Updates from July, 2012

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  • Family Travel Five: Celebrity Haunts

    9:23 am on July 26, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: celebrity news, travel trends,   Filed under: Consumer news and advice, People, Tourism

    (MCT)—When it comes to valuing getaways, celebrity parents are no different than the rest of us. Here are five places, inspired by the travels of the rich and famous, where any family can deepen their bonds:

    1. The Galápagos Islands. The Jolie-Pitt clan is often on the move. While private jets, nannies and security teams take some of the hassle out of traveling with six kids, these high-profile parents seem determined to show their children the world. Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and the children recently stopped in the Galápagos Islands, a World Heritage site off the coast of Ecuador, where they snorkeled, played in the sand and visited several of the islands made famous by Charles Darwin.

    It was reported the family divided their time between a luxury yacht and a land-based resort.

    (More …)

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  • Best Places to Retire 2012 - 10 Great Sunny Places to Retire

    11:37 am on January 26, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: AARP, , Dr. Beach, , ,   Filed under: Buyer Info, Consumer news and advice, Retirement, Sarasota, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info, Siesta Key, The Gulf Islands, Tourism, Vacation

    If bright skies and warm temperatures are on your must-have list, these cities fit the bill

     from: AARP | January 2012
    Sarasota, Florida

    If you’ve ever dreamed of retiring on the best beach in the U.S., now might be your chance: Siesta Beach, of the dozens of waterfront strands in and around Sarasota, earned the top beach in the U.S. honors from Dr. Beach for the white sands, crystal water and wide area for sunbathing, playing or people watching.

    Sarasota, which sits south of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is beach-centric but there’s more to this city of 52,025 people than simply embedding toes in sand.

    See also: Ten best states for retirement.

    Start with the arts scene, which includes a renowned Rubens collection at the Ringling Museum of Art, which is adjacent to John Ringling’s Ca D’Zan Mansion, an impressive, if somewhat gaudy, homage to Venetian Gothic architecture. Sarasota also has its own opera house, ballet company, symphony orchestra and multiple theaters, all in a modern downtown surrounded by water.

    The city’s historic neighborhoods include Towles Court art district, which harbors colorful wooden homes, galleries, shops and restaurants. Main Street is ideal for walking — and popping in and out of quaint boutiques and restaurants, along with lively bars. Towles Court hosts regular art walks, featuring works of local artists.
    For non-beach natural diversions, forge into Myakka River State Park, which offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails, campgrounds, cabin rentals and airboat tours. Wildlife here includes red-tailed hawks, otters, foxes and alligators. And for man-made diversions? Golf and tennis are big in Sarasota, with dozens of public and private courses and hundreds of tennis courts. For baseball fans, Ed Smith Stadium is the spring training headquarters of the Baltimore Orioles and home to a minor league franchise.

    Sarasota was hit hard during the housing crash and is still recovering. Foreclosures are a big issue here, but that also means you might pick up a house at a steep discount. Unemployment is above the national average and most jobs are in retail, tourism and hospitality, and thus don’t pay well. But prices of most goods and services are in line with incomes, thus the cost of living index is average.

    Crime is above average here but most residents say they are happy living here, and most are fairly healthy: The obesity rate is below the national average (although the diabetes rate is slightly above average). While there’s no science to prove it, good health and happiness may be linked to hanging around some of the world’s best beaches every day.

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  • Profile of International Home Buyers in Florida from the National Association of Realtors

    2:54 pm on September 6, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , Foreign buyers, ,   Filed under: Bradenton, Florida Association of Realtors, International, Manantee, National Association of Realtors, Sarasota, Seller Info, Tourism

    Please click on image below for further inforamtion and printable format
























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  • Michael Saunders & Company International Brochure

    3:09 pm on June 22, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,   Filed under: Christie's International Real Estate, Consumer news and advice, Global Affiliates, Luxury Portfolio, Mayfair International, Seller Info, Statistics, Tourism, Web

    Click on image for printable format

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  • Condé Nast Traveler:2010 Readers' Choice Awards

    1:12 pm on October 21, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: Longboat Key. agent information, , Top Islands,   Filed under: Agent information, Longboat Key, The Gulf Islands, Tourism

    Pictured: Maui. Photo: Paul Costello, Condé Nast TravelerTop Islands
    The world’s top 50 islands hide a big secret: There are actually more than 3,300 of them, stretching from the South Pacific to the North Atlantic. Consider Bermuda, the top-rated islands in the Western Hemisphere—yes, islands. Comprised of 138 isles, it is, like many winners, an archipelago. There are 3 Caymans, 41 Tuamotus, 115 Seychelles, and a whopping 1,185 Dalmatians. The No. 1 winner (for the 14th time), Maui is the only island to score above 90 this year. Closer to home, several North American islands make their top 10 debut: Victoria, Florida’s Longboat Key, and St. Simons. (More …)
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  • LBK’s sand, surf still as clean as before

    4:01 pm on August 25, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , ,   Filed under: Communities, Consumer news and advice, The Gulf Islands, Tourism

    Guest Columnist

    As this edition of the Longboat Key News goes to press, the last chapter in the ugly saga of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is being written. After a summer of depressing headlines and grim images of the spill’s effects on beaches, marine life, businesses and tourism along the northern Gulf Coast, the latest dispatches from the disaster site bring much welcomed relief.

    The Macondo Well has been successfully capped from above; and a more elaborate procedure involving pumping mud and concrete down its casing—called “static kill”— was declared a complete success by the officials, scientists and engineers involved. Over the next few days, the long-awaited relief well will intersect the damaged well at its base and pump in additional mud and concrete from below. Once the concrete hardens, as it already has from above, the well will be declared officially dead and recovery along the affected areas of the gulf Coast can truly begin in earnest. Thankfully Southwest Florida is nowhere near the affected areas—those being certain beaches and waterways along coastal Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and a small sliver of Florida’s far western panhandle (which has already been cleaned-up). (More …)

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  • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Update June 21, 2010

    8:59 am on June 22, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , ,   Filed under: Tourism

    Updated June 21, 2010 11:45 a.m.

    Dime to five inch-sized tar balls continue to be found in Northwest Florida. There have been no reports of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill-related oil products reaching the shore beyond the Northwest Florida region. There is no indication that the rest of the state will have impacts from weathered oil products within the next 72 hours.

    The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has issued an executive order to temporarily close a portion of coastal state waters offshore of Escambia County to the harvest of saltwater fish, crabs and shrimp, learn more.  Currently, all other state waters remain open to recreational fishing .

    While there are currently no health advisories in effect, if residents or visitors see tar or oiled debris on the beach, DO NOT PICK IT UP. For most people, an occasional brief contact with a small amount of oil will do no harm, yet still it is not recommended. Learn more.

    At this time, there are no beach closures and the majority of Florida’s state waters remain open to recreational fishing. Florida’s 825 miles of beaches, 1,260 miles of coastline and 14 seaports, including cruise ships, remain open for business.

    VISIT FLORIDA believes that planning your Sunshine State vacation should be the beginning of a great experience. If you’re concerned about any potential impact from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, we encourage you to check with local destinations in order to get the most up-to-date information. To make it easy, we’re providing you links below.

    For the state’s official response to the oil spill: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/

    For official trajectory and forecast information, visit NOAA’s site.

    Florida Live

    See real-time images, webcams, Twitter feeds, beach condition updates and videos from people in the Sunshine State now. Go to Florida Live.


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  • A world at play on Longboat Key

    2:25 pm on June 8, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: ,   Filed under: Tourism

    Guest Columnist

    Barely 11 miles separates the two bridges that attach Longboat Key to the rest of the world. In between, the relatively short strand of Gulf of Mexico Drive linking the two reveals an island filled with recreational opportunities, beginning with the extra-wide sidewalk that parallels the road from bridge to bridge. This is, in fact, a bike trail—founded by “Zeke” Epstein in 1967 and completed through the efforts of the Bike Association in 1978—which allows cyclists to pedal the entire length of the island more safely, much of it while enjoying close-up views of the Gulf of Mexico. Its dedication plaque can be seen in front of Bicentennial Park at 2730 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

    Come to think of it, cycling it is a great way to get a complete feel for all there is to see and do on Longboat Key. Starting at the island’s southernmost tip, Quick Point Nature Preserve launches your tour with a magnificent glimpse of what Longboat Key must have looked like a hundred years ago before tourism and development came along. The public acquisition and restoration of Quick Point shows how much can be done to restore and protect a healthy mangrove and wetland habitat; whose ecosystem nourishes marine life, filters pollutants from the water and helps mitigate the effects of coastal erosion. (More …)

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  • Americans More Likely to Travel, Spend This Year

    4:23 pm on May 20, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , ,   Filed under: Tourism

    RISMEDIA, May 20, 2010—(MCT)—The “staycation” is so last year. Americans who plan to vacation this summer will spend more money and stay away longer than last year, when staying home was more the norm, according to a new survey commissioned by American Express Co.

    Although the percentage of Americans who will travel this summer has remained about the same (51%), of those who will hit the road, 67% will spend more money than they did a year earlier and 74% will take the same length of vacation or longer, according to a survey of 2,000 Americans.

    The survey findings, along with improving hotel occupancy rates and rising demand for airline seats, suggest Americans are loosening their purse strings somewhat on vacation spending, in contrast to the penny-pinching habits of travelers during the economic slump of the past year and a half.

    “The summer vacation, and particularly the family vacation, is alive and well this year,” said Audrey Hendley, vice president of American Express Travel, a division of the credit card company.

    Jason Womack, a consultant from Ojai, Calif., who coaches business executives on efficiency, said he tells clients to take time off work to get a better perspective on business. “What the recession taught me is that even when it looks like the best thing to do is to hunker down with my nose to the grindstone, it’s equally important to lift up, get away and get perspective,” he said.

    After declining for the last two summers, demand for airline travel is expected to rise by about 1% this summer, an increase of 202 million passengers compared with last summer, according to a forecast issued this month by the Air Transport Association of America, the trade group that represents most U.S. airlines.

    Until recently, occupancy rates and average daily room rates had been dropping monthly since October 2008. The hotel industry now expects to see occupancy rates increase 2.2% this summer to 63% compared with last summer, with the average daily room rate rising 1.9% to $95, according to a forecast by Smith Travel Research Inc., a major hospitality industry consultant.

    by Hugo Martin (c) 2010, Los Angeles Times.

    Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


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  • The 31 Best Beach Vacations

    10:53 am on May 18, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: ,   Filed under: Communities, Sarasota, Tourism, Vacation

    Splendid Sand
    Siesta Beach, Siesta Key, Sarasota, Florida

    Says Dr. Beach, “Sugar sand with a beach that is hundreds of yards wide; you’ve gotta love this place.” We do.

    Stay: Sara Sea Beach Resort (800/235-3493 or sarasearesort.com) has 21 beachy rooms, each with a kitchen and, on your arrival, a complimentary bottle of wine. Boutique rooms start at $237. For vacation rentals, visit siesta4rent.com.

    Eat: Try Ophelia’s on the Bay (877/229-9601 or opheliasonthebay.net) for waterfront fine dining, Siesta Key Oyster Bar (941/346-5443 or skob.com) for casual fun.

    Shop: Hip fashions—shoes, clothing, swimwear—await at Foxy Lady (941/349-6644 or foxyladysarasota.com), in a cottage just across from the beach.

    Local secret: The Siesta Key Drum Circle (siestadrumcircle.com) draws hundreds to the beach for music and dancing every Sunday before sundown.

    Photograph Panoramic Images/Getty Images , Writer Steve Millburg


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