Where and What is Useppa Island-Part One

 

And who lives there……?

We wondered about that when we saw Useppa Island featured in Islands magazine in 1985, while staying at a friend’s house on Sanibel. Although we never met any neighbors before we bought, it was the slow season and no one was home, we can’t imagine our lives without all the Useppa People we share the island with. Now we, Mary and I, The Useppa People, are inviting new and wonderful people to buy a home  on Useppa and join the community.

Our home, Useppa Island is located in SW Florida, central to the area described by Florida Homes Magazine as the Paradise Coast, a pearl-like string of barrier islands stretching from Marco Island on the south to the shores of Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island to the north. Boca Grande Pass, the entrance to Charlotte Harbor and Pine Island Sound, is the focal point for boaters and vacationers seeking protected cruising and fishing grounds, as well as second home opportunities second to none in Florida.

The well-known islands and villages of Boca Grande, Captiva, Sanibel and North Captiva dominate the shoreline for 20 miles north and south of Boca Grande Pass. If you had a Useppa Island Home, you would be 3 miles south of Boca Grande Pass and 15 minutes from Captiva or Boca Grande with a 22 foot runabout. What sets Useppa apart is the lack of a bridge and the privacy: no bridge, no cars, no traffic-and, it is a private island with a private club.

If you can drive a boat, take the club launch or hire a water taxi, bridge-less is not a problem. In fact, you can get to major grocery and drug stores quicker from Useppa than you can from most out-islands where you are burdened by 2-lane roads and masses of tourists and seasonal residents.   We know, Mary and I have done it and find Useppa much more amenable to the relaxed lifestyle we all are seeking. Why buy the same thing you have at your other home? Atlanta, St Louis, Chicago, Boston, DC, are you listening?

On this 100 +- acre atoll called Useppa is located the Useppa Island Club, a private retreat that includes all amenities one would expect, except for golf-not enough acreage. Much has been written about the club, the island and its history, but not much describes the physical reality of living here. The majority of the island is occupied by 109 homes, and assorted vacant lots available for building.

(A recent TV program, People and Places, did a feature on the nearby coast and the Barbara Sumwalt Museum on Useppa. To view, click http://peopleandplacestoday.com/promo/RE , and then select Episodes, then Offshore Sailing and Useppa Island. Fast forward if you want just the Useppa part)

Like all places, Useppa is what the people who live here make it. Who are the people independent and fortunate enough to call Useppa Island Home?

49% of Useppans are Floridians, residing primarily from Naples to Tampa, with a few from the east coast. Useppa is their weekend get-away all year, although many spend the season here, November to May, because of traffic near their other Florida home, don’t you know?

18% are from the Midwest

15% are from the mid-Atlantic

7% from NY & the NE

7% are from the West

4% are from other countries, including Canada and Europe

Residents come from varied career backgrounds, with entrepreneurs and owners of private businesses predominant. Second presence in professions are people from real estate backgrounds; 20 or so are attorneys, doctors psychologists, and research, 7 from the investment banking and money management field; Chairpersons and CEO’s of publically held companies include 7 neighbors, while there are 13 corporate exec’s. The “creative” side is represented by 15-20 from academia, media and the arts.

There may be one or two trust babies among us, but no one asks. There are no celebrities on Useppa. If we have some, they have not told us they are here.

Age also varies widely, from mid-40 to mid-80’s, and trending down. Most of the buyers over the past 3 years are in the very low end of the spectrum. As The Useppa People were part of the last trending-down surge when we came here in the 80’s, we are afraid we might get trended out-but that’s OK, we still have another 15 to 20 years to spend here with all our friends, younger and older.

Many people have visited Useppa. The most fortunate are those that have had the opportunity-and we tend to invite everybody to almost anything- to spend time and mingle. The island is just about being here, and nowhere else. That is one reason so many cruisers have bought on Useppa, and sold the big boats, power or sail.

Next week we will talk about Useppa residential characteristics, such as size, price, value, taxes and other related matters. Meanwhile, go to PeopleonUseppa.blogspot.com to get more of the neighborhood feel, from Mary’s perspective.