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Roger Pettingell


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St. Armands Circle Revisited

by Roger Pettingell

Spend a day or week shopping and dining

From award winning restaurants to fine boutique shopping, near Lido Beach

Columbia Restaurant in St. Armands Circle
Columbia Restaurant - A popular restaurant on St. Armands Circle and winner of multiple awards, the island's oldest restaurant opened in 1959.

A gem of the world in Sarasota is actually on a barrier island, St. Armands Circle. Known for its shopping and dining in a quaint area of St. Armands Key and Lido Key, its charm attracts visitors from around the world. And with 130 merchants within a short walk of each other, it is no wonder TripAdvisor awarded the shopping district with its 2018 Certificate of Excellence. The circle is rated high overall and generally receives high rankings for its merchants on

Plan at least a half day to enjoy the many diverse shops, have breakfast or lunch, relax or explore the history left by the visionary John Ringling who saw this location as a perfect vacation destiny. Do an Internet search on St. Armands Circle for things to do and each list will give you a different perspective of places to dine and places to shop. A few places make each list but the perspectives of each list has a ranking of personal choice, nearly all the restaurants are highly rated.

Take for instance, the Columbia Restaurant. This has been a landmark restaurant of Florida since 1905, the first in Tampa. Today it is the oldest restaurant on the key, having opened its doors in 1959. Among the many accolades of this restaurant is the 2018 recognition as one of the 100 Best Al Fresco Restaurants in America. The list was compiled from 12 million Open Table reviews of outdoor dining restaurants.

If your cuisine interest is something other than Cuban, try the Crab & Fin for its seafood delicacies. Serving fresh catch from the Gulf of grouper and snapper, the menu is also a haven for anything worldly seafood, from oysters to stone crab. Or order the succulent 16-ounce pork porterhouse. The Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar is also a favorite of those who love seafood in a relaxed casual atmosphere. The Shore advertises a cool vibe and delicious eats for its seafood menu. The Surf Shack has an outdoor patio dining experience and an indoor restaurant next door, and shares its ownership with the Surf Shack in Tampa.

The Café L’Europe is a wonderful restaurant if you are looking for European cuisine. Opened in 1973, this established restaurant often holds special wine tasting events in the peak season starting in October. The Blu Kouzina serves Greek and Mediterranean cuisine in a quaint location just off the circle on North Boulevard of the Presidents, near the Madison Avenue Café and Deli, is a delightful café to grab a sandwich.

The Daiquiri Deck is a combination sports bar with an American food menu on two levels. Lynches Pub & Grub is a new pub located near the circle that also serves American style dishes. Italian and pizza dishes are served at Venezia on the circle. Relax in a comfy atmosphere to enjoy vegan or gluten-free food at the Green Zebra Café. The Blue Dolphin Café is a good breakfast and brunch café on John Ringling Boulevard as you enter the circle from the mainland.

Alvin's Island
Alvin's Island has a wide variety for the beach visitor.

In between the times of breakfast and lunch, and before you walk to the white sands of Lido Beach, there is shopping to explore. From novelty shops to the highest levels of fashion are presented on St. Armands. Shop a brand name like Chico’s or the local franchise Foxy Lady for the latest in women’s fashionable attire. And don’t forget, this Thursday is ladies night with shopping discounts in many stores. Ladies night is held the third Thursday of every month from 5 PM to 9 PM.

The Lilly Pulitzer shopping boutique is in the process of remodeling but has opened a temporary store across the street on John Ringling Boulevard. Apricot Lane Boutique has a good selection of fashions, jewelry and shoes. Casa Smeralda has a similar line, so what you don’t find in Apricot Lane may have your selection here.

You can find your choice of fine jewelry at Alicia’s Dream, where your choice is among Pandora, Alex & Ani, Nora Fleming, Ronaldo or Les Georgette brands. Exceptional fine service is available at Alexander Fine Jewelers directly on the circle. Select from classic or contemporary designs. Unique design jewelry by award-winning master goldsmith Stephen Cole Powell can be found at Jewelry by Cole. Art, glass, jewelry and jewelry repair is a good choice at Armel Jewelers. Otto’s Jewelry & Service and McCarver & Moser are also on the circle.

The Met on St. Armands Circle
The Met - An elegant day spa for fashionable people

The Met Fashion House on South Boulevard of the Presidents is in one of the most elegant buildings on St. Armands Circle. Climb the steps and step into a world of fashionable attire for both men and women. Find a selection of accessories, shoes and fragrances to be set for the opera or chamber music concert. On the second floor you can have yourself pampered in the day spa and salon, with full services for men and women. The treatments are from head to toe, hair styling to pedicures. Relax for the day and leave as a new person.

There are local specialty and gift shops. A good selection of cooking oils and spices are available at the Pepper Palace and Florida Olive Oil Company. From Tervis to sunglass specialty stores, you can also find stores that cater to beach wear. Alvin’s Island, a mega store by St. Armands standards, has a wide variety of beach wear and novelty items. You can find unique gifts at St. Armands Antiques and Gifts.

Wyland Gallery on St. Armands Circle
Wyland Gallery - A mix of Wyland originals and guest artist exhibits in his St. Armands gallery.

One of the world’s leading marine wildlife artists, Wyland, has a line of his original works with contemporary artists working in different media. The Rob Arra collection of panoramic college and professional sports stadiums at the Stadium Gallery is an amazing collection of photos in high resolution for the sports enthusiast. Nature photographer Clyde Butcher captures the spirit of Ansel Adams with his breathtaking collection of black and white landscape photography at the St. Armands Gallery. The exhibit runs through January 6, 2019.

Cars, and boats and zombies, Oh My! The events in the park on St. Armands Circle are well attended and held mainly in peak season. Jaguar car enthusiasts will appreciate the Sun Coast Jaguar Club Concours d’Elegance, October 13. Ferrari’s on the Circle is November 3 and Porches are in the park on November 15. Cannon’s Marina on Longboat Key will hold their Boat Show October 20-21.

The Stadium Gallery
Panoramic sports stadiums at the Stadium Gallery

Three of the most celebrated events of the year are held on St. Armands Circle. Zombies, ghouls and goblins invade the park October 31 for the annual Fright Night. Each year a special performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller is performed by the Sarasota High School Drama Department. Another of the year’s SRO events is the lighting of the Christmas Tree. This year the Holiday Night on St. Armands is scheduled for December 7. The heritage of St. Armands Circle and the John Ringling Circus are celebrated each year in January. The 32nd annual Circus Ring of Fame induction ceremony of circus performers and promoters will be held January 13. Even a horse that was a staple in the circus and led the parade in the movie Greatest Show on Earth, Starless Night, was inducted in 2017.

The big days for shopping are upcoming as well. On November 10 and 11, the 30th annual St. Armands Art Festival attracts some of the best artists from around the country. Those two days the Annual Fall Sidewalk Sale opens up the galleries and shops for deep discounts on holiday gifts. So there are tremendous gift opportunities inside and outside of the park circle. Veterans receive an additional discount that Sunday, November 11, at participating stores and restaurants.

St. Armands Gallery
The next Ansel Adams - Black and white landscape photography by Clyde Butcher will be available through January 6 at the St. Armands Gallery.

With the large popularity of St. Armands, organizations and governments are thinking of opportunities to enhance visitor experience. A four-story parking garage which will accommodate 503 automobiles is under construction to be completed in December. Temporary parking is available around the circle since the parking spaces on North Adams Drive were closed for construction. The proposed public restrooms won a merit award by the local American Institute of Architects. A completion date has not been announced.

Catch my interview with Diana M. Corrigan, Executive Director, St. Armands Circle Association in my REALTALK™ #58 video. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


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West of Trail has many offerings

by Roger Pettingell

Sarasota area has many distinctions

Attractive for its proximity to downtown, Sarasota Bay and beaches

The Field Club
Field Club - Established with its purchase in 1957.

Bayfront homes in Sarasota have a charm that is representative of old Florida when the town was growing into a city. Travel north from downtown along US 41 and turn left on Indian Beach Road to find Bay Shore Drive where you will find beautiful older homes next to new or upgraded homes. You’ll see a similar setting of charm and new as you head south on US 41 and look to the bay side, commonly referred to as West of Trail.

The Tamiami Trail, or US 41, is so named for its Tampa to Miami passage. Homes west of the road, south from Mound Street and north of the Field Road area, are West of Trail. Their beauty in the communities of Harbor Acres, Southside Village, McClellan Park, Oyster Bay and Bungalow Hill reflect that charm while in close proximity, or right on, Sarasota Bay.

Homes on roads such as the north and south running Camino Real and South Osprey Avenue are preferred by professionals for their convenience in travel to downtown Sarasota. Bahia Vista Street, Hillview Street, Hyde Park Street and Siesta Drive are direct connections from the bay to the Trail. Once on the Trail, there are many fine restaurants and shops to explore.

Doctors prefer this area for its close proximity to Sarasota Memorial Hospital and medical corridor of urgent care facilities and specialty medical services that lines the Trail. Professionals are attracted here so they can conduct business through the banking and financial services on the Trail.

Bungalow Hill
Bungalow Hill community in REALTALK™ #172.

West of Trail is also home to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the only garden in the world dedicated to epiphytes. An epiphyte is a plant that grows on another plant but does not absorb nutrients from its host. The botanical gardens focuses on the study of two epiphytes, orchids and bromeliads, on its 15 acres of land on the West of Trail northern end. The property was once owned by William and Marie Selby of Texaco Oil fame and the mansion on the property was once the home of Christy Payne, a director and treasurer of Standard Oil. An extensive library and nine acres of gardens attract scientists from around the world to study these epiphytes.

Homes West of Trail are also south of the Burns Court District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Owen Burns and circus magnate John Ringling were significant developers for much of Sarasota’s growth, including the district designed by Owen Burns in the 1920s. Also on the National Register of Historic Places, the Southside Elementary School, was built in 1926 from the same architectural plans as another local school, Bay Haven. The highly respected Southside Elementary School is West of Trail on Webber Street.

The prestigious Field Club is in the southern area West of Trail. With its six dining areas from casual to formal dress, this private club has a marina, large swimming pool, tennis courts and a wellness center. Stanley and Sara Field of the Marshall Field department stores, started construction of their summer home in 1926. Members of the Sarasota Yacht Club purchased the home in 1957 to be used as a private member club.

The homes I have listed West of Trail have a higher property value for the reasons listed above. Shopping, dining, swimming on the beach attract the affluent to the area West of Trail. Four recent listings are in Harbor Acres and Bungalow Hill, with two in Oyster Bay.

1449 Hillview Drive
1449 Hillview Drive - Harbor Acres home for sale

Most of Harbor Acres homes rest on two peninsulas that extend into Sarasota Bay, with a natural harbor created between the land masses. The first home I highlight today at 1449 Hillview Drive exhibits exclusive waterfront luxury living in a stunning coastal contemporary estate home. Completely updated inside and out in 2015, the sprawling interior is a flourish of clean lines, modern upgrades, with a beautiful new pool deck, deep-water dock and lifts. You can be on the water close to downtown Sarasota in this home recently listed at $2.995 million.

A recent listing at 1024 Citrus Avenue in the Bungalow Hill community is a four-bedroom home waiting for you to make it your own. Located just minutes from downtown Sarasota, this Spanish Mediterranean-inspired home offers 3,400 SF of beautiful interior space, including cathedral ceilings, cook’s kitchen and plenty of outdoor entertaining space, listed at $1.395 million. Bungalow Hill is a unique community annexed to the city of Sarasota in the 1920s. Watch the history of Bungalow Hill in my REALTALK™ #172 video last month.

We did a community spotlight video on Oyster Bay in REALTALK™ #150 and highlighted the Field Club mentioned in this article. Both homes I have listed in this community are under $1 million and have all the wonderful features of homes in this area.

1331 Quail Drive
1331 Quail Drive - Oyster Bay home for sale

The unique design and exclusive location of the first listing at 1331 Quail Drive is a Mediterranean-inspired home that is sure to impress. Built in 2006, you will love the lush, Florida-sourced landscape and an open layout adorned with glass walls of sliders and windows in most rooms, allowing for seamless indoor-to-outdoor entertaining. Art enthusiasts will fall in love with the custom interior, offering two-bedroom plus loft-style office, cook’s kitchen overlooking living and dining room, 11-foot ceilings, Lutron/LED lighting and stone flooring throughout.

This charming four-bedroom Oyster Bay home at 4557 Camino Real is a flourish of fabulous finishes and custom details. It is only minutes from downtown Sarasota’s city life and unforgettable Gulf beaches at Siesta and Lido Keys. This home is surrounded by manicured foliage with a lovely courtyard entry. The open layout of this home’s interior offers beautiful hardwood flooring throughout with French doors leading out to the pool deck that create an effortless flow from room to room for the entire family to appreciate.

We have many homes to offer West of Trail. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Independence Week Festivities in Sarasota

by Roger Pettingell

Fireworks before and on Fourth of July

Many events, something for everyone and all ages in Sarasota and beyond

AquaX racing on June 30, 2018
AquaX race of the Powerboat Grand Prix on Saturday.

What are you doing on this Independence Day? Are you cooking outside, going to the movies, making plans for fireworks? Even though The Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday this year, there are still many events in the area that you can celebrate the patriotism of this great country with family and friends.

First with the fireworks, there is a lot of interest there. If you want to get a jump on viewing fireworks Tuesday night there are three good locations to choose from. Sarasota will treat visitors with pyrotechnics over the lake at Nathan Benderson Park in its Spectacular Fireworks display. The gates open at 4 PM for this free event that also features the blues ensemble, The Greg Billings Band and guitarist Albert Castiglia.

The Marauders play the visiting team from Palm Beach at LECOM Field in Bradenton, with the first pitch at 6:30 PM. There will be giveaways, an auction and fireworks after the game. The Stone Crabs baseball team take on Fort Myers at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte with fireworks after the 6:35 PM game on Tuesday.

You can position yourself just about anywhere in Sarasota and see 360 degrees of fireworks from a distance or up close on Wednesday. Although the Powerboat Grand Prix races are finished the festival doesn’t come to an end until the fireworks conclude on Wednesday with the Bayfront Fireworks Spectacular. There is good free viewing from Island Park and Bayfront Park or from the rooftops of Louis Modern restaurant, Office Bar SRQ and the Art Ovation Hotel. Check each as there is a fee for some of the best sites in Sarasota. Marie Selby Botanical Garden is hosting its All-American Cookout and conclude with a good view of the bay. Bring lawn chairs and arrive early for good spots. The fireworks are scheduled for 9 PM.

Grand Prix Fireworks on Wednesday
Fireworks Galore - Pyrotechnics to consider on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Fireworks are also scheduled Wednesday in Siesta Key on the beach, on the south jetty in Venice, the Freedom Festival at the North Port High School, the Sandbar Restaurant Fireworks Spectacular on Anna Maria Island and the Firecracker Festival on Dearborn Street in Englewood. The Fourth of July Festival in Palmetto‘s Sutton Park will feature 2016 country music Hall of Famer Charlie Daniels before the fireworks over the Manatee River.

There are excellent events to capture the spirit of the holiday. Does your dog have a patriotic costume? Bring your pooch to the Fourth of July Hot Diggity Dog parade and contest on Wednesday for prizes during the Freedom Fest on Longboat Key. Awards will be given in three categories of most patriotic dog, most creative costume and best combination of owner and dog. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Longboat Key, donations will be used for dog park amenities at Bayfront Park. Advanced registration is recommended through an email to Carol Erker or through phone registration at (847) 274-8741. You can also register that day at the Rotary table, 8:30 AM by the Sun Trust Bank on Bay Isles Road.

Participate in the parade that starts at 9 AM and travels Bay Isles Road to Bicentennial Park where the Freedom Fest festivities begin. Greet Uncle Same there and get involved in the fun, with food and prizes. There will be games, face painting and sand art for kids along with a butterfly release.

Upcoming events - Privateers Fourth of July Parade
Pirates for Kids & Community - Privateers Parade

Pirates for Kids & Community is the theme this year for the Privateers 4th of July Parade that starts at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach and travels the length of Anna Maria Island to Pine Avenue in Holmes Beach. The parade starts at 10 AM.

The Choral Artists of Sarasota will celebrate the Fourth with A Patriotic Spectacular. Traditional patriotic favorites will include a tribute to Leonard Bernstein who would have been 100 years old. The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. tribute marking the 50th anniversary of his death will be narrated by Nate Jacobs, founder and artistic director of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe in Sarasota. The concert starts at 4:30 PM, First Church in Sarasota.

If you are in Venice and enjoy kayaking or just enjoy having a good time then the Myakka Kayak Festival and Jam Blast may be the event for you. Bring your own kayak or canoe for free entrance or rent your own at Snook Haven Restaurant starting at 9 AM to paddle the river. At 11 AM the Jam Blast begins with a backwoods barbecue and over 30 craft beers with sales to benefit the Friends of Sarasota County Parks. There will live bluegrass music with Treble Hook's Florida Folk and Medicine Show and the hard rockin’ blues and classic rock music of the Steve Arvey Band.

Other events on Wednesday include the Firecracker 400 Sailing Regatta starting at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron on City Island and the Firecracker 5K run at the Morgan Center in North Port. Or you can catch minor league baseball to watch potential major leaguers of the Gulf Coast Leagues as the Orioles take on the Twins at Ed Smith Stadium in downtown Sarasota, starting at noon. Enjoy your Fourth of July activities and have a blast at the fireworks. Explore all the events this week through our upcoming events page with over 700 programs listed through May 2019.

1449 Hillview Drive
1449 Hillview Drive - New listing in Harbor Acres

I listed three new luxury residences last week, two homes in Sarasota and a residence on Longboat Key at 100 Sands Point Rd, #115. In the prestigious community of Harbor Acres, the home at 1449 Hillview Drive is a stunning coastal contemporary updated estate. Near downtown is the Bungalow Hill home for sale at 1024 Citrus Avenue. I also received the report last week that REAL Trends magazine ranked me as Number 118 in the nation of individual agents for 2018 in their annual release of the top 1,000 agents. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

Address List Price Media Slideshow
1449 Hillview Drive $2,995,000 Video Photo Slideshow
100 Sands Point Rd, #115 $1,395,000 Video Photo Slideshow
1024 Citrus Avenue $1,395,000   3d Virtual Tour


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


Beaches enhance luxury waterfront properties

by Roger Pettingell

Award winning beaches near Sarasota

Luxury waterfront paradise is relative to the Gulf of Mexico and white sand

Siesta Key beach ranks high annually
Siesta Key Pavilion - The amenities and parking were updated to continue number one beach rankings.

We love our beaches by day and our cultural events at night. Seemingly that is the lifestyle of a typical Sarasotan because the beaches are packed and the Opera House or Asolo Repertory Theatre can be sold out on any given day. From Clearwater to Siesta Key, our beaches rank high for its white quartz sand that reflects heat rather than absorb and retain the heat. The result is a comfortable walk out to the Gulf of Mexico.

Clearwater Beach was ranked this year by TripAdvisor as the number one beach in United States for the second time in three years. In between those three years Siesta Key held the top spot by TripAdvisor in 2015 and 2017. Stephen Leatherman also ranks Siesta Key as one of the best in the United States. Under the pseudonym of Dr. Beach, Leatherman usually has Siesta Key near the top since he started his rankings in 1991 and had Siesta Key in the top spot last year.

Siesta Key has made improvements in recent years to its pavilion and parking, improvements that helped regain the top spot. He also rates on the quality of sand and safety, such as lifeguard stands. Over $21 million in improvements were unveiled in 2016 that included a new playground, shelters, concession stand and safety building.

Each November Siesta Key invites some of the world’s best sand sculptors to participate in the Siesta Key Crystal Classic, four days of judged competition. Amateurs can display their abilities in a one-day festival in May, the Siesta Key Amateur Sand Sculpting Contest. Beach volleyball is big on Siesta Key as well. This year, July 19-24, over 400 United States teams in the junior division of ages 10-18 will converge on this beach to compete for the USA National Beach Tour Championships.

Although Siesta Key does receive a fair amount of publicity, there are other beaches in Sarasota County that are well worth considering. Lido Beach is one sand and Gulf destination that is high on many lists. Visitors from around the world were attracted to the Lido Beach Casino, a 1940’s WPA project that was torn down in 1969 and replaced with a new facility. There are a few beach amenities including a large swimming pool and a 400-car parking lot. The world famous St. Armands Circle with its boutique shopping and fine dining is a short walk from the beach. Lido Beach is a good wedding destination site.

Bayfront Park on the Gulf
Beach access and a handicap accessible observation deck are new to Bayfront Park on Longboat Key.

Much of the 11-mile beachfront properties on Longboat Key are private access but there a few public points that visitors can access the beach. The town of Longboat Key recently updated its Bayfront Park at 4052 Gulf of Mexico Drive with an improvement project that included tennis, pickleball, dog park and nature trails. When it was completed in 2017 the town received approval from FDOT to provide beach access across the street at 4001 Gulf of Mexico Drive. The result is a vehicle ramp, access ramp and observation deck that is handicap accessible.

There are seven other public access points from Gulf of Mexico Drive addresses at 2825, 3175, 3355, 3495, 4711, 4795 and 6847. On the northern end of the island the public can access the beach at 6399 Gulfside Road, 100 Broadway Street, 7055 Seabreeze Avenue and 100 North Shore Road. Care should be taken when crossing Gulf of Mexico Drive and there are no lifeguards on duty. Service dogs only are allowed on the beach and these areas are patrolled for alcohol violations.

Hotels line the shores of Bradenton and Holmes beaches, just north of Longboat Key on Anna Maria Island. One of the largest beach areas in the area is Coquina Beach on the southern end of the island. Coquina Beach has plenty of parking and many amenities. The free beach market on Sundays has plenty of craft and farm fresh food vendors that is popular with locals. The Coquina Beach Café sells beer and wine along with short order food. Lifeguards are on duty and on market days you can stroll the sidewalk and be entertained with live music. Seasonal markets are on Wednesdays.

Marina and Moorings of the Longboat Key Club
Coquina Beach - Beach Markets on Sundays and fine facilities such as restrooms and showers attract many visitors to this Anna Maria Island beach.

Beachfront dining on Anna Maria Island is a treat and the popular spots are the Sandbar and Beach House restaurants. The Chiles Restaurant Group owns both and also operates the Mar Vista Restaurant on Longboat Key. You may even get a glimpse of a national celebrity as they have been known to sneak in to these restaurants. Public beach access is limited on Anna Maria Island but the Public Beach at the end of Manatee Avenue has lifeguards on duty, plenty of parking, an outdoor restaurant area and swim shop.

Enjoy your beach stay and be safe with some simple precautions

Nature is a large part why we call this paradise. The beautiful, crystal clear water that meets the white sand beaches provide the scenery for post cards to send up north. However, there are some precautions that should be followed as man in nature can have its consequences.

The beach is no exception. Pay strict attention to the colored flags that officials fly to warn of certain conditions. Any time a red flag is flying you can expect high hazard conditions. Two red flags mean the beach is closed for its high hazardous conditions, most notably high surf and rip currents. Medium is yellow and low hazard flags are green. Boaters use a different system with a small craft advisory flown as a single triangular red flag. Gale warnings are displayed as two red triangular flags, while two red flags with black square centers indicate a hurricane warning. I would think you would be well aware of those conditions before the double red flags appear.

Another flag that is important for beach-goers is a purple flag, which generally means there may be dangerous marine life in the waters. Your mind may automatically drift to think there are sharks in the area but the flag is usually flown when there may be a high concentration of jellyfish present. Jellyfish stings generally are not fatal but the sting may make the victim uncomfortable at best. The best advice from experts is to treat the sting with vinegar and remove any visible nematocytes with tweezers. Follow that treatment with hot, but not scalding, soaking water for 30 minutes. Victims usually do not require professional medical treatment unless there is an allergic reaction or the stings cover a large part of the body. Portuguese Man of War are the most dangerous of jellyfish. They can be spotted as they appear to be balloon-like and float near or at the surface. Their tails can be quite long, avoid them.

Back to sharks. You can think of dolphins as beautiful creatures but they also are the best deterrent for sharks. The movie Jaws created a lot of hysteria in the 1970s but these animals appear more dangerous than they are. When attacks on humans occur they are at the times around dusk and dawn because sharks believe they are attacking their prey. It is hard for them to distinguish the difference when they see a silhouette. Even still, if you see shark in the water it is best to calmly get out of the water. Any splashing by panic may alert these predatory fish of wounded game.

Rip current warning at Bayfront Park on the Gulf
Heed rip current warnings on local beaches. It is also against state law to harvest the sea oats that are common on many sand dunes in the area.

Of course animals don’t pose the only threat in the water. Last week five swimmers were injured and one person was killed in Pensacola as a rip current swept them out into the Gulf. So far this year 10 fatalities in Florida have been attributed to these dangerous currents. A rip current can appear on any beach area as the tide finds a channel that returns water rapidly seaward. The best advice if you get caught up in one of these currents is to swim parallel to the shore and out of the path of the flowing water.

Another condition near the water is the presence of lightning. One person was struck and killed this past weekend on Siesta Key. There is the best way to avoid a lightning strike, seek enclosed shelter or a car. Lightning can linger past the time the clouds appear to have vanished so give it some time, generally thought of as 30 minutes.

We also are responsible for the protection of sea turtles and are in the heart of the turtle nesting season, so particular care should be exercised at this time of year, May 1 through October 31. Longboat Key is one municipality that is stepping up its enforcement of the laws protecting turtles. Lights on the beach confuse these animals and lingering objects such as beach chairs can block their path. Click here for the Longboat Key regulations that are useful guidelines for any of our local beaches.

We have co-existed with nature in paradise for many years. A luxury waterfront property is something to relish. We have properties that fit your taste and budget. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy. And don't forget suntan lotion when on the beach, another hazard to avoid.


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Grand Prix Festival starts Saturday

by Roger Pettingell

Economic impact on county is highlighted

Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix visitors increase when Music Festival ends

Powerboats make their way out to the Gulf of Mexico
The Grand Prix Festival returns starting Saturday.

While the Sarasota Music Festival wraps up Saturday with the world premiere of Luminous Bodies, a commissioned chamber event by yMusic, the next festival begins to kick off, the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix. Thousands will have traveled to Sarasota to attend either event as the hotels empty, then fill again for the Grand Prix with its many events June 23 to July 4.

The first event for the Grand Prix is the Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic, Saturday with an 8:30 AM start at The Meadows Country Club in Sarasota. Now in its third year, this memorial to the one-time owner of Bob Rizi Plumbing, he supported Sarasota non-profits and was on the board of Suncoast Charities for Children. His chairmanship of the Grand Prix Golf Classic were his ties to the Grand Prix and the golf tournament. He died in June of 2016.

On Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM, automobile aficionados will want to attend the Car Show at the Sarasota Fairgrounds. On the grounds will be live music and food vendors. Trophies will be awarded in different categories of automobiles, enter your car for $20 at the gate. Admission is $5 each and free to children under 12. Among the other events, there will be a super duty truck display and a ride-in motorcycle show.

Also on Sunday boat owners can get involved in the Boat and Personal Watercraft Fun Run. Following registration at Marina Jack at 10 AM, the shotgun poker run start at 11 AM has a course of the Seafood Shack, The Old Salty Dog and The Bridge Tender on Bradenton Beach. The best poker hand wins $300, while second best wins $200 and third best wins $100. Your $20 entry fee includes lunch at Marina Jack and an event T-shirt.

Comedian Ron Feingold from Orlando performs next Wednesday at McCurdy’s Comedy Club in downtown Sarasota. He blends one-man A Cappella songs with his comedy for an entertaining performance. He has an extensive travel circuit of casinos, colleges and comedy clubs. A welcome reception for Ron at the Grand Prix Comedy Night starts at 5:30 PM, followed by the show at 7 PM.

The Friendliest Catch Fishing Tournament is also next Wednesday at the Sarasota Outboard Club. This is limited as a private event for clients of Suncoast Charities for Children agencies. Proceeds from many of the Grand Prix events go to support this charity organization.

Kettle of Fish, a popular local band classic rock and their own music, will perform at the Grand Prix Kickoff Party June 28 in the grand foyer of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Island casual dress for this event starting at 6 PM. Your $150 admission buys an evening of music, open bar, 50/50 raffle and silent auction. Mattison’s Bayside will have food stations throughout the venue. Purchase tickets through the Grand Prix website.

Meet and get autographs of the boat drivers next Friday at the Meet & Greet, Who’s in the Driver’s Seat event at the Hyatt Regency Hotel ballroom from 2 to 3:30 PM. Admission is a $5 donation for adults, 18 and under will be let in for free. This is the time to meet the racers who have traveled from around the world to participate in the Grand Prix. Get selfies of team pilots who will be autographing hero cards and giving out special gifts during this family event.

Miss Geico team in 2014
The popular Geico team returns as a superstock panther race team June 30 and July 1

Following the Meet & Greet there will be a Boats by the Bay free open party starting at 6 PM. This event was moved from Main Street (Boats on Main) in Sarasota to the Van Wezel parking lot this year. One of the most popular events during this party is the annual Miss Powerboat P1 Swimwear contest. First place winner receives $1,000, followed by second place at $750 and third at $500. The contest is limited to the first 20 to sign up and contestants must not include any indecent gestures for this family-oriented event.

Saturday, June 30, is the best day for race fans with a few events geared for spectators and motorcycle riders. Racing for superstock, production class & personal watercraft begins at 8:30 AM with the first heat for the AquaX class boats. Free live action viewing is best from the Lido Beach area. For motorcyclists, the annual Coastal Cruise Motorcycle Charity Ride is Saturday, starting at 9:30 PM in the Rossiter’s Harley Davidson parking lot. The route is out to Longboat Key and then back to the Finz Find tent at the Fan Fest party. Cash prizes are $300, $150 and $50 while one winner will receive a pair of tickets to the VIP viewing area Sunday on Lido Beach. The Fan Fest heats up at 10 AM, while the boats are in final preparation for racing in the Van Wezel parking lot.

Watch live streaming of races in the Van Wezel parking lot as Fan Fest continues on Sunday at 10 AM. The sold out VIP option at the Sandcastle Resort on Lido Beach has a special shuttle arranged for VIP ticket holders. The racing schedule resumes with the third heat of the AquaX class PWCs at 8:30 AM. There is a full day of racing that also concludes superstocks, super vees and super cats. You can view the full race schedule here or below, subject to change. Drivers will receive their awards beginning at 5:30 PM during Fan Fest.

The AquaX platforms are personal watercraft classes that are either enduro or sprint, with further divisions of amateur or pro. The enduro runs are two miles in length while sprints are typically limited to an eighth of a mile. Two-person teams of pilot and throttleman race in the powerboat platforms of stock, vee and cats. Generally limited to 50 feet in length, these boats can travel up to 200 mph. Hulls shaped as a V compete in the vee class while two-hulled boats compete in the Catamaran, or cat division.

Grand Prix Fireworks on Wednesday

The Sarasota Grand Prix officially comes to a close with the Spectacular Bayfront fireworks display on Wednesday. The Sarasota skies will be lit up with viewing throughout downtown Sarasota. Check the schedule of rooftop bars, but lawn chair viewing is also wonderful at Island and Bayfront parks. Boaters can anchor at a safe distance in the bay.

There is a great economic impact the Grand Prix has on the area. Last year the event attracted nearly 11,000 out-of-state and 36,000 in-state visitors to Sarasota to view the races. Add to that an additional 2,161 international spectators, media, organizers and participants and the amount of money generated is worth the cost of the Grand Prix. The total output was tallied at over $36 million that poured into the local economy. That also brought in $1,381,178 in state sales tax. The county received over a half million dollars in local sales, state reimbursement and hotel taxes. A breakdown is reported here.

2018 Powerboat Festival Schedule at a Glance

Date Event Location Time
June 23 Bob Rizi Memorial Golf Classic Meadows Country Club 8:30AM
June 24 Car Show Sarasota Fairgrounds 10AM-3PM
June 24 Boat & PWC Fun Run Marina Jack, Sarasota 11AM
June 27 Fishing Tournament (Private) Sarasota Outboard Club 9AM
June 27 Grand Prix Comedy Night McCurdy's Comedy Theatre 5:30PM
June 28 Kickoff Party Van Wezel Parking Lot 6PM-10PM
June 29 Driver’s Autograph Session Hyatt Regency Ballroom 2PM-3:30PM
June 29 Boats by the Bay Party Van Wezel Parking Lot 6PM-11PM
June 29 Miss Powerboat P1 contest Van Wezel Parking Lot 6:30AM-10:30PM
June 30 Motorcycle Charity Ride Rossiter's Harley-Davidson 9:30AM-11AM
June 30 Grand Prix Fan Fest Van Wezel Parking Lot 10AM-6PM
June 30 Grand Prix Races Lido Key beach 8:30AM-5PM
July 1 Grand Prix Fan Fest Van Wezel Parking Lot 10AM-6PM
July 1 VIP viewing (Sold Out) Sandcastle Resort at Lido Beach 10AM-4PM
July 1 Grand Prix Races Lido Key beach 8:30AM-4PM
July 1 Race Team Awards Van Wezel Parking Lot 5:30PM
July 4 Fireworks Spectacular Island Park, Sarasota 9PM

Saturday Race Schedule at a Glance

Event Times
AquaX Pro Race 1 8:30AM-9:30AM
Superstock Practice + Race 1,2 9:30AM-10:30AM
P1-3, P4-6 Races 11AM-12:30PM
Official Testing 12:30PM-3:30PM
AquaX Race 2 4PM

Sunday Race Schedule at a Glance

Event Times
AquaX Race 3 8:30AM
P1 Superstock Race 3&4 9:15AM
Super Vee Lite Class Race 10:30AM
Superstock 300 Class Race 12PM
Super Cat Class Race 1:30PM
Unlimited/Super Vee Class Race 3PM
Awards Ceremony 5:30PM

We know that Florida is a great place to relax after working years saving up for retirement. Last week Jacquelyn Pica, contributing writer for U.S. News and World Report and staff writer for the Penny Hoarder, wrote that Sarasota was one of eight best places to retire in the Sunshine State. She was especially kind to the Gulf coast cities in her selections. She cited Sarasota’s culture, museums and beautiful gardens as some of the reasons for her ranking. She also made her ranking based on the modest median home value of $189,400 and population of retirees at 30 percent. In October of last year Sarasota was ranked Number 1 in a U.S. News analysis of 100 potential U.S. retirement cities. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


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Florida Maritime Museum in Cortez

by Roger Pettingell

Coastal Community Celebration last week

Admission is free to this little museum gem devoted to fishing culture

Burton/Bratton Store and Albion Inn
Little Drummer Boy — Someday this child may understand the significance of the historic Burton Store porch he was on during last week's celebration.

There are some great museums in Sarasota and Bradenton. The Ringling Museum and South Florida Museum immediately come to mind. There is a lesser known museum in Cortez that celebrates the history of the fishing town, the Florida Maritime Museum. Its celebration last week on the beginning of World Ocean’s Day featured the ribbon cutting for the Burton Store and the opening of the temporary interactive Meaning Behind Maritime exhibit.

The mission of this museum shares the town economic resource in that it is a fishing village. The importance is celebrated each year during the Commercial Fishing Festival in February that attracts thousands to this small coastal community in Manatee County. The museum's accomplishments in collecting, preserving and sharing maritime artifacts is deeply rooted in the mission.

Thursday marked the reopening of the historic Burton Store, the first commercial building within the village. Originally built in 1890 as a fishing dock storage shed, the store was enlarged and later expanded to become the Albion Inn. It was severely damaged by a hurricane in 1921. A portion was salvaged and moved in 2006 to its current location on museum grounds where the process of restoration began.

The Meaning Behind Maritime exhibit explores what maritime may mean to visitors. In one interactive display visitors use color string to tie together 24 different words to express the meaning of the word, maritime. So if the word boating is your choice, you can run your string between that and fishing. Continue to string as many words together until your maritime meaning is complete. Another part of this exhibit allows your toddler to be the captain of a boat. This exhibit ends July 19.

Cortez Coastal Community Celebration at the Florida Maritime Museum
Guest attendance was high during the Coastal Community Celebration at the Maritime Museum.

The next temporary exhibit will begin August 3 with a reception from 5:30 PM to 7 PM. It will feature the connection between Tarpon Springs and the Bahamas. Dr. Tina Bucuvalas will discuss the intertwined history of the Greek sponge industry of the two locations. Sponge gathering by the Greeks has been an important maritime business since the 19th century, explored in this exhibit that runs through February 2. Dr. Bucuvalas has been involved in writing five books on Greek culture.

There are permanent exhibits too in the one-time schoolhouse originally built in 1912. Have a docent guide you through the many artifacts of the museum or take a self-guided tour. Review the history of the village through photographs of what fishing meant to the citizens. Explore the use of their tools and commercial fishing gear.

Research Florida’s Gulf coast through the library of books in the museum. Museum members have the privilege of checking these manuscripts out of the library. The library houses many other records of the past. Start your journey on their website at, where you can search the records and articles before your visit. The website displays many links to resources on coastal history.

Florida Maritime Museum 1912 Schoolhouse on the Cortez Nature Preserve
Florida Maritime Museum - On the grounds of the Cortez Nature Preserve, the renovated 1912 schoolhouse serves as a museum to preserve Florida fishing and maritime artifacts and knowledge.

Museum curators and experts give lectures on topics that reflect the Gulf coast heritage and its resources. Spaced about a month apart topics of dolphins, seagrass importance and SCUBA diving are scheduled. A traveling trunk is an interactive lecture for all ages, engaging those on an experience to explore an underwater archaeological find. There are also classes at its Folk School, starting with an interesting Painting With a Fish class tomorrow at 9:30 AM. Recipes are shared in their cooking classes. Other classes include such topics as Native Coastal Plants on June 22 at 10 AM. You can register for classes and pay tuition through If you have a topic to teach visit their website for an application.

The Manatee County Clerk of Circuit Courts sponsors the museum. Funding is also provided by donations and museum memberships. Volunteers aid the full-time staff of four in supporting the functions of the museum open daily from 9 AM to 4 PM. The museum closes on Sundays and Mondays, and Thanksgiving and Christmas weekends. The museum is also closed on Independence Day and at other times for maintenance. Kristin Sweeting is the museum supervisor, Alexis Schofield is the education & volunteer coordinator, Casey Wooster is the curator and Danielle Dankenbring is the visitor services coordinator. There are five members on the board of directors. Admission is free but donations are gladly accepted.

lionfish filet demonstration at Cortez Coastal Community Celebration
Invasive Species — A lionfish filet demonstration during the Coastal Community Celebration last week at the museum in Cortez.
Florida Maritime Museum displays
Large and small displays — There are many artifacts exhibited at the museum, some from local underwater archaeological discoveries.

Explore the museums in the area to better understand the culture and history of the area. Don’t forget this Manatee County gem that sits on four acres of land in the Cortez Nature Preserve. And when you are ready, please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


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It's Sarasota Music Festival time!

by Roger Pettingell

Concert series begins Thursday

Under the direction of Jeffrey Kahane, festival runs through June 23

Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236
Friday Festivals and Saturday Symphonies will be at the Sarasota Opera House on N. Pineapple Ave.

Today is the official start of the Sarasota Music Festival, three weeks of classical music that attracts fans, 60 students and 40 masters from around the world. Now in its 54th year, the excitement runs high with 50 classic works packed into 12 performances, Thursday through Sunday in each of the weeks. These programs are designed so that no two are alike, giving you a choice of your favorite concerts or an opportunity to see them all with completely different programs each night.

Mondays through Wednesdays, the students learn from the masters in hopes that someday they will achieve master status. These gifted students from 10 different countries auditioned for the privilege of learning and performing the classics. In the morning you may catch a glimpse of these young artists walking the streets of downtown Sarasota as they trek to their assigned classrooms. They are recognizable carrying wind or stringed instrument cases. It all begins today.

But it really began when over 500 musicians from schools around the globe auditioned for the 60 spots of the festival, designated as the Official Teaching and Performing Festival of the State of Florida by the legislature in 1984. Their talent will be observed in three Rising Star ensembles the first two Sundays of the festival and Thursday of the final week at 3 PM in Holley Hall. Tickets are wonderfully priced at $10 for each recital by calling (941) 953-3434 or by visiting the Sarasota Orchestra website.

The masters assemble for symphonies and chamber music Thursday through Saturday. Love Songs on Thursday starting at 4:30 PM is the first Artist Showcase in the pleasant Holley Hall chamber with general admission and balcony seating. Four pieces will be performed, a Quintet for Piano and Wind Instruments, an early work by Beethoven will open the performance. Poems by Toni Morrison were set to music by composer Andre Previn in Four Songs. The program will conclude with compositions of romance for the piano and viola.

Brilliantly Baroque opens the first of three Friday Festivals, four programs of chamber music from two of the Baroque master composers, Back and Vivaldi. Bach’s Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor, BWV 1060 and Keyboard Concerto in F Major with two Obbligato Flutes, BWV 1057 are interspersed with Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor, RV 531 and Summer from The Four Seasons, RV 315. The Friday Festival concerts begin at 8 PM in the Sarasota Opera House.

The festival continues in the opera house on Saturday with full symphonic background to one of the finest young violinists, Angelo Xiang Yu, performing Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 26. It is the second concerto of the evening in the program Afternoon of a Faun. The program begins with its prelude by composer Debussy and concludes with a Mozart symphony composition No. 39 in E-flat Major, K. 543.

Rising Stars - Scholarships for Sarasota Music Festival
Rising Stars — Scholarships were offered to 60 students among the 500 musicians who auditioned for the 2018 Sarasota Music Festival. They will perform in the Rising Stars series and ensembles of acclaimed professionals throughout the festival.

Following the Rising Star program on Sunday, it’s back to the classroom leading up to the next round on June 14, Musical Treasures in the Artist Showcase 2. Mozart combined the piano with stringed instrument for the opening of chamber music in the Quartet No. 2 in E-flat Major, K. 493. Wind instruments follow in Ligeti’s Six Bagatelles while a memorial to victims of the Holocaust concludes the program, Piano Trio No. 2 in E Minor, Op. 67 by Shotakovich.

Appalachian Spring is a four-part program for the second Friday Festival on June 15. The full symphony is brought together for the opener, La création du monde, Op. 81, a composition by Milhaud on the Creation of the World. Copland’s Appalachian Spring is followed by a Jonathon Spivey piano solo, Norwegian Peasant Dances, Op. 72 composition by Grieg. The evening ends with a String Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 97 concerto by Dvorak.

An Overture on Hebrew Themes, Op. 34 composed by Prokofiev in 1919 leads the Influence and Individuality Saturday Symphony 2 on June 16. Vijay Venkatesh follows with a solo performance of Piano Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 22 by Saint-Saens, followed by Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings in C Major, Op. 48.

In the Artist Showcase 3, Life’s Passions is a four-part program on June 21 featuring piano recitals by Robert Levin and Jeffrey Kahane in two of Schubert’s compositions, Allegro in A Minor, D 947 and Rondo in A Major, D. 951. The evening begins with a Gieseking composition, Sonatine and concludes with Beethoven’s Piano Trio No. 5 in D Major, Op. 70 No. 1.

The Friday Festival winds down the series with the Summer Serenades program. This three-part concert on June 22 combines Serenade in C Major, Op. 10 by Dohnanyi, Serenade No. 11 in E-flat Major, K. 375 by Mozart and a Brahms composition Piano Quartet No. 1 in G Minor, Op. 25, nicknamed Gypsy.

Holley Hall at the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, 709 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
Artist Showcases and the Rising Star student series will be held at Holley Hall each week of the festival.

Luminous Bodies, a work commissioned for Robert Sirota by the Sarasota Music Festival makes its world premiere in the final Saturday Symphony as a grand finale to the festival. Luminous Bodies was composed for a Generation Y ensemble of musicians aptly named yMusic, a popular program which made its debut in the festival last year. Kahane begins the program with Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K. 595 by Mozart while conducting from the piano. The grand finale to the evening and the festival is Schumann’s composition Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op. 97.

The entire series of concerts is under the direction of Kahane, now in his second year as the music director of the festival. He succeeds Levine and Paul Wolfe, the only other directors who have guided the program since its beginnings in 1965. Levine will give a lecture on music, June 20 at 1:30 PM in Holley Hall. Enjoy the festival.

Last week I listed a home that is the best of two worlds, you will love the bay and deeded beach access a few feet from the front door of this beautifully private estate. Soaring oak trees and elaborate foliage surround this gated 3BR plus office residence. The home at 6155 Manasota Key Road built by John McIntyre in 2007, boasts superior construction of the highest standards. It includes its own dock and lift. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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Construction update on three projects

by Roger Pettingell

Two projects start, one in limbo

Quay, Resort at Longboat Key Club and Colony construction updates

New Quay project in Sarasota
Quay Rendering - A total of 695 residences in Sarasota planned for this mixed-use property downtown

Ground has been broken recently for two major hotel and residence projects that will significantly raise mixed-use property in the area. A more than symbolic groundbreaking off Tamiami Trail in downtown Sarasota sets in motion a series of development for the old Quay property. A diversion of the road around our offices and the Chart House will make room for the planned expansion of the Resort at the Longboat Key Club. And yet there is a third still in limbo, the old Colony Beach & Tennis Resort residences on Longboat Key.

Last Wednesday developers GreenPointe Communities LLC of Jacksonville staged a ceremony with city planners and high school students on the mostly vacant grounds, just north of the new Vue residences, to set in motion construction of residences, offices, retail shops and hotel rooms on the old Quay grounds.

GreenPointe purchased the 15-acre land in 2014 and have put forth different designs to city planners. Each incorporated the waterfront as a focal point for visitors and owners. The city had approved 695 residences to be available for this project and GreenPointe has incorporated those units into their plans. The company last year announced plans to use 73 of those units for The Grande, an 18-story building that will connect to the next-door Ritz-Carlton through an elevated walking bridge. A restaurant and parking garage are also planned for The Grande.

At the center of the Quay project is the Broadway Apartments building renovation of 20 units that was opened in 1925. It was later named Belle Haven and was included on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. That year the apartments were repurposed for use as office space. GreenPointe has made public comments that they plan to use the offices, then renovate and repurpose Belle Haven again for this project.

The groundbreaking on May 23 was a signal for construction crews to begin work on the horizontal ground structures that buildings are planned. A second groundbreaking is planned for that phase of the project. In all, eight blocks will be built around Belle Haven in different phases with a build-out date for The Grande at 2020. But first, GreenPointe made an agreement with the city to complete a roundabout traffic circle at the intersection of Fruitville Road and Tamiami Trail. The total project calls for the following:

  • 695 residences
  • 175 hotel rooms
  • Nearly 40,000 square feet of office space
  • Nearly 190,000 square feet of retail shops
  • Marina
  • Parking spaces
  • Roundabout at the intersection of Fruitville Road and Tamiami Trail

Plans for the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall are in debate. It is an entertainment venue with 1,736 seats that exists just north of the Quay on the bayfront. It is an icon for Sarasota but the big lavender building on the bayfront has its defenders in a debate with a side opposing its use in the current plans. Its color was picked out by the wife of Frank Lloyd Wright, the famous architect of the time. Entertainers from around the world perform at the Van Wezel. In the original bayfront plans, the building was to be demolished and replaced. Other options include complete demolition and use the land for different purposes. The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization has yet to issue its decision.

Longboat Key Club Resort begins its expansion

Resort at Longboat Key Club
Rerouting of Longboat Club Road has begun

In order to make space for the planned expansion of the Resort at Longboat Key Club, the Longboat Club Road required a reroute that is to run directly through the driving range at the Links on Longboat, formerly Islandside Golf Course. That work has begun following the planning and zoning board approval of the driving range and cart barn move to a more northern spot. It was a change originally approved by the board in December. A new Pro Shop is planned within the next two years that will be adjacent to the cart barn. The company has already brought in plants for the project and preparing them on one of the unused tennis courts.

All this is in preparation for the planned hotel that was approved by voters in a referendum in 2015. The referendum will allow the Longboat Key Club to convert 300 residences to tourism units to be used for the 259 unit hotel. Hotel plans also call for 10 to 12 more meeting rooms. A left-turn lane off Longboat Club Road will be constructed before the guard gate to help with traffic flow for hotel guests. Ocean Properties, the hotel management and development company of the Longboat Key Club, has not publicly announced a build-out date.

Developer faces off against owners at Colony Beach & Tennis Resort

Longboat Observer update
Colony Beach & Tennis Resort - Developers faced with obstacles to develop the abandoned property.

Unicorp National Developments and its chief Chuck Whittall are trying to develop the abandoned Colony Beach & Tennis Resort they purchased in 2014. The property has gone through voter rejection of an original plan of planned usage and final approval from the planning and zoning board this year of a change to a 166-room hotel with 78 luxury residences. A spa and ballroom are among the amenities planned for the resort. It will be operated by St. Regis, a management company of five-star hotels including the Starwood Hotels & Resorts brand.

But there are still owners of some of the condominiums and beach townhouses of the original Colony that are willing to fight in court to keep their property. They have rejected purchase offers from Unicorp. Even the existence of a Colony Beach & Tennis Association stalls the project, it must be disbanded first to continue. As it stands, the Colony continues to deteriorate causing a nuisance for Longboat Key.

I hope you are having a good Memorial Day and the rains haven’t dampened your plans. Last week I listed a Beachplace residence in building 10. It is a light and open layout with three spacious bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances, plus almost 2,000-square-feet of interior. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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Memorial Day 2018 weekend events

by Roger Pettingell

Parades to concerts this weekend

One of a kind dedication to those who sacrificed lives in submarine service

On Eternal Patrol
On Eternal Patrol - An exclusive to Sarasota, 66 On Eternal Patrol honoring submariners who lost their lives patrolling the world's oceans will be dedicated and deployed this weekend in the Gulf of Mexico.

This weekend we honor those who fought and made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our country. There are many ceremonies around Sarasota to remember those gallant men and women of the armed forces. You may be familiar with these ceremonies but there is a new one that stands out as the only one of its kind in the United States.

Out in the Gulf of Mexico and in Sarasota Bay there are areas dedicated to artificial reefs. Some of them are concrete blocks where the circle of life continues on a daily basis. There is rubble from old bridges hauled out to sea in support of these fish havens. Take your boat out 12.6 nautical miles in the 239 degree direction from the New Pass Buoy and you would find five Army Tanks in 65 feet of water. They were placed there in the Fallen Heroes reef, dedicated in 1985 as a memorial to those who fought for our country’s freedom as members of land forces. You would also see a landing craft and railroad box cars.

Round reef balls made of concrete are there. Holes allow aquatic creatures to pass through the exterior to the hollow center. This is a great location for anglers and few ever see the memorial that lies below the surface of the Gulf. These reef balls are manufactured in Sarasota by Reef Innovations. You can dedicate one to serve as a permanent legacy for a passed loved one. The memorial service can include scattering of ashes in a burial at sea ceremony.

The public is invited to Ken Thompson Park on City Island this Sunday to witness a one-of-a-kind ceremony when 66 of these reef balls will serve as a memorial to the sailors of each submarine lost at sea in combat or non-combat maneuvers. The program begins at 10 AM and each reef ball will receive full military honors. This On Eternal Patrol ceremony concludes with the playing of taps for the 99 servicemen of the USS Scorpion. Tuesday, May 22, 1968 will be the 50th anniversary date of its foundering. Sarasota Military Academy Prep School students will act as docents for the ceremony. One reef ball will honor those who died in non-sinking incidents.

Saturday you can tour the Reef Innovations manufacturing facility at 1126 Central Avenue but reservations are required for this free tour by calling (941) 330-0501. A deployment ceremony of a single eternal reef will take place in the Gulf on Monday. The remaining reef balls will be deployed at a later date. To help fund this $200,000 project the group is accepting donations through their Eternal Reefs website.

An Air Force flyover is expected at the 10 AM start of the All Gave Some, Some Gave All parade downtown at the intersection of Osprey Avenue and Main Street on Monday. The Sarasota Military Academy and the Blair High School band from Omaha, Nebraska will join other service organizations as they lead down Main Street to J.D. Hamel Park for the Memorial Day ceremony.

The Tribute to Heroes parade in Lakewood Ranch will begin at 7 PM Monday, travelling down Main Street to the party at the end featuring live music and concessions. The pre-parade party begins at 6 PM on Main Street.

Keynote speaker Brigadier General Richard Blunt will address the gathering at Veteran’s Monument Park by the Bradenton Riverwalk behind Manatee Memorial Hospital. The Manatee County Veterans' Council presents the ceremony that will also feature ceremonial wreath laying by local veteran service organizations beginning at 9 AM.

Also on Monday a Memorial Day Ceremony will be held in Patriot’s Park on U.S. 41 in Venice. The ceremony begins at 10 AM, sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 8118. American Legion NO-VEL, Post 159 will host an open house following the ceremony. State representative Dr. Julio Gonzalez will be the featured speaker, with other speeches from Venice Vice Mayor Bob Daniels, Sarasota County Commissioner Charles Hines and U.S. Army Master Sgt. Gordon Sherven. Lawn chairs are encouraged.

1331 Quail Drive
New listing - 1331 Quail Drive

There are a couple concerts on Monday with Memorial Day themes. The Myakka River Blues Festival at Snook Haven in Venice starts at 11 AM. The Rusty Wright Band from Michigan is the headline band with two stages devoted to non-stop music until 6 PM. The Sarasota Concert Band will be featured in the Memorial Day Concert starting at 5 PM in Philippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.

Services will be held at local churches on Saturday, including Palma Sola Presbyterian Church in Bradenton and Sunday at St. James Methodist Church in Sarasota. The Sarasota Jungle Gardens is offering free admission this weekend with one paid admission. Participating restaurants and shops on St. Armands Circle are offering discount prices to veterans on Monday. Also, many government service offices and banks will be closed on Monday in celebration of Memorial Day. Have a safe and wonderful weekend.

Weekend, May 26-28, 2018 events

Event Location City Start
Honoring Armed Forces Jungle Gardens Sarasota 10 AM

Saturday, May 26, 2018 events

Event Location City Start
Memorial Day Show, concert Palma Sola Presbyterian Church Bradenton 4 PM
Eternal Patrol, facility tour Reef Innovations Sarasota Call

Sunday, May 27, 2018 events

Event Location City Start
Memorial Day, honors National Cemetery Sarasota 10 AM
On Eternal Patrol, dedication Ken Thompson Park City Island 10 AM
Memorial Day Show, concert St. James Methodist Church Sarasota 4 PM
A Tribute to Heroes, parade Main Street LWR 6 PM

Monday, May 28, 2018 events

Event Location City Start
Military Appreciation Day Shops and Restaurants St. Armands Call
Memorial Day ceremony Veterans' Monument Park Bradenton 9 AM
Memorial Day, parade Downtown Sarasota 10 AM
Memorial Day, ceremony Patriots Park Venice 10 AM
On Eternal Patrol, deployment Designated reef site Gulf TBD
Memorial Day, concert Philippi Estate Park Sarasota 5 PM

Last week I listed a sensational home in Oyster Bay at 1331 Quail Drive. Built in 2006, you will love the lush, Florida-sourced landscape and an open layout adorned with glass walls of sliders and windows, allowing for seamless indoor-to-outdoor entertaining. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.

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Community Spotlight - Oyster Bay

by Roger Pettingell

Close to attractions and Field Club

'West of the Trail' community of custom built single-family homes

Home for sale at 1235 N. Lake Shore Drive in Oyster Bay
1235 N. Lake Shore Drive - $2,495,000

Whenever you see a property for sale that is “West of the Trail”, meaning the Tamiami Trail, you are given the clue that this home is near the water. It’s a popular advertising statement whether the home is on the waterfront or is within a short distance. The community of Oyster Bay qualifies as “West of the Trail” and is a good location for a home.

But Oyster Bay has other amenities that make this community very attractive to home buyers and I outline some them in my REALTALK™ #150 video. Driving among the 168 custom built homes in Oyster Bay you have a feeling that this area is a wonderful place to raise a family. The large lots with unique homes grab your attention.

Anywhere between the Trail and Roberts Bay you are a short distance to the Field Club. This exclusive club is one of Sarasota’s oldest, named for Stanley and Sara Field who built a villa in 1925. Their wealth was amassed as heirs to the department store chain of Marshall Field, based in Chicago.

The home was purchased in 1957 to be used as a private club. Today members can reserve any one of nine tennis courts on the grounds. Lessons are available to individuals and groups of all ages by two of the area’s leading tennis professionals. Tournaments are held in the late winter and early spring. A wellness Center was added in 2015 with state of the art fitness equipment and group activity room.

The marina is open to Florida Council of Yacht Club and reciprocal yacht club members but must be reserved in advance through the dockmaster office. It is a full-service marina with electricity connections at the boat slips. Gasoline and diesel fuel is sold onsite. Fishing tournaments and poker runs are arranged on a regular basis by club members. A large pool with multiple swimming lanes is near the marina.

REALTALK #150 on the Field Club
The Field Club discussed in REALTALK™ #150.

There are five dining areas and one bar to choose from. The Grill Room offers a casual experience while the main Dining Room is the flagship experience. The Captain’s Room can be reserved for banquets or gatherings and the Commodore’s Room is for smaller groups. The Lagoon Terrace is a nice outside dining experience.

Oyster Bay is also known for its proximity to the Pine View School system, south in Osprey, a magnet school that attracts gifted children in grades two through 12. Any resident of Florida can apply to this school and demonstrate their need for an accelerated program. Living in Oyster Bay makes transportation to the school a little easier. U.S. News and World Report ranked Pine View as the number one in the state and number seven in the United States. In April a team from Pine View travelled to New York City and finished third in the National MathWorks Math Modeling Challenge.

If you are into golf, there are plenty of courses to choose from including the TPC Prestancia, a par 72 championship 18 hole course. TPC Prestancia has hosted a number of professional tournaments. Its social club is active and the 35,000 square foot club house offers the best in private meeting spaces and dining rooms.

The area has four fine nature parks. Phillippi Estate Park is on the southern edge of Oyster Bay across Phillippi Creek and includes such attractions as the historic Edson Keith Mansion, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A little further south is Oscar Scherer State Park, home to the threatened Florida Scrub Jay. Pinecraft Park is in the heart of Sarasota with hiking trails on 22 acres of land. Sand and water lovers will greatly appreciate Siesta Beach on the Gulf of Mexico.

4557 Camino Real
4557 Camino Real - $1,095,000

There are some good selections to purchase homes in Oyster Bay, I have two active listings and one to be listed soon. Water views in the front and back of this four-bedroom plus family and bonus rooms home create an idyllic backdrop for tranquil family living at 1235 N. Lake Shore Drive. You will love the charming courtyard, wonderful updates and boating access.

The home at 4557 Camino Real is a charming four bedroom Oyster Bay home for sale in a central location near the Field Club, only minutes from downtown Sarasota and unforgettable beaches. Move right in to this beautifully updated courtyard pool home.

Ready to be listed is a beautifully landscaped two-bedroom home for sale at 1331 Quail Drive. This light and open estate has a large home office on the second level. I recently sold a four-bedroom home at 4509 Camino Real that was designed by the famed architect Guy Peterson, closing at $2,295,000. Click here for a complete list of homes for sale in Oyster Bay. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing of any homes for sale in Oyster Bay or if you have a property to sell or buy.


Call us at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing


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Why Choose
Roger Pettingell?


  • Over 33 years as a top producing REALTOR® on Longboat Key and in Sarasota.


  • Number 1 single Coldwell Banker agent in all of Florida for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Number 1 Realtor on Longboat Key and Bird Key for 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Number 1 Realtor for all Sarasota in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017
  • Coldwell Banker Society of Excellence award in 2013, 2014 and 2016
  • Ranked among the top 250 agents in the country for 2014, 2016 and 2017 by REAL Trends as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

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About Roger Pettingell

Roger Pettingell of Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate is your Longboat Key, Florida Luxury Real Estate Specialist. Roger provides his real estate expertise to sellers, investors, developers, and buyers in the Sarasota area including Anna Maria, Bird Key, Bradenton Beach, Casey Key, Cortez, Grand Bay, Holmes Beach, Longboat Key, Marina Bay, Osprey and Siesta Key. Search for homes, luxury homes, condominiums, investment property, development property, and vacant land and lots on the Longboat Key, Florida and the surrounding area.