on December 4, 2013
In a region famously abundant with first-rate cultural experiences, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens always makes sure that children are never left out of the equation. For nearly 40 years, Selby Gardens has provided a fascinating, family-friendly destination in which to develop an understanding and appreciation of plant life while opening young eyes to the vital importance of preserving our fragile environment.
To further underscore its commitment to children and the environment, Selby Gardens has just premiered its much-anticipated Ann Goldstein Children’s Rainforest Garden. A faithful rendition of a tropical rainforest, the garden provides an authentic setting in which children can cultivate an early appreciation for the living world through creative play and interactive discovery. (more…)
on November 27, 2013
If you are already starting to hear your share of Christmas Carols this season, the Bradenton Blues Festival promises to be a jazzy not-to-be-missed alternative. Providing downtown Bradenton with a weekend of exciting live music, this annual festival will be held December 6th – 8th.
The inaugural Blues Festival kicked off last year where more than twice the expected turn out of celebrants enjoyed a lineup of first rate blues artists, good food, and a lively downtown setting. This year, eight blues acts and expanded programming is expected to make the event even better.
Coming on the heels of some impressive downtown enhancements, from Riverwalk’s grand opening in 2012 to the November 2013 opening of the Hampton Inn in the historic Pink Palace, Bradenton is already experiencing enriched growth and community engagement (read this blog to learn more: Becoming Bradenton: Culture, Community, and a Sense of Place ).
Headlining the December festival are national blues stars Eddie Shaw & the Wolfgang, Johnny Rawls and Shemekia Copeland. The impressive lineup can be enjoyed on December 7th. (more…)
on November 21, 2013
Turkey, stuffing, football, family, and being grateful – Thanksgiving is nearly here! If it feels like the last year has flown by, then chances are you may enjoy getting out of the house this Thanksgiving. Imagine not having to stress over shopping, cooking, cleaning, and making sure you have enough chairs! Fortunately, there are a number of local restaurants from Punta Gorda to Bradenton that are happy to do all the work for you. Below is a list of some of the top area Thanksgiving dinner destinations along the Gulf Coast – don’t forget to make your dinner reservations for Nov 28th!
Louie’s Modern, Sarasota
Check out the offerings at one of downtown Sarasota’s hippest restaurants, Louie’s Modern. The “Thanksgiving Farm Table to Fork Dinner” is $30 per person and includes a slow roasted turkey from Ashley Farms. The regular dinner menu will also be available for those who may be coming from another Thanksgiving feast.
Polo Grill and Bar, Lakewood Ranch
Within Lakewood Ranch, the Polo Grill and Bar will be serving a Thanksgiving Day Buffet from noon to 5:00pm. You can help yourself to as much of the artisanal cheese display or the sensational sausage stuffing as you please. Reservations are required. $37.50 per person / $17.50 children under 14 / under 2 are free. (more…)
on November 21, 2013
Boca Grande is like a Floridian Brigadoon. It is as enchanting as it is distinctive, as untouched by time as it is by snow. And from my first visit to the island to every excursion that has followed, I’ve never been to a place that is more transformative.
This island is more like a mind-set than a destination. It’s as if the Boca Grande experience is the embodiment of those signs you see decorating vacation homes: “Gone fishing” or “Fuhgeddaboudit” or “On beach time.” (more…)
on November 19, 2013
REGIONAL SNAPSHOT FOR September 2013
Although property sales throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties in September declined by nearly 15% from August, they rose by 10% compared with last September. The decline is thought to be mainly the result of dwindling inventories that have pushed home prices higher, pared down the number of well-priced buying opportunities; and thus slowed the pace of purchasing—particularly by the larger institutional investors.
Pending sales, on the other hand, were up nearly 16% over last September, which portends improvement in closed sales as our market approaches its traditional high selling season.
“As September is traditionally a quiet period for most of our region’s economic sectors, it is not uncommon for real estate sales to soften this time of year,” says Michael Saunders, founder and CEO of Michael Saunders & Company. “Additionally, with prices on the rise and inventories low, the large institutional investors—who helped jump-start our market to begin with—are becoming less of a presence in the market. This is enabling more purchases by buyers who plan to occupy the homes, a sure sign that our market is edging closer to normal.”
To continue reading the Market Trend report for September, please click on the image below:
on November 13, 2013
When art collectors acquire great works, they can usually be counted on to exhibit their newest acquisitions in areas within the home that provide the most prominence for all to see and appreciate. This is often over a mantelpiece, inside a home’s main entry; or in a dedicated gallery space or sculpture garden.
This is precisely what Sarasota’s Season of Sculpture has been doing now for the past 14 years. Every two years, Season of Sculpture mounts a major exhibition of several large-scale sculptures created by artists of international, national and local stature. Once assembled, these works are thoughtfully placed on what is perhaps the most visible and cherished piece of real estate in all of Sarasota—its downtown bayfront. Thus in a single bold statement for all to see, the city reaffirms its longstanding passion for the visual and performing arts that has also proven to be an enormous boon for the region’s economy and overall quality of life.
This week Season of Sculpture premiered Season VII, its latest installation of 18 works by eight artists—a collection that has transformed the bayfront into a spectacular al fresco sculpture exhibit extending from Gulfstream Avenue to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. (more…)
on November 11, 2013
In the six years since its first colorful introduction, The Sarasota Chalk Festival has become one of downtown’s most popular cultural events. Inspired by the vibrant art work that graced the pavements of Italy in the sixteenth century, the festival celebrates all forms of street and performance art, from an incredible 500 artists.
The 2013 Chalk Festival runs for six days from November 13-18th, with the main events taking place between the 15th and 18th. The exciting celebrations include live music, drama, dance, Acrobatics and of course, stunning pieces of art created using pastel chalk. This year’s theme is ‘Legacy of Valor: honoring veterans, inspiring patriotism and embracing freedom’, in tribute to those who sacrifice so much to make our freedom possible. (more…)
on November 5, 2013
Photo courtesy – thevenicesymphony.org
Through the generosity of our agents and staff, the MSC Foundation provides essential assistance to many deserving organizations on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The important work of these charities makes such a difference to so many lives, in turn enriching the vibrant fabric of our community.
Continuing our monthly spotlight on the deserving causes that receive grants from the MSC Foundation, we are proud to highlight:
The Venice Symphony – Summer Music Camp
The Venice Symphony captures its philanthropic efforts in four words: “Music with a Mission”.
The symphony is proud to provide a variety of music education programs for young people, including the annual music camp experience that has been running for more than 20 years. Offered to South Sarasota County third graders, the lucky campers choose from keyboard, string, jazz or vocal instruction, and spend valuable time learning musical concepts and history while getting to know their peers – building confidence and sparking a passion for music that lasts a lifetime. (more…)
on October 30, 2013
Investors—who helped re-energize many U.S. real estate markets in addition to our own—appear to be moving on now that home prices are rising. Naturally, their departure is causing many to wonder if our market will continue to prosper as it has over the past two years.
We not only think it will, but also believe it will become a better stabilized market as more buyers purchase with the intent of living in the homes they buy.
This view is shared by the Home Buying Institute, whose mission is to help home buyers make the best-informed decisions. Last week they issued eight real estate market predictions to help guide buyers into 2014. Not the least of these is that Florida’s housing market will be one of next year’s big stories.
Here is their full list of predictions:
- Home prices will continue to rise in most cities. To date in 2013, the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index has shown price gains of more than 12%, with home prices rising in all 20 cities factored-in to the index. In Southwest Florida, median home prices over the past year have risen by 12% or more, depending on the neighborhood and/or price range. Most experts are predicting an additional rise of about 4-5% nationally in 2014. (more…)
on October 29, 2013
This month, our “23 About Me” blog series takes us on a trip to the Michael Saunders & Company Lakewood Ranch office. We posed our questions to Realtor, Tom Cinquegrano – a former Rhode Island resident with strong Italian roots. Tom and his wife decided one day in 1977 to sail into Sarasota and they’ve been anchored here ever since.
Find out where he goes for his Italian food and what Renaissance man you’d find him dining with if he had his choice!
Choose one: country estate, city penthouse or beachfront living?
Enjoying the beaches of Sarasota, living in a beach cottage.
What is your favorite ice cream?
Pistachio gelato from Epicure on Main Street.
Italian from any of these restaurants: Made in Italy in Venice, Epicure in Sarasota, and Sardinia in Sarasota, or my own kitchen in my house. (more…)