After two weeks of being held up in my apartment writing, I decided to take a little break. Emily was in town and suggested meeting in Boca Grande for a little getaway. I had never been, so I jumped at the chance. I am terrible when it comes to traveling in the US and especially Florida. As much as I love traveling outside the US, I have to remind myself I live in a pretty spectacular place and I need to appreciate it more. I have decided to make more of an effort to see my own state. And I started with Boca Grande.
Boca Grande sits on a beautiful little island (Gasparilla Island) off Florida's west coast, south of Sarasota. It is mostly a vacation town full of snowbirds, so we basically had the place to ourselves (the "season" begins in October and ends in June). We road bikes around the banyan-lined streets, visited the historic Gasparilla Inn, sipped prosecco on the beach, paddle boarded, and indulged in some delicious fresh grouper tacos at The Pink Elephant.
The island is an interesting mix of Old South and New England prep. This is mostly thanks to the historic Gapsarilla Inn, which was built as a resort to attract wealthy East Coasters to the area. It opened its doors in 1911 and marked the beginning of the island becoming an elite vacation destination. It has hosted J.P. Morgan, John Singer Sargent, and Katharine Hepburn to name a few. Today, it remains a hugely popular destination and the Wall Street Journal even dubbed it the "preppiest place on earth" (although I am not sure I'd go that far).
Boca Grande is a truly beautiful and unique little Florida gem. If you're looking for your next vacation destination in Florida, I highly recommend it!