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How to Create a Holiday Charcuterie Board

Holiday Dining Ideas

Whether you're throwing a holiday party or preparing for a relaxing evening at home, a holiday charcuterie board is a delicious addition to your festivities. Our real estate agents suggest following this guide to help you create a tasty holiday charcuterie board. 

  • Select Your Charcuterie Board
    You'll need a slab or flat board to house your foods and spreads. While some people use their charcuterie board as a decorative piece, others focus more on functionality. You can invest in a handsome wood or marble charcuterie board, or if you've only got a little time, you can use one of your baking sheets. Make sure your board is suitably-sized for the number of people you plan to serve. A small board is sufficient when preparing for a quiet evening at home. You'll want a board approximately 20 by 15 inches for a larger crowd to ensure you have ample space for everything. 
  • Decide What You Want to Include
    There are no limitations on what you can and can't include on your holiday charcuterie board. You can even create a themed charcuterie board that's perfect for celebrating the holidays after you check out Sarasota homes for sale or after exploring Bradenton homes for sale. Most people include a few types of meat; pepperoni, smoked salmon, turkey, ham, and salami are a few possibilities.

    Add two to three ounces of meat for each person when arranging a snack board and five to six ounces per person for a meal board. Next, decide what kind of cheese you want to incorporate. Select a mix of hard and soft cheeses for variety and better visual appeal. See that your cheeses coordinate well with your meats.

    Spreads and dips are essential for any charcuterie board. Jellies, jams, mustard, relish, ranch, and cheese spreads are just a few alternatives. Include items that can be used to sample the dips, like veggies, fruit, crackers, pretzels, cookies, and bread. Other popular charcuterie items include pickles, olives, nuts, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate candy. Once you know what food items your board will include, you can choose your bowls and spreaders. Look for bowls and spreaders that coordinate with your holiday decor or help set your desired ambiance. 
  • Arrange Your Board
    To arrange your charcuterie board, begin by placing the dips on the board. Next, lay out your meats and cheeses, putting coordinating flavors next to each other. Place fruits, veggies, crackers, and other items near the dips people are most likely to use them with. Keep wet items (like pickles and olives) away from dry foods (such as crackers and bread). Use fruit, veggies, and wrapped candy to fill any sparse areas of your charcuterie board. 

A charcuterie board is a fast, versatile option for a holiday meal or snack. Interested in purchasing a home with more space for your holiday festivities? Or a new kitchen perfect for creating your holiday dishes? Contact us to get started with your search!


National Thrift Shop Day: Score Secondhand Treasures at These Shops

Thrift Shops in Sarasota

August 17th is an important day: National Thrift Shop Day! Thrift shops are a great place to discover secondhand treasures. You can save money, donate to a good cause, and give new life to things that might otherwise have been discarded. The best part of this holiday, of course, is celebrating by visiting a thrift shop. Our real estate agents recommend checking out one of these stores in the Sarasota area.

  • World's Attic Thrift Shop: 700 N. Beneva Rd., Sarasota, FL 34232
    World's Attic Thrift Shop
    has a great selection of men's and women's clothing. They also have an area with accessories, such as purses and jewelry, along with a few aisles of home goods. This would be a great place to pick up a lamp, some wall hangings, or holiday decor.

    This thrift shop is open Monday - Saturday. If you have something to donate, stop by Tuesday - Friday between 10 am and 3 pm.

  • Sunshine Thrift Store: 3611 1st Street E #230, Bradenton, FL 34208
    If you happen to be looking at Bradenton homes for sale on National Thrift Shop Day, stop by Sunshine Thrift Store. This is a large thrift store with more than 30,000 items in stock at any given time. Their clothing selection is very well organized by gender, clothing type, and colors, so you should have an easy time finding what you need.

    Sunshine Thrift Shop also has a good selection of housewares, linens, and furniture. They're open 7 days a week.

  • Fabulous Finds Thrift Shop: 1038 North Orange Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34323
    Fabulous Finds Thrift Shop is a good place to look for secondhand designer clothing, unique furnishings, and boutique accessories. They get a lot of items from theater groups and hobbyists, setting them apart from the average thrift store.

    Fabulous Finds is open Monday - Saturday, and they're near plenty of Sarasota homes for sale. So, you may want to do a little house hunting while you're in the area.

  • Habitat for Humanity Sarasota ReStore: 2095 17th St., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Habitat for Humanity Sarasota ReStore is a thrift shop that sells donated items to the public. The proceeds go to support the work of Habitat for Humanity, an organization that builds homes for those in need.

    This is a huge thrift store with more than 17,500 square feet of retail space. In addition to the typical clothing and accessories, you'll find light fixtures, appliances, patio furniture, and tools. This is a great place to shop when trying to equip a new home or decorate your yard and garden.

  • SPARCC Treasure Chest: 1426 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34236
    SPARCC Treasure Chest is a thrift store whose proceeds are used to fund SPARCC programs. SPARCC, or Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center, exists to provide victims of rape and other crimes with safety, resources, and assistance.

    At this thrift store, you'll find terrific deals on clothing. They have special 50% off deals every day. This is a great place to shop for jewelry as they have lots of trendy, stylish items at affordable prices. Sometimes, you'll even stumble upon a nice dresser, small appliance, lamp, or decorative dish set.

Whether you stop by one or several of these thrift stores on National Thrift Shop Day, we hope you find some awesome treasures. Maybe your visit will inspire you to make thrifting a more regular part of your routine. If you're new to the Sarasota area and looking for a place to call home, contact us. Our friendly agents can help you navigate the local housing market.


Minor League Baseball in Bradenton

Baseball Bradenton

Baseball season is upon us, but you don't need to go to a Major League game to enjoy excitement and fun. Our real estate agents know that a hard-fought Minor League game can be a joy to behold. As you explore Bradenton homes for sale or go across the way to Sarasota homes for sale, you'll have the best Minor League Baseball action right in your own backyard.

Bradenton is home to the Bradenton Marauders, the Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They play from historic LECOM Park, originally known as McKechnie Field, which has witnessed some of the greatest baseball games ever played in the Southeast.

A wonderful thing about Minor League Baseball is that you can enjoy it both before and after wrapping up the Major League season. There's always a welcoming community vibe, especially when LECOM Park is operated by the volunteer Bradenton Boosters during spring training.

Let's take a closer look and learn all about the team and venue.

About the Bradenton Marauders 

Part of the Florida State League, the Bradenton Marauders are the Single-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Like the field in which they now play, the Marauders have a longer history than one might think: They're directly descended from the Tampa Tarpons, which started in 1957.

In April of 2010, the Marauders played their first game in front of nearly 2,400 spectators at what was then called McKechnie Field, named after Bradenton resident and Hall of Fame inductee Bill McKechnie. In a promising start for the team, they defeated the Fort Myers Miracle with a score of 18-3.

In their first season, the Marauders led the league in runs, batting average, and on-base percentage.

The 2011 season is when the Marauders really established the vibrant local fanbase that they still have to this day. They attracted more than 56,000 fans after 40 home games, a complete turnaround, and a record-breaking performance in the world of Minor League Baseball.

They made an even bigger mark starting in 2015, their first-ever championship season, where they capped off one of the most memorable streaks of the decade to defeat the Tampa Yankees by three games to one. It was their first Florida State League title and truly put them on the map.

A Truly Historic Bradenton Landmark

LECOM Park was renamed in 2017 but is perhaps best known as McKechnie Field, where it has been closely associated with the Pittsburgh Pirates since 1925. Opening in 1923 as City Field, it has been called "Florida's Fenway Park." It's the oldest stadium in the U.S. and is still used for spring training.

It also stands shoulder to shoulder with world-famous Wrigley Field and Fenway Park as the third-oldest stadium still used by a Major League Team. Its layout, nostalgic appearance, and standard amenities have made it a stomping ground for the most enthusiastic baseball purists.

One of the most unique aspects of this family-friendly park is the role of the nonprofit Bradenton Boosters. The Boosters have worked hard for nearly a century to support and improve the venue – many of its upgrades and updates over time can be traced back to fundraising campaigns by these volunteers.

Throughout the spring training season, you'll find the Bradenton Boosters serving as ushers, security personnel, merchants, and press box attendants. It's one more way LECOM Park is a unique local institution.

Be sure to check out their home game schedule so you can experience this baseball diamond in person!

Contact us to learn more about Bradenton and Sarasota.


Sarasota: One of the Best Places to Visit in Florida


Lauded by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 place in Florida to visit, Sarasota truly stands out. Whether you're looking for Sarasota homes for sale or at neighboring Bradenton homes for sale, you'll have the chance to enjoy all the amenities this sun-soaked community offers. Our real estate agents are excited to show you more.

Replete with natural wonders and fascinating Florida history, Sarasota excels in more ways than one. As you explore, you'll encounter striking architecture, some of the best restaurants on the East Coast, and more than a few examples of the things that make Florida unique.

With sister city Bradenton adjoining it – just 25 minutes away from downtown – residents of either one can boast they are right in the midst of two of Florida's most desirable cities. Miles of quality beach and Florida vacation getaways like Longboat Key and Holmes Beach await.

Let's take a closer look at some of the unusual attractions in Sarasota:

  • The John N. & Mable B. Ringling Museum of Art – 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243
    The John N. & Mable B. Ringling Museum of Art is located on the former estate of circus magnate John Ringling. Established in 1927 and including 21 galleries of art and antiquities from Europe, Asia, and the Americas, it spans 66 acres. In addition to the Museum of Art, you can visit the Circus Museum commemorating the history of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

  • Siesta Key – See Website for Location Details
    Siesta Key may just be the #1 place in Florida to enjoy the soft sand and glittering surf of the Gulf of Mexico. This barrier island is known for Siesta Key Public Beach, where the fine white sand is cool all year around. It also features a number of secluded spots where you might spot a dolphin.

  • Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – 1534 Mound Street, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Marie Selby Botanical Gardens features two campuses giving visitors the opportunity to see an array of air plants from all over the world. The facilities are deeply connected with the traditional land stewardship of Florida's native people and are open all year long except on Christmas Day.

  • Mote Marine Lab & Florida Research Aquarium – 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Mote Marine Lab & Florida Research Aquarium is one of the crown jewels of Florida's tireless efforts to uncover secrets of the Atlantic. Researchers here nurse injured marine life back to health while gathering data that helps humans and the environment. You may have the chance to see manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks, and many others. The rays are among the most popular at the aquarium.

  • Save Our Seabirds1708 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
    While you're learning more about the unique Florida ecosystem at Mote Marine Laboratory, you can take a two-minute walk to Save Our Seabirds, an animal hospital that rescues, rehabilitates, and then releases ill and injured Florida wildlife, especially birds. You can visit with and learn about the birds, including the facility's permanent residents, with the help of experienced scientists and caregivers.

  • Saint Armands Circle – See Website for Location Details
    Located on the island of Saint Armands Key, just across from Sarasota, Saint Armands Circle is a lively shopping, dining, and entertainment district. Under the watchful eye of the famous John Ringling statue, you can discover more than 130 boutiques and specialty shops, including many you won't find anywhere else. Connected to the mainland by two bridges, it's a world away from the hustle and bustle.

Inspired to turn your visit to Sarasota into a move? Contact us to find out more or get started.


Spend the Day at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

The Bishop Museum

Science fiction movies are fun, but they can't beat the excitement and wonder of exploring real-life stories. Our real estate agents love learning about our world at the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, just minutes from Bradenton homes for sale.

About the Bishop

Opened in 1947, the Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is the largest natural history museum on the Gold Coast. Baby Snoots, a West Indian manatee affectionately known as Snooty, arrived in 1949 and became the museum's signature attraction.

Thanks to the museum's popularity, it moved into its current larger home in 1966. In time, exhibits grew to include the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat along with a replica of Barcarrota's Plaza, a 16th-century Spanish town.

In 2001, an electrical fire destroyed the planetarium and seriously damaged the museum's educational wing and administrative areas. Happily, in September 2002, the museum reopened bigger and better than ever. Throughout the years, renovations and additions have continued, maintaining the museum's status as a must-see destination.

The Bishop Planetarium

After being leveled by the 2001 fire, the Bishop Planetarium reopened in June 2005 as the top astronomy facility on the Gold Coast, not far from Sarasota homes for sale. The state-of-the-art projection system includes cutting-edge software that's 1.5 times brighter than the previous system, with four times the contrast.

Shows like "Passport to the Universe," narrated by Tom Hanks, take viewers on a virtual trip through the cosmos. Get a fascinating look at what lies beyond our own solar system and watch phenomenons like black holes. In addition, the planetarium can recreate a dark sky natural environment, allowing for the display of live on-air events as they happen.

Mosaic Backyard Universe

As part of the goal to make science fun and accessible for all, the museum created its latest addition, the Mosaic Backyard Universe. A one-time parking lot has been transformed into a backyard where kids can learn in a familiar setting. Features include a Tree House Platform, Cardboard Rocket, fossil-filled Dig Pit, Science Shed, and freshwater pond that's home to a number of turtles.

Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat

Sadly, Snooty passed away in 2017 at the age of 69. But his legacy lives on in the Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat, a 60,000-gallon pool where sick and injured manatees can prepare for their return to the wild. The habitat is designed to resemble a cypress spring so they can once again become accustomed to the food and environment they'll encounter. Above- and below-water viewing areas give visitors a chance to watch the manatees regain their strength and abilities.

Other Exhibits of Interest

  • The first floor holds permanent exhibits showcasing artifacts representing the earliest animal and human inhabitants of the Gulf Coast. Displays include "Land of Change" and "Fabulous Florida Seas."

  • The second floor is separated into two areas. River Heritage Hall focuses on how maritime history impacts community economics and culture, while Environmental Hall takes a sweeping look at the past, present, and future of Florida's environment.

  • Gallery spaces are home to a changing selection of temporary exhibits, including traveling exhibitions and special-interest ones developed by the museum's curators.

Information and Hours

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is located at 201 10th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205. Hours are 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon - 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets start at $23.95 for adults, $17.95 for ages 12-17, $14.95 for ages 5-11, and $8.95 for ages 2-4.

Life in Bradenton and Sarasota goes beyond fun in the sun. If you're selling or buying a home, contact us at Wagner Realty for cheerful and experienced assistance.


Plan Ahead for These Sarasota Events

Sarasota Events

If you live in Sarasota, FL, you're lucky to experience the area's amazing weather, abundant recreational opportunities, and countless family-friendly destinations. You'll also find numerous special events that cater to nearly every interest, whether you're a baseball fan or are searching for the perfect antique.

Our real estate agents suggest checking out the following events coming to Sarasota in 2022:

  • The Simon & Garfunkel Story - Feb. 12, 2022 - Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236 
    The Simon & Garfunkel Story is an immersive, concert-style theater show that tells the story of the folk-rock duo using a full live band and state-of-the-art video projection and lighting. It takes you through their history, starting with their beginnings as Tom & Jerry and culminating with "The Concert in Central Park" in 1981 with over half a million fans. Along the way, you'll be treated to such hits as "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Mrs. Robinson," "Homeward Bound," and more.

  • Sarasota Audubon Society Guided Walks: The Celery Fields, Second Mondays - Feb. 14, and Mar. 14, 2022 - Celery Fields, 6893 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34240
    Join bird experts Peter Brown and Kelley Berkey on a Sarasota Audubon Society Guided Walk in The Celery Fields. The 400-plus acre site is owned by Sarasota County and is on the Great Florida Birding Trail, so you're likely to see many species along the way. Over 200 species of birds have been identified at The Celery Fields. Walkers and bird-watchers should meet at the Raymond Road Boardwalk and then proceed on the walk.

  • The Sarasota FL Antiques Show - Feb. 26-27, 2022 - Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
    If you love antiques, you won't want to miss The Sarasota FL Antiques Show, where you'll be able to shop inside in an elegant, comfortable atmosphere. Over 50 national and regional exhibitors will have smaller wares displayed in showcases and larger pieces such as furniture attractively arranged so you can appreciate them up close. You'll be able to see and buy fine antiques as well as decorative and fine arts from ancient times to the 20th century.

  • 33rd Annual Venice Italian Feast & Carnival - Feb. 24-27, 2022 - Venice Airport Festival Grounds, 610 Airport Ave. E., Venice, FL 34285
    You know an event is going to be fun when it's been an annual event for over 30 years! Head over to the Venice Airport Festival Grounds for the 33rd Annual Venice Italian Feast & Carnival. The festival put on by the Italian American Club of Venice has live entertainment, carnival rides, and of course fantastic food! Be sure to stop by after looking at Venice homes for sale.
  • Baltimore Orioles MLB Spring Training - starting Feb. 26, 2022 - Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St., Sarasota, FL 34237
    When Major League Baseball starts spring training in 2022, they'll have 15 teams playing in Florida's Grapefruit League and taking advantage of the area's great weather. Teams include the Baltimore Orioles, who play their home games at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Games offer a fun, relaxed way to see your favorite MLB players, as well as some promising minor leaguers who are trying to break into the major leagues. 

Contact us if you'd like to see Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale. Established in 1939, we've earned a reputation for providing professional, personal service. We live and work in the community and would love to help you with your real estate transactions. 


Florida in the Winter: 6 Things to do

Florida Winter

Florida is known as the Sunshine State, but our real estate agents can also offer some fun suggestions for when it's a little bit colder out!

"Cold" is relative, of course – when you're looking at Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale, you can expect daytime temperatures in the mid-70s, even in winter. In the middle of December, evening temperatures rarely go below 55. Most Floridians look forward to a few weeks of brisk breezes!

This means that, although you probably won't want to hit the beach, there are still plenty of things you can do around the area.

Let's take a closer look at some of your options:

  1. John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art – 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34243
    John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is a unique Florida institution. It's closely intertwined with the history of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, known as "The Greatest Show on Earth." But it's also so much more: 21 galleries of European paintings, a rose garden, a highly regarded research library, and even a preserved 1905-train car. The Museum offers free admission every Monday.

  2. Sarasota Classic Car Museum – 5500 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243
    For a taste of vintage automobile culture, Sarasota Classic Car Museum delights. Featuring a collection of around 100 vintage vehicles in a 60,000 square foot space, it draws visitors from far and wide. Particularly loved is the Italian Car Collection, sporting classics from Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, and Rivolta. Recent exhibits have given visitors a deep dive into the artistry and history of Porsche and Ferrari.

  3. Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy – 2121 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
    Want a truly unique art experience? Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy brings joy to the forefront with its off-beat and eclectic contemporary collection. Paintings, sculptures, and more from local artists and those around the world will give you a new perspective. The Museum also maintains an outdoor garden area. This extraordinary art collection is ideal for families, including the young and young at heart.

  4. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium – 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium showcases the immense biodiversity of Florida and the Atlantic. Accessible 365 days a year, you'll get the chance to meet manatees, sharks, sea turtles, otters, and many more denizens of the deep. This independent, nonprofit marine research lab maintains one of Florida's top aquariums, including a shark habitat of 135,000 gallons.

  5. Robinson Nature Preserve – 1704 99th Street Northwest, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Robinson Nature Preserve is a fast-growing protected area of 682 acres encompassing a breath-taking biosphere of mangroves, tidal marsh, and coastal wetlands that developed from former agricultural tracts. With a rubberized pedestrian trail leading across the grounds, you'll have plenty of opportunities to see nature up close and personal. Kayaking is greatly enjoyed and encouraged.

  6. Bradenton Riverwalk – 452 3rd Avenue West, Bradenton, FL 34205
    See historic Bradenton come to life as you explore one of the top riverwalk areas in the United States. The Bradenton Riverwalk is a 1.5-mile public green space that has been open to the public since 2012. It has continued to expand ever since, with kid-friendly amenities such as a splash pad, skate park, and playground. The 400-seat amphitheater is used for live music and other community events.

At Wagner Realty, we know Florida is great in any season! Contact us to discover more about Sarasota and Manatee Counties.


Celebrate the Arts at These Upcoming Festivals

Craft Shows in Sarasota

Fall in Florida brings many exciting activities. While people up north are hunkering down for the winter, here, we're enjoying slightly cooler weather and gearing up for the busy season. From now until the summer returns, there's no shortage of things to do. 

This time of year, when they're not busy helping clients find their dream homes, our real estate agents enjoy visiting local craft shows on the weekends. Whether you're an art enthusiast or just looking for something fun to do, we recommend paying a visit to these upcoming events. 

  • Sarasota Rocktoberfest: JD Hamel Park, 199 Bayfront Dr., Sarasota, FL 34236
    This is so much more than a craft festival! Sarasota Rocktoberfest will feature tons of live music, huge glasses of beer, and plenty of mouthwatering Oktoberfest-themed food, including smoked sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels, roasted meats, and more. The event runs from October 15th to 17th, and admission is free! You'll also have the chance to shop at the marketplace, which features a wide selection of art, crafts, and fine products. 
  • Downtown Venice Art Festival: 100 W. Venice Ave., Venice, FL 34285
    The town of Venice is vibrant, beautiful, and filled with historic charm. The Downtown Venice Art Festival will feature more than 100 notable artists from across the nation. Here you'll find everything from painting to jewelry, photography, sculpture, glass, ceramics, mixed media, and more. The festival will be held on November 6th and 7th from 10 am to 5 pm, and admission is free. While you're in the area, you'll want to take a drive around so you can get a look at some of the beautiful Venice homes for sale
  • 32nd Annual St. Armands Art Festival: 411 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota, FL 34236
    The St. Armand's Art Festival has been named one of the best art festivals in the country. It features over 175 artists and craftsmen displaying their original work. Here you'll find sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, oils, watercolors, pottery, and more. The festival is scheduled for November 13th and 14th from 10 am to 5 pm, and admission is free. Since St. Armands Circle is so close to some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, you'll also want to make sure you leave enough time to take the scenic route home. 
  • Siesta Key Crystal Classic: 948 Beach Rd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    A bit of a different way to view art, the Siesta Key Crystal Classic gives you an opportunity to get a close-up view of sand sculptures created by 24 professional artists from around the world. While you're there, you can also enjoy sand sculpting lessons and demonstrations, live bands, and a bar tent. You also won't want to miss the Vendor Village, which will have over 70 retail vendors and 6 food trucks. The event will take place from November 12th through November 15th. 
  • Acrylic Painters USA Curated Exhibition: ArtCenter Manatee 209 9th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205
    If you've been exploring Bradenton homes for sale, you'll definitely want to familiarize yourself with ArtCenter Manatee. They host a variety of art shows throughout the year, including the upcoming Acrylic Painters USA curated exhibition. This event will be held from October 26th through November 19th, and admission is free. 

Now is the perfect time to find your dream home in Florida, and the agents at Wagner Realty are here to help! Contact us today to learn more and get started with your homebuying journey.  


Galleries to Explore on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island

Walking through an art gallery is a lovely way to connect with your feelings and expand your understanding of the world. So often, artists create images that evoke emotions that words can't express.

Luckily, Anna Maria Island has some lovely art galleries where talented, local artists showcase their pieces. Plan a trip to one (or more) of these galleries.  

  • Cove Gallery & Boutique: 104 Bridge St., Bradenton, FL  34217
    Just minutes away from many Bradenton Beach homes for sale, this unique gallery features ocean-inspired artwork. At Cove Gallery & Boutique, you'll find shadowboxes made from beach wood, paintings of waves, and beachy drawings. Admire the artwork, or purchase some for your own home.

    Cheryl Gonsalves's work is featured at Cove. She uses watercolors to create paintings of the ocean and seaside villages. Another prominent artist is Corin Finnie, who creates dreamscapes and murals. Guests also love admiring the sea glass creations of Avery Jackson.

  • Artists' Guild of Anna Maria Island: 5414 Marina Dr., Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    The Artists' Guild is a nonprofit organization that seeks to unite and support artists in the region. More than 150 artists belong to the guild, and most display their art here from time to time. Inside, you'll see everything from photography to pottery to pastel creations.

    This gallery is not far from many Holmes Beach homes for sale. They also offer online art classes, and each month, a different artist's work is featured in their front windows. 
    Gallery West
  • Island Gallery West: 5368 Gulf Dr., Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    Island Gallery West was created in 1990 by a small group of artists, and it has grown since then. In 2021, it was named Anna Maria Island's Favorite Art Gallery by Sun. Here, you'll find all sorts of art, from mosaics to jewelry. There are also plenty of paintings and drawings, of course. The gallery is always staffed by an artist who can answer your questions and show you around.

    Island Gallery West features a different artist each month, so you can stop by often and always see something new. 

  • The Studio At Gulf & Pine: 10101 Gulf Dr., Anna Maria, FL 34216
    The Studio at Gulf & Pine is the perfect place to stop after a long day of looking at Anna Maria Island homes for sale. This large indoor gallery was founded by Rhea Chiles, the former First Lady of Florida.

    At The Studio, you can view and purchase artwork, or you can take classes. They offer community classes on painting, drawing, and even culinary arts throughout the year. This gallery is very involved in local preservation and historical efforts.

  • Anna Maria Island Art League: P.O. Box 1243, Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    The Anna Maria Island Art League is not a traditional gallery but an organization created to support local and emerging artists through various festivals and events throughout the year. Their Springfest takes place annually on the beach and is a great place to view and purchase locally made art. If you become a member, you can enjoy discounts on classes and workshops.

Whether you're a lifelong artist or someone just learning to appreciate the beauty in art, these Anna Maria Island art galleries are well worth exploring. If you're new to the island and looking for a place to live, contact us. Our real estate agents can help guide you in your home search and help you find the right property for your art collection.


Rainy Day Activities for the Whole Family

Rainy Day Activities

Florida may be known as the Sunshine State, but this time of year, we also get our fair share of rain. If dark skies are threatening your beach plans, don't worry! There are tons of fun, family-friendly things to do in the Sarasota area. In fact, our real estate agents often take their families to these spots on their days off. 

  • The Ringling: 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243
    The Ringling is home to an incredible art museum, a circus museum, and 66 acres of stunning bayfront property. It's also home to the Ca'd'Zan, the Venetial Gothic home of John and Mable Ringling, where you can take a step back in time with a personal tour. This is by far one of the most extraordinary museums in the world and is definitely a "must-see" area attraction. 
  • Mote Marine: 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Mote Aquarium is another incredible attraction located just minutes from downtown Sarasota. When you visit this aquarium, you'll be able to get up-close and personal with manatees, sharks, sea turtles, otters, and more. Some of the best attractions here include Contact Cove, Florida's Bay Habitats, and Oh Baby! Life Cycles of the Seas. 
  • The Met: 35 South Blvd. of the Presidents, Sarasota, Florida 34236
    When you're ready for some serious pampering, you'll want to pay a visit to The Met. This luxury independent fashion house, salon, and day spa is located on St. Armands Circle. When you visit, you can book an appointment for a massage or facial, shop for incredible clothing and accessories, and visit their in-house fine jewelry counter. St. Armands Circle is just a short drive away from some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, so while you're there, be sure to take a drive around and explore some of these stunning neighborhoods. 
  • Regal Hollywood: 1993 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Watching a movie in the theater is a great way to spend a rainy day in Sarasota. The Regal Hollywood theater shows both new releases and classics on the big screen. If you're a movie fan, you can also join the Regal Crown Club, where you'll earn credits for the money you spend on tickets and concessions, or even join the Unlimited Program, which lets you watch as many movies as you want, as often as you want! 
  • The Mall at UTC: 140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243
    You can shop 'till you drop at The Mall at University Town Center! This upscale mall features many of the most popular stores, including Macy's, Dillard's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Lululemon, Michael Kors, and more. It's also a premier dining location, offering incredible restaurants like Season's 52, The Capital Grille, Brio Tuscan Grille, and The Cheesecake Factory. 
  • Artisans World Marketplace: 128 S. Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236
    Another wonderful shopping adventure to enjoy on a rainy day, Artisan's World Marketplace is a fair trade gift shop that carries handmade goods by artisans from around the globe. Here you'll find unique art, jewelry, and other items from Africa, Asia, and Oceania. When you visit this store, you'll find a wide selection of unique and beautiful items and can also feel good knowing that every purchase you make supports their mission to help rebuild villages and improve people's lives. 

Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. Your dream home is out there waiting for you, so don't delay! 


Summer Fun in Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch Summer 2021

Lakewood Ranch is definitely the place to be this summer. There are so many enjoyable activities that are open to the public, from yoga classes to soccer games. If you're looking at Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, we recommend checking out some of these nearby summer activities. 

  • Yoga in the Park: 2710 White Eagle Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
    Yoga is great exercise for the body and the mind. Not only do the poses stretch and strengthen your muscles, but they also help you relax and focus. Yoga in the Park takes place at Bob Gardner Community Center. Classes last from 9:00 - 10:00 am, and upcoming dates include August 8th and August 29th.

    There's no charge to participate in Yoga in the Park. Participants are asked to bring their own mats, water bottles, and towels. You can pre-register here.

  • Midday Volleyball: 6402 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    If you need a break from the hustle and bustle on Wednesdays, stop by Summerfield Community Park for a Midday Volleyball game, lasting from 11 am - 12 pm. You can pre-register here, and all are welcome.

    Teams of 2 - 6 people will compete on the sand volleyball courts. There's a light-hearted, casual atmosphere.

  • Barre in the Park: 2710 White Eagle Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
    Barre classes are so effective at teaching poise and balance. You're guaranteed to be sweating by the end of the session, too! Barre in the Park takes place at Bob Gardner Community Park between 9 am and 10 am. Upcoming dates include August 1st and August 22nd. 

    There's no charge for Barre in the Park, but participants are asked to register here. Bring a mat, water, and a towel to class, and be prepared for a fun workout! You'll find the class near the main playground. 

  • Lakewood Ranch Summer Camp: 14534 Arbor Green Trail, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    If you're looking for a fun way to keep your kids entertained this summer, consider sending them to Lakewood Ranch Summer Camp at the Goddard School. This is a STEAM-themed camp that will teach kids all about science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Children will learn by participating in fun, hands-on activities.

    Lakewood Ranch Summer Camp takes place daily from 7 am - 6 pm. You can learn more and register your child on their website. The Goddard School has been dedicated to play-based learning since 1988, and their summer camp is a great way for your child to experience that.

  • USYS National Championships: 5895 Post Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
    The United States Youth Soccer National Championships are taking place July 18 - 25th at the Premier Sports campus. If your kids are interested in soccer, watching some of the games is bound to be exciting. Group Play is scheduled for July 20 - 22, and the Finals for July 25th.

    If you're looking at Sarasota homes for sale, this tournament is just minutes away. You can stop by to watch just one game, or spend a whole day watching and learning more about soccer.

Lakewood Ranch is such an active, welcoming community. You can fill your schedule with these activities and truly get involved. If you're looking for a home in the area, our real estate agents can help. Contact us to learn more about the real estate market or things to do in Lakewood Ranch.


6 Places to Play Pickleball around Sarasota & Manatee

Play Pickleball in Sarasota

Let's play pickleball! This paddleball sport that's sweeping the nation is a mix between tennis, badminton, and table tennis. Played either one-on-one or two-on-two, pickleball is great for players of all ages and skill levels. Our REALTORS® love playing pickleball, and we know you will too! Grab a few friends and learn to play this exciting sport at one of these courts.

  1. Colonial Oaks Park — 5300 Colonial Oaks Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34232
    Enjoy a day outdoors at the sprawling 23-acre Colonial Oaks Park. A perfect place to relax and enjoy Florida's warm weather, this park features a dedicated pickleball court for you to grow your game. Colonial Oaks Park is surrounded by Sarasota homes for sale, enabling you to spend time playing pickleball and picnicking throughout the year!

  2. Bayfront Park — 4052 Gulf Of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key, FL 34228
    When searching for Longboat Key homes for sale, let us direct you to one of the many community parks in town, such as Bayfront Park. This local park offers many opportunities to participate in recreational sports, including pickleball! Bring your pickleball paddle and stop by this local park. Hours of play are from 7 am - 10 pm. 

  3. Longwood Park — 6050 Longwood Run Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34243
    Another fantastic indoor and outdoor recreational facility near many of our Sarasota homes for sale, Longwood Park has everything adults, kids, and even dogs need to enjoy fun in the Florida sun. This dog-friendly park has a pickleball court, baseball field, tennis court, and playground, among other great amenities.  

  4. Lakewood Ranch Park — 5350 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Bradenton, FL 34211
    One benefit we love about our Lakewood Ranch homes for sale is that these beautiful properties are within a short distance to amazing green spaces like the Lakewood Ranch Park. Open from sunrise until nearly midnight, Lakewood Ranch Park provides nearly the entire day for you to practice your pickleball skills on their courts. With eight hard-court tennis courts that feature lighting, there is plenty of room for you and your group of friends to have your own pickleball tournament.

  5. Palmetto Tennis Courts — 1500 W. 10th St., Palmetto, FL 34221
    If you're already an avid tennis player looking at Palmetto homes for sale, you've surely heard of the nearby Palmetto Tennis Courts. Open for play from sunrise to sunset. They're also the perfect place to challenge your friends and family to a game of pickleball. Reservations are not required, so feel free to pop in at any time for a game!

  6. John H. Marble Park — 3675 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton, FL 34203
    One of the coolest parks near our Bradenton homes for sale is John H. Marble Park. Whenever you visit for a game of pickleball on one of their two tennis-lighted hard courts, take a moment to explore their other amenities. Bocce ball, a pool, and even a remote control race track are available to use at your leisure. 

Would you like to live close to these wonderful pickleball courts so you can pay every day? Contact us and we'll show you the best homes available in the Sarasota and Manatee area.


Plant a Flower Day: What to Plant in Sarasota and Manatee Counties

Planting om Bradenton

If you're new to Florida, you might be surprised to learn that yes, we do get the occasional frost here in Sarasota and Manatee Counties in the late winter and early spring. This is just one of the things you need to know as you embark on gardening in your new home, acquired either from Bradenton homes for sale or Sarasota homes for sale. Fortunately, frost is rare and not much of an impediment to producing fabulous flowers, fruits, and vegetables in Florida.

While we suggest Floridians start planting long before National Plant a Flower Day, which is March 12, this national celebration, which promotes looking forward to spring by encouraging flower planting, is a great reason to jump right in.

And the good news is, after mid-February, the chances of a frost damaging seedlings or other plants are very low. So feel free to head to your local garden center and acquire some fabulous flowers to celebrate March 12 with a burst of color in your yard.

But before you start, a little planning is in order. What can you plant in our region of Florida? So many things, from tropicals to perennials, lush annuals, flowering shrubs, and glorious flowering trees. The key is making sure whatever you choose can tolerate our heat and humidity. 

What to Plant

The flowering plant palette for Florida is extensive. Among the most common flowering plants, you'll note are these.

  • Pentas. Also known as Egyptian Star Cluster, Pentas are evergreen perennials and come in pink, magenta, lilac, and white. They prefer full sun and are seasonal bloomers. An added bonus is they attract butterflies.
  • Coreopsis. You can't not plant Florida's state flower, the Coreopsis. It's a member of the aster family and has bright golden disk and ray flowers. It's a brilliant addition to any garden. 
  • Blue Salvia. Although native to the Southwest, Salvia farinacea does well in South Florida and can flourish in a hot, dry location. Low-maintenance Blue Salvia (also known as Mealycup sage) is an annual further north but blooms like a perennial in our climate. Pollinators love it.
  • Mexican Heather. A low-growing ground cover, Mexican Heather or Cuphea loves full sun, although partial will do. Plant it in a well-drained location. It produces lavender-pink to white flowers almost all year long.
  • Bougainvillea. One of our most spectacular bloomers, Bougainvillea's showy display isn't actually flowers at all, but rather colorful leaf bracts. It needs six hours of sun a day, and for that, you get an explosion of color most of the year.
  • Lantana. Another pollinator attractor (including hummingbirds), Lantana is available in pink and yellow or bright orange and yellow, and more. Deadhead flowers to keep the plant producing most of the year. Be sure to water Lantana when the weather is dry; mulch and fertilizer help promote abundant flowering.
  • Periwinkles. Also known as Creeping Vinca, Periwinkle is a creeping vine with pretty blue flowers, often used as a ground cover, and which can choke out weeds. Best blooming will occur if it's planted in partial shade.
  • Plumbago. This sprawling shrub is grown for its clusters of blue, phlox-like flowers. Plant Plumbago over a stone or wood retaining wall for a beautiful effect. It prefers full sun but will tolerate some shade.

Our real estate agents have more tips for how you can improve your property, indoors and out. Contact us today.


5 Reasons You Should Move to Sarasota in 2021

Move to Sarasota

Would you like to wake up every day and feel like you're on vacation? Then a move to Sarasota may be just what you need. Our real estate agents love welcoming new residents to Sarasota. Even those who have lived in Florida their entire lives are wowed at the beautiful beaches, spectacular shopping, and laid-back lifestyle of this Gulf Coast city. There are dozens of reasons you should move to Sarasota in 2021; here are five of our favorites.

  1. The Weather
    You don't need to ever step foot in Florida to know that it's home to some of the most preferable weather conditions in the country. Although the summer highs always tempt a trip to the beach or an afternoon by the pool, the winter months are just as comfortable in their own ways. Limited rainfall and highs in the mid-70s allow you to spend as much time outdoors as you wish. Imagine spending New Year's Eve strolling the beach with only a light jacket.

  2. The Culture
    When most picture Florida, a beachy vibe comes to mind. What many don't realize, however, is that Florida is home to a wealth of diversity. Sarasota itself is a haven for the arts, often referred to as Florida's Cultural City. Museums, such as the Ringling Museum of Art, galleries, music festivals, food festivals, and hundreds of other seasonal or year-round events offer the opportunity to explore diverse arts and cultures without venturing far from home.

  3. The Houses
    How do you envision your perfect Florida escape? Whether you're looking for a bungalow near the beach, a condo in the city, or something in between, you'll find it in Sarasota. It's an affordable city for real estate with median home prices just above $349,000. If you're searching for brand-new homes, the new master-planned community Lakewood Ranch was rated one of the best-selling communities in the country. One look at our Sarasota homes for sale, and you'll see why Sarasota's population is growing year after year.

  4. The Proximity
    Dining, shopping, entertainment, relaxation… it's all just outside your front door in Sarasota. Fine-dining at five-star restaurants and seaside cafes mix with fresh yet cheap eats at roadside diners. World-class shopping lets you peruse luxury brands and homemade boutique goods in a single trip. Sports fans are only an hour away from live games in Tampa, while nature lovers can reach the gateway to the Everglades in just over two hours. Of course, you can always take a five-minute drive from home and relax on Siesta Key Beach, voted the best beach in the country.

  5. The Lifestyle
    With sunny skies, vibrant culture, and a short drive from the best Florida's Gulf Coast has to offer, living in Sarasota is the ultimate experience for every lifestyle. You'll enjoy equal parts excitement and relaxation in effortless ways. In a single day, you can enjoy a resort-like beach experience, savor prime seafood, and attend a renowned event, all within a few miles of home.

Would you like to call this Southwest Florida gem home? As one of the top-rated places to retire in the United States, now is the perfect time to put down roots in the Sunshine State for the long-term. Contact us today to see our latest listings for Sarasota homes for sale.


How to Decorate Your Entryway for Fall

Decorate for Fall

Decorating your entryway can be an easy, fun way to shift into the fall season without exerting too much effort. It's a smaller space so that you can create an effect with just a few accents. Maybe you're expecting company, but you're too busy to decorate the whole house, or you're expecting potential buyers to visit since you've listed your home among Sarasota homes for sale or Bradenton homes for sale. Why not just focus on the entryway, and say it all with a great first impression?

We're sure you'll love these tips for fall entryways that will dazzle your company.

  1. Start with a Bench 
    You need a bench -- or something like it -- in your entryway, no matter what the season. If you've already got a nice entryway table or hall tree, so much the better. Metal, wood, wicker -- whatever suits your style. This piece of furniture will be the stage for all your decorating efforts. Here's where you change your seasonal pillows. Display your decorative gourds and pumpkins on top of it or under it. 

  2. Chalk it up
    What could be simpler for wishing your visitors well than a fall greeting on a chalkboard? Think your artistic skills aren't up to the mark? Go online and look for some simple examples of chalkboard art, and you'll be surprised at how well you can do by just imitating and adapting. Your message and art can welcome visitors but can also be directional, as in, "Follow the pumpkins to the kitchen for Fall fun," or "This way to hot apple cider."

  3. Did We Mention Pillows?
    A changing cast of seasonal pillows is an easy way to mark the passage of the seasons. Set the mood: spooky, fun, festive -- you decide. If you're handy with the sewing machine, you can make seasonal covers to slip over the pillows as the mood strikes you. For fall, you can, of course, go with traditional orange, cinnamon, and rust, but you can also jazz things up with a vivid purple or a striking green. 

  4. Go Vertical
    Make use of the space above the bench or to the side of the chalkboard. Hang some decorative hooks or install a rustic coat or hat rack to hang stuff: a wreath, a lantern, or seasonal garlands. 

  5. Seasonal Wreaths
    One of the best ways to mark the change of seasons is through wreaths, but you don't have to limit your display efforts to the front door. You can hang fun Halloween wreaths with pumpkin lights in the entryway to mark the spooky season, but also dried botanicals to signify the arrival of fall. 

  6. Lots of Pumpkins
    Pumpkins just lend themselves to inspiring creative fall displays and arrangements. Big ones, middling ones, ginormous ones -- mix and match -- you can paint your entryway masterpiece on a palette of pumpkins and gourds. Put 'em on top of the entryway table or under the bench. Draw or paint faces on them to set the mood, or decorate your pumpkins with garlands of fall leaves. If you'd rather avoid the messiness of carving, create Halloween creatures or fall figures out of them, using felt or construction paper and a hot glue gun. 

Our real estate agents are always ready to share good ideas that can help you sell your home. Contact us today. 


How Fig Newtons Helped Build Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island Historical Society   Fig Newtons  Fig Newtons Ad

Anna Maria Island, FL – When you think of Fig Newtons you probably don't associate them with the development of properties on Anna Maria Island – but they hold a chapter in the history of this quaint vacation island. Long before it became a mecca for vacationers from around the world, Anna Maria Island was home to the Caloosan and Timucan Native American tribes. Later, Spanish explorers visited the island, and Tampa mayor, Madison Post, settled there as well. But the island wasn't developed for permanent residence until the late 1800's – that's when Fig Newtons came into play.


Ohio native Charles Roser was working for a bakery in Philadelphia. Charles developed a fig cookie recipe that became quite popular around town, but it was a challenge to get the fig mixture into the cookie, so he also invented and patented a machine that inserted the fig paste into the cookie, making later mass production possible. Roser's cookie creation was in such demand, both the recipe and the machine were purchased by the Kennedy Biscuit Company (which later became Nabisco). The Boston-based company had a tradition of naming cookies after local towns and named the cookie "Newton" after the nearby town in Massachusetts. In 1891 the company began mass production of Fig Newtons. Between the sale of the recipe and the sale of the patent, Charles Roser became a wealthy man overnight. With his new-found wealth, Roser and his wife moved to St. Petersburg, FL. An entrepreneur at heart, Roser immediately looked for another business venture and soon formed the Anna Maria Beach Development Company in partnership with George 'Wil' Wilhelm Bean.


Wil Bean's father, George Emerson Bean, homesteaded the northern 160 acres of Anna Maria Island in 1892, establishing himself as the island's first permanent resident. Wil inherited his father's Anna Maria Island homestead in 1898 and the area was ripe for development. Roser and Bean created street maps, established sidewalks, and sold home lots. There was no bridge from the mainland, so Roser built a 678-foot pier to provide the ferries a landing spot, and the rest is history. Before long, Anna Maria Island was one of the finest resorts on the west coast of Florida, with pristine beaches, a bathing pavilion, and a water system – which was critical to the success of the island's development. The island soon had 60 homes, a hotel, church, school post office and stores. Today Anna Maria Island is still a place where "old" Florida charm remains the norm. On Anna Maria Island you'll find friendly people, a leisurely pace and flip flops – but you won't find high rises and fast food restaurants. 


If you'd like to take a step back in time, visit Anna Maria Island. To find a vacation rental, go to To discover more island history, stop by the Anna Maria Historical Society located at 402 Pine Avenue on the north end of Anna Maria Island. The museum is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please note that the museum will be closed during September for floor replacement Occupancy is limited to five visitors at a time. Visitors must wear masks for the safety and health of other visitors and docents. To visit the museum online go to


Plan a Staycation with our Southwest Florida Rental Properties

Although current events may have canceled your global travel plans, there's still plenty of time to have an amazing vacation close to home. Our REALTORS® invite you to plan a staycation at one of our Florida rental properties. Situated near or directly on the sandy shores of the Gulf Coast, these rental properties allow you to soak up the sun and maximize your time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the simple pleasures that the Sunshine State has to offer.

Sunset Terrace 102

  • Sunset Terrace 102, Bradenton Beach
    Spend hours on the sand at this beachfront condor in Bradenton Beach. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms, up to four guests can comfortably enjoy a staycation in style. The stylish interior is outfitted with the latest amenities, including a fully equipped kitchen, a 65" Smart TV in the living room, and laundry in the unit. Outside, you'll find a heated swimming pool and private access to a white sand beach where you can enjoy dolphin spotting in the morning and beautiful sunsets every evening.

    Longboat Harbour Towers
  • Longboat Harbour Towers 905, Longboat Key
    Enjoy amazing views from the 9th floor of this turnkey two-bed, two-bath condo, and spoil yourself with a wonderful staycation. Lounge on the screened-in balcony after relaxing in the spacious master suite. Your stay includes access to the condo's heated pool, sauna, fitness center, and social room. With enough room for four, this condo only a few miles from the city, and mere feet from the ocean offers the very best of Florida vacationing.

The Shore 113

  • The Shore 113, Longboat Key
    Stroll right out to the beach from this fantastic first-floor two-two condo. With room for up to four, every area of this spacious unit has been renovated and upgraded to deliver maximum comfort. Outside, you'll enjoy dining on a private patio overlooking the beach and heated pool. Whether you're looking for a little R&R without the kids or hoping to give the whole family a much-needed break, this staycation on Longboat Key offers resort-style living without the crowd.

Shore 209

  • The Shore 209, Longboat Key
    If you're searching for the ultimate staycation, look no further than this gorgeous unit at The Shore. For a minimum of 60 days, you and up to five others can savor the sun, surf, and sand of the Gulf Coast without limits. Fully furnished for your convenience, a well-equipped kitchen, a comfortable living room, and serene bathrooms create a space that will immediately feel like home. This waterfront community includes a social room, fitness center, private library, and a recently resurfaced pool and spa. 

Who says you can't staycation forever? We have a portfolio of gorgeous Longboat Key homes for sale on the water and many stunning Bradenton Beach homes for sale within a short stroll to the shore. Contact us today to book one of our amazing rental homes and discover what life is like along the Gulf Coast.


7 Ways to Beat the Florida Heat This Summer

Florida Summer

One of the many advantages of living in Florida is our abundance of sunny weather and warm temperatures. During the summer months though, the heat and humidity can leave you feeling a bit drained. Fortunately, there are ways you can beat the heat.

From practical tips to fun and cooling activities your kids will love, our real estate agents suggest the following 7 ways to cool off this summer.

  1. Avoid Using Your Oven 
    Using your oven makes your home hotter, so stock up on recipes for colder meals like salads. These meals will also be more appealing than heavy dishes when the weather is hot. You can also avoid using your oven by utilizing appliances like your microwave or crockpot or heading outside to grill out. Or skip cooking altogether and have dinner delivered from DoorDash. Not only will you not have to cook, but you can also support local businesses at the same time! 
  2. Get a Portable Fan
    Buy a small portable fan that sprays water mist while its blades spin and help cool you off. Best of all, you can use this at home, at Bradenton Beach, or outside when you're out jogging or running errands. They're great for kids as well as adults.
  3. Water Balloon Fun
    Who says you have to have a pool or head to the beach for a fun way to cool off? Turn your backyard into a water balloon playground. Fill water balloons and hang them up outside as singles or in groups. Let your kids take turns swinging at the water balloons like a pinata for guaranteed fun while cooling off. 
  4. Utilize Your Fridge
    Keep ice packs or towels in your fridge and ready for the hottest Florida days. Apply an ice pack or cold towel on your cooling points. These include your wrists, forehead, and the inside of your elbows. Take these on the go and put in a cooler for when you head to the beach. 
  5. DIY Backyard Sprinkler
    Another kid-approved way to turn your backyard into a makeshift water park. Follow these DIY directions to make a sprinkler from a PVC pipe. It gives kids a great opportunity to get soaked and can be made into different configurations.
  6. Easy Homemade Popsicles 
    Consider making the kids these homemade popsicles as an easy (and delicious) way to cool off. Trust us, the adults are going to want some as well! This recipe is super easy and is made with only two ingredients - honey and fruit - so they're refreshing as well as healthy.
  7. Stay Hydrated
    If you've lived in Florida for a while, you know how humid it can get! Florida heat and humidity can make you sweat, which increases the chance that you don't stay properly hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water while avoiding drinks with alcohol and caffeine, which are dehydrating. You can also increase the amount of water you take in by eating foods with a high water content, such as watermelon, strawberries, or oranges. Next time you're at a local farmers market, stock up on these types of fruits! 

Would finding a new place in Florida be the highlight of your summer? Contact us today to find out about Sarasota homes for sale and Bradenton homes for sale and tour ones that catch your eye. Whether you're looking for a starter home, a larger home, or are ready to downsize, we can help you find a house in southwest Florida that will soon become your dream home. 


Fun Things to Do at Home in Bradenton and Sarasota

At Home Activities

Do you think that staying home has to equal boredom? Think outside the box...literally. The four walls of your house don't have to limit your entertainment options. Our real estate agents have discovered some fascinating ways to stay busy while staying indoors near Sarasota homes for sale

  1. Visit a Museum
    Have you dreamed of visiting the Louvre? Now you don't even need a plane ticket. The famed museum in Paris has created a series of virtual tours exploring its various permanent collections. You can also "visit" the city's Musée d'Orsay as well as London's British Museum, the Guggenheim in NYC, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. A little closer to Sarasota homes for sale, the Ringling Museum is offering kids learning programs, virtual family tours, and digital performances. 
  2. Enjoy a Concert
    Popular artists such as Luke Bryan, Post Malone, and Billie Eilish have been turning YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram into concert venues with live streaming performances. Billboard maintains an updated list of scheduled shows on their website. Get your music fix and support local artists by "attending" Connect Bradenton's weekly series each Thursday at 4:30 p.m. Virtual tip jars are posted for each musician.
  3. Start a Journal
    With few avenues to express yourself, thoughts can begin circling in your mind, resulting in stress, anger, and sadness. The simple act of putting pen to paper releases negative emotions by clarifying thoughts and feelings. Journaling is also a great method for problem-solving and conflict resolution. You might discover creativity you didn't know you had! Go high-tech with a digital journal or stick with old-school pen and paper. The only rule is following your personal preference.
  4. Get Fit
    Can't go to the gym? Then bring the gym to your home. Raise your heart rate and decrease stress with a wealth of pre-recorded and streaming content online. Find a class to help perfect your Downward Dog or demonstrate the fine points of a bicep curl. Yoga Bradenton is streaming their classes online, with sessions available for all levels of experience. 
  5. Learn a New Language
    So you've always wanted to learn a new language, but just never had the time. That excuse is gone, and Duolingo is the perfect solution for attaining your goal. Duolingo turns learning into a game as you race against the clock to "level up" and earn virtual coins. Choose from dozens of languages, ranging from French and Spanish to Scottish Gaelic and Latin. Duolingo is a free app for both Android and iOS.
  6. Meet Up for Happy Hour
    Commiserate with friends over an adult beverage or two with a virtual happy hour. All you need is Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, or other video chat app. As a bonus, the bar never closes, and you don't have to choose a designated driver.
  7. Host a Movie Night
    Theaters might be dark, but the show goes on in your home with Netflix Party. The free software allows you to stream Netflix content in sync with your virtual guests. There's also a chatroom where you can all share screenshots, GIFs, and comments. Make sure you have Google Chrome installed before downloading Netflix Party.

Isolation or not, Wagner Realty is here for you. Contact us with all your real estate questions.


7 Apps to Help You Stay Connected While Social Distancing

Apps to Stay Connected

Staying connected in a time of social distancing is no easy task. Yet, with all the new challenges our world is facing, we continue to find ways of maintaining our ties to one another. We think staying connected with loved ones is more important than ever, and our real estate agents are thrilled to share some of the apps we've been using to stay in touch. 

  1. Zoom
    Over the last couple of months, Zoom's popularity has skyrocketed, and not just for virtual business conferences, but social gatherings as well. The app can host up to 1,000 video participants in a session, making it great for getting large groups of friends together. Sessions under 40 minutes are free, but beyond that, you'll need a subscription. 
  2. Netflix Party
    Chances are you've been watching more TV than ever in 2020, but you're not alone if you miss having friends to binge your favorite shows with. Luckily, there's a solution for anyone who has a Netflix account and a Google Chrome web browser. Netflix Party is a Chrome extension that makes it possible to sync up your Netflix account with your friends' accounts, so you can watch TV in tandem, and even communicate back and forth. 
  3. WhatsApp
    A longtime favorite for folks who need to send text messages to international friends and family, WhatsApp has a lot of other features that are making it a popular app in the social distancing age. WhatsApp offers text messaging, audio, and video call functions and is compatible with Apple and Android devices, as well as Windows PCs. 
  4. Google Duo
    Chances are you know what Google is, but do you know what Google Duo is and how it can help you stay connected? Compatible with Apple and Android devices this helpful app lets you make video calls with those you love. Plus, you can make groups of up to 12 people and chat and make video calls within the group. 
  5. FaceTime
    Anyone with an iPhone has probably been using FaceTime since long before the pandemic struck, but this classic app is now more useful than ever. You can use it to video chat with friends and family around the world (as long as they also have an Apple device), and it even works over regular cellular service if you're not connected to the internet. 
  6. HouseParty
    One of the things we miss the most about how the world used to be is just hanging out and chatting with a few friends. HouseParty is a great option for fostering the easygoing vibe of a small get-together. It's a fun app that lets up to 8 people hang out in a virtual space. It also has screen sharing options and the ability to play virtual games. 
  7. Facebook Live
    Facebook has always provided a wide range of tools for staying connected, from sharing photos and videos to messaging with friends. But Facebook Live has become more useful than ever in recent times. It's been used to stream meetings, live music, stand-up comedy, even weddings! Our team has even found Facebook Live to be a great real estate tool for creating "virtual tours" of Bradenton homes for sale and Sarasota homes for sale.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can all stay connected while social distancing. At Wagner Realty, we still believe in the importance of human connection, and we're here to help you keep in touch while you're finding your dream home. 


16 Ways to Make the Most of Leap Year's Extra Day!

Don't squander the extra time. Carpe diem!

The cynical view about Leap Year is that it's an awkward attempt to manage the calendar so we don't have Christmas in July.

I'd like to look at it this way: We've been given an extra day to make everything better. So - what will you do to take advantage of this extra time?

Here are 16 ways to carpe diem:

  1. Say thank you. Take a page from Jack Welch and Mark Zuckerberg and write a thank-you note. Or just say it.

  2. Read a magazine you would never ordinarily even look at. Get a new perspective on politics, fashion, home décor or wellness.

  3. Throw out 16 things. Things that don't work. Things you never use. They're just weighing you down. Time to say good-bye!

  4. Start a big goal. I want to write another book this year. If I don't begin by March 1 (yes, that's tomorrow), it probably won't happen. Time to get going.

  5. Contact an old friend. You don't need to give a reason for reaching out. All you need is to make the effort.

  6. Take a drive with an important family member. Use car time to talk about something--or just connect.

  7. Play a board game with someone you like. Electronic games don't count. Sit down, roll the dice and experience human contact.

  8. Map out the rest of your year. Big events are probably already accounted for. Now decide on major milestones and plot them on the calendar.

  9. Cook something new or challenging. I attempted honey-oat cereal bars over the weekend. They tasted great, but didn't hold together (more like cereal crumbles). But at least I tried.

  10. Clean your desk. I know: You did that in December and the mess is already back. Give it another try.

  11. Take a break. Do nothing for 15 minutes. Experience empty time with no electronics or chores. Weird, right?

  12. Book three lunches or dinners with people you like. These need to be agenda-free encounters; it's just about getting together.

  13. Do one thing to improve your health. It doesn't matter what: Just take the first step.

  14. Plan a real vacation--one where you don't check email or do any work at all. This will require setting expectations so your boss and coworkers know you're serious.

  15. Build, craft or grow something. Experience the joy (and challenge) of using your hands to bring something to life.

  16. Above all, don't take yourself too seriously.

And remember: They call it Leap Year for a reason. It's your chance to fly high!

SOURCE: Alison DavisFounder and CEO, Davis & Company


Doggy Daycares Your Pet Will Love in Sarasota and Manatee

Manatee Doggy Daycares

It's always hard to say goodbye to your favorite pets at the beginning of a busy day or trip out of town, but if you live around Manatee and Sarasota, then you can rest easy knowing that there are plenty of dog daycare facilities to choose from. Here are a few you might like to check out.

  1. The Lucky Puppy – 8003 US Hwy. 301, N Suite 105, Parrish, FL 34219
    Close to Parrish homes for sale, The Lucky Puppy, offers your puppy a free socialization program every Monday to make new friends. The team at the Lucky Puppy provides a mix of one-on-one interaction with your pet, and group pet activities to promote socialization.

  2. Doggy Resort SRQ – 3424 17th St., Sarasota, FL 34325
    With grooming, training, daycare, boarding, and even a bakery, Doggy Resort SRQ has everything you need to keep your pup happy near Bird Key homes for sale. The Doggy Resort features indoor/outdoor playgrounds, a shaded pool, indoor climate control, and optional extras that include expert dog training.

  3. Camp Bow Wow – 2101 17th St., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Camp Bow Wow allows pet owners to monitor their pups anytime with live webcams. Close to Sarasota homes for sale, Camp Bow Wow is a nationally known chain with a comprehensive program that includes extensive socialization with both pets and people, along with regular exercise.

  4. PetSuites – 5205 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton, FL 34203
    Near Anna Maria homes for sale, PetSuites offers a "first-day free" program at their full-service facility. They even feature a puppy pre-school. Customize your pet's experience with a wide variety of packages, including day play for energetic pups, day boarding for pets that prefer relaxation, and a day spa.

  5. Bayside Pet Resort at Lakewood Ranch – 15117 Garnet Trl., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211
    If you're looking for a luxurious doggy daycare to pamper your pup close to Lakewood Ranch homes for sale, then the Bayside Pet Spa is the place to be. Dogs at Bayside Pet Spa get their own private space, along with the option to socialize with other pets. This facility also goes above and beyond with services that include professional grooming and dog training.

  6. Fox Creek Pet Ranch – 5557 Lorraine Rd., Bradenton, FL 34211
    If you have cats or other small pets in need of daycare then Fox Creek Pet Ranch, located near Parrish homes for sale, is a perfect option. Fox Creek Pet Ranch provides care for a wide variety of pets in a facility that is advertised as safe, clean, loving, and healthy.

If you're searching for a community where both you and your favorite pets feel right at home, then our team is here to help. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Manatee and Sarasota.


Shop Local for Your Last Minute Holiday Shopping in Bradenton & Sarasota

Shop Local Bradenton

Before you know it, the days for holiday shopping will dwindle. If you're still looking for a few last-minute gifts, our REALTORS® suggest shopping local. Here are just a few of the many wonderful and unique stores around Bradenton and Sarasota.

  1. Created Gems — 5212 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, FL 32424
    Jewelry is always an excellent gift for that special someone, and Created Gems is a fantastic place to find fantastic affordable pieces for every style. Shop their selection of earrings, slides, rings, and bracelets all set in 14 karat gold or platinum-finished sterling silver. Stop by when you're in town looking at Siesta Key homes for sale. 

  2. Florida Olive Oil — 307 W. Venice Ave., Venice, FL 34285
    Chances are high that there's someone on your shopping list who loves cooking. Help them savor every meal at home with specialty oils, vinegars, spices, and sauces from Florida Olive Oil. Located just minutes from waterfront Venice homes for sale, Florida Olive Oil has fine quality ingredients that make any meal a masterpiece.

  3. Just/Because — 7 S. Blvd. Of Presidents, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Stroll along St. Armand's Circle next time you're visiting Sarasota homes for sale and stop into Just/Because to grab a few fabulous stocking stuffers. This boutique shop has a variety of home accessories from more than 50 talented Floridian artists. Gifts for him and her include cosmetic bags, décor, wine racks, kitchen items, jewelry, and more. 

  4. Charley's Boutique — 5761 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34209
    Voted as one of the favorite local boutiques in town, Charley's Boutique has the best casual and formal wear from around the country. Their fashionable selection includes women's clothing, accessories and shoes, books, candles, lotions, soaps, and adorable baby gifts. Find something for the fashionista in your life with a trip to Charley's next time you're searching for Bradenton homes for sale.

  5. Vanessa Fine Jewelry — 8131 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
    Give a gift that truly sparkles when you get your loved one a gift from Vanessa Fine Jewelry. This local jewelry shop near Lakewood Ranch homes for sale offers collections from world-renowned designers. Stop in and find jewelry that will impress this holiday season. Or have the team make something one-of-a-kind and inquire about custom designing. You can't go wrong with a trip to Vanessa Fine Jewelry. 

  6. Sea-renity Beach Spa & Bou-tiki — 112 Bridge St., Bradenton Beach, FL  34217
    Give the gift of Vitamin Sea at Sea-renity Beach Spa & Bou-tiki. Located on Historic Bridge Street steps from Bradenton Beach homes for sale, this oyster of Anna Maria Island shopping carries art, souvenirs, jewelry, clothing, and more! However, we believe the ultimate gift you can give is a private beach massage. Trust us — a relaxing massage or couples massage on the calm shores of the Gulf is a gift of serenity anyone will love!

Don't save your shopping for Bradenton and Sarasota homes for sale until the last minute! Contact us to begin your search!


6 Things to be Grateful for in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Things to be Grateful for in Sarasota

Thanksgiving is upon us, offering an opportunity for reflection and gratitude. Everyone has their own favorites to be thankful for, but we thought it might be nice to start the holiday week off by sharing some of our favorites.

  1. The Beaches
    There's hardly a spot in Florida that isn't within an hour's drive of the ocean — no more than 30 minutes for most homeowners in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. We're thankful for every inch of sandy shoreline that allows us to live on permanent vacation. We especially love that beaches like Siesta Key are within walking distance of many Sarasota homes for sale

  2. The Sunshine
    The beach wouldn't be paradise without the sun! Our warm weather provides year-round comfort and stunning sunsets. We recommend checking out Robinson Preserve for beautiful sunset views near Bradenton homes for sale

  3. The Art Scene
    Sarasota and Manatee Counties have vibrant arts and culture scenes that rival other major metropolitan areas. Sarasota is home to art galleries and performing arts centers galore. Take a day and explore the Ringling, near Sarasota homes for sale. This creative community takes every opportunity to showcase its talent, and we take every opportunity to support it with our gratitude.

  4. Activities for All Ages
    No matter your age or ability, Sarasota and the surrounding areas have plenty of activities for all to enjoy. There are tons of hot-spots for shopping, both luxurious items, and handmade or antique goods. For a little bit of everything, swing over to Nathan Benderson Park near Lakewood homes for sale. Benderson Park is a unique 600-acre community park that includes North America's premier 2,000-meter sprint rowing course and a regatta center. But of course, there are outdoor recreational activities for everyone here, with golf courses, fishing holes, athletic facilities, and local parks stretched from end to end of the county. With museums, preserves, historical sites, and modern marvels at every corner, we're thankful for so much to do in our backyard.

  5. The Location
    While Sarasota and Manatee are rich in activities, we're also a quick drive to hundreds of other amazing destinations. Hop on I75 for a quick trip to Tampa for a Bucs game, southeast to Miami or the Keys for a classic getaway, or northeast to Orlando for the number one tourist attractions on the planet. With Gainesville, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Daytona, and Panama City Beach all within half of a day's drive, you can explore every amazing Florida city each weekend of the year.

  6. The Relaxation
    There is so much to see, do, and experience in our town — and yet, it is still the perfect place to do absolutely nothing. Take an afternoon and get out on a charter boat for some fishing near Anna Maria Island homes for sale. Or, you can stroll or drive through town without a destination in mind. 

If you're you looking for a home close to a relaxing beach or a condo in the heart of a bustling art, culture, and dining scene, contact us today, and we'll help you find a home that you'll be thankful for every day of the year.


Plan Ahead - Craft Shows for the Holidays

Craft Shows in Manatee County

Even though there's no snow in sight, the many holiday craft fairs returning to town are making it feel a lot like Christmas. Our REALTORS® are excited to complete our shopping lists by visiting a handful of the spectacular holiday craft fairs in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. If you're looking for one-of-a-kind gifts for that special someone, head to one of these festive fairs.

  • Art & Design Show Sarasota — Robarts Arena 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34237 | Dec 6 — 8
    The historic Sarasota craft show returns! Art & Design Show Sarasota makes its way back into the Robarts Arena for visitors to find gifts for the serious art collectors in their lives. The preeminent destination for everyone from interior decorators and art enthusiasts to those who appreciate a great looking piece of décor for their home, Art & Design Show is free to enter. Browse the street fairs located just outside of the venue too and consider making appointments to browse the Sarasota homes for sale in the area.

  • Mixon's Harvest Craft Fair — Mixon Farms 2525 27th St. E., Bradenton, FL 34208 | Nov 23
    Harvest Festival Craft Fair at Mixon Fruit Farms is the best way to kick off harvest season. This free event features more than 60 unique vendors, live entertainment, delicious food, and chances for you to win exciting prizes. Fun for the whole family, kids can make crafts while you cross a few items off of your shopping list. If you'll be in the area looking at Bradenton homes for sale, making an entire afternoon of the event by touring the farm after you're done at the craft fair.

  • Bradenton-Sarasota Home + Holiday Show — Bradenton Area Convention Center 1 Haben Blvd, Palmetto, FL 34221 | Nov 15 – 17
    Have you got your eye on a few Palmetto homes for sale? Then head over to the Bradenton-Sarasota Home + Holiday Show and pick out a few pieces of décor as an early holiday gift for yourself. This is the ultimate one-stop-shop for anyone looking for great gifts. The art show will showcase fine masterpieces that are perfect for the art lover in your life. The event will also feature wine tasting for adults and a kid zone full of fun activities.

  • Atomic Holiday Bazaar — Municipal Auditorium 801 N. Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, FL 34236 | Dec 14 – 15
    Do you have someone on your holiday gift list that isn't easy to shop for? Then stop by the Atomic Holiday Bazaar for delightful irregular goodies! This indie craft fair not far from Lido Key homes for sale has unique items on display. They've recently expanded their selection, so be sure to visit the Bay Front Room to view more items.

  • Lido Beach Holiday of the Arts 2019 — Lido Beach 400 Benjamin Franklin Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236 | Dec 7 – 8
    Located close to many Longboat Key homes for sale, head over to Lido Beach and watch the beach transform into an outdoor gallery. Lido Beach Holiday of the Arts 2019 is the perfect opportunity to stock up on handmade art from local artisans. Give one of a kind gifts for everyone on your list when you attend this holiday festival. 

  • Holiday Gift Expo & Cookie Fest — Bradenton Area Convention Center 1 Haben Blvd, Palmetto, FL 34221 | Dec 1
    What's better than a holiday craft show? A holiday craft show with cookies! Not far from Parrish homes for sale, be sure to head over to the Bradenton Area Convention Center on December 1 for the Holiday Gift Expo & Cookie FestGet locally made gifts for those on your list and holiday cookies for you to enjoy while shopping.

Are you looking for a place to keep all of your new crafts and décor? Contact us today, and we'll help you find a great home in Sarasota or Manatee County.


Museums in the Sarasota and Manatee Area

Museums in Sarasota

Did you know that the Sarasota and Manatee area is home to some of Florida's most unique museums? Whether you're interested in art, history, culture, classic cars, or whimsy, there's a local museum waiting to be explored. In addition to being great places to visit, museums add character to neighborhoods while preserving local history. Our REALTORS® have all the details on the best museums to visit in the Sarasota and Manatee area.

  • The Ringling Museum of Art – 5401 Bay Shore Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34234
    Located close to Sarasota homes for sale you'll find the fantastic Ringling Museum of Art, which is the State Art Museum of Florida. Once the home of circus magnate, John Ringling, The Ringling Museum features art from local and national artists, a circus museum, and the incredible Ringling Mansion – Ca' d'Zan. This family-friendly museum includes everything from vast art collections, and gorgeous gardens, to traveling exhibits that make every visit unique. The Ringling also features live performances in it the Historic Asolo Theatre, along with films on the big screen.
  • Sarasota Classic Car Museum – 5500 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
    Whether you love classic cars or want to experience something new, the Sarasota Classic Car Museum is a great place to spend an afternoon. The museum features a collection of more than 75 classic automobiles from around the world, including exotic, one-of-a-kind creations.
  • Manatee Village Historical Park – 1404 Manatee Ave. East, Bradenton, FL 34208
    Just around the corner from Bradenton homes for sale is the Manatee Village Historical Park. Take a step back in time with a visit to this historic outdoor park, complete with an 1860 Courthouse and One Room Schoolhouse, all beautifully preserved. With free admission and 14 points of interest, this is a great way to learn about the history of Manatee County and Old Florida long before paved roads and electricity.
  • ArtCenter Manatee – 209 9th St. West, Bradenton, FL 34205
    Just across the river from Palmetto homes for sale, you'll find ArtCenter Manatee. Looking to enjoy some beautiful art, or find a place where your kids can pursue the arts in a supportive, encouraging environment? ArtCenter Manatee has everything that you need to enjoy the arts locally. Stop by to take in a rotating collection of unique, new exhibits, from local, state, and national artists. This is also a great place to participate in art classes for all ages.
  • Manatee County Agricultural Museum – 1015 6th St. West, Palmetto, FL 34221
    Close to Palmetto homes for sale, the Manatee County Agricultural Museum is a fun place to learn about the local history of agriculture, and how the industry has shaped the community. Also, this museum is home to the Manatee County Agricultural Hall of Fame where you can learn more about the people who brought agriculture to the area.
  • Marietta Museum of Whimsy – 2121 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34234
    If you're searching for a museum that's a little different from the rest, then you'll certainly enjoy visiting the Marietta Museum of Art & Whimsy in Sarasota. This museum features a little bit of everything, from whimsical outdoor art to family heirlooms. The museum was founded by Marietta Lee, who has made it her mission to showcase the unique history of local families.

Still searching for a home close to the art, history, and fascinating museums? Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties.


Fall Festivals in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Fall Festivals Manatee

Autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year along the Gulf Coast. You can be sure everyone will be taking full advantage of the cooler weather by getting out and active! Our REALTORS® are here with the return of these family-friendly fall festivals around Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

  1. Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival — 5500 CR 675, Bradenton, FL 34211 | Oct 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
    In its 28th year, the Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival is a way to spend a fall afternoon after shopping Bradenton homes for sale. Over a dozen live shows will take place as well as a craft show, chainsaw sculptor and juggler. A petting zoo, pony rides, corn maze, face painting, playground, and butterfly experience keep kids entertained while mom and dad enjoy food galore!

  2. Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival — 7410 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota, FL 34240 | Oct 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27
    The Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival takes place every weekend in October. After touring beautiful Sarasota homes for sale, bring the whole family for live music, costume and pie-eating contests, a petting zoo, playground and so much more! Their Farmer's Market and Pumpkin Palace are open rain or shine. This means just about any weekend is a perfect opportunity to attend the 31st Annual Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival!

  3. Suncoast Food & Wine Fest 2019 — 5895 Post Blvd., Lakewood Ranch, FL 34211 | Nov 9
    The Suncoast Food & Wine Fest is ready to raise a glass to its 18th year! Spend the afternoon sampling tasty food from the best restaurants in Manatee County and sip on fine wines while supporting the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch. Proceeds from this festival go directly to the charities of Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Take a much-needed break from walking Lakewood Ranch homes for sale and visit the Suncoast Food & Wine Festival to celebrate the harvest season with kindness and generosity.

  4. Fall Kids Fest — 1100 US-41 Bypass S, Venice, FL 34292 | Sept 14
    If you're looking for a great indoor activity, attend the Fall Kids Fest at AMF Bowling as you get ready to schedule showings for Venice homes for sale. All kids 15 and under can bowl and rent shoes for free for their first hour with adults receiving a discounted rate as well. They're also discounting their tasty treats, offering $2 hot dogs, $1 cookies and soft drinks, and only $14 for a whole pizza!

  5. Bayfest — 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, FL 34216 | Oct 19
    Anna Maria homes for sale put you close to one of the coolest fall festivals of the year. Bayfest presents a fun-filled day during their 19th annual free street festival. A classic car show will display over 100 amazing vehicles while five great bands perform live music from 10 AM to 9 PM. There will also be plenty of food, refreshments, arts and crafts vendors and even a kids zone for the little ones. Take a quick stroll down Pine Avenue and enjoy the cool fall weather in Anna Maria.

  6. Siesta Key Crystal Classic Sand Sculpting Festival — 948 Beach Rd., Siesta Key, FL 34242 | Nov 15-18
    We may not have fall leaves and a chilly breeze, but what we lack in Northern autumn hallmarks we make up for in Southern charm. Once you've completed your search for Siesta Key homes for sale, check out the Siesta Key Crystal Classic International Sand Sculpting Festival. You'll be blown away by the intricate detail and larger than life features of these amazing san sculptures. Grab your ticket and spend the weekend on the beach marveling at these impressive creations.

Looking for a great home in Manatee or Sarasota Counties to settle in for the fall? Contact us today, and we'll help you with your search!


Fishing & Sailing Charters Around Sarasota

Sarasota Fishing and Sailing
When potential buyers begin searching for Sarasota homes for sale, they often ask about things to do here. Boating and fishing top the lists of our real estate agents for outdoor fun in Sarasota.

Choosing the right charter means the difference between an incredible experience you'll never forget, and a day that's just so-so. To help make sure you enjoy every minute of your trip, we've created the following list of our favorite local fishing and sailing charters. 

  1. Sarasota Fishing Charters -  2576 Hillview Street, Sarasota, FL 34239
    For a family-friendly fishing trip, Sarasota Fishing Charters with Captain Jack Hartman is a great choice. He welcomes all anglers from beginners to those with expert skills. The tours cover local area waters including Sarasota, Siesta Key, Lido Key, Longboat Key, and Anna Maria Island and are ideal for catching Taron, Redfish, Snook, and other Florida fish species. 

  2. Charter Fishing Sarasota - 1718 Cherry Lane, Sarasota, FL 34236 
    Sarasota Charter Fishing is also a family-friendly experience. You can choose from inshore charter fishing in Sarasota Bay, sport fishing, offshore fishing, or a custom deep-sea charter. Some of Captain Will's favorite fish to catch include Snapper, Grouper, Shark, Kingfish, Amberjack, and Barracuda. Charter guests also love the exceptionally smooth ride that the 23' Maco offers. 

  3. Key Sailing: 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, FL 34236 
    Book your adventure through Key Sailing and join Captain Tim and First Mate Jen on their 41' Morgan yacht. Whether you want to relax and enjoy the sunset, view local waterfront properties, or take the helm for a sailing lesson, Captain Tim and First Mate Jen are happy to accommodate you.  This Sarasota adventure is an excellent option for a couple's "date night," while families with children are encouraged to book one of their affordable private charters. 
  1. Captain Jack's Charters - 6174 Clark Center Ave. Sarasota, FL 34238 
    Captain Jack's Charters allows guests to experience the luxury of a 42-foot yacht. It's perfect for sunsets and sightseeing and available for weddings, birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and other special occasions. They'll arrange full catering with food and drinks, or you're welcome to bring your own. 

  2. Siesta Kation Sarasota Fishing Tours & Charters - 5587 Merrimac Dr. Sarasota, FL 34231
    For the ultimate well-rounded boating experience, look no further than Siesta Kation Sarasota Fishing Tours & ChartersSome of the services they offer include sightseeing, dolphin tours, diving, snorkeling, shelling, tiki bar tours, and sunset cruises. They also offer inshore, nearshore, and offshore fishing excursions. Choose the charter package that's right for you or have them create a completely custom package to suit your needs. 

  3. Inshore Addict Charters - 1059 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Captain Matt Davie of Inshore Addict Charters specializes in light tackle, inshore, and nearshore fishing. Both beginners and seasoned anglers are welcome on these charters. You can expect to catch local species like Snook, Trout, Tarpon, and Redfish. Sometimes, you'll also come across Sheephead, Cobia, Grouper, and more. 

Are you thinking about buying a home in the Sarasota area? Wagner Realty can help! Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started. 


5 Top Spots for Birdwatching in Sarasota-Manatee Counties

Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching

There's no shortage of fun outdoor activities to do in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. If you want to get out of the house and connect with nature, grab your binoculars and your camera and head out to some of the area's best birdwatching spots.

Whether you're new to the birdwatching scene of you're already a member of the Sarasota Audubon Society, you might be surprised by the array of interesting species you'll find nearby. Our REALTORS® recommend taking a drive to the following locations where you're sure to find some new feathered friends. 

Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching

  1. Myakka River State Park - 13208 State Road 72 Sarasota, FL 34241
    Featuring over 58 square miles of prairies, wetlands, hammocks, and pinelands, Myakka River State Park is home to an abundance of wildlife. Here you can expect to see wading birds, raptors, songbirds, migratory species, and more.   You can observe the birds from the lakeshore or the Birdwalk, or canoe along the river. There's also an elevated canopy walkway and a 74-foot high observation tower. 

  2. Celery Fields - 6893 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240
    One of the best birdwatching spots in Southwest Florida, Celery Fields offers visitors the opportunity to catch a glimpse of over 220 species including Bald Eagles, Tree Swallows, Roseate Spoonbills, Osprey, Herons, Egrets, and over 20 different species of ducks.  Since the location is not far from some of the best Sarasota homes for sale, you can easily spend your morning birdwatching and the rest of the day home shopping! 

    Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching
  3. Robinson Nature Preserve - 1704 99th St NW, Bradenton, FL 34209
    Northwest Bradenton is home to some of the most gorgeous Bradenton homes for sale and is also where you'll find the extremely popular Robinson Nature Preserve. The area is well known for Bald Eagle sightings, and with its 682 acres of tidal marsh, preserved mangrove, and former agricultural land, there are plenty of opportunities to see a variety of other species.  You can expect to see Pelicans, Herons, Egrets, Osprey, and more. Since the area is so protected, it's often possible to get quite close to the birds and observe them in their natural habitat.   

  4. Felts Audubon Preserve - 4600 24th Ave. E., Palmetto, FL 34221
    Located between residences and farmlands, Felts Audubon Preserve is one of the only places in the area to see colorful Indigo and Painted Buntings. There are also plenty of opportunities to see more than 160 avian species and over 30 different butterfly species.

    Once you've had your fill of birding, we recommend taking a drive around the area to check out some of the Palmetto homes for sale. This city offers residents a small-town feel with easy access to nearby cities and the waterfront. 

    Sarasota-Manatee Birdwatching
  5. Venice Area Audubon Rookery: 4002 S Tamiami Trail via, Annex Rd, Venice, FL 34293
    Birders from across the state and around the globe flock to the Venice Area Audubon Rookery where you can get so close to the birds that you barely need binoculars. Here you can watch them build nests, court, and mate, hatch their eggs and raise their families.  Expect to see Egrets, Herons, Ibises, Anhingas, and more. You'll also get a glimpse of alligators, who patrol the lake and keep predatory mammals away from the birds. 

    ​​​​​​​We suggest taking the scenic route home so you can take a look at some of the Venice homes for sale. You just might find the home you've been dreaming of! 

From outdoor adventures to shopping and nightlife, Our REALTORS® are "in the know" about all things there are to love about living in Sarasota-Manatee County communities. If you would like to learn more about the area and take a look at some of the gorgeous homes for sale, we can help! Contact us at Wagner Realty to get started.  


Top Fishing & Sailing Charters Around Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island Fishing Charters
If you're touring Anna Maria Island homes for sale, then you're considering buying a home where the rest of the world dreams of vacationing. With its many quaint shops, award-winning restaurants, and beautiful beaches, there's never a shortage of things to do here. 

Our REALTORS® recommend taking a short break from house hunting to get a taste of what island life is like. Spending the day on a fishing or sailing charter is a great way to do just that. Here are a few of our favorite charter services to help you get started. 

  1. AMI Charters: 114 Beach Ave. Anna Maria Island, FL 34216
    For the ultimate day of saltwater adventures, you can't go wrong with AMI Charters. Book a full, three-quarter, or half day inshore/nearshore fishing trip. If you're not a fishing fan, you can also choose to leave your poles behind and enjoy the sites instead.

    AMI Charters offers daytime family sight-seeing trips, sunset cruises, and a "fun run" option that gives you a chance to check out the nearby sandbars, private islands, and dockside restaurants and pubs. This is a great way to enjoy the benefits of having a boat without the hassle of having to drive! 
  1. Snapper Addict Fishing Charter: 2652 Gulf Dr. S. Bradenton Beach, FL 34217
    Captain Layne Ostrander has been fishing the local waters his entire life, and now he brings his knowledge and experience to you. Snapper Addict Fishing Charter specializes in light tackle and reef fish including snapper, grouper, shark, hogfish, cobia, and kingfish.

    You'll love Captian Layne's laid-back and entertaining personality. Keep an eye out during the charter, because there's a good chance you might see some sea turtles and dolphins while you're out on the boat. Once you make it back to land, make sure to spend some time driving around the south end of the island, where you can get a good look at some of the beautiful Bradenton Beach homes for sale
  1. Tampa Bay Fishing with Captian Matt: 526 69th St. Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    If you're looking for a fishing experience you won't soon forget, plan to spend a day with world-renowned Captain Matt Ercoli. You can book one of his Tampa Bay Fishing Charters for half, three-quarters, or a full day. Species targeted on this charter include tarpon, snook, trout, redfish, snapper, and more.

    The charter includes all of your ice, bait, tackle, licenses, and even fish cleaning. All you need to bring is whatever you want to eat and drink, and a great attitude! After your day of fishing is done, make sure you take the scenic route home so you can check out some of the Holmes Beach homes for sale along the way.  
  1. Kathleen D. Sailing Catamarans: Keys Marina 5501 Marina Dr. Holmes Beach, FL 34217
    If a fun and relaxing sailing excursion is more your style, you'll love Kathleen D. Sailing Catamarans.  Options include dolphin watches, Egmont Key excursions, sunset sails, and private charters for up to 20 people.

    In addition to Anna Maria Island, Kathleen D. tours are also available in Siesta Key and Longboat Key, giving you the chance to experience even more of what Florida has to offer. 
  1. Anna Maria Charters: 752 Manatee Ave. Holmes Beach 34217
    Offering an array of fishing options including inshore spinning and fly fishing, nearshore, offshore, and tarpon-only trips, as well as sight-seeing and dolphin tours, Anna Maria Charters gives you the ultimate in flexibility.

    These family-friendly, full-service charters are extremely accommodating, helping to ensure that you'll enjoy every minute of your day on the water. 

Catch the Deal of a Lifetime on Anna Maria Island

When you work with us, you don't have to fish around for a good deal. Our REALTORS® know the area inside and out and will help you find the home you've been dreaming of. Contact Wagner Realty and learn how much easier home buying can be with us by your side. 


Mark Your Calendar: 5 Spring Festivals in Manatee and Sarasota Counties

Spring Festivals Sarasota & Manatee Counties
When's the last time you spent the weekend enjoying the sun and exploring the fun found around Sarasota and Bradenton? Our REALTORS® encourage you to get out and get involved in the many fantastic weekend events that fill our coast with rich arts and culture. Celebrate our gorgeous weather and vibrant communities by attending one of these five great spring festivals happening in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

Mark Your Calendars for These Great Spring Festivals

  1. Village of the Arts Artwalk Weekend – 1017 12 Ave W., Bradenton, FL 34205 | April 5-6
    The first Friday of every month kicks off the Village of the Arts Artwalk Weekend. Take a stroll through the Village's galleries and shops, stopping to admire the wonderful works of art that our talented area artists bring to life. Pick out a few pieces to take home or learn more about these creations from the artists themselves. Close to Bradenton homes for sale, the Village of the Arts Artwalk Weekend is a can't miss event every month!

  2. The Sarasota Chalk Festival – Burns Square, S. Orange Ave at S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236 | April 5-7
    Who doesn't have fond memories creating murals along the sidewalk of their childhood homes? Head out to the Sarasota Chalk Festival and watch as skilled artists turn Pineapple Avenue into a canvas for dazzling creations. These breathtaking masterpieces, just a quick walk from Sarasota homes for sale, will fill your weekend with inspiration and awe. Be sure to visit at night as they light the street with votive candles and offer wine tastings to create a truly romantic experience.

  3. The Sarasota Film Festival – 322 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236 | April 5-15
    World-class cinema can be found just across the bay from Longboat Key homes for sale. The Sarasota Film Festival returns for its 20th year to showcase ten days of fantastic independent films. As one of the top film festivals in North America, residents and visitors of Manatee and Sarasota Counties are given an excellent opportunity to laugh, cry and be entertained with amazing stories from around the world.

  4. Main Street Live – 420 12th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205 | April 13-14
    Right across the Manatee River from spacious Palmetto homes for sale is Bradenton's biggest block party. Come on out to Main Street Live in Bradenton this April and bring in spring with music from Reverend Barry & The Funk. Old Main Street will be closed to traffic as vendors, food trucks and live music fills the street. Join us and rock the night away as we dance and dine under the stars.
  5. Sarasota Veg Fest – Sarasota Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34237 | May 4
    Trust us — even the pickiest eater in your family does not want to miss the Sarasota Veg Fest. Celebrate healthy lifestyles, delicious food, and eco-friendly living at this free spring festival in Sarasota. Not too far from the Siesta Key homes for sale you've been dreaming of sits the Sarasota Fairgrounds which will host this second annual event. Sample delicious foods from more than 150 veg-friendly and vegan vendors, learn how to make healthy diet choices and enjoy live music and entertainment. There is even a Veggie Kids Zone full of arts, crafts, and activities for children. Guest speakers, raffles, fitness classes, and food demonstrations are also ripe for the picking at this great green gathering.

Contact Wagner Realty today to learn more about other spectacular springtime festivals happening around Sarasota and Manatee Counties. 


6 Frozen Yogurt Shops In & Around Sarasota to Celebrate National Frozen Yogurt Day

Sarasota Frozen Yogurt Businesses
If you're in the mood for a tasty treat but are still trying to stick to your New Year's resolutions, a healthy frozen yogurt is a perfect solution. In honor of National Frozen Yogurt Day on February 6, our real estate agents decided to pay a visit to some of our favorite frozen dessert shops. 

After doing plenty of due diligence, they've created a list of their favorites to share with you. Each location has unique qualities, so you may want to do your own research and try them all!

  1. Yogurtology: 1635 S Tamiami Trl., Sarasota
    With yogurt mixologists creating "premiyum" flavors you won't find anywhere else, Yogurtology offers visitors a truly unique experience.  When you're in the area looking at Sarasota homes for sale, take a few minutes to stop by and check out some of the new flavors like Blueberry Tart, Rocket Pop Sorbet, and Red Velvet Cake.
  1. The Skinny Dip Frozen Yogurt Bar: 8415 S Tamiami Trl., Sarasota
    If you're really worried about sticking to your diet, The Skinny Dip is a great option for you. In addition to a ton of interesting flavors, this shop also offers eight low-sugar options like Rocky Road and Nutella that are just as indulgent as the real thing.

    Want more of a treat? Try a traditional frozen yogurt with your choice of toppings, choose one of their fresh-made cupcakes, or indulge in a soda float.
  1. SweetBerries: 2881 Clark Rd Unit 25, Sarasota
    A long-standing favorite in both Sarasota and Bradenton, SweetBerries is the place to go for frozen custard. Slightly different from traditional frozen yogurt, custard is actually a form of ice cream made with egg yolk. Sweetberries custard is made fresh twice daily using a slow-churn method. The result is a thick, dense dessert that's different from anything you've ever had before.

    They make chocolate and vanilla custard daily and feature one different flavor each day. Check out the flavor calendar so you can plan your visit around when your favorite is served. 
  1. Menchie's River Club Plaza: 5770 Ranch Lake Blvd. Ste C136, Bradenton
    In addition to having some of the best Bradenton homes, Lakewood Ranch is also one of the area's premier dining, shopping, and entertainment destinations.

    Menchies Frozen Yogurt, located in the River Club Plaza, is one of the locals' favorite places to get a healthy treat. Here you'll find high-quality frozen yogurt made with no artificial colors or flavors, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no partially hydrogenated oils.

    Some of their most popular flavors include Blueberry Pomegranate Tart, Double Espresso Tiramisu, and Eggnog Cheesecake. Choose from a huge assortment of toppings and don't forget to pick up a FroYo cake to enjoy after you get home.
  1. Yogurt Mountain: 1526 Cortez Rd W., Bradenton
    If toppings are your thing, you'll definitely want to pay a visit to Yogurt Mountain. In addition to 16 rotating flavors, this shop features over 50 different topping choices.

    From traditional options like nuts and fruit to more adventurous toppings like sour worms, strawberry juice poppers, and fruity pebbles, the possibilities are literally endless.
  1. Sunni Bunni: 5202 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key
    One of the most popular shops on Siesta Key, SunniBunni is the area's number one choice for all-natural frozen yogurt. You won't find any powdered mix here. The owners pride themselves on only using real yogurt loaded with probiotics. Choose from traditional frozen yogurt, extra-creamy "Megabunni" or sinfully delicious "Bon Bon Bunni."

    While you're enjoying your treat, take a walk around and check out some of the homes in Siesta Key. Soak in the gorgeous views and prime locations and picture yourself living in this beautiful city.

Whether you're looking for a bustling city-vibe or laid-back island life, there's a neighborhood in the Sarasota area that's perfect for you. We have the inside scoop on all the best homes for sale and are standing by to help you find the perfect one. Contact Wagner Realty today get started on the search for your dream home.


5 Sarasota Smoothie Bars to Celebrate National Green Juice Day

Sarasota Smoothie Bars
Living in the Sunshine State gives you plenty of opportunities to spend time outdoors and enjoy an active lifestyle. If feeling healthier is one of your 2019 goals, you'll be glad to know that small changes can make a big difference.

Occasionally replacing a heavy meal with a fruit or a veggie-packed smoothie is a great way to improve your diet while pleasing your palate. In honor of National Green Juice Day on January 26, our real estate agents have gathered a list of their favorite spots in the Sarasota area to grab a tasty green smoothie on the go.

  1. Keva Juice Sarasota: 5325 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota
    If you're planning to spend the day exploring Sarasota homes for sale, starting your morning with a smoothie from Keva Juice Sarasota will ensure you have the energy to power through.  Choose from the original berry, tropical, or citrus smoothies, green tea chillers, green smoothies, and more. For an extra kick, opt for a Red Bull smoothie and add boosters like Whey protein, Emergen-C, Immunity, Fat Burner, or Stress Relief.
  1. Vitality Bowls Sarasota: 8226 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
    Conveniently located across the street from Sarasota Square Mall, Vitality Bowls offers a huge selection of healthy and delicious acai bowls, green juices, and fresh smoothies. With superfood ingredients like graviola, spirulina, matcha, hemp seeds, chia, and more, it's easy to order a beverage that's as vitamin-packed as it is delicious.

  2. Green Zebra Café: 476 John Ringling Blvd, Sarasota
    A visit to beautiful St. Armand's Circle wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Green Zebra Café. Green Zebra Café features an array of unique organic smoothies blended to order, wellness shots and elixirs, and cold-pressed juices.  It's easy to see why this is a go-to destination for health-conscious locals and visitors.

  3. Clean Juice: 5215 University Pkwy #104, Bradenton
    If you've spent some time looking at Bradenton homes for sale, you're surely familiar with the bustling University Town Center (UTC) area. Whether you're there to shop, dine, or indulge in some self-care, a stop at Clean Juice is a perfect compliment to your day.  Enjoy unique protein smoothies, seasonal treats, juices, and cold-pressed shots. You can also take your healthy habits home with you by picking up some cold-pressed juice bottles or a juice cleanse kit.
  1. SunniBunni Siesta Key: 5202 Ocean Blvd, Siesta Key
    After spending a day exploring homes in Siesta Key, the entire family will love visiting SunniBunni. With smoothies made from real yogurt, fruit, nuts, and plenty of healthy add-ons, it's easy to see why this popular quick-serve restaurant was voted one of Sarasota's top dining destinations.

Vegans and those who are dairy-free can enjoy their smoothies with coconut milk soft serve instead of yogurt. Try a classic fruit smoothie, opt for a healthy organic green DetoxBunni, or indulge in a DirtiBunni made with Oreos, M&Ms and chocolate sauce. Stopping at SunniBunni means that everyone is sure to go home happy. 

When you're ready to take the next step towards making Sarasota your permanent home, we can help! Contact Wagner Realty to learn why working with our real estate agents puts you in the best position to find your dream home and make it a reality.


6 Best Bakeries in Bradenton to Break Your Resolution

Bradenton Bakeries - Wagner Realty

The city of Bradenton has more to offer than beautiful houses, friendly neighbors, and plenty of sunshine. It's also home to some of the area's best bakeries. When our real estate agents are in the mood for a tasty treat, they love making a stop at one of their favorite sweet spots. 

The decadent delights you'll find in these shops are totally worth taking a break from your New Year's resolutions, if only for a day. We've created a list of our favorite Bradenton bakeries, so you can see for yourself what all the buzz is about.

  1. Arte Caffe 930 12th St W, Bradenton
    If you're looking for an eclectic and fun place to live, you'll definitely want to check out Bradenton homes for sale near the Village of the Arts. While you're there, stop by the Arte Caffe for fresh-made baked goods including authentic Italian breads, focaccia, bagels, and hard rolls. Take your treats to go or enjoy them in the front dining room, indoor café, or outside seating area.

  2. CopaMoca: 1506 13th St. W, Bradenton
    Specializing in Italian sweets and coffees, CopaMoca provides a perfectly relaxing atmosphere to help you escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Here you'll find a wide selection of traditional Italian cookies, scones, cannoli's, biscotti, and more. Relax in the café and take your time sipping on an espresso, macchiato, whole-leaf tea, or a cup of chocolate with steamed milk.

  3. Edible Elegance by Eli: 3737 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton
    If you want to make your next event or special occasion memorable, look no further than the delicious creations from Edible Elegance by Eli. With almost limitless flavor combinations and even greater creativity, Eli's cakes, party packages, and custom-made sweets are sure to please any crowd.

  4. Turner's Donut Shop: 902 Martin Luther King Jr Ave. W, Bradenton
    Ask any Bradenton local where to find the best donuts in the city, and you'll get the same answer. Turner's Donut Shop has been a staple of Bradenton since 1960, with good reason. The fresh-made donuts, fritters, and breakfast sandwiches are literally the stuff of legends. Expect to deal with limited parking and a packed house but know that it will be 100 percent worth the wait.

  5. Hometown Desserts: 5120 Manatee Ave. W, Bradenton
    With locations in Bradenton and on Anna Maria Island, Hometown Desserts is a favorite among both locals and visitors. The artistry and attention to detail that goes into every single item is something you'll simply have to see to believe. Pick up some homemade pie, cupcakes, or cookies or order a custom-made cake that's sure to "wow" any crowd.

  6. Sugar Cubed: 531 13th St. W, Bradenton
    For a modern twist on traditional baked goods, you can't go wrong with a visit to Sugar Cubed. A self-proclaimed "pastry lab," this shop prides itself on baking innovation. Here you'll find deliciously surprising menu items like blueberry ginger muffins, butterbeer cupcakes, and salted caramel pretzel brownies. Of course, you can also find traditional favorites including chocolate-covered strawberries, key lime pie, and fresh-made cinnamon buns. No matter what you're craving, there's bound to be something at Sugar Cubed that will leave you feeling satisfied. 

Outstanding bakeries and cafes are just one of the things that make Bradenton a great place to live and work. Contact us at Wagner Realty today and let us show you even more reasons to make "The Friendly City" your new home.


Where to Celebrate New Year's Eve Near Sarasota

Sarasota New Years Eve
New Year's Eve is right around the corner, and the Sarasota area is a great place to celebrate. Whether you prefer a family-friendly event or an epic street party, we've got you covered. Our real estate agents have gathered a list of the very best ways to ring in the New Year in and around the city of Sarasota.

Are you ready to plan an evening you'll never forget? Let's start exploring your options!

  1. Sarasota NYE Pineapple Drop: Downtown Sarasota, 1 South Lemon Ave., Sarasota
    If you love being in the middle of the action, you'll definitely want to check out the Sarasota NYE Pineapple Drop. This event attracts tens of thousands of revelers and is one of the largest New Year's Eve celebrations in the entire state. Enjoy food and live music starting at 1 pm and stay for the party all the way through until 1:30 am. We suggest you take the scenic route on the way there, so you can get a look at some of the great Sarasota homes for sale near the downtown area.

  2. Main Street Live!: Old Main St. 400 12th St. W., Bradenton
    The city of Bradenton is ringing in the New Year with a special edition of Main Street Live! This event features plenty of food trucks, merchants, and of course, live music. If you're over 21, you can also expand your entertainment options by visiting some of the nearby bars and pubs. It won't take you long to see why Bradenton is known as "The Friendly City." Before you know it, you might find yourself adding Bradenton homes for sale to your 2019 wish list.

  3. Winter Wonderland: 5151 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key
    If you've spent some time looking at Siesta Key homes for sale, you're probably familiar with the area's perfect blend of casual and class. The Beach Club's Winter Wonderland NYE Party is exactly that. Dance the night away with music by TL Jentgens, enjoy a premium open bar, hors-d'oeuvres and party favors, and a cash balloon drop at midnight.

  4. New Year's Eve at Selby Gardens: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South Palm Ave., Sarasota
    If a fancy New Year's Eve is more your style, you'll want to check out the black tie NYE event at Selby Gardens. This sophisticated evening features a private tour of Selby Gardens' tropical light display and a four-course meal. After dinner, you'll enjoy performances by Trainees from the Margaret Barbieri Conservatory and The Sarasota Ballet Studio Company. Finish the night off with a midnight champagne toast and an unparalleled view of the fireworks over Sarasota Bay.

  5. Sarasota New Year's Eve ILLUMINATION Party: The Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota
    The ILLUMINATION Party at Sarasota's Municipal Auditorium offers attendees the chance to immerse themselves in a true red carpet experience. This all-inclusive party features valet, open bar, catered appetizers, and dessert stations. Dance the night away on the huge dance floor while listening to top-of-the-line live entertainment.
  6. New Year's Eve Fireworks: Marina Jack 2, Marina Plaza, Sarasota
    A favorite among local residents and visitors alike, the New Year's Eve Fireworks at Marina Jack is something you won't want to miss. Both the dining room and the Deep Six Lounge & Piano Bar are serving a four-course dinner, while the Blue Sunshine Patio offers more casual dining options. For a truly memorable experience, reserve your spot on the special four-hour dinner cruise with an elaborate buffet, dance floor, and midnight champagne toast. 

Wagner Realty - Your Sarasota Real Estate Pros

Do your 2019 goals include finding a new home in the Sarasota area? There are plenty of gorgeous homes for sale, and our real estate agents are happy to help you find the perfect one. Don't put your dreams on hold, contact Wagner Realty today to get started! 



Where to See Santa in Sarasota

Sarasota See Santa
Whether you're a kid or a kid at heart, Christmas wouldn't be the same without a glimpse of Jolly Old Saint Nick. Luckily, Santa loves soaking up the sun in Sarasota before he gets too busy preparing for his big night.

Our real estate agents have the inside scoop on his favorite spots to hang out while he's here, and we're ready to let you in on the secret. Here are six of the best places to see Santa in and around Sarasota. 

  1. The Mall at University Town Center: 140 University Town Center Drive, Sarasota
    The Mall at University Town Center isn't just a great place to do all of your holiday shopping; it's also one of the best places to see Santa. Bring the kids to the mall's Grand Court where they can visit with Santa and become official members of his flight crew. They'll get to try on an official flight suit, learn how to fly Santa's sleigh, and play under magical lights and snowflakes. Santa and his helpers will be at the mall starting on November 9th and running until Christmas Eve.

  2. St. Armands Circle: N. Blvd. of the Presidents, St. Armands
    Enjoy a memorable evening of family fun in beautiful St. Armands Circle during the Holiday Night of Lights. The event takes place on December 7th from 6 to 9 p.m. and features a parade, holiday carol sing-along, and lighting of a 55-foot tree. Children will love having their photos taken with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, while Mom and Dad take advantage of shopping discounts at the area's unique local shops.

  3. Sarasota Holiday Parade: Downtown Sarasota, 1718 Main Street, Sarasota
    The Sarasota Holiday Parade has been a favorite of locals and visitors for the past 22 years. It's now grown to be one of the largest and most popular holiday parades along the Suncoast. Taking place on December 1st from 7 to 9 p.m., this event is the perfect kickoff to the holiday season. Watch as thousands of participants light up downtown Sarasota with festive floats and holiday music. Make sure you stick around until the end, where you'll see Santa and Mrs. Claus closing out the parade.

  4. The 33rd Annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights: Marina Jack Restaurant, Bayfront Park, City Island and Centennial Park
    You don't have to spend much time on Sarasota Bay to see why it's home to some of the best Sarasota homes for sale. Whether you're lucky enough to live in one of these homes or you take a trip down to one of the nearby parks, you'll love the breathtaking waterfront views of the 33rd annual Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. The event is held on Saturday, December 8th at 6 p.m. Keep a close eye on the festively-decorated boats, and you just might see Santa and some of his elves.

  5. Holidays Around the Ranch: 8100 Lakewood Main Street, Lakewood Ranch
    Holidays Around the Ranch
    , held on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch, is popular among revelers of all ages. Join in on the fun on December 14th from 6 to 9 p.m. Sing along with carolers while you wait for Santa and Mrs. Claus to arrive in a decorated horse-drawn carriage. Enjoy a line-up of live performers and musical entertainment while sipping cocoa and eggnog. Your kids definitely won't want to miss sliding down the real outdoor snow slide, and everyone will love watching the spectacular tree lighting.

  6. Privateers, Inc. Christmas Parade: Bayfront Park, 316 N. Bay Blvd. Anna Maria
    The Anna Maria Privateers are spreading holiday joy again this year with their annual Christmas Parade and Santa's Open House. The parade starts at Bayfront Park and then travels south, winding through the three island cities. After the parade, children are welcome to come to the open house and receive a gift from Santa himself.

Let Us Help Your Holiday Wishes Come True

If your holiday wish this year involves buying or selling a home in Sarasota, we can help! Contact Wagner Realty today to discuss your real estate goals.


Thanksgiving Day Runs for Sarasota Area Families

Sarasota Area Turkey Trots
Family-friendly Thanksgiving Day runs, also known as Turkey Trots, first began way back in 1896. Since then, the tradition has grown hugely popular across the United States, offering families and friends a fun way to burn some extra calories before indulging in the day's festivities.

While most of the country will wake up to cold, blustery weather on Thanksgiving morning, Sarasota area residents and visitors will enjoy mild temperatures that are perfect for an early morning run. This year why not start a new family tradition that will allow you to gobble guilt-free all day long? This list of the area's most popular Turkey Trot races will help you get started. 

First Inaugural Florida Turkey Trot: Nathan Benderson Park, Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota

Our real estate agents love visiting beautiful Nathan Benderson Park and are excited for the First Inaugural Florida Turkey Trot 5k. This centrally-located first-class venue is perfect for families coming from Sarasota, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch. 

The event will feature a chipped-timed 5k run/walk with a final "floating mile" over the lake and bracketed "Turkey Dashes" for the kids. Stick around after the race for sweet treats and beverages, and don't forget to bring along your canned-food donations for the All Faiths Food Bank.

All participants will receive a  commemorative shirt and finisher medal. Proceeds from the event benefit The Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, Inc. (SANCA).

ALSO Youth 9th Annual Turkey Trot 5K: Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota 

Participants in the ALSO Youth 9th Annual Turkey Trot 5K will enjoy beautiful views of some of the best Sarasota homes for sale as they race over the iconic Ringling Bridge. This chip-timed race offers awards for the top finishers in each group, a finisher's medal for participants under age 15, and a long-sleeve tech shirt for all pre-registered participants.

After you're done, be sure to check out the post-race party and celebrate while enjoying music, snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and a variety of beers. 

Tidewell Hospice Turkey Trot 5k: Lakewood Ranch Main Street, Lakewood Ranch

Are you too busy to make it to a race on Thanksgiving day? You're in luck! The Tidewell Hospice Turkey Trot 5k is held on Sunday, November 17th. This chip-timed 5k run/walk is both stroller and pet-friendly, making it an excellent family-friendly option.  

Children will love participating in the "Turkey-Dashes," and the 5k course features turkey-themed volunteers, plenty of water stations, and music to help you hustle along. Registration includes a commemorative moisture-wicking shirt.

You're sure to have fun at the after-party featuring food from local area restaurants. On your way home from the event, don't forget to take the scenic route so you can get a look at the many beautiful Lakewood Ranch homes for sale

Bradenton Turkey Trot "Give to Run" 5k: GT Bray Park, Bradenton

The 22nd Annual Bradenton Turkey Trot puts a unique spin on their event by skipping the registration fee. Instead, participants are encouraged to support The Food Bank of Manatee and Turing Points with monetary donations and/or canned goods. 

Participants have the option to purchase Turkey-Trot themed t-shirts, and the overall male and female winners will each receive a delicious pie for their Thanksgiving celebrations. This event is hugely popular and always has a large turnout. If you've been checking out Bradenton homes for sale this is a great way to meet some of your potential new neighbors. 

After experiencing the strong sense of community in the Sarasota area, we're confident you'll be more excited than ever to make this area your new home. Contact Wagner Realty to learn how we can help make your dream a reality.

Contact Wagner Realty


Sarasota's Favorite Coffee Shops

Sarasota Coffee Shops
If you love coffee, you know the only way to start your day is with a rich, warm boost of your favorite caffeinated drink. As you shop for Sarasota homes for sale, you'll soon discover we have plenty of great coffee shops waiting to welcome you to your new city.

To get you headed in the right direction, our real estate agents tracked down some of Sarasota's favorite coffee shops. You'll have to let us know which one serves your coffee the way you like it.

  • Buddy Brew Coffee | 1289 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL, 34326  
    Buddy Brew is the downtown Sarasota coffee spot to connect with friends, share a meal, and sip a cup of single origin coffee. You can have a seat and sip Buddy's coffee from a mug or grab a bag of beans for a morning caffeine boost at home. Buddy's makes it simple to order online and pick up your coffee at the shop.

  • The Clever Cup - 6530 Gateway Ave., Sarasota, FL, 34231
    The Clever Cup is the local hangout of choice for business people, young families, and South Sarasota coffee lovers. For conscientious coffee drinkers, they brew fair trade organic coffees and espresso drinks. Tea lovers will find their favorites as well. The owners welcome you to eat in or grab-and-go coffee and homemade pastries seven days a week.

  • Kahwa Coffee - 1487 2nd St, Sarasota, FL, 34326
    The barristers at Kahwa Coffee serve up fresh coffee ground from beans roasted in Tampa Bay. Free Wi-Fi, iced coffees, refreshers, and pastries make this the perfect coffee shop to settle down and relax. Kahwa Coffee is open seven days a week.
  • Perq Coffee Bar - 1821 Hillview St, Sarasota, FL, 34239
    Perq Coffee Bar serves single origin specialty coffees to Southside Village coffee lovers who crave great coffee experiences. They use choice beans from small producers around the globe. You can continue the Perq coffee experience at home with brewing supplies, merchandise, and coffee subscriptions.

  • The Reserve - 322 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL, 34236
    The Reserve isn't just a coffee shop; it's a gathering place with something for everyone. You can sip wine, handcrafted coffee, teas, kombuchas, and craft beers. For hungry moments, they offer a lite bites menu. You can enjoy live music presented by local talent in an open courtyard. If you don't feel like going home, you can spend the night in their guest room accommodations.

  • Pastry Art Bakery Cafe - 1512 Main St, Sarasota, FL, 34236 
    The Pastry Art Bakery Cafe serves delicious pastries from baklava to classic cakes. If you're a coffee lover, you may want to bypass the pastries and get right down to a caffeinated brew. Their on-premises roastmaster has a 20-year precision-roasting history. Great coffee is the foundation that transforms their coffee selections into coffee art. If you can't get enough, you can purchase their origin, organic, and flavored coffees in bulk.
  • Coffee Carrousel - 1644 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236 
    The Coffee Carrousel serves homestyle breakfast and lunch in a down-home atmosphere in the heart of Downtown Sarasota. They offer an extensive menu with daily specials. Guests love the food and the friendly back-in-time family feel. And of course, they serve a great cup of coffee.

There's so much to love about living in Sarasota, and there's no better way to start your day in the city than with a fresh cup of coffee. Contact Wagner Realty when you're ready to learn more about buying or selling your home in our seaside community.


A Local's Guide to Halloween in Sarasota

Sarasota Halloween Events
Ask any of our real estate agents, and they'll tell you that Sarasota locals know how to celebrate Halloween. If you're lucky enough to be in the area this month checking out Sarasota homes for sale, you'll want to visit some of the area's hottest Halloween events. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • 30th Annual Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Fest (Every Weekend in October)
    Every Saturday and Sunday in October, you'll have the opportunity to visit the Fruitville Grove Pumpkin Festival. Enjoy a day of family-friendly fun including live music, a petting zoo, and decorated photo spots.

    Parking and admission are free, and attractions like pony rides, pumpkin painting, a rock wall, and bounce house are each available for a small charge. Don't miss the costume contest every Saturday at 1 pm and the pie eating contest every Sunday at 1 pm

  • Halloween Ghost Hunting Tours (October 12)
    If you're interested in a paranormal experience, look no further than the Halloween Ghost Tours at Historic Spanish Point. With over 5,000 years of history, this location is home to plenty of ghostly spirits and opportunities to interact with the after-life. Are you brave enough to check it out for yourself?

  • Howl-O-Ween Movie Night Spooktacular (October 13)
    The fourth annual Howl-O-Ween Movie Night Spooktacular is a free event held at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. It kicks off at 5:00 pm with children's games and activities. Be sure to dress your little ones in their best Halloween costumes so they can join in on the parade around the bases before the 7:00 pm showing of the movie "Hocus Pocus" on the outfield video board.

  • Victorian Funeral (October 19)
    Begin your Halloween festivities by venturing out to Historic Spanish Point in Osprey for an unforgettable traditional Victorian Funeral. Immerse yourself in the grandiose and macabre experience as a grieving Victorian widow bids farewell to her beloved husband. This theatrical reenactment is sure to put you in a spooky mood and prepare you for the rest of the season. 

  • 6th Annual Haunted Trails at Oscar Scherer State Park (October 26 and 27)
    If you're looking for a fright, you don't want to miss the 6th Annual Haunted Trails at Oscar Scherer State Park. Here you'll find a trick-or-treat trail for the little ones, scary trails geared towards specific age groups, interactive games, the infamous Haunted House created by the Nokomis Fire Department.

  • 27th Annual Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival (October 13-14, 20-21, and 27-28)
    It wouldn't be autumn in Sarasota without a visit to the Hunsader Farms Pumpkin Festival. This famous festival is one of the signature events of the season. Visitors of all ages will love the Halloween attractions including a craft fair, hayrides, face painting, petting zoo, live music, train rides, and more.

  • Selby Gardens Spooktacular (October 28)
    Enjoy the gorgeous Selby Gardens in all of its Halloween glory during the Selby Gardens Spooktacular event, held on October 28th. Children of all ages will love trick-or-treating and participating in pumpkin decorating, seed planting, and "mad scientist" experiments. Adults can treat their palates with delicious foods from Michael's on East grill, the Selby House Café, or a tasty frozen dessert from B's Cool Treats.

Your Sarasota Real Estate Professionals

Autumn is an excellent time to relocate to the Sunshine State! Whether you're a local planning to sell your home or a buyer searching for the perfect new residence, our qualified agents make it easy. Contact Wagner Realty today to discuss your needs and learn how we can help. 


Your Guide to Favorite Spas in Bradenton

Bradenton Spas
You don't have to whisk off to a far-away resort to enjoy a relaxing day at a top-notch spa. No matter where you live, you're likely to find some excellent day spas nearby.

The city of Bradenton, on the West coast of Florida, is home to stunning beaches, excellent dining and entertainment options, and plenty of opportunities to pamper yourself. Whether you're a local looking for a luxurious way to spend your day off or a potential new resident ready to take a break after exploring the many gorgeous Bradenton homes for sale, you'll want to check out one or more of the best spas in Bradenton. 

  1. Bellagena Skin Care Studio & Spa | 5861 Cortez Rd. W. Bradenton, FL 34210
    The professionals at Bellagena Skin Care Studio & Day Spa believe that quality skincare is a necessity, not a luxury. The spa offers a full range of services including custom facials, RED Light Therapy, massage, detoxifying infrared sauna, microdermabrasion, and more. Enjoy clinical skincare treatments in a calming spa setting, at prices that will fit everyone's budget. 

  2. Spa Northwest | 5701 21st Ave. W. Bradenton, FL 34209
    At Spa Northwest, you'll find the perfect atmosphere for a relaxing couples massage, acupuncture treatments, or a luxurious facial. Take your wellness to the next level by participating in weekly yoga classes or booking a health and nutrition consultation with the spa's Ayurvedic Health Counselor (AHC).

  3. Serenely Nails and Day Spa | 7604 Cortez Rd. W. Unit 8 Bradenton, FL 34210
    If you enjoy a relaxing manicure and pedicure, you'll love the cozy setting of Serenely Nails and Day Spa. While you're there, make time for hot stone, aromatherapy, or Reiki massage. Other services include eyelash extensions, a purifying back treatment, and a selection of rejuvenating facials.

  4. The Blue Door Spa and Salon | 5432 E. State Rd. 64 Bradenton, FL 34208
    Blue Door Spa & Salon offers a full range of services including hair coloring, cuts, and treatments, waxing, makeup, lashes, massage, facials, and results-driven body treatments.

    Spend a pampering girls night out with your friends while enjoying one of the spa's luxurious treatment packages like "Royal Treatment," "Pure Bliss," or "Perfect Escape."

  5. Sea-renity Beach Spa and Bou-Tiki C | 112 Bridge St. Bradenton, FL 34217
    A visit to Bradenton is never complete without taking a ride out to the charming city of Anna Maria Island. While you're there, you'll want to soak up some "vitamin sea" at Sea-renity Beach Spa and Eco Boutique.

    Experience a relaxing individual or couple's massage right on the beach in the spa's unique tiki hut. After your appointment, make sure to stop by the Bou-Tiki eco boutique to shop for locally-sourced jewelry, art, clothing, and more.

  6. MassageLuxe | 8378 Market St., Suite A40 Bradenton, FL 34202
    MassageLuxe offers massages, facials, waxing, and other treatments. To get the most out of the Luxe experience, consider becoming a member. Your membership entitles you to enjoy benefits at any of the MassageLuxe locations across the United States, free daily HydroLuXe massage sessions, and discounts on other spa services.

  7. Pure Skincare by Elizabeth | 4012 Cortez Rd. W. Bradenton, FL 34210
    If you believe taking care of your skin should be a priority, you'll love working with the esthetician and owner of Pure Skincare by Elizabeth. She's passionate about bringing her clients the best skincare available to heal inflammation, treat skin conditions, and slow the aging process. Services include custom facials, peels, dermaplaning, and waxing, and are available by appointment only.  

Are You Ready to Live Where Others Vacation?

If you're ready to make this corner of paradise your permanent home, our real estate agents can help. The city of Bradenton is home to many different residential neighborhoods, each with a unique vibe. Contact Wagner Realty today to start exploring your options.


Sarasota Nightlife: 10 Best Spots for Happy Hour

Sarasota Nightlife

After a busy week of work, what could be better than happy hour at one of Sarasota's many great restaurants, lounges, or nightlife spots? Our real estate agents know Sarasota, and we've got the details on ten of the best places in the city to enjoy happy hour.

Sarasota Nightlife: Where to Find 10 of the Best Spots in the City for Happy Hour

  1. The Old Salty Dog - 1601 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236
    With a laid-back atmosphere and fantastic seafood, the Old Salty Dog is an excellent place to spend happy hour. Stop by during happy hour for specials on creative frozen drinks, seafood platters, and delicious desserts. 

  2. Siesta Key Oyster Bar5238 Ocean Blvd., Sarasota, FL 34242
    Is spending the evening on a patio with a cold drink in hand your idea of a perfect happy hour? Then head over to Siesta Key Oyster Bar to enjoy a dozen oysters on the half-shell or Louisiana Crawfish for just $7 at the raw bar.

  3. Crab & Fin420 St Armands Cir., Sarasota, FL 34236
    The Crab & Fin has been one of Sarasota's favorite spots for upscale seafood since it opened its doors in 1978 and remains an excellent place to spend happy hour. Sample fresh, local seafood, while the friendly staff attends to all your needs.

  4. MADE Restaurant1990 Main St. #112, Sarasota, FL 34236
    Looking to spice things up with something truly unique? MADE Restaurant serves modern, American meals, and has won tons of awards for serving some of the best food in the city. Try all of your happy hour favorites, with a modern twist.

  5. Duval's – 1435 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Dig into a plate filled with some of Sarasota's best seafood during happy hour at Duval's, where the team is committed to serving only the freshest food. Happy hour features specials on all of your favorite "bar bites" at Duval's.

  6. Boca Sarasota19 S Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    From local farms straight to your table, Boca Sarasota always offers something fresh and unique to try during happy hour. On the menu, you'll find seafood specials and craft drinks, in a modern, inviting atmosphere.

  7. Mandeville Beer Garden428 N Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Does an authentic beer garden sound like a great place to spend happy hour? Of course, it does! Mandeville Beer Garden offers great specials during happy hour, with 30 drafts and 150 bottles.

  8. Mattison's City Grille1 N Lemon Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    With tons of happy hour specials on wine, martinis, appetizers, and more, Mattison's City Grille is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day. Enjoy a drink on the patio, or settle down inside for an excellent atmosphere.
  9. Libby's Cafe + Bar – 1917 S Osprey Ave., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Whether you're looking for a quick bite or a full meal, Libby's Cafe + Bar has you covered, with fabulous food and a friendly staff. Rest assured, there are always unique creations coming from behind the bar, as well.

  10. The Blue Rooster1525 4th St., Sarasota, FL 34236
    Happy hour is a little sweeter with live music in the background, and the Blue Rooster always has somebody interesting on stage. Stop by during happy hour for specials on well drinks, beer, wine, and tasty appetizers.

Are you ready to start shopping for Sarasota homes for sale, and find your favorite happy hour in spots the city? Contact us at Wagner Realty to buy and sell homes throughout the Sarasota, FL area.


Get Your Bradenton Home Noticed with These Staging Tips

Bradenton Home Staging Tips
Accentuate the Positive and Eliminate the Negative with These 5 Home Staging Tips

If you're planning your first open house, you've no doubt completed a long list of fixes and upgrades. You're probably depending on the attraction of the seaside ambiance, lush tropical climate, and other natural highlights that make Bradenton homes so engaging. These features will attract buyers to your open house, but you'll need great staging to keep them interested.

Our real estate agents understand how the idea of staging can seem vague. But it's critical to selling your home. When it's done right, great staging gives potential buyers the room to imagine their family in your space.

Staging is a step-by-step process that assumes you've already done the heavy repairs and fix-ups.

1.  Declutter

Your home probably contains too much stuff. That happens when you live in one place for a long time and you keep bringing things in but don't take any out. Clutter makes your rooms look small and crowded. That's a problem because buyers want spacious floor plans.

If you can't bear to donate your stuff or throw it away, hide it in a rented storage unit. The biggest offenders?

  • Too much furniture: Keep only what's necessary.
  • Toys everywhere: Place some in a toy chest. Store the rest.
  • Kitchen counters: Display only a few high-end appliances.
  • Cabinets, closets, storage areas: Remove and store all but the basics. (Potential buyers will open closed doors.)
  • Over, under, on-top-of: Remove accumulated clutter on refrigerators, under beds, inside bathroom vanities, etc.
  • Outside: Implement the same ruthless decluttering strategy in your yard, garage, and outdoor storage areas.

2.  Depersonalize

Buyers want to see themselves in your home. That means you must remove all kid-created art, vacation photos, and vintage pics of sweet Auntie Sally at age 4. You must remove any items that tag your home as... your home.

  • Culturally specific art
  • Most books
  • Portraits and framed photos
  • Souvenirs and mementos
  • Anything that tugs at your heart

3.  Make Each Room a Blank Canvas

Walls painted in neutral colors are a great way to freshen up a room and start over from scratch. Of course, you should know that today's "neutral" doesn't have to be eggshell or beige. Consider these alternative blank-slate colors.

  • Create a soothing bedroom with gray-blue, pale gray, or cerulean blue.
  • Brighten your bathroom with Light blue.
  • Use beige or taupe to enhance your living room. 
  • Light blue and gray-blue will brighten your kitchen. 
  • Paint adjoining rooms the same color to enhance spaciousness.  

4.  Brighten and Lighten

Home buyers are attracted to bright open spaces. Painting is the first step. Here are a few other things you can do.

  • Remove heavy drapes.
  • Consider blinds only or light airy window treatments.
  • Turn your lights on during your open house.
  • Open curtains and drapes to let the sunshine in.
  • Upgrade your lighting with new fixtures, freestanding lamps, and increased bulb wattage.  

5.  Rework Your Spaces

If your newly decluttered rooms seem devoid of character, that's not such a bad thing. Transform these nearly-empty rooms into attractive minimalist arrangements.

  • Place your remaining furniture into comfortable groupings with space to navigate.
  • Add attractive object arrangements (candles, statuary, vases) to a table, sideboard or buffet.
  • Add natural floral accents.
  • Hang interesting 2D art or 3D wall sculptures.

Your Bradenton Real Estate Professionals

You have a lot to do when you're preparing to sell your home. Our professionals have the experience to advise you every step of the way. Contact Wagner Realty when you're ready to buy or sell a home or if you simply want information on activities, businesses, and events in Bradenton.

Contact Wagner Realty


The Story Behind Sarasota's Unconditional Surrender Statue

Sarasota Local Attraction Unconditional Surrender

Our REALTORS® are always thrilled when new residents come to Sarasota to look for a home and ask about interesting things to see and do. Inevitably, we direct them to a popular destination with public art that comes with quite a storied past. 

Sarasota's "Unconditional Surrender"

One of the most photographed statues in Florida, if not America, is a 26-foot tall statue that calls Sarasota home. It commemorates the famous photo that appeared in LIFE magazine of a young U.S. sailor dipping and kissing a nurse in Times Square on the day World War II ended. The statue, Unconditional Surrender, is part of a series of statues created by American artist Seward Johnson and can today be found in Sarasota's Bayfront Park.  This statue pays homage to the "Greatest Generation" and the joyful celebrations at the end of the war, but its placement in the park has a rather interesting history.

Statute Calls Sarasota Home Three Times

Sarasota's Bayfront Park has had the "kissing sailor" statue come and go on three separate occasions. Its story alone makes it worth a visit when you are ready to take a break from seeing Sarasota homes for sale.

In 2005, the statue made its first appearance when a heavy duty styrofoam version was placed in the park on a temporary basis. It was initially met with mixed reviews from locals who either loved it or hated it. After a couple of years, a foundation established by the artist decided to relocate the statue, so it was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and trucked across the country to San Diego. Then in 2009, thanks to the efforts of a local WWII veteran and art patron, a new, painted aluminum version of the statue was purchased and delivered back to Bayfront Park.

Unfortunately, it was placed just a little too close to the busy intersection, and just three years later, a woman driving a Mercedes jumped the curb and hit it, knocking a big hole in the sailor's foot and causing more than $125,000 in damage. So, once again, the statue was loaded on a flatbed, and this time it was trucked to New Jersey where it endured six months of painstaking repairs.

After the statue was repaired, it was returned to Sarasota in December 2012, once again placed in Bayfront Park, but this time, city leaders had it installed further from the road near the shoreline where it currently remains.

Today the statue is one of the most popular stops for tourists who visit Sarasota, and most residents have grown fond of it too. On any given day you can see couples recreating the famous "kissing sailor" pose for their own selfies and photographs.

Wagner Realty to Make Sarasota Your Home

So when you're looking for a new home in Sarasota, be sure to contact Wagner Realty, and before, during or after visiting homes with one of our agents, make a trip to Bayfront Park to see the famous "kissing sailor" statue. With a story like this, we're fairly certain it will become one of your favorite places to bring your friends and family when they come to visit you in your new Sarasota home.

Contact Wagner Realty


Spend Sunday Evenings in Siesta Key at the Drum Circle

Siesta Key Drum Cirlce

One of the perks of living near Siesta Beach in Sarasota (apart from enjoying the beach itself) is the weekly drum circle held every Sunday. Here, you will be treated to a beautiful sunset while listening and dancing to drummers in a festive-like atmosphere. Our REALTORS® in Sarasota have all the details of this exciting local phenomenon as well as all other to-do things in the area. 

The Siesta Key Drum Circle starts one hour before the sun sets every Sunday and continues into the night. The popular tradition attracts large crowds of onlookers and participants for dancing and drumming on Siesta Beach. Drum circle regulars sporadically perform with fire, swords, or even hula hoops. They are also dressed in beautiful colors and offer flowers to onlookers.

Where Does the Siesta Key Drum Circle Occur?

The free fun event is held every Sunday evening at Siesta Beach. It takes place south of the beach's pavilion between the third and fourth lifeguard stands. Since it is a huge event that attracts a large crowd, you cannot miss it once you get to the beach.

You are advised to arrive early to get a parking space and also sit near the front of the circle for a great view. You should also bring your beach chairs or blankets. Several hundred people typically attend the drum circle. Depending on what you came for, you will find an engaging show and a mellow atmosphere.

The Siesta Key Drum Circle is not a commercial event but a local phenomenon that started spontaneously, grew from demand and active participation, and now enjoys a life of its own. It is one of the main reasons why Siesta Key homes are in high demand.

History of the Siesta Key Drum Circle

The weekly ritual started in 1996 during the autumn equinox. It evolved from a potlatch ceremony of a Ringling School of the Arts' creativity workshop. The event continued for several years with the support and participation of members of the local churches as well as the Native Descended Nation, which explains its spiritual aspect.

In the beginning, the drumming circle was located at Beach Access 8 and was only supposed to be held during the full moon. However, people liked it so much that it became a weekly affair. When the event moved to the Siesta Public Beach, it seized to be a sacred atmosphere and became a carnival. It also got a change of diversity and pace.

Today, the drum circle has raised whole generations of kids who now bring their children to the family event. The Sunday night tradition is now the number one free event in Sarasota and is listed in most magazines. It is a must-see attraction for your family that has evolved into a local culture passed down generations.

Imagine both finishing your week and starting the next in a fun drum circle carnival that allows you to let loose and dance your stress away. You will find the circle both a spiritual and social event. It generates positive energy and gives people the space they need. Moreover, it is an ideal way to spend quality time with your family because it offers a unique experience, but once the sun sets and it gets dark, you will find the crowd becomes less inhibited.

If you are looking at Siesta Key homes or are interested in moving into the area, contact Wagner Realty today to find your perfect home. Wagner Realty has served Sarasota County since 1939 helping people find their ideal home.

Contact Wagner Realty


Step-by-Step Guide for Relocating to Sarasota

Sarasota Relocation Guide
If you're thinking about relocating to a warmer climate, Sarasota, Florida is a wonderful choice. It's the city "where urban amenities meet small-town living." Winters are tropical, with occasional Gulf breezes and rain showers to ease the heat. You'll find a thriving art and culture scene and exciting residential and commercial architecture. If you're making the transition as a Sarasota retiree, you'll find many activities to fill your leisurely days.  

Our REALTORS® live, work, and play in the Sarasota area. We believe it's one of the most desirable cities in America. When you're ready to explore local living options, we'll be happy to arrange tours of Sarasota homes for sale. In the meantime, take a look at our Step-by-Step Guide for Relocating to Sarasota.

1. Visit Sarasota
If you haven't made up your mind about your move, visit our fabulous city and you'll know for sure. Sarasota is far more than just palm trees, beaches, and sunshine. You'll enjoy entertainment, dining, and outdoor activities. With the extensive selection of homes, you're certain to find the style, space, and amenities you want.

2. Connect with a REALTOR®
Establish a relationship with a Florida real estate professional who can manage the home-buying process from beginning to end. Your REALTOR® can begin searching for a home that meets your criteria. 

3. Organize your move
Consider delegating your moving tasks. Movers can pack, load, move, unload, unpack, and set up at your final destination while you relax and remain stress-free. If you're moving for a transfer or promotion, your employer might reimburse your expenses. Otherwise, they could be tax deductible.

4. Arrange your utilities
You must contact several sources to establish utility services in your new home.

5. Connect your phone
If you're a cell-only family, check to see if your provider has coverage in Sarasota. Companies like Wirefly, Xfinity, and others offer Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) home landline service. 

6. Get legal to drive in Florida
Drivers in Florida must have:

  • Florida auto insurance: Ask your current agent for a referral to a Florida insurance agent.
  • Florida drivers license: The Sarasota County Service Center may be able to convert your out-of-state license to a Florida license. Bring original documents to prove your ID.
  • Legally registered vehicle: You must register your out-of-state vehicle within 30 days of establishing residency, placing your children in school, or beginning a job. Visit your local Florida Tax Collector's office with your ID, original car title, vehicle registration, Florida Insurance verification, and an executed HSMV 82040 VIN verification inspection form,

7. Find a new doctor
The Sarasota County Medical Society maintains an online Sarasota Physician Directory.  

8. Find a new dentist
Visit for a directory of Sarasota dentists

9. Enroll your kids in school

10. Change your address
Complete a online address change so your mail will follow you to Sarasota. USPS partners will send digital coupons you can use at your new location.  

11. Register to vote
Follow the instruction at the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections website to complete the voter registration process online or print, complete and mail the application. 

Wagner Realty to Find Your Sarasota Home

We'd love to help you make the move to Sarasota. Contact Wagner Realty if you're buying or selling your home, or visit our Sarasota Home Buyers Guide to learn more about living in Sarasota.

Contact Wagner Realty


Holidays on Main at Lakewood Ranch

Lakewood Ranch Holidays
Our team of Lakewood Ranch REALTORS® loves a good Christmas party as much as anyone, and we wanted to give you a heads up on some of the fun holiday happenings around Lakewood Ranch this season! You can expect a packed schedule of events on Main Street at Lakewood Ranch this month, including some that you definitely don't want to miss. So gather up your holiday cheer, and join us for Christmas on Main!

  • Thursday, December 7, 14 & 21 - Carriage Rides, Strolling Carolers, Santa Stroll
    Every Thursday until Christmas, carolers will be out on the streets spreading holiday cheer from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. You can also take a carriage ride as you listen to the carolers sing, and keep an eye out for Santa as he strolls the streets during this free weekly event.

  • Friday, December 8 - Holidays At the Ranch
    This annual holiday street festival is one of our favorite Christmas events. From 6 pm to 9 pm, you can enjoy a spectacular Christmas lights display, join in with singing carolers, and watch Santa make a grand entrance in a horse-drawn carriage. There will also be children's activities, rides, and crafts, as well as plenty of holiday-themed refreshments.

  • Saturday, December 9 - Lunch with Santa at MacAllisters
    Join Santa for lunch at MacAllisters Grill & Tavern between 12 pm and 3 pm for great food and a chance to have some fun with Santa Claus himself. Call ahead to reserve a spot.

  • Saturday, December 16 - Breakfast with Santa at Polo Grill & Bar
    In case you missed your chance to dine with old Saint Nick at MacAllisters, he'll also be sitting down for breakfast at Polo Bar & Grill from 8:30 am to 10:30 am on Saturday, December 16. Reservations are available by phone, and don't forget to bring your Christmas list!

  • Sunday, December 17 - Lunch with Santa at Main Street Trattoria
    Last chance! Sit down with Santa for lunch at Main Street Trattoria from 1 pm to 3 pm on December 17. We assume he'll be too busy making toys from then until Christmas, so be sure to make a reservation and take the opportunity to meet him while you can!

  • Friday, December 22 - Jingle Run 5K
    One of the largest chip-timed 5K run/walks in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, the annual Jingle Run 5k is a great way to get your blood pumping and the holiday spirit flowing. Just tie some jingle bells to your shoes (they will be provided) and you're off! There will be holiday music along the way, and a post-race party at the end of the line.

  • Saturday, December 23 - Christmas Celebration
    The Christmas on Main festivities culminate with the December 23 Christmas Celebration, which includes food, fun, games, rides, and music. Join Grace Community Church for this special Christmas Celebration from 6 pm to 8:30 pm.

No matter the season, there's always something going on at Lakewood Ranch! Contact Wagner Realty today to learn more about life in this vibrant community. Our team is committed to helping you find the perfect Lakewood Ranch homes.

Contact Wagner Realty



2017 Bradenton Blues Fest

Bradenton Blues Fest
When you think of living in Bradenton, Florida, the first thing that most likely pops into your mind is enjoying our city's sugary sand beaches. However, Bradenton boasts a full slate of local activities and events sure to please locals, visitors and new residents alike starting with our upcoming Bradenton Blues Festival Weekend.  One of the best-kept secrets in Bradenton and beyond is the annual Bradenton Blues Festival.  The Bradenton Blues Festival main event will be Saturday, December 2.

The Bradenton Blues Fest Returns

For music aficionados, the Bradenton Blues Festival is known for amazing sets from hot local and national blues musicians. It's put on every year by the nonprofit Realize Bradenton, solely dedicated to a vibrant and prosperous downtown for the Bradenton community.

In addition to the smooth blues solos, Blues Festival is known far and wide for the best eats. As you enjoy acts on the big stage, you'll also have the opportunity to sample local craft beer and pick your favorite from more than a dozen specialty food vendors.

The fun doesn't end when the last act takes a bow, either – there's still Sunday to look forward to.

The Bradenton Blues Brunch Won't Have Your Favorite Foodies Singing the Blues

The Bradenton Blues Brunch caps off the event from 11 am to 1 pm. on Sunday. You'll find it along with a lively crowd of blues fans at Mattison's City Grille, a hip hangout you just can't miss when you visit the Bradenton Riverwalk.

Mattison's is known for mouth-watering steaks and seafood, a dizzying selection of tasty cocktails, and scrumptious key lime pie that will have you coming back for seconds. It also distinguishes itself with a complete selection of fresh signature sushi rolls.

Tickets for the brunch are available for $50 and attendees will nosh their way through a three-course, seated-and-served brunch headed by renowned chef Paul Mattison. Mimosas, wines and even a Bloody Mary or two will be on hand to be paired with each course.

Plus, you'll get live entertainment from top local blues duo Fowler and Walker. Find out more about the line-up and book your Blues Fest tickets soon – they're going fast!

Our REALTORS® would love the chance to show you Bradenton's most breathtaking homes for sale. See all Bradenton living has to offer – and enjoy Florida's finest blues event at the same time. Contact us to get your home search started.

Contact Wagner Realty


St. Armands Circle Holiday Night of Lights Shows Santa the Way

Sarasota Kicks Off the Holidays with Family Fun

Sarasota - St. Armands Circle
If you plan to schedule year-end tours of Sarasota homes for sale, be sure to include a few of our local holiday events to get you acquainted with our city. Our REALTORS® have put together this list of just a few of Sarasota's attractions certain to put you in the Christmas spirit.

St. Armands Circle Holiday Night of Lights

Dubbed as The Holiday Destination on the Gulf Coast, you can join in the excitement on Friday, December 1 as Holiday Night of Lights on St. Armands Circle kicks off the Christmas season with lights, music and celebration.  The festivities will begin at 5:30 PM with special performances followed by a sing-a-long at 6:00 PM.  Don't miss Santa's arrival from the North Pole in his magical sleigh just in time for the lighting of St. Armands' spectacular Christmas tree.  Santa will be available for photos from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM.

You can dine, shop the Circle and take advantage of store promotions. St. Armands Circle will host a variety of entertaining activities for your entire family.

Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

The Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is a must-see, beachside attraction with 25 boats decked out with colorful decorations, twinkling lights and festive music. This dazzling waterborne parade travels close to the shore, keeping viewers engaged and entertained.

The parade takes place at 6:00 PM on December 9. Boats of all shapes and sizes create an enchanting holiday display as they depart City Island and cruise across Sarasota Bay to Bayfront Park.

Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights
You'll want to claim your spot early to beat the crowd. Bring lawn chairs, coolers and snacks to nibble while you wait. And don't forget your camera. 

This year, the organizers have changed a few things to make the parade even better. They've expanded the parade route and extended the Bayfront Park viewing area to accommodate more spectators. They've also relocated the VIP viewing area to Marina Jack's Fuel Dock.

Holly Days and Mangrove Lights at Historic Spanish Point

At Spanish Point, you can explore history through museums, nature trails, boardwalks, and historic buildings. You'll see native butterflies, insects, plant species and a rare mangrove tree shoreline.

Beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving through December 30, the historic site shows off its holiday spirit. The staff decorates the museum, grounds and mangrove trees with miniature white lights. Beginning at 6:00 each evening, you'll experience lighted pathways, music throughout the venue and a unique holiday ambiance.

On Thursdays and Fridays during the holiday season, Spanish Point will remain open until 9:00 PM. They will be closed on December 28.

Get to Know Sarasota

If you plan to relocate to Sarasota, you'll find exciting things to do year round. Contact Wagner Realty if you're thinking about selling your current home or buying a new one. Our real estate professionals have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process.

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Sarasota Farmers Market-Year Round Family Fun

A Chance for Sarasota Families to Gather  

Sarasota Farmers Market
Held every week, the Sarasota Farmers Market takes place right in the heart of Downtown year-round. Read on to find out more, and feel free to get in touch with our REALTORS® to learn more about life in Sarasota, FL.

A Long-Running Sarasota Tradition  

The Sarasota Farmers Market was established in 1979, offering a selection of local plants, produce, prepared foods and crafts that caught on quickly with the local community. It has only grown in the years since, quickly becoming a beloved mainstay of the Downtown Sarasota area. Today, the market spans more than 5,000 square feet and offers a space for more than 70 vendors to sell their locally grown and crafted goods.

Weekly Family Fun in Sarasota, FL

Operated by the nonprofit SFMV, Inc. (Sarasota Farmers Market Vendors), this weekly market promises a colorful variety of locally grown produce. Availability changes with the seasons, so be sure to return again to see what's new! Of course, there's a lot more to the Sarasota Farmers Market than fresh veggies. For example: 

  • Arts and Crafts: Handmade soaps, jewelry, baskets, clothing, candles, pottery and paintings are just a few of the things you can find at the market.
  • Flowers and Plants: An ever-changing selection of plants are available from local nurseries and florists, from orchids and floral arrangements to vegetables and herbs that you can plant in your own garden. 
  • Food and Beverages: Food trucks and tents provide all kinds of refreshments, from a hot cup of Joe at JavaDawg Coffee to a hearty meal courtesy of Alpine Steakhouse. :
  • Local Produce: As with any good market, farmers are at the heart of the Sarasota Farmers Market. Local and organic fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, eggs and honey are always on the table. 

Visiting the Sarasota Farmers Market also provides an opportunity to check out some of the local businesses in Saratota's vibrant Downtown district. Grab lunch at Boca Kitchen Bar and Market, find the latest catch at Duval's Fresh Local Seafood, or stop for coffee and fresh baked goods at Coffee Carousel. 

Plan Your Trip to the Farmers Market

The Sarasota Farmers Market takes place every Saturday from 7 am to 1 pm. Unlike many farmers markets that close up shop in winter, the Sarasota Farmers Market continues every week throughout the entire year, offering a selection of goods that changes with the seasons. You'll find it on Lemon Avenue, near its intersection with Main Street. Parking is available on the streets and in public lots nearby. 

Contact Wagner Realty today to learn more about all the latest happenings in the Sarasota area. Our team is standing by to help you find the best Sarasota homes for sale.

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Don't Miss Lakewood Ranch's BOOFEST on Main Street

Living in Lakewood Ranch is a HOWLING Good Time

Lakewood Ranch Boofest Event
It's October, and we all know what that means, everywhere you turn ... ghosts and goblins abound.  It's no different in Lakewood Ranch.  Just minutes from Southwest Florida's beach, shopping, dining, and local events, the Lakewood Ranch Community Activities Corporation is busy preparing for the community's annual themed Halloween event, BOOFEST on Main Street.

The mission of Lakewood Ranch Community Activities Corporation is to nurture a sense of community and friendships through memorable events and social clubs within their community. Some of the LWR's  activities are so popular that they have become annual events such as the Eggstravaganaza, Boo Fest, and Holidays Around The Ranch.

Our local REALTORS® know the importance of getting to know your new neighbors when you buy a home in a new community, so we've created this Lakewood Ranch event highlight so you don't miss any of the howling good fun that will be happening at BOOFEST on Main Street.

BOOFEST On Main Street Is A Lakewood Ranch Tradition

Kids of all ages love Halloween. The family-friendly community of Lakewood Ranch has plenty of scary good fun planned for its annual October holiday event. 

Since Halloween falls on a school night, BOOFEST is scheduled for Friday, October 27--the fun starts at 6 PM.

Children will find plenty of thrills and chills at this all-ages Halloween celebration. It includes its own super Spooktacular Maze, crazy balloon art, and themed performances from local dancers.

Young guests are encouraged to dress in costumes to visit neighbors and friends. Exhibitors and sponsors will fill their bags with all sorts of tasty treats. Naturally, there will be a costume contest with plenty of prizes.

A full haunted house is planned – giving all the young ones many chances to enjoy on one of the most exciting nights of the year. It's the perfect way to get into the Halloween spirit!

Find Your Lakewood Ranch Home with Us

BOOFEST is your family's opportunity to pack a whole season of Halloween fun into a single night. Plus, if you just can't get enough of this creepy extravaganza, you still have time for a full evening of trick or treating throughout the weekend.

Lakewood Ranch is known for its safe and welcoming neighborhoods, so parents can feel confident as their children participate in the local festivities. And, of course, BOOFEST is just one of several yearly events you'll be able to enjoy if you buy one of the homes for sale in Lakewood Ranch.

People throughout Florida and beyond relocate to Lakewood Ranch for all sorts of reasons including great amenities, mild weather, and a wide range of beautiful homes. Once you visit, you might find that you wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

Our REALTORS® can help you find the perfect home for you and your family.  Contact us to get started.

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Famous Homes in Sarasota - Ca dZan

Ca' d'Zan - Home of John Ringling

Sarasota Ringling Home
Sarasota's neighborhoods are teeming with gorgeous, modern, waterfront homes, but one building still stands out nearly a century after it was first built. One of the most beautiful and historic homes in Sarasota, the Ca' d'Zan, was restored to its former glory at the turn of this century. Today, the bayfront mansion's Venetian-inspired architecture and opulent furnishings are just as impressive as they were in 1926, when the Ringling family moved in and hosted glamorous parties on the water.

Whether you want to step back into the Roaring Twenties, catch a gorgeous sunset, or learn more about Sarasota's history as a circus town, this mansion-turned-museum is a must. Here are some of our favorite things to do at the Ca' d'Zan.

Sarasota's World-class architecture

Admire World-Class European Architecture

When circus magnate John Ringling started building the Ca' d'Zan ("House of John") in 1926, his family was one of the wealthiest in the world. Instead of pinning their dream homes on Pinterest, they traveled through Europe for inspiration, and the authentic masterpiece is a great example of Venetian and Spanish architecture from the 1800's. The Ringlings spent $1.65 million (more than $20 million today) and imported most of their materials – and design ideas – from Europe, and the manicured grounds and well-preserved mansion may transport you to the middle of Italy with their authentic details. For example, the roof is tiled with a cargo ship's worth of salvaged Spanish antique tiles, and the home itself is modeled after the Doge's Palace in Venice, Italy.

Enjoy Gorgeous Sunsets Over Sarasota Bay

There are plenty of places to watch the sunset in Sarasota, but this mansion offers one of the oldest and most beautiful vantage points. As the sun begins to set over Sarasota every night, bursts of color illuminate the blue bay and cast a golden glow over the Ca' d'Zan's marble walls. Once a month, donors gather on the outdoor terrace for live music and gourmet dinners during this natural spectacle. It's easy to see why Mable Ringling commissioned a custom dock and gondola for the property. In the 1920's, servants would take Mable and her friends for picturesque sunset gondola rides along the shore. Towering Banyan trees, colorful gardens, a six-story tower, and a patio right on the sea wall complete the picturesque outdoor experience.

Take a Walk through the Ringling Family's Life

The mansion was donated to the State of Florida in the late 1930's, but it deteriorated so much in the decades to come that Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow filmed Great Expectations there in 1996. By then, the dilapidated mansion was the perfect fit for a reclusive Dickensian widow's dusty, crumbling manor. Fortunately, that's all changed, and the well-restored mansion now looks a lot like it did when the Ringlings first moved in. Renovations began in 2002, and today the mansion is meticulously restored and furnished with much of its original artwork, décor, and furniture. Restored murals by famous artists depict vivid circus and Renaissance scenes customized for the Ringlings themselves. Even clothing in the closets, liquor bottles in the bar, and silver in the butler's pantry are original possessions of the Ringling family.

Our REALTORS® are eager to help families like the Ringlings start a beautiful new chapter in Sarasota, Florida. Whether you want a mansion on the bay or an apartment downtown, we will make sure your search is productive and your deal is fair. Contact Wagner Realty today to find a real estate professional that can help you find your dream home in Sarasota.

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Living Like a Local in Longboat Key

Longboat Key Dining Spots 

Longboat Key Restaurants
When you find yourself in a living in a new city and want to find the best spots to grab a bite to eat, what do you do? That's easy—ask a Local! Luckily, our REALTORS® live and work in Longboat Key are thrilled to share some of our favorite eateries that will have you dining like a native Floridian in no time.

Homes in Longboat Key offer easy access to beautiful Gulf Coast views and miles of beautiful beaches. With all that seaside scenery, it comes as no surprise that Longboat Key serves up some of the best seafood around, but our local restaurants also offer much more! Here are some of our favorites:

  1. Amore, 555 Bay Isles Parkway, Longboat Key
    This incredible Italian fusion restaurant offers up a delicious traditionally-inspired menu that includes savory pesto gnocchi—a perfect comfort food if ever there was one—and possibly the most tender, juicy and flavorful rack of lamb we've ever tasted. Amore also offers both indoor and outdoor dining, and a full bar with live entertainment.

  2. Lazy Lobster, 5350 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
    For high-end seafood in a relaxed, casual setting the Lazy Lobster is your go-to destination in the Longboat Key area. Their menu is stacked with seafood dished both classic and creative, from chilled ahi tuna and lobster bisque to crab cake salad and lemon-garlic shrimp and grits. They also have great happy hour specials, and a wide range of gluten-free options.

  3. Chart House, 201 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
    Although it's known for its seafood, with many dishes sourced from local catches, Chart House is also a great place to go when you want to branch out. In addition to mouth-watering seafood dishes like stuffed flounder and cedar plank salmon, you'll find a menu stacked with delicious soups, salads, and some of the best steaks around. And all you chocoholics better stick around for dessert, because the hot chocolate lava cake is about as good as it gets.

  4. Dry Dock Waterfront Grill, 412 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
    The lunch menu at the Dry Dock Waterfront Grill gets high marks for offering a dizzying variety of options in a gorgeous waterfront setting (to be fair, the dinner menu is great too, but a top-notch lunch spot is harder to come by). In the mood for seafood? The grouper sandwich is offered grilled, fried or blackened. Have a burger in mind? The half-pound Angus boathouse burger has your name on it. Vegetarian? If not, you will be after you try the grilled portobello mushroom sandwich.

  5. Euphemia Haye Restaurant, 5540 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key
    A perfect spot for a romantic dinner, Euphemia Haye might just be Longboat Key's most unique fine dining spot. A stone's throw from the beach, this picturesque restaurant is nestled in a historic wooden cottage and surrounded by a garden of tropical greenery. The creative a la carte menu includes an overflowing wine list and lots of healthy and vegetarian options alongside amazing pasta dishes, juicy steaks and fresh-caught seafood. The neighboring Haye Loft offers a more casual location to grab a drink and check out some live music.

When you're ready to begin your search for a home in Longboat Key, contact Wagner Realty. We have the "inside scoop" on the best homes for sale in our area--not to mention the restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and attractions in Longboat Key.

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Discover Sarasota's Favorite Family Attractions

Sarasota Jungle Gardens - Florida Family Fun

Sarasota Jungle Gardens

If you've got a growing family, buying a home in Sarasota might be the right choice for you. With about 56,000 residents, Sarasota has long prided itself on its combination of big city amenities and small town living.

Sure, Sarasota is home to some of the best public and private schools in Florida. But, let's face it: Most kids don't get too excited about that. What they really care about is fun, excitement, and adventure.

Sarasota has that in spades – and one of the best examples is Sarasota Jungle Gardens.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is Fun for Everyone

Sarasota Jungle Gardens was founded in 1939 and is one of the most popular attractions in the area. It features ten exotic acres of tropical vegetation and trails that will give you plenty of amazing opportunities for your own little family safari.

Of course, no jungle would be complete without plenty of awesome animals!

When you explore Sarasota Jungle Gardens, you'll have the chance to encounter a crew of more than 200 animals. They run the gamut from Florida locals to some of the most breathtaking creatures you'll see anywhere in North America.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens is well known for the complete selection of parrots and macaws plus the legendary Florida flamingo. Visitors are especially fond of the flamingo flock, as they can be spotted roaming freely across much of the grounds.

Of course, you'll also find Florida alligators and their distant Nile cousins, the crocodile, lurking in a brilliant recreation of their native habitat. The different guided tours and shows – including Reptile Encounter, Jungle Bird, and Wildlife Wonder – help ensure that you can see everything in a visit.

A Petting Zoo and Other Fun Sights Round Out the Experience

Although there are plenty of reptiles, snakes, and small mammals to see, kids of all ages tend to gravitate toward the petting zoo. This interactive experience is suitable for the smaller kids, as they'll meet and hand-feed friendly critters like goats, chickens, and a miniature cow.

Younger kids won't feel left out – although it can get pretty steamy in Sarasota Jungle Gardens, the events are short enough to keep the little ones' attention. If sitting still just isn't happening, there's a full playground and a beloved wooden train for the junior explorers to check out.

Last, but not least, you won't want to forget the cafe and the gift shop. The Flamingo Cafe pays tribute to the Gardens' most iconic residents with favorites like hot dogs, hamburgers, and pizza. Drop in and you'll have the chance to hand-feed the koi fish.

The Flamingo Cafe also takes reservations for large groups and birthday parties.

Sarasota Jungle Gardens--the Perfect Sarasota Experience

As kids grow, their interests change. Luckily, Sarasota will never leave them with nothing to do. From parks and playgrounds to the perfect high school hangout spots, this little city packs a lot of living into a quaint community where people feel free to get to know one another.

It's no surprise homes in Sarasota are in demand all year around. If you want to find the right one for you, working with an expert team is essential. Contact Wagner Realty and our REALTORS® in Sarasota will give you the personalized assistance you deserve.

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Spending the Day at Sarasota's Marie Selby Botanical Gardens |

Sarasota Selby Gardens

Sarasota certainly isn't short on beautiful scenery, but one hidden gem shines especially bright. Full of colors that rival our sunset skies and scents that evaporate stress, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is tucked into a lush waterfront spot right next to the Marina. In between beach days on Lido and Siesta Key, you can spend a whole day exploring this downtown treasure, known simply as Selby Gardens or Selby to those with homes in Sarasota. Whether you're planning a romantic date, a fun family outing, or a solo stroll, Selby is the perfect place to do it, and it's open every day except Christmas for your convenience.

Here are some of our favorite ways to make the most of your time at this world-renowned plant conservatory.

Explore the Children's Rainforest Garden

One of Selby's newest and most impressive sections is the Ann Goldstein's Children's Rainforest Garden. This interactive space is designed to simulate the biological richness and cool tranquility of the rainforest, while turning every spot into a hands-on learning opportunity for kids. Your kids will love the 12-foot-tall waterfall that splashes into a tranquil pool, the century-old Banyan tree that offers ample natural shade and seating, and the swinging rope bridges that stretch overhead for bird's eye views of the canopy and garden. You'll love the way Selby integrates biology and ecology lessons into their all-natural play areas, which also include special thatched research huts and an outdoor classroom.

Take an Art, Landscaping, or Yoga Class

Your day in the garden could also be a learning experience – if you enroll in one of Selby's many art, wellness, or horticulture classes. Join Yoga in the Gardens for an early morning stretch session, hone your photography skills on Tripod Tuesday, or pick a watercolor class that matches your experience level. Or if you want to learn how to landscape your Sarasota home, take a gardening class that focuses on orchids, bamboo, succulents, or another Florida-friendly theme. Selby's educational opportunities include one-off classes and season-long series, so you can choose how much time to commit.

Walk Among the Butterflies & Ferns

Everything at Selby serves a purpose beyond looking pretty, but the plants and flowers in front of Payne Mansion have a magical role: attracting butterflies. Visit the Butterfly Garden after touring the historic mansion, and meet dozens of colorful guests who drop in every day to enjoy the gorgeous plant life. Then stroll over to the Fern Garden for another blissfully serene experience. Just follow the circular path around the low-lying and towering ferns, which flourish in Sarasota's subtropical climate and show off a wide range of scents, textures, and colors.

Selby Gardens View

Follow the Mangroves for Waterfront Views

Make sure you stay until Selby closes, because the waterfront location makes for perfect evening views of Sarasota Bay, downtown Sarasota, and Bird Key. Three different mangrove species are native to the region's shorelines, and Selby's boardwalk meanders through grand examples of all of them. Enjoy the black, white, and red mangroves as you follow the wooden path along the shoreline, to a spectacular lookout spot right on Sarasota Bay. Selby hosts a Fourth of July party every year to take full advantage of these stunning bayfront views.

When you live in Sarasota, you have year-round access to this lush retreat and its schedule of fun and educational events. Our REALTORS® in Sarasota can help you find the perfect home to landscape in our subtropical beach town. Contact Wagner Realty to get started today.

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Amazing Fourth of July Events in Sarasota

How Sarasota Celebrates the Red, White and Blue

July 4 Events Sarasota

When the night sky lights up this Fourth of July, where will you be? For families with homes in Sarasota, it's hard to get this answer wrong. Siesta Key's explosive Independence Day celebration has drawn thousands for the past 26 years, but the country's best beach isn't the only place to be on Tuesday, July 4. Our gardens, parks, and restaurants also offer world-class waterfront views and patriotic celebrations this Fourth, so you can choose your view every year.

If you live or plan to buy a house in the Sarasota-Bradenton area, just pick which body of water you want to see sparkle, and settle in for a full day or evening of Fourth of July fun. Here are some of our favorite spots to celebrate:

Siesta Key Public Beach

It's no surprise that Sarasota's most popular fireworks show happens right on its famous white sand beach. The 27th annual Siesta Key Fourth of July Fireworks start at 9:15 PM this year, and the explosives last at least a full half hour, with colors and shapes that rival even the most picturesque Siesta Key sunsets. The Chamber of Commerce's official celebration is always on Siesta Key Public Beach, but if you want to beat the crowds and enjoy unbeatable views, go a little south of the public area, toward Crescent Beach.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

A lush, tropical retreat in the middle of downtown Sarasota, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens are nearly surrounded by Sarasota Bay and the Hudson Bayou. They take advantage of their stellar views of multiple fireworks displays over Sarasota Bay, with an evening party that features live music, a cookout, and cool drinks. The All-American Cookout starts at 6, but free trolleys bound for Selby start leaving the Sarasota Friendship Center at 5 PM.

PIER 22 in Bradenton

Would you rather skip the beach and city crowds, and take in some waterfront fireworks at a slower pace? Head north to Bradenton's PIER 22, a literal pier that juts right out onto Manatee River for unbeatable waterfront views. This Fourth of July, the restaurant is hosting a buffet-style barbecue and waterside fireworks display. Come to PIER 22 at 6 PM for the Independence Day buffet, a single seating event that coincides with the explosions over the river.

Bayfront Park & Marina Jack Trail

The fireworks over Sarasota Bay are visible from both sides of the causeway, but the best views are from the edge of the marina, where family-friendly Bayfront Park pokes out into the water. Grab dinner and drinks at Marina Jack or O'Leary's Tiki Bar & Grill, then walk the Marina Jack Trail along the perimeter of this small but beautiful bayfront park. The fireworks over Sarasota Bay will begin at around 9 PM this Fourth of July, so grab a bench or spread a blanket and enjoy the spectacular show.

Before the Fireworks: Sarasota Jungle Gardens

Looking for a family-friendly distraction before the fireworks begin? Sarasota Jungle Gardens is right on the Bay near Ringling Museum and New College of Florida, and it's an interactive wonderland with flamingos, alligators, and lush landscapes where kids can frolic and adults can relax and take in waterfront views. Kids' admission is half off from Saturday, July 1 through Tuesday, July 4, making it the perfect pre-fireworks destination for Sarasota families.

Are you interested in buying a house in Sarasota? Contact Wagner Realty for more information about our beautiful beach town and its fun, lively neighborhoods. One of our REALTORS® in Sarasota will help you get started on your real estate journey. 

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What's It Like to Live in Siesta Key, FL

Buying a Home in Siesta Key FL
Many people looking at Sarasota homes find themselves drawn to the charm of Siesta Key, just a 15-minute drive from downtown Sarasota proper. Siesta Key, a community of just over 6,000 people, is a barrier island with some of the most beautiful sights in Florida.

If you're searching for the right place to truly enjoy the climate and views only Florida can offer, Siesta Key is perfect. Although it attracts many tourists, there are also plenty of "out of the way" places to enjoy a slower pace.

Spanning just 3.5 square miles, Siesta Key is made up of four main districts:

  1. Siesta Beach
    Siesta Beach is consistently ranked one of the best beaches in the world and among the top three in Florida. The Siesta Beach area is home to many eateries showcasing the region's best seafood. As a resident here, you'll live where people come to get married or go on honeymoon.

  2. Crescent Beach
    Crescent Beach sits just south of Stickney Point and has a distinctive crescent shape. This is the place to be if you want true beachfront property situated right next to the water. Crescent Beach is easily accessible for those who want to walk to major amenities instead of driving.

  3. Turtle Beach
    Turtle Beach is home to some of the top resorts and campgrounds in the area. It is a smaller and quieter beach known as the place to go for fishing. It is one of the only beaches around Siesta Key without white sand – the shore is known for a distinctive black coloration instead.

  4. Siesta Key Village
    Siesta Key Village is what most people think of when they think of Siesta Key homes. From shady streets to sunny beaches, Siesta Key has what you need to make everything a Florida holiday. It's especially famous for watersports and parasailing.

    No matter where you are, Siesta Key is known for breathtaking sunsets. Blackened gator tail and local fish are some of the dinner favorites, topped off at the end with a slice of authentic key lime pie.

Living in the Land of Sand and Surf at Siesta Key

Thanks to its unique geography, living in Siesta Key feels like being away from it all – but you still have access to all the best amenities of Sarasota, Bradenton, and even the Tampa Bay Area. But how can you know if Siesta Key is right for you?

Locals applaud Siesta Key for its laid back community, great shops, and nightlife. Despite its popularity with out-of-town visitors, it is amazingly intimate and local, with a flavor all its own. It also has a strong arts and culture scene, and there is always something to do. Don't miss the historic Ringling Bros. home.

For its permanent residents, Siesta Key attracts families and established professionals working in the growing technology and healthcare scenes in Sarasota or Bradenton. The area is serviced by the world class Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Sarasota County Schools operates more than 30 public schools in the area, with many elementary schools rated among the Sunshine State's best.

Intrigued? Get Started Today with Wagner Realty

Siesta Key is the place to be, no matter whether you're moving to Florida from outside the state or "trading up" from a hectic urban lifestyle. Truly, the best way to appreciate how Siesta Key can transform your life for the better is to see some of the amazing homes for sale.

Want to find out more? Contact Wagner Realty to get started. Our REALTORS® in Sarasota will be glad to help you find the perfect Siesta Key home for you.

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Bradenton Beach Pier - Part of Florida History

Bradenton Beach City Pier
Sometimes, the most beloved local landmarks are created from the inspiration that comes when a city replaces something old with something new. Back in 1967, a new drawbridge was built to connect Anna Maria Island with the city of Bradenton Beach, FL, replacing the bridge the connected the communities for more than 50 years. Rather than consigning the old bridge to the demolition squad, city officials decided to turn it into a gathering place for the community. Bradenton Beach City Pier opened to the public soon after, and it's been delighting both visitors and locals ever since. 

Bradenton Florida

Get Daily Access to the Pier When You Buy a Bradenton Beach Home

  • Fishing Fun – When you stake out your favorite fishing spot on Bradenton Beach Pier, you're taking part in a tradition that stretches back decades. Experienced anglers will settle right in to catching the local fare, and anyone new to fishing will find a very welcoming atmosphere. You can rent rods, buy bait, and get fishing advice without ever leaving the pier. With a little luck, you might even reel in a seafood dinner that's as fresh as it gets.
  • Fresh, Fabulous Food – Not in the mood to catch your own dinner? No problem! The Bradenton Beach Pier Restaurant serves up fresh, local seafood prepared in any way you can imagine. Enjoy the catch of the day, sample succulent appetizers from the raw bar, or dig into a collection of Florida seafood favorites. While your busy enjoying a meal with your favorite people, be sure to look up from your plate once in a while to take in all of the seaside sights.
  • Stunning Views – Bradenton Beach homes for sale give you everyday access to some of the most scenic views on the Florida coast, and Bradenton Beach Pier allows you to see the sights from a whole new perspective. You will find spectacular scenery no matter when you visit, but there's no doubt that things reach another level in the evening. There's simply nothing like watching the sun set over the open sea, with the sky awash in vivid colors.
  • Tiki Bar – It's been a long week of work, and you're searching for the perfect place to unwind with friends. What could be better than a tiki bar, some live music, and a waterfront sunset? The tiki bar at Bradenton Beach Pier is the perfect place to relax and recharge. Best of all, you're sure to run into some old friends or make new ones.
  • Local History – The Bradenton Beach Pier plays a big role in local history, and you can learn quite a bit about Bradenton while exploring the pier. With all of the fun to be had on the pier, it's easy to forget that you're standing on an old road and bridge. The same pier that you enjoy today once carried local and tourists alike from Bradenton to Anna Maria Island, and back.
  • The Day Dock – The day dock is a relatively new addition to the pier, with public access for boaters to dock on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can tie up at the dock, enjoy a meal on the pier, or even head into town for some shopping before hitting the water again to take the scenic route home.

Our Bradenton Beach REALTORS® are here to help you find your own Florida seaside retreat near the Bradenton Beach Pier. Contact us to buy and sell homes throughout the Bradenton, FL real estate area.

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Anna Maria Island Historic City Pier

Anna Maria Island features seven miles of sandy beachfront off Manatee County, Florida. The City of Anna Maria is a quaint, walkable Florida village that has become a destination for travelers seeking sun and relaxation and people looking for a place to call home.

With nearby amenities of Bradenton, this island features multiple communities at the mouth of Tampa Bay. Standout features of the area include emerald green water, white sand beaches, cottage-style Anna Maria Island homes, and of course the Historic City Pier.

The Settlement of Anna Maria

Anna Maria Island was known to native inhabitants of the America's for many years, but being only accessible by boat, no one wanted to live there. The Timucan and Caloosan American Indian tribes would visit as did the Spanish explorers who gave the island the name we use today. It wasn't until 1892 that the island gained its first official resident in George Emerson Bean, who spurred the development of the area.

Anna Maria Island's first residents were forced to commute to the mainland by boat or ferry, leading them to create the historic Anna Maria City Pier in 1911. A bridge over the water wasn't added until 1921.

Anna Maria City Pier

Described by Trip Advisor as, "Stunning," this historic pier stretches 678 feet across Gulf Coast waters. The pier has stood the test of time, weathering hurricanes for over 100 years as residents continually rebuild this attraction. Most recent renovations include a planned $1.7 million upgrade project, promising to keep generations visiting for years to come.

And why do people keep coming? Food, fishing, and fun just to name a few.

Rod and Reel Restaurant

The Rod and Reel restaurant offers 360-degree views at its iconic home at the end of the pier. Squeeze yourself into the tiny bar on the lower deck for an icy cold margarita, or find a table upstairs for a more formal meal. As you might guess, the seafood here is fresh!

Fishing at the Anna Maria Pier

A unique twist to the Rod and Reel Restaurant is that the area doubles as a fishing pier too. A common sight you'll see are the dangling fishing lines of fishing enthusiasts, hoping to catch a bite -- before they order a bite. It's a great way to pass the time during the busy summer season (the restaurant may have a line.)

Florida Fun

Florida's Gulf Coast is the perfect place to spend your vacation. Wagner Realty has vacation rentals available to share experiences and make memories with family and friends.  Play on some of Southern Florida's best golf courses, relax on sandy, white beaches, shop our local shops and boutiques.

No need to be sad when your visit ends because with the help of Anna Maria Island REALTORS® you can become a resident. Contact Wagner Realty to discover the best beachfront properties or the perfect vacation bungalow and enjoy the community of Anna Maria Island.

Contact Wagner Realty


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