Get a glimpse of the realities of life here.
Setting: Pine Island, Florida, home to four distinctcommunities, sits among a cluster of islands between Fort Myers andSanibel.
Attractions: Fishing―the island was named one of"America's 25 Hottest Fishing Spots" by Field & Stream magazine for its redfish, tarpon, andsnook. Pristine Cayo Costa beach, a 45-minute boat ride away,offers rustic cabins and open stretches where the only coconut oilyou're likely to smell is your own. Residents rave about theisland's K?5 school, winner of the state's highest ranking for thepast eight years straight.
Drawbacks: Limited job market. "A lot of people workoff-island," in Fort Myers, says archaeologist Michael Wylde. "ButI think that's a sacrifice people are willing to make."
Housing: Options include single-family houses andmanufactured homes in St. James City, condominiums and custom-builthouses in Bokeelia, breezy bungalows and fisherman's shacks inMatlacha, Keys-style stilt homes and golf course townhomes inPineland, and custom luxury homes with pools and private docksthroughout. A three-story luxury home on gated Galt Island nudges$2 million; a waterfront St. James City manufactured home,$234,900; Matlacha fisherman's shack, $259,000; a newerthree-bedroom, three-bath with pool, $795,000. Off-water homesrange from the $160s to $1 million.
Your next-door neighbors: A patent attorney, novelist RobertMacomber, mystery writer Randy Wayne White, artists, musicians,commercial fishermen, snowbirds, fishing guides, teachers, andpolice.
How you'd spend your free time: Golfing, boating, biking,birding, kayaking. Walking nature preserves. Dancing to boomertunes at Bart's. Enjoying Tarpon Lodge's ever-changing gourmetmeals.
(published December 2007)