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THE FIRST COAST

PONTE VEDRA BEACH & SAWGRASS, FLORIDA - Sophisticated Beach Living

  The rich history of the area and its pristine natural resources helped shape Ponte Vedra Beach.  Years of conflict between Timucuan Indians, the Spanish, the French and the English persisted until around 1821, when Spain sold Florida to the United states, and it became a territory.  Nearly 100 years later, in 1914, two young chemical engineers, Henry Holland Buckman and George A. Pritchard, discovered that Ponte Vedra's beaches contained industrial minerals, including components necessary for the production of titanium and zirconium.  The National Lead Co. bought out the partners in 1916.

The mining settlement, named Mineral City, played a crucial role in World War I, as titanium was a key component in the manufacture of poisonous gas.  In 1928, the National lead Company rechristened Mineral City in honor of what was believed to be the birthplace of Christopher Columbus - Ponte Vedra Spain.  City founders later learned that Columbus was actually born in Genoa, Italy.

The name Ponte Vedra stuck and today has come to symbolize sophisticated beach-style living.  Modern-day Ponte Vedra Beach began to take shape when the National Lead Company built a 9-hole golf course for its employees along with a log clubhouse and polo field in 1922.  In 1928, the complex became the world famous Ponte Vedra Inn & Club.

With the post-war mineral market gone and production at a standstill, National Lead used its clubhouse and golf course as the base from which to launch a resort community.  Road construction in the 1940's through the 1960's brought further development and in 1972, developer James Stockton Jr. broke ground on the 1,100-acre development known as Sawgrass.

Today, Sawgrass is home to The Players Championship golf tournament and is world headquarters for the PGA Tour, thanks to a now-legendary 1978 deal in which developers Jerome and Paul Fletcher sold PGA Tour Commissioner Deane Beman 415 densely wooded acres for one dollar.

Ponte Vedra Beach and the St. Johns County school system is amongst the best in the state of Florida and they have received both State and national honors. Nease High School's quarterback Tim Tebow recently went on to The University of Florida and became the Heisman Trophy winner in 2007.

Although synonymous with luxury, Ponte Vedra Beach does have affordable housing away from the ocean.  Those elaborate waterfront mansions, however can set you back millions!

ST. AUGUSTINE - History, history and more history

The oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States still gives residents a taste of small-town charm more than 400 years after its founding.  St. Augustine, 35 miles south of Jacksonville beside Matanzas Bay, was established by Spanish Admiral Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles on September 8, 1565.  The city is the center of the action in St. Johns County.

St. Augustine is the host of over 40 annual events, many revolving around the city's historic role.  The Fort Castillo de San Marcos, built between 1672 and 1695 by the Spanish, dominated the city's tableau.  It's massive gates draw tourists and longtime residents to explore the city's past.  More than 85 historic sites lie within the city's confines.

Numerous museums detail an aspect of the city's development, while archeological digs proceed throughout the year, unearthing further information on  St. Augustine's heritage.  Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and Potter's Wax Museum are among the other popular attractions.

With an average temperature of 70 degrees and mild winters, St. Augustine allows for year-round recreation.  Boating, swimming and surfing take a high priority in leisure activities as does golf, with 10 championship golf courses, including those at The World Golf Village which is also home to The World Golf Hall Of Fame. 

St. Augustine is a shopping experience with more than 35 antique shops, 25 art galleries and an abundance of specialty shops, many located on the brick-lined streets of the city's historic district.  Two outlet malls off Interstate 95 - one an outside center, the other indoor - are visited by locals and by visitors on the way to Disney World and points south.

The city is also known for its fine eateries.  More than 100 restaurants, some ranked among the highest in the state, offer everything from authentic French cuisine to eclectic new world fusion cooking.

The high quality of area schools is a key element in attracting potential home buyers.  Students in grades 9 through 12 attend St. Augustine High School.  Higher education is provided by Flagler College, a private four-year liberal arts school  in St. Johns County.  Many of the city's churches, some of the oldest in the country, have histories dating back hundreds of years.

The average home value for the area is approximately $320,099.  Golf course communities, oceanfront homes, Intracoastal Waterway spreads, marsh-front properties and homes in the city's historic district command top dollar.  Palencia, a 1,450-acre master-planned golf course community, is under development north of St. Augustine and will have 2,642 residential units and 900,000 square feet of retail and office space when completed.

VILANO BEACH - Rising Interest

Residents in the sleepy seaside community of Vilano Beach have seen many changes in the past few years that indicate their quiet, secluded neighborhood is evolving. The main catalysts to this revitalization are the new Usina Bridge connecting Vilano Beach to the mainland and the upscale Serenata Beach Club development on State Road A1A which is an oceanfront club with dining, fitness & 2 swimming pools and a waterfall into the lower pool and a splash area for toddlers.  One thing is for certain; interest is growing and housing and lot prices are rising in response.

Vilano Beach is a peninsula bordered by south Ponte Vedra Beach to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, St. Augustine Inlet to the south and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west.  Construction of the Usina Bridge spurred the area's revitalization as it replaced an undependable drawbridge that deterred people from buying homes in Vilano Beach.  Plans are currently under way for a town center including a Publix Supermarket and the vision is for a boutique style shopping area.

WORLD GOLF VILLAGE - Living with the legends

When Jim Davidson, president/CEO of Davidson Development, learned of tentative plans to build a golf hall of fame 10 miles north of his property, he began to re-think his plan to build a self-contained resort community. He had a proposal for golf's officials; take the Hall of Fame concept, combine it with the future of the sport and the technology of the industry, then build into it a sense of place that would celebrate that concept.  That sense of place would incorporate the roots of the game in Scotland and the architectural details of the St. Augustine area in which it would be located. 

Bermuda grass was planted to the roadbed of the winding entrance, bordered on either side by the greens and fairways of The Slammer and Squire course, designed by golf giants Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen. Street signs became monuments of stone, reminiscent of the ancient stonework of St. Augustine.  More than 4,000 trees were planted.  The Arnold Palmer-Jack Nicklaus, King and Bear golf course was also completed. This is the only golf course that Nicklaus and Palmer have ever designed together. 

The Hall of Fame with its historical artifacts and interactive displays, an IMAX theater, cafes and boutiques, hotel and Renaissance resort soon followed and World Golf Village opened in May 1998.  Residents of various neighborhoods who would make it truly a village began moving in, starting with the Davidson family.

A 6,300-acre community with more than 44 percent of those acres being set aside as preserves, World Golf Village is at one with nature, while offering all the necessities of a self-contained town.  Pools, parks and picnic tables, tennis courts, soccer fields and basketball courts, volleyball, baseball and playground equipment and a range of varied dining opportunities assure residents that they could live well without ever leaving the village.

The town schools, Mill Creek Elementary, Switzerland Point Middle and Bartram Trail High belong to the acclaimed county system.

EVENTS & FESTIVALS

Northeast Florida and the beaches offer a tremendous lifestyle at an affordable price. There is always something to do. Whether you like to play golf, tennis, boat or fish it is all right in your own backyard. There are also numerous festivals ranging from Blues, Jazz, Shrimp and Art Festivals throughout the year. For the sports enthusiasts there is plenty to do. Jacksonville is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the NFL. The Jacksonville Suns baseball team & The Lizard Kings Hockey team. The Florida vs. Georgia College game is played here in the fall right around Halloween. The Gator Bowl is also played in Jacksonville on New Years Day. Recently Jacksonville hosted The Super Bowl. In addition, in the summer The Greater Jacksonville Kingfish & St. Augustine's Kingbuster tournaments are among the biggest fishing tournaments in the country.

Many people have come to visit and then relocated here because they fell in love with the area and everything it has to offer. Come see for yourself why Ponte Vedra Beach and Northeast Florida is rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing areas in Florida.

 

 


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