Sarasota FL Real Estate Blog

Why is Anna Maria Island Known as One of the Top 30 in the World?

Anna Maria Island - Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/lawtonchiles/3139234569

Did you hear that Anna Maria Island is being called one of the world’s top islands by Conde Nast Traveler readers? The Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau made the announcement recently about the travel magazine’s choice.

The Readers’ Choice Awards for Conde Nast Traveler ranks the top cities, resorts, hotels spas and cruise lines around the world by getting the readers to vote. Anna Maria Island was the only representative from the state of Florida and only 1 in 11 islands chosen. Here is a look at how it was chosen.

Anna Maria Island was Chosen

Anna Maria Island was chosen for the 26th spot being rated 81.373 by readers. It was described as a narrow band off the west coast in Florida with some of the whitest and softest sand on the East Coast. Since it faces west, it’s the perfect place to watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico.

What Makes Anna Maria Special?

The island is perfect for leisurely bike rides along the water since its only 7 miles long and 2 miles wide. You can rent bicycles by the hour at Beach Bums. Even though it’s a small area known for its sugar white sand beaches, it’s also a community...

Upcoming Events: 6th Annual CYD Gingerbread Festival

Gingerbread House - Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/35535885@N03/6442546839

The 6th Annual CYD Gingerbread Festival is returning to Sarasota this holiday season. From December 12th through the 14th you can enjoy the new favorite tradition in Sarasota. Its only $1 for admission and all of the fun will be taking place at the Westfield Sarasota Square Mall.

You’ll see over 150 houses created by kids and local businesses and then you’ll get to vote for your favorite. You can view all of the houses, purchase them plus watch celebrity iron chef competitions. Here is what you can expect at this year’s Gingerbread Festival.

Schedule of Events

The event starts on Friday, December 12th with the Gingerbread Village Opening featuring over 150 houses. From 10am-10pm you can enjoy the houses and look for your favorites. At 7pm, you can watch celebrity chefs demonstrate how well they can decorate and they will be racing one another. The Celebrity Iron Chef Competition will feature Slick from “Highway to Sell” on the Discovery Channel plus Slick’s Garage.

Saturday, December 13th you can see the Gingerbread Village from 9am until 10pm. The award presentation will...

What is Bayfront 20:20 All About?

Sarasota, Florida

A group of citizens in Sarasota, Florida have created an organization called Bayfront 20:20 to get the public talking about the plans to re-invest in Sarasota’s Bayfront in order to keep the vision alive for years to come.

Since Sarasota’s Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall opened in 1968 almost 50 years ago, it’s become known as the state’s leading location for arts and culture. The Bayfront 20:20 has started public conversations to get their long-term plans going for maintain the Sarasota Bayfront in order to keep the vision alive for the next generations. Here is a look at the work of Bayfront 20:20.

What work does Bayfront 20:20 do?

Bayfront 20:20’s goal is to make sure the Bayfront is at its absolute best. They have their view set on establishing the region as a culture legacy while making the waterfront accessible for the public. It’s si-highlight--primary that the waterfront is open while focusing on the cultural institutions in the area all at once. These are what make Sarasota unique and a cultural destination to tourists by distinguishing itself from other Florida communities.

Goal and Strategy...

Attraction Spotlight: Longboat Key Center for the Arts

The Longboat Key Center for the Arts is program offered by the Ringling College focused on educational arts and cultural programming for Sarasota and Manatee Counties. They offer exhibitions, classes and workshops to engage the community in culture and arts.

They are located in the Longbeach Village at the north end of Longboat Key. You can enjoy exhibitions, concerts, lectures and more with Longboat Key Center for the Arts. Here is a look at what the organization offers.

New to Longboat Key Center for the Arts

For beginners or masters in the arts, you can take part in workshops, labs and classes through Longboat Key Center for the Arts. Their goal is to get your creative juices flowing. Right now they have the Fall of 2014 ageless creativity workshops with choices from watercolor demonstrations to painting lectures.

You can also take part in open studios, learning labs and master classes. Classes are 1-3 days workshops that allow you to try specific medium or technique that you’re trying to learn about. Since most people can’t commit to a month of a class, Longboat offers shorter and more manageable options. If classes are too much, try a learning lab in January-March from 1-4pm on Wednesdays. It’s a demonstration of a techniques and materials. You can also use their open studios for practice your craft.

You can also enjoy exhibitions of work, the 2015 outdoor music series featuring music in the tent in the courtyard and lectures on the arts.

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Which Sarasota Condos Have Water Views?

Beau CielAre you moving to Sarasota or already living here but looking for a new condo with a water view? While there are several condos in town, only certain buildings are going to offer beautiful water views. Enjoying the sunset over the water from your home is a dream for many and Sarasota folks can get just that from a few condos in town.

While prices will be higher, there are some locations that will offer at least a peak of the water from where you're at for a slightly lower price. Here are the locations in Sarasota that you should check for a water view condo.

Beau Ciel

One of downtown Sarasota's most sought after condos is the Beau Ciel. The condos were built in 2003 and offer breathtaking water or city views. It's right by all of the great downtown attractions too. These are over $1 million.

Pier 550

For a steal, you can get a water view condo in downtown Sarasota at Pier 550 for under $400,000. It's located on the south east side of Golden Gate Point. You'll love bay views and downtown skyline views here. Being right by the bay, this condo is full of fishing and boat docks.

Bay Plaza

If you're looking for prime location in downtown Sarasota, check out Bay Plaza. It's perfect in that it has no buildings blocking your water...

Upcoming Event: Chalk Festival Venice

Downtown Venice is gearing up for this year’s Chalk Festival Venice. It will take place on the 14th through the 17th in downtown Venice where residents can enjoy chalk artwork. The theme this year is “Extinct and Endangered Species” and the three day event will bring out artists using the pavement and pastel chalk to create 3D illusions. Here is what you can expect for this year’s Chalk Festival Venice.

What is the Chalk Festival?

Sarasota Chalk Festival - Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/6320002598


The Sarasota Chalk Festival is a community-based event hosted by the Avenida de Colores 501c3 charitable cultural arts organization. It’s completely free to the public and everyone can participate or attend the event.

It takes place once a year in which artists use the pavement to create a 3D illusionistic painting using pastel chalk as their medium. The images look as if they are in-motion. Artists can apply to participate, no matter what age, and the event is run by several volunteers.

What Should You Expect?

Each year a theme is chosen for the event’s festivities. This year the theme is all about endangered and extinct species. Once they choose the theme, artists then submit ideas...

Upcoming Events Near Sarasota

Sarasota has plenty of event choices for all types of entertainment. There are a number of choices within the area, especially during this time of the year. Here are a few of the best events coming to the Sarasota area very soon.

Home Show - Sarasota-Bradenton - November 21st to 23rd

The Home Show will feature all types of things for your home and around your home. Everything from builders to garage doors and so much more will be found at the show. Plenty of vendors and contractors will be on hand to help answer questions and show you the latest home improvement products.

This will be the largest home show in the area and admission is free for all three days. The show will run from 11am to 6pm on Friday and Saturday and from 11am to 5pm on Sunday.

2014 Night of Shimmering Lights - November 29th to December 30th

If you love holiday lights, this is the event for you. It will include all types of lights with over 2,000 sculpted displays and plenty of themed areas. There will be an entire Christmas Village and more. Visit the lights at 215 Sydney Washer Road in Dover, just off State Road 60.

Bradenton Blues Festival - December 6th

If you love blues music, this is the right event for you. With top blues artists, plenty of food, vendors, drinks and so much more,...