Developer Isaac Trabue had Punta Gorda platted in 1885 as a typical Florida town to serve winter visitors, agriculture and fishing at the mouth of the Peace River. For a brief period until the railroad moved further south, it was the leading phosphate shipping point in the world.
Fishermen’s Village opened in 1980 on the site of the 1928 Maud Street City Dock. Two fishing companies built the dock out into the wide Peace River mouth emptying into Charlotte Harbor and Gasparilla Sound. Today, the dock is a shopping, dining and resort complex.
A marina has slips for over a hundred vessels up to sixty feet long. The pier has two levels with over thirty shops and restaurants on the first level and time-share apartments on the second. Boat and kayak rentals and guided tours are offered as well as occasional free concerts.
We enjoy waterside dining, sunsets, and just browsing among the shops with their very aquatic Florida feel.
During the holiday season last year, we were amused at a Christmas tree decorated with flip-flops, so we went back to see what they had done this year. No flip-flops were seen but it was a fun display of lights and decorations well worth a visit.
PS: San Francisco has more to offer than Punta Gorda, but Fishermen’s Village was more fun than Fisherman’s Wharf.