable. It is an accurate example of, with comfort, of what southwest Florida must have been like in days gone by.

For great reading about the history, fact and fiction, about Gasparilla Island go to Craig Woodward’s columns, Twice Told Tales, on line, at Coastalbreezenews.com for fun (CBN issue March 26) and facts (CBN issue April 9). Thank you for reading the Coastal Breeze News.

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