'Whitewash Alley' as we call her is a spectacular home in the heart of Boca Grande's historic village. Read on to see why this is truly one of the rare and choice rental properties on the island!
Boca Grande is one of the few places that still feels like 'old Florida'. This is what really brought our family to the island. Our mother, who spent a good deal of time on the east coast in the 1920's as a small child was mesmerized by all things Florida. She maintained a life long love affair with the state. She adored the water, trees, birds, clouds, weather, fishing, architecture, you name it. As Florida was undergoing what she considered to be very unfortunate changes as it continued to grow, she would hit the roads in her car and strike out in search of the Florida that she knew as a child. When she first came to Gasparilla island in the 1970's it felt familiar to her, still 'real', not over developed and contrived the way so much of the state had become. Boca Grande was the place to be. She staked her claim. We are all so thankful to her for finding this magical place.
When you enter the front door of Whitewash Alley it will feel as though you are meeting up with a dear old friend. The house was originally built in 1911. When we undertook a major renovation on the property in 2008, we took great care to honor the feel and aesthetics of the exterior of the house. From the street you see a large screened front porch attached to what appears to be a modest early 20th century cottage. Upon entering the home for the first time, the typical reaction is one of great surprise.
Contemporary architectural design has been dovetailed beautifully with the 'old bones' of the house. There is a huge open living room and dining room with great, tall ceilings and a beautiful kitchen with cherry cabinets and vast granite counter tops. The floors in the common area are handmade Mexican Saltillo with the characteristic warm terracotta 'glow'. The kitchen is very well appointed with just about anything you could possibly need. Our chef-brother has seen to that.
The feel throughout the house is that of laid back comfort with elements of whimsy, elegance, but above all comfort! It is furnished mostly with antiques and vintage pieces that were collected locally or brought down from Virginia. We have been told by friends who have lived in Boca for decades that it is one of the most 'livable' homes on the island. You can truly feel the heart and soul in 'Whitewash Alley'.
A very special aspect of Whitewash Alley is that it is a handicap-friendly home. There is a ramp at the side entrance to the house, 36' doors into the home, master bedroom, and master bath and a generous sized walk-in shower in the master suite, with plenty of grab bars to assist. There is a lift/recliner chair in the living room as well.
The charming village of Boca Grande is located on Gasparilla Island, which is shared by Lee and Charlotte counties. Gasparilla is in the same chain of islands as Sanibel and Captiva, but is unique in that there is a 'real' town on our island dating back to the 1800s. Gasparilla is famous for its pristine beaches, historic properties, notable visitors and world-class fishing. Everything in Boca is relaxed and moves at island pace. If you are looking for fast food or harried salespeople, you won't find them here.
Our house is located on Tarpon Avenue, once known as Whitewash Alley (as most of the houses were literally whitewashed). It is a peaceful and quaint street with many of the houses retaining the feel of the early 20th century. The location of our house is in the very heart of the village and is 2 to 4 blocks from virtually everything in town. Coffee shops, restaurants, Hudson's Market, boutiques, shops, the Post Office, the Boca Grande Health Clinic, a Pilates and yoga studio, the Community Center, fire department, many beautiful churches and the beach!
Gasparilla Island has been protected from over-development, and much of Boca Grande has been designated as an historic district with many buildings dating from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. There are several historic sites on the island, with one of the true gems being the Boca Grande Lighthouse which was built in 1890.
Visitors often choose to travel the island as the locals do, on golf carts, which are welcome everywhere on Gasparilla. Another popular mode of transportation is the bicycle. There is a beautifully maintained, paved, 'rails to trails' path that runs the length of the island for walking, running, skating, cycling and carting.
The village of Boca Grande offers a fantastic selection of casual and fine dining restaurants (with great bars), art galleries, outfitters, small specialty shops, gourmet shops with prepared foods, wines and cheeses, and our wonderful local market complete with a butcher. Periodically a sign will appear downtown saying 'shrimp boat is in', which means, get down to Whidden's Marina as fast as you can to get the freshest shrimp you can buy, straight from the man who caught it.