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Roger Pettingell


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Boating in our slice of Paradise

by Roger Pettingell

Relax on the Gulf or bay open waters

Great opportunities for owning, renting, booking a charter or dinner cruise

Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota
Boating Services at Marina Jack - From super-yachts to boat rentals and dinner cruises, this marina is highly respected throughout the United States for its expert services to boaters and fine dining.

We love our water here in Sarasota. We can travel the intracoastal, Sarasota Bay and Gulf of Mexico to fish, explore or just enjoy the open water. You can own your boat or you can join a club to avoid the maintenance. Or you can take advantage of the many charter operations with captains that seem to know exactly where the fish are hitting. And last, but not least, you can book a dinner cruise out of Marina Jack. There are advantages to each.

Are you prepared to enjoy the open waters safely? Being confident on the rules of the road and the waterway channels of Sarasota can make the trip more enjoyable. Having the proper safety equipment onboard and knowing how to use each can save your life or pass a U.S. Coast Guard inspection with ease.

The Sarasota Power and Sail Squadron can help with an American Boating Class (ABC) that teaches the basics of boating safety. ABC certification is not required to operate a boat in Florida waters unless you were born after January 1, 1988 and operate a boat of 10 HP or more. No one under the age of 14 can legally operate a craft, and the Personal Water Craft owner can be charged by allowing an under-age boat driver. Certification is also required in several states so you may already have the proper training. Even though not required, consult your insurance agent for reduced premiums. The squadron also provides boat inspections for free. This is an inspection that is recognized by the state and the Coast Guard to certify that the boat has the proper safety equipment and EPA notifications.

So it is up to you to take advantages of these opportunities. If you are traveling from another state and consider yourself an experienced boater you are well ahead of the game. But Florida has its own laws to abide by. In addition to those above, there are laws to protect swimmers, divers and marine animals. Some of it is just common sense. Operating a boat inside an area marked for swimming doesn’t make much sense. Markers, such as those on Coquina Beach are there to warn swimmers of the danger imposed by swimming outside the markers and boaters to signal them there are swimmers on the beach.

Watch out for red flags with a diagonal white patch, these signify divers are in the area. There are laws to protect divers and three boating restrictions are important to remember. If operating on a river, through a channel or inlets you must maintain a distance of 100 feet from the dive flag. It may be flown from the boat or float that have divers in the water or may be tethered to the diver below. In open water you are required to keep a distance of 300 feet from the dive flag. The third requirement is that you slow down when approaching a dive flag.

Sailing is taught at an early age here in Sarasota
Educational Programs - Sailing lessons in Sarasota.

Save the manatees. These graceful behemoths of the seas are in the open waters of the area in summer months but head to inland waterways October through April. At these times they are in inland areas such as Crystal River in the north and make a magnificent sight when they gather by the hundreds in the warm waters near the Tampa Electric Big Bend Power Station. Their slow movements prevent them from escaping a fast moving power boat. So boaters must be aware of their presence, the most visible sign of a submerged manatee is a large swirl of water on the surface. They surface at regular intervals where the show is a wonderful display of nature but they can hold their breath for up to 20 minutes.

As manatee are protected by law, so are dolphins. They don’t migrate as manatees do and will play around your boat with a show of their own. They are either dining on small fish or entertaining you and your boat guests. Remember that it is illegal to harass or feed dolphins and manatees.

Many anglers visit Florida for its rich supply of game fish. Fishing licenses are easy to obtain through many outlets and department stores that sell tackle such as Walmart. The licenses are divided into saltwater or freshwater designations. Florida residents may qualify for a free license if you plan to fish from a shoreline or structure attached to the land such as a fishing pier. Your children under the age of 16, residents over 65 and active duty members of U.S. armed forces do not require a license. There are more exemptions for freshwater fishing, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife website for more information.

Consult current regulations on the type and size of fish, violation of these rules can be devastating. Invasive species such as lionfish or tilapia are exempt from most of these rules. You’re doing a good thing by catching these species of fish. Tarpon are very large saltwater fish but produce heavy fines if you are in possession of one. A tarpon must be released once caught and tarpon over 40 inches must remain in the water to be released. You may purchase a tag to catch and possess if you are going after an International Game Fish Association record. The state record is 243 pounds caught near Key West. Although larger tarpon have been witnessed, the official world record is one caught in 2003 off the coast of Africa at 286 pounds, nine ounces. A list of  saltwater fish and their regulations is available online at

Coquina South Boat Ramps, Bradenton Beach
The boat ramps at Coquina Beach on Anna Maria Island have recently undergone a complete makeover with more parking spaces and additional boat launches.

There are many good marinas in the area from which to dock your boat. Super-sized yacht dockage is available at the Longboat Key Club Marina and Marina Jack in Sarasota. There are many boat owners who trailer their vessels so they can be more mobile and avoid dockage fees. Nearly every city in the area has a marina park with a public boat ramp. In the Sarasota area there are boat ramps in Centennial Park downtown, on City Island in Ken Thompson Park and Turtle Beach, south of Siesta Key. There are a number of boat launches on the Manatee River in Bradenton. In Manatee County there is the Kingfish Boat Ramp in Holmes Beach and Palma Sola Causeway Boat Ramp. The Coquina Beach South Boat Ramp was recently resurfaced with more parking and ramps.

Sailboating can be rewarding and relaxing. Still care should be exercised. Sarasota Bay has some very shallow open waters that can easily be seen on a nautical chart. Download a two-week free trial of the popular Navionics Boating SmartPhone app, available for Apple or Android phones. This app provides a wealth of information for boaters including depth charts. Boats with large drafts should be concerned when navigating Big Pass south of Lido Key or New Pass on the south end of Longboat Key. The Coast Guard has issued warnings for these two inlets and have announced in March they will no longer maintain the channel markers as the shoals shift with different storms. For access to the Gulf of Mexico by sailboat, the Longboat Pass between Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island at maker 85 is consistently deeper, but still may be shallow in areas with depths of 4.5 feet. The draw-bridge there is maintained 24 hours a day and accessed on VHF channel 9.

You may be familiar with the phrase, red-right returning. This refers to the red triangular markers that show the channels, they should be on your right. The green square markers that are even numbered should be on your left when returning from the open water. But what about the intracoastal that runs from New Jersey to the Mexican border? The marker numbers will be in increasing order and the red will be on the side of largest land mass, the continental United States. Intercoastal markers should also have a yellow symbol on the marker for easier navigation. Red will be on the right when returning from a large body of water to a smaller body of water such as a marina channel.

If you don’t own a boat and still want the pleasure of open water boating there a few options for you. We can start with Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota, one of the country’s best marinas. Not to mention they have outstanding dining, they have full service for boaters. From rentals to charters, these independent contractors are experienced in the ways of boating. Reserve a relaxing sunset on the water with a dinner cruise aboard the Marina Jack II. Cannons Marina on Longboat Key also provide rental boats. There are other marinas on Anna Maria Island, Sarasota and Bradenton that offer similar services.

Marina and Moorings of the Longboat Key Club
Serving Longboat Key - Considered a safe harbor from storms, the Marina and Moorings of the Longboat Key Club provides many services. This view is from a listing at Grand Bay, click on the image for details.

The Freedom Boat Club has an office at Marina Jack. Membership will get you access to a good supply of boats for pleasure or fishing. A basic boat safety class and on-water training is provided with an initial membership application. There are locations all over the United States, where members can reserve a boat at each location. A free sailing class for members is offered and each location has one sail boat on hand. Once a member, take advantage of their area locations in Nokomis, Venice, Gulf Gate Estates and Palmetto.

Enjoy the open waters in our little slice of paradise. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 for an exclusive showing or if you have a property to sell or buy.



Showcase XXV - Global Luxury Homes

by Roger Pettingell

Unique combination of Showcase Homes

Three Coldwell Banker residences in Sarasota, Englewood and Longboat Key

Savoy on Palm in downtown Sarasota
Savoy on Palm - 401 S. Palm Avenue

In our home showcase series, we highlight the communities of three new listings that meet the criteria of the Coldwell Banker Global Luxury brand. These are residences in the Savoy on Palm in downtown Sarasota, Galleons Reach in Englewood and on the Gulf of Mexico in the Sands Point community of Longboat Key. Coldwell Banker has established minimum criteria for its Global Luxury brand based on price and features and posts those residences on the website

I highlighted the Savoy on Palm in my REALTALK™ #164 video. The residences here were designed to replace single-property homes in the heart of downtown. Only 24 homes on 11 stories here create a good sense of close community within a luxury lifestyle. Constructed with the storm-tolerant building codes of 2006, these residences start with several three-bedrooms at 2,975, 3,172 and 3,600 square feet. The two penthouse suites of 4,385 and 5,708 square feet offer a great view of the bay, Ringling Bridge and downtown Sarasota.

Walk through the grand lobby to everything that Sarasota has to offer. It is a short walk to the magnificent Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, where the study of epiphyte plants is known throughout the world. Epiphytes do not rely on soil for its nutrients but rely on other plants or from rain or air in marine environments. In the Burns Court district of Sarasota, the Savoy on Palm is in the center of shopping, fine restaurants and the Burns Court Cinema in the next block. It is a short drive to the theatres and the beaches over the Ringling Bridge. But, if you just want to stay home and relax, you can take advantage of the heated swimming pool or exercise in the fitness center.

The fourth-floor residence I have for sale in #402 is a rarely-available opportunity to enjoy a spacious, 3,600 square-foot layout. The customized three-bedroom floor plan was tweaked during its original construction and offers Travertine flooring throughout, cook’s kitchen and two generous terraces that overlooks the bay and downtown. Perfect for entertaining, the Butler’s pantry, equipped with wet bar and wine cooler, is situated between the formal dining area and eat-in kitchen. The master retreat offers a spa-inspired bathroom, five linear closets each for him and her, plus an additional walk-in closet for her; you will love this impressive space available for $2.3 million.

Englewood, rich exploration of the outdoors

Galleons Reach home for sale, Englewood
Englewood - 6155 Manasota Key Road

We travel to the popular Englewood community on the border of Sarasota and Charlotte counties for our next showcase. The town is on the coast of Lemon Bay and Manasota Key, a barrier island on the Gulf of Mexico. Visitors are attracted to Englewood for its many activities, beaches and environment focus. Currently its Pioneer Days are in full swing, with plenty of weekend activities, concluding with its 62nd annual parade Labor Day Weekend, September 3.

Englewood is near the Myakka State Forest, part of the Myakka Estuary Conservation and Recreation Lands, bordering on 2.5 miles of the Myakka River. The forest of 8,592 acres has plenty to offer to the outdoor enthusiast that includes hiking, bicycling, primitive camping and small game hunting. There is plenty of wildlife to search and you may wander upon a bobcat, bald eagle, scarce Florida Scrub Jay or an occasional deer in your path.

The home I have listed in the Galleons Reach community at 6155 Manasota Key Road offers 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 listed at $1,695,000. Soaring oak trees and elaborate foliage surround this gated three-bedroom plus office estate. Built by John McIntyre in 2007 boasts superior construction of the highest standards. The two-story interior offers an effortless flow, featuring cathedral ceilings with coffered details, Travertine and Bamboo flooring, two-stop elevator, gourmet kitchen and much more. Take the winding, tree-canopied seashell pathway to enjoy your own dock and lift, including kayak launch, fire pit, fish-cleaning station and tiki bar.

Sands Point, on the southern edge of Longboat Key

Sands Point on New Pass
Sands Point - Amenities and near Longboat Key Club.

On the south end of Longboat Key, behind the gates of the prestigious Longboat Key Club, rests the perfectly situated community of Sands Point. The community itself has a sensational list of amenities and location features. Residents enjoy top-notch amenities including a stylish clubhouse, geothermal heated swimming pool and spa overlooking pristine beaches, plus private Tiki huts, space to lounge and dine. You will adore the convenience of walking a few steps from your front door to the community’s private marina. The location puts you close to the fabulous St. Armands Circle and the wonders of Sarasota with its entertainment, shopping and dining experiences.

Take advantage of a Longboat Key Club membership and your world opens up to resort style living. This world-class resort offers some of the best golfing on two of its championships courses with the Links on Longboat nearly steps from your front door. The club offers 20 Har-Tru tennis courts with pro shop. The spa and salon is under 9,000 square feet of pure luxury. Explore a new restaurant each day of the week by visiting one of eight fine restaurants at the resort. The storm-protected marina offers the best in services for luxury yachts up to 150 feet.

Spectacular sunsets abound from nearly every room of this stunningly updated 2,000 square-foot furnished residence at 100 Sands Point Rd, #115. Situated directly on the white sandy beach of the Gulf, where you can walk out to enjoy pristine shores and white-capped waves. The floor-to-ceiling walls of glass showcase breathtaking vistas. Walk in and immediately fall in love with the open layout that effortlessly flows from the newly-updated chef’s kitchen to the immaculate great room, and relish the privacy of a split bedroom plan. Move right in to this beach getaway, listed at $1,395,000. Call us and we will explore this listing and other offerings at Sands Point.

New listings last week at Longboat Key Towers and Grand Bay

3060 Grand Bay Blvd, #112
New listing in Building I of Grand Bay

I listed two Longboat Key residences last week, one at Grand Bay on the bay side and a wonderful residence in the north building of Longboat Key Towers on the Gulf of Mexico beach. Move right in and immediately begin enjoy this charming three-bedroom Biscayne residence at 3060 Grand Bay Blvd, #112 with deeded access to the Bay Isles Beach Club. The light and open two-bedroom residence at 603 Longboat Club Rd, #502N is a flourish of breathtaking views that stretch from the Gulf of Mexico to Sarasota Bay and downtown. 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
603 Longboat Club Rd, #502N $895,000   Photo Slideshow
3060 Grand Bay Blvd, #112 $749,000   Photo Slideshow


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


Venice Cabaret Festival in full swing

by Roger Pettingell

Festival continues through August 26

The history and theatre location changes date back to 1950 in Venice

Venice Little Theatre
Venice Theatre - The Venice Little Theatre shown here had a name change following renovations in 2008.

Although the Venice Cabaret Festival for 2018 has just started, there are 12 more different shows on 24 nights through August 26 at the Venice Theatre. A whole lot of entertainment is on its way from Sinatra, Rodgers & Hammerstein to burlesque and fairy tales in song. Now in its sixth year, the festival brings something for everyone, including some popular repeat performances from past years.

All the festival shows are at the Venice Theatre. The theatre has been in different locations over the years since its inception in November of 1950, the first of which was a WWII metal army barracks with chairs donated by a local funeral home. Other local organizations pitched in with labor and businesses donated construction material. And by Christmas of 1950 Venice Theatre opened its first performance, a successful production of The Torchbearers. Venice grew over the years through advanced interstate travel. In the 1970s the theatre moved to its current location on West Tampa Avenue through the acquisition of an abandoned military institute gymnasium.

Today the main stage has a capacity of 432 guests, while the cabaret Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre has seating for 90 guests. The theatre has grown in other ways over the years. An education and community outreach program was added in 1992. It has grown to be considered as the largest community theatre per capita in the United States and has won numerous awards by individuals for their dedicated contributions to the theatre, Yvonne Pinkerton and Geri Becker. Since its opening the theatre has received awards for best musical and best play while actors have received numerous awards from multiple organizations. See a list of their awards here.

Michelle Kasanofsky
Michelle Kasanofsky performs in three separate shows.

So the show must go on as it has over the last 68 years. Next up on the Cabaret Festival list is Better Late Than Never, this Thursday evening with a matinee Sunday. New York singer Carey Yaruss returns to the stage with a variety of song genres to explain her rise to becoming a mother in Florida. The theatre director, Michelle Kasanofsky accompanies Carey on piano.

But Michelle Kasanofsky does not take a break, she teams with her father George Mancini for a medley of movie tunes Friday and Saturday evenings in Cruising to the Movies. Veteran Venice Theatre drummer Joel Broome accompanies them but they have added a special segment with cruise ship music, an entertaining ensemble featuring Mikal Mancini and Khamor Lyons.

Joel Broome is highlighted in two shows, I Got Rhythm, Sunday evening with a repeat matinee performance on August 18. Joel is center stage with a supporting band to perform songs of his own composition along with familiar songs including recording great James Brown.

The matinee on Saturday features Francine Smetts as Franny Lonesome. This is a different kind of western love music with genres from jazz to western swing. A group of musicians perform with Francine, Dorian Boyd, Kim Kollar, Michelle Neal, Andrew Leach, Alana Opie and Rik Robertson. Another performance of Franny Lonesome is set for the evening of August 9.

The education program displays the talent of its young performers in two late night performances August 9 and 10. The SummerStock educational program is high-energy training for aspiring theatre performers. Director Brad Wages and musical director Peter Madpak are two professionals involved in the extensive training of these young actors. They have already one production in the festival, Into the Woods. Their upcoming performance of Fractured Fairy Tales split the young cast into two groups of performances each night. Storybook characters are portrayed through original songs recomposed from old-time favorites. Into the Woods moves to the main stage August 3 through 12.

John Lariviere Sinatra tribute
Sinatra Tribute - John Lariviere revives his songs.

Who doesn’t like the silver voice of Frank Sinatra. Venice audiences prove that they do, especially when John Lariviere pays tribute to the master in the Sinatra Songbook. This show was sold out two consecutive years. He also has credits in film, radio, TV and an Internet series. Tickets for his August 11 and 12 matinee performances are still available.

Interested in some history back to the 1800s? Want to revisit it as passionate revivals through song? Catch the protests of years past in Dorian and The Furniture presents “GO!” with one evening show on August 12. You can expect songs from contemporaries James Taylor and Indigo Girls. But back to history with a 19th century composition by Stephen Foster and others in between.

No two performances are the same in Not My Type, but they will have you laughing so you can enjoy both evening shows, August 16 and 19. The star of the show, Liz Pascone, is joined on stage by actors Jamie Lee Butrum, Alana Opie, David Walker, Dorian Boyd and anyone from the audience that is asked on-stage. The group of five will perform songs from familiar theatre characters singing other character’s songs. Should be fun, both nights.

And if those two shows didn’t fully satisfy your funny bone experience, catch the Summer Beach Party, presented by comedy and song group, Big Red Nose Burlesque. Comedy, burlesque, singing and dancing is combined for two nights of hilarious fun August 17 and 18. There are tributes to Donna Summer, Lady GaGa, Katy Perry and songs from the musical Grease.

Stephen Ditchfield takes to the stage for matinee performances on August 19 and 26 with his solo performance of songs in As Time Goes By. Stephen has been performing for large and small audiences for 30 years. His repertoire includes Broadway hits, big band and patriotic classics. In As Time Goes By he performs the songs as you remember them.

Kim Kollar and Bobby Eschenbach are accompanied by Michelle Kasanofsky on piano and Joel Broome on drums in Tony’s Girls for three cabaret festival shows. They perform Tony Award winning musicals and top nominated Broadway musicals. There are two evening shows August 23 and 24 and one final opportunity to catch this act on August 25 at the 2PM matinee.

Rodgers & Hammerstein by Kristofer Geddie
The 2018 festival concludes with a tribute to Rodgers & Hammerstein by Kristofer Geddie on August 26.

What better way to complete the festival than with award-winning songs from Rodgers & Hammerstein. The magical genius songbook of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II duo is presented on-stage by Kristofer Geddie in Something Good. Kristofer shows his own talent in performing some of their best known songs on August 25 and 26.

The general seating cabaret style in the smaller Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre is a fun way to watch a performance in a relaxed atmosphere. The $17 tickets are now available online. Special thanks to Laurie Colton of the Venice Theatre for photos used in this article. Please contact me at (941) 387-1840 if you have a property to sell or buy.


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


Shark Days at Mote Marine

by Roger Pettingell

Education on our existence with sharks

Coincides with 30th Anniversary of the Discovery Channel's Shark Week

Shark Days
Shark Days - Programs run four days this week.

While the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and professional fighter Ronda Rousey get wet with sharks on the Discovery Channel, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is having its own celebrations during the 30th anniversary of Shark Week. The Discovery Channel kicked off its eight days on Sunday, Mote Marine will begin their four days of Real Sharks, Real Science on Wednesday with some special events.

Attention to sharks this year started on television July 15 with National Geographic’s SharkFest, two weeks of movies and documentaries about these denizens of the oceans. Now in its sixth year, National Geographic aired three premieres on its first night about sharks in Cancun, Mexico, sharks versus tuna and a documentary about a 1977 incident when two killer whales killed a giant great white off the coast of San Francisco.

At Mote Marine it all begins at noon on Wednesday with Shark Days Livestream, a collaboration between Mote Marine and OCEARCH. Dr. Bob Heuter, Director of the Center for Shark Research at Mote Marine and Chris Fischer, Founding Chairman of OCEARCH will lead an online discussion on the importance of studying these ocean predators. OCEARCH is a world leader in collecting data for the study of marine animals such as great white sharks and tiger sharks. They have tagged many sharks to track them in the oceans with transmitters on such sharks as Katharine, whose last ping was February 15.

Dr. Heuter, an expert on shark research, appeared with Mote scientist Jack Morris in a Discovery Channel 2015 Shark Week episode Tiburones: The Sharks of Cuba. The two researchers joined a team of Cuban scientists to study shark populations in the waters surrounding Cuba where large great whites have been spotted.

Also at noon on Wednesday you can get involved with your purchase at participating vineyard vines stores. Until 4 PM, 20 percent of all purchases at the vineyard vines stores will be donated to Mote Marine to continue this valuable research. There are more than 21 store locations across the Florida and South Atlantic region including The Mall at University Town Center store. Mention Mote Marine by calling the Sarasota store (941) 444-3805 with your order any time Wednesday for your donation to be counted. A special launch of their Shark Collection will begin that day.

On Thursday from 11 AM to 1 PM tables will be set up in the courtyard of Mote Marine for children to learn and create crafts that are in the theme of Sharks & Crafts. This is a free event with your regular admission on Thursday. Adults can join Dr. Heuter at Louies Modern for a casual conversation Science Café: Sharks, Tales & Ales. The content of this free discussion is set on the theme of your relationships with life in the sea. Doors will open at 5:30 PM for the program that begins at 6 PM on Thursday.

There will be half-hour live shark feeding presentation on Facebook Friday starting at 11 AM. Biologists at Mote will demonstrate shark training techniques using positive reinforcement.

The Fins and Fun Family Festival will conclude Shark Days at Mote on Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM. Greet Mote’s mascot Gilly the Shark and dance to music provided by the band EveryOneRocks. Children will also learn about the importance of sharks through discussions put on by the Mote Marine education department. There will be games, crafts and face painting at this free event with your paid admission.

Mote Marine recently received another boost of recognition within the shark research community. A new species of dogfish shark was discovered by using DNA. The shark found in the deep waters of the western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico has officially been given the scientific name of Squalus Clarkae, common name of Genie’s Dogfish. It was named for the first woman scientist to study the habits of sharks, Dr. Eugenie Clark. She founded the Cape Haze Marine Laboratory in 1955, renamed Mote Marine Laboratory in 1967 in honor of William R. Mote, a major benefactor.

New Mote Aquarium rendering
Rendering of the proposed Mote Marine Aquarium

The main campus of Mote Marine is now on City Island but it also has field stations throughout Florida. The Aquaculture Research Park has over 200 acres for a variety of marine studies. It has partnered with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission to help restore populations of snook. In its Marine Aquaponics program, Mote Marine scientists study efficient means to farm marine plants and fishes. The Florida Pompano fish, marine fisheries and hatcheries for off-shore fish is another focus of this field station. Here they also study the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The Charlotte Harbor field station in Boca Grande is dedicated to the preservation of the wildlife in this deep-water inlet. It is also a way station for the tarpon fishery. The Mote Eco-Discovery Center in Key West has partnered with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to educate the public on the coral ecosystems. Coral reef research and restoration is also the focus of the Elizabeth Moore International Center in Summerland Key.

And now Mote Maine is looking to expand again, a $130 million aquarium off Interstate 75, just south of The Mall at University Town Center on county-owned land in Nathan Benderson Park. The City Island station will continue its research with approximately 200 employees. County Commissioners approved the move last month and will conduct a feasibility study to fund a $20 million portion of the total cost using tourism tax money.


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


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


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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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