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For the discerning few....

Secluded behind a high white wall on State Road 776 in Englewood, just south of Venice, is a community where order, loveliness and quiet have been fashioned into a lifestyle by George Rae Thompson, a soft-spoken, third-generation Florida native.

This special community, Englewood Golf and Country Club, is the culmination of Thompson's lifework as a developer of luxury communities in Florida. Acquired 20 years ago by Thompson, Englewood Golf and Country Club offers single-family homes, courtyard patio homes and a championship golf course on 800 of Florida's most beautiful acres. It stands as one of Thompson's proudest achievements.

"Once or twice during a lifetime, a man is given the opportunity to create a special place," says Thompson. "As a developer of Culbreath Bayou and Culbreath Isles in Tampa, I appreciated the chance to create another such oasis for gracious living in south Sarasota County. Here we have beauty, privacy and fine recreational facilities."

Englewood Golf and Country Club is an oasis. Removed from, but easily accessible to the pleasures of Sarasota's art, opera, ballet and theater scenes, the entire community is centered around a very secure and private environment. The clubhouse and country club are located close to the entrance, with the residences separated from public areas by a gated entryway. The grounds, created by a renowned Florida landscape architect, are lush and tropical, adding to that get-away-from-it-all feeling.

Classic architecture and the traditions of family

The emphasis on seclusion and beauty of form is repeated in the classic Georgian architecture of the community. George Thompson, and his son, Andrew, have devoted their lives to creating fine homes, and they travel continuously to gather new ideas for construction. Each plan originates in their offices, and the resulting sketches are then worked into final drawings with guidance and criticism from the prestigious Tampa interior design firm of Dean, Redman & Parks.

Thompson, a graduate of the School of Architecture at the University of Florida (Structural Division), meticulously oversees all phases of construction. Because father and son build only 15 homes a year, they use the best construction methods and top-quality materials. And since they, too, live within the gates of this exceptional community, they take special pride in making each home an asset to the Englewood Golf and Country Club lifestyle.

One of their model residences is the Antigua. Designed with symmetry of form and warmth, it boasts a wealth of exquisite details -- leaded and beveled glass, columns, arched windows, Bermuda shutters and brass hardware. The Antigua has more than 3,100 square feet of living area, including such special features as a gallery hall with four majestic columns that runs the width of the house. The Antigua also offers formal living and dining rooms; a family room; spacious kitchen; three full baths; and three bedrooms, one of which may serve as a study. An oversized garage with a side entrance has space for two cars and a golf cart; the master suite features extra-large closets; and a custom-designed pool add to the home's special appeal.

The St. Andrew is the developer's answer to the increasing popularity of zero-lot-line placement. Called a courtyard patio home, the St. Andrew affords the owner easier landscape maintenance. Its quarter-acre lot size has one side wall placed on the lot line, providing a feeling of seclusion. The courtyard garden area on the home's opposite side is defined by a privacy wall and a decorative wrought iron gate. With more than 3,500 square feet under roof, this open home features three bedrooms, three baths, dining room, kitchen and a great room with a double fireplace and tray ceiling. The master suite's glass sliders and picture window bring the pool and lovely grounds indoors.

The interior of both homes is traditional, accented by vibrant Florida color schemes. Michaele Vollbracht of Vollbracht Design Associates, was the interior designer. Based in Safety Harbor, Florida, Vollbracht was a portrait painter and prominent in the fashion design world before turning to interior design, and his design concepts always have that artistic flair.

The Club

But this inviting community is much more than a place to live; it's a place to be active, enjoy the outdoors, golf, dine and meet friends. The challenging par 72 golf course, with driving range and putting green, satisfies serious and recreational golfers alike. And true to the family tradition throughout this community, the pro shop and professional staff are managed by George Thompson's other son, George Jr. Englewood Golf and County Club homeowners are not required to join the Club. Residents may apply for membership. There is no entrance fee.

The clubhouse decor, with its two heirloom grandfather clocks handcarved in Hawaii, was inspired by George Thompson's ancestry. Thompson's great grandfather was a missionary to the Hawaiian Islands (James Michener wrote about him in "Hawaii"); other relatives became instrumental in the pineapple trade, founding Castle and Cook which later established the Dole Pineapple Company. That heritage, and the fact that the pineapple is a traditional mark of hospitality, is why many of the ornamental details in the clubhouse represent pineapples and other fruit.

Clubhouse activities range from bridge to aerobics to a travel club. The Fairway Dining Room, open from October to June, is run by Jean Paul Repond, formerly of the Jockey Club in New York. For casual dining or a refreshing drink after a round of golf head, to the 19th Hole; for special occasions, enjoy the elegant marble-floored Palm Court Ballroom.

Explore this wonderful community

The warmth and friendliness of this well-planned community, along with all its components -- great golf, security, architectural charm and affordability -- are what George Thompson and his family invite you to experience. For more information, contact Englewood Golf and Country Club at (813) 474-5525 or (800) 348-4554, located three miles north of Englewood on State Road 776.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Clubhouse Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sarasota's Finest Homes: Englewood Golf and Country Club; elegant housing at Englewood Golf and Country Club community
Publication:Sarasota Magazine
Date:Feb 1, 1993
Previous Article:The community.
Next Article:Elaine Dodd: selling the best of Sarasota.

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