Casa Marina


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Nick Churton of Michael Saunders’ London office visits Boca Grande on Florida’s Gulf coast and discovers the perfect getaway property.

Broker: Michael Saunders & Co

Agent: Carol Stewart

Florida’s west coast hosts some memorable and delightful towns and cities. But a jewel amongst these is surely Boca Grande that sits by the Boca Grande Pass at the head of the Peace River between Sarasota and Fort Myers. The railway, originally built to transport the valuable phosphate that was mined locally, became an important route for wealthy northerners who from 1911 came to enjoy the exceptional Tarpon fishing, and more recentely golf, and stay at the built-for-purpose Gasparilla Inn before graduating to homes of their own. This seasonal migration has continued down the years with notable regular visitors including the Bush family and Katharine Hepburn.

To say this place is family friendly is an understatement. Just look at the traffic – or lack of it. Transportation in this town is generally by golf buggy with all but two streets designated as golf cart paths. A good thing too, as there is no filling station in Boca Grande and the whole place is on an island protected against the rest of the world by a narrow bridge. Where else would you want to go? This precious haven is made for fabulous vacations and a very laid back way of life in the sun where going anywhere else is the last thing you would want to do.

Loving where you are going to live is a key part of choosing a home and it would be hard not to love Boca Grande. But finding the right house is another matter. Boca Grande has much to choose from in that department and will serve many tastes. But frankly, 161 Gilchrist Ave should stop your search in its tracks. A palm tree fringe separates the pool area and the 130 ft west-facing Gulf-front beach at the rear of the property. This house is a Spanish casa marina, a glorious Mediterranean style mansion. Approached past a guest cottage and enormous banyan trees the entrance is as good as it gets in terms of arrival. You really think you have reached somewhere very special. And you have. This house oozes sophisticated relaxation. The multi-zoned living is perfect here, giving plenty of opportunity for personal retreat. But then the magnificent reception rooms and outside spaces provide unparalleled entertaining space against the azure sea and coral sunset backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico.

It is intoxicating.

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