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Neighborhood in sarasota, FL

Laurel Park

Wanting a classic Sarasota neighborhood? That would undoubtedly be Laurel Park, located between South Orange and Osprey avenues. It’s evolved from a dilapidated and slightly raffish neighborhood of rednecks and old eccentrics into the enclave it always had the potential to be—a smaller version of Key West, with its unique architecture and tropical alleyways—over the years.  Laurel Park is a National Register of Historic Places District and one of Sarasota’s oldest neighborhoods, with ancient historic homes nestled amid towering mature trees and Spanish moss on beautiful, old-style brick roadways. While numerous other Sarasota neighborhoods have become gentrified arts or commercial areas, Laurel Park has remained mostly residential, welcoming families, seniors, artists, and professionals while maintaining its village-style charm in the heart of lively downtown Sarasota. The new houses are beautiful and pricey (ranging from $600,000 to $2 million), but the nicest aspect about them is how well they mix in with the existing structures. Laurel Park is filled with 1920s houses, but it also contains some 1970s apartment buildings—in their defense, they’re starting to look quaint—and several Cracker houses that haven’t seen the remodeler’s tool. These characteristics, however, just contribute to the bohemian appeal. Towles Court, a neighboring artists’ enclave with brightly painted Florida Cracker-style cottages hosting galleries and coffeehouses, adds to the attractiveness. Art-loving visitors go to a monthly gallery stroll. You’ll enjoy Laurel Park if you enjoy Greenwich Village. In 2008, the National Register of Historic Places added the Laurel Park Historic District to its list. The district has 314 buildings, 251 of which contribute to the historic character, and encompasses all or portions of six historic subdivisions, totaling around 50 acres. The bulk of the structures in the area are made of wood, but there are a few masonry specimens as well, and both methods of construction illustrate aesthetic tendencies from the first half of the twentieth century. Frame vernacular, Masonry vernacular, Bungalow, Mission Revival, Colonial Revival, and Mediterranean Revival are among the styles. The district has a small number of high-end structures. The contributing structures were built between 1920 and 1957, and range in height from one to two floors, with strong structural integrity. The district’s three contributing residences were built in the first decade of the twentieth century and transferred into the area c. 1937. Sarasota’s fascinating art districts, Burns Square and Towles Court, and their many galleries, studios, and boutiques, are literally within walking distance of Laurel Park; world-class shopping, casual and fine dining, and vibrant nightly entertainment are only 5 blocks north in the Main Street Merchants District; Sarasota’s spectacular waterfront and Sarasota Bay are only 5 blocks west of Laurel Park; and the acclaimed Sarasota Farmers Market takes place every Saturday.

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