West of the Trail, Southside Village-Style
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!
Survey Says: Privacy is the Ultimate Luxury
The other day I was reading an interesting Business Insider article (“Privacy is becoming the ultimate luxury for wealthy homebuyers”) that talked about a recent survey of the world’s wealthiest people. The Luxury Portfolio International survey asked people this question: “If you were wealthy enough to afford whatever house you wanted, what would be first on your list?” And the most frequent answer to the question was privacy.
Privacy is so sought out by the wealthy that often people purchase the homes on either side of their house and across the street. A home with privacy is a retreat from the busy world outside and a refuge for friends and family members.
One of the Most Private Properties in Sarasota
I’m not exaggerating – my listing at 3250 Old Oak Drive is one of the most private properties in Sarasota.
This waterfront property near the North Siesta Key Bridge is almost three acres, a size practically unheard of these days. The large lot size, plus dense foliage of beautiful oaks and specimen plantings, means you won’t see your neighbors or people driving by to take a look. You’ll just see greenery and a sweeping view of Sarasota Bay.
Now is your chance to snap up this one-of-a-kind ultra-private property that’s been owned by one of Sarasota’s oldest families for over 60 years. Listed at $3.95 million, you really won’t find a more private property in such an ideal location that’s just minutes to downtown, Southside Village and our world-class beaches.
And this property is the perfect place to build your dream house. Don’t settle for a home that’s not quite to your liking – here you can create a custom luxury compound to your exact specifications.
You’ll be hard-pressed to top the privacy and beauty of 3250 Old Oak Drive. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Watch this virtual video tour of the property. It just might inspire you to make this special place your very own.
There are so many new, exciting restaurants that have graced the Sarasota culinary scene lately.
I’m going to give you the scoop on a few of the best newbies, plus I’ll let you in on a couple of my all-time favorite Sarasota dining establishments. And before I go, I’ll tell you about a season you won’t want to miss.
The most recent restaurant opening is the talk of downtown this October. The Coolinary is in a chic second-floor space on lower Main Street above Bookstore1 Sarasota. It offers an intriguing menu that combines American and European cuisine.
Another new addition to the downtown scene is Lila, the creation of well-regarded Pomona Bistro chef-proprietors Ryan Boeye and Arthur Lopes. The Main Street casual dining eatery has a rustic vibe and focuses on locally sourced food.
Clearly the local food movement has hit Sarasota big time, because Boca Kitchen Bar & Market also has a menu that focuses on local ingredients. Try Boca for lunch, dinner or a weekend brunch and sample a variety of foods, from salads and sandwiches to soups and flatbreads.
And now for two of my favorites. In my opinion, Jpan Sushi & Grill has the best sushi in town. You can’t go wrong with all the traditional Japanese dishes and delicious sushi they have to choose from. In addition to their Paradise Plaza location, Jpan has opened another location across from University Town Center mall. So the next time you feel a shopping spree coming on, why not stop at JPan for a delicious dinner afterward?
Chutney’s is another of my very favorite restaurants in Sarasota. A Hillview Drive staple since 1987, Chutney’s has a full menu of Indian and Middle Eastern favorites. One of their most popular menu items is their chicken masala – you have to try it.
Stone crab season just kicked off, and all I can think about lately is this tasty Florida treat. Several local restaurants offer this delicacy, and you can cook them up yourself, too. Just don’t miss out on the season, which ends May 15.
Well, all this talk about mouth-watering food has made me hungry. So I’m off for a bite to eat at one of these Sarasota gems. Which one? Well, you’ll just have to guess. See you there!
We all know Sarasota has been a top retirement destination for decades. Active retirees love the beaches, the arts and the mild climate. (And who can blame them?)
But it’s not just retirees who move here. Sarasota is home to several big draws that attract world-class athletes, businesspeople, students and their families.
IMG Academy attracts athletes from around the world. During the 2015 to 2016 school year, the student body of the academy’s boarding school represented more than 70 countries. Families are always moving to the area so their children can take advantage of IMG’s many training programs.
IMG is also known for hosting and training a variety of professional athletes, from tennis pros Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova to NFL quarterbacks Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.
Athletes also descend on the area to row at Nathan Benderson Park, including rowers from several collegiate teams around the country. All eyes will be on Sarasota in the coming years as Benderson Park hosts the 2017 World Rowing Championships and the 2018 National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Rowing Championship.
And then there are those who come to don a chef’s hat. They travel to Sarasota for Keiser University’s Center for Culinary Arts, recently ranked 18th on a list of the 50 best culinary schools in the United States by Best Choice Schools. It can be hard to leave once you’ve graduated, too, because Sarasota offers so many award-winning, Zagat-rated fine dining options.
Another international draw is Ringling College of Art + Design, where young artists learn computer animation, graphic design, illustration and much more. Ringling students are so highly sought after that each year companies like Disney, Pixar, Hallmark and Apple come to recruit them. The list of accolades Ringling students have won goes on and on, and they recently picked up their 12th Student Academy Award.
Sarasota is home to a host of world-class companies, like drinkware maker Tervis. You likely own one of their plastic tumblers, or like me, have an entire cabinet full of these portable essentials. Tervis, headquartered in Venice, has a big impact on the region, employing more than 900 people.
For many, all it takes is a weekend in Sarasota to realize this is the place to be. They may come to train or row, learn or work, but soon people find Sarasota is the place they’d like to call home.