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  • Family Travel Five: Celebrity Haunts

    9:23 am on July 26, 2012 | Comments:0
    Tags: celebrity news, travel trends, Vacation   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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  • Luxury and Vacation Homes Are Selling

    9:06 am on September 15, 2011 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , Vacation   Filed under: Buyer Info, Luxury, Second Home Buyers, Seller Info, Vacation

    by The KCM Crew on September 12, 2011

    It has been a trying time for most segments of the real estate industry. However, two areas that are showing improvement are the luxury home and vacation home markets. It seems that people in these segments are again beginning to purchase.

    Vacation Homes

    Last week Market Watch published an article discussing the vacation home market. Dan White, president of Daniel A. White & Associates, a wealth-management firm in the Philadelphia area, was quoted in the article.

    “A lot of people are worried about the [stock] market today because of the volatility and the fact we could be going into a double-dip recession. They’re looking for other avenues. Real estate, if we’re not at the bottom [in prices], people think we’re pretty darn close.”

    The article also explained some purchasers are seeing this as an opportunity to buy a vacation/retirement home:

    “Some baby boomers are seizing an opportunity to get a deal on a vacation home they can enjoy now but that’s also a home that eventually will become their primary residence when they retire.”

    Luxury Homes

    Along with the vacation home market, the luxury market has also made a comeback. HousingWirereported on the luxury market last month:

    “In the nation’s top 20 markets, million-dollar property sales rose 18% in 2010 with a 21% increase in California, said Laurie Moore-Moore, CEO of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, a Dallas-based firm…

    In Miami, 517 properties sold for $2 million or more during the first seven months of 2011, up nearly 16% from a year earlier.”

    Bottom Line

    If you are in a position to move-up to the home of your dreams or have been thinking about a vacation home for the family, now might be the time to make the move.

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  • Fourth of July Tops Charts as Most Popular Outdoor Cooking Holiday

    9:09 am on June 29, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: cookout, holiday, July 4th, Vacation   Filed under: Vacation

    RISMEDIA, June 29, 2010—Fired up for the Fourth; Americans agree Independence Day is the number one holiday for barbecues and outdoor cooking. In fact, 80% of adults say they plan to host or attend a cookout this Fourth of July, according to results from a new 2010 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) national grilling poll.

    “The backyard cookout is an all-American pastime and a time-honored tradition that brings family and friends together in patriotic celebration,” said Leslie Wheeler, HPBA Communications Director. “The majority of Americans turn to outdoor cooking on the Fourth of July and throughout the warmer months because it provides a fun, easy and affordable way to create delicious meals while spending time together outdoors.”

    And to please patriotic palates this July, according to HPBA’s consumer poll and industry survey findings, the most popular foods for grilling are, in order: burgers (85%), steak (80%), hot dogs (79%) and chicken (73%)–followed by sausage/bratwurst (55%) and ribs (53%). As for top toppings, 66% of Americans report that they reach for the ketchup while 62% say they add on mustard. (More …)

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  • Sarasota Florida is the best buy in the Western World!

    4:42 pm on June 22, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , Vacation   Filed under: Sarasota, Vacation

    Reports show that Sarasota Florida is the best buy in the Western World!

    The report, published today in ranks popular resort and second home locations around the world reveals the cheapest western holiday home destination is Sarasota, Florida, which is little surprise given how much the market has fallen over the past two years and the number of agents currently selling distressed property to foreigners in the sunshine state.

    Among the surprises: Apartments in Warsaw, Poland are selling for higher prices than Dubai.

    Manhattan and Paris are running neck in neck, but Moscow makes them both look cheap. Little wonder that the Russians are on an international buying spree, with Hong Kong residents close behind them. With China now officially the hottest residential market in the world, US properties are practically an impulse buy. (More …)

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  • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Update June 21, 2010

    8:59 am on June 22, 2010 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , Vacation   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:

    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: , Vacation   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: , , Vacation   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: , Vacation   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 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

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

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

    Local secret: The Siesta Key Drum Circle ( 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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  • From The Publishers Of Robb Report - Beachfront Property

    3:46 pm on November 19, 2009 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , , , Vacation   Filed under: Buyer Info, Sarasota

    Exquisite Beachfront Property


    Source, Robb Report, COLLECTION – December 2009 Edition

    Spotlighting some of the top BEACHFRONT PROPERTIES on the market.

    Sarasota, Florida

    Located in the Osprey section of Sarasota, this eight-bedroom, nine-and-a-half-bathroom, 16,500-square-foot estate has a private beach and frontage on both the bay and gulf sides of the peninsula on which the property sits.

    The master suite has his and her baths. The kitchen has dual cooking centers.  Among the home’s other features are four fireplaces, a billiards room, a gym with an indoor lap pool, a wine room, and staff quarters.

    The property also includes a tennis court, a putting green, a boathouse, and a pool house that contains two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

    Click image to see full size article in PDF form.

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  • In The Gulf, Enough Islands to Match Any Personality

    10:16 am on November 11, 2009 | Comments:0
    Tags: , , , , Lido Key, , , , , , , Vacation,   Filed under: Bradenton, Sarasota, The Gulf Islands

    By Andrea Sachs  – THE WASHINGTON POST
    Sunday, November 8, 2009

    LittleGasparilla-04Anna Maria Island: Low-key and all-natural

    Anna Maria Island is Florida as a living diorama, with no chain hotels, a speed limit that never exceeds 35 mph and a building limit of three stories. It is also home to a genteel first lady.

    “We are loath to go the route of Longboat Key, with condo high-rises,” said Rhea Chiles, the wife of former Florida governor Lawton Chiles, whose family has owned property here since 1958. “The look of the place has been passed down from one generation to another. It’s all of those words: quaint, neighborly, natural.”

    Chiles was the visionary behind the Studio at Gulf and Pine, a multi-use space that exhibits local artworks, including a painting of her own, and holds classes, such as the book club I was making her late for. So I left Chiles to her plot twists for the turns of a kayak.

    Shawn Duytschaver, whose family opened the first gift shop on Anna Maria, owns Native Rentals, where he rents boats and preps guests before pushing them off to fend for themselves. He suggested that I paddle Robinson Preserve, a 400-acre mangrove and salt marsh reserve that opened last year and is buffered from motorized traffic. (By comparison, he said that around nearby Lido Key, kayakers must contend with the din of boats and cars.)

    (More …)

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