Historic Gracewood Lane home up for sale

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY – Though it has been updated and upgraded, Susan Hopkins says it’s time to let go of the beachfront home where she spent much of her youth.

Hopkins, daughter of Indian River County citrus pioneer Dan K. Richardson, said her grandmother first built the home in 1955 on a dirt road that is now developed and known as Gracewood Lane.  

The beachside cottage was originally used in part by Hopkins’ grandmother for entertaining friends for bridge when she wanted to get away from her mainland estate on 28th Avenue.

“My grandmother built the house years ago when she came from Pittsburgh and she lived out west of town,” she said. “She built this as a beach house and a fun getaway. My uncle designed it and my father helped make it happen. It was a family effort.”

The three-bedroom home, sitting on 1.91 acres, has been upgraded and improved, and is now a five-bedroom, two-story guesthouse with picture windows that offer views of the Atlantic Ocean.

However, this home with all its charm is not the main house on the lot. And therein presents the challenge for selling the property.

The Hopkins couldn’t bring themselves to tear down the cottage and instead built their 4,000-square-foot, three bedroom, three and-a-half bath, three-car garage home behind the original building, which they turned into a guest cottage.

“We decided to build the main house behind the cottage, and when we wanted to see the ocean, we would just come over,” Susan Hopkins said. “From the bedroom and living room at the back (of the main) house, there is a nice view of the ocean. That was just a choice we made and we never regretted it.”

Susan and her husband, Carter, bought the property that is now Gracewood Lane from Susan’s family in the 1990s.

They then created a unique 14-home development that features large lots and a cozy get-away-from-it-all ambience that stretches from A1A all the way to the ocean. Their estate sits on a cul-de-sac at the end of the single-lane development.

“The vision was to establish one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Vero Beach,” said Realtor Sally Woods. “Gracewood Lane is unique with its low density and oversized lots, which allows for a serene natural setting and private access to the ocean.”

The Hopkins realize for a sale of the property, which is listed at $2.995 million, to take place, the ideal buyer would need to be someone with a sense of local history or a willingness to utilize the residences’ unique layout. Sally Woods of Dale Sorensen Real Estate is the listing agent for the property located at 1580 Gracewood Lane.

“We took this off the market about a year ago and were just going to stay and enjoy it, which we have, but it just seems too much for us not being here more than we are,” Susan Hopkins said.

Though the Hopkins, who have quietly maintained a family tradition of philanthropy, say they will always have an Indian River County connection, their family, namely their kids and grandkids, and even some nieces, have started drifting to Georgia and South Carolina.

“It is hard, it is very emotional, but we feel like it is a time in our lives that we are spending more and more time out of the area with our children and grandchildren, and we don’t see that changing,” she said.

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