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Living the Good Life in Solivita

Solivita Chefs have risen to the occasion and are creating, cooking, and plating delicious meals in Mosaics on Friday and Saturday Evenings. Three of us were there on a Saturday Night, we each ordered a different meal, every meal was delightful, creative, and each plate was accompanied by an orchid, greatly impressing my mom. Instead of lighting the grill or heating up the house, it is nice to hop onto you golf cart, enjoy a good meal in Solivita, and drive home without the stress of traffic. We plan to make Mosaics a regular weekend stop. Thank you Solivita for bringing good food and fun back to our community. Keep up the Good Work Solivita you all make living here a pleasure.
Solivita is about 45 minutes from the Amusement Parks that Orlando is Famous For. Orlando is among the world’s biggest tourist destination, with theme parks like Universal Studios, and Disney World, but Orlando is also a hometown. The Orlando Area is a hometown to millions of retirees, working folks and families, young and old. Solivita is an upscale community surrounded by natural beauty close to the parks and downtown Orlando. There is a lot to love here, our climate is sunny year-round and Solivita has resort style recreation with golf, tennis, pools, fun and entertainment. Our Hospitals and Doctors are top notch and include Advent Health, Orlando Health, and the World-Famous MAYO Clinic in Jacksonville. If the parks are not your idea of an afternoon out, Orlando has lots of culture to explore and enjoy, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and the Orlando Shakespeare Theater to name a few. Why live anywhere else when it is all here. Call a Bella Verde Realtor today to discuss how you can get in on the fun of living the good life in Solivita Style.
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Grilled Chicken with Rosemary and Bacon

4 Tsp Garlic Powder
4 Skinless, boneless Chicken Breast Halves
Salt and Pepper to Taste
4 Springs Fresh Rosemary
4 Thick Slices of Bacon

Preheat your outdoor grill to medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate.
Sprinkle 1 Tsp garlic powder on each chicken breast half. Season each with salt and pepper. Lay one rosemary spring on each chicken breast half. Wrap the bacon around the chicken to hold the rosemary on. Secure the bacon with a toothpick.
Cook the chicken until no longer pink in the center and the juices run clear. An instant read thermometer inserted in the center should read 165 degrees. Remove toothpicks before serving.

Quick, Delicious and Great Served with Grilled Veggies. Lee and I put this chicken together with Rosemary from our Garden, pour a glass of wine, and in 20 minutes we are enjoying a good dinner and the fragrance of rosemary fills our lanai. A joy to our palates and our senses plus another way to use Rosemary that grows like a weed in Florida.
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Escape to Maitland for a Day

Looking for a great day away, why not spend a day in Maitland, Fl. Maitland is just past Orlando, but a world away from the big city. Yes it is busier than Solivita, but it has some great quiet beautiful spots to visit, spend a few hours away, yet be close to home. If you are into Birds of Prey, reserve your ticket to visit the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey. This center focuses on the rescue, medical treatment, rehabilitation, and release of Florida raptors. Amazing work is being done at this center to protect wildlife. Spend an hour and enjoy the amazing variety of birds being rehabilitated, enjoy the calls of the wild while overlooking beautiful Lake Sybelia. This center is doing great work protecting and caring for injured birds with a good percentage being returned to the wild. Talk to the staff, they are knowledgeable and will answer questions and provide you with information surrounding the effort it takes to care for these beautiful birds. We were thrilled that we could experience these powerful birds of prey so closely. or call the Center at 407-644-0190. The Audubon Center is located at 1101 Audubon Way, Maitland If you find yourself in Maitland on a Sunday Morning, head over to the Farmer’s Market on Lake Lily. Great Market, Wonderful Vendors, with the benefit of being in Lake Lily Park. Maitland’s Farmer’s Market is not large, but the Park is lovely with enough local vendors to sell their items under the trees around the lake. A perfect market to enjoy a great stroll while buying local fruit, veggies, and items from local vendors. Pick up a Smoothie or a cup of hot coffee and enjoy a walk around the lake under the shade of the trees. Lots of items to choose from, grab a great bottle of local honey, pick up some fresh tomatoes, or buy a plant. Don’t forget your camera, as this is a great spot to get some photos. If you are lucky there may even be music to add a pep to your step. If neither of the above works for you I have two more ideas. Both are treats for your senses, one is as delicious, as the other is beautiful. Beautiful is the Maitland Art Center, a historical treasure that became the first National Historical Landmark in the Greater Orlando Area in 2014. The Mayan Architecture is stunning, bring your camera, enjoy a great walk. The grounds are open from 11 to 4 and the Art Center is located at 231 W. Packwood Ave., in Maitland, but in these times of COVID I suggest you plan your visit, so you are not disappointed. My other suggestion is delicious, dinner at Antonio’s across the street from Lake Lily Park. Our entire Florida Family has been enjoying meals, groceries, and wines from Antonio’s for years. In fact, when my cousins are in town, Antonio’s is our meeting place for great fun and food. Being former city folks, we always choose to dine in the restaurant inside the market. It is fun, we linger, shop for specialties, and enjoy the sites and aromas of freshly made Italian Treats.
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Pandemic Over But some Pandemic Design Changes are here to stay

We all know that trends come and go, social distancing and spending more time at home seems to have ushered in a new way of life. During the Pandemic, Dan and Chris, friends of ours, spent a lot of time visiting with friends and family on Zoom. Sunday Nights were dedicated Zoom Dates, and although they are vaccinated and things appear a bit safer, they continue to maintain their weekly Sunday Night Zoom Dates. Together with their friends and family they report to have found enjoyment in meeting with the grandkids via Zoom, playing games with them, catching up on the family news, and sharing wine nights with friends near and far. In fact, they enjoy their Sunday Evening Zoom Time so much that they have renamed their 3rd Bedroom their Zoom Room. Interesting, video conferencing is not only for work anymore.

This seems to be a new reality and a good idea as well, as recently I have heard this trend from quite a few clients too. Dan & Chris dedicated a wall in their 3rd Bedroom for Zooming. They painted the wall behind their zoom station, AKA Desk, removed all the clutter, hung some lovely artwork, and created a beautiful space for Zooming as well as Living. A Clean and Beautiful Design that enhances their space, a great idea for life, and a good idea for resale. Proving the adage, “The true creator is necessity, who is the mother of invention”.
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New Grocery Retail Center Planned in Poinciana

More shopping and dining options appear to be headed to Solivita Marketplace Poinciana. Kimley-Horn, a leading Engineering and Land Planning Firm, has filed a conceptual site plan with Osceola County for a 15 Acre grocery-anchored retail center east of Poinciana Medical Center. This project falls within the 180 Acre planned development, which is vested for 1 million square feet of commercial and retail services. The submitted plan calls for a 47,000 square foot grocery store with a 24,000 square foot junior anchor. The two stores would be linked by about 7,000 square feet of inline retail. In addition, this plan creates four new outparcels fronting Marigold Ave.
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Buyer’s Market Quick Takeaways

  • Home prices rose over the past year in nearly every metro area, including ours.
  • This hectic housing market causes appraisal headaches and delays. Home prices are surging as high as they have ever been, leading in a few cases, to a significant gap between the sale price and the appraised value. Rushed appraisers are not always keeping up with new data that may conflict with recent history. There is one option, a Reconsideration of Value Request, which allows an unsatisfied buyer to submit new comparables, for an appraiser to reconsider.
  • Building Materials are rising rapidly too, making new homes more expensive. Industry Data states the cost of lumber has risen 300% in a year.
  • Interest Rates are historically low, but this market is favoring cash sales, as there are more buyers than sellers.
  • Homes are being purchased remotely through virtual showings. So the time is right to sell, but be sure you have a place to hang your hat, as homes are selling quickly.
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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.