Escape from Suburbia

By Robert Plunket December 16, 2009

Sarasota’s pretty Indian Beach offers a big range of houses and access to an urban lifestyle.


By Robert Plunket


Click here to see our Real Estate Junkie discuss Indian Beach on ABC7.


I got an e-mail from Molly up in Hillsborough County, asking for my advice. She is unfortunately getting a divorce and will be moving down to Sarasota with her four kids (all under 12) and various dogs and cats and birds. She wants to start a new life for herself, away from the standard suburban, new house, no trees, tricycle in the yard existence that had become a trial to her. She pictures herself going to the opera and concerts and hanging out in downtown sidewalk cafes. What’s the right neighborhood for her?


I would say Indian Beach. It’s kid-friendly, well located, full of interesting people (college professors, artists, writers, hip millionaires, Ringling students) and has a wide variety of homes in all price ranges. It is also beautiful – century old trees, winding lanes and driveways, and peeks of the bay through the trees.


It’s west of the trail, right near Ringling College. It proceeds north to the Ringling Museum. Somewhere it turns into Sapphire Shores, which is a slightly newer and more expensive version. Indian Beach is old, old Sarasota. It has a very strong neighborhood association (Mayor Dick Clapp is from there) and has a reputation of being a little – dare I say it – liberal.


One of the best things about it is the enormous variety of housing choices. On the bayfront are mansions, some old, some new,  that can be priced as high as $20,000,000. But just a block or so away are cute modest homes that are very affordable.

Here’s an example – a sweet little cottage from the 1960s on Highland Street. Granted, it’s a little small for four kids, with only two bedrooms, 1.5 baths, and a small family room. But it’s very well priced at only $165,000. Call Coldwell Banker at 941-351-4444.



Toward the other end of the scale is a wonderful house at 926 Indian Beach Dr. It’s less than 10 years old and is done in the West Indian style, with dark wood floors, lots of verandas, tropical landscaping, and a salt-water pool.


The main house has 3 bedroom, 3 baths, a great family room. There is also a three car garage with a 1-bedroom, 1-bath guest house. Molly will need a very good settlement to afford this one, though – it’s priced at $1,750,000. Call Lisa Marx at 941-376-1299.


There isn’t an awful lot on the market in Indian Beach at the moment. The secret is to keep careful track of new listings and jump on the right one. Good luck!


PS – a little Sarasota/Indian Beach trivia: The house pictured below was once owned by singer Melanie (“I’ve Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates”) when she lived here back in the 1970s – as a single mom.



And this bayfront mansion is where Bette Davis used to stay on her Sarasota vacations back in the 1940’s and 50’s.


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