How to Stay Cool in Punta Gorda this February

February 4th, 2015

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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

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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:

Freezing

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.)

Salt

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.

Shovel

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

Florida: Small plastic toy kids use to make sandcastles.

Scraper

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.

Layering

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.

Outside

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

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

Inside

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?

Patio/lanai/deck

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

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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.

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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

December 24th, 2014

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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

December 17th, 2014

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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

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

December 3rd, 2014

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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.