Into the Woods

By Robert Plunket May 7, 2007

There’s something special about the little rural community of Innisfallen.


By Robert Plunket


There is one real estate category that is virtually ignored by most people looking for a home, and it’s a shame because it is both wonderful and unique to our area. I’m talking about Old Rural Florida. A nice old house hidden deep in the woods, or perhaps a little ranch where you can keep horses. I came across a wonderful example yesterday. If there was ever a house that had an enchanted setting, this was it.

Paradise in Palmetto


The house is located about two miles due north of the Gamble Mansion in either Palmetto or Ellenton, I’m not sure which. You turn off Canal Road and go down a forest-lined winding drive for a mile or so and then come to a group of four houses. Each sits on a two-and-a-half-acre plot. They share a pool, and there is a vague sort of very informal community association led by a Mrs. Grimes, whose husband was one of Palmetto’s most important lawyers. He built the little development and called it Innisfallen, after a town in Ireland where he recuperated after being wounded in WWII.


The house for sale in Innisfallen is a 2,200-square-foot California contemporary, built in 1979, and while it is nice and solid and could be updated quite stylishly, what makes it special is the setting—a centuries-old canopy of giant oaks dripping with Spanish moss, all sorts of palms and ferns, and wild orchids and lilies. The way the sun filters through the trees is calming and peaceful. I stayed there for hours, inventing questions and poking around. It was just too pleasant to leave. There is also a little pond and a lot of wildlife.

The view from the sunroom.


The house itself only has two bedrooms but it would be easy to add more, and there’s a separate studio with water and electricity. And having the neighbors would make it an easy place to lock up and leave for months on end. Some behemoth developer named DeMorgan Communities is buying up everything in the area and cutting all the trees down and building what look to me like tract houses, but Innisfallen is isolated from all this by its gorgeous acreage. The asking price is $459,000—not bad at all for something so special. Call Sandy Harmon at (941) 722-1347.




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