I've been coming to Sarasota for at least five years, but I've never seen anything written about Historic Spanish Point. I found it by accident; spent a couple of hours there this afternoon with my girlfriend from the UK; and was amazed that more is not made of this wonderful and eclectic property - another "must-see" if you're in the area!
Former home of Bertha Matilde Honore Palmer - widow of a Chicago magnate - you can just imagine the parties that went on here during the family's 70-year "reign" at this estate! It's certainly as interesting as the Edison and Ford Winter Estates that I reviewed earlier this week, and Bertha was definitely a gardener with "attitude", so you have unusual features like her sunken garden, with its exotic pergola (top and below), Duchene Lawn (bottom) and glorious Fern Walk (above).
But it's a little hard to understand the ethos of the property today - virtually unpublicised - but very visitable, with a glorious outlook over the water, some really interesting features including a jungle walk, and bordered by fantastic mangroves on the west (overlooking Little Sarasota Bay) and pine flatwoods to the east. The spanish moss is spectacular; there's a butterfly garden (sadly devastated by the recent cold spell); a prehistoric Indian burial mound; and much, much more.
But for some reason this property just doesn't feature in all the tourist "blurb" for Sarasota! It's only a half-hour drive from downtown, and it certainly gets my vote, so hope that when you come this way, you'll remember to visit.