West of the Trail, Southside Village-Style
Marcia Salkin, Sarasota Realtor
Can Every Day Be a Beach Day?
People around the world seek out Siesta Key for its incredible sugar white sand beaches. Florida International University professor Stephen Leatherman, known as Dr. Beach for his annual ranking of the best U.S. beaches, even ranked Siesta Beach No. 1 in the entire country in 2001. And he just ranked it No. 2 in 2016. Plus Siesta Beach recently took the top U.S. spot on TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice beach awards.
The recent $21.5 million Siesta Beach improvements have made this top beach even better. There are new concession stands with amazing food, restrooms, picnic areas, a playground and best of all, 980 parking spots!
You’ve heard the saying before – “We live where you vacation” – and it’s perhaps the truest for Siesta Key residents. So take the tips in this newsletter and live like a local. I’ve also included some of my new Siesta Key listings below. Why not become a local yourself?
What To Do When You’re Not On The Beach
On April 29 and 30, get your art on at the 39th Annual Siesta Fiesta. You’ll have a ball at this fine art and handmade crafts festival by the beach showcasing 200 artists and craftsmen from around the country. From sculpture and photography to paintings and ceramics, it’s all here.
Mark your calendars now for one of the most unique events in Sarasota – the Siesta Key Crystal Classic – November 10 to 14. There’s nothing like this international sand sculpting festival. You will be blown away by what people are able to create with nothing but sand.
What To Eat When You’re Not On The Beach
If you go in search of some good seafood on the key, look no further than Big Water Fish Market. Another ranking favorite like Siesta Beach, Big Water’s grouper sandwich was voted best sandwich on the island by TripAdvisor in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Plus it was named best grouper sandwich in the whole state of Florida in 2016! (That’s hard to beat.) If you want to dine in or pick up fish to take home, head to Big Water.
You already love Morton’s Gourmet Market on the mainland in Southside Village, so get ready to love Morton’s Siesta Market, too. You’ll find staple grocery items, take-out meals, fresh produce, meats and seafood. Plus, when you’re ready to kick back and enjoy the sunset over the water, they have a great wine and beer selection.
Cevichela is Latin street food at its best. This Siesta Village destination has delicious food bowls, tacos and grab-and-go ceviche. The buzz around town is that you’ve just got to try Chef Darwin Santa Maria’s new restaurant.
Where To Live When You’re Not On The Beach
Oceane is one of the most anticipated developments on Siesta Key. Six exclusive condominiums will make up the enclave, which is within walking distance of Siesta Key Village. Considering a move to the key? Put Oceane on your list. Units start at $3.8 million.
I’m also excited about my latest Siesta Key sales. One is at 9008 Midnight Pass Road, No. 5. This beautiful unit in The Sea Breeze building sold for $1.7 million. I also recently sold a property at 9150 Blind Pass Road, No. 404, in the Fisherman’s Haven building for $437,000.
Right now, I have another listing for sale in The Sea Breeze building for $1.625 million. This three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bathroom unit is 3,700 square feet and you just have to see it.
I’ll leave you with a fun fact: In 2013, I sold one of my listings on Siesta Key for $10 million – the highest sale price ever on the island!
As you can tell, Siesta Key is not only the best place in Sarasota for a beach day, but I might go as far as saying it’s the best place in Sarasota for a beach life. So put on your flip flops and start living the beach life today!
I’ve loved Longboat Key ever since The Colony sales department brought me here in 1979. It was love at first sight, and I’ve been thrilled to help people call Longboat home for over three decades. That’s why I’m sharing some of my most-loved spots on the key in this newsletter. You may have experienced some of them before. If not, I hope you do soon!
It’s no surprise Mar Vista Dockside Restaurant and Pub is at the top of my list. This waterfront restaurant is everyone’s favorite. Dine outside on scrumptious seafood and enjoy the tranquil water views and old Florida ambiance – the building is one of the oldest structures on the key, built in 1912.
Another Longboat destination with a stunning setting is Euphemia Haye. The restaurant’s historic, wooden cottage is nestled in lush tropical foliage. It’s considered one of the best and most romantic restaurants in the area, so you’ll definitely want to make reservations here for the special occasions in your life. They’re also known for their dessert bar, my favorite kind of bar for sure!
Tourists and residents alike recognize Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium as one of Sarasota’s true gems. The marine research hub and world-class attraction is a great place to bring visiting friends and family, especially if there are kids in the mix. They’ll love seeing manatees, sharks, stingrays and more up close and learning about how they live in the wild.
This summer, a new resort will open on the key. The contemporary Zota Beach Resort will be beachfront luxury at its finest, sugar white sand included. Before you fall in love with a new home sweet home on Longboat Key, why not stay at the island’s most exciting new resort?
No need to travel off the island, you’ll find a beautiful assortment of products imported straight from France at Décor de France. You may have stopped in the shop when it was on St. Armands Circle for 13 years before it moved to Longboat about two years ago. Here you’ll find gorgeous French tablecloths, placemats and napkins and a selection of French pottery. Whether you’re looking for the perfect new item for your home or searching for the ideal hostess gift, chances are you’ll find both right here.
If you’re visiting from out of town, The Resort at Longboat Key Club is a wonderful place to stay. And if you live here year round or part of the year, you’ll love the Longboat Key Club’s many amenities, from golf and tennis to the marina and restaurants.
By now you’re probably thinking, “I’ve just got to find myself a place to live Longboat so I can enjoy the island on a daily basis!” Well, let me tell you about my new, stunning listing on the key. It’s a 3,400-square-foot, three bedroom, three bathroom home in the exclusive community of En Provence. It’s offered at $3,600,000 and boasts picturesque Gulf front views. Are you ready to enjoy the sunset from your new Longboat retreat?
Every Day is a Vacation on St. Armands
St. Armands Circle is one of those places in Sarasota that instantly makes you feel like you’re on vacation. It’s so easy to enjoy an afternoon on the circle – dining, shopping and even taking in one of the many festivals and shows hosted there throughout the year.
With my new listing on Bird Key (a waterfront neighborhood just down the street from St. Armands), I’ve been thinking a lot about my go-to spots on the circle, so I thought I would share them with you. Consider taking a little staycation in your own hometown and exploring these destinations the next time you have a free afternoon!
My dad’s favorite spot when he would come to visit was the Columbia Restaurant on the circle. This Spanish restaurant was founded in 1905 in Tampa’s Ybor City and is the oldest restaurant in Florida. In fact, their location on St. Armands is Sarasota’s oldest restaurant, so you know they must be doing it right. Don’t leave without trying their Black Bean Soup, 1905 Salad, Sangria and Flan.
Once you’ve been to Columbia, you just have to try Shore, too. This open-air, second-floor restaurant is packed for brunch, lunch and dinner. The fun mid-century retro vibe and creative menu will have you coming back again and again. And downstairs, don’t miss the chance to shop in their beachy casual Shore boutique.
If you have a sweet tooth, there’s no better spot on the circle for you to visit than Kilwins. Fudge, toffee, caramel, peanut brittle – it’s all available here, and you can even watch them make their chocolatey treats right in front of you. As one of the most popular destinations on St. Armands, you’ll often find a line of people running straight out the door. My mouth is watering just thinking about their fudge!
Looking for the perfect ensemble for a luncheon, gala or that all-important meeting? Find it at The Met. This luxury independent men and women’s fashion house is widely considered the nicest boutique in Sarasota and it’s right here on the circle. There’s even a day spa upstairs for when you get weary from shopping (and all the eating you’ve done at Columbia, Shore and Kilwins!).
St. Armands is also a mecca for interesting festivals and shows. There are several car shows throughout the year, like the classic Corvette show in May, the Ferrari show in November and Porsches in the Park show in December. But events on the circle aren’t just for car lovers. There’s also the Annual Craft Festival in June and the Annual St. Armands Art Festival in November. If exploring the waters of Sarasota is more your speed, there’s a boat show on the circle in October. But one of my favorite events is Taste of St. Armands. Every October you can sample award-winning recipes from the diverse restaurants on the circle, all while enjoying the idyllic weather.
And while you’re living that vacation lifestyle on the circle, why not pop by to take a look at my latest listing – one of the most exquisite homes in Sarasota. This Bayfront home at 467 Meadow Lark Drive is offered at $6,525,000. It was built in 2000 by Mike Collingwood and designed by sought-after luxury residential architect Clifford M. Scholz.
Once you experience all that St. Armands has to offer, you may be asking yourself, why not live close by? And why not live in this stunning Scholz masterpiece?
Things Will Be Great When You’re Downtown
I hope your new year is off to a good start! This month has already been full of big changes for me – I moved into the new Michael Saunders & Company office in downtown Sarasota. The contemporary, state-of-the-art space is at the corner of Main Street and Orange Avenue in the historic Ellis Building, and I couldn’t be happier in my new home-away-from-home.
It’s really the perfect office for me because it’s centrally located to all of my listings from Longboat Key to Palmer Ranch. And now it’s much easier for you to stop by for meetings or just to say hello.
In honor of the big move, I thought it would be fun to explore downtown Sarasota and let you in on some of my favorite hot spots.
Burns Court is Bustling
Many people know this part of downtown because of Burns Court Cinema, a small theater showing foreign, independent and art films. It’s always a great place to catch a flick you won’t find elsewhere in Sarasota.
After a movie, take a quick walk down the street to the popular Owen’s Fish Camp, a top haunt for delicious seafood. The food and the atmosphere – a 1923 classic Sarasota cottage – make this a great choice for bringing out-of-town guests or enjoying a night out with friends and family.
One of the most interesting places to visit in Burns Court is 530 Burns Gallery, an art gallery nestled around a big banyan tree that features paintings, sculpture, glass, ceramics and jewelry made by regional artists and artists from across the United States.
There’s fun boutique shopping in Burns Court, too. Head to Pineapple Avenue to visit Treat Boutique, a charming shop where you’ll find accessories, clothes, gifts and more. If you stop in, you may even get to meet Zaida, the owner’s English Mastiff!
Main Attractions on Main Street
There’s so much to do on Main Street, it’s hard to pick just a few things to tell you about. Take a stroll down the whole street and discover new favorites on your own, but be sure to check out these picks.
Blackbird offers shoppers a honed aesthetic in two very in-demand areas – home style and men’s style. In this sophisticated shop you’ll find men’s clothing and accessories from jeans to sunglasses and decorating items ranging from vintage pieces to textural upholstered furniture. If you’re looking to make your house a home, Blackbird is a must.
Just down the street is one of my favorite restaurants in the city – El Greco Mediterranean Café. Since 1989, El Greco has been serving authentic Greek cuisine like grilled fish, white pizza and gyro sandwiches. My mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Across the street, Rue has been voted the best new boutique by Sarasota Magazine. If you’re a fashionista, you have to stop in and try on some of the stunning pieces in stock here from the hottest designers on the fashion scene.
A Hop, Skip and a Jump Off Main Street
One of the best places to browse and buy downtown is Pecky, a wonderful home furnishings and accessories boutique. The store is named for pecky cypress, and you’ll find several reclaimed wood pieces here that you just might like to take home with you.
There’s been a lot of buzz around Boca Kitchen Bar & Market lately. As a newcomer on the Sarasota culinary scene, it’s quickly become a popular downtown spot for lunch, dinner and weekend brunches. The farm-to-table concept gives priority to local ingredients from Sarasota and surrounds. And here’s a Special Dining Note: I’ve heard their gazpacho is delicious!
Art Fans Assemble!
Sarasota is one of the most welcoming communities to the arts, and our downtown is no exception. Twice a month, you can catch art walks on Palm Avenue and Towles Court
The Palm Avenue First Friday Walks are held the first Friday of every month from 6 to 9 p.m. Stroll one of the most sophisticated streets on Sarasota and explore the many art galleries, antique stores, restaurants and more.
You’ll also want to experience the Towles Court Third Friday Art Walks, held from 5 to 9 p.m. every third Friday of the month. Here you’ll get a chance to meet artists, discover new art and catch a bite to eat in a charming and vibrant district of downtown.
There’s so much to do in downtown Sarasota – this is just the tip of the iceberg! Now it’s time for you to get out there and enjoy an exciting downtown day. Or maybe you’ll decide to move downtown and enjoy a thrilling downtown life! Don’t forget to stop by and say hello!
Ready for Some Big News?
This year I made the highest residential sale in Sarasota for my listing at 1204 Hillview Drive. The Clifford M. Scholz-designed home in Harbor Acres has five bedroom suites, a resort-like pool area and sweeping views of Sarasota Bay. It sold for $7,050,000.
I was proud to represent this classic home in one of Sarasota’s top neighborhoods. Harbor Acres offers many stunning homes, from sleek contemporary residences to more traditional beauties like this one. How exciting to be involved in this sale!
An Honor for What Matters
I was so honored to be named a Five Star “Best in Client Satisfaction” real estate agent again in 2016. This marks the tenth year in a row I’ve received the distinction. It’s particularly important to me because it speaks to what I think is the most crucial aspect of serving as a real estate agent – client satisfaction.
Here’s to 2017!
My clients and friends made 2016 amazing. Thank you for a wonderful year!
I love connecting people with the places that are most important to them, so I can’t wait to help more people find extraordinary homes in 2017.
Here to a joyful and prosperous New Year!