By Judi Gallagher –
‘A hidden gem’: typically reluctant to use trite phrases as such, I am called upon now, however, to describe Palm Island as a precious personification of beauty surrounded by water. Fear not, hidden, not really. More of a beach and tree-laden mecca, the island is a lovely and relaxing drive from Sarasota (1 hour), Venice, North Port, and Charlotte – discovery is a word that comes to mind.
Just short of the bridge to Gasparilla Island, the small, throwback barge ferries a small number of cars, with eager explorers, regularly throughout the day and into the evening. The approximate 10 minute glide to the island is reminiscent of the ferry ‘period-pieces’ that dot Martha’s Vineyard.
A drive around the island blesses the visitors with tree canopied old-time roads, with curves that give glimpses to the ocean, invitations to pleasantly welcoming vendors, and views and vacancies in small, prideful ‘cabin’-homes of respite — each landscaped to perfection.
On this visit, we were most fortunate to stay at Palm Island Resort, where ‘old Florida’ meets Nantucket. From the moment of arrival, the Resort bespeaks relaxation and privacy. The 160 villas & cottages are unmistakably arranged so that each feels ‘solo’, roomy, private and accessible to the miles of ocean at the doorsteps. The quiet and pristine six swimming pools scattered logically and unobtrusively around the acreage adds additional opportunities for relaxation and reflection.
The Resort’s pride and utter ‘class’ can be traced to its 1976 origins and the purposeful and gentle growth over the past 40 years: the mantra being unspoiled and uninterrupted. Of course, the 12 tennis courts, 4 spas, 2 restaurants, 2 stores, fitness room and marina that unintrudingly semicircle the two miles of private beach provide a crescendo of comfort. Each accommodation’s balcony/porch, kitchen amenities and barbeque options add to the ‘no problem’ pace.
And, it is this pace that highlights the Palm Island Resort. Although it’s eminence is manifested by the quality, cleanliness, and attention to detail…it is also a ‘hide-out’ that comfortably allows for fun. Witness the golf carts gingerly tooling around the resort…or the pure comfort of having a tasty burger and tomato salad in one of the restaurants overlooking the channel. If the water is your mecca, that peaceful, inviting channel can be used to rent a canoe, take a kayak….go fishing, tool over to the oceanside…or nap cruising around the waterway. Want to just cozy up in your villa or cottage? How about grilling some steaks, listening to the songs of the birds, gazing at the manicured “Florida natural’ greenery, watching the sunset and/or simply experiencing time unfolding from your balcony, porch or windows that peer out to the ocean?
Unique – complete – confidential – private: Palm Island Palm Island Resort
(941) 697-4800 800-824-5412