A long time coming

Historic Island house saved
David and Helen Morris have renovated the 1927 Sea Grape Cottage in Bradenton Beach. - Cindy Lane | Sun

Back in the dark ages of flower power and love beads, everyone in Manatee County knew these three things about Anna Maria Island.

Anna Maria was the rich end of the Island.

Holmes Beach was the residential, kids and dogs heart of the Island.

Bradenton Beach was the Island’s seamy underbelly, with our beloved Gregg Allman (God rest his soul) and everyone else and their brothers and sisters doing drugs funneled through Cortez.

But now it’s 2022.

The cheapest shack in Bradenton Beach is in the six digits. It ain’t seamy no more.

There are not nearly as many dogs and kids in Holmes Beach.

And Anna Maria is still rich, but so is the rest of the Island.

People in most of the rest of the world would look at us and marvel at the stocked shelves in Publix – even with pandemic shortages – the restaurant prices, the Bentleys, the yachts at Galati Marine, the $16 million house on the beach, the sheer wealth that is now AMI.

It’s not that we’re ungrateful to the tourists who have made our local businesses and real estate market thrive. Not at all.

But when it becomes front-page news that a 1927 cottage in Bradenton Beach has been saved instead of being replaced with a three-story vacation rental, it just makes us a little melancholy.

It’s been a long time coming, but the change has come.