5 Things To Do this Spring Break in Punta Gorda

March 23rd, 2015


It’s Spring Break time. College students from all over the country flock to Florida this time of year to party.

Visit other coastal towns and you’ll see spring breakers sucking down jello shots, yelling over hotel balconies, and drinking themselves silly.

When I was 17, I wished the jello shots and frat boys would make their way to my hometown. It sounded exciting then. Twenty+ years later, there’s not a midlife crisis severe enough for me to want to live in a spring break destination.

Instead, I prefer to do spring break Punta Gorda style.

Go Clubbin’

Start your day the Yacht Club or the PG Boat Club for socializing and boating.

Yacht club2compress


Then, head to the Turtle Club (where you’ll never see anyone funneling a beer) for a nice glass of wine and dinner.

turtle club compress

Serve up Shots to Your Friends

dagny tenniscompress

Go cruisin’.

Head over to the Muscle Car museum or join one of the many local car clubs. And the best part? You’ll never worry about traffic or where to park in Punta Gorda.

peace river car club

Soak up some rays…on the golf course


Watch the sunset at the Tiki Bar

2015-02-25 18.32.33

14 Reasons to Love Punta Gorda’s Harborwalk

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.

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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!



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8 Great Things to Do in Punta Gorda in March

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

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

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

January 28th, 2015


Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vickispix/

Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vickispix/

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

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.



6 Big Things to Do in Punta Gorda this January

January 14th, 2015


You might think I’m crazy. After all, we’re tw2015-CareBall-Inviteo weeks into January. Punta Gorda is a small town. Are there really six big things left to do this month?

Yes, there are.

In fact, so much goes on in Punta Gorda every week, that I had to cull through numerous golf events, fitness opportunities, and live shows (including an Elvis impersonator) to keep this post from turning into a short book.

Here’s the big list to get you through the end of the month:

  1. Gallery Walk: Thursday, January 15, 2015 If you haven’t been to a gallery walk yet, stop putting it off. It’s a great way to get to know our downtown businesses. Shops stay open late and many offer demonstrations. You’ll experience live music and the friendly atmosphere Punta Gorda is known for. Hours: 5:00 pm-8:00 pm.
  2. 18th Annual Sullivan Street Crafts Fair: Saturday, January 17-Sunday, January 18 For 18 years, artisans have set up their wares at the Sullivan Street Craft Fair. You can find great gifts, jewelry, and items for your home. It’s an outdoor festival. (We can do that here in January!) Admission is free. Hours: 10:00 am-500 pm.
  3. Punta Gorda Home and Garden Show: Saturday, January 17-Sunday, January 18 Get ideas and tips for everything from your roof to your lanai. Hours: 10:00 am-5:00 pm Where: Charlotte Harbor Events Center Free and open to Public
  4. The C.A.R.E. Ball: January 24 This year’s theme is the Road to Morocco. Take this chance to dance in your best Moroccan garb. (Moroccan attire not required, but encouraged.) Even better is all the proceeds from this fun event benefit The Center for Rape and Emergencies of Charlotte County. R.S.V.P. by January 16 at 941-639-5499.
  5. 7th Annual Hands Across the Harbor: Saturday, January 31, 2015 Get ready for the Chili and Beer Fest (see below) with a jaunt across the harbor. Choose from a 5k walk, 8k run, 8k longboard race, or 10 or 20 mile bike ride. (Doesn’t every small town have a longboard race?) Pre-registration is available now ($25 per person; $20 per student). Day-of registration ($30 per person; $25 per student) begins at 6:45 am. Start times are: Yoga stretch–7:30; Bike ride—7:55; Longboard race—8:00 am; Run—8:12 am, Walk—8:15 am.
  6. 4th Annual Charlotte Harbor Chili Challenge and Beer Festival Fest: Saturday, January 31 Test your neighbor’s chili-making skills, enjoy live music, and have a beer. 25 teams will compete for best chili. You vote for the People’s Choice Award. Wash it down at the beer tent where over 15 micro-breweries will be showing off their suds. Where: Laishley Park Admission: $3 Children under 12 are free. Starts at 12:00 pm. Ends with the award ceremony at 5:00 pm.

I hope this list leads you to enjoy the rest of your January! To keep up with more local events, Like our Facebook page now.


How Much More Does the Andreae Group Sell in Burnt Store Isles? (The Numbers Might Surprise You)

January 8th, 2015

by Punta Gorda pride

The 2014 sales numbers are in! It may come as no surprise that the Andreae Group has maintained the number one spot in Punta Gorda real estate sales again this year.  (We’ve held the top spot for almost 30 years.)

But have you ever wondered how much more does the Andreae Group really sell? Are we eking by to stay at number one? Well, no.

It’s easy for us to tell you we’re the best. It’s much more work to achieve the numbers to back it up. To give you an example of the difference between the Andreae Group and the rest, let’s look at just one segment of Punta Gorda real estate–Burnt Store Isles listings. Here are some things you should know about 2014 home sales in Burnt Store Isles:

  • 54 houses were sold in BSI last year. Luke Andreae was the listing agent on 17 of those homes. No other realtor had more than 3 listings sold in BSI last year.
  • The total value of BSI homes sold last year was just over $20 million.
  • Luke Andreae listings’ sales accounted for $6 million of that $20 million.
  • 31 realtors split the rest. No other realtor can claim even $2 million in BSI sales.

Why do so many people list with Luke?

Few people know Burnt Store Isles as well as he does. The Andreae family moved to BSI in 1981 when there were only five homes in the neighborhood. (His grandparents occupied one of the other four.)  In the 1980s, vacant lots stretched across entire streets, like the now-populated Licata Ct., where Luke learned to ride his bike and first discovered a cul-de-sac makes an excellent stick ball field.

By the mid-1980s, Nancy Andreae was a top realtor in town. As homes went up, Nancy would frequently load the kids in the car to tour each home’s progress.

If you live in a BSI home that was built in the 1980s, it’s likely little Luke Andreae watched your walls go up.

Luke is still a BSI resident. He still plays stick ball around the cul-de-sacs with his two daughters. (I hear the girls even let him win sometimes.)

Of course, much of the listings come from referrals. When you know an area so well, the people know you too. You can read what people say about working with Luke on his Zillow reviews page.

Have you ever worked with the Andreae Group? Do these numbers surprise you? Let us know about your experience over on our Facebook page.

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

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.