There is nothing like driving through a neighborhood that reminds me of Old Florida. I am always on the look-out for old beach cottages, small charming homes with simple floor plans, screened-in porches, jalousie windows, large lots, citrus trees, or cracker homes – distinguishing charm of days gone by. If you look hard enough driving slowly through the right neighborhoods – you will find them. Sometimes they are sandwiched between new, larger homes. My best GPS navigation tool is my bicycle- I see so much more.
Featured Authentic Neighborhood
One of my favorite neighborhoods is the Village of Cortez in Bradenton. What a charming place. If you need a fix for Old Florida, take a day to visit Cortez. I recommend you park your car and walk up and down the streets. Florida charm at it’s best. Be sure to read about Cortez in Authentic Florida Excursions, which gives you more ideas of where to go while there.
Featured Authentic Florida Buildings
Another place worth checking out. The Hermitage Artist’s Retreat on Manasota Key in Englewood. This is an historic group of five buildings – Old Florida Rustic Elegance – designed to serve as a creative environment for artists of all disciplines. Considerable effort was made to save and restore an older “pioneer beachfront homestead on Florida’s Gulf of Mexico” to enable artists the opportunity to create in a unique and inspiring surrounding. It’s a private facility – for artists in residence, but they have events and readings open to the public.
Visit the website at: hermitage-fl.org
Another favorite is the Manasota Beach Club. Located in Englewood on Manasota Key, the Club is a small Florida oasis with weekly/seasonal rental cottages and a restaurant. The restaurant is open to lodging guests and members of the Club (but is not public), many of whom live on the island. The general manager reports “At the Manasota Beach Club, we believe in the preservation of natural Florida. This philosophy is evident in everything we do.” I was able to have dinner there recently and can confirm that to be authentically accurate. I bid on a dinner at a charity auction and took my family. Charm, charm, and more charm. If you want a special getaway THIS is your place. If you know someone who is a member, treat them right, you just may find yourself enjoying one of the most authentic experiences Florida has to offer.
There are lots of Old Florida neighborhoods with quaint homes and I want to discover them with you. Let me know where you find authentic Florida in your travels.