Enjoying a Solivita Summer

Summer weather is upon us. A bit hot, a bit sticky, but still a great time to kick back and enjoy all that Florida has to offer. Florida fresh watermelon is in season. Watermelon is the perfect fruit for cooling off – it makes a delicious smoothie in the morning with yogurt, a refreshing salad with mint, feta, and a few black olives in the afternoon, and a delicious martini at cocktail time. Florida watermelon is a gift to Florida residents. We can grow it, pick it up in the market, or pick a watermelon at the farm-stand. Our watermelon is as good as it gets: sweet, juicy, and flavorful. A very big summer benefit.

Tomatoes are in season in Florida as well and our Solivita Garden is brimming. I came from NJ, and to me there was nothing better than a NJ tomato, but I also subscribe to the “when in Rome” philosophy. Once I overcame my NJ tomato fixation, I found the tomatoes grown in Florida to be delicious, juicy, sweet when ripened, and wonderful. Tomatoes make a great dinner when paired with a few slices of fresh mozzarella, some fresh basil, a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a loaf of Italian bread.

What I love most about Florida summer weather is the ease of dining as most of our meals in the warm weather are chilled. When we feel the need for meat or fish we just fire up the BBQ. No need to add any heat to the house.

Here are a few ideas to help you enjoy a Solivita Summer:

  1. Walk the Solivita indoor walking track. It’s temperature controlled!
  2. Break Out The Blender. It’s time to enjoy a frozen favorite.
  3. Enjoy Some Indoor Activities. Stay cool in the AC and kick back with a good book.
  4. Take a Swim. Solivita has 14 pools to choose from, and they are all refreshing.

The Top 8 Reasons To Retire To Florida

Looking for a reason to retire to Florida? Look no further! I can give you lots of reasons that make FLORIDA RETIREMENT IRRESISTIBLE.

Here are the top 8 reasons to retire to Florida:

  1. No Income Tax. Retirees flock to Florida because Florida has NO STATE INCOME TAX. Workers get to keep more of their paychecks and seniors keep more of their IRA or 401(k) withdrawals.
  2. Even More Tax Breaks. Not only is there no state income tax, but there is NO STATE INHERITANCE TAX and NO ESTATE TAX, plus property taxes are relatively low too.
  3. The Weather. The Florida weather is spectacular. It’s warm for most of the winter and summer months in Florida are NO WARMER than the temperatures in the NE except our summer lasts just a little bit longer.
  4. Lower Cost of Living. At the end of the day, if you are on a fixed income, it pays to live where your money goes further. Florida has an overall cost of living that is lower, allowing you to save money for travel, contribute to charity, do what you love to do, or just shop till you drop.
  5. Recreation. I came from NJ. We skied in the winter and swam in the summer, but the rest of the year offered nothing special in outdoor recreation. In Florida, we golf, enjoy water sports, fish, boat, bike, walk, swim, run, and enjoy pickleball and tennis 12 months a year.
  6. Ease of Air Travel. When you go back home for a visit, or when friends or family come to you, there are loads of airports, both domestic and international, for you to choose from. Florida also has a bevy of direct flights to many U.S. and international locations.
  7. Health Care Availability. Many retirees migrate to Florida, which has given us a tremendous amount of good health care options and services specifically geared toward older folks. We have great healthcare providers all over the state such as the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic, Moffitt Cancer Center, and Florida Hospitals, just to name a few.
  8. Everyone Loves Florida. This reason comes from the results of an informal survey I conducted with family, friends, and clients. 94% of the respondents clearly stated that they LOVE FLORIDA and all it offers. None of the 94% plan to return to their former home states. Yes, there is the other 6%, but you can’t please all the people all the time. You should come to Florida and join the 94% who love life here!

THE BEST TIME TO SELL REAL ESTATE IN FLORIDA

Are you considering selling your Florida home? If so, you are probably asking yourself what is the best time, and can I time the market to my advantage?

In my experience, the best time to sell a property is when most people are buying, and in Florida, historically most of the sales activity is generated during the first six months of the year, but there are a few other things to consider when trying to time the market. Waiting for sales activity to be the highest may not payoff, because during the height of sales activity is when competition is at its peak. Once the high sales season is over, yes there may be fewer buyers, but there are also fewer homes on the market for sale. The fact that inventory is lower gives your home a chance to stand out. I recently did a Closed Price to Original List Price Ratio Study and found that in our area, sellers got the closest to their original asking price in June. They closed the furthest from their original asking price in February. Of course, market conditions change from year to year and right now the market is steady and homes are selling. Interest rates are still low and consumer sentiment is strong. The results of this exercise lead me to believe any time is a good time to sell your property in the current market. If you are considering selling your home, please contact me. I will perform a complete Sales Analysis for you and provide you with any help you will need to get your property listed and sold.

Life in the Center of Everything Florida has to Offer:

Heading to the beach from Solivita is easy, with a quick hour and half drive to either coast. I love the East 1w beaches because the water is cooler and a bit wilder, and the beach on Cocoa reminds me of the NJ beaches from my youth. Lee loves the beauty, warmth, and calmer waters of the West Coast beaches. Whichever way we go from Central Florida, east or west, the Florida beaches are beautiful with warm water and soft sand. Growing up in New Jersey, the beach season was short and our beaches were so crowded you could hardly find a place to plant your blanket and umbrella. Florida beaches never seem to be that busy, the palm trees gently sway in the breeze, and the Florida State beaches usually provide picnic tables, a place to park your car, and changing facilities, making a “day at the beach” really an actual day at the beach.

We love to go to Cocoa Beach and when time provides, we stay at the Inn at Cocoa Beach for a night. It’s a lovely beachfront inn, spotlessly clean with a nice pool and public rooms. The Inn brews coffee every morning and provides a good breakfast, plus every evening it hosts a cocktail hour for their guests, which is a nice kick off to the day and a great start to the evening. We park our car at the Inn, enjoy the morning at the beach, the afternoon at the pool, and walk to one of the local spots for dinner, resulting in a truly relaxing overnight.

When we go to the West Coast we love to swim at the beach at St. Pete. St. Pete is a bit busier than Cocoa but just as nice with gorgeous sunsets. We usually pack an overnight bag and spend an evening, grab a great fish dinner, and head back the next morning refreshed and ready to get back to business. Seems wherever we go in Florida, natural beauty surrounds us, blue skies fill our vision, and we always meet some very nice Florida folks who are willing to share recipes. We enjoyed this grouper and want to share the easy recipe with you.

Honey Glazed Florida Grouper for Two

1 TBSP Honey

1 TBSP Orange Marmalade

1 TBSP Orange Juice

¾ TSP Dijon Mustard

½ TSP Light Soy Sauce

1/8 Tsp Ground White Pepper

¾ Pound Grouper Fillets

 

Preheat broiler. Combine all ingredients except grouper, mixing well. Place fillets on an oiled broiler pan and brush with honey glaze to cover. Broil 5 to 6 inches from heat for 4 to 5 minutes until browned. Turn fillets, brush with honey glaze and broil additional 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily.

What’s Up in the Garden

Bell peppers, squash and snap beans are being harvested and available in our gardens and markets this month. I love to slice the peppers and squash into cubes, toss the beans in and add olive oil, a touch of salt and roast them in the oven. Easy and delicious. Not to mention a great side dish to Honey Glazed Florida Grouper.

Happy Memorial Day!

On Memorial Day, before we light the BBQ or enjoy a swim in the pool, I would like to ask all my readers to say a prayer of thanks to all the brave men and woman who died in service to America. It is through their sacrifice that we enjoy a free and wonderful America. Happy Memorial Day.

Events in Solivita

Solivita has so many events going on this month between the Easter Brunch, the Rally for the Cure Village Event, the Annual Queen’s College Golf Outing, the Community Yard Sale, and the events scheduled at Mosaics and the Grille. It’s hard not to be busy! This is also the time of the year that our snowbirds start their flight north, and I would like to wish all of you a safe trip and a safe return to Solivita next season. We will miss you! The longer we reside in Florida the more we find to do, even after living here for over 17 years.  In fact, we are SOLIVITA PIONEERS and PROUD OF IT.

Your Invitation to Central Florida Life

Living in Central Florida means we are central to lots of activities. I would like to extend an invitation to you to visit Solivita to experience this wonderful community. Call me at (407) 641-2688 and I will sign you up for Solivita Discovery Days, which is Three Days and Two Nights to discover for yourself the beauty of Solivita. 

Birthday at Buca di Beppo in Celebration

We recently met with family and celebrated a birthday at Buca di Beppo in Celebration. I must say we had a really good time. This is a fun restaurant –  loud, happy, filled with locals and tourists all out for a fun experience. Not a fancy restaurant, but clean and comfortable, and a great place to celebrate. The food was generous, hot, and delicious. The service was good, and the laughter was plentiful – all the ingredients needed for a great night. Celebration is only 30 minutes from Solivita and an evening in Celebration is always a good night out. Lots of restaurants, a wine bar, a tavern, a pizza store, a lake to stroll by, a few shops to poke around in and a nice pastry shop to complete your evening.

Lorraine’s Famous Blueberry Muffin Recipe

April is Blueberry Season in Central Florida.

Whether you get your blueberries from a bush, a roadside stand, or the local Publix, this season’s berries are predicted to be sweet and delicious. Florida’s blueberry industry is estimated at $82 million dollars a year, making Florida one of the larger berry growers in America.

Central Florida has lots of “Pick Your Own Fruit” farms. We recently took a ride north and found a few farms in Clermont, Yalaha, and Tavares. You can always search the web for a farm, by visiting www.pickyourown.org or just enjoy a ride in the country and see what you find. We enjoyed a great day in the hills of Central Florida, visiting a farm, stopping at the Yalaha Bakery for lunch, and returning home with a loaf of delicious bread and lots of berries. Central Florida is quite diverse and offers a range of activities beyond the giant resorts and parks. We brought home quite the bounty of berries, that I washed, dried, and then put some in the freezer for later. In addition to eating some fresh from the blueberry bowl, I tossed a few in a green salad with feta cheese, we had blueberry pancakes, and I cooked up a batch of blueberry muffins, that I’m freezing to server when company comes.

Please enjoy my blueberry muffin recipe:

Blueberry Muffins

3 ½ Cups All Purpose Flour
1 ½ Cups Granulated Sugar
4 ½ TSP Baking Powder
1 TSP Baking Soda
1 TSP Kosher Salt
2 Cups Buttermilk shaken
1 (1/4 lb) stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 ½ TSP Grated Lemon Zest
2 Extra Large Eggs
2 Cups Fresh Blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line Muffin Tins with paper liners. This should make about 20 muffins.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. In a separate blow, mix the buttermilk, butter, lemon zest and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a fork just until blended. Fold in the blueberries. Do Not Over Mix. Scoop the batter into the muffin liners, filling them almost full. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden.