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Revised Train Schedule for the Orlando Magic Weekday Games

During the Orlando Magic Weekday Home Games this season, SunRail is running a special 10:30 PM southbound service train from Church Street Station to Poinciana. This gives us plenty of time to enjoy a nice dinner downtown before boarding the train home. In addition, if you are in Winter Park, you can leave Winter Park on the last train at 8:45 pm for Orlando, exit at the Church Station Station, enjoy a nightcap or dessert, and catch the late train home. The schedule is below for February thru April:

Wednesday 2/12, Friday 2/21, Friday 2/28

Monday 3/2, Thursday 3/12, Wednesday 3/19, Wednesday 3/25, Friday 3/27

Wednesday 4/1, Friday 4/10 and Wednesday 4/15

We may be 55 PLUS, but we still know how to party, so let’s show SunRail we are ready to ride the rails late into the evening!

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Florida Strawberries

This year’s crop is just starting to find their way to our markets, and this year every berry I have tasted is sweet as sugar. When Florida Berries are in season, I add them to almost every recipe I make; from a Fruit Smoothie in the Morning to Strawberries in a Garden Salad for lunch or a cool bowl of Chilled Strawberry Soup in the evening. Enjoy the seasonal bounty in our markets, courtesy of our local growers. Florida is also busy growing some great Blueberries and in March so when our Strawberries are out of season our Blueberries make their appearance in our local markets and in my kitchen.

Florida Strawberries are So Celebrated that Florida hosts a Strawberry Festival. It is an 11 day community event celebrating the strawberry harvest of Eastern Hillsborough County. Every year over 500,000 visitors flock to the festival, enjoy the entertainment, the livestock shows, exhibits and celebrate the Florida Strawberry. My favorite treat at the festival is the Famous Festival Strawberry Shortcake. It is always a fun afternoon. This year the festival will be from February 27 to March 8th and is located in Plant City. You can Visit the Festival on the web at:

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Boat Trip to Key West

Have you been to Key West by Boat? It is fun, easy and a perfect quick getaway. Grab the Key West Express from Fort Myers in the morning, arrive Key West in the early afternoon. A really, nice get away. No car needed in Key West, you can grab a cab, rent a scooter, a bike, walk, or take a pedicab to your hotel. The Key West Express will even arrange a hotel package for you. If one day won’t do it for you, and it doesn’t do it for me, you can arrange to Enjoy one or two evenings in Key West and hop back on the Ferry for a return trip to Ft. Myers. This is a relaxing way to enjoy the sights and fun that Key West offers. We drove down a few years ago and found the car to be a huge burden since the streets in Key West are narrow and busy. Warning – You must pack lightly; but what do you really need to enjoy a night or two in the Florida Keys; a bathing suit, flip flops, sunglasses, some sunscreen and a fun-loving spirit. Enjoy the Adventure; This is what Retirement is All About.

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Make Time for a Walk on the Wild Side along Reedy Creek

I have a friend who “knows all the good places”, and this is one of her Poinciana secret good places. Only open to the public on weekends, the trails provide an up-close look at more than a dozen old growth cypresses and wildlife along Reedy Creek. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a safe, short walk. Parking is available for your car and this secret spot is only a few miles from Solivita. A great way to start a Saturday or a Sunday Morning. Turn into the parking lot on Poinciana Blvd and follow the signs to the Boardwalk, it is wonderful. As you walk above the swamp notice the many stumps of large cypresses cut by hand during the 1930 – 1950’s. Watch alligators and water moccasins glide through the swamp. Enjoy the largemouth bass as they jump for flies. View the birds as they quietly perch in the trees drying their wings and enjoying the peace and quiet of Central Florida. In the spring you will see dozens of great blue herons in the trees. No need for your compass, the trail will loop around and return you to the parking lot. If you want to visit the swamp on the web please go to:

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The Boys Are Back In Town

The Boys from Flourish Have Moved into Town and are shaking up the party scene in Solivita. Brian and Richard have been successful Florists and Event Planners in Florida for over 30 years with locations now in Solivita and in Winter Park. We are happy to welcome and announce that the Boys are Back in Town and are not only old friends but our neighbors too. Brian and Richard planned and decorated Our Office and our Home for the Holidays. The results the Flourish Team achieved were stunning. We enjoyed a candlelit Christmas with festive, elegant decorations. I walked around amazed at our space when it was complete. Every guest commented at the transformation of our home into an elegant party space complete with fresh flowers, greens, candles and beautiful decorations. When the Flourish team was done with our shared vision, we hosted a Holiday Extravaganza Party in honor of the Bella Verde Team of Professionals. A wonderful opportunity for the group to enjoy shared time together away from work and a good time to celebrate the folks that help make Bella Verde Realty a Good Place to work and a Successful, Trusted Real Estate Firm.

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Inside Tip – For Selling Your Home in Solivita

We are often asked if we host open houses, Of Course We do. Remember Solivita is a Gated Community, so an open house is visited by residents and a few guests who are visiting the community. Rarely does an open house in Solivita produce a buyer; instead Open Houses in our Community produce the opportunity for your neighbors to take a peek at your home. In addition, the HOA guidelines in Solivita permit only one sign in front of your home, so unless your home is on a main thoroughfare, chances are your sign will not even be seen. Our Marketing Strategy is extensive. Nationwide, we target our marketing to the 50+ population using advanced Software and our “State of the Art” Marketing Team, plus we utilize all levels of Social Media. We also participate in the Solivita Broker Caravan every 2 weeks with the Cooperating Realtors in Solivita. This is the perfect opportunity for every realtor in the group to showcase their new listings and show your home to every Realtor in attendance. The Caravan offers a Wonderful Moment for your Realtor to highlight the special features of your home and property. Together the group discusses the features their buyer pool is seeking and the features in your home. In addition, this is a wonderful chance for our Realtors to provide feedback on your home and to formulate design ideas for their client presentation of your home. During a recent Realtor Caravan, over 30 realtors visited each of the homes we showcased. The week following the Caravan, quite a few homes were given showings and shortly thereafter were under contract. The Caravan is an invaluable opportunity to show your home off to the realtors, plus offers every realtor the chance to discuss their client needs and provide your listing agent the opportunity to show why your home is a MUST SEE on every Realtor’s Show List. When you are seeking a listing agent, one of the key questions to ask your realtor is “Are they members of the Solivita Broker Caravan”. Choosing a Realtor is an important financial decision and Participating Realtors in the Solivita Real Estate Caravan SUCCESSFULLY SELL HOMES!!!

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Time to List Your Home Means Time to Find the Right Realtor.

Bella Verde Realty has 9 Licensed Real Estate Agents that Live and Work in Solivita. Each of our agents are Knowledgeable and Experienced in listing and selling homes in our Community and the surrounding areas. Every BVR Agent offers our clients a positive, successful, and unique experience. Bella Verde Realty Prides itself in our ability to market your home and maximize your return on investment. Look around our website, explore each realtor’s bio and decide which realtor best fits you. Our realtors will educate you while walking you through the Experience of Selling or Buying a Home in Solivita. After all we are not just selling homes; but selling a Lifestyle too. Bella Verde Realty will help you avoid the three biggest mistakes that sellers often make when using an inexperienced realtor, or a realtor inexperienced in selling Solivita. Call Us Today, Stop By our Office, and See for Yourself how Bella Verde Will Successfully Market and Sell Your Home Quickly for the Right Price. Since We are the TOP SELLING BROKERAGE in Solivita, chances are we will not only list your home but sell your home too. When any one of our 9 agents bring an accepted buyer contract to one of our own listings, we always extend a 1% Total Commission Discount to you. Reducing commission to 5%. That is money in your pocket!

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Valentine’s Day and Lamb Chops

Happy Valentine’s Day to our friends, neighbors, family, and to our significant others.

Solivita has lots of Fun, Festive Valentine Day Activities to attend, but this year we are dining in on Valentine’s Day. Lee and I love to cook so we have planned a nice meal in advance and each of us will prepare a course. We do enjoy dining out and we especially love all the events Solivita hosts, but this year we have decided to enjoy a Valentine’s Dinner in the quiet of our own home while Miles Davis plays in the background. The Central Florida Weather in February is usually beautiful, so we plan to enjoy dinner under the stars on our lanai, and for extra fun, we developed our menu to include herbs grown in our garden.

This year we are enjoying Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint served with an Onion and Cucumber Salad dressed with Yogurt and Mint.

Simple. Lee will grill the chops and the onions. I am on Salad, Dressing and table setting. We are both looking forward to sharing the evening together. Dish Duty, well I hope it is shared, but as of now that remains to be seen.


1 cup plain yogurt, drained in a strainer

¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp tahini

1 tbsp extra virgin Olive Oil

¼ tsp cumin

2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

S & P to taste.

Whisk the all ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and set aside


2 red onions, peeled and sliced crosswise about ½ inch thick and grilled

Olive Oil to brush on onions

S & P

3 TBSP finely chopped fresh oregano

3 Cucumbers, peeled and sliced

½ cup crumbled feta

Brush both sides of the onion slices with olive oil and season to taste. Grill each side 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the grill and chop. Add all ingredients except the feta to the dressing. Sprinkle the feta on top of the salad before serving.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint

6 small rib lamb chops

4 TBSP Olive Oil

1/3 cup fresh mint leaves chopped

1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)

2 garlic cloves smashed

A few mint springs for decoration

Mix all the ingredients except the chops together. Brush the mixture onto the chops. Place the chops on the grill and cook 3 – 4 minutes per side depending on thickness of the chops and your temperature preference.

Dessert is simply a good box of dark chocolates and Florida Fresh Strawberries.

We wish you each a Sweet Valentine’s Day.