The Inspiring Tale of Bunga Barton: A Legacy That Lives on in Sandbridge

Bunga Barton sitting in front of her three grandsons in Sandbridge Virginia

In the heart of every community, there are stories that define its spirit, stories that resonate through generations, bringing warmth and inspiration. We’re honored to share the remarkable story of Margaret Alden Hartigan, affectionately known as Bunga Barton (or “B. Barton” as she signed her artwork), a name synonymous with resilience, artistry, and the serene beauty of Sandbridge.

Born in 1913 in Annapolis, Maryland, Bunga's early years were filled with adventure and travel, from the vibrant streets of Brazil, where she earned her charming nickname, to the historic landscapes of China. It was there she met her husband, and together they embarked on a journey that, though marked by unforeseen tragedy, would eventually lead her to Sandbridge Beach in Virginia, a place she would come to call home.

The loss of her husband in 1940 and the ensuing challenges of single motherhood during WWII saw Bunga returning to the United States. It was during these years that the seeds of resilience and a deep love for family were sown. These qualities later became hallmarks of her life in Sandbridge.

Discovering the beauty of Sandbridge in the 1950s, alongside her brother and his family, marked the beginning of a new chapter for Bunga. Drawn by the unspoiled beauty and tight-knit community of Sandbridge, the Bartons decided to purchase a small cottage. This cottage would eventually become a beloved family vacation retreat for decades.

In the mid-80s, Bunga decided to move to Sandbridge Beach permanently. She bought a bay-front house on Teal Crescent and fully embraced being a full-time resident. She became part of the community, using her artistic talents to contribute to the Sandbridge Community Civic League Newsletter. Her distinctive drawings were known for how they captured the essence of Sandbridge living. Her artwork, evocative of the beautiful homes and vibrant community life, not only adorned newsletters but also found its way onto coffee cups, plates, and sweatshirts, becoming treasured mementos.

Recently, we celebrated Bunga Barton's legacy by featuring her artwork on a postcard and across our Facebook and Instagram social media platforms. This gesture was more than a tribute; it was a reminder of the enduring spirit of community and creativity that Bunga embodied. Her life story, marked by resilience, love, and a deep connection to Sandbridge, continues to inspire us all.

As we reflect on Bunga's story, we're reminded of the unique charm and warmth that makes Sandbridge not just a vacation destination, but a home. It's a place where stories like Bunga's come to life, where community and creativity flourish.

We invite you to experience the beauty and camaraderie of Sandbridge and create your own stories in this special place. Whether you're seeking inspiration, a sense of community, or a peaceful place to retreat by the ocean, Sandbridge Life welcomes you. You can book your next vacation, inquire about our vacation property management services, or talk to one of our realty agents about purchasing your own slice of the beach

Come home to Sandbridge, where every visit is a chapter in a story waiting to be told.