Englewood is an unincorporated community, divided between Sarasota and Charlotte County. The historic Dearborn Street, Englewood's Main Street, is basically the line where Sarasota County ends and Charlotte County takes over. The differences between both counties are not dramatic, but there are a few small ones.
Englewood borders the beautiful Lemon Bay, a 13 mile long and 3/4 wide body of water. Lemon Bay or more precise "Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve" is one out of 5 Charlotte Harbor's Aquatic Preserves. It is a unique, submerged ecosystem, a perfect paradise for aquatic animals and plants. The bay is pretty shallow in certain areas, and the bottom is covered with a thick "jungle" of seagrass. Those areas are the perfect breeding ground for many fish species. The thick bottom vegetation is one of the reasons why there is a richness in fish. Baby-fishes hate open water; they like to cover from predators in seagrass. Sports fishers love the bay because it is almost 100 percent certain that they will not come home empty-handed. What a disgrace, coming home with no fish while your wife has fired up the grill already. Well, there is always Publix, and they have fish, too.
Englewood is located on the mainland and has no Gulf beaches at all. The reason is that Englewood is facing the Lemon Bay, not the Gulf of Mexico. The fantastic sand beaches can all be found on the barrier island of Manasota Key, and this island divides the Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. Four beaches, Stump Pass Beach State Park, Englewood Beach, Middle Beach and Manasota Key Beach, are attracting thousands of sunseekers every year, while the waters of the Lemon Bay. Nobody cares about the fact that he first has to cross a bridge if he wants to get a nice sunburn on the beach. What about Manasota Beach? Siesta Key beaches, and Lido, or Longboat Key Beach? You also need to cross a bridge because all beaches are located on the barrier islands.
The Cape Haze Peninsular
Further south of Englewood is the Cape Haze Peninsular, a subtropical area with “Old Florida style” and brand new communities. Single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums are popping up everywhere like mushrooms after a warm summer rain. Many people think that they can get a nice bargain on the peninsula, but, unfortunately, that is a fairy tale. Compared to New York such a condo for $400k+ may look cheap, but for the Cape Haze area, it is a substantial amount of money. However, if you like that beautiful area, if you like it quiet, if you like being close to the beach (Boca Grand), you won't have the feeling that you overpay.
Almost 15,000 residents call the 13 square mile area of Englewood home. Ten square miles out of the 13 are land, while the remaining three square miles of the area are bodies of water. SR 776, which is running all the way through Englewood, is the main connector between Venice and North Port/Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda. It is a 10-minute drive to Venice and a 15-minute drive to Port Charlotte, which seems bearable.
The median resident age is 66 years, indicating that Englewood is still a retirement community. However, that is changing. More and more young families are moving to Englewood, North Port, and Port Charlotte because the area is booming and housing is more affordable (compared to Sarasota and Venice). Houses are not as cheap as they used to be, but supply and demand are dictating the prices.
The elephant in the room (area) is the West Villages. Only a few miles further north, in that South Venice - Englewood - West North Port triangle, you can watch what the word "growing" means. The West Villages are adding new homes by the thousands each year. A whole new city with an entirely new community concept will compete with the well established, older communities.
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Englewood has many preschools, day-schools, Christian academies, day care centers, elementary schools, middle schools and a High School. Colleges, learning centers, and universities are also close by. Englewood is not in the boonies! What were you thinking? A list and rating of the schools.
Dining and Shopping in Englewood
Although the former fishing town is constantly growing, it continues to maintain this unique “small town Charm” as it moves forward with the times.
Small shopping plazas and grocery stores are within easy reach. There are plenty of waterfront restaurants, and they are always busy during the season. You can wine and dine while watching the sun dipping into the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, many of those places have live music, some have romantic fire pits others have several tiki bars on premises. In such an environment it is pretty easy to make new friends - and new friends everybody can use from time to time. Restaurants in Englewood
The Englewood Farmer's Market
On Thursdays, during the winter months, there is a Farmers Market at Dearborn Street, the historic district of Englewood. Hundreds, sometimes thousands, of people come to the market to enjoy a pleasant shopping experience while chewing on tasty food samples and listening to live music. All this under an endless blue sky with lots of sunshine and shady trees. Life is good and it can't get any better. Come to the Farmer's Market and find out yourself.
What is the nightlife like in Englewood? Well, to be honest, no extravaganza but okay. Live music on the beach, waterfront dining, boating, fishing, beach, and fun in the sun. There is also an Event Center offering concerts and other entertainment events once in a while. So, it is really not too bad, but you can not compare Englewood's cultural activities with Sarasota's or Tampa's, let alone with Manhattan's or whatever.
Do you need more Entertainment?
If you want world-class entertainment, get in your car. You need to drive to Sarasota; it is only a 45-minute drive. Snowbirds, keep in mind: no ice and snow during the winter months. It is always a smooth ride!
Another option would be Fort Myers. That trip consumes about 1 1/2 hours of your lifespan. We don't know anything about the nightlife in Fort Myers, though, but something is probably happening there.
Parks and Recreation
Two Parks are in the Englewood area. Stump Pass Beach State Park at the southern tip of Manasota Key and Don Pedro State Park, which is split into two halves. One half sits on the mainland, about 5 miles south of Englewood. The other half, which is the prettier one in our opinion, is on Don Pedro Island.
Only the Don Pedro Park on the island has a beach, and that beach is only accessible by boat or ferry. However, that ship has a hefty price. Leave your car on the mainland and rent a boat or take your kayak if you want to go to the island park. However, you should go because you will be rewarded. It is plain beautiful there. You will feel like Robinson Crusoe without Friday - or bring your own Friday with you. But be advised that you will like this beach only if you want it quiet and remote. Otherwise, you might be better off going to Siesta's public beach where you can mingle with the crowd.
The Stump Pass Park has actually two beaches. If the waves are too high on the side facing the Gulf of Mexico, you can go swimming on the other side. That channel has never high waves. The current can be pretty intense, but if you do not swim far out that does not cause any problem at all.
There is a 1.3-mile long walkway from the parking lot all the way to the pass, and if you are looking for a little workout, this is a good start. Be prepared that in the summer time the sand can be scorching in some open spots.
Englewood has one dedicated exit when you come from I-75, and that one is called "River Road." That road has earned its name because when it is raining heavily the road becomes a river. Well, that is our interpretation. More likely the road got the name because it runs parallel to the river, the Myakka River.
6 Miles further south, River Road is crossing US-41. After another 4 miles River Road meats Winchester. Winchester Road is a relatively new road and leads to Englewood and the Cape Haze Peninsula, all the way down to Placida.
SR 776 is Englewood's backbone. The road comes from Venice, cuts Englewood in half and connects it further east with North Port, Port Charlotte, and Punta Gorda. The SCAT Bus system is also active in Englewood. Buses take passengers to the beach or all the way up to Venice and Sarasota.
Englewood Area Information
At first glance, Englewood appears to be a little like a beautiful pearl sitting in an “ugly” Oyster, waiting to be discovered. Ugly? Well, there are still some subdivisions that could use a little help. Unfortunately, not everybody who lives in a "non-deed" restricted area gets the idea that piling up stuff like old boats and old cars in the front yard do not add to the curb appeal. However, we are getting there. It sometimes takes time to convince people.
The "Old Florida" Charm
The residents who live in Englewood are friendly and laid back. Yes, they are. They all talk to each other and to "strangers" as well, no matter whether they meet for the first or hundredth time. When you stand in line at the grocery store, you speak with each other. OMG, how weird is that? They do not even know each other!
Dearborn Street represents “Old Englewood.” This is the place where it all began, and there are still old houses dating back to the time when Englewood was still in its infancy. Some homes around Dearborn are those tiny one bedroom/one bathroom, wooden houses, that were common in early 1900. Most of them are nicely remodeled and look still great.
Small stores, family-owned businesses, and friendly service providers are running the show in this little town on Florida’s Sun Coast, where often your word or a handshake will still be the “legal” signature under a "contract."
A Wind of Change is Blowing
Of course, a few “big guys,” like Home Depot, McDonald’s, and Walgreen's, managed to sneak in, however, that didn’t do any harm to that particular “Old Florida Feeling” so far. It "enriched" only the choices the customers have - if a flattened meatloaf in a bun, bathing in a greasy sauce, topped with a slice of cheese, is considered a "culinary enrichment." But beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there is no accounting for taste.
Parts of Beach Road look like “Old Englewood,” too. Especially, that little harbor on the right-hand side is one of those "historic" places. You need to look carefully, though, if you want to detect all those hidden treasures of the past, and slowly but surely, those places will disappear and make room for new improvements.
The Cape Haze Peninsular
Englewood sits on the northern border of the “Cape Haze Peninsular", which is about 30 miles long and surrounded by the Myakka River to the east, Charlotte Harbor to the south, and the Intracoastal Waterway/Lemon Bay to the west. Although surrounded by all that water, the peninsula does not have a single stretch of beach.
Only the barrier islands are providing the sand beaches everybody loves so much. There are no beaches on the peninsula itself; mangroves and homes are lined up along the coastline.
Lemon Bay is the big body of water separating Englewood and the barrier islands from each other. This Bay is an aquatic preserve, an underwater ecosystem of seagrass and oyster communities, surrounded by a thick mangrove “jungle.” The Bay is also an estuary, that means that it is a place where salt and fresh water mingle. Prime fishing is found in the Lemon Bay and Stump Pass. The latter is the name of the channel connecting the Bay with the Gulf of Mexico.
If there wasn't this natural channel, called Stump Pass, which is a little iffy to pass, boaters would have to go all the way to the Venice Jetty, or down to Gasparilla, if they wanted to get out in the Gulf. With a bigger powerboat or with a large sailboat, skippers have no choice. They better don't dare to go through Stump Pass. SeaTow charges quite a bit of money to get those stranded boats off the shoal again.
Englewood Farmers Market
The Englewood Farmer's Market, which takes place on Dearborn Street, is a big attraction during the winter months. Here you can buy fresh fish, fresh fruits, organic vegetable, freshly baked German bread, and if you want you can purchase “snake oil” and other "useful" stuff as well. Here you can talk to other people, listen to live music, eat food samples and enjoy the nice warm winter in Florida. Life is Good! Englewood Farmer's Market - a Success Story!
During the summer months, the snowbird population is enjoying their steamy summers up north again, and for the locals, the four beaches on Manasota Key are a stronger magnet. Those are the reasons why there is no Farmer’s Market from June through September. The vendors have no intention to compete with the Gulf of Mexico because that is a battle they would not win. Therefore, when summer arrives, they throw their hands up in the air and give in. They come back in October when the water gets colder and when the locals and the returning snowbirds are in shopping mode again. More Farmer's Markets in the area.
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Drop us a Line if you want to know more about Englewood or any other community. You may also call us at 941-460-8832.