If you came to visit me, Id take you straight to the beach, says Rhea Chiles, Floridas former first lady. For her and her late husband, Lawton known as Walkin Lawton for his gubernatorial campaign walk from Pensacola to Key West Anna Maria was a haven from political life. This place transcends thought and words, Chiles says of the island, 3 miles long by a quarter-mile wide (www.annamariaislandchamber.org). Its still one wide, noncommercialized beach. Go to the Sandbar Restaurant, order the wasabi-encrusted salmon, and wiggle your feet in the sand. Chiless Studio at Gulf and Pine serves as artistic and intellectual salon (www.studioatgulfandpine.com). We have one small thread of a bridge leading to mainland Sarasota, she says, but visitors seldom take it. They come for the beach experience. Its a feeling theres no place youd rather be.