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Weekend or a Week in Vero Beach

Time to Take a Trip to the Beach. In Florida we have great beach choices, we have 825 miles of accessible beaches and an extensive coastline. Lee and I always choose an East Coast Beach in the Summer and a Gulf beach in the Winter. August is a great time to plant your umbrella in the sand on the Atlantic Ocean and Vero Beach is a good place to start. Vero Beach is only about 80 miles from Solivita and a fun destination. This beach community is nestled on the Indian River Lagoon along Florida’s Treasure Coast and is a great Old Florida Escape, casual and fun with beautiful natural surroundings, museums, beaches, gardens, and art. 

A week in Vero will fly by, spend a few days at the beach, and sprinkle in visits to various spots Vero Offers. Visit the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. The Refuge is home to more than 300 species of birds, including pelicans, egrets, herons, and ibises. Enjoy kayaking, fishing, and hiking at the refuge and even if you are not a bird watcher you will enjoy being surrounded by the diverse bird population that is attracted to the area. Of course, in the summer months not all birds visit the Refuge, but if you love the Refuge, plan to return in the fall and winter months to enjoy the white pelicans when they make their annual pilgrimage to the Refuge. 

The Vero Beach Museum of Art is internationally recognized as one of the top cultural attractions for its superb art collection. This museum has over 50,000 Feet of Floor space and offers something for everyone, a good respite from the sun. Much of the art on display is contemporary, but the museum does have a good selection of older pieces on display as well. 

Visit the Environmental Learning Center in Vero Beach, it is a great place to learn about the local ecosystem while soaking in the fresh air available in abundance throughout its 64 acres. This is a great spot for a family outing or a day trip. Explore the center’s miles of trails winding through lush vegetation and enjoy the views of the Indian River Lagoon and/or take a pontoon boat tour. The Environmental Learning Center is on Live Oak Drive in Vero and is open 7 days a week. 

We always love to go to McKee Botanical Gardens, but August is hot, so my suggestion is to wait until the weather cools down. McKee Gardens is a lush, tropical oasis and a hidden gem in the sunshine state. it is a beautiful place to spend a day exploring. McKee Botanical Gardens are beautiful and showcase a wide variety of plant life, as well as a large array of sculptures and fountains. 

Vero has so many diverse activities including The McLarty Treasure Museum, The Hallstrom Farmstead, the Riverside Theatre, the Farmer’s Market in Oceanside, the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area, the Heritage Center & Indian River Citrus Museum, not to mention some great restaurants, delicious seafood, and awesome beach hangouts.  

We like Vero for the activities, the beautiful natural surroundings, and the “get away from it all” feeling a few days on the beach offers.

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Fun Facts about Florida.

Did you know that Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous US. We have 825 miles of accessible beaches, and the coastline is 1,197 statute miles.

Did you know that Florida has more than 700 freshwater springs.

Did you know that Florida has 7,700 lakes, 11,000 miles of rivers, and 2,276 miles of tidal shoreline.

Did you know that Florida’s largest river, the St. Johns River, is one of only a handful of major rivers that flow from south to north.

Did you know that Florida has produced more than 900 world fishing records, more than any other state or country.

Did you know that wherever you are in Florida, you are never more than 60 miles from the nearest body of salt water. I always say Living in Central Florida puts you Center to all Florida has to offer. 

Well Now that You Know more about Florida, come down and visit, and see for yourself how good life can be in Solivita. 

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End the Summer at the Pensacola Seafood Festival – September 23 – 25th

The Seafood Fest has lots to offer and is a nice way to spend the afternoon or the evening.  The seafood is local and fresh from the Gulf of Mexico and served by local restaurants.  You can enjoy shrimp, crab, scallops, grouper, alligator, crawfish, and for the folks who don’t love seafood you will find a large assortment of food including hot dogs, burgers, chicken, and nachos.  While enjoying festival goodies you can wander around and check out the local artists selling paintings, photography, ceramics, etc.  Enjoy the live bands, the chefs are doing cooking demonstrations, and as always the Florida Sun is shining.  What more could anyone want from a day.  The beauty of a festival in Pensacola is the beach.  You can stay in Pensacola, Fort Walton, Navarre, or any of the beach towns in the area that you love.  This is a great vacation stop and a nice celebration at the end of the summer.  Cool weather is coming, and I for one can’t wait.

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Too Hot to Cook, Why Not Enjoy Gazpacho with a Twist

  • 5 Cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 Cup Seeded and diced tomato
  • 2 cup peeled, seeded, and diced cucumber
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • ½ jalapeno chili, seeded and minced.  If you like hot leave a few seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp Kosher salt.

Process watermelon, tomato, cucumber, onion, and jalapeno in a blender until smooth. Stir in last two ingredients. Cover and chill for 2 hours and serve chilled in bowls or glasses.  Chilling this soup in the fridge for a few hours gives the flavors a chance to mingle.   We enjoy this soup topped with a dollop of sour cream or crumbled feta, chopped cilantro or avocado.

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Road Trippin

Time to Plan an End of the Summer Trip.  Awhile back, Lee and I enjoyed a trip to the “Sippin Safari “ held at  Zoo Atlanta on September 17th. The whole zoo becomes uncorked for everyone over 21.  This event is always fun and features wine sampling and delicious bites from the best Restaurants in Atlanta. 

VIP Hour: 5 p.m. – 6 p.m. |    Main Event: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. Tickets go on sale in June. https://www.zooatlanta.org

Tickets go on sale in June, and although it seems that September is a long time away, we all know that time flies by when you are having fun in Solivita. 

The Sippin Safari is a great event to plan a road trip around.   Last time we attended this event we did a short but fun road trip.  Our first stop was Valdosta, GA where we enjoyed a delicious meal and wandered through the area before checking into a hotel for the night.  Well rested, the next morning, we were up and out on our way to Atlanta.  Atlanta is a great city with lots of interesting neighborhoods to enjoy.  Lee and I like to stay in Buckhead or in the Inman Park Neighborhoods of Atlanta, but there are lots of nice places to stay and great attractions to visit while in Atlanta.

If a few days in the city is not your thing, spend a few days out in Clearwater Beach.  Tons of great things to do beside hanging out at the beach or pool.  Take a boat cruise, watch the dolphins frolic in the sea, go fishing, go shelling or take a ride to Dunedin.  Dunedin is an out of the way, cool little town with nice dining, a few interesting stores to wander around in, plus there is a sheltered beach with a good vibe.  

Whatever you do in Florida you can count on the sun shining and nice weather.  We are heading into Hurricane Season so watch the weather before you take off for the beach.

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Cool Down with an Ice Cream Cone

Summer is here and a great way to cool off is with a delicious ice cream cone. A short road trip to Frostbite, Florida can solve your ice cream craving, and a car ride to Frostbite is an easy, traffic free trip. The location of Frostbite Ice Cream & More is not a location you would normally pass by, as it is on a country road nestled in the farmland of central Florida.  This spot was recommended to us by two separate clients, two weeks apart, so we thought we would give it a try.

Frostbite Ice Cream & More is a true throw-back to the “Happy Days” of poodle skirts and D.A.’s , a true retro feel. You can pick a table inside or choose a table outside under the awning and revisit the happy days when eating a cheeseburger, drinking a shake, or enjoying an Ice Cream Cone did not raise your cholesterol or your glucose.

Frostbite Ice Cream and More is located at 801 N. Scenic Highway, Frostproof. FL 33843 and is Mom approved. Mom and our family friend, Marilyn were the first ones hopping in the car to try out Frostbite Ice Cream & More, and they both loved it.

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Maintaining Your Solivita Home

Home Maintenance in Solivita. Our HOA requires that every 7 years our Home’s Exterior must be repainted. This rule certainly keeps the homes in Solivita looking good, but not every homeowner is excited about the work or the expense of a repaint. With that frame of mind, my sister, Linda, and brother in-law reluctantly went to the Office in Solivita to look through paint colors and to their surprise, loved what they saw. They both came away from the paint sample books excited about the new paint selections and a fresh look for their home. In fact, the new colors sparked their interest in not only changing the paint colors but their entrance too. Eager to make changes, they went shopping and had a blast redecorating. They had their front patio redone, planted a new garden, installed new outdoor lighting, purchased new outdoor art, a fountain and new furniture. Change of heart, they now sing the praises of a redo every 7 years. Linda said “It forced us to look at our space with fresh eyes. We had fun redesigning the front of our home and we love the way the project turned out.” Their home looks fresh, and they are thrilled with their new look. This week I overheard Linda telling a client, who too was reluctant to paint their home, about her positive experience and it inspired me to draft this article. So, if you receive the dreaded time to paint your home letter, do not dread the task, but embrace the project and bring joy to your life with a fresh new look for your home.

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Springtime in Solivita

March is our last cool month in Central Florida and with spring beginning later in the month, this is the perfect time to grow some vegetables.  Our latest favorite veggie to grow is Baby Bok Choy.  This is an amazing plant to grow from seed and it only takes 2 months to grow, shorter if you pick the baby leaves.  Baby Bok Choy is perfect for container gardening as the plant will grow a max of 5” tall with white stems and glossy, dark green, tender leaves.  While these tasty leaves are still small you can use them in a salad.  Once the plant gets bigger cook them up in a stir fry or steam them in broth and serve as a veggie or add them to soup.




I already have my seeds and planted our Baby Bok Choy a week ago.  Lee and I love this time of the year while the air is refreshing with warm sunshine.  Springtime is the perfect time of the year to visit us and see all that Central Florida offers.  Our lifestyle is relaxed and filled with beautiful surroundings, our homes are modern and highly livable, our job market is flourishing, and our economy is strong.  The latest statistics state that nearly 900 people move to Florida each day for many reasons.  We are not only a great state to retire in but a great state to work in and a great state to raise a family in.   Florida has no personal income tax, our property taxes are reasonable and our weather is stunning.  Call us and we will be happy to show you around the neighborhood and introduce you to the good life in Solivita and our surrounding communities.



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Lemon Blueberry Chicken Salad

Considering this is Corned Beef Month I thought I would pass along a lower fat recipe made with Florida fresh blueberries.

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups Cooked Chicken cubed. Buy a roaster chicken from one of the local groceries. 
  • ½ Cup sliced green onions
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ½ cup diced Apple
  • ½ cup Fresh Blueberries
  • 1 Cup Low Fat Lemon Blueberry Dressing
  • Assorted Lettuces about 20 oz

 

After assembling the above and mixing up the dressing pour dressing over salad and enjoy.




Low Fat Lemon Blueberry Dressing

Mix together ¾ cups fresh or frozen blueberries, ½ cup low fat lemon yogurt, 2 TBSP.  Mayonnaise, and 1 tsp salt until blended. Chill and serve. 

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It is Almost Florida Fresh Blueberry Season

Did you Know?  That Florida grows the earliest blooming blueberries in North America    




Did you Know?    Florida Blueberries were developed by crossing northern high bush varieties from Michigan and NJ with native wild berries from Florida.




Did you Know?  Current research has deemed blueberries as a super food.




Did you Know?  – That Central Florida has lots of U-Pick It Farms 




Well now that you know.  However, you enjoy your berries, enjoy them Florida Fresh. 




Whether you pick them yourself, order them in advance from the farm or buy them from Publix; Florida Fresh Blueberries are a sweet taste treat that is good for you.




I am listing two local farms where Lee and I have picked our own berries, but there are many farms to choose from in our area.  Blueberries are easy to pick, the bushes are tall so bending is not really required, and the farm will give you a basket to strap on for “easy peasy picking”.  Berries are great freshly picked, freeze beautifully and enhance both sweet and savory dishes.  




Late Bloom Blueberry Farm




115 Scenic Highway




Haines City, FL 33844




863-289-1722




Or




Whitehead’s Blueberry Farm




1024 Macon Road 




Winter Haven, FL 33884




863-860-4575