Market snapshot: Hideaway Bay, Longboat Key


Hideaway Bay, on the northern end of Longboat Key, more than lives up to its name. The exclusive island neighborhood is well concealed and tucked away — a small corner of paradise.

A long, sheltered causeway at the end of General Harris Street, off Gulf of Mexico Drive, winds among dense mangroves and palm trees to an enclave of 19 waterfront homes.




In the early 1970s, Hideaway Bay was called Wake Island, but Tim Field, who teamed up with his father, Herb, to develop it, thought the new name was more appropriate.

resort2“At the time the island was so overgrown with Australian pines and mangroves you couldn’t see the water,” he recalls. “There was only one home on it, owned by Guy Paschal, who had invented the Airwick air freshener.”

The impetus for the project came after Herb Field built condos at the Buccaneer — now Harbour Villa Club — just to the south, and wanted to protect their scenic bayside views.

In the ’50s and ’60s, only the Arvida Corp. (starting in 1959) owned more Longboat Key real estate than Herb Field. A visionary developer, he was a member of the commission that oversaw the town’s incorporation in 1955. He built a number of condo communities on the barrier island, including the Colony Beach Resort. He also sat on the Sarasota County Board of Education, served as its president for some years, and was instrumental in creating the Sarasota County Technical Institute.

Tim, now a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Co., did most of the legwork to put Hideaway Bay on the map. He started in 1973, but it took six years to satisfy numerous environmental requirements and get all the zoning permits.

“It wasn’t until 1980 when we sold our first property,” he recalls. “It was a fun project and it turned out very nicely. I’m very proud of it.”

Today, Hideaway Bay is an intimate community of all-year residents, long-term snowbirds, retirees, semi-retired business entrepreneurs and professionals with families. Two of the estate-size mansions belong to owners from Tampa and Orlando who use them on weekends.

The houses vary in architectural styles, from Tuscan to Spanish Mediterranean to Florida contemporary. Each has a distinctive look and is surrounded lush landscaping. Currently, three homes are for sale on the island, ranging in price from $2 million to $2.9 million.

Says Saint Cacchiotti, also an agent with Michael Saunders & Co., “A lot of nature has been preserved. You can see shorebirds everywhere.”

Her listing at 741 Hideaway Drive, a four-bedroom, 5,424-square-foot house, is priced at $2,685,000 and has 280 feet of waterfront. Straddling two lots, it was built by Sarasota philanthropists Stanley and Janet Kane, who called it “The Pearl of the Bay.”

The current owners, Terry and Joanne Blackstone, are British. They had lived in a condo on the southern end of Longboat Key and moved to Hideaway Bay 12 years ago.

“It’s quieter, more like a village,” says Terry. “Our neighbors are here most of the year, not just for a week or two in season.”

“It’s like being on your own island,” says Joanne. “We all have our privacy, beautiful views and good community spirit.”

When they bought the house, the Blackstones gutted the interior to make it their own and added another wing. They kept the stained-glass windows and original fireplace, imported colorful Portuguese tiles for all the bathrooms, and created a large, European-style kitchen with no cupboards or storage drawers.

“It’s where we prepare food and spend time with our friends,” Terry says. “All the storage is in a pantry, which is easily accessible, and you can close it up, go away and not worry about it.”

When asked what they will miss most about the neighborhood, both reiterate the sense of community. “We’re a small group, but we get together three times a year for parties and social events,” says Joanne.

“The annual homeowners meeting is quite relaxed, and not stodgy,” Terry adds with a smile.

He also mentions the fishing. “It’s fantastic. Yesterday, I caught six sheepshead and three pinfish in just an hour and 45 minutes from my dock,” said Terry, who is building several houses on the island. The Blackstones plan to move to one of them.

The views are spectacular. “At night when we sit outside with a glass of wine, we look toward the mainland and can see the lights twinkle across the bay all the way down to Sarasota,” he said.

Although quiet and secluded, Hideaway Bay is close to a number of amenities. Cannon’s Marina is just down the road south on Gulf of Mexico Drive. The bridge to Anna Maria Island is three quarters of a mile away, and getting to the mainland, Cortez Village, and the shops and restaurants on Cortez Road takes only 15 minutes.

“The northern end of Longboat is a treasure that people haven’t discovered yet,” Terry Blackstone said.

Last modified: March 13, 2015
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