Boca Grande's Old Florida Charm

Cape Coral Living - - Radar - BY TERRY ALLEN WIL­LIAMS

On a re­cent Thurs­day in late July I woke up bored and de­cided, “What the heck? I might as well drive up to Boca Grande. Spend the day there. Chill out and treat my­self to a va­ca­tion from my dull and pre­dictable life in Fort My­ers. It is about a 70-mile drive and well worth the ef­fort to make the trip." To be hon­est, I have a his­tory with the is­land—Gas­par­illa Is­land, that is, where the town of Boca Grande is lo­cated. “Boca Grande” is Span­ish for “Big Mouth” and refers to Boca Grande Pass, a gap­ing, swirling patch of open water that sep­a­rates Gas­par­illa Is­land from Cayo Costa to the south. This is the world-famous Boca Grande Pass where huge tar­pon gather ev­ery spring and avid an­glers come to try their luck land­ing one of these mag­nif­i­cent crea­tures. Gas­par­illa, by the way, got its name from a pi­rate who used to hang out in these wa­ters. Tar­pon fish­ing is not the only thing go­ing on in Boca Grande, and I know this be­cause I used to work there, as a re­porter for The Boca Bea­con, the tiny but in­dus­tri­ous weekly news­pa­per pub­lished on the is­land. So, ac­com­pa­nied by my mem­o­ries, I take to the road, head­ing up U.S. 41 most of the way, even­tu­ally hook­ing up with El Jobean Road in Port Char­lotte. That takes me up and over the Myakka River and fi­nally down Gas­par­illa Road to the toll booths that guard the 2.5-mile cause­way to Boca Grande. It costs six bucks to en­ter par­adise, but you could spend that money a lot more fool­ishly else­where. The first thing you no­tice as you drive over the cause­way is the beau­ti­ful turquoise water of the Gulf of Mex­ico. It is as if you

Where the gen­teel and the rus­tic blend

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