Monday, December 20, 2021

A Hometown Sarasota Holiday


Isn't this time of year simply the best? Cold, sloppy and wet, less and less daylight, dead leaves everywhere, can't play golf after work, etc. Oops, wait…those are the reasons you should live in Sarasota, Florida! I have lived in Sarasota all my life and have seen many winters come and go, and yes, we do celebrate the holidays just like our northern friends. Almost.

Many from the North think Floridians miss out on all the fun of the holidays.  A lack of snow in our forecast here in Sarasota doesn’t mean we won’t be able to have a “white holiday”.  We enjoy the white sands of our wonderful beaches in December as easily as we do in June. Frosty the Snowman will not come to life in any Florida yard. We take great pride in lighting our palm trees and setting up fiber optic sleighs pulled by holiday hat clad alligators and flamingos. (It’s not tacky at all). Our homes may not have stockings hung by the chimney, although wet bathing suits and towels are often strung across the lanai with great care.

Even if you are living in a cave, you couldn't miss the radiant glow of all the Sarasota neighborhoods shimmering with bright lights around town…and on boats! Pine trees are trucked in from up north and sold in red and white tents along the roads. The Salvation Army volunteers ring bells and take donations. Shoppers hustle through the malls and stores spending more than necessary. But, these things are all done while we are wearing shorts and flip flops.  Just another day in Paradise!

Some folks turn the air conditioning down as far as it will go, (I have been known to do that at my wife’s request) to get the house cool enough to light a fire in the fireplace. (The local grocery stores carry firewood.) Others go all out with lights and decorations all around the house, the same as up north. Cookies are baked, hams and turkeys are roasted, and families manage to connect, even if it is across the phone and internet lines. The holidays are still special no matter where you are. So, to all those contemplating joining us in the Sunshine State, come on down and buy a home in Sarasota…you will not regret your move. You will soon make new friends, start new traditions and enjoy the Holidays in a new way.  The holidays are the holidays no matter what part of the country you happen to be in, but if you have yet to experience a uniquely Florida holiday, I encourage you to come and visit. Grab your sandals and come on down. And I am confident that you will fall in love with Sarasota and want to buy a house! And when you do, I'm your Hometown Sarasota Realtor!

This holiday season, I am especially grateful for all my clients and friends! Thank you for your trust, business, referrals and your friendship.  Thank you for letting me help you with these life transitions.  I wish you happiness and peace during this holiday season and in the year ahead. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Thanksgiving 2021 - What Are You Thankful For This Year?

As kids, we learned about the first meal shared at Plymouth Colony where Pilgrims invited Indians to join hands and hearts and gave thanks for the “autumn harvest.” That was in 1621 and was a three-day festival. In 1789 George Washington introduced the event as a national holiday. It was not until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln set the final Thursday in November. Fast-forward to 1989. President George H.W. Bush, granted the first official pardon to a turkey, a tradition that continues today.

Yes, the holiday continues now, but what are you truly thankful for, at this very moment? Food, football, friends and fun? Perhaps. Is that enough? Let’s all stop and take a deep breath right now—freeze time for a moment. What are you thankful for right now? 

Giving thanks and being thankful—that’s what Thanksgiving is dedicated to each year.  I’m especially thankful for my family, those present and those gone before me, for infusing a spirit of gratitude for every gift of love and time shared with people I love in my life. But one thing we can likely all agree on as a reason to be grateful, is that the best time of the day is finally sitting down at the dinner table with family, whether it's just two of you or a huge family, around a perfectly set table with your best china, or folding card tables with paper plates (but only the good, sturdy kind, of course!)  

Sarasota is my hometown and I am fortunate enough to have an amazing group of people in my life that I am truly thankful for. My business as a Realtor in Sarasota, Florida relies on the recommendations and support of those close to me, and I want to take a moment and say a heartfelt thank you to  to Re/Max Alliance Group and to all of the loyal people who continuously support me.  And to my wife, Liz, who is the wind beneath my wings, and to my family and friends. I would not be successful without all of you.

Happy Hometown Thanksgiving from our home to yours!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Just Do It!


I finally did it. I cut the cable. My wife and I have been talking about this for at least a year and spent a lot of time deciding on which streaming service best fit our needs. Even before Covid, our main form of entertainment has been television. While we love going to Raymond James to watch the Bucs or to Tropicana Field to watch the Rays, we really love having to only walk steps to the kitchen or the bathroom...not to mention binge-watching our favorite TV series.

As we were going through the cord cutting process, we marveled at how many streaming stations we all have access to these days.  And since I’m an ‘old fart’ it brought to mind the fact that when I was a kid, in Sarasota we had a total of three stations to choose from…and NO remote control!! These three channels were accessed with the good old rabbit ear antenna (sometimes with tin foil attached) which sat on top of the big square box TV. I can visualize it now, rabbit ears spread wide in a horizontal position, aluminum foil wings on the ends of each antenna while below, Ralph Kramden was threatening to send Alice to the moon. And then came a huge technological marvel...the outdoor antenna that could be rotated by a control inside the house! And the picture was black and white…I remember watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon on our little black and white TV. 

Here’s a little history of TV broadcasting. The first American TV station began broadcasting on July 2, 1928, but it wasn’t until 1953 that WSUN went on the air in St. Petersburg (and went dark in 1970), followed by WTVT in Tampa and WFLA, which went on the air in 1955 and are still broadcasting locally as an NBC and FOX affiliate respectively. In my one and only bid for stardom, I as den chief, with the help of my parents, took my little cub scout group up to St. Pete to be on the Captain Mac Kids show on channel 38. It was really so corny looking back, but very exciting at the time.

Back to the cable. In the early 1960’s, George Storer ventured into the cable television business in the early 1960’s and Storer Communications became the first cable I remember in Sarasota. This of course added lots more stations and…we had a ‘clicker’ remote control! Storer Communications continued to operate as a cable television company until the assets were split between Comcast and TCI in the mid 1990s. So we went to Comcast for many years, then Verizon which sold out to Frontier. TV’s became bigger and flatter and high definition has made watching football an awesome experience.

So…we did it! We cancelled Frontier (other than the highspeed router) and now and not only is our cable bill less than half of what it had been, we have more channels than ever with the various apps we chose. It has taken a little getting used to, but we are totally happy with our decision. This is yet another instance that everything these days is internet driven and thing will continue to evolve. It’s been an interesting ride from rabbit ears and clickers to speaking into my remote control to find pretty much anything we want to watch! It will be interesting to see where it all goes in the future.

Saturday, September 25, 2021


We have liftoff! A few nights ago, we stood in our driveway looking up at the northeastern sky watching the ball of fire that was SpaceX Dragon lifting off into space…with four civilians aboard! So many people take this amazing feat for granted! The manned space program is 60 years old this year…the Soviets sent the first person into space in 1961. Ever since those first rockets blasted off, I have been fascinated with the space program, beginning with Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. I vividly remember watching the first man in space, Alan Sheppard, walk on the moon. I was hooked! 

Then there was the Space Shuttle era. My wife and I drove across the state more than once to see it blast off. What a powerful feeling to experience the ground shake and the sky light up and see the bright streak across the sky. Over 30 years, NASA's space shuttle fleet—Columbia, Challenger, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour—flew 135 missions and carried 355 different people to space. As humanity's first reusable spacecraft, the space shuttle carried people into orbit repeatedly; launched, recovered and repaired satellites; conducted cutting-edge research; and built the largest structure in space, the International Space Station. And now we have commercial and private space transportation with the SpaceX Dragon and the like. Have you seen the SpaceX booster rockets land simultaneously back on a barge in the Atlantic? Fascinating, as Spock would say!

Man's interest in space started long before the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Humanity's interest in ‘the heavens’ has been universal and enduring. Fascination with the idea of people going into the sky for adventures in other worlds goes back to ancient myths. Science flourished during the European Renaissance. Fundamental physical laws governing planetary motion were discovered, and the orbits of the planets around the sun were calculated. In the 17th century, astronomers pointed a new device called the telescope at the heavens and made startling discoveries.

And humans are still driven to explore the unknown, discover new worlds, push the boundaries of our scientific and technical limits, and then push further. And now, we are on Mars! Mars has always been a source of inspiration for explorers and scientists. Robotic missions have found evidence of water, but if life exists beyond Earth, it still remains a mystery. And I love a good mystery!

Future historians will likely view these pioneering flights through the solar system as some of the most remarkable achievements of the 20th century.

We have the NASA app installed on our smart TV and iPads and routinely watch the latest. Also, I highly recommend at trip to The Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral if you haven’t been yet! And until we make the move to live in space, I am still available to help you buy and sell homes in Sarasota, Florida and surrounding area! 


Friday, August 27, 2021

Hot Time Summer in the City!


Hot Time Summer in the City!

Find a dream home in Sarasota, Florida
We are in the dog days of summer and new residents of Sarasota, Florida may be wondering if it will ever cool off and if we do indeed have ‘Seasons’. Even though we have sunny weather most of the time, we do have seasons here in Florida. Though the seasons may not be as recognizable as those in the North, there are differences in each season.

Summer, as you probably know, tends to be very hot…but there is almost always a breeze off the Gulf of Mexico to enjoy. When I was a kid growing up in Sarasota, we didn’t have air-conditioning but we somehow survived on the breeze! 
Summer starts sometime in May, as the temps begin to climb. Temperatures average in the high 80's to mid 90's and more. It’s a good time to enjoy the A/C during the day and the pool in the evening. The best times to visit the beaches are early in the morning and of course, in the evening for the beautiful sunsets. Summer also brings the rainy season and the threat of hurricanes. Thankfully, it’s been many years since Sarasota has experienced a hurricane.  Regarding plants, Florida native plants grow like crazy during the summer; grass needs to be cut once a week. If we do have a good rainy season, we have to cut grass every five days or so. A typical rainy season produces the chance of afternoon or evening showers, on any day. In years past, I could almost set my watch by the 4:00 PM showers which cleaned and cooled the air for evening.

Fall usually starts about mid-October. Floridians really look forward to the cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels. It’s finally time to open the windows and enjoy the fresh air! For Halloween, there is as much a chance for very warm weather as there is for a cool evening. Hurricane season ends November 30th, a date we are all happy to see. This is a good time to enjoy the beaches, or go to Myakka State Park for a wildlife tour. There are not many tourists yet, and the seasonal residents (Snowbirds) have not yet arrived.

Winter in Florida can be a surprise. Even as a lifetime Florida resident, it’s still weird decorating for Christmas when it is 75 degrees outside, but that is most often the case. If you look closely, there are subtle differences in the plants as the temps get a bit cooler. Some tree leaves change color a little bit, but nothing like up North. We have seen winters where the overnight temps never dropped below 55 degrees. On the other hand, the temps have dropped to the mid-twenties in the past. Some of the plants lose their leaves, but not many. The grass slows its growth, to the point where it only needs to be mowed every 14-20 days.  Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, Snowbirds arrive in force. Stores, streets, beaches and restaurants become very crowded. We'll see if this is the case this fall with COVID in the air!

Spring is the best season in Florida! Maybe by then, COVID will be in the rearview mirror. Starting in about mid-March, Spring usually offers cool nights, warm days and lower humidity.  A day at the beach can literally be an all day affair, as long as you don’t mind crowds. Springtime brings lots of guests and tourists to the Sunshine state. The Snowbirds have not yet made their way back North and the Spring Breakers pay a visit although it’s not as crazy as on the East coast of Florida. In our area, we do not get the large groups of young people looking to party hard, but we do get a good amount of those looking for a spot in the sun to relax. Just as in the North, Spring brings new life to plants and some animals. If there were frosty nights in the winter and some of the plants lost leaves, new growth starts now. You can actually see some of the trees and plants get a greener color. Oak and pine trees start to throw off pollen, causing problems for those with allergies. So, Spring is not without some disadvantages; it arrives at the peak of the dry season. With the low humidity levels and the lack of rain for several months, the chance for brush fires is heightened.

A few other 'unofficial' Florida seasonal dates:
  • Hurricane season is June 1 to November 30
  • Snowbird season is about October to May, give or take a few weeks 
  • Strawberry season is December through May depending on the weather
  • Fishing seasons vary by species
  • Alligator mating season runs from about mid April to June, so watch out on the golf course! 
Having said all of the above, I'm sure you will agree that despite the lack of definitive seasons, we live in paradise! No snow to shovel! Golf and beach-walking every day! Beautiful sunsets every night! What's not to love? So if you are looking to actually LIVE in paradise, call me and I will help you find your dream home in Sarasota, Longboat Key, Venice, Englewood and Manasota Key.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

From Paradise to Paradise!

We truly live in paradise! My wife and I are always mindful about how lucky we are to live in Sarasota and to have been raised here. There are so many wonderful, fun things to enjoy all around us and within a short drive and I am happy to share our experiences with you. We just returned from a great short vacation to another paradise...Sanibel Island. If you have never visited there, you must go!

Sanibel is a barrier island less than two hours south of Sarasota and very much worth the drive. It is 12 miles long and 3 miles wide (at its widest point) and is connected to the mainland by a long causeway bridge. As a comparison, Siesta Key is 8 miles long and much wider.

Sanibel is known primarily for shelling and my wife was in heaven. She has a huge shell collection, some of it passed down from her grandmother to her mother. But…she can’t go to the beach - any beach - without picking up shells. Shells have been around for more than 500 million years. People have used them for musical instruments (conch-shell trumpets), spoons, jewelry, and even money. A shell is the protective layer or external skeleton that once surrounded soft-bodied animals. Most seashells are mollusks, a group of animals that includes snails, clams, oysters, and mussels. These animals make shells by growing a thin protein layer over their body, like your fingernail. Then the layer hardens, forming a shell. When an animal dies or loses its shell, the shell may be washed ashore and this is certainly the case on Sanibel Island, more so than most any place in the world. In fact, it has been referred to as the “Sea Shell Capital of the World! Why? It's because it’s one of the very few islands that run perpendicular to the state of Florida, whereas most islands run the same way as Florida, which causes the ocean currents to have the beaches primarily flushing water downward.

As a vacation spot for someone who grew up in Sarasota, home of the world famous Siesta Beach, the slower pace of Sanibel reminded us of Sarasota from years past. And…we love to eat! Surprisingly, there are almost 50 restaurants on Sanibel so there is no way you will starve! Two of the many places we highly recommend are Traditions on the Beach and Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille. 

Doc Ford’s was one of the reasons for the trip. It is owned by one of our favorite authors, Randy Wayne White and we had been wanting to visit for a long time. His books are modern day Travis McGee adventures, which were written by Sarasotan John D. McDonald in the 50’s and 60’s. The main character in Randy’s books is Doc Ford, a marine biologist who lives in a converted fish house on Sanibel and in his secret life, he is a former government agent who still ‘disappears’ on covert adventures. The best part of this book series is all the history of Florida and lots of education about marine life and Florida’s natural wonders.

We also visited J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge and viewed the largest mangrove area in the United States…6400 acres, along with abundant wildlife to include 220 bird species! So…lots to do on this lovely little island!  Make plans to visit there soon - it's a great get-a-way for a day or a week!  

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Summer Breeze in Sarasota, Florida!

Happy Summer everyone! 

I am overdue for posting my Blog/Newsletter because I was finishing up some Spring projects, including repainting and rescreening our lanai before the Summer humidity hit. We had the screen company remove all the screens and metal except the support posts and scheduled the new cage and screens for one week later. Then we completely emptied everything so we could pressure wash and paint. Painting a ceiling is fun…not!

Once we finished all of that, we had the new cage and screens installed and opted for what is called ‘picture window’ screens. This means no horizontal metal to interrupt our view of the lake, so we have been sitting on our butts a lot enjoying the fruits of our labor.  That’s my excuse for skipping a newsletter last month! While lounging in the breeze, jalousie windows popped into my head since those were common in Florida before air conditioning.  This also relates to the Newsletter I wrote awhile back about the history of air conditioning in Florida. Along those lines, I recently sold a home to a client in Bradenton that included FPL’s “Net Metering” and I had a chance to learn more about that system. So our topic for this month is about languishing in the breeze and when it gets too hot and humid that it sends you inside, a new program to save energy and dollars on your A/C bill!

So what are jalousie windows you may ask? According to Wikipedia, jalousie is the French word for jealousy. It originated in 18th century France from the Italian word geloso, which means jealous, or screen, as in to screen something from view. Supposedly because of their slatted louvres, jalousie windows protect the interior of the house from jealous peering eyes – permitting one to see without being seen.

Jalousie windows maximize natural ventilation by allowing airflow through the entire window area. Historically made only of wooden slats or glass panes, they are well suited to mild-winter climates. With mass production they became very common throughout homes in mid-20th-century Florida, Hawaii, southern California, the deep South, and Latin America. In cooler regions they were rapidly adopted to porches and sunrooms. They were also widely used in mobile homes during the 1950s and 1960s before most manufacturers began switching to sliding and sash windows in subsequent decades. It’s also called a louvered window, and this style consists of horizontal panels, either made of glass, plastic, metal, wood or other window material that sits on a track on the window’s frame.  The operator uses a crank or knob to open and close these horizontal panels, letting in plenty of air. Picture the panels similar to a windowed version of Venetian blinds and its slats, and there you have it: jalousie windows.

The jalousie window first made its debut in the early 1900s. It was originally patented in 1901, but it had a slow start to catch on.  Sometime in the late 1960s, jalousie windows had begun popping up on homes, especially in the south. With the style’s horizontal panels that opened a home up to a passing breeze, these windows were perfect for letting the air-flow inside to cool off or to substitute for the lack of air conditioning during hot summers. Both my wife and I grew up in Sarasota in homes that had no AC and we had jalousie windows all around.

The jalousie window didn’t just hit its stride in the 60s in the southern states.  In the colder parts of the United States, you would see jalousie windows on enclosed porches, gazebos, and sunrooms across the Midwest and Northern U.S.  Jalousie windows also struck luck in the realm of mobile homes. Mobile homes and trailers, strapped with limited space and most with no air conditioning, found that they can benefit from space-saving, ventilating jalousie windows. Almost a decade later, homeowners started to turn away from the jalousie window style.  By the time the 1970s hit, the majority of American homes had air conditioning.  

As much as we may enjoy the natural breeze outside in Florida, the time comes when the humidity smacks us in the face and we retreat inside to air conditioning…and the increase in the electric bill. But there is a way to lower that bill. Net metering allows FPL (Florida Power and Light) customers who connect approved, renewable generation systems such as solar panels to the electric grid, to buy and sell electricity to FPL. When you generate electricity from your solar array for your home or business, it reduces the amount of energy you purchase from FPL, and in turn, lowers your monthly electric bills. If your system produces more energy than you need, the excess power is sold back to FPL’s grid. That amount of energy is deducted from your monthly bill or credited toward a future bill in the same calendar year. In my clients case, the solar array is creating a reduction of 80% off his monthly bill. Not bad! Click here to learn more! 

I'm headed to the lanai with a cold drink in my hand...hope you are enjoying a summer breeze of your own!