Archive for August, 2014

6 Truths Most Locals Won’t Tell You about Moving To Punta Gorda

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014


This picture was taken in January. Notice the close-toed shoes and long pants. (Aka the winter wardrobe)

This picture was taken in January. Notice the close-toed shoes and long pants–that’s their winter wardrobe)


Thinking of moving to Punta Gorda?

There are some things you ought to know about your new life. And not every local is so open about admitting some of these things.

You may find some of these surprising, but I want you to be fully prepared for what you’re life will be like here.


1. You’ll need a winter wardrobe. Most of us don’t want to admit this because our winter wardrobes are embarrassing. Mine consists of my regular wardrobe, a black cardigan and a pair of socks.

2. You’ll scrape your windshield again. As much as we may brag about never having to scrape our windshields, we still do. Instead of hard ice in the winter,  mating love bugs cover Florida windshields in the spring.  Still, nobody around here’s ever gotten frostbite during love bug season.

3. You’ll give small children lame (& unneeded) advice about alligators. Let’s get one thing straight, alligator attacks and lightning strikes run neck and neck in the statistics. Alligators don’t want to be bothered with or by humans.

Yet Florida’s adults pass along such wisdom to children as “If one chases you, run zigzag” and “Don’t throw stones at an alligator.” The zigzag trick is debatable. I’ve never known anyone, even indirectly, to be chased by alligator or heard of anyone trying it.

As far as throwing stones, I remember first hearing this at about age 6, and thinking, “How dumb do these people think I am?”

4. Your pets will become lazy hunters. Maybe up north your pets caught squirrels or other exciting presents for you. I can’t speak for all the pets in Florida, but in my experience, most Florida pets get lazy.

They resign themselves to hunting small reptiles–mostly lizards. And they don’t even bother to kill them. If you notice many tailless lizards around your Punta Gorda home–this is not a new breed of reptile—you have lazy pets.

5. You’ll see some of your northern relatives more than you did up north. Be warned: The same people who tell you they could never move to Florida because they love the seasons will be the first at your door this winter.

6. You’ll lose all of your street cred. Recently, I was talking to a friend of mine who is moving to New York. She mentioned that just surviving in certain parts of New York shows you’re tough.

Not on the Punta Gorda streets. If you want an excuse to walk down the street nervously clutching your bag, Punta Gorda is not for you. Here you can look your neighbors in the eye. Say, “Hello.” They’ll probably stop and chat with you. It’s almost embarrassing how easy it is to live here.

Are you moving to Punta Gorda? Have questions? Ask them over on our Facebook page.

Everything You Need to Know to Convince Your Dog He’ll Love Punta Gorda

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014


Moose, local celebrity and Sally Van Dyke's best friend, contemplates the good  life in Punta Gorda.

Captain Moose, local celebrity and best friend to Sally Van Dyke, contemplates the good life in Punta Gorda.

You and your spouse have decided.

You’re not spending one more winter shoveling snow.

This is the year you move to Punta Gorda and enjoy the good life.

There’s one problem: Fido’s not convinced. He loves the snow. He’s never had to scrape ice off a windshield with a credit card. And if he did, his hands are fur-covered.

In many households Rover’s vote counts as much as the adults’. In the rest of homes, it counts as more. So, until you convince your four-legged friend, you could be stuck.

Luckily, Punta Gorda is teeming with reasons for your best pooch to love this town.

Stay in a Dog Lovin’ Hotel

Four Points Sheraton: Allows dogs for a one time fee of $25.

The Wyvern: Welcomes dogs with a $25 per night surcharge.

Let Your Dog Run Naked

While Charlotte County has a leash law, you can let your dog run free in several parks in the area.

Hounds of Henry Street: The social ‘it’ park for Punta Gorda pooches. It offers separate areas for large and small dogs. 601 Shreve Street

Paw Park of Port Charlotte: Right over the bridge, you’ll find the dog park past the children’s playground. 22410 Bayshore Rd, Port Charlotte

Bonita Beach Dog Park: What’s better than a dog park? A beach dog park.

Wine and Dine Your Pooch

Several restaurants around town encourage leashed dogs on their patio.

The Laishley Crab House: Sneak him seafood under the table on their upstairs patio and he’ll be sold on his new Punta Gorda life.

Harpoon Harry’s: This open air restaurant is perfect for a night out with your best friend.

Jack’s: Some dogs need to be in the middle of everything. Located in the middle of downtown, Jack’s outdoor patio lets your puppy soak up all the attention he deserves.

Bribe Your Best Buddy

If all else fails, buy him off at one of Punta Gorda’s local pet stores.

Mom and Poppets: Conveniently located downtown, you’re sure to find a convincing toy here.

Salty Paws: If there was any doubt Punta Gorda is dog-friendly, Salty Paws puts it to rest with its monthly Pawtastic Yappy Hours in Fishermen’s Village. Because dogs love happy hours just as much as their owners.

Is your best friend have a four-legged bone chewer?

Share a picture of your Punta Gorda pooch over on our Facebook page. We’d love to see how our neighbors spoil their pets.

Southwest Florida Camping: Leave Your Beautiful Lanai Behind and Sleep on the Ground

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014


Lanai view from a Punta Gorda home

Lanai view from a Punta Gorda home

Sleeping in a tent. Roasting marshallows. Singing by the campfire.

Does just the mention of these activities make you want to get your sleeping bag?

You’re in luck. Southwest Florida offers a variety of scenic camping opportunities. And because this blog aims to uncover all the beauty and fun around Punta Gorda, I’m going to tell you about them.

However, before I do, I must make a confession. The Andreaes are not campers. As a family, we’ve never been camping.

While I enjoy camping, Nancy Andreae, family matriarch and Andreae Group originator, misses the point of sleeping on the ground. She and I went camping once in Alaska. Although she knew before we left that we would be camping, when it came time to sleep in a tent, she seemed mystified (and very amused) that we were really going to do this.

In turn, I was mystified by her mystification. My mom is adventurous. She has hiked around China, biked through Vietnam, and raised three children. She can rough it.

Yet it must’ve been hard for a woman who spent thirty years traipsing in and out of Punta Gorda homes to fathom a night in a tent. After all, most Punta Gorda homes have lanais and sliding glass doors that allow you to enjoy the outdoors from your sofa.

It makes sense that she would wonder why we were sleeping on the ground. But maybe you are the type to eschew the comforts of your beautiful Punta Gorda home for a few days of outdoor fun. While Nancy would tell you to install a hammock on your lanai, I’m going to take you through some of the best places to camp in the area.

Sleeping on the Ground in Southwest Florida

To the north, Oscar Sherer state park has fully equipped campsites with electric and water hookups for tent or RV camping. The park centers on Lake Osprey, a scenic freshwater lake where visitors snorkel, fish, and swim. You can also take a guided canoe tour.

In Fort Myers, you’ll find the Pine Island KOA. Like most KOAs, it has campsites, RV parking, and cabins. Outside your tent, you can take a dip in their pool or participate in one of their scheduled community activities.

Boat Camping at Cayo Costa State Park

Not every state park offers boat camping, but that’s what makes Southwest Florida camping great. While Cayo Costa has one-room cabins and 30 campsites, it also has a bayside park dock. You need a boat to get to Cayo Costa, making this a convenient and sometimes luxurious option. (Nancy Andreae also recommends boat camping.)

Cheat a Little: Rent a Cabin at Camp Venice

You don’t have to sleep on the ground to get back to nature. On the Myakka River, you can rent a rustic cabin at Camp Venice. These simple accommodations come with a bed, air conditioning/ heat, electrical outlets, and a patio. If you go, rent a canoe and take a ride down the tropical Myakka River. You won’t be disappointed.

Are you a camper?
Do you have a favorite camping spot? Let us know on our Facebook page.



7 Reasons Punta Gorda is the World’s Best Place to Drink a Beer

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014


You can get an cold beer almost anywhere, but this view is hard to beat.

You can get an cold beer almost anywhere, but this view is hard to beat.

It’s a lofty claim.

I’ll admit it.

If it’s a nice sunny day and you’re an adult who drinks responsibly, it’s easy to enjoy a ice, cold beer anywhere.

However, few small towns offer such a varied and awesome list of beer drinking opportunities. And now that Punta Gorda will have its own microbrew line, there’s no better place to drink a beer than here.

Here’s why:

1. You can drink a beer named after Punta Gorda in Punta Gorda. Fat Point Beer, Punta Gorda’s first microbrew, has its first release this month. On August 16, they launch their Ryeght Angle IPA. You can expect to find it around Charlotte, Lee, and Sarasota counties. The brewery plans to open for tastings sometime in September.

2. You can enjoy a real Irish Pub without the Irish weather. Don’t get me wrong, Ireland is a beautiful country. But have you checked the weather there? It’s chilly and rainy. The Celtic Ray is open 365 days a year in Punta Gorda and most of those days are sunny and gorgeous.

3. You can learn about beer while you drink it. Education is important. And the Icehouse knows it. Along with providing guests with a beer encyclopedia, the servers and bartenders are ready to answer your beer questions.

4. You can sit at an outside bar while you watch the town go by while you drink your beer. Sit at the circular bar at Jack’s and watch the world go by with a beer in hand.

5. You can run to your beer. Some say beer is an excellent recovery drink. The best place to find out is at the Foot Landing’s Wednesday Night Pub Run. The 2-3 mile run ends at the Icehouse, Deans, or the Celtic Ray. Often, close to 100 people show up for these runs. You’re bound to find someone who shares your speed and taste in ales.

6. You can listen to a band, look out over Charlotte Harbor, chat with friends, and drink a beer all at once. Head over to Harpoon Harry’s or the Tiki Bar on Charlotte Harbor for an ice cold beer while you look out at Charlotte Harbor.

7. You can drink a beer on a sunny day almost every day in Punta Gorda. While we don’t encourage 365 days of drinking, it is nice to be in a place where you don’t have to wait two months for the next sunny day.

Have you ever had a beer in Punta Gorda? Did you love it? Why? Let us know on our Facebook page.