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There is always a special kind of excitement in the weeks leading up to the race. Our city’s streets are turned into a 1.8 mile racetrack along the waterfront. The track has 14 turns and goes past the Dali Museum, Mahaffey Theatre, around Pioneer Park, along the waterfront past the St Petersburg Harbor & Marina and onto the runways of Albert Whitted Airport. The races include Verizon IndyCar Series, Pirelli World Challenge, Speed Energy Stadium Super Trucks, Indy Lights & Pro Mazda. It has been fun to walk down the middle of the downtown city streets with partial track walls closing in on both streets. I have lived here for 11 years now & I still find all of this so cool.

People come from all over the world to see this race. Some watch from the track stands, others watch from their boats, and some watch from their condos balconies. Of course, it will also be shown on national TV. I will go into the grounds on Friday where one can see the cars up close & sometimes even meet the drivers before or after their practice & qualifying runs.  On Sunday, I will be on the top floor of my parents’ condo building watching with great glee as the race speeds past the building on 2 sides with 2 hairpin turns. Yes, it IS noisy but oh, so awesome!

You can purchase tickets & get more info at  http://gpstpete.com/  in advance or at the gate.

Willkommen – Please join us for our February 15th International Marketing session at PRO. Norma Brenne Henning, Honorary Consul of the Federal Republic of Germany is our speaker. It is FREE but YOU MUST REGISTER on PRO website. Vielen Dank.

Are you a REALTOR who deals with international real estate and want to build “global” business skills? Then you need to attend this class!

Please join us on Thursday, February 2nd from 8:30 to noon.

You will learn from two international real estate experts on these subjects:

1. Opportunities for International Networking and Marketing Properties – Tami Simms, Coastal Property Group
* Understanding the importance of international buyers
* Resources for networking with international agents
* Where to market internationally
* How to market properties effectively to international buyers

2. Working with International Buyers and Sellers with a focus on the Asian market – Jiayin Liao, Bailey Glasser Law Firm
* Learn how to help Asians realize their dreams of a cross-border lifestyle
* Learn how to keep up with the latest information on both sides of the border and work together to determine the best course of action
* Become familiar with cross-border issues whether they are related to language, culture, law or just plain common sense.

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The 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship is being held tonight in Tampa. It looks like a repeat of last year’s game the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers.

Time: Monday, January 9th at 8 p.m. ET

Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Thousands of fans started arriving last week. According to the news last week 15 of the top hotels in the Tampa Bay area-including St Petersburg & Clearwater Beach-were completely sold out with many other area hotels filled too. The fans aren’t just college kids. Alum of all ages have been arriving from all over the country too. Raymond James Stadium is expecting more than 50, 000 people to attend the game tonight.

The festivities started on Friday with Fan Day where you had the chance to meet the players & coaches. Saturday was the beach competition with football and special appearances by both championship team bands and cheerleaders.

 

Yesterday there was a concert with Jay Pharoah introducing the bands-Jamie N Commons, Gavin DeGraw & Usher. Nice line up.

 

 

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.

 

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  Here is an overview of how our area is performing.
The single family homes real estate markets in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco Counties are still looking very strong after the third quarter of 2016. Higher median sales prices, more closed sales, and faster time to contract are all good news for sellers.
Inventory has shrunk year-over-year for the second quarter. Median Days to Contract is down in the Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco markets, reflecting the short amount of time a home is on the market between being listed and being sold. All of this means fewer homes to choose from and a likelihood of more competition between buyers.
As your local Realtor® and Neighborhood Advocate, I am your resource for data that affects our communities and your property value. Homeownership affordability and accessibility is a cornerstone of the Realtor® advocacy efforts at every level – local, state and national.
Here are some highlights from the Florida Realtors® Quarter 3 2016 Statistics Release for the Single Family Home Market Segment:

  • Closed Sales: Slightly down for Pinellas County; up for Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 3 2016 from Quarter 3 2015. This statistic is a good indicator of the overall health of the market, and successful closed sales mean a win-win for both buyers and sellers.

o    Pinellas County: 3,709 Closed Sales Q3 2016 vs. 3,759 Closed Sales Q3 2015, a 1.3% decrease
o    Hillsborough County: 5,257 Closed Sales Q3 2016 vs. 4,928 Closed Sales Q3 2015, a 6.7% increase
o    Pasco County: 2,719 Closed Sales Q3 2016 vs. 2,648 Closed Sales Q3 2015, a 2.7% increase

  • Median Sale Price: Up for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 3 2016 from Quarter 3 2015. The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half the homes sold for less.

o    Pinellas County: $219,900 Median Sale Price Q3 2016 vs. $186,000 Median Sale Price Q3 2015, an 18.2% increase
o    Hillsborough County: $224,045 Median Sale Price Q3 2016 vs. $202,000 Median Sale Price Q3 2015, a 10.9% increase
o    Pasco County: $185,000 Median Sale Price Q3 2016 vs. $157,500 Median Sale Price Q3 2015, a 17.5% increase

  • Inventory (Active Listings): Down for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 3 2016 from Quarter 3 2015. When inventory is low, there are fewer houses on the market and buyers are often competing for homes or have a tougher time finding a home that suits their exact needs. Flexibility, planning and preparation are key to being able to make an offer on a home when you do find what you’re looking for.

o    Pinellas County: 3,857 Active Listings Q3 2016 vs. 3,952 Active Listings Q3 2015, down 2.4%
o    Hillsborough County: 5,113 Active Listings Q3 2016 vs. 5,251 Active Listings Q3 2015, down 2.6%
o    Pasco County: 2,518 Active Listings Q3 2016 vs. 2,905 Active Listings Q3 2015, down 13.3%

  • Median Days to Contract: Down for Pinellas County, Hillsborough County and Pasco County for Quarter 3 2016 from Quarter 3 2015. The midpoint of the number of days it took for a property to receive a sales contract during that time. The faster a home goes to contract, the less time it is on the market for sale. Another good indicator for sellers and a tool for buyers to understand how to reach their goals in a hot market.

o    Pinellas County: 27 Days Q3 2016 vs. 32 Days Q3 2015, a 15.6% decrease
o    Hillsborough County: 29 Days Q3 2016 vs. 39 Days Q3 2015, a 25.6% decrease
o    Pasco County: 29 Days Q3 2016 vs. 43 Days Q3 2015, a 32.6% decrease

If you would like to discuss the market statistics further, or would like me to keep you informed, I would welcome the opportunity to provide monthly stats for you. Please don’t hesitate to email me at AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com or call me at 727-804-6566 if I can be of service.

© 2016 Pinellas Realtor Organization

The Tall Ship Lynx, a modern interpretation of an 1812 American privateer, is scheduled to sail into St. Pete on Wednesday morning where it has found a permanent winter home.

The 110-foot ship is expected to come under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge with full sails sometime around 10 a.m. It will then head into the Vinoy Basin/North Yacht Basin, do a four-gun salute and make her way to Harborage Marina where she will berth until the seasonal dock is finalized right next to the ferry. They plan is to begin opening the boat up to the public for tours, sailing trips, and corporate events this weekend.

Lynx – America’s Privateer Trailer HD    https://youtu.be/LNWdRGAAjfM

The idea of offering the Lynx a permanent berth first came up during then-Mayor Bill Foster’s administration. But the idea never seemed to gel until recently, said Greg Holden, chair of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce. More recently, with the support of Council member Ed Montanari, Mayor Rick Kriseman, local businesses and others, the dream looks as if it might become reality.

“This is one of those five-year, overnight successes,” Holden said.

It’s an “amazing” opportunity for the city, he said. Having a tall ship in port is a draw for businesses and tourists. It’s also an attraction to help more people get out onto the water and to learn a bit of history.

The Lynx, he said, would harken back to the days of the Bounty, which was a reconstruction of the 1787 Royal Navy sailing ship HMS Bounty. The Bounty summered in New England and wintered in St. Pete, operating out of the Pier.

“There’s been an overwhelming amount of support” for having the Lynx use St. Petersburg as a permanent winter home, said Don Peacock, executive director of the Lynx Education Foundation. “We’re looking at this as a long-term program.”

The Lynx was built as a hands-on educational tool to teach American history. When she was in St. Petersburg last winter, Peacock said the crew worked with recreational centers in south St. Petersburg and with Admiral Farragut Academy. Kids from both sailed on the ship for a day while they learned how to sail her the way she was sailed in 1812 when the original Lynx went to sea.

“It’s all done by hand,” Peacock said.

Peacock said the Lynx would like to expand its outreach to more schools and recreational centers this year.

The Lynx and its educational programs are run by a non-partisan, nonprofit organization. The funding comes from donations and from the fees that corporations and members of the public pay to go on sails or to rent the Lynx for events.

The Lynx is an interpretation of an 1812 vessel of the same name that was one of the first privateers to take to the seas after the start of the War of 1812. A privateer was used to prey on British merchant vessels. Although the Lynx was designed like a privateer, she was outfitted for trade so she could help keep supply lines open for the Americans during the war. She was captured about a year into the war and saw service as a Royal Navy vessel called the Mosquidobit. In the late 1990s, the modern Lynx was built to the plans of the original.

http://tallshiplynx.com/history/     and Anne Lindberg at  http://saintpetersblog.com/tall-ship-lynx-dock-st-pete-permanently/

 

VETERANS DAY AT THE FLORIDA AQUARIUM  Friday, November 11, 2016

Florida Aquarium, 701 CHANNELSIDE DRIVE, TAMPA

All Veterans, active duty or drilling reservist or National Guard members and dependents get one free ticket to the aquarium. Additional guests (up to 4 people) get $15 general admission.$24.95, $22.95 seniors, $19.95 ages 3-12, 2 and younger free. Prices may be less if you buy them online at the aquarium’s site.

 

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Ribfest St Pete 2016-November 11th, 12th, and 13th, 2016

Three day charity fundraiser helps a variety of youth oriented causes.  Ribfest features the best BBQ ribbers in the world, national touring bands playing classic & southern rock & country hits including Huey Lewis and the News, The Doobie Brothers and Chris Young,Millennials, Greg Billings Band . On Saturday & Sunday there are fun activities for kids – in the Family Fun Zone Hosted by Great Explorations Children’s Museum. Gates open at 11am daily. Vinoy Park,  701 Bayshore Drive NE, St. Petersburg, Florida  for more info:  http://ribfest.org/

DUNEDIN WINE AND ART WALK-Friday, November 11, 2016 5:30pm

Pioneer Park-MAIN ST AND DOUGLAS AVE, Dunedin, Florida

Celebrate the second Friday of the month with art exhibits, wine tastings, food samples, live entertainment and a drawing. $10 wristbands to get discounts and be eligible for prize drawing (valued at $150 or more).  http://2ndFridayDunedin.com/

AN EVENING WITH DAN RATHER-Friday, November 11, 2016 6:00pm

Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront, 333 FIRST ST. S, St Petersburg, FL

One of America’s best known journalists shares his insights on the current state of the media. $100.

Great Explorations Children’s Museum Friday, November 11, 2016 6:00pm

CARCASS AND DEAFHEAVEN  Friday, November 11, 2016 7:00pm

State Theatre, 687 CENTRAL AVE., St Pete, The late ’80s Liverpool metal band co-headline a tour with the San Francisco rockers along with opener, Inter Arma. $26-$27.

ST. PETE SWING SUMMIT-Friday, November 11, 2016 7:00pm

Hip Expression Studio, 2033 54TH AVE N, St. Petersburg

Three rooms of dancing with a different style of music in each room. Includes a drop in beginner Lindy Hop lesson and a progressive intermediate Lindy Hop lesson. $10.

TARTUFFE-Friday, November 11, 2016 8:00pm

American Stage Theatre Company at Raymond James Theater, 163 Third. N, St Petersburg

Moliere’s classic tale follows a wealthy businessman who entrusts his fortune to a con man posing as a political leader. $39-$49.

DUNEDIN WINES THE BLUES FESTIVAL -Saturday, November 12, 2016 1:00pm

Learn about Venezuela on October 19 from 3:00 to 4:30 at the Pinellas International Council Marketing session at Pinellas Realtor Organization Thank you Ana Maria Tague for sharing your time, knowledge and experience with us!

 

I think that the best way to savour the flavors of Cuba is, like I did last summer, to visit Cuba with Cuban friends & family! But if you can’t travel to Cuba, this article I came across tells you where to get the delicious tastes of Cuba locally. ¡Disfruta tu comida! Annalisa

You don’t have to be Cuban to enjoy what their cuisine has to offer. Whether you opt for the traditional Cuban sandwich, the popular mojo pork, the necessary black beans and rice, ropa vieja and other tasty staples such as the decadent pastelitos, you can’t go wrong.

By Michelle da Silva Richmond  http://www.10best.com/destinations/florida/st.-petersburg/restaurants/cuban/

Havana Harry’s takes choices to a new level with fresh ingredients and a host of tempting choices, while old favorites such as The Floridian have been winning awards – and tempting palates – with a host of sandwiches and sides since they opened in 1993. Another favorite is Tangelo’s Grille where you can pick up an array of tasty brunch options along with Cuban staples.

A not-to-be-missed hole-in-the-wall favorite is Barracuda where you’ll find an array of selections including sweet cakes and pastries. Downtown St Pete is where you’ll find the ever – popular Bodega, which has been dishing up favorites to locals and visitors alike since 2013.

Then, of course, Columbia restaurants, in several locations are always a top choice.

Caribbean Café
Located in a small strip on Central Ave. the Caribbean Café offers tasty Cuban fare, while providing a pleasant break from the outside world. The soothing décor is the perfect backdrop for the specialties served there. As you might expect, the Cuban sandwich with the typical fixings is a popular choice, as is the Cuban pork and cheese sandwich, but you’ll also find an ample selection of lighter salads, soup, crab cakes and more. Dessert offerings include flan – plain and coconut – vanilla custard with caramel sauce and tasty cookies. Ask Jimmy, the owner for menu suggestions as well as their history.

The Floridian
The awards lining the walls are testament to their tasty cuisine, but the real proof comes when you sink your teeth into their award-winning Cuban sandwich. Loaded with ham, spiced pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, dill pickle, mustard and a tasty mayo mix on pressed Cuban bread, it’s a great choice. The Floridian has been serving palate-pleasing cuisine to locals since 1993, offering a varied array of favorites that includes black beans and yellow rice, Cuban toast, spiced pork sandwiches and more. You’ll also find tasty guava and cheese pastries for dessert. For special occasions, you can’t go wrong with their party trays and a selection of Cuban finger sandwiches.

Tangelo’s Grille
Located in one of the area’s most charming areas, Tangelo’s has dished up a wide selection of Cuban fare since it first opened in downtown St Petersburg in 1987. It’s also one of the few places in the area where you can get brunch on weekends. Leading the list of favorites are the porky Cuban and TG Cuban sandwiches. The chicken mojo is another winner as are the TG coconut curry rice bowls. For dinner, roasted Cuban style pork is a crowd pleaser. Desserts offer key lime, peanut butter and Mounds coconut cream pies. For brunch, tacos, sandwiches and nachos lead the list along with the island custard French toast, which features cream cheese and guava. You can also get American classics such as eggs and waffles along with an assortment of coffees, mimosas and sangrias. (7278941695)

  • Order Online

Havana Harry’s Market 2
This newest addition to Havana Harry’s just opened in July 2016 a few miles from the original and is already drawing rave reviews. The underlying theme here is “family,” and “fresh, healthy food.” This family-owned restaurant spares no detail when it comes to delivering tasty Cuban cuisine with all the trimmings. A perennial favorite is the Cuban sandwich with smoked ham, mojo pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, pickles, mayo and mustard. For lighter fare, try the 1904 Cuban tossed salad with lettuce, tomatoes, smoked ham, Swiss cheese, Spanish olives, asiago pepper, lemon and house dressing. Soups are also a hit including garbanzo or chicken and kale – all made from scratch. For special occasions, clients suggest ordering the whole salmon with raspberry chipotle dressing.

Tia’s Authentic Latin Food
This laid-back family-owned restaurant has been around for awhile and is a favorite with locals, as well as savvy tourists who crave authentic Latin American cuisine. The Cuban Reuben gets rave reviews with the addition of sauerkraut, instead of pickles to the mix. Empanadas also lead the list of top sellers. For dinner the slow roasted pernil (pork) roasted in garlic, mojo and home-made dressings is a sure winner. Daily specials and award-winning Cuban wine and beer add to the mix. For breakfast, there’s a selection of eggs, burritos, Cuban coffee and toast. Tia herself is usually on hand to greet customers.

Barracuda Deli Café
You might not expect a restaurant with such a name to be home to delicious Cuban and Mexican cuisine, but that’s just one of the pleasant surprises you’ll find at Barracuda. Tucked into the proverbial hole-in-the-wall on St Pete Beach, you’ll find an ample selection of pressed Cuban sandwiches, tacos, wraps and salads. Pork is marinated overnight and slowly cooked in a mojo sauce. The Best Cuban is a favorite as are the spicy pinto and black beans. On the lighter side you’ll find fresh salads and wraps. Side dishes include guacamole, chips and salsa and a freshly made soup of the day.

Columbia Restaurant – Sand Key
A Florida tradition – in various locations – since Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez Sr opened his first restaurant in 1905 in Tampa’s Ybor City, Columbia restaurants are still owned and operated by the family’s fourth and fifth generations. Daiquiris, mojitos, margaritas and sangrias pave the way to a varied dining experience which includes Cuban mainstays such as: black bean soup, gazpacho, Cuban sandwiches, mojo chicken and more. Chicken croquettes, stuffed piquillo peppers and pork roast a la Cubana are additional hits. Desserts including flan, mango mousse cake, churros, key lime pie and more are sure to satisfy the most discerning sweet tooth. (7275968400)

Bodega
It may not look like much, but this hole-in-the-wall walk-up eatery tucked into downtown St Petersburg’s Edge District is a “must” for anyone in search of fresh – and delicious – Cuban cuisine. Choose from a surprising selection of sandwiches, salads, sides and main dishes such as their legendary roasted pork (lechón) and coconut-marinated roasted chicken breast. The Miami-style Cuban sandwich features pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mayo on pressed Cuban bread. The popular pollo (chicken) sandwich features a coconut-marinated grilled breast with avocado, mango and jicama, adding a surprising crunch to the experience. Coffee selections include typical Cuban choices.

Habana Café

Visitors and locals alike rave about the old country Cuban cuisine you can treat yourself to at the Habana Café. Tucked into charming Gulfport, it’s a favorite with locals and tourists alike. Whether you select appetizers such as the tasty lechón asado, the drunken shrimp or go for mainstays such as the palomilla steak sandwich with grilled onions or the arroz con pollo – tender chicken cooked with Valencia rice in beer and wine, seasoned with fresh garlic, cumin, oregano, bell peppers and chopped onions – you can’t go wrong.The atmosphere is sheer Havana and the Latin music is a plus. (727-321-8855)

  • Order Online

Pipo’s Café
This family-owned St. Petersburg landmark has been consistently dishing up tasty Cuban fare since 1979, garnering top marks as one of the best in the area. Signature sandwiches such as palomilla steak – a tasty combination of grilled and breaded steak topped with parsley and grilled onions – or entrées such as mojo pollo – marinated chicken breast with onions, peppers and cilantro – are favorites. Desserts include the typical flan and arroz con leche. Breakfasts aren’t too shabby either with choices ranging from Cuban toast and guava pastries to a selection of tortillas (omelets) all served with fresh Cuban bread. (727-394-7476)

By Michelle da Silva Richmond  http://www.10best.com/destinations/florida/st.-petersburg/restaurants/cuban/

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

(727) 804-6566
AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com

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