NEIGHBORHOODS: Snell Isle

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Waterfront views and historic charm are the essence of living in this upscale enclave 

Photography by Kathleen M. Finnerty
Story by Marcia Biggs

Snell Isle, just minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown in northeast St. Petersburg, is an oasis of tranquility and beauty.  Along the winding main thoroughfare, Snell Isle Boulevard, one finds lush, tropical foliage amid perfectly manicured lawns, tree-lined streets and stately residences both old and new.  

Patrick and Gloria Bauer decided Snell Isle was where they wanted to establish a residence when they left Illinois in March 2015. Their spacious 4,265-square-foot waterfront home offers everything the couple wanted in a St. Petersburg residence – a breezy Florida feel, plenty of space for outdoor entertaining and quick proximity to downtown.

 Built in 1986, the four-bed five-bath home features leaded glass French doors from the kitchen and dining area, opening onto the waterfront terrace to maximize views and accessibility. Perfect for the outdoor lifestyle is the travertine patio with infinity-edge heated saltwater pool, dining area with plenty of seating and a built-in grill, and double-sided fireplace. The Bauers recently renovated the home with the help of Floor Coverings International, adding walnut flooring throughout and upgrading the bathrooms, including deep soaking tubs.

LOVING SNELL ISLE

The island was the perfect choice for the active couple, who enjoy outdoor activities including bicycling and boating. Patrick, CEO of Heartland Dental, golfs at nearby Vinoy Renaissance Country Club while Gloria enjoys daily walks. “We chose Snell Isle because it’s on the Bay and close to everything downtown,” says Gloria. Their favorite places include The Mill for dining and “having drinks on the front porch of the Vinoy,” said Gloria. “It’s so relaxing and such a beautiful view.”

When guests come to visit, she whisks them downtown for Saturday Morning Market or a festival on the waterfront, she adds. When it comes to dining, “we like to go anywhere along Beach Drive or the Sundial restaurants.”  

One unexpected bonus of living on Snell Isle – the wildlife.  “We didn’t realize when we chose to live here that dolphins were literally in our back yard,” Gloria said. “We love looking out and seeing them.”

SNELL ISLE HISTORY

Now one of St. Petersburg’s most upscale and desirable neighborhoods, Snell Isle was once nothing more than a low-lying mangrove swamp. When C. Perry Snell, a Kentucky pharmacist, came to visit the area in 1899, he envisioned a residential waterfront enclave and invested in the property of what is now Coffee Pot Bayou and Snell Island. In 1911, he began developing Snell Island.

In 1926, Snell opened what is now the 18-hole Vinoy Renaissance Resort Golf Club on Snell Isle.  A few years later in 1928, he gifted land to the St. Petersburg Woman’s Club  which still stands today on Coffee Pot Bayou and is on  the U.S. Register of National Historic Places.

Snell Isle is completely residential, with several apartment communities, two schools, and two churches.   Many original homes from the 1920s still exist today, with charming European and Spanish architecture. More than 80 percent of homes on Snell Isle enjoy waterfront views, some of the Bay and others on interconnected waterways.