Archive for November, 2014

17 Things Punta Gorda Residents Can Be Thankful For

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014


Nancy Andreae's cat,Twyla, is grateful for cat doors and a mommy who spoils her rotten.

Nancy Andreae’s cat,Twyla, is grateful for cat doors and a mommy who spoils her rotten.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We will all gather around the table and remember everything we have to be grateful for. If you live in Punta Gorda, you’re lucky.

Our town gives us all plenty of reasons to be thankful. Here are just a few:

  1. The weather: Of course, we have to mention our weather. For those of us long-time Floridians, we tend to forget how lucky we have it. As it drops down into the sixties, I find myself, bundled up, claiming to “be freezing.” Yet it’s not really cold enough for me to freeze. And I’m grateful for that.
  2. There’s an organization for everyone: Whether you’d like to get involved in local events, join a club, or volunteer, there’s something for you in Punta Gorda. The PGI Civic Association alone boasts over 20 clubs, and that’s just one area of town.
  3. Team Punta Gorda: Speaking of excellent organizations, Team Punta Gorda recently celebrated 10 years of beautifying Punta Gorda. In those 10 years, we’ve seen them renovate the Train Depot, institute Operation Curb appeal, and award local businesses for improving Punta Gorda’s look. We can’t wait to see what they do in the next ten years!
  4. The citizens who’ve raised over $100,000 for our own Vietnam Memorial: It’s said that you can tell a lot from people by how they treat their heroes. Punta Gorda already has a free Military History Museum manned by volunteers. We’re proud to say that our town may soon have its own Vietnam Memorial, as well.
  5. Our canal maintenance program: Our canals provide us with beautiful waterfront views and easy access to the harbor. It’s nice to know they’re well taken care of year-round.
  6. Sliding glass doors and screened-in lanais: Imagine if we all had to go outside to enjoy the outside? I think that’s what people up north do. Not here. You can cook in your kitchen, watch TV, or take a nap while enjoying fresh air.
  7. Cat doors that fit into sliding glass doors: This one’s for my cats. However, the lizards they chase around the lanai remain unimpressed by this invention.
  8. Endless town special events: We could live in a small town with little to do. We would all have to drive to the big city to have any fun. In Punta Gorda, somebody is always planning a new town event. We listed some of them here.
  9. Local shopping: From the shops downtown to Fishermen’s Village, if you’re looking for unique gifts this holiday season, you’re in luck. Punta Gorda has it. You don’t need to go online or to some cold big box store.
  10. Allegiant Air: Forget driving to an overcrowded large airport. You can conveniently travel from Punta Gorda to over 20 destinations with Allegiant Air.
  11. The year-round Farmer’s market: I’m sure there are some diehard northern towns with year-round farmer’s markets. I’m also sure that shopping at the Farmer’s market in upstate Michigan is not as comfortable as shopping at ours this time of year.
  12. Easy parking: Punta Gorda has good parking everywhere you go. You never have to drive around having that horrible conversation of whether you should pay for parking or try somewhere else. You just park. It’s delightful.
  13. Our garbage collectors: Garbage collecting is a tough job anywhere. In Punta Gorda, our garbage collectors pick up everything. You don’t need to schedule your big items. They just collect. And we are grateful for them.
  14. Year-round ice cream eating: We have two ice cream shops in town. And I’m not ashamed to say: I love ice cream all year. October, January, February—It’s always a good time for ice cream in Punta Gorda.
  15. Lighted boat parades: Forget the white Christmas. I’ll take a colorful Christmas on a boat with a Margarita any day.
  16. Cul-de-sacs: If you’re new to Punta Gorda, you’ll find the cul-de-sacs make driving around looking at houses easier. If you grew up here, like I did, you probably learned to ride a bike, roller skate, and play stickball around a cul-de-sac. They also create tip lots with beautiful views.
  17. Old friends and new: When the Andreae family moved to Punta Gorda in 1981, there were five houses in Burnt Store Isles. Now there are over 900. We feel fortunate to live in a town small enough to make keeping up with old friends easy, but with space for new friends.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Let us know over on our Facebook page.




7 No-Work Thanksgiving Dinner Options around Punta Gorda

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014


Last year, Uncle Alex and I fed the alligators their Thanksgiving dinner.

Last year, Uncle Alex and I fed the alligators their Thanksgiving dinner after the Turkey trot.

Don’t want to cook or clean this Thanksgiving? You don’t have to.

Every year it’s the same story.

Your Thanksgiving starts the week beforehand with prep work. You’ve probably already started making lists. Then, it extends past the holiday while you try to get your home back in order. You want to celebrate all the gifts in your life, but you tired of laboring through the holiday.

In Punta Gorda, you have choices. You could go out to eat. While dining out on Thanksgiving might’ve been taboo where you used to live, it’s commonplace in southwest Florida. In fact, many local restaurants claim Thanksgiving to be one of the busiest days of the year.

Your biggest chore this Thanksgiving could be to make a reservation. To give you some ideas on where to call, I checked around and found out which Punta Gorda restaurants will be open this Turkey Day.

  1. River City Grill: Open 12:00-8:00 p.m.  River City will offer their full menu, plus a turkey dinner for $15.95, bone-in ham steak for $14.95, and grouper for $24.95. 941-639-9080
  2. The Perfect Caper: Open 1:00-7:00 p.m. This Thanksgiving they’ll have an ala carte menu, including organic Turkey. Prices will range from $28-$35. 941-505-9009
  3. The Turtle Club: Opens at 4:00. They will have a special menu, but at the time of this posting, it had not been finalized yet. 941-637-9477
  4. Opus: Offers four seating times: 12:00, 2:30, 5:00, and 7:30. The three-course menu is ala carte and can be viewed online. 941-575-2352
  5. Captain’s Table: Offers four seating times: 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, and 6:00 p.m. The menu features a main course choice of Turkey, Prime Rib, and Salmon.  The cost is $27.50. 941-637-1177
  6. Phil’s 41: Open 11:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Guests can choose from their normal dinner menu and a traditional turkey dinner, prime rib, and stuffed shrimp. The turkey dinner costs $16.95. 941-575-7575
  7. Isles Yacht Club and Twin Isles Country club: If you belong to a club with a dining area, it’s likely they’re serving Thanksgiving dinner. Twin Isles and the Isles Yacht Club will both offer their traditional Thanksgiving Day buffets.



12 Do’s and Don’ts for Living the Dream in Punta Gorda this Holiday Season

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

by wh xmas

What’s better than a white Christmas? Easy. An entire holiday season of beautiful weather.

Consider this: You dream of a white Christmas. You hope for snow that one day of the year. Then, you hope it will all be gone on December 26th, and it will be spring.

You’re better off dreaming about winning the lottery.

Now imagine spending the entire holiday season leaving your house whenever you please without worrying about traffic or snow. You don’t have to imagine it. You can live it. Starting right now. The gorgeous weather is here and will extend indefinitely.

It’s quite a mind shift. How can you get the most out of the holidays if you’re not stuck inside dreaming? I’ll tell you. It’s easier than you think. (And you might already think it’s pretty easy.)

The Do’s and Don’ts of Living the Good Life in Punta Gorda this Holiday Season

Do: Visit Fishermen’s Village between November 15 and December 31. The Lighting of the Village happens November 15 from 5:00-9:00 p.m. The Village hangs millions of lights every year and is worth the visit.

Don’t: Forget to decorate your backyard and seawall. If you’re the type who likes to spread cheer with outdoor holiday decorations, you’ll regret missing the back of the house when you see the boats go by. Checking out canal decorations is an important part of the Punta Gorda season.

Don’t: Buy mittens, wool hats or down coats. You won’t need them.

Do: Expect it to get cold enough for hot chocolate in the evening, and warm enough for sangria in the afternoon.

Do: Go all out on the decorations. We love holiday cheer. However, if your decorations include music, turn it off early. There are many early birds in Punta Gorda.

Do: Buy a fake Christmas Tree. I know, you could never. You love the smell of a real tree. But it stays warm here. The real ones don’t last long. Better to just get the fake one this year.

Don’t: Go sledding. You won’t get far.

Do: Find your way onto a boat. The canal decorations inspire awe every year. It’s likely if you live here long enough you’ll have a friend with a boat. King Fisher Fleets offers lighted boat tours. It’s a little early now. Put it on your calendar to do mid-December.

Don’t: Stay indoors. Many holiday songs, movies, and stories revolve around being stuck inside. In these stories, everyone arrives for dinner covered in ice and excited they survived the horrid drive. None of these stories are set in Punta Gorda. On winter holidays, I’ve played stick ball in an empty lot, chatted with neighbors in the street, and gone kayaking with my nieces.

Do: Remember that Punta Gorda celebrates as a community. The town tree lighting is downtown on November 20th. Many restaurants are open for Thanksgiving. If you don’t have a lot of family in town, you’re not alone. Get out and enjoy our community.

Do: Have your holiday dinners on the lanai or with your sliding glass doors open. The longer you live here the warmer it must be for you to do this comfortably.  Do it once, and you’ll never sing “Let it Snow” again.

Don’t: Worry that you don’t have a chimney. Santa can get in through the lanai door. Trust me. He’s been doing it since I was a kid.

3 Unexpected Reasons to Be Proud of Punta Gorda

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014


Punta Gorda pride

Punta Gorda is Number One!


Everybody knows that living in Florida means you get to brag to your northern friends about the beautiful weather. In the next couple of months, your snowed-in friends expect to see pictures of you in shorts next to boats and palm trees.

It’s normal. You’re proud of your escape.

However, if you only gloat about the weather, you’re missing out on several bragging opportunities. Let me help you out. Here are three things that are unrelated to our gorgeous weather you can (and should) boast about Punta Gorda.

1. Punta Gorda honors our Veterans. The town maintains the Military Heritage Museum right in the entrance way of Fishermen’s Village. Eager volunteers make up the entire staff. In 2013, Team Punta Gorda raised funds for the Fountain of Freedom to honor our veterans. You can see the fountain lit up after dusk in Laishley Park.

Shortly therafter, a group of Vietnam veterans decided they wanted to build a war memorial half the size of the Wall in Washington D.C. Punta Gorda is much smaller than half the size of D.C. Perhaps another small town would think the undertaking too large. Another town might feel one veterans’ memorial was enough. Not us. We honor our veterans. Since September 2013, the group has raised $97,500.00. If you’d like to support the wall, this weekend there will be a musical tribute and fundraiser at the Moose Lodge. More details here.

2.You can get the most out of your days. When I was a kid, my mom always told the story of customers who were amazed by her punctuality. If she had an appointment at 4:00, she could arrive at 4:00 on the dot. Every time. I didn’t understand this until I moved away. In every other city, you must leave early when you want to arrive on time. You might arrive early, but there might also be traffic. Or parking troubles. You might have to walk a long way after you find parking.

It’s not just cutting transportation times. You can actually make a quick run into Publix and be out in five minutes. In fact, you rarely stand in line for more than three minutes anywhere in Punta Gorda. People think small town people move slower, but I say, we move easier.

3. Punta Gorda does holidays right. If you went downtown this Halloween, you already know what I’m talking about. We do holidays as a community.  You’ll see proof of this throughout the holiday season. The whole community will come out for the tree lighting in November.  Then there will be parties and boat parades. And if you’re new in town, don’t worry about being included. Everyone here was new at some point. Take it from someone who moved here when there were five houses in BSI, most of our population remembers what it was like to be new in town.

Do you love to brag about Punta Gorda? Yes. Share this post with your friends to show off our town.