Truly Grande

Mr. Blandings claimed he had sand in his eyes.

The Blandings have returned from the beach.  We had wonderful weather, great sand castle architecture, dolphin sightings, lizard catching and no internet access, which might have been a blessing.  We have been going to Boca Grande, Florida for the past eleven years, save the ones when we had newborns 2 and 3.  It’s a lovely spot on Gasparilla Island.  Not too crowded, just enough to do, and a few good friends from home.

A lot of information that you will find on Boca Grande declares that is has maintained the feeling of “old Florida.”  I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject, but the town is charming.  Not fancy.  No designer nonsense.  Boca Grande owes its development to the discovery of phosphate and the subsequent mining there of, at the turn of the (last) century.

Rail transportation soon followed, as did wealthy Northerners looking to escape their wintery homes.  The Gasparilla Inn was built to accommodate these visitors and stands today.

This is not where the Blandings stay on their visits, but I love to haunt the shops and the lobby. 

The island is also home to one of the du Pont estates.  Henry du Pont vacationed there, and it is my understanding that the home is still in the family.

I tried to convince one of my friends to wander in (it is a thing of wonder from the street with gazebos and painted grottos and palm trees) and profess dismay that it is not “open” as Winterthur is.  She demurred.

We could have easily stayed another week, except my heart was aching for Rosie.  She didn’t even do me the courtesy of being aloof to the house sitter when we returned.  Mr. Blandings and I spend a good little bit of our time on the beach designing the dream beach house.  Maybe by the time we get the boys through school, the du Pont family will want to shed one of the gazebos.

All photos Gasparilla Inn.

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10 thoughts on “Truly Grande

  1. I LOVE Boca Grande. It is indeed very old Florida…no over the topishness, just pure southern class. I’m jealous sitting in my sunny but still quite cold, northern NJ home.
    Sara L.

  2. thanks for the lovely start to a cold am in the NE… I have been going to Boca Grande for the last 10 years as well with my mother and we absolutely love the beach and the unspoiled nature of the island…

  3. I didn’t know the duPont’s had a house there. Winterthur is my secret oasis – in spring it is absolutely stunning due to the hillsides swathed with flowering bulbs.

  4. nothing ever changes there! LOVE it for that.

    you just made my heart swell with these photos. i have such happy memories of gasparilla. someday i’ll get back. thanks for sharing.

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