April 12, 2017

Each winter I am fortunate enough to escape to Bokeelia, Pine Island (fewer pines these days with a huge increase of palm farms, I think the name of the Island should properly represent its identity.) It is a small fishing village located on the Southwest coast of Florida. The town offers charming old style Florida architecture, lush green vistas, dazzling sunsets over the outer islands and the gulf, and endless eclectic art galleries.

I have been familiar with the area since I was a child. My parents bought a home here to escape from the long and cold New England Winters. Back then I rarely enjoyed the seclusion and serenity these little Florida Islands had to offer. Now as an appreciative adult, I jump at the opportunity to get some R&R in the warm sunshine state.

I always make a point to visit my favorite spots. Stopping in the small village of Matlacha, leaving Pine Island, here you can find rainbow painted cottages and eclectic art galleries. One you can’t miss is the Leoma Lovegrove Gallery, it stands out like a flamingo in a sea of gulls. Painted in bright pink and green, the cottage features hand painted signs held by mannequins in yoga poses. Leoma is a big deal in the local arts scene. She has created an awe-inspiring peace garden in the back of her gallery, repurposing cobalt glass bottles in creative and decorative ways. Painted palms with hearts and stars, singing praise to my Lisa Frank adorn childhood, it really is worth the drive out to Matlacha.

When I’m not heading to Waterside Shopping Galleries, in Naples, with my mum, we are most certainly heading straight to Sanibel and Captiva Island. These outer islands hold that oh so island time life true to heart, yet embracing the tourists and 21st century in a modest way. The white sandy beaches face west and have that tropical aqua color of the gulf. The homes are stylishly landscaped, with your regal Mediterranean Estates to your lavish condo resorts.

Venturing north to Captiva you will find yourself walking the streets with plenty of bicyclists and golf carts. Here, you will find those small Florida cottages that give a friendly nod to the vintage architecture. I have a rather soft spot for these two Islands, my parents lived here and started their romance back in the bohemian 70’s. My father lived on his fishing boat, playing guitar while tending bar at night. My mother riding her motorcycle and waiting tables at the cafe by day. A slower, yet refined pace of life which I know like myself, most long for. 

Like what you see little whiteside sporting on her trip? Then shop the post!


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