Whisper Bend, also known as Water Oak, lies just to the south of Tara Elementary School and Tara Golf & Country Club off Linger Lodge Road in Bradenton. An attractive entrance, studded with palm trees on both sides and on the island separating the two lanes, provides access to the charming, well-established, deed-restricted neighborhood of about 200 homes.
The northeast corner abuts the wetlands of surrounding the Braden River close to Ward Lake, the largest inland body of water in Bradenton. Around 30 residences back up to a large nature preserve to the north. The three ponds within the confines of the neighborhood offer scenic backyard views for about two thirds of the homes.
The architecture is Florida ranch throughout, with high ceilings and open floor plans. Most houses are single-story with two- or three bedrooms and two-car garages. Some have upstairs bonus rooms and an extra garage. Most have swimming pools and lanais. Tropical landscaping is lush throughout and well-maintained. Residents obviously love their neighborhood and take good care of it.
The area was developed by Bruce Williams Homes in the early 2000s during the housing boom, and completed right before the real estate market plummeted. As a result, there were a lot of foreclosures, short sales, underwater mortgages and a high turnover in sales. According to Scott Nold, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty Select, “Homes that were bought in the $350,000s and $400,000s went for around $200,000, but now prices on the rise again, and there are no foreclosures.”
Nold and his wife/real estate partner, Kelli, have sold a number of homes in Whisper Bend and love the community for its location and tranquility.
“You’re far enough away from the bustle, yet close enough to all the amenities of Lakewood Ranch at University,” he says. “You can’t hear any road noise from the busy thoroughfares close by — I-75 to the east and State Road 70 to the north.”
Many of the homes in Whisper Bend have been renovated and upgraded. The Nolds’ current listing at 6311 67th Court East, for example, is a 2,114-square-foot, three-bedroom home built in 2004. Located on a cul-de-sac and backing up to one of the picturesque ponds, it has tiled flooring throughout, vaulted ceilings and a fireplace, but no pool. The kitchen has cherry cabinets and new stainless-steel appliances.
Part of what makes Whisper Bend attractive to buyers is that there are no CDD fees. Annual HOA dues are only $468 for the care of lakes, landscaping of common areas, signage and the walls and that border of the community.
Residents are a combination of retirees, working professionals and families. The latter like the fact that the district schools are Braden River middle and high schools, and that Tara Elementary is within walking distance, a mere 500 feet up the road. Regular neighborhood activities, including luncheons, block parties, garage sales make for a good sense of community.
Nearby amenities include Linger Lodge Restaurant & Campground and Jiggs Landing, a triangular park thrusting out into Ward Lake, with a popular boat ramp at its point. The Manatee County landmark offers concessions, picnicking, cabin and canoe/kayaking rentals and fishing. Part of a 7-acre property, it was originally purchased by Al “Jiggs” and Agnes Metcalf in 1944 to realize their dream of creating a fish camp on the banks of the Braden River. In time, it fell into disrepair and was bought by the county, which built replicas of the original facilities. The rest of the land is a nature preserve where visitors can view a variety of wildlife.
For links enthusiasts, the Tara Golf & Country Club and the Preserve Golf Club are literally next door, and there are other championship courses within easy driving distance. Convenient access to I-75 via State Road 70 provides restaurants, medical facilities and shopping opportunities at Lakewood Ranch’s Main Street, UTC or the Ellenton Premium Outlets to the south and north.
Being a small neighborhood, Whisper Bend rarely has many homes for sale. At the present time, there are four homes on the market, priced from $278,000 to $300,000, and two active with contract.