Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Longboat Key's Tucked-Away Gem

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Longboat Key's Tucked-Away Gem

Article excerpt

As its name suggests, Sleepy Lagoon is a cozy, quiet, peaceful and relaxed neighborhood. Located on the north end of Longboat Key in Manatee County, the community has 269 single-family homes along both sides of Gulf of Mexico Drive, offering beach and bay vistas to residents.

Because no signs announce the neighborhood, which extends from Edlee Lane to Shinbone Alley on the bayside and along Gulfside Road on the other side, the community is easy to miss and has a tucked- away feel.

The architecture is eclectic, ranging from one- to three-story houses in Key West, Mediterranean and modern styles. Mansions co- exist comfortably with Florida ranch homes, many of which have been renovated or added to.

Long, narrow, parallel canals extend inland from Sarasota Bay, offering additional waterfront property and deep-water dockage. Lyons Lane, facing a lush nature preserve and Bishops Bayou, has homes on only its south side.

At Gulf of Mexico Drive and General Harris Street is a brand- new, beautifully designed Presbyterian church. A small commercial section includes the business Longboat Key Signs, and the planning and development department of the Town of Longboat Key.

Dia Wilson of Barrier Island Realty has lived in Sleepy Lagoon since 1986, when she and her husband bought a lot and built their house themselves. "My husband is an engineer," she said. "If we have a hurricane, the building is not going anywhere."

Back then, regulations required them to install a sprinkler system in their home. "It was an added expense, but it's a nice safety feature," Wilson said.

At the time, many lots were empty. Now, the area has all but filled in, and tear-downs have made room for mansions.

Working and retired professionals are among the residents. Wilson's street is home to an accountant, a retired professor, a retired military serviceman, a doctor whose wife is a party planner and a retired dentist. Many of the retirees are snowbirds.

"Twenty years ago, they all thought we were the kids in the neighborhood," Wilson said. "Now there are more young couples."

Wilson loves Sleepy Lagoon for its "small-town" atmosphere. "If you ever need anything, you know you can go to your next-door neighbor," she said. …

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