SW Florida Events, Activities and Information

There are always things going on in and around SW Florida.  Check back here often for the latest news!

May 22, 2018

Ruskin Family Drive In Car and Truck Show

A Classic Night Out!

Last Saturday afternoon, Thunder Road Classic Car Club in conjunction with Lance's Cruizin' To The Hop productions hosted an exciting classic car and truck show at the Ruskin Family Drive In - one of the the last Drive In theaters around!  The field was shared by a variety of classics.  Over 40 attendees  braved the threat of rain and were treated to some fantastic examples of  Fords and Chevy's from the 40's, 50's  and current models.  Imagine how delighted enthusiasts were to see Chevy's from the 30's, 50's and 2013  parked next to each other! Many attendees were dressed in 50's attire so poodle skirts, saddle shoes, and slick back hair do's were everywhere.  Even Elvis made an appearance! 

And the event was for a good cause too!  All proceeds and donations were made to benefit the Food Bank of the Knights of Columbus of St. Joseph's Church in Bradenton.

We snapped close to 200 photos from the field before the rains came.  We are pleased to share these with you.  Just click this link to view the photos.


Posted in Events
May 17, 2018

How To Search For New Construction

We've Made Searching for New Construction Easier Than Ever!

We've added another new enhancement to our website to make looking for new home construction easier than ever! We have created a page which now includes a powerful capability to search for new construction homes and communities throughout SW Florida. This great feature is provided by Builders Update and includes homes offered by local, regional and national builders. The convenience of having this information at a single source will significantly reduce the time you invest in locating new home construction properties.

Best of all, the information is updated daily and signing up is entirely free of charge. To get started, just click on the "New Construction" link on the top of this page and start looking! And if you are interested in any of these properties, just give us a ring and we will be happy to set up a showing for you at the community of your choice. And be sure to share this page with your friends and family. So give it a try! We are sure you will like it!

May 17, 2018

Caffeine and Gasoline

Come and Enjoy Exotics, Muscle Cars and Everything in Between on a Saturday Morning!

If you’re looking for something different than the average cruise-in, then Caffeine and Gasoline (C&G) is the ticket. Known for attracting high-end rides, you can expect to see Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Porsches as well as tricked out Mercedes Benz AMGs, BMW M series, and Aston Martins.  C&G is not just for the British, German, or Italian super cars, but they also display a variety of Corvettes, Camaro's, and Chargers representing American muscle along with modified tuners.

Another novelty that sets C&G apart is that it’s held on a Saturday morning. Coffee and doughnuts are available free for participants to enjoy while they take in all of the automotive "eye candy".

Founder and organizer of Caffeine and Gasoline, Will Bean, started the concept of an early morning car show four years ago originally held at Phillipi Estate Park. BMW of Sarasota is currently hosting this event as well as the After Party where the dealership caters a full complimentary breakfast. “This is an enthusiast’s car show”; Will explains, “all makes and models are welcome.”  Will credits the success of the show mostly to Joe Stern from Eco Car Detailing who has been a sponsor of C&G from day one and helps him with every event.

The monthly event does more than give owners a stage to show off their wheels, as they conduct food drives throughout the year for All Faith’s Food Bank and collect toys for the Toys for Tots drive during the holiday season.

Caffeine and Gasoline is held on the last Saturday of every month from 8am to 10am at BMW of Sarasota located at 5151 Clark Rd, Sarasota, FL.

Come out May 26th and bring a non-perishable food item to donate. They’re holding one of their frequent food drives this month to help All Faith’s Food Bank stock up on food for children who depend on school lunches for meals. As you know, summer break is coming up and these children will not have meals provided otherwise. Hang around after from 10am -11am and enjoy the after party breakfast which is held inside BMW’s showroom.







Posted in Events
May 3, 2018

Shake Station Rekindles the Spirit of the Roadside Diner

A Walk Down Memory Lane On US 301

On US Highway 301 in Ellenton there is a place where Elvis still sings Blue Suede Shoes, cheeseburgers and milkshakes are king, and service always comes with a smile. Bringing back the spirit of the roadside diner, Shake Station is trimmed out in black and white checkerboard tile, a soda counter, and retro décor from the 50's and 60's.

Their menu offers a wide variety of all American food like salads, wraps, seafood baskets, sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs (with a mountain of toppings), and their sweet potato waffle fries. For dessert they have many flavors of tasty ice cream that you can mix and match as well as thick rich milk shakes.

The wait staff is always friendly and personable making you feel right at home the minute you walk in the door. The atmosphere is reminiscent of an old family diner from a bye-gone era. Aside from indoor seating, there is also an outside deck where you can enjoy the beautiful SW Florida weather while indulging in a meal or sipping a shake.

Additionally, on the second Sunday of every month Shake Station hosts a classic car cruise-in from 11am to 2pm. Between 50 to 100 vehicles surround the diner; street rods, customs, and muscle cars. There are door prizes, music is provided by Cadillac Jimmy, and best of all, it is free to participate.

Shake Station is located at 4219 US 301, Ellenton, FL, and is open 7 days a week from 11am-9pm. You can check them out at shakestation.com.


Content and photos by Kelvin Etchison

Posted in Interests
May 2, 2018

New Home Buyers Expenses

Look Beyond the Purchase Price Alone

This month, the Florida Association of Realtors (FAR) has provided a useful summary of common expenses faced by new home buyers.  Originally provided by the the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and published on their site (HousingEconomics.com), the report indicates that the three largest expenses confronting most new home buyers are:

  • Outside addition or alterations
  • Other upgrades and repairs
  • Other furnishings

Certainly, these are aggregated results and do not necessarily dictate that these expenses will be required on any given purchase.  But when considering the purchase of a new home, we urge buyers to look beyond the acquisition cost of the home alone and determine the extent of those upgrades and improvements that will be required.  Setting a timeline and budget for these items will help avoid cash flow issues down the road and generally improve the experience of owning a new home.  For a complete list of these expenses, just click on the graphic below:

May 1, 2018

A Personal Car Museum

Showcasing Your Ride - Here's How Ron Does It!

Once in a while we come across a property that represents the pinnacle of classic car and truck ownership.  This property - owned by Ron Menda, a long time collector car/truck enthusiast - was essentially designed for and around his extensive collection.  The garage is nothing short of spectacular!  As you can see from the photos, the huge 4-car garage has a smooth finished floor with tile and 3 mats making those pesky jobs under the chassis a breeze.  Ron has a few period accent chairs and tables deployed which are useful for taking breaks and sharing car-related conversations with fellow enthusiasts.  Ron thought of everything.  The flourescent lighting provides ample lighting for those projects extending into the wee hours of the morning.  And a mini-split HVAC system keeps things cool when the temperatures rise outside. 

There is plenty of room for Ron's copious awards too.  Trophies and plaques virtually line the garage back wall.  There you will find the "James Dean Top 20 (2012)" award, the "Magnum Axle (2012)" award as well as several NSRA awards.  And the tool racks are complemented by a wide variety of 50's memorabilia which serves to complete the atmosphere.  And don't forget the finished half bathroom too!  This is simply one of the best "equipped" garages we have ever seen!

The garage comes along with a magnificent  house as well.  The highlights include an indoor(!) inground spa which seats a dozen people.  And there are high end features throughout the property including tile floors, granite countertops and wood cabinets.  And there is plenty of room for Ron's car and truck photos and pictures. Ron currently has this great property on the market at a very reasonable price.  So if you are interested in seeing this house, or require more information, just give me a ring at (941) 840-2265.  In the meantime, enjoy the ride!     

May 1, 2018

Siesta Beach Sand Sculpture Contest

America's Best Beach Comes Alive This Weekend!

With summer right around the corner and spring in full swing, this time of year is perfect for some fun in the sun. And where else would you enjoy this wonderful SW Florida weather than to get sand between your toes and take a dip in the warm waters at one of our most famous Sun Coast beaches - Siesta Key Beach.

Siesta Beach is known around the world for it’s 99% pure quartz fine powder sand. When sitting in the midst of this treasure overlooking the beautiful turquoise water of the Gulf of Mexico you will find yourself immersed in a scene straight out of a dream vacation guide. Imagine the warmth of the sun, the water lapping the shore, and a gentle gulf breeze rustling the palms. Just ask yourself: how could it get any better than this? Well, it does!

Once a year that 99% pure quartz sand is transformed into an artist’s canvas with the annual Siesta Beach Sand Sculpture Contest. Held on the first Saturday every May, sand sculptors from near and far flock to Siesta to carve their creations from the sand. From elaborate sand castles to abstract sea creatures these artist wow the crowds with their skills and innovations. There are several categories in which these sculptors compete in. The contest is open to everyone and best of all is free.

The event takes place this Saturday, May 5th, with registration beginning at 8:30am and the winners being announced around 2pm. Siesta Beach is located at 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key.

There is also a second event held in November; The Siesta Key Master Sand Sculpture Contest. This is a professional contest that attracts artists internationally. Stay tuned for more on this event as it nears.

So, plan on heading to Siesta Beach this Saturday and watch the sand come alive!







Content by Kelvin Etchison
Photos from 6th Annual Siesta Key Crystal Classic (fall event).
Courtesy siestasand.net by Island Visitor Publishing, LLC

Posted in Events
April 26, 2018

Hidden Terra Ceia

Discover a natural treasure near Tampa Bay

While working on a new listing in Palmetto Point, we thought we would stop by Terra Ceia Bay and snap a few photos.  This is an area that is often overlooked by southbound drivers coming off I-275 from the Sunshine Skyway bridge in northern Manatee county.  So we thought it would be fun to explore the area.  We were not disappointed.   

It was a typical beautiful day in April in SW Florida with temperatures hoveriing around the high 70's with bright sunshine.  There was a mild, pleasant breeze wafting off the bay.

We parked at a convenient spot near the H.E. Boyd bridge on the US 19N causeway and began taking photos.  We were immediately struck by the tranquil surrounding and clarity of the water.  The water was crystal clear and you could easily make out the sandy bottom.  The bay waters reminded us more of a northern freshwater lake than a bay connecting to the Gulf of Mexico.    

We headed across US 19 to a beach nestled among a large mangrove forest.  Visibility was great; you can see a number of sailboats gently rocking in the late morning tide.  Inspired by these photos, we started to research the history of the area.  We discovered that Terra Ceia had once been an area famous for its citrus and produce.  While experiencing development in recent years with modest to high end single family homes, the area still maintains a strong relationship with its past.  We will share some of Terra Ceia's history in a future post.  But in the meantime, don't ignore this wonderful hidden treasure right in our backyard!    

Posted in Interests
April 23, 2018

Be Sure To Visit St Armand's Circle

St. Armand's Circle

SW Florida has many attractions and amenities to offer year ‘round. Beautiful beaches, picturesque parks, historic sights, and popular venues which host an assortment of both day and night life activities. One of my favorite locations to visit is St. Armand’s Circle. Located on St. Armand’s Key just south of Longboat Key and directly west of downtown Sarasota, “The Circle” offers a wide variety of shops and restaurants to suite all tastes, no pun intended. On second thought, pun intended! Beautiful tropical plants, flowers, and trees also decorate “The Circle”. Marble statues are placed in key locations that represent figures of history and folklore. There is also a central park inside the roundabout full of shade trees where you can take a relaxing stroll.

Beautiful St. Armand’s Circle is a great venue to spend a day or evening exploring the multitude of merchants and eateries that line “The Circle” and pinwheel avenues that splinter off in four directions. Maybe you’re in the market for a new outfit that fits your SW Florida lifestyle? There are plenty of apparel shops that would fit the bill. The likes of Ivory Coast which offers women’s clothing and accessories from around the world or Island Pursuit for casual sportswear for men and women. Maybe Tommy Bahamas’ is more your speed or possibly The Met where you can shop luxury fashion or indulge in their day spa and salon. And what would a day, or evening, of shopping be without finding that perfect necklace, earnings, or possibly a watch to add to your jewelry collection? Stop in and check out Alexander Fine Jewelers or Jewelry by Cole. Footwear, sports novelties, fine spices and teas: St. Armand’s has it all!

Once you’re all done with your shopping, it’s time to take in one of the many restaurants and cafes that can be found throughout “The Circle”. How about the Columbia Spanish Restaurant? Or maybe the Crab and Fin for seafood? A fun treat is the Surf Shack Coastal Kitchen as well as the Daiquiri Deck. Maybe you’re looking for traditional Italian; Le Colonne Ristorante, or Irish food and spirits; Lynches Pub & Grub. And almost all of the eateries offer both inside and outside dining. Then there’s dessert, of course! Time to relax and savor some handmade chocolates from Kilwins, or cool down with some ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s, or sip on a cappuccino from Starbuck’s. While you’re satisfying your sweet tooth, stop in at Tropical Shores Gourmet Popcorn and get a bag of flavored popcorn or taffy to take home.

Evenings come alive when local musical artist perform both in establishments and on the sidewalks. You'll be able to enjoy several  classical piano, pop, and even jazz for your listening pleasure. St. Armand’s Circle also hosts several events throughout the year, like exotic car shows, art festivals, and holiday celebrations. 

Stay tuned for more information on other fun activities and attractions that our area has to offer in our upcoming blogs. And if you are considering moving to the area give us a call and let us know how we can help!




Content and Pictures by Kelvin Etchison    

Posted in Interests
April 19, 2018

Beach 'N Food Truck Festival

Last Saturday we had the great pleasure of attending the 3rd Annual Beach 'N Food Truck and Music Festival hosted by the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce.  The event ran all day and included a kids zone, various arts and crafts vendors, live music and of course terrific food served by friendly folks in the food trucks!  On display were nearly 60 great vehicles representing a wide range of classes.  This year the access road was closed which prevented sand and dust from obscuring the grounds as in past shows. 

Parking was smooth despite an early rush due to Mike Starcher's logistical expertise and the DJ was provided by the capable Lance's Cruzin' To The Hop team.  While roaming the field and taking shots, we had the opportunity to chat with a number of the owners.  We heard some wonderful stories as to how their vehicles were acquired and in many cases how couples met.  We will be sharing some of these heartwarming stories in future blog posts.

We have assembled the photos in a Onedrive file which can be accessed by simply clicking this link.  So take a look and enjoy! 

Don't forget, the next show we will be attending will be in Ruskin, FL on Saturday May 19 at the Ruskin Family Drive In for the benefit of the Food Bank.  The show will be held  between 3pm-7pm at one of the last Drive In theaters around, and attendees are requested to wear 50's attire.  This show should be an absolute blast!!  To learn more about this exciting car and truck show, just click on the image below.  In the meantime, enjoy the ride!


Posted in Events