Archive for the ‘Life in Punta Gorda’ Category

Your Thanksgiving Could Look Like This If You Lived in Punta Gorda

Monday, November 26th, 2018

While much of the north saw record cold this Thanksgiving, we donned shorts for our local Turkey trot. Every year, this 5k draws hundreds of locals out to support Habitat for Humanity. For the Andreaes, it’s a tradition.

True competitors: Luke and his daughter at the start of the Turkey Trot

Afterwards, we each go home, clean up, and meet up again at Grandma’s, aka Nancy or the blonde woman in our logo. This year, some of the grandkids and their daddy went kayaking. It would never occur to any of us to be stuck inside on Thanksgiving.

What kid doesn’t love a Thanksgiving Day kayak at Grandma’s?

Like most Floridians, we set up a buffet on the lanai and ate outside. Why not? It was a beautiful day.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving, I went downtown for Small Business Saturday. Again, it was 70 degrees, so why not?

How was your Thanksgiving? If you spent it stuck inside or had to throw three layers on to go shovel your way out, you don’t have to live that way. Come to Punta Gorda where Thanksgiving weekend is an outdoor event!

What’s Happening in Punta Gorda: February and March 2017

Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Is it February already? It’s hard to tell when it’s 80 degrees every afternoon. It’s officially season and our office has been a busy place this past month.

There is a lot going on in the next couple months, so I will get right to the good stuff.

  • Feb. 11, 8th Annual St. Vincent de Paul Walk for the Poor, Laishley Park. For information contact (941)505-7325.
  • Feb. 11, Managing Stress with Dr. Demers, the Yoga Sanctuary. For more information contact (941) 505-9642
  • Feb. 12, Charlotte County Concert Band Concert Series, Charlotte Cultural Center. For information visit
  • Feb. 13, Blanchard House Black History Month Film  and Performance Series, 500 Years Later Mid County Library, 2050 Forrest Nelson Blvd. 5:30 pm Blanchard House Museum For more information call 941-764-5859.
  • Feb. 18, American Heart Association, Charlotte Heart Walk 2017. For information contact (727)563-8083.
  • Feb. 18, Smuggler’s Downtown Hoedown, Marketplace property. For information contact (941)637-5953 or
  • Feb. 20, Blanchard House Black History Month Film and Performance Series, Performance by Ray Kamalay, guitarist and storyteller: “The Haitian Revolution and the Rise of American Music” Mid County Library, 2050 Forrest Nelson Blvd. 5:30 pm Blanchard House Museum For more information call 941-764-5859.
  • Feb. 24, 2017, Behind the Notes with Maestro Raffaele Ponti at the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association, 2001 Shreve Street. For reservations contact (941)205-9743 or
  • Feb. 24-25, Florida Frontier Days, History Park, 501 Shreve Street. For hours and information contact (941)639-6746.
  • Feb. 24-26, Cirque Italia, Downtown Punta Gorda, Marketplace property. For information contact (352)502-3162 or
  • Feb. 25, 7th Annual Punta Gorda Pub Crawl and Food Drive. Downtown Punta Gorda. For tickets and information contact (239)872-1171 or
  • Feb. 27, Blanchard House Black History Month Film  and Performance SeriesThe Legacy of Slavery  Mid County Library, 2050 Forrest Nelson Blvd. 5:30 pm Blanchard House Museum For more information call 941-764-5859.
  • March 3-4, Funk Fest Punta Gorda, Marketplace property, downtown Punta Gorda. For information visit
  • March 3-5, Peace River Pickler’s Pickleball Tournament, Gilchrist Park Pickleball & Tennis Courts. For information contact (330)812-4500 or
  • March 4, Luna Fest, History Park, 501 Shreve St. For additional information contact (941)637-3830 or
  • March 5, Yoga for Caregivers, the Yoga Sanctuary. For more information contact (941) 505-9642
  • March 11-12, iHeart Media Seafood Festival, Laishley Park. For hours and information contact (941)815-0324.
  • March 12, Charlotte County Concert Band Concert Series, Charlotte Cultural Center. For information visit
  • March 17, 2017, Behind the Notes with Maestro Raffaele Ponti at the Punta Gorda Isles Civic Association, 2001 Shreve Street. For reservations contact (941)205-9743 or
  • March 24-25, Pedal & Play in Paradise Bicycle Event, Laishley Park. For information contact (941)637-8326 or
  • March 25-26, TNT Arts & Craft Show, Marketplace property. For information contact (352)344-0657 or
  • March 25, Guns and Hoses 10K & 5K Runs, 1133 Bal Harbor Plaza. For information contact (941)575-7482.
  • March 26, Punta Gorda Rotary Taste of Punta Gorda, Laishley Park. For information contact (941)875-5629

Have fun out there! Follow us on Facebook for more updates on our market and local happenings.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Using Zillow to Find Your Florida Dream Home

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

This could be your winter.

This could be your winter.

By: Adrienne Andreae

It’s going to start snowing again soon. You might be wallowing in fall colors now, but they won’t last. You take to your computer determined to escape before the first flake falls.

While you may not know exactly where in Florida you want to go, you know you’re ready for the Sunshine State. You type in Florida real estate and Zillow, Trulia,, or comes up. It doesn’t matter which one. This advice will work for all of them.

Before I get to my tips, I’ll admit: many realtors hate these sites. You can find countless realtor blog posts lamenting the hazards of using Zillow. I have my moments with Zillow and its competitors, but I also see why many of my customers start on them. My hope is this post will help you understand when these sites will help you as a customer and when they lose their value.

Do Use Zillow: When All You Know is You Want Sunshine.

You’re starting with a wide search radius. You want to go south. Your priority is to end the snow in your life. Maybe you’ve been renting a beach condo in Destin for ten years. You love it there, but you want to explore all your options. Maybe you haven’t been to Florida since you took the kids to Disneyworld in 1997. Maybe you’re even looking at Arizona and haven’t decided on a state yet.

Zillow and are fine sites for you. You can get started and see what areas fit your price range.

Don’t Use Zillow: When You Know What You Want Out of Retirement

You’ve waited thirty years to live near the beach or the golf course or, like many of my customers, to have your boat in your backyard. Zillow won’t tell you that Punta Gorda is consistently rated one of the best small boating towns in Florida. You may have to Google and ask your boating friends. You may have to play around on boating websites or read about us in boating magazines. You’re better off doing the research on areas that you allow you to successfully live your dream. Most realtor websites will let you check listings, and you will find them more accurate than Zillow.

Zillow can't tell you which dock fits your boat best.

Zillow can’t tell you which dock fits your boat best.

Do Use Zillow When You’re Just Curious

Want to know if it’s possible to find any house in Punta Gorda Isles under $300,000? You’re not looking to buy. You just want to know, like you might want to know what $1 million dollars gets in Boston versus Tampa. Zillow is a great distraction and fun site to poke around.

Don’t Use Zillow For Market Research

Zillow farms off the MLS. Therefore, it is often not current. Realtors may change a status in the MLS and sometimes Zillow and miss the update. I have gotten calls about foreclosures that happened years ago. Even in Zillow’s own Advice section, I found questions from homeowners looking to take the home they bought a year ago off Zillow. If you’re really looking for property, call a real estate agent or at least, use a realtor’s site.

There are countless stories of the Zestimate’s inaccuracy. I won’t get to into it here. I tried to figure out how they get their numbers, but I know too much about the Punta Gorda market. They make no sense.

(My favorite story about the Zestimates is the one about the CEO of Zillow sold his home at 60% of the Zestimate.)

Do Use Zillow: If you’re more than 3 years from retirement

You’re sitting at your desk right now dreaming of boating. I’m sorry. I did that to you with the picture above and now you’re wishing you could retire tomorrow. But the kids are small or in college and you know you’re ten years away, at least. You go on Zillow to play around, daydream, and find out what penthouses in New York cost. This is normal. Zillow can be fun.

Don’t Use Zillow: If you’re within 3 years of retirement

You’re close. You may not know what city you want, but you do know you prefer west coast Florida over east coast. You want water in your backyard and sunshine. As you narrow down your scope and retirement gets closer, you should start contacting realtors. You may think four years is a long way out, but this is when you can start paying attention to the markets in the areas you’re interested in. Believe it or not, I’ve had customers call me ten years from retirement. This is a little far out, but it takes nothing for me to add them to my email list. You can start watching the market at anytime.

In Punta Gorda, where the rental market is fantastic, I have many buyers who start to see changes in the market and decide to buy now, rent the home out for a few years and then retire in it. You can only do that if you’re paying attention to good information.

Don’t Fall in Love with a Home on Zillow Before Talking to a Realtor

My final piece of advice is to resist falling madly in love with that great deal you found on Zillow. That house may be the deal Zillow presents  or it may have sold six months ago or have issues Zillow can’t know about. It happens often that a new customer calls me excited about the home they’re going to buy and I know immediately it is not what they think. I’d rather walk you through the process than be the one to tell you your dream is not what you see on the internet.

Have you used Zillow? Is it time to reach out to a realtor? We’d love to hear from you. You can call us at 941-833-4217 or email us at

3 Upcoming Punta Gorda Building Projects You Should Be Excited About

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Fishermens construction2Have you heard? BIG things are happening in Punta Gorda. Recently, Bloomberg put us on its list of top 18 cities to see economic growth this year.

We love being on any list with a subtitle that begins, “Florida Dominates.” There is also plenty to be excited about around our town.

1. The Fishermen’s Village $40 million Expansion: The expansion will come in two parts: first, an $8 million facelift that will add parking, update the entrance and the center court, and welcome the arrival of Scotty’s Brewhouse. The second phase will take five years and cost $30-35 million. It will include a new space for marina facilities and shops, an additional parking deck, and a sand beach with a negative edge pool.

2. Cheney Brothers Opens in Punta Gorda: Have you driven on I-75 lately and noticed the large building adorned with the letters CBI? It’s a new distribution plant for one of the biggest food manufacturers in the southeast. Since 1925, Cheney Brothers have been feeding Florida. They’ve also won numerous big business awards, such as the 2012 Business of the Year award by the Palm Chamber of Commerce and 11th of top 100 Private companies according to South Florida Business journal.

Their motto is Delivering Southern Hospitality since 1925. We think they’re going to fit in around here just fine!

3. The Peace River Botanical and Sculpture Garden: Coming in September 2016, the Peace River Gardens will feature 27 acres of world class sculptures and botanicals.

In Phase 1 of the project, visitors will experience 7 sculptures from world- renowned artists and a community center. Plans for future expansion include: an art gallery, children’s garden, multi-use facility, and an event stage.

What are you looking forward to in Punta Gorda?

14 Reasons to Love Punta Gorda’s Harborwalk

Monday, March 9th, 2015


Let me introduce you to one of my favorite places in Punta Gorda: the Harborwalk. If you’ve never been, it’s a 2+ mile trail that takes you along the Harbor and into town.

It’s an amazing trail. I know. I’m an avid runner who likes to take my running shoes on vacation. I’ve run a relay race through the beautiful mountains of Oregon, laced up to run along Lake Baikal in Siberia, and even trekked along the Italian coast.

And you know what? Punta Gorda’s Harborwalk beats them all. While many places have good walking and running trails, few have trails with so much to offer along the same route. The Harborwalk has everything.

1. We’ll start with the obvious. The view is amazing.

While you’re gawking over the view, try to imagine the salty smell of sea air. I wish I could send you the sea breeze straight through your computer. You’d never want anything else again.

2015-03-08 08.10.38

2. No cars allowed. You can bike, run, or walk without worrying about traffic.

Want to tour Charlotte Harbor by bike, but don’t have one? You can borrow one with Team Punta Gorda’s free bike loaner program.
no motored vehicles

3. You’ll never worry about having a flat. There’s a fixing station.

(If you don’t know how to fix one, ask around. Harborwalkers tend to be very friendly.)2015-03-01 07.45.17

4. Thirsty? Stop and have a drink at the Tiki bar.

Very few trails, if any others, have Tiki bars. Which is a shame, because I often think while running, “I’d rather be at a Tiki bar, right now.”

2015-02-25 18.32.33
5. If boat drinks don’t fill your belly, hop into Hurricane Charley’s for a meal.


6. You can get a full workout in at the FREE adult fitness zone.

adult fitness

7. You’re little friends can expel some of that never-ending kid energy on the playground.

2015-03-09 11.09.52
8. Adults can play too. There’s basketball and tennis.

9. And of course, pickleball.

(What’s a walk without a pickleball game overlooking the Harbor?)

10. A quick detour and you’re shopping at Fishermen’s Village!

11. You might make a new friend.

2015-03-09 11.56.17
12. Or stop for a dog.

hot dog day


13. Even when the route takes you away from the harbor, it’s still gorgeous.

This is where a lot of trails fail. They suck you in with a small section of beauty. Not our Harborwalk, it starts pretty and stays that way.

tree lined

14. You might see a dolphin, but you won’t see any snow.

ALL of these pictures were taken in February and March 2015. That’s right. While my northern friends were using words like, Snowpocalypse and Snowmeggedon, I was running along the trail in short sleeves!



Want more information on beautiful Punta Gorda? Follow us on Facebook for updates.

8 Great Things to Do in Punta Gorda in March

Thursday, February 26th, 2015


Chocolate and running in one event? Yes! I love Punta Gorda!

Chocolate and running in one event? Yes! I love Punta Gorda!

Well, we made it through our annual three days of winter. If you missed it, we had a couple of chilly days in February. It was awful. We all wore sweaters and closed-toed shoes.

Thankfully, we’ve made it back into spring weather which usually lasts about 360 days. If you’re ready to get out and enjoy paradise, there’s plenty for you to do in Punta Gorda next month.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

March 1 All Corvettes on the River: Everybody loves a corvette. This event showcases pairs some of the most stunning cars with a gorgeous Peace River backdrop. The event is hosted by Corvettes of Charlotte County. Judging starts at 11:00 a.m. Awards are presented at 3:00 p.m. Where: Gilchrist Park

March 6-8 22nd Annual Conquistador Cup Regatta: This year is the Punta Gorda Sailing Club’s 40th anniversary, and the club is ready to celebrate! This year’s regatta includes a little something for every boater, including a “poker run” for the non-race crowd on Sunday. A cocktail party starts the party on Friday night. For more information, go to the Punta Gorda Sailing Club’s website.

March 8 15th Annual Celtic Festival: Start your St. Patty’s day celebrations a wee early! Enjoy live Celtic music from 12:00-7:00 pm. Where: The Celtic Ray Cost: $5 More information at Celtic Heritage Productions.

March 19 Women in the Military Reception: The Military Heritage Museum salutes local women who have served our country. Show your support at the entrance to Fishermen’s Village from 4-7 pm.

March 21-22 Peace River National Art Show: Charlotte County’s largest juried art show happens outdoors. See art glass, jewelry, metalwork, paintings and more from nearly 100 nationally recognized artists. When: 10:00 am-5:00 pm. Where: Laishley Park

March 28 Pedal and Play Bike Ride: With three different routes ranging from 15 to 62 miles, there’s a ride for everyone at this fun event. You can even sleep late and ride in the afternoon’s history tour. Proceeds go towards the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and TEAM Punta Gorda’s Bicycle Friendly Community Initiatives. For more information, check out the website.

March 28 Chocolate Fantasia Run: Pedal and play in the morning. Run for chocolate in the evening. This 7k run starts at 8 pm, so you have plenty of time to get a nap in after your morning bike ride. (At least, that’s what I keep telling myself!) Proceeds go to the Tender Hearts Partnership. For more information and information on other local runs, visit the Foot Landing’s website.

March 5-April 4 Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training: Take yourself out to the ballgame! Spring training is here. You can find game times and buy tickets here.

For more of what’s going on in Punta Gorda, Like our Facebook page.


The Single Worst Thing You Can do When it Gets Chilly in Punta Gorda

Thursday, February 19th, 2015


Taken in BSI this week--I'll take kayaking over thunder snow any day

Taken in BSI this week–I’ll take kayaking over thunder snow any day.

It’s chilly in Punta Gorda today. Here you are living the dream, and now you have to throw on a sweater and long pants. I know. It’s awful.

The highs won’t be in the 70s and 80s again until Saturday—two whole days from now!

What are you going to do until then?

You can go to the Club and have lunch. Get projects around the house done. Binge on Netflix. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you don’t make  this one horrible mistake.

Do not, under any circumstances, call your northern friends and attempt to commiserate with their winter woes. Don’t try to get their pity. It won’t work. I’ve tried. I lived in Boston for years. My Boston friends have no sympathy for me when I whine about highs in the 50s.

I try to tell them, 50s are “Florida freezing.” They don’t want to hear it. Remember, northerners associate 50 degrees with melting snow, clearing roads, and fewer layers. It’s amazing to think in some places 50 degrees is a sign of hope.

But it’s true. It’s likely that you’ve spent the last few months talking about your boat trips, casually mentioning golf scores, and posting pictures of you at the TT’s Tiki bar. You lost any hope of sympathy months ago.

You’ll must wait out Punta Gorda’s winter with other locals.

The Good News about Punta Gorda Winters

You may never get the sympathy you deserve for surviving the chilly front of 2015. I do have good news though.

1. Punta Gorda winters last 2-10 non-consecutive days. We had a couple of cooler days last week. This cold front is supposed to last through tomorrow. Last year, I think we had four days of winter. This year we may have as many as six. It’s rough. I feel sorry for us, even if your northern friends won’t.

2. You’re life will never get to the point when you’re waiting for thunder snow. Even on our worst weather days, you’ll never go so crazy you stand outside in 87 layers hoping for thunder snow. When I see this, all I can think is, “I hope they pay that guy really well.”



Nobody is paying your northern friends to stand out in the snow. Yet they’re still up there, not feeling sorry for you. All you can do, is get out your winter jacket and bundle up. It’s going to be a chilly, two days of winter.

How to Stay Cool in Punta Gorda this February

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015


See how we have it?

See how we have it?

Every February countless blog posts appear instructing readers how to stay warm as the Polar Vortex attacks their homes. Northerners need these articles to survive. Any attempt to stick a toe outside could be met with a falling icicle, sock-wetting slush, and/or slippery black ice.

It’s awful for them. And I do sympathize.

But what about us? People forget how hard living in paradise can be. The highs have been in the high 60s and 70s almost every day this winter. While those seem like perfect temperatures, they impose hardships. And nobody seems to sympathize with us. Luckily, I’ve lived here long enough to help you survive 70 degree days in February.

Before I get to the solutions, let me explain the problem. (I fear some of you don’t see it.) February nights sink down into the high 40s and low 50s. Yes, it’s perfect sleeping weather. Yet when you wake up, it’s easy to get ready for the day as if it will be freezing all day. (We consider anything under 65 degrees ‘freezing’.)

If you’re not careful, you could walk out the door overdressed, and find yourself tad warm by noon. To your average northerner, a ‘tad warm by noon’ sounds nice. But Floridians are different.

Remember the story of the Princess and the pea? Only the Princess lived in such comfort that she could feel the pea under her mattress. Well, Floridians are a lot like the Princess when it comes to weather. We appreciate good weather. We’re connoisseurs of good weather. We prefer to keep our bodies the perfect temperatures at all times.

Here’s how we do it:

  1. Get up in the morning.
  2. Dress like it’s 70 degrees outside.
  3. Throw on a sweater.
  4. Take off the sweater when it gets warm.

As you can see, winter in paradise takes effort. People don’t know how hard we have it. If you have a friend or loved one who’s struggles to maintain to stay cool in February, share this post with them on Facebook.

The Hard Truth about Punta Gorda and Groundhog Day

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015




When researching places to live, you may think: Wow, Punta Gorda has beautiful scenery, lots to do, and near perfect weather. It sounds wonderful. But how do they celebrate Groundhog Day?

The answer is: We don’t. Which is odd, because normally Punta Gorda residents find any excuse to throw a party. We average one festival a month, celebrate Octoberfest twice, and turn Halloween into a week-long fright fest. You’d think we’d at least have one local groundhog to rival Punxsutawney Phil.  Yet we don’t.

It’s sad until you understand why. You see, nobody in Punta Gorda minds if there are six more weeks of winter. In fact, sometimes we forget it’s winter at all. Who can tell? Maybe we need a groundhog to remind us that it’s winter. We could name him Winter Will, and he could always be looking for his other flip-flop.

Now, if you’re banned from using your non-emergency vehicle right now or spending the day wading through Juno’s mess, forgetting about winter might be hard to imagine. But it happens.

I say bring on six more weeks of winter. Or don’t. It’s all the same.

Even if a noticeable difference between winter and spring existed, Groundhog Day loses its suspense in a place that’s almost always sunny. The groundhog would see his shadow year after year. There’d be more winter. And nobody would notice.

If you get excited about Groundhog Day every year, I’m sorry. It’s just one of those things you’ll have to give up when you move here. You’ll leave it behind with your snow blower, ice scrapers, and remote car starters.

I can promise you this: You won’t miss putting your hopes and dreams in the eyes of a rodent. You may even look back and think: Why? Why was I so attached to what a furry marmot saw? Was winter in the north so horrible that I’d eagerly watch a groundhog for entertainment? I could’ve been in Punta Gorda playing golf!

And then you’ll pick up your clubs and forget Groundhog Day ever mattered.

10 Winter Words that Mean Something Entirely Different in Florida

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

by 65 degrees

Here’s something you may not know: It’s winter! Even though it’s been in the 70s all week, we call this time of year winter just like everyone else.

However, certain winter words have different definitions here in Florida. I’d hate for you to get confused while a Floridian speaks, so here are some definitions to help you out:


Up north: Any temperature under 32 degrees. (Scientifically correct, but I still wouldn’t want to live there.)

Florida: Any temperature under 60 degrees. (Scientifically incorrect, but feels saner.)


Up north: The mineral spread all over the roads, in hopes it will stop cars from sliding. Also, the mineral ruining the undercarriage of your car.

Florida: The white stuff on the rim of your margarita.

Black Ice

Up north: Roadway ice that’s turned black and is hard to see.

Florida: Growing up here, I never heard the term until I was 20. But if you drop your icy beverage in dirt, the ice would become black ice.


Up north: Large metal object used to clear snow out of the driveway.

Florida: Small plastic toy kids use to make sandcastles.


Up north: Apparatus used to tediously scrape ice off your windshield first thing in the morning.

Florida: The last nacho chip which becomes responsible for scraping up the remainder of salsa.


Up north: The act of wearing multiple layers of clothes, i.e. tights, long underwear, etc., in hopes of avoiding frostbite.

Florida: The act of grabbing a light sweater before heading to the movies.


Up north: A dismal place where the heat can’t find you.

Florida: Where you eat lunch, play golf, boat, etc.


Up north: The area you need to be to feel comfortable six months of the year. Also, the place with the least amount of fresh air.

Florida: It’s hard to say once you open your sliding glass doors. Do three walls and a lanai constitute inside?


Up North: That area out back covered in snow and ice. Only five months until you can use it again!

Florida: Where you should be sitting right now. It’s in the 70s today!

Snowed in

Up north:  A predicament where one is stuck in place due to a large amount of snow.

Florida: You eat too many sno-cones and have to take a nap.

Wintry Mix

Up north: A mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

Florida: A mix of boating, golf, and tennis. For example, you boat to the golf course, eat lunch, and play an afternoon tennis match.

Has this post helped you?

I hope so. If you struggle with any other winter terms in Florida, let me know over on Facebook. I will translate into Floridian for you.