A Place We Call Home: Siesta Key

Siesta Key and it's beach, named best in the country attracts some 350,000visitors a year. But to some 24,000 year round residents, its a place we call home.

Nancy Connelly has watched it grow. Her father opened the Crescent Beach grocery here in 1952 where it still stands today.

"There wasn't much out there then there were a few cottages, it was very slow."

David Patton, affectionately dubbed the "mayor" of Siesta Key arrived not long after.

"We moved from downtown Sarasota in 1958 moved into the Sandy Hook neighborhood."

It was a great place to grow up.

Siesta Key was virtually uninhabited until the early 1900s. Except for a few fishermen and their families. Aside from the beach it was just dense vegetation, thick swarms of mosquitoes and sand flies and snakes of all varieties. But a few tourists discovered it early on. Captain Roberts and his wife opened the first hotel on Siesta Key in 1906 and stars like Bette Davis, Charlton Heston, Dorothy Lamour and Betty Hutton stayed there.

The first bridge was built to Siesta Key in 1917 and the second in 1927. And siesta started to change.

"In the early 60s, starting tearing everything down."

Not a bad thing says Nancy.

"Its wonderful there is prosperity. People didn't use to have very much and life was much harder than it is today. Now people have much more, they are very comfortable even though we may have lost some of our tropical look, we do have greater prosperity."

Prosperity and very interesting residents. Many are very wealthy, but Nancy says you'd never know it.

"There is something about the key that makes everyone equal. You don't talk about things like that here, everyone is on an equal plane and you don't necessarily know who has money and who doesn't."

David says there's always something to do; the beach, kayaking canoeing, fishing and great night life.

"The music at night is amazing."

And a real feeling of community.

"I love this island. I love the people everybody pretty much takes care of each other."

"Everybody cares about each other here. We help each other any way we can."