Thursday, September 5, 2019

Live Like a Native...Floridian That Is!

When one has lived in Sarasota or anywhere in Florida most (or all) of their lives as we have, we are sometimes surprised (or amused) at some of the questions we are asked by those who are vacationing or here looking to buy a home. So I thought I would answer some questions and put to rest some assumptions visitors have!

  • Do you go to the beach every day? No, we do not go to the beach every day or even every week! In
    fact, other than to drive to Siesta Key to watch an occasional sunset or to eat at Turtles on Turtle Beach, we prefer the quiet of our own lanai. However, we do not take for granted that we live in paradise and can drive to the beach any time we want to. And no, we do not live in flip-flops and bathing suits either.
  • Do sharks bite you when you go swimming in the Gulf of Mexico?  The odds that the average Floridian you come across will have been bitten by a shark are statistically slim. In 2018, there were only 16 unprovoked shark attacks in Florida, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. Actually, they are beautiful creatures and we regularly go visit them at Mote Marine
  • Do you miss having ‘Seasons’? Yes, just a little. But from November to April, our friends up north would rather be here than there shoveling snow and so would we! We occasionally rent a cabin in the Georgia mountains around New Year’s just to get a taste of cold air (and sometimes a little snow) but for the most part, we love having the fresh ‘winter’ air blowing through the house and are grateful for the A/C in the summer. (By-the-way, my wife and I did not grow up with air conditioning here -there wasn't any.)
  • Do you go to Disney World and all the other theme parks all the time? Um, no. Not everyone is a fan of the “Most Magical Place on Earth” or that very large mouse. Sometimes even the people who live right next door to these parks are less than enamored with the flocks of tourists who crowd into the Orlando theme park every day. Of course we have been there over the years. I was one of the first visitors at Disney World back in the 1970’s and have a slight desire to go see The World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios.
  • Is there a gator in your backyard? In our case, yes, we have an alligator who hangs out in our backyard
    lake. His name is Al. And the same goes for snakes. My wife names our black snakes and garden snakes and is grateful that we have them to control rodents! (Yes, rodents live here too!) Sure, Floridians have acquired a bit of a reputation for their swamp-lurking alligators. With at least 1.3 million gators roaming around the state, it’s inevitable that some Floridians have encountered a sunbathing reptile on their property. Still, that doesn’t mean that you should assume that every person in Florida has an alligator residing in their backyard and that they will attack you. And if you are wondering what gators taste like, it’s like the dark meat of chicken but slightly fishy. You can check it out at one of our favorite ‘locals’ places to eat, The Sea Hut, formerly known as The Crab Shack, in Palmetto.
  • If you’re from Florida, where do you go on vacation? Though the blue water and white sugar sand beaches might seem irresistible to visitors, the fact of the matter is, when you’re looking for a vacation, you’re often in search of someplace that does not look like Florida. We just returned from Pike’s Peak and Rocky Mountain National Park, and yes...we saw snow!
  • Do you worry all the time about storms and sinkholes? We feel very fortunate in Sarasota to NOT have to worry too much about natural disasters. Our area does not have the geology of the limestone layer which can contribute to sink holes in other area of Florida and thankfully, we have not had a serious storm directly hit Sarasota in many years. All we had from Irma last year was a few downed tree branches. I am just thankful that we don't have to worry about earthquakes, serious droughts, freezing in the winter, dust storms, industrial pollution, and volcanic eruptions. Almost every place has some issues but for the most part, what we have experienced in the past has been easily handled.
  • Is Florida only for retirees? Florida is known for its high population of retirees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 20 percent of the state is made up of people 65 and older. And the Sarasota area was recently voted one of the best places to retire. But…I am not retired, nor is my wife nor are the many young professionals who live here and are moving here in high numbers. And when I do retire, I will be staying right here. Not because it is a great place for retirees, but because Sarasota is my hometown and…it’s a great place for everyone! 
So if you are looking to buy (or sell), give me a call and I will help you find the perfect home in Sarasota paradise. And remember...it's only a short drive to the beach from anywhere in Sarasota!



Monday, July 22, 2019

There's No Place Like Home in Sarasota!


It’s the dog days of summer in my hometown of Sarasota, Florida and Liz and I are heading to the Colorado mountains for a much needed vacation and to cool off! Having said that, we find that we are leaving (albeit for only 2 weeks) one of the best places to live and retire! U.S. News & World Report has released its 2019 Top 125 Cities in the country and Sarasota, Florida ranked #3 in Best Places to Retire and #18 as one of the best places to live. 

Since I’m on vacation this month, rather that my usual Hometown Blog story, I wanted to share this great article with you. Here is the full U. S. News article for you to enjoy and to remind you how lucky we are to live here. Vacations are great but if you live in Sarasota, there’s no place like home! 

What's it like to live in Sarasota, FL?

Warm temperatures year-round, award-winning beaches and a thriving arts and cultural scene have made Sarasota a go-to place for retirees and families, not to mention a handful of celebrities (including Stephen King and Rosie O'Donnell). This southwest Florida region, which is about an hour from Tampa and two hours from Orlando, continues to attract new residents with great restaurants and plenty of shopping options. Living in Sarasota has elements of what many consider paradise, mixed with some hints of reality. As the population grows, the area struggles to keep up with infrastructure needs. Traffic congestion is becoming more common. Those who live, work or visit downtown Sarasota will see their share of construction cranes as the region copes with an influx of residents and a record-breaking number of tourists. However, as the Sarasota community flourishes, so does its economy. Sarasota offers a sizeable job market for those working in health care, small business and tourism. 

Rankings

U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.
Sarasota, Florida is ranked:

What's the cost of living in Sarasota, FL?

Sarasota is relatively affordable compared to larger Florida regions like Miami, though young families are finding it increasingly harder to buy a home at a reasonable cost. The continuing influx of wealthy residents has affected the cost of housing, as there has been more of a focus on upscale living.

What's the weather like in Sarasota, FL?

Although heat and humidity are a regular part of life in South Florida, that doesn't stop many people from enjoying the area's outdoor activities, such as golfing, boating and fishing. Still, residents know to keep their umbrellas handy for the fierce rain storms that usually pass through from April to October.

What's the best way to get around Sarasota, FL?

The majority of people in Sarasota get around by car, and traffic is becoming more of an issue as new residents and visitors come to town. Year-round residents will tell you it can take almost twice as long to get places during the winter tourist season. The region has a bus system, the Sarasota County Area Transit, or SCAT, which is seeing an increasing number of users. The bus system is fairly extensive, but heavy traffic can cause schedule delays. Sarasota has some neighborhoods that are particularly pedestrian-friendly, such as downtown, the Rosemary district, St. Armand's Circle and Southside Village. The Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport connects residents to destinations in the U.S. and abroad. Residents also have access to intercity bus service provided by Greyhound.

Who lives in Sarasota, FL? 

Sarasota has a significant amount of residents over the age of 65 and that population is predicted to increase; as you make your way around town, a silver boom is pretty evident. A retiree in Sarasota likely has a busier social calendar than someone half his or her age, as the area caters to its older residents by offering lots of activities, such as shopping and golf. This is especially true during the “in season” from October to April when snowbirds from colder climates come to enjoy Florida's more temperate weather. That said, families also feel at home in Sarasota, and there are plenty of good schools, clean parks and local attractions for them to enjoy. Young single people won't have the diversity or nightlife available as they would in a metro area like Miami. This could be advantageous for someone who likes things a little more low-key, and there still are millennials who take over Sarasota's nighttime scene at local bars, clubs, restaurants and craft breweries. People in Sarasota tend to be not as religious as people in more rural parts of the state.

What is there to do in Sarasota, FL? 

Sarasota is a great place for those who enjoy the outdoors. There are a number of parks in downtown Sarasota, not to mention the massive Myakka River State Park. Golf courses also abound. And then, of course, there are the beaches. Siesta Beach has earned acclaim for its white sand and clear water. Lido Beach, just south of St. Armands Circle, is another wide stretch of shoreline that's easy to access. If those get crowded (as they often do), beachgoers opt for Longboat Beach, Venice Beach, Bradenton Beach or the beaches of Anna Maria Island, all of which are a short drive from Sarasota. Meanwhile, locals take advantage of the booming restaurant scene around town, which serves up everything from fresh seafood to farm-to-table specialties. There are also a handful of farmers markets open in the fall, winter and spring, with the Sarasota Farmers Market open all year.

What kind of jobs are there in Sarasota, FL? 

Major industries in Sarasota include education, trade, transportation and, of course, tourism. Unemployment rates in the leisure and hospitality sector are several percentage points lower than the region's overall rate (which is still slightly lower than the national average). Health care is also a prominent sector, with facilities like the Venice Regional Bayfront Health, the Englewood Community Hospital and the Doctors Hospital of Sarasota employing a large number of residents. There is also an enthusiastic small business community. Because of a high volume of low-paying jobs in the service industry, the average annual income in Sarasota is lower than the national average.

How good are the schools in Sarasota, FL?

Sarasota encompasses 27 public elementary, middle and high schools. Sarasota also has 57 private schools. Five high schools are recognized on U.S. News & World Report's Best High Schools rankings.

How safe is Sarasota, FL?

The metro area's violent and property crime rates are both lower than the national rates.


Click below for the U. S. News & Report's article with the all of the very informative charts:
 
https://realestate.usnews.com/places/florida/sarasota

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

All Aboard!!


If you are from one of the larger cities up north, taking a train on a regular basis is not a new thing. In Sarasota however, it is likely that you have nerver seen a passenger train in Sarasota! This has not always been the case. When I was a kid and visitors were expected, they usually came by train. You have most likely had a meal or visited a professional in locations that used to be Sarasota’s train stations! So here’s a little history.

The very first passenger train roared into Sarasota in 1924 and by 1928, tracks had been laid near Fruitville Road and Payne Terminal on Sarasota Bay to serve the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus Winter quarters. The Seaboard Air Line Railway was the first with tracks along Lemon Avenue and a station at Main Street where Mattison’s City Grill is today. The Atlantic Coastline Rail Way opened in 1925 at the eastern end of Main Street where the Kane Building is today. 

The yearly arrival and departure of the Ringling trains was one of the highlights for all Sarasotans! I was an Altar Boy and along with Monsignor Elsander, the pastor of St. Martha’s Church, we got to bless the train before the circus went on its national tour. It was a well attended event!

As a youngster, I traveled a few times by railroad with my parents and my most vivid memory is the dining car. Train travel was once the elegant way to get from place to place across the U.S., boasting opulent interiors, plush seats, porters for your every need and gleaming dining cars. The dining car was a place for passengers to relax and enjoy a delicious meal among good company. I remember the beautifully set tables with white linen clothes and napkins and all the fashionably dressed adults enjoying champagne. There were also rail cars with games and sing-alongs but I was too young to enjoy the lounge car. Oh well!

Sadly, fewer and fewer travelers heeded the “All Aboard” call due to air travel and in 1967, the two railways that served Sarasota County merged and became the Seaboard Coast Line railroad. By 1971, passenger service was discontinued. However, the train continued to transport the circus performers, animals and equipment to their winter home in Venice until 1992.

Sarasota County bought the old rail corridor in 2004 in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, calling it “The Legacy Trail”, which opened in 2008. It is a beautiful stretch from south of Clark Road to Center Road in Venice and is enjoyed by 250,000 walkers, runners and bikers every year. In 2017, Sarasota County bought nearly a mile of railroad corridor that would extend the trail north 1.7 miles to Ashton Road and in November of 2018, 70.6 percent of voters approved a referendum which authorized the county to issue $65 million in bonds to pay to extend the trail north to Payne Park in downtown Sarasota.

It’s a little sad that most of us don’t travel by train any longer. There's something old-school and charming about riding trains. Between the food car, the conductors, and the world flying by outside your window, there's a nostalgic appeal to train travel. Trains are one of my really happy memories about growing up in Sarasota!





Tuesday, April 23, 2019

MAY DAY, MAY DAY



“Mayday, mayday, mayday, Coast Guard. Mayday, mayday, mayday. Get all emergency equipment out to the Skyway Bridge. A vessel just hit the Skyway Bridge. The Skyway Bridge is down,” the pilot was heard shouting. “Get all emergency equipment out to the Skyway Bridge. The Skyway Bridge is down. This is a mayday.”

In previous blogs, I have recounted my memories and stories about bridges in and around Sarasota, but this one is very different. 39 years ago on May 9th, 1980, tragedy struck our tropical paradise. The Sunshine Skyway bridge, which connects Sarasota and Bradenton to Tampa and St. Petersburg, was struck by a freighter. Six cars, a truck, and a bus plunged 150 feet into Tampa Bay, killing 35 people. Wesley MacIntire was in the truck when it fell onto the deck of the freighter and then into the water. He survived.

Those of us who lived here vividly remember that day. My wife Liz was a dental hygienist and her patient who had just arrived had simply heard on the radio that a boat hit the bridge. She remembers not being terribly upset, thinking it was probably a pleasure boat striking a piling and she hoped the people on the boat were OK. When she got home a turned on the local news, she was shocked. I was a building contractor at that time and my memories were equally shocked by this tragedy. The old Skyway Bridge was a familiar sight when I went fishing as a teenager and drove back and forth to St. Petersburg with my friends for a night on the town. I remembered that there was originally one two-lane span and the second span was added later to carry more traffic. 

How could something this horrible happen? Capt. John Lerro was the harbor pilot that fateful day, trying to guide the freighter, the Summit Venture, a ship two football fields long, into the 58.4-mile channel that leads to the Port of Tampa. It is a long and treacherous channel thanks to the shallow depth of the bay and Florida’s unpredictable weather. The freighter was already dealing with fog when it was hit by 60 mph, tropical-storm force winds and blinding rain. The radar went down, too, when Lerro had to decide when to turn the Summit Venture between two of the Skyway’s main piers as the storm hid the ship’s bow from its pilot. On the bridge, Lerro considered his options. Visibility was terrible. There was also a ship leaving the bay approaching. Unable to track the approaching ship Pure Oil, the pilot judged it too risky to turn out of the shipping channel — what if he turned into the path of the oncoming ship? If he tried to bring the Summit Venture to a halt, the winds could cause the freighter to lose control and fling it into the bridge. The best course, Lerro decided, was to get the Summit Venture safely between the bridge’s pillars. But he misjudged the winds, unaware that a squall had changed the direction of the wind, pushing the freighter out of the channel and off-course. The vessel was also empty, riding high on the waves. A minute before impact, the skies cleared just enough for Lerro to see the Sunshine Skyway before him. Despite a flurry of last-second maneuvers, it was too late. At 7:33 a.m., the bow of the Summit Venture struck bridge pier 2S. The pier came down, and so did Interstate 275 above it during rush hour. Lerro radioed the Coast Guard for help. A Greyhound bus, seven cars and MacIntire’s 1974 blue Ford pickup hurtled into the stormy abyss. Thirty-five people died; MacIntire was the only survivor. Richard Hornbuckle's car rested where it skidded to a stop just 14 inches from the edge. Inimaginable. 

The Florida Department of Transportation began construction on a safer Sunshine Skyway Bridge only days later. At a cost of $244 million, the bridge opened in 1987, making it a very rapid construction project considering the size of the structure. Since then, the bridge has been lauded for its design, which includes some very unique elements, most focused on the central span of the bridge. The cables descending from the two towers of this span are set in the middle of the bridge, with 40-foot roadways on each side. By placing the cables here, instead of on the edges of the bridge, the designers ensured that motorists would always have an unimpeded view of the bay. As a final touch, the cable cases were all painted bright yellow, representing rays of sunshine in the Sunshine State. More than 300 precast concrete segments were linked together with high-strength steel cables to form the roadway. Protecting the new bridge from ships was a big priority, so they installed large concrete islands, called 'dolphins', around each of the bridge's six piers to absorb unwanted impact.

Here are some other interesting facts about the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge:
  • The dolphins around each pier were designed to withstand the impact of an 87,000-ton ship.
  • Twenty-one steel cables support the roadway. The cables are sheathed in steel pipes, nine inches in diameter. The pipes were painted a brilliant yellow to reflect its location: the Sunshine State.
  • Forty-foot-wide roadways run on either side of the cables. This design allows drivers to have unobstructed views of the water.
  • Tampa is a busy shipping port. To ensure that navigation would not be blocked, engineers designed the bridge to soar 190 feet above the water.
In 2005, an act of the Florida Legislature officially named the current bridge the Bob Graham Sunshine Skyway Bridge, after the former Governor of Florida and then U.S. Senator who presided over its design and most of its construction. The Sunshine Skyway, surely one of the most beautiful bridges in existence, has garnered more than its share of praise. The graceful span and shining yellow cables are well lit at night, and can be seen for miles day or night. It can best be viewed from the East Beach area of Fort Desoto Park. Due to its beauty the span has been the scene of several auto commercials. It is also worth noting that a special on the Travel Channel rated our Sunshine Skyway third best of their Top Ten Bridges. (See the Travel Channel link below)

The next time you drive across the Sunshine Skyway, perhaps you will recall some of it’s disastrous history…or hopefully you will just enjoy the stunning view. Or perhaps you will fish off of the old portion of the bridge that was saved and became The Skyway Fishing State Park. When the new Sunshine Skyway Bridge was built over Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg with Sarasota, the old bridge was turned into the world's longest fishing pier. Either way, the bridge is yet another reason Bradenton, Sarasota and St. Petersburg are such a unique place to live or visit. 




Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Orange Juice Anyone?


As Realtors in Sarasota, my wife Liz and I drive around Sarasota a lot showing property for RE/MAX Alliance Group. One of the neighborhoods that we sell and list that always holds fond memories, especially for Liz, is Southgate. Liz, her mom and her sister lived there for over 30 years on a little one block street near Shade Avenue and Webber Street. At the time her mom purchased the home in the early 1960’s, the neighborhood was fairly new and she paid about $16,000 for the house. She loved the location – it was close to schools and shopping and was a safe neighborhood where the kids could ride their bikes to almost everywhere they wanted to go. The other great thing about the house was the row of orange trees in the backyard.The reason most of those home had a row of orange trees goes to the history of Southgate.

According to a Sarasota Herald Tribune, in the mid-1950s, Sarasota developers Rolland King and Frank Smith purchased 1,240 acres of citrus groves that had originally been planted by Bertha Honore Potter, the Chicago socialite who purchased 80,000 acres of land in Sarasota County beginning with her arrival in 1910. When King and Smith began developing South Gate, the groves were being worked by Minute Maid. Some of the original citrus trees are still growing in the back yards of some South Gate homes today.

In the mid-1950s, there were few construction companies that could undertake such a large-scale project. The same was true for the real estate industry. Many small firms had a hand in building and selling South Gate. Deciding who would build where was simple. Every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, Smith and King would entice real estate agents with free orange juice and coffee. They would sell plots of land while sitting around the large conference table. Groundbreaking occurred in 1955 for the first South Gate homes near Siesta Drive and School Avenue. By 1956, the pair, who had drawn blueprints for the first phase by hand, had already sold 1,250 lots. Over the next 15 years, South Gate added more than 2,000 homes.

The first three model homes opened in March 1955. The first home sold was at 2207 Siesta Drive. The Southgate Post Office opened March 30, 1957. The South Gate Shopping Center became Westfield SouthGate then Westfield Siesta Key, opened that year, as did some of the shops in the Southgate Village along Siesta Drive east of the Post Office.

Homes in Southgate now sell anywhere from $265,000 to upward of $700,000 along Phillippi Creek. Although the homes plotted along streets named after different varieties of oranges may seem ordinary today, the development changed Sarasota, bringing in more developers with grand-scale plans. It was the precursor to places like Lakewood Ranch and Palmer Ranch. And to this day, Liz laughs about all the frozen orange juice that her mom made from the oranges she picked - it literally filled the freezer and all of it from the trees in her backyard!

If you are looking for a great neighborhood to buy a home in Sarasota, Southgate is certainly one of them! Give me a call and I'll join you over a glass of orange juice to talk about it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

It's a Jungle Out There Tarzan!

Sources and Credits: Sarasota History Alive, Wikipedia, The Story of Sarasota

My dad built homes in Sarasota in the 1950’s-60’s and the first home he built that I remember was on Bayshore Road near Jungle Gardens.  I recall loving that neighborhood, mostly because of Jungle Gardens. Our little house (pictured at the left) was practically across the street from it and my boyhood friends and I often snuck in the back gate and had many adventures amongst the gardens and wildlife. We didn't know enough to be afraid of the alligators nor did we have much appreciation of all the exotic tropical plants and trees. We were just being Tarzan! And little did I know back then that the area has been used by people since prehistoric times! 

According to research conducted by the Sarasota County Historical Commission for the Indian Beach Historical Marker, the area has been used by people for at least 5,000 years! And this Florida attraction has current roots that run deep. To step into Sarasota Jungle Gardens is to take a step back into time…more than 80 years back in time. 

The concept for Sarasota Jungle Gardens first came in the early 1930s when a local newspaperman named David Lindsay purchased 10 acres of land just west of U.S. 41 with grand plans to develop the virgin subtropical jungle into a botanical garden. Along with partners Pearson Conrad and H.R. Taylor, Jungle Gardens opened on New Year's Eve 1939. According to Karl Grismer in "The Story of Sarasota," the developers added thousands of plants to those already found growing in their natural state. At first called "The Sarasota Jungle," the attraction opened early due to public demand. The December 31, 1939 Sarasota Herald Tribune reported that "The garden, containing more than 3,000 varieties of plants from all parts of the world is being thrown open today only because of many requests from people who would like for their holiday guests to see Sarasota's newest and most beautiful attraction." On the following day, the Herald reported in a follow-up story that "hundreds of visitors thronged at the Sarasota Jungle, luxuriant garden spot on the Indian Beach Road at Myrtle Avenue yesterday to view Sarasota's newest attraction."

My wife also has a connection to Jungle Gardens… a humorous one. Her dad, artist John Hardy, was studying at Ringling College of Art at the time and as a ‘starving artist, also worked for David Lindsay at the Sarasota Herald Tribune as Art Director. (Her mom was Mr. Lindsay’s Executive Secretary). As a third job, John was hired by Mr. Lindsay to work at Jungle Gardens for grounds maintenance, which really meant walking around with a machete cutting weeds. One day, one of the peacocks decided to attack him and he smacked it with the side of his machete and down it went. (Peacocks can be up to 5 feet tall!). He was pretty sure he had killed it and when he found out from they guy working with him that it was Mr. Lindsay’s favorite bird, he was sure he would lose two much needed jobs. But thankfully, the bird was fine…he eventually got up and probably had a little headache, but her Dad kept his job at the Gardens and at the Herald Tribune. Mr. Lindsay never knew about ‘the attack’!

Over the years, the South Florida attraction changed hands several times. In 1971, Sarasota Jungle Gardens was purchased by Arthur C. Allyn. His daughter, Dorothy Tinney, and her family operate the Gardens today. Sarasota Jungle Gardens boasts more than 100 birds and animals, and features bird and reptile shows four times daily as well as a Tiki Garden, Shell Museum, Gift Shop and CafĂ©. Promotional literature boasts that it is the only Florida attraction which allows its Flamingo's to roam freely. Sarasota's Indian Beach neighborhood, with its featured attraction, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, has been a pleasant place to visit since prehistoric times, and remains so today. So when I visit that part of Sarasota showing property, I give a fond nod to our little house on Bayshore Road and to Sarasota Jungle Gardens…thanks for the boyhood memories! 

Monday, January 14, 2019

Out with Old...in with the New!


Happy New Year! 

The New Year is often a natural time for reflection. One way or another, January is the time for assessment and sorting things out in several ways and with good intentions. Out with the old, in with the new. The phrase literally means to MOVE FORWARD...The phrase suggests that in order to move forward, one must purge, remove or let go of one thing, with the expectation of gaining something else. Not necessarily. When it comes to memories, I prefer to hold on to mine as I embrace all the new stuff around me. This can refer to physical objects. It can also apply to relationships, mindsets…and even the town where you grew up.

If you've spent any time with me, there is a possibility that I have said things such as, "I remember when none of these buildings were here”, or “this used to be a dirt road.” It can be interesting to hear stories about how my hometown used to look, and how things used to be, and I like to believe that the pictures I paint in my head of Sarasota back in my childhood, and then share with you, are accurate. I think that this is probably something most people go through who have lived in the same town for a lifetime. Sometimes you have to let go of the old while keeping the memories and embrace the new. Change can be good. And Sarasota certainly has changed! From the Sarasota Herald Tribune: "Dozens of projects, some cresting to the maximum 18 stories, are permanently changing the appearance of the city in a post-recession surge of building sparked by pent-up demand and unbridled confidence in the future". And then there is Lakewood Ranch and the many developments east of Sarasota that I couldn't have even imagined when I was a youngster in Sarasota. 

Many of my days selling Real Estate are spent driving around Sarasota, my hometown. Driving past an area that used to be a baseball field when I was a kid or noticing trees have been cleared off in cow pastures or orange groves and new homes are going up still surprises me sometimes. New roads have been built and old homes torn down, buildings have been revamped or are occupied by new businesses, people have moved, construction is going crazy and new paint is drying everywhere. As I reflect on all of this, I am struck that back in the day, Sarasota was paradise and today…it still is!  Every time I drive across the Ringling Causeway from St. Armand's I am stunned by the city view and how beautiful (and different from the old days) it is! To paraphrase the famous Sarasota author, John D. MacDonald: A person living in Sarasota for a long time, looks around and sees a larger, busier place that is all grown up from their first memories; The person just arriving from the urban northeast sees a brand new paradise of warm weather, sandy white beaches and beautiful sunsets. I don't take living in this paradise for granted - ever! So if you are looking to buy a home and share my paradise, call me! You will love it here!