January 24, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

To the Editor:
The recent articles in the Boca Beacon about the Promenade and this week, the comparison of it to the iconic Sconset Bluff walk in Nantucket got my attention. I have only been a homeowner for 20 years on Boca Grande and have never walked the Promenade, and until recently I did not even know about it or understand the importance of it to so many generations.
I also lament the disappearance of the tables and chairs in front of the Bakery and the absence of benches at the Pink Pony. I have seen the occasional golf cart in front of the bakery with people sipping coffee and enjoying a morning bun with friends. I have also seen some who bring their beach chairs, and in some cases, a table and hang out. At the Pink Pony, people sit on the side tables.
This is a unique barrier island. It is unlike what has happened to the rest of the west coast of Florida. That is why we have chosen to come here and enjoy the small town atmosphere and wonderful people who make up this community. We love the “Olde Florida” feeling, we know and support the local shopowners, we are grateful for Hudsons and the wonderful Barnichol and the restaurants. We have smiles on our faces, and we greet people, even those we might not know, with a smile and a hello. We care.
Nantucket is much larger than this island, and I have lived there for 30 years. It was much more like Boca Grande even as recently as 30 years ago. But much has changed, and not all for the better. Many “new” buyers perhaps stay only a few weeks, because they have many other homes around the world. They have not become “invested” in the beauty of what makes Nantucket special. The natural moors, the migrating birds, the spectacular fishing, the changing winds and weather patterns, the special sunsets. Sounds like Boca Grande, right? They are similar. The Sconset Bluff walk is a well-used path. It is well marked; landowners, renters, visitors all know about it – and walk it every day and night on a regular basis. Those homeowners know they will see lots of people walk in front of their homes. And life goes on, with a peaceful respect. Yes, as Allen Reinhard indicates, there is an occasional obstruction or objection, but it is taken care of, as he is committed to helping homeowners to take a common-sense approach.
This makes total sense. So this morning I walked the path for the first time. Starting at 4th street, I realized I’d better walk the beach at this point. Soon I was able to get up on the high wall and walked the entire way, skirting the two stone barriers. And for sure you could walk the beach instead of the Promenade, but I could see the allure of the path. I could imagine sitting there for the sunset, or early in the morning with a cup of coffee, or by moonlight. I imagine that Louise Crowninshield must have walked there.
Monuments like the pink gas pump must stay. Benches and tables and chairs must come back on the sidewalks for friendly gatherings. The Promenade must also be kept open. And we must do what we can to preserve the signifigant structures and traditions that make up the character of this very special place.
I quote Ruth Ginsburg, not as a political statement but because it is appropriate.
“Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
Do you care?
Boots Tolsdorf
Nantucket, Mass.
Boca Grande