Sarasota Magazine Article on Anna Maria Island

The Last Best Beach Town

 Author: Robert Plunket & Su Byron and Photographer: J.B. McCourtney

[Read the following article on Anna Maria Island that came out in the October 2010 Sarasota Magazine.  And if you click the “Read More” link, you will see the complete article and Click Here  to see the ”Rent the Dream” section that features Harrington House’s very own Vista Grande luxurious beachfront condo!]

Our own little Anna Maria is gaining a name as Florida’s most enchanting hideaway.

Florida has a short list of beach towns that are world-famous for their fantasy tropical lifestyle. Key West, for instance, symbolizes raffish hedonism. Palm Beach epitomizes the perfection and style that only great wealth can bring. Sarasota represents culture and sophistication co-existing quite nicely with golf and boating.

To get on this list is a rare honor, and to have a newcomer added at this late date is even more unusual. But the tiny town of Anna Maria—population 1,500—is increasingly being mentioned. Anna Maria started life as a modest resort and second-home kind of place for Midwesterners and Canadians. Not exactly the hippest situation. Now things have gone full circle. The town’s peace and quiet have been reconsidered. Suddenly, Anna Maria has been recast as one of the last perfect places in Florida.

Anna Maria’s emergence as the town of the moment has a lot to do with Florida’s economic recession. It’s taken a couple of years, but the fancy gated communities with the enormous Spanish Mediterranean houses are starting to seem dated. They represent a time that has ended—and ended painfully. They’re not what people aspire to anymore. Ostentatious is out. Simplicity is good. Family is crucial.

These are Anna Maria’s values. It has a strong emotional pull, a return to a simpler time and place. This is the town where you vacationed with your grandparents when you were a kid. Those who summered on the Jersey shore back in the 1950s and ’60s will feel right at home. So will those whose vacation was on the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. Or the lakes of Wisconsin. All the rituals of summers past are still present—you can walk or bike anywhere, there are plenty of places to buy ice cream, and the long, sunny afternoons mean playing on the beach or fishing in the pond.  Read More of the Sarasota Article…