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72% of vacation property owners and 71% of investment property owners believe now is a good time to buy. 33% bought their property in a beach area. Location, location, location!! We have some of the best beaches!! Plus we have music venues, a multitude of sports options, first rate museums, art venues, waterfront festivals, brew-pubs, incredible restaurants and much more!

Think St Petersburg, Florida; Clearwater Beach and the Tampa Bay Area!!

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Clearwater Beach has been named the #1 Beach in the U.S. and St. Pete Beach is #4 in TripAdvisor‘s 2016 list for Top 25 Beaches in the U.S.! Beautiful white sands located on the Gulf of Mexico…nice. Most of the beaches are found in Florida (10), California (5) and Hawaii (7). Ocean City, Maryland is also on the list.

Sunset2 (1930701)
  •                                     Clearwater Beach

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  • such a pretty view looking north from the pier
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  • Lovely beach (38508192)

 

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Clearwater Beach
Clearwater, Florida
  • The sugar fine white sand is a trademark of this fabulous beach. Perfect for a day in the sun. You might even spot a dolphin or two playing on the horizon.
Best time to go: Year-round
Looking north at St. Pete Beach (127948087)
  • Sunset over St. Pete (41714659)
  • Beach in the morning
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  • View of sunset from Jimmy B's on St. Pete beach (54021246)
  • Beautiful beach, so underrated, truly a gem.
Best time to go: Year-round
Read the whole article & see the other great beaches in the USA at    http://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Beaches-cTop-g191

For those of you that golf, you might appreciate this article I came across this morning from http://www.worldpropertychannel.com. Take a few minutes to go on “mind vacation” without leaving your desk. I’m surprised that Pebble Beach between Monterey and Carmel, California and none in Florida made the list.

Top 10 'Exotic' Golf Courses in the World

 

By Steve Winston | July 11, 2014 WorldPropertyChannel.com
I’m not a very good golfer. Yet, I probably spend more time on the links than just about any professional golfer in the world…because of the fact that I spend so much time in the rough, searching for my ball!

Nonetheless, I’ve been to some of the most beautiful – and “exotic” – golf courses in the world.  And here’s my list of the Top 10…

No. 10) OITAVOS DUNES, CASCAIS, PORTUGAL – The Algarve region gets more publicity. But the scenic village of Cascais, a lesser-known fishing village fast becoming a hideout for the International Set, also offers great golf. And plenty of natural beauty, too. Oitavos Dunes, a hotel/golf club, is in Sintra-Cascais Natural Park, with stunning vistas anywhere you look. And you’re close to both Lisbon, and to the scenic coastline, dotted with timeless villages.

No. 9) LOS SUENOS MARRIOTT OCEAN & GOLF RESORT, COSTA RICA – At the edge of a lush rainforest with several micro-climates, the La Iguana Course at the Marriott offers plenty of side-shows…among them monkeys, macaws, and, yes, iguanas. The par-72 course has a challenging Ted Robinson-designed layout, with panoramic views of the Pacific, along with stands of banana trees, orchids, and other exotic native plants. The Marriott itself is designed in Spanish-Colonial style. It offers six restaurants, and a very-cool network of pools connected by canals, bridges, islands…and swim-up bars.

No. 8) PUNTA ESPADA GOLF COURSE, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – If you stay at the luxurious Sanctuary Capcana you’ll have easy access to Punta Espada Golf Course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course right on the ocean. In fact, part of it is right in the ocean! One of the holes requires a 250-yard shot over the water…to a narrow green sticking out into the Caribbean! And if you like this course, stick around for a while – the Sanctuary Capcana’s building another Jack Nicklaus Signature Course.

No. 7) THE PORT ROYAL GOLF CLUB, HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SOUTH CAROLINA, USA – Hilton Head is a slice of Old South Carolina…a lush, tree-filled island where the natural beauty is everywhere, and sophisticated elegance is the standard. The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa is renowned for its Port Royal Golf Club, and it’s been named to the list of “Top 75 U.S. Golf Resorts” by Golf magazine. One of three 18-hole courses, the Robber’s Row Course is set atop Civil War battlefields on the marsh side of this former plantation, and dotted with historical markers. For example, the embankments between holes No. 2 and No. 3 and No. 13 were dug as fortifications by Southern soldiers. (They didn’t do much good, though, as Union troops captured Hilton Head Island in just a few hours.)

No. 6) THE LINKS AT FANCOURT, SOUTH AFRICA – This golf resort is reminiscent of an old Victorian cottage – a very large old Victorian cottage – sticking out in the middle of the South African veldt and mountains. Its setting is breathtaking – there’s no other word to describe it. Once an airfield, The Links is located along South Africa’s Garden Route, and its grounds reflect that designation. One of three courses at the resort, The Links was designed by South African native son Gary Player…who still refers to this course as his greatest design achievement.

No. 5) KAURI CLIFFS-MATAURI BAY, NEW ZEALAND – Designed by David Harman, this par-72 championship course includes five sets of tees, which makes it extremely challenging even for the pros. Fifteen holes overlook the Pacific Ocean…six of which are played alongside cliffs plunging sharply into a turbulent sea below. And the three inland holes wind through farmland, marsh, and forest…making it even more difficult to concentrate on the course when there’s so much natural beauty around!

No. 4) CABO DEL SOL GOLF COURSE, HILTON LOS CABOS BEACH & GOLF RESORT, CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO – The Cabo San Lucas peninsula, sticking out from the bottom of California, is a different side of Mexico, filled with scenic villages, seaside underground caves, and enormous, striking rock structures buttressing the sea. Guests at the Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, alongside the Sea of Cortez, have access to Cabo Del Sol Golf Course, a Jack Nicklaus Signature design carved into 1.5 miles of craggy rock outcroppings on the coast. The course features mountainous terrain, tees atop mesas, and holes right along the beach, and two holes – the 5th and 17th – are considered among the world’s best. Jack Nicklaus himself has called Cabo Del Sol Golf Course the best course he’s ever seen.

No. 3) THE COEUR D’ALENE RESORT, COEUR D’ALENE, IDAHO, USA – When you play here, you’re playing on a challenging, 6,800-yard course with views of beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene – and the forested mountains climbing up from its shores – from every hole. And you’re also playing the most unusual golf hole in America. The 14th hole at the Coeur d’Alene Resort is the only floating green in the world. That’s right – it sits right in the lake! Not only that, but it can actually be moved, and it can also be made larger or smaller…all by computer. You’ll approach it in a classic mahogany boat called “Putter.” And, after you leave the course and it shuts down for the evening, some divers will approach the 14th hole, too, to attempt to retrieve some of the 35,000 balls that end up in the lake very year!

No. 2) BAHIA BEACH GOLF CLUB, ST. REGIS BAHIA BEACH RESORT, PUERTO RICO – It’s hard to think of a lusher topical setting than this one. The Bahia Beach Golf Club is situated on a former coconut plantation at the foot of El Yunque rainforest. It boasts a scenic 7,014-yard layout enveloping 80 acres of saltwater lagoons, with the mountainous Rainforest in the background. Fifteen of the 18 holes have water features, and the course weaves around lagoons before emerging onto the coast for holes 16-18. The course is recognized as a certified Silver Signature Sanctuary by Audubon International. And the resort offers hiking trails through a 483-acre nature reserve. Oh, and one other tidbit – the course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr.

And now, my personal favorite for the Top “Exotic” Golf Course on Earth (What’s yours?)…

No. 1) THE BROADMOOR RESORT, COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, USA – The Broadmoor is one of America’s greatest resorts, surrounded by the magnificent peaks of the Colorado Rockies. Sitting at an altitude of 6,230 feet, it’s this year’s winner of Golf magazine’s award of “No. 1 Golf Resort in North America.” And its Mountain Course – one of three championship courses here – was designed by two of the immortals, originally by Arnold Palmer, and re-designed by Jack Nicklaus in 2006. It’s considered one of the most scenic – and challenging – in the world. On this course, you’ll have close-up views of 10,000′ Cheyenne Mountain, and of the legendary Pike’s Peak (14,110′, and the inspiration for the song “America the Beautiful”), on which – if you’d like a closer look – you can take a ride on the cog railway to the top, for some hot donuts, and a 360-degree panorama offering views into seven states!

I know golf is a very-personal game (even if, like me, you spend most of your time searching for your ball!). And everyone has his/her own favorite course. So let the debate begin! We welcome your comments!

`

for more see: http://www.worldpropertychannel.com

mexican-dancers

Flickr/haveclipperswilltravel

A quarter, or 23%, of travelers from around the world never tip while on vacation, according to a new Expedia survey of 11,165 people across five continents. When to tip and how much to tip are topics of endless conversation, especially when visiting a new country and learning about the customs of the new destination.

The chart below shows which percentage of vacationers from each country indicated that they tip service providers while on holiday

Travelers Who Tip The Most Infographic

Travelers Who Tip The Most Infographic
Skift

Food servers are the most likely to receive a tip with 50 percent of respondents claiming that they typically tip in a restaurant.

Hotel staff were less likely to receive with approximately 36 percent of respondents stating that they tip for maid service, room service delivery and bellhops.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/mexican-travelers-tip-the-most-2014-6#ixzz34MWCl5FP

Brightly costumed dolls representing Japan and Mexico in scenery from their lands at 'it’s a small world'

If you have ever visited Disneyland or Disney World, then chances are you have heard “It’s A Small World”. When you take the 12-15 minute ride in the little boats that meander throughout the various lands, you hear it many times & in many languages. In my case, I have been stuck in that attraction several times with my daughters in both Florida & in California. It was their favorite ride so we rode it as many times as we could possibly fit in each visit. The more you ride, the more likely you are to get stuck.  One of the fastest way to drive this mother crazy.

Fast forward 15 years and I have just purchased a new phone. My youngest daughter is helping me set up this new phone but with a few surprises unknown to me. Teenagers are so clever, aren’t they? So the first time of my daughters called me, the new phone rings with, can you guess? Yes, “It’s a Small World”!! They thought that it would drive me crazy-a short drive these days, I admit. That was 2 years ago & their little surprise has backfired because I love it. That song lets me know that it is one of my wonderful daughters calling. It brings a smile to my face every time and brings back some incredibly fun memories. It’s a blessing & a curse. LOL   SO thanks, my wee one! Or should I say Merci, Muchas gracias, Vielen Dank, Σας ευχαριστώ, Grazie, 感谢您, Takk, ありがとうございました。, Obrigado, Go raibh maith agat?

It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears. It’s a world of hopes and a world of fears. There’s so much we share…and a smile means friendship to everyone

To watch the video:  http://youtu.be/weZrqrN9Jp0

Written by brothers Richard and Robert Sherman

It’s a small world after all.

It’s a small world after all.

It’s a small world after all.

It’s a small, small world.  Thank you, Mr. Disney!

Walt Disney

 

 

10Best.com (a division of USA TODAY)
readerschoice-Clearwateraquarium

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium was voted best attraction in Florida by 10Best.com and USA TODAY readers.(Photo: Courtesy Visit St. Pete/Clearwater)

After four weeks of voting in 10Best.com’s Readers’ Choice contest, your votes helped identify the “Best Florida Attraction.” The winners are:

1. Clearwater Marine Aquarium

2. The Ringling – Sarasota

3. Everglades Holiday Park – Ft. Lauderdale

4. Discovery Cove – Orlando

5. Magic Kingdom – Orlando

6. St. Augustine Historic District

7. Seashells of Sanibel Island

8. Salvador Dali Museum – St. Petersburg

9. Castillo de San Marcos – St. Augustine

10. Beaches of Daytona Beach

10Best and USA TODAY congratulate the winners! A new Readers’ Choice contest category launches each week. Vote for Best Classic Cocktail and see previous winners and vote in all underway contests at 10best.com/awards/travel/.

Canadian flag  Flag_of_Florida

Yes! Canadians are still moving to warm weather destinations in the United States to buy or rent second homes. Florida attracts 40 per cent of Canadians, according to a 2013 survey by the National Association of Realtors. NAR data show that 86 per cent of Canadian buyers paid cash, with 47 per cent buying in small towns and resort areas and 41 per cent in suburban communities.

We welcome you to the St Pete-Clearwater-Tampa Bay area with open arms!

St. Pete Beach in historic Pass-a-Grille has been listed as the 15th best beach in the U.S by TripAdvisor.  We can’t blame them.  Whether you want to watch the sunset with a signature cocktail on the roof at The Hurricane Bar, grab a sugar cone with a scoop of vanilla at Paradise Sweets or the pulled pork special with a cola at Shaner’s, Pass-a-Grille has something to offer every beach enthusiast.  With over 30 vacation rentals, 30 hotels and 7 B&B/Inns, there’s room for every one to get stuck in the amber of this white sand utopia.
Not too far from the sands of the ‘Burg is Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde toppling the list at number 4!  With a well shaded picnic area, free parking and pavillion space for large group gatherings, Fort De Soto accommodates all of your getaway desires. While the secret may not be well kept about this sand and grass destination, it still offers a harmonious experience away from the rumble of city traffic and intene tourism.  The beach isn’t without its history. The Fort still harbors 2 of the original canons that defended the coast with a side room that acts as a museum with photographs from when The Fort was operational.
When you are in the St. Pete area, you’re never too far from paradise.
Photo via @harlanyoung Photo via Visit St. Pete/Clearwater – See more at: http://downtownstpete.ilovetheburg.com/article/St-Pete-Beaches-Rank-Among-the-Best-in-the-Country/4328#sthash.E2SD2Fel.dpuf

Is your home ready for holiday visits from your friends and family? Here are a few tips that might help you to prepare.

Some preparations take only a few minutes, while some others may take longer. My advice is to start preparing your home for the holidays now, even if it is only 5 minutes here and there. It really does help.

First thing is to declutter the public rooms and guest room (if you have one) — foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room. Remove anything unnecessary from countertops, dining table, coffee tables, and bathroom counters. Do you really need 10 pillows and a blanket on the couch right now?

I have to admit that I have from time to time hidden my “mess” in my car, the garage, the basement and behind clothes in the closets where family & friends should not be looking. Shopping bags, baskets & suitcases work well. You can take your time going through things later after your guests leave.

The first thing guests see, of course, is your walkway, front door and foyer/entryway so it might be a good place to spend a little extra time and effort there. Make that first impression count. So if you have time, you may want to give the front door a new coat of paint. Polish and tighten door hardware, and oil hinges to prevent squeaks. Add a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors & make guests feel welcome. Move your shoes, umbrellas, coats, etc. to another closet or the garage for the time being. Also be sure to replace any burned out light bulbs near the front door and elsewhere throughout the house and maybe add a few solar lights to the front walkway. Remember your family and friends may not be as familiar with your home as you are.

If small children will be visiting, you will need to look at your house through the eyes of someone that might be under 3 feet tall. See what might be enticing to them. Move all toxic cleaners, medicines, matches, breakables to higher out of sight areas. Maybe even ask the parents if they have any extra portable baby gates that they could bring with them. Check to see if any of your doors will need to be latched or propped open to prevent little fingers from being pinched. Have a few toys, books or projects for the kids to do that are age appropriate and something that they are not familiar with so it keeps their attention for a while and makes them feel special too.

Another important thing to ask your guests is whether they or their children have any allergies. In my family we have several generations with severe food allergies, so we always cook those dishes separately, if all, and have them clearly labeled.

As we all know, no matter how large or SMALL our kitchen is – that is where everyone tends to gather! Most people are willing to help with the holiday meals so have some step-stools and chairs nearby. Again, remove anything that is not necessary for prepping that meal or making those cookies & pies. Have brooms, extra sponges, & dish cloths available for your helpers. If children are visiting, find smaller versions of baking dishes, rolling pins and cleaning items so that they too can help.

Have paper towels, toilet paper, towels, and toiletries somewhere easily found by your guests. Even putting them in baskets on the bathroom counter or floor under the towel rack will help guests feel a bit more at home.

And please don’t forget the pets! Do they have any special needs or restrictions? Like don’t ever let Spike outside without a lease!!! or is Bandit really allowed to anything he wants?

Lastly, make sure that the batteries in your smoke detector batteries are new & working. Let each guest know where fire extinguishers are located and how to unlock windows and doors.

Hope that helps you a little to be able to relax and enjoy the holidays with family & friends. Do you have any other tips that might be useful? If so, please share.

St Petersburg, Florida is also known by its nickname of the “Sunshine City”. With an average of 361 days of sunshine a year, you just might have enough sunny days to participate in some of the wonderful things our area has to offer. A picture says a thousand words, but this short video will transport you to the “4th Most Beautiful City in the U.S.” in just two minutes and 39 seconds. Share with your family and friends and introduce them to beautiful St. Petersburg!
http://youtu.be/TOvYCiQjIGM

St. Petersburg, Florida:  Voted the #1 Arts Destination for Mid-Sized Cities by American Style Magazine (2010, 2011, & 2012), Best Communities for Young People, Top Ten Biking Community in the United States, Top Ten Community for Creative Class, 4th Largest City in Florida, Most Livable Downtown in the S.E., Anchors Florida High Tech Corridor, Old Northeast Ranked in Top Ten Old House Neighborhoods in the U.S. for 2012, Highest Concentration of Marine Science Businesses in the Southeast, Including the North American Headquarters and more!!

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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