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Monday, April 5, 2010

A Dispatch from the Beach

Greetings from my long Easter weekend in Boca Grande, Florida. This morning rather than gazing at my computer screen, I'll be taking in a view like this...

And maybe taking a leisurely walk along here looking for shells...

Boca Grande is located on Gasparilla Island in Southwest Florida, with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and Charlotte Harbor on the other. In the late 1800's phosphate was discovered off the island, and due to the island's deep water port, it became a major shipping port. In the early 1900's a railroad was built to bring in the phosphate before it was shipped, and with the railroad came the well-heeled tourists and the sport fishermen. Boca Grande is world famous for its fishing, especially its tarpon fishing, and there are several tarpon tournaments a year held here.

These days, the phosphate shipping is long gone, as is the railroad, yet the island remains as popular as ever with seasonal residents and fishermen.  The preferred mode of transportation is the golf cart, as you can see below; in fact, there's not a single gas station on the island. The old railroad depot has been converted into a restaurant and a series of boutique shops, and the railroad line is now a bike path.

Saturday I hit up the annual Lilly Pulitzer clearance at the Palm on Park- or rather, what was left of it! Apparently it was pillaged on Friday the moment it opened, so the pickings were rather slim!

Then down the block to browse at Ariel, a lovely home and clothing boutique that offers everything from Milly dresses to Jack Rogers sandals to coral mirrors. Heaven to browe!

Amazing coral mirror!

My mom has her eye on these ceramic elephant garden stools.

Loved the octagonal shape of this bamboo coffee table.

The floral shop across the street.

I'm ready for the golf season after snapping up some sale polo shirts at Boca Grande Outfitters. They have wonderful classic brands like Patagonia, Ralph Lauren golf, Smathers and Branson, Tervis Tumbler, etc. You can always find a little something to come home with! 

Easter brunch was at the Gasparilla Inn, where I saw plenty of little boys decked out in their finest seersucker jackets and bow ties, and little girls in their floral dresses. And of course, their equally stylish parents. The Inn was built in 1913 and is a perfect example of old Florida charm. The decor is fantastic, thanks to Kemble Interiors. Lots of shell-covered furniture and genteel pinks and greens. Bamboo chippendale chairs in the dining room with cushions covered in fern fabrics. I sort of think as it of the Florida eqivalent of the Greenbrier.

If you've got a non-working fireplace you want to jazz up, look no further for inspiration than the Gasparilla Inn's example; fill it with shells and coral to make a statement!

Sailor's valentines set off the old-Florida look.

More from here later in the the meantime, hope everyone had a Happy Easter!


VogueOntheRange said...

What a simply wonderful post! You made me want to just pick up and head down there. There's really nothing like small beach towns to inspire you - Apalachicola, St. Michaels, etc... I am in love!

Your blog is simply terrific, by the way. As a fellow Beltway Blogger displaced from "The Range", I hope you'll stop by and say howdy sometime!

xoxox Lacey

Averill said...

Looks like you had a great Easter! The shopping looks incredible; I'm salivating over that coral mirror.

NYCLQ said...

Welcome to Florida! Looks like you're enjoying your stay. The shots are BEAUTIFUL!!

:D Lynda

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