Archive for December, 2014

The One New Year’s Resolution that Can Help You Achieve Your Other Goals

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014
Your winters could look like this.

Your winters could look like this.


It’s the week of grandiose plans. This year is going to be the best one yet. You’re going to live a bigger, fuller life. You’re going to be healthier, less stressed, and accomplish big things.

You’ve had these thoughts before, and then something happens. The excuses creep in. Your running plan gets snowed in. You try to manage stress better, but you haven’t seen sunshine in a week.

You want to get more sleep, but you have to get up early to shovel the driveway. You’re supposed to be living in the moment, but you’re wearing so many layers it’s hard to walk.

If this sounds like you, there is one resolution that wipes out all of these excuses. This year, resolve to finally get out of those nasty northern winters. Make 2014 the last year you sat inside wishing you were in Florida.

I can’t tell you moving to Punta Gorda will solve all of your problems. It won’t. But sunshine and comfortable weather certainly can help.

I know it feels like making that leap will be hard. Every year I meet people who do what I call the “Florida creep.” They slowly move down here as if they’re tricking themselves. One year they come down for a week. The next year it’s two weeks in October and two in March. Then, it’s the entire months of November and February.

Eventually, they’re just here. They’ve crept in. I’m not sure who they’re fooling. If you’re creeping your way down here, maybe it’s time to just accept it. You never liked the seasons as much as you claimed. Sunshine is a beautiful thing. You like Punta Gorda. We’re a very welcoming community. Everyone here understands why you can’t take the snow anymore. Admitting it doesn’t make you weak. It makes you smart.

A Last Minute Checklist for Your Punta Gorda Christmas

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014


These Punta Gordians are ready for Santa. Are you?

These Punta Gordians are ready for Santa. Are you?

Tomorrow is the big day.

Santa Claus is coming to town.

There’s lots to do in Punta Gorda. You may find yourself making decisions you never thought you’d have to make.

Should you eat dinner on the lanai? Yes.

Should you take the boat out on Christmas day? Sure.

Can flip flops be appropriate Christmas dinner attire? Of course.

Along with these big decisions, there are some unique challenges to spending Christmas in Punta Gorda. As someone whose spent most of my holidays here, I put together a quick checklist to help you have the best day possible.

__Turn on the spa or pool heater early if kids are coming and like to swim.

__Leave a cheeseburger and margarita out for Santa. (Like most people, Santa prefers cheeseburgers in paradise to a few measly cookies in not-paradise.)

__Open all your doors and windows first thing Christmas morning. (It’s expected to be in the 60s tonight, so it’s likely you’ve closed a few.)

__If you’re eating dinner inside, make sure to have some seating on the lanai. Our open-floor plans and sliding glass doors make it easy for guests to meander out onto the lanai without even realizing it.

__Remind everyone to bring a light sweater in case you want to take the boat out for an after dinner canal cruise.

__Play golf or tennis. It’s Christmas after all.

__Remind your spouse and/or children that some of your guests still live up north. It’s not polite to laugh at TV images of traffic stopped in “white Christmases.”

__Don’t panic if those images of sliding traffic remind you that still live up north and have to go back. In my experience, people who leave Punta Gorda come back. You’re down for two weeks this year. Next year it’ll be a month. In a couple of years, you’ll have sworn off snow for good.

__Make sure any outdoor toys for kids and adults (i.e. bikes, golf clubs, boat accessories) are assembled and ready to play with. Nobody waits until spring to have fun around here.

__When selecting Christmas songs, understand that tunes like, I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas and Walking in a Winter Wonderland are considered humorous in Punta Gorda. And yet, Jimmy Buffett’s Christmas Island album is serious art.

I hope this list helps you prepare for tomorrow. If you have items to add to our checklist, please leave a comment on your Facebook page.



2014 Best of Punta Gorda:The Year in Review

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014


Our favorite internet meme of 2014. We survived!

Our favorite internet meme of 2014. We survived!

It’s always fun to do a year in review. The better the year, the more exciting it is to take a look back. 2014 has been a good year for Punta Gorda and the Andreae Group. We’ve had fun putting out this blog for all our residents and potential homeowners. Punta Gorda continues to thrive and make ‘best of’ lists. Plus, I’m writing anything this on a typical December day with the windows open!

Most Popular Blog Posts on the Andreae Group Blog
How to Survive Your First Autumn in Punta Gorda: A must-read for anyone who fears they will miss those first few days of slipping on ice.

6 Truths Most Locals Won’t Tell You About Punta Gorda: The truth comes out. Find out what Punta Gorda residents really think.

Give Back and Get Involved:Exciting Volunteer Opportunites in Punta Gorda: We’re proud that our readers liked this one. They’re a giving bunch.

What it’s like to be a kid in Punta Gorda Then and Now: The kids today have it easy. When I was a kid in Punta Gorda, it got cold once. I still remember the day.

Punta Gorda in the News
Punta Gorda is a go-to town for ‘best place to’ list makers. Over the years, we’ve been named the best place to live, to sail, and to retire. This year the town made it on a few new lists.

Best Place to Open a Small Business: Nancy Andreae knew what she was doing when she opened her small business in Punta Gorda. She was 30 years ahead of this article.

Top 10 Safest Places in Florida: We made it on to this list for our low crime rate.

Charlotte County Ranks #1 as “biggest bang for your travel buck” by Trivago

Charlotte County Sports Park Voted Best Spring Training Spot by USA Today: There’s a lot of competition for best spring training spot. We’re proud to our small town beat out the big cities.

Festivals and annual event highlights:
In October, I wrote a post about the endless stream of fun Punta Gorda festivals. I’m not going to list them all again, but I would like to mention a few favorites from 2014:

9th Annual Wine and Jazz Festival–Not many small towns have Grammy winning musicians play their Jazz festival. Perhaps that’s why ours sells out regularly.

PirateFest: This one makes it onto our list, because it gives us an opportunity to say things like, “landlubbers” and “aaRRR” all weekend.

Haunting on the Harbor: Every year people come from all over to trick or treat in downtown Punta Gorda. Our town puts on a spooktacular affair with rides, haunted houses, and tons of candy.

It’s been an exciting year in Punta Gorda. What was your favorite event in Punta Gorda this year? Tell us over on our Facebook page.

Lighted Boat Parades: Where You Stop Dreaming of a White Christmas and Realize Life is Better than Your Dreams

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

202432_10151565037498496_496639107_oIt’s not going to snow on Christmas in Punta Gorda. There’ll be no icicles hanging from rooftops. No relatives slipping on ice as the try to carry
your presents up to the house. No days of shoveling and scrapping between now and new year.

I’m sorry. I hate to crush your big dreams. But the snow ain’t coming to Punta Gorda this Christmas.

The good news is the white Christmas dream is a tradition that is easily replaced. When you see Punta Gorda’s seawalls, palm trees, and lanais decked out in holiday lights, you’ll quickly forget you once hoped everything would freeze this holiday.

One tradition you won’t want to miss is the lighted boat parade. Punta Gorda holds two lighted boat parades every year. The first happens this Sunday, December 14.  The second on Saturday, December 20th. Both start around 6:00 pm as it starts getting dark.

Which boat parade should you attend?

Both. Go to the one on the 14th and you’ll want to see the one on the 20th. Voila! A new holiday tradition is born. And unlike that silly snow dream, this boat parade tradition happens every year.

There are some differences in the parades. On the 14th, the parade route crosses the Harbor. It’s a stunning sight to see the Harbor aglow with holiday lights. The second parade offers spectators an up close look at the boats as the cruise through the canal system.

What if you miss the coziness of sitting of the holiday season? Can you watch a boat parade with a cup of hot chocolate?

That depends. If you arrive in Florida from Canada the night before the boat parade, you might be too warm for  a hot chocolate. Our December evenings often drop down into the low 60s. But don’t fret. Stay here for one year and you’ll be bundled up like you’ve sailed into the Artic.

Should you cheer, sing, or wave to the boaters?

All three. Holiday cheer fuels the boaters. Many of these boaters come back year after year just to fill up on all the holiday love.

Have you been to a lighted boat parade? Did you enjoy it? Let us know over on our Facebook page.

11 Fantastic Things to Do in Punta Gorda this December

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014


Whoville takes over Fishermen's Village this year.

Whoville takes over Fishermen’s Village this year.

December is a busy time. There are so many fun things to do and only one month to do them. To help ensure you don’t miss any of the fantastic events going on around Punta Gorda, we put together a list of some of our favorites:

  1. Canal cruises—Now through December 31, 2014: Everyone should experience the Punta Gorda canal system during the holiday season. Through December, our residents deck the seawalls and their boats with beautiful lights. Don’t have a boat? Book a lighted canal cruise with King Fisher Fleets. Call 941-639-0969 for more information.
  2. Festival of Lights—Now through December 31, 2014: There’s no prettier place to shop during the holidays than Fishermen’s Village. This year the Village theme is Whoville. The Grinch will be stopping by December 13 and 14th.
  3. Punta Gorda Garden Club Home Tour—December 5and 6, 2014: The 21st annual Holly Days Home Tour starts at 11:00 am in the Punta Gorda Historic District.
  4. Pearl Harbor Day Ceremony— December 7, 2014: Salute the men and women of Pearl Harbor at this annual ceremony. Organized by the Military Heritage Museum the ceremony begins at 5:00 pm in the center court at Fishermen’s Village.
  5. Running of the Elves—December 7, 2014: Take a walking or running tour of the Punta Gorda murals in costume. There will be prizes for best adult and child costume. The event starts at 10:30 a.m. on the lawn of the Sheraton and ends at the Tiki bar.
  6. Toys in the Truck—December 8, 2014: This is one of the coolest ways to donate to Toys for Tots. Bring an unwrapped, new toy to the truck outside Military Heritage Museum from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Let’s fill up the truck!
  7. Mistletoe Ball—December  13, 2014: Dance the night away, eat a fabulous dinner, and do some good. Proceeds from the ball benefit the Charlotte County Homeless Coalition Foundation. Find more information here.
  8. Lighted Boat Parade—December 14, 2014: The first lighted boat parade of the season begins at Edgewater Lake, sails across the Harbor to the Yacht Club over to Fishermen’s Village, and ends after passing by Laishley Park. If you’ve never seen one of our boat parades, you won’t want to miss this!
  9. Ugly Sweater Run—December 17, 2014: Hit the pavement for a 1 to 3 mile run or walk in your favorite ugly sweater. The run starts at the Foot Landing at 6:15 for walkers and 6:30 for runners. It ends at Fishermen’s Village. A Trolley will take you back to the Foot Landing.
  10. Lighted Boat Parade—December 20, 2014: Whether you saw or missed the first boat parade of the year, you won’t want to miss this one. Check out this map to figure out the best place for you to watch these beautiful boats.
  11. The Nutcracker—December 23, 2014: The State Ballet of Russia performs this holiday classic at the Charlotte Harbor Events Center. Tickets are on sale now.

To learn more about what’s going on around Punta Gorda, Like us on Facebook.