As we have traveled through Florida we have come up on some wonderful historic downtown areas. We’ve visited Melbourne, Punta Gorda and Bartow to name a few. Located just off the Tamiami Trail south of Venice, the shopping area along Dearborn Street in Englewood is every bit as enchanting.

Also known as “Historic Olde Englewood Village,” it is a compendium of restaurants and small shops. The area makes for a nice stroll of an afternoon to see and enjoy all there is to offer.

Downtown Englewood is small but fascinating

The Shops

We started with the Sisters Unique Boutique where there was all manner of comfortable and casual clothing for boating or the beach. Then on to The Golden Mermaid Boutique with even more women’s clothing, jewelry, accessories.

Down the way there’s a great selection of classic, casual, colorful clothing at Basix on Dearborn and across the street is Ivy’s on Dearborn, a new lady’s boutique featuring brand names such as Oh My Gauze! Fresh Produce, Escapada, Zen Knits and also Vegan Leather shoes (which apparently are reversible).

Wait – There’s More

But Olde Englewood Village is a lot more than clothing stores. Scattered amongst the beauty salons, real estate, financial offices and other offerings – there were some truly unique spaces.

For instance, The Palm Studio & Boutique offers yoga, strength fitness and Pilates classes along with “an array of personal care & home products that enhance a beautiful life.” There’s the very aromatic Smoky Mountain Handmade Candles. They are a true, handmade candle maker that offers jar candles, coconut shell candles and can custom-make just about anything you’d like.

Down the way there were more unique stops such as Millie’s Trading Post and the Old Florida Outdoor Center & Gallery. At the Old Florida Outdoor Center, their idea is to “inspire and educate through art, history and adventure. Great pieces of Florida art coupled with some great front porch jam sessions.

The Dearborn Corner Market is a self-described “Convenience Store with a Fisherman’s Flair.” Located across the street from Buchan’s Landing Fishing Resort, the Dearborn Corner Market is a one-stop-shop for any and all fishing and boating needs. By the way – they are the only place for shrimp after 6pm in Englewood.

There’s a dozen or so shops inside this storefront

Perhaps one of the most intriguing shops was A Coastal Emporium. It was amazing how much they got into a relatively small space. There’s a dozen or more different merchants shoulder-to-shoulder in the shop. They range from Ms. Kitty – a healing medium with an array of crystals, stones and metaphysical supplies to Scott’s Coins who buys, sells and trades… well … coins.

There’s also Salty Starz – “Where primitive country meets the beach,” and Ariel’s Locker with hand-crafted shell art using treasures from the Gulf of Mexico.

Just across the street is The Arts Alliance of Lemon Bay. Described as an “Exhibit and Learning Center,” they feature as many as four dozen different artists at any given time.

The Arts Alliance features beautiful object d’art by local artisans.

There are photographs, oils, water colors and prints. In addition, they feature sculptures, carvings, jewelry and more. Because each piece is handmade, each is one of a kind.

Artists who rent a display area also must staff the store for a shift – meaning that the person behind the counter also can tell you about the artisan who made the piece you are going to purchase.

There are plenty of places to eat on Dearborn Street and each may be more unique than the last. We reviewed the Mango Bistro earlier and it truly is a must-see. However, don’t forget Vino Loco. They are a combination wine bar, tapas restaurant and retail wine & cheese shop. At any one time they have 350 varieties of wine from which to choose.

Let’s mention Joe Maxx Coffee Company. Billed as “The Best Cup in Town,” they feature a wide variety of specialty coffees, plus New York water poached bagels, Espresso, Latte’s, Cuppacino and Ohio chicken pot pies among other things.

Other eateries include Irving’s Coffee & Creamery. Run by locals and natives, they boast a great selection of coffees and teas as well as a selection of breakfast and lunch offerings. And there’s the Ole Time Cafe where there’s a great breakfast and lunch menu – plus their bread is homemade!

This is just some of what this quaint little town has to offer. We didn’t have the time or the appetite to try it all. But when you visit the Suncoast, a short trip south of Venice to Englewood and especially Dearborn Street certainly would be well worth your time.

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