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I am so excited. After a long 58 year break, the St Petersburg Yacht Club Habana Sailing Race has been re-instated this year. The fleet of boats left the St Petersburg harbor this morning at 10am and will sail 284 nautical miles to arrive at the Hemingway Marina in Havana on Thursday, March 2nd. On Saturday there will a Nautical Parade & the Torreon de la Chorrera Regatta to Morro Castle.

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photo by Annalisa Weller July 2015

The Micara, a Cuban boat with all Cuban sailors, is among the 81 yachts & 550 sailors.

In 1929 George S. Gandy, Jr., a well known yachtsman and son of the builder of the first bridge across Tampa Bay, sailed his 36′ ketch Cynosure to Havana.  There he met with Commodore Rafael Posso of the Habana Yacht Club and the St. Petersburg-Habana yacht race was born.

The first race started off The Pier in St. Petersburg March 30, 1930 and finished at Morro Castle at the Habana harbor entrance. Eleven boats participated and was won by the schooner Haligonian owned by Houston Wall of Tampa.  The race was sailed over the same route from 1930 through 1959 with the exception of three years of World War II, when the race was cancelled, and 1958 when political conditions in Cuba required the fleet to go to Miami. The last race in 1959 race had 37 yachts participating.

Glad to see it back! Wishing you smooth sailing.

dunedin

The name of this small town, located on the west coastal of central Florida comes from Dùn Èideann, which is the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh-the capital of Scotland.

Dunedin is one of the few towns or cities that still has open waterfront views to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Gulf of Mexico. Its beaches, including Dunedin Causeway, Honeymoon Island, and Caladesi Island State Park, are consistently rated among the best beaches in the world. Dunedin is located between Clearwater, the Gulf of Mexico and by Palm Harbor. And yet it is close to Tampa, St Petersburg and Tampa International Airport. A very nice location. Small town feel with worldly connections.

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In the 1800’s Scottish families originally settled in the area. In 1852 two Scotsmen by the names of J.O. Douglas and James Sumerville, called the area Dunedin after their hometown in Scotland-Edinburgh. Once upon a time Dunedin was one of Florida’s main ports with the largest fleet of sailing ships in the state.

Once a year, usually in April,  the Dunedin Highland Games are held with competitions including caber tossing, sheep herding, stone throwing & pipe and drum bands. There is also the DUNEDIN CELTIC MUSIC & CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL, usually held in November.

Dunedin has been the training site for every Blue Jays Spring Training season for the last 40 YEARS. This makes Toronto the only major league franchise to have remained in the same location for all of its spring training.

If you want to know about Dunedin, Florida, you might want to watch this short video produced by St Pete-Clearwater. It is a great overview of city of Dunedin, the Pinellas Trail, Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island State Park.

Here are International Living’s picks for the top five places to escape to if politics is getting you down.

Top 5 Best Countries to Escape U.S. Election Results Revealed

1. Mexico

Mexico is the only place in the world where U.S. citizens can enjoy an affordable overseas retirement, live right on the beach at affordable prices, yet remain within minutes of the U.S. by car.

Plus, right now with the current exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the deflated peso, Mexico is a huge bargain.

With its moon-lit fiestas, languid white-sand beaches, ancient colonial towns set in the rugged Sierras, and Mayan pyramids rising from the misty Yucatan jungle, it’s no wonder so many people are starting new lives in Mexico.

With rapidly rising fuel, healthcare, food, and travel costs back home, it’s nice to know that there are still places where it’s possible to live well without burning through retirement savings. Mexico is one such place.

2. Panama

Tropical beaches, First-World infrastructure, high-quality healthcare, welcoming people…there are many things to love about Panama.

Retirees are drawn here by the Pensionado program, one of the best retiree benefits programs in the world. Younger adults…some with children in tow…are moving here in increasing numbers to take advantage of the ease of doing business and the hip, international vibe.

For many, the low cost of living is a major factor in choosing Panama, as is the fact that Panama uses the U.S. dollar. Expats living here have seen their costs drop substantially.

3. Costa Rica

Costa Rica…the name alone conjures up visions of lush tropical rain forests and crashing surf on long stretches of white-sand beaches.

Costa Rica inspires these visions for two reasons. Number one, they’re true. Costa Rica is one of the most biologically diverse and beautiful spots on earth, with Pacific and Atlantic coastlines that are the stuff of legend.

The second reason that the idea of Costa Rica can instantly create pictures of tropical splendor is that it has been one of the most popular destinations for expats and second-home owners for decades.

One place that has been very popular over the years is Costa Rica’s Central Valley…a spot that cradles the country’s thriving capital of San José yet also offers rustic and rural pleasure in abundance, as well as a mild, spring-like climate year-round. The Arenal region, with its centerpiece 33-square-mile lake, is also increasingly popular. It is three hours northwest of San José…a region of farmland, pasture, virgin forest, and unspoiled lake views.

4. Ecuador

Ecuador really does have everything…from the Galapagos Islands to the Amazon basin and the Andes Mountains, from big, modern cities to small, quaint villages. And up until now, one particular area of Ecuador has been overlooked–and that’s its 937 miles of Pacific coastline and its beautiful mainland beaches.

Ecuador draws a wide range of foreigners: entrepreneurs, travelers, humanitarian workers, foreign officials, diplomats, business people of all stripes, and retirees looking to stretch their budget and experience a different way of life. Many expats are attracted by the country’s less-intrusive government and the tranquility of being removed from the terrorist and antiterrorist campaigns that make headlines in other parts of the world.

Generally speaking, the expats who have settled in Ecuador are those who tend to blend into society rather than live together in expat-oriented communities. Nonetheless, a bit of time in any town of significant size in Ecuador is all it takes to find the gringo haunts and watering holes.

5. Colombia

Colombia is no longer just a place for adventurers, speculators and risk-takers. It’s a country that’s hitting its full stride as an expat destination this year as the numbers of expat couples, younger people with portable careers, and single men and women who’ve found the ideal place to live or retire increase. And many of the preconceptions about Colombia being dangerous are at least a decade out of date.

Located at the northern tip of South America, Colombia is where the Pacific and the Caribbean collide with the Andes and the Amazon. It’s a country that is more beautiful, dramatic, and diverse than nearly any other. It offers sparkling colonial cities and world-famous resorts along the Caribbean.

Just three hours from Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Colombia welcomes nonstop flights into Bogotá, Medellin, Armenia, Barranquilla, and Cali.

In cities and towns in Colombia, expats find a perfect climate that’s neither too hot nor too cool (60 F to 80 F all year); amazing natural surroundings; plenty of cultural events; history-filled cities; superb healthcare; friendly people; and a welcoming country…all with a fantastically low cost of living–figure $1,500 a month for a couple, all in.

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Okay, you just can’t make this stuff up. I have always wanted to live in a waterfront home but this is not what I had in mind!! I am standing in ankle deep water in my driveway when I see Nemo and buddies paddling up my street. Are they looking for Dory and 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, Australia like in the Disney movie? Paddle up to the stop sign and take a right to Tampa Bay and just keep swimming.

So, now it’s pouring again with wind gusts up to 50 mph. I really NEED low tide or for the winds to change directions so the water will recede SOON. Apparently, to add to the 2 days of rain & high winds, we are experiencing astronomically high tides. Is it because Jupiter has aligned with Mars and Saturn?  High tide in St Pete was at 2:44pm and low tide is at 10:30 pm. I have never seen the water come into my driveway or yard before. Please, please, please, who will stop the rain from coming into my garage?  As Blonde sort of sang, The tide is high & I want to save my house. Six feet until it reaches my garage & all the oodles of precious items stored within. Yikes!! I wish all my neighbors & friends in the Tampa Bay area good luck. Keeping my fingers crossed & my warped sense of humor in tact. Let’s hope that’s all that warps! If not, perhaps “Coming soon waterfront 3 bedroom, 2 bath home with a pool”. Time to check the water level & to see how many frogs are camped out on my front porch now.

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One of the perks of being a Realtor in the Clearwater Beach-St Petersburg area is the view on your way to and from work. The other day I had a home inspection on a lovely waterfront condo in Dunedin. Yes, it took over an hour’s drive to get there but oh, how gorgeous was the scenery once I arrived. By the way, the temperature was 74 degrees and sunny with a nice breeze. Not bad for December. Ah, life can be so good!! Thank you.

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One of my favorite holiday things to do is to watch the lighted boat parades. When I lived in Annapolis, Maryland we usually needed to bundle up in heavy coats, scarves, gloves & hats and we NEEDED hot chocolate or hot toddies to keep our insides warm. We would also grill a favorite Chesapeake Bay treat- oysters on the half shell. It would take hours for us to thaw out afterwards but, oh, it was so worth it. I have to admit, however, that it didn’t take me long to adapt to the warmer viewing weather here in St Petersburg, Florida. It is very nice to be able to wear my holiday flip-flops while watching the boats parade by. The light displays can be a bit different here-Santa in hammock under 2 palm trees, flamingoes pulling Santa’s sleigh, palm trees instead of the traditional pine trees and Santa in a Hawaiian shirt & sunglasses. You get the idea. There are still some of the traditional light displays like angels blowing trumpets, three wise men and Rudolph. I absolutely love how creative and beautiful the boats look.

Here are some of the boat parades being held here in the St Petersburg, Florida area this December. Please check each the website for each community for the parade routes & any changes.

And don’t forget the St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show is this weekend.  The 38th Annual St. Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show, the largest boat show on the Gulf Coast, is set to sail into the Duke Energy Center for the Arts Mahaffey Theater Yacht Basin and Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg, Fla., from Thursday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. The show will feature an impressive selection of power boats and sailboats in water and on land, including a 40,000-square-foot clearspan tent housing all types of marine gear. www.showmanagement.com  St Pete Rotator 2014

St. Pete Beach Boat Parade is on Friday, December 4, 2015 at 6:00pm. The boat parade starts at 6 p.m. at the Blind Pass Bridge and heads south to the Bayway Bridge.

Dunedin Holiday Boat Parade and Tree Lighting-Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 6:00pm. Decorated boats will travel south down the Intracoastal Waterway to the Dunedin Marina. Santa arrives on the last boat to light the city’s large Christmas tree in Edgewater Park.

Gulfport Lighted Christmas Boat Parade-Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 6:00pm. Members of the Boca Ciega Yacht Club decorate their sail and power boats for this 30th annual holiday water parade. Best viewing spots include: Osgood Point, Gulfport Municipal Marina, Williams Pier, along Gulfport Beach, Town Shores, Pelican Bay, Kipps Colony, Pasadena Yacht and Country Club and Isla del Sol.

St. Pete Illuminated Boat Parade-Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 6:00pm. Twinkling boats of all makes and sizes parade along the downtown waterfront area. Plenty of viewing spaces are available along the Vinoy Basin sea wall, at Demens Landing and on the Pier approach.

Island Estates Yacht Club Holiday Boat Parade,Clearwater-Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 6:30pm. For the 41st year, decorated boats assemble in Mandalay Channel and head to Coachman Park, under the Memorial Causeway Bridge and to the Clearwater Yacht Club’s judging stand. Prizes awarded for best decorated boats.

Madeira Beach Holiday Boat Parade-Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 6:30pm. Gates open at 4 p.m. with family-friendly activities. Bring something to sit on and enjoy live music before decorated boats leave John’s Pass at 6:30 p.m.and pass through the Intracoastal Waterway and canals before ending at the park. Fireworks light up the sky after the boat parade, about 10 p.m.

Treasure Island Lighted Boat Parade-Saturday, December 19, 2015 at 6:00pm. More than 40 decorated boats participate in this annual “Las Vegas on Water” themed parade. Starts at The Club, goes through the Treasure Island Bridge into Boca Ciega Bay and follows the coast line to end at John’s Pass.

Redington Beach-Indian Shores Lighted Boat Parade-Sunday,  December 20, 2015 at 6:00pm. This year’s parade starts on the north side of the Tom Stuart Causeway and ends at the Pub restaurant for an awards ceremony and party.

 

The twelfth annual Festival of Speed is being held this weekend, March 6th-8th 2015 in the St Petersburg Tampa Bay area.

It starts with the Festival of Speed Luxury Lifestyle Reception on Friday, March 6th at 8pm at the Tampa Bay Automobile Museum, 3301 Gateway Centre Blvd. , Pinellas Park, Florida. General Admission Tickets  are $125..

The reception is inside of an aircraft hangar and includes a huge display of vintage and contemporary aircraft, exotic cars, custom motorcycles, high performance boats and luxury lifestyle product displays of the finer things in life including colorful jewels, unique timepieces, fashion, collectable artwork, automotive accessories and much more . It includes premium brands open bar, themed food stations, live band playing smooth jazz, gift bag, event poster, live music and auctions to benefit Pediatric Cancer Foundation..

The next event is on Saturday, March 7th from 6:00-9:00pm with  “Meet the Artist” while enjoying Cocktails & Light Hors d’oeuvres at The Gallery.
The Gallery is located at One Progress Plaza. 200 Central Ave, Suite 111. St. Petersburg. General Admission tickets are $35.00.
Meet the Official Automotive Artist of the Detroit Auto Show Timothy Raines
It includes premium brands open bar and light passed hors d’ouvres and is limited to the first 100 people
To purchase, email Summer at Summer@festivalsofspeed.com

And finally, wrap up the weekend with the Festivals of Speed Display of Exotics at Vinoy Park, Downtown St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 8th 2015 10:00-4:00pm. General admission tickets are $20.00 with kids 12 and under  free. There also VIP ticket at $100.00, which includes a VIP Patron badge, premium brands open bar all day, lunch, VIP gift bag, and an event poster.

Both vintage and contemporary vehicles of all makes and models, the world’s most exotic supercars, custom motorcycles, watercraft, and countless other unique and exciting vehicles will be on display. The park location is in a beautiful setting overlooking the bay where attendees can enjoy on cafes serving the finest culinary foods & beverages, VIP Cafes, smooth jazz , rare wine & spirit tastings, a cigar lounge, Fashion shows and much more. Cartier, Opus One, Rolex, Ruggie Wealth Management, Tag Heuer, Tiffany &Co., Hublot, Breitling and many others will be there.

 

Should be a great weekend. Weather should be sunny & around 72-78 degrees.

 

 

 

 

The Luxury Living and Lifestyle Expo is being held downtown St Petersburg, Florida on February 21-22, 2015 from 10am-5pm .  Located at South Straub Park across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts and the St Pete Yacht Club, this expo will have experts and specialists in various fields displaying the “finer things in life.”

“The Luxury Living and Lifestyle Expo is a unique event that will offer a tapestry of products and services for those who hold luxury living not merely as an abstract concept, rather as a fundamental reality of life. Against the backdrop of downtown St Petersburg’s beautiful waterfront, you will have the opportunity to submerge yourself in the luxurious world of yachts, airplanes, luxury automobiles and collectables. For those with a palette for the cutting edge of the arts, will be showcased the finest selection of classic and contemporary art, fashion and design, jewelry, wines, cigars, watches, and home decor. The event will encompass all this – and so much more.” (quoted from the luxlivingexpo.com website)

You will find ideas, products and services to enrich your living and lifestyle. Sponsored by Dimmitt Automotive Group, Rolls Royce and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance.

South Straub Park is located on Beach Drive, downtown St Petersburg, with 7.3 acres right on the waterfront.  Downtown St Pete has galleries, museums, including The Dali & Chihuly, restaurants, music venues, brew pubs, shops, marinas, a yacht club, an airport, sports and over 100 parks including dog parks and much more.

St Petersburg Marina 1

St Petersburg Marina 1

The town of Safety Harbor is a secret little hideaway known as the Jewel of Tampa Bay. Safety Harbor is neighbored by the major city of Clearwater, Florida. This beautiful quaint community of 17,000 people boasts a famous spa resort, distinctive shops and offers a variety of family fun and year round special events. There is definitely something for everyone, from beautiful parks rich with historical significance and nature’s artwork to cultural events and award winning restaurants for the cosmopolitan visitor.

With a first look at the renderings, you will know that there is something really special surrounding Harbor Place and this entire project of 41 units. Having the ability to exit the building elevator and be within a block of the downtown area is a dream come true! Poised on a slight bluff, the views of Old Tampa Bay and the surrounding area are breathtaking. For those that enjoy the outdoors, Safety Harbor offers the East/West Trail, the ability to bike or walk along the waterfront, the marina area where you can catch a glimpse of Manatees or simply watch the fishermen at the Marina Park Fishing Pier.

These condo homes offer spacious balconies where you can catch the magic of the lights of Tampa in the distance with the water glistening in the forefront. The security of a keyless entry into the building and the gated underground parking enhances the glorious floor plans available with main living areas and a Master Suite offering views of the water and skyline. With a minimum of over 1800 sq. ft. and the largest Penthouse at a maximum of 3400 sq. ft., there is a size for any need. And of course, the pool offers more picturesque views. If needed, there is even a work-out room, bike storage, and storage closets for each unit. Only 20 minutes to the airport and 30 minutes to the beaches make this location ideal.

Harbor Place Amenities include:
  • Panoramic Views from Each Residence
  • Granite Countertops
  • Gourmet Kitchens
  • Custom Cabinetry
  • Covered Private Balcony’s
  • All Concrete Building
  • State of the Art Impact Glass on all Windows
  • Keyless Entryway to Lobby
  • Spacious Halls and Entryways
  • Private Storage for each Residence
  • Gated Garages
  • 2 Covered Parking Spots for each resident
  • Resident Work Out Center
  • Refreshing Swimming Pool & Sun Deck
  • Outdoor BBQ Grills- ideal for social gatherings
  • Shops & Restaurants
  • Steps to the Pier and Marina
  • Walking Distance to Bayshore’s Bike and Walking Trails
  • Low Maintenance Fee
  • Close to Highways & Tampa International

Pre-construction pricing starting at $539,900.   From http://www.worldpropertyjournal.com

If you are interested in purchasing a new condo, please contact me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

This post is a good list to start with when purchasing a home near the water. Of course, you will have other concerns that are specific to your needs and the area in which you wish to purchase. Let me know if you would like more information. Thank so much. Annalisa

By Shannon Petrie, FrontDoor.com

Evaluate your lifestyle and needs to find that perfect place by the water.

With any home purchase, it’s important to figure out exactly what you want and need in a home to make smart decisions. But a waterfront home is not just any home. Special considerations need to be taken to ensure that your property will suit your lifestyle and let you enjoy the activities you love. Use this primer to help you get on the right track to buying your dream waterfront home.

Step 1: Determining Your Needs

“This is probably the most critical part of looking for waterfront property,” says Ramara Garrett, in Daytona Beach, Fla.

When potential waterfront homebuyers come to Garrett, the first step she takes is finding out how they want to use the property. “The most important thing is determining what their passions are, what they care about, and what their priorities are when it comes to waterfront living,” Garrett says. “From there, we can figure out what area they need to be in and focus in on specific properties.”

Start by asking yourself some questions to get a feel for your expectations of a waterfront property:

What types of activities do you enjoy?

This is a huge factor in choosing a waterfront property because you’ll want to choose a property that makes it easy for you to enjoy your favorite pastimes.

  • Boating. For avid boaters, the size of the boat becomes a crucial part of finding a waterfront property. “There are a lot of properties that you can’t put a large boat behind, or accessing that property is not feasible because of the river depth, oyster beds or tides,” Garrett says.
  • Fishing. Fishermen will want to stick to properties with easy access to the water. For a wider variety of fish, buyers should also look for deep bodies of water that support cold water fisheries.
  • Kayaking or canoeing. While large, active bodies of water are a good fit for many boaters, some buyers may be looking for a more intimate waterfront experience. “If they want to go kayaking and canoeing and commune with nature, they would hate being on a big, busy lake with jet skis and all that stuff,” says Tom Ferent, broker of Mr. Lakefront, which specializes in lakefront properties in Maine.

How often do you plan to be there?

Some properties aren’t meant for year-round use. In rural Maine, for instance, seasonal homes called “camps” are great from mid-spring to mid-fall, but often lack proper insulation, central heat or a year-round water source, making them unsuitable for winter use.

In Florida, Garrett finds that most buyers looking for a seasonal home prefer oceanfront homes over intercoastal homes. “It’s something they can bring their family to and enjoy as a family getaway,” Garrett says.

What other lifestyle needs do you have?

Besides allowing you to enjoy the activities you love, your waterfront property should meet any other needs you have as well. If you have medical needs, be sure your property is convenient to a hospital. If you travel often on business, limit your search to properties within an hour of an airport. This is a good way for families to find compromise: if one person loves the lake and another loves the ocean, buying a lakefront property near the ocean will make everyone happy.

Step 2: Scoping Out Properties

As with any other real estate purchase, the old adage holds true: location, location, location. After determining your needs in a waterfront home, it’s important to visit different areas and see what feels right to you.

“As much as owning a waterfront home is great, you’re still in a community, and you have to love the community as well,” Garrett says.

Once you focus on an area and start looking at specific properties, the most important thing to remember is to put your emphasis on the property rather than the house.

“If you’re buying a normal house, the real value is in the house, not the land,” Garrett says. “With waterfront properties, almost your entire value is in the land.”

Not all waterfront properties are equal; certain attributes make some waterfront properties more valuable than others. When helping clients shop for lakefront homes in Maine, Ferent ranks properties on a 50-point scale, giving a maximum 10-point value to each of five attributes he considers most important in lakefront homes:

  1. Sandy beach. A sandy beach equals a more pleasant lakefront experience for the whole family. “If they have young kids in the family, they want the toddlers playing in the sand,” Ferent says. “If they have seniors in the family, it’s easier to enter the water.” This is a rare quality of lakefront properties in Maine, making it especially valuable.
  2. View. This attribute lets you enjoy your waterfront property as you get older and become less active in the water. “It’s sure nice to be able to sit back in an Adirondack chair with a beer and look at the setting sun over the mountains,” Ferent says.
  3. Level lot. The flatter the lot the better; it makes access to the water easier. “Some lakefront lots are steep, and as we get older, it gets difficult to get up and down to the lake,” Ferent says, “All of a sudden they don’t want to go to the lake anymore because it’s difficult for them to get down to the water.”
  4. Proximity to water. Since 1990, all waterfront properties in Maine must be built at least 100 feet from the water, but homes that are closer to the water allow you to be closer to wildlife and to keep an eye on your kids from your home.
  5. Privacy. This often corresponds to the amount of lake frontage the property has. Some lakefront properties have as little as 50 feet of frontage, which offer very little privacy. “One hundred feet starts to give you some privacy, while 150-200 feet gives you wonderful privacy from your neighbors,” Ferent says.

Very few properties earn a perfect score on the scale, Ferent says, but homebuyers should seriously consider properties that rank high in these five attributes.

Depending on the area and the type of waterfront property you buy, other issues will present themselves in your search. In rural areas, for instance, you’ll have to make sure you have access to utilities, roads and an adequate septic system. Don’t just assume these things will be available. For oceanfront properties, it’s often best to buy a property that already has a seawall and a dock, as obtaining permission to build these structures can be difficult.

With all of the considerations that go into buying a waterfront home, having a real estate agent who specializes in waterfront properties in your area is crucial. Your agent can help you sort through the complex issues and get you on the right track to finding the right waterfront home.

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566
AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

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