Old Ponte Vedra Beach - Charming, Desirable, Upscale
When first moving to the area I wondered where is “Old Ponte Vedra Beach” that everyone keeps talking about and why do people want to live there? Its location is well known by the locals and visitors but it is not really identified on any “map” by that name. Nor are there any signs saying welcome to Old Ponte Vedra Beach. There is a condo subdivision by this name but it is no where near the true section of Old Ponte Vedra. Thankfully, there are two wonderful literary resources filled with the history and chronology of the development of the area. Those two resources are books entitled “The Beaches: A History and Tour” by Neil McGuinness (2010) and “Ponte Vedra Beach: A History” by Maurice J. Robinson (2008). In these books you will find a treasure trove of information with wonderful old photos and excerpts such as this one about all of Ponte Vedra Beach:
“From the boardrooms of Wall Street to the social registers of America, word spread quickly of the charming seaside retreat on Florida’s northeast shore. The first guests came from faraway places such as Princeton, New Jersey; Newport, Rhode Island; and Greenwich, Connecticut. Indeed, this quaint, seaside retreat attracted the upper classes from all over the Eastern and Midwestern states. They came for the sun, sand and surf. They came for the sports. They came to socialize. The finest families came to meet the finest families.” (pg. 105 , ROBINSON)
From a real estate perspective “Old Ponte Vedra” is defined as the area of Ponte Vedra Beach that blossomed from the first developed residential and destination resort location. While beach mining activity dates back to 1914 in Ponte Vedra, the oldest remaining houses in “Old Ponte Vedra” were built in 1930. Still existing today from 1930, according to the St Johns County Property Appraiser website, are 506 Ponte Vedra Blvd., 510 Ponte Vedra Blvd., 516 Ponte Vedra Blvd., and 2 Pablo Dr., Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, 32082 . By 1935, oceanfront property had prices ranging from $4,750 - $7,500 for lots and $5,100 to $7,300 for a completed home. The Telfair Stockton Company was the developer and sales representatives for oceanfront homes in Ponte Vedra. Ponte Vedra Club Realty can trace company’s roots to the original developer.
Additionally, twenty-eight homes remain from the early building dates in the 1930-1939’s within the 300 block to the 500 block of Ponte Vedra Boulevard. The 1940s - 1950’s also was a busy time for newer construction with 22 homes still remaining along the boulevard from that timeframe. Oceanfront homes have an odd number and homes on the west side of the boulevard have an even number. The oldest oceanfront home still existing are 313 and 529 Ponte Vedra Blvd. built in 1934. They are followed closely by 315,337,413, 415, 419, 505, 507, 513, 519, 525, 527,531, all built in 1935.
The streets typically included as part of Old Ponte Vedra are along Ponte Vedra Boulevard from the 500 block north of Corona Road the St. Johns County line, including the homes surrounding the waterfront lagoons of Ibis Cove and Lake Vedra and weaving through the Ocean Golf Course of the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club. The Old Ponte Vedra streets extend westward from the boulevard to include the western border of San Juan Drive, winding around through San Juan Circle, San Diego Road, Pablo Drive, Pablo Road, Pablo Terrace, and the northern border of Ponte Vedra Circle (c.1940’s, 50’s. 60’s) back eastward to Ponte Vedra Boulevard and south again to Solana Road.
Areas south of Solana Road between Solana and Corona Road are considered part of the “Old Ponte Vedra” area. Many of these home sites enjoy the beauty of the lake size lagoons from their back yards. These homes predominately date from late 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. They include street names of Le Master Drive, Maria Place, Rutile Drive, La Vista Circle, Lake Road, Lake Drive., La Vista Drive. Granada Terrace, and Poinciana Way and some sections of the northern border of Corona Road.
Today you will see continued growth and replacement of older homes in Old Ponte Vedra Beach just like other areas of the country. But why do people live want to live here? It is a non-gated, upmarket, family centered, low traffic, safe community enjoying manicured landscapes, beautiful unique and custom built homes, meandering streets perfect for lovely evening strolls. Most homes are within an easy walk or bike ride to the beach which has access to the beach between the mansions about every 300 feet. The private golf course, tennis, spa, and all of the various social and dining activities at the Inn& Club or Lodge&Club are also walkable. Neighbors may voluntarily participate in an active community association that organizes activities for all including an annual Christmas Tree lighting and the municipal service district(MSD) provides guidance on community standards and coordination with county government.
Doris Manukian, a local resident of Old Ponte Vedra Beach shared with me an article she wrote for The Beaches Leader/The Ponte Vedra Leader, November 17, 2006 . Doris eloquently expresses her attraction to living in Old Ponte Vedra Beach:
“From the moment we moved in, I looked out from my kitchen windows and fell in love. The lagoon, a reversed L-shape, with one part flowing east and the other south, was a mere 15 feet from our patio. The view was wonderful. Little did we know at the time what treasures Mother Nature had in store for us. First, the glorious sunrise, I never grow tired of watching the different colors of the sky surrounding the sun as it makes its early morning appearance…Early morning the lagoon comes alive with birds and other wildlife-cormorants, egrets, blue herons, pelicans, seagulls, ducks and turtles….. But the time we enjoy the most is in the evening when the full moon makes its monthly appearance, transforming the lagoons surface into a glossy mirror, showing a double image of the landscape. We sit on our terrace, a glass of wine in hand, and watch the moon’s journey above our home…Would I trade my backyard for one on the ocean? Never! I’m in love with my view and the wildlife gathering in and around “our” lagoon. …Besides, we also hear the roar of the sea and frequently go to the beach. We are grateful to have the best of both worlds that Ponte Vedra has to offer.”