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Easing your Way Back into Dining Out

Lee and I met friends for a casual afternoon lunch on the deck at Tantrum’s Lakeside Grill in Auburndale, FL. Dine outside, very casual, but good, we really felt like we were on vacation for an afternoon. Growing up, my Mom and Dad used to take us to HO JO’s for the Tuesday Fried Fish Basket and Tantrum’s Menu and Fried Fish brought me back to the fish baskets we enjoyed years ago. The fish was fresh and lightly fried plus served with hush puppies and coleslaw. Delicious Chowder, a good, blackened fish sandwich, and lots of fun. We ate outside on the dock overlooking the water and enjoyed a beautiful view. Tantrum’s serves beer and wine too, so go for the view, the fresh fish and enjoy a great afternoon or early evening in the fresh air of Central Florida. You can visit Tantrum’s Lakeside Grill at 330 Denton Ave., Auburndale, FL.

You do not have to go to Auburndale to have Fun, since Fun in the Sun has returned to Solivita

Activities in Solivita are ramping up, neighbors are having parties, Solivita is busy planning Pool Parties, Game Nights, Shows, and Curbside Dining is back. The Grille is busy serving up a delicious menu. You can hear the laugher of neighbors and friends enjoying fun again. Smokers are cooking, steaks are on the grill, and yesterday the bar was serving up some delicious Margaritas. If you are vaccinated, it is time to dip your toes into the Good Life in Solivita, get out, and safely have some fun with your friends and neighbors.

If Gardening is your thing, just a short drive south on Route 27 is Lake Placid. A beautiful small town that hosts the Lake Placid Caladium Festival, it is local, and it is a fun way to spend a few hours. You may have noticed Caladium Leaves in bright pink, green, and white blooming all over Solivita, chances are they came from Lake Placid, FL. In fact, Lake Placid Florida is “The Caladium Capital of the World”. Lake Placid has been hosting the Festival for many years and if you attend you will find arts, crafts, wine tasting, a beer garden, lots of food booths, entertainment, and tons of colorful caladium bulbs ready to plant in your garden. This festival is held from July 23 – 25th and is always fun to attend, wear comfortable shoes, shorts and bring your sunglasses and hats, it is hot in July.

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Grilling in Solivita

We have been making this Grilled Pork for quite awhile now and every time we do, we enjoy it. Sometimes we make a Mango Salsa, sometimes a Pear Salsa but it will be delicious with any Salsa you prefer. This week we enjoyed tender, tasty pork with Pear Salsa. This recipe will feed 8.

¼ cup fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 garlic cloves minced
2 Tsp. Ground Cumin
2 Tsp. Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper
2 Pounds pork tenderloin, cut ¾ “ slices
Combine all ingredients, then add pork. Turn to coat, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The next day before you grill drain and discard the marinade.
Grill pork, uncovered, over medium heat for 4 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.

Serve with the Salsa:

4 medium pears peeled and chopped
1/3 cup chopped red onion
3 Tbsp Fresh Mint Chopped
2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
1 Tbsp grated Lime zest
1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded and chopped
1 Tsp sugar
½ tsp pepper

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Visit the Stetson Mansion, a True Florida Gem

Ready for a Really Good Day Out and About, this tour is for you. The mansion offers visitors the most authentic historic site in Central Florida as 95% of the original mansion details have been restored and truly are stunning. The floors are works of art, gleaming and beautiful, the original electrical panel that Thomas Edison installed is amazing, beautiful furniture, the painted walls and ceilings are grand, and the personal stories about the Stetsons and the current owners are interesting and shed light on life in a Gilded Age Estate. This is a guided tour, and a tour you will love. Make a reservation as tours are limited; I know you will not be sorry, the mansion treats you to a trip back in time. Arrive early and enjoy a walk around the grounds, the gardens, and the lovely estate that Stetson Hats built.

Stetson was a mover and shaker in his time, he was born in Orange, NJ, one of 12 children, and learned the hat making trade from his Dad. John was ill as a young man and his family sent him to Colorado to “take in the fresh mountain air” and to heal. It was in Colorado that he became impressed with the local style of 10-gallon hats and when he returned East he settled in Philadelphia and opened a hat repair business which quickly blossomed into a manufacturing facility. John had the novel idea of using traveling salesmen to sell his hats, and John’s hats were constructed well and sold for fair prices. As the business grew, John took good care of his employees, their families, and the neighborhood where he had his factory. He had an automatic sprinkler installed, fire extinguishers on every floor and safety devices to keep the workers safe making him not only a great hat maker but a great employer too.

In 1885 Henry Deland, a friend of John Stetson, invited John to Florida where John spent the next 20 winters and became an active community leader. In 1888 John endowed an academy in DeLand, Florida. Later the academy changed its name and is now Stetson University.

You can visit the Stetson at : Please Purchase tickets in advance and enjoy the tour.

Deland is a quaint Southern town with a history that dates to the 1800s. The town has a small downtown area with brick streets, only a few stoplights, and is casual, and welcoming. Visitors will discover Deland to be a great place for well-known local chefs to experiment with Southern flavors and local ingredients. Classic Southern dishes, like fried chicken and collard greens, are paired with glasses of sweet tea with a slice of lemon on the side. Stroll along Main Street and through downtown, and you’ll see everything from Southern fried classics to innovative new dishes.

Casual Dining at BakeChop, Santorini Greek Cuisine or Pizza at Angelina’s all delicious, but there are lots of restaurants to choose from in Deland. Lots of competition, each restaurant Lee and I have tried has been good making it hard to recommend just one. We usually have an early lunch, enjoy the day out, and return home refreshed from our adventure. Lots of the restaurants in Deland are serving outside with tables on the sidewalk, but now that we are vaccinated, we feel we can safely enjoy an occasional meal inside.

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Thinking About Buying a Home, New or Resale?

This decision is totally yours and of course your finances, some folks like homes with a history and some only like shiny new ones. Each choice has an advantage. Newly constructed homes tend to cost more than similar pre-owned homes, difference; initially the maintenance and utilities on a new home is less expensive.

New Homes are constructed with today’s lifestyle in mind, wide open floorplans, kitchens that flow into family rooms, large bedrooms, and baths, with lots of natural light. On the flip side, a newly constructed home typically is not located on a premium lot, unless you are paying a lot premium, plus as projects progress the builders tend to build new homes on smaller lots. In addition, if the builder is building homes in your new neighborhood, you may find yourself living in a construction zone until your area is built out. On the other side, Resale homes tend to have larger lots with existing landscape, mature trees, beautiful gardens, and lovely peaceful privacy that the newly constructed building sites do not. Remember, landscaping is expensive and, although in Florida, plants grow rapidly it will take years to develop a mature landscape.

Of course, the decision is yours. The charm of building and moving into a spanking brand-new home is a joy, and for lots of folks a lifelong dream, but so is moving to a resale home that you can make your very own by adding your own personal design stamp. Re-Sale Homes in Solivita are still young & are built so that the interior walls can be removed easily, as the walls in our homes are not supporting. Whatever decision you make, you will surely make changes to a new home as well as a resale home. Wherever you go, Bella Verde Realty wants you to be happy with your decision and will guarantee that our realtors will devote time and will present every option available to you. Our realtors are skilled and knowledgeable and will gladly help you navigate the world of Real Estate.

One last bit of advice, if you choose to build, great, we love to work with builders. Just remember to hire a real estate agent to represent you in your negotiations with the builder. All builders have their own realtors who sell their homes, therefore if you walk into a builder’s office without your own realtor, remember the realtor you will meet in any sales office works for the builder and not for you. All real estate fees are paid by the builder; therefore, it will not cost you, the buyer, any additional funds to hire a realtor to represent you in your negotiations, but rather hiring your own realtor will save you money, time, and worry. We have seen many folks make this mistake, and unfortunately pay dearly for it in added expenses and disappointment. Protect yourself, by having a realtor represent your purchase, address your needs, monitor your build, and confirm your new home is constructed with your features and requirements in mind.

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Buying and Selling during the Pandemic-era Real Estate Market

This market has been a windfall for sellers, and a headache for buyers as the shortage of for sale homes continues to boost prices across the nation forcing house hunters to go to extremes to win bids.

If you do not need to buy now, my recommendation is to hold off.  If you have sold your home and need to buy now, no worries, just please be prepared to make a firm offer at asking price or above asking.  Be prepared, you may need to give the sellers other creative advantages along with your offer such as waiving contingencies, meaning no inspection or mortgage financing.  Come prepared with your Pre-Approval Letter in hand, as your preapproval will accompany your offer.  In this crazy market, I have even had one buyer offer the seller a free rental for 60 days, just to get the home the buyers desired.  In this competitive housing market, buyers are working harder than ever to set themselves apart.

My recommendation, sell if you desire and buy if you desire.  Do not let the crazy market drive you to a decision you may not be happy with in the long run.  In my experience, there will always be a house on the market that will be a perfect fit for you.   Know that if you have already sold your home and are looking for a new home, it could be fun to rent, sit back, wait for the market to settle down, and start your search all over again.    We are realtors and only work when the market works, but it is our desire to have our clients be happy with their choices and get a good, but fair market value for a property that they are buying or selling.