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A Local Adventure to Winter Haven

Recently Lee and I enjoyed a late lunch at Tempo 1930 in Winter Haven. We were in Winter Haven shopping for vinegar at the Treasured Olive Store on 4th Street when we noticed this small, but enticing, restaurant with a curious name. After tasting and buying an interesting assortment of delicious Extra Virgin Olive Oils and Vinegars we decided to try Tempo 1930.

The décor of the restaurant was inviting, attractive, and reminiscent of many public houses we have enjoyed. As for the name, Tempo references the sounds of Jazz and Blues that inspired the décor and 1930 pays homage to George Jenkins, the late founder of Publix. George honed his skills as a manager at the Winter Haven Piggly Wiggly Grocery Store and in 1930 George resigned from Piggly Wiggly and founded Publix Markets in the exact location of Tempo 1930, therefore the name. 

The menu at Tempo 1930 is Eclectic with a nice assortment of appetizers, including vegetarian options. We tried Fire Roasted Ahi Lettuce Wraps, a Grilled Romaine Caesar Salad, and an Amazing Cauliflower Burger. All were tasty. Tempo 1930 has a full bar and a decent wine list. Our server was friendly and helpful and told us that on Saturday and Sunday, Tempo 1930 serves brunch, the menu looked good and will be a brunch stop Lee and I will make in the future. 

Back to the Vinegar, we purchased four different flavors, but our favorite from Treasured Olive was raspberry. Yum. We drizzled a bit on our Florida Fresh Strawberries and enjoyed it with Vanilla Ice cream for dessert.

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A Few Days on the East Coast or a Few Days on the West Coast

If a Beach Adventure is more your style why not try STUART, a lovely Atlantic Coast City, known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World,” just north of Palm Beach and South of Vero Beach. Stuart has an historic, pedestrian friendly downtown, beautiful Atlantic beaches, great river views, charming cafes, and art galleries. Stay in a beachfront accommodation, in town, or on the river. Lee and I like the East Coast Beaches in the summer and the West Coast Beaches in the winter, so the East Coast is always our summer beach pick. Wherever you choose to hang your hat for a few days, enjoy the sunshine and the fun this area offers.

Clam Pass Park in Naples located at the end of Seagate Drive, this 35 Acre mangrove forest is the gem of North Naples. Clam Pass Park is a public beach with a parking lot with a fee, and a tram that crosses a boardwalk through a mangrove swamp. The sand is like fine sugar and the beach is shallow. This is a great, quiet place to hang out on the Gulf Coast for a few days. If you swim or wade across Clam Pass, the beach extends for miles and is lined with sea grape trees and lush foliage. The red, white, and black mangrove trees are resistant to salt from the gulf and the ¾ mile walk is remarkable as you stroll along Outer Clam Bay. The park is open daily from 8 am to sundown. This beach is a local beach and is the perfect place to “get away from it all” but, If you are staying at the Naples Grand Beach Resort, this is the hotel beach.

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Although it is only May it feels like Summer in Florida:

Most folks that have relocated to Florida full time adjust to the summer sun by being active early in the day, relaxing by the pool or the clubhouse in the hot summer afternoons, and then enjoy the evening in the cool of the air conditioning. Lee and I have been Full Time Florida Residents for about 20 years; and after all this time, are fully acclimated to the heat. If you are a full-time resident, enjoy every moment of the summer sun, but please be careful, use sunblock, and stay hydrated.

We wish all our Snowbird friends, clients, and neighbors safe travels to their summer destinations. We will miss you in Solivita and look forward to your return in the late fall or early winter when our weather is WONDERFUL, our sky is a deep blue, and the activities in Solivita are in full swing. 

Summer Fun:

McKee Botanical Gardens: June 18, 2022 is the Waterlily Celebration in Vero Beach at McKee Botanical Gardens. We have been enjoying this once very popular roadside attraction for years.  In fact, if you go back in the Bella Verde Archives on our website to June 2021 you can read all about the history of this unusual historic garden in Vero Beach. The Waterlilies were beautiful last year, and we expect another spectacular explosion of delicate and lovely waterlilies this year. Please visit the Gardens remotely to see dates, times, and events at:  If you go, bring your camera as you will be treated to some lovely photo opportunities. 

Lake Placid Caladium Festival, Lake Placid, Florida     July 29 – 31, 2022
A rare small-town festival in the summer, offering arts and crafts, beer garden, food booths, entertainment and a car and bike show. Lake Placid is known as the Caladium Capital of the World. 

Lake Placid is One of Florida’s prettiest small towns, and it boasts almost 50 outdoor murals in the downtown area. This area of Florida has lots of lakes and beautiful farmland. Visit the Sugar Sand Distillery, Henscratch Farms, or if you visit during the Caladium Festival buy some bulbs to plant. Lake Placid’s attractions include 27 freshwater lakes and Toby’s Clown School and Museum. This little Central Florida town has something for everyone. Lake Placid is truly a day away from it all with the small-town charm and is the perfect stop for folks looking for a day filled with simple pleasures. The Caladium Bulbs are world famous, and produce brilliant, beautifully patterned foliage. If you are looking to add some color to your garden, this little bulb is happy to grow in Florida year after year and will bring bursts of color to your yard.

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Design Trends 2022 – Sustainability, Efficiency, and Patience

The latest trends are not trendy at all say the designers. Gone are the days of making your home look like a catalog, instead embrace old family pieces and mix them with new treasures. Homes are reflecting the individuality of the owners, comfortable, authentic, and sentimental. When you mix old items with new items you home and room will feel and look timeless. Vintage glass, a good vintage furniture piece, and Vintage China are all back in style. We were just at the Antique Market in Mount Dora, and I can confirm shopping vintage is not only for the 55 Plus Set, but younger clients are also embracing the look and character of vintage items and are driving the prices up. We have a few Vintage items that we have refreshed  and made them uniquely ours. These projects were fun and creative and make a great talking point, plus we are enjoying the look of our vintage items in our home. The world is experiencing supply chain and shipping delays, making the time right for us to rethink items you may have packed away. May I suggest, you look through your garage, closets, boxes, and unpack your paint brush, put on your designer hat, and make something old new again.

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The Real Estate Market

Real Estate is Hot, Hot, Hot, and not just in Florida, but all over the USA. It is a Seller’s Market as prices are up, but it is also a good opportunity for a Buyer to jump in. Looks like the hot market will remain hot for a while and when it cools down, property values are predicted to continue to rise, just at a slower pace. We have seen record-breaking growth and we all know it will not last forever, but what is the data really telling us. Supply and Demand is the largest driver for real estate prices. Low interest rates brought buyers to the market in droves, but the low housing supply drove home prices up at record levels. Of course, with all the building in the US supply will not remain low forever, but experts predict we need to continue to build housing for a few more years to keep up with the demand for housing. Our job market is booming and so are the housing prices, even with the FED raising interest rates to combat inflation currently our housing market is steady. Only time will tell what is truly in store for the market ahead as no one has a crystal ball. Know, if a downturn comes, it is a Buyer’s Market, and a great time for investors to jump in and pick up some real estate at discounted rates. So be it a buyer or a seller’s market, investing in a home is a great investment. An investment in your life and your lifestyle. Find the home you love in the neighborhood you love and enjoy the benefits of your hard work. As property values rise and fall you will be secure in knowing you have a safe, happy place to call home.

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Summer Pasta Salad For Six

  • 1 – Box Large Pasta Shells
  • 1 Cup Feta Cheese Crumbled
  • 1 Pt. Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Pt. Red Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • 3 English Cucumbers diced
  • 1 Tbsp. Mint Chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Parsley Chopped
  • 1 Rib Celery Chopped, if you have fresh Celery Leaves you can chop them in too
  • 2 Tbsp. Chopped Black Olives
  • 2 Cups Low Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Clove Garlic Minced
  • The Zest of One Lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil to toss with the pasta after draining
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


Cook Pasta according to package directions, drain and place on a sheet tray and toss with olive oil to cool


Once pasta is cooled place in a large bowl and fold in the rest of the ingredients.

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Planning a Summer Escape is not easy when you live life surrounded by beauty in Solivita

A Summer Escape for the Day, the Weekend, or a few weeks, any of these choices or all are fun. Below are a few suggestions for a Fun Florida Adventure.

A Day in Deland

Visit the Museum of Art and/or take a walk through Historic DeLand and enjoy a collection of more than a dozen sculpture installations. Two of the pieces you will enjoy are the Continuation and Jeugo, they are located prominently near City Hall and in front of the Bank of America Building at 230 North Woodland Ave. Both the Sculpture Walk and Public Art is a collaboration between the museum and the city of DeLand. The artwork changes annually and features a variety of styles and media including concrete, aluminum, stainless steel, PVC, bronze, and cooper. Enjoy the Public Art in the Utility Box Art Wrap Program which features vinyl wrap installed onto the utility boxes.

After taking an art walk or enjoying the Permanent Collection and exhibits at the museum enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants in town.

A Weekend Trip to Wakulla Springs

Truly a weekend away from it all, casual, comfortable, and fun. Wakulla Springs is about a 5-hour drive north, near Tallahassee, but away from the typical tourist crowds. The area is beautiful with over 6,000 acres of pristine forest. The Wakulla Springs Lodge is known as the “Castle of North Florida” and was built in 1937 by Edward Ball, an industrialist. You can stay in one of the twenty-seven guest rooms at the lodge, or you can stay in the area and enjoy the nature, history and the comfort surrounding Wakulla Springs State Park.

Wakulla Springs is largest, deepest freshwater spring in the world. In 1937 Ball purchased 4,000 acres surrounding Wakulla Springs and built the Lodge as a guest house. He imported marble and tile and hired craftsmen and artisans who built everything on site. The lodge has 27 unique guestrooms, each with a voluminous marble bathroom, walk in closet and period furnishings.

After taking a walk, hike, or a boat tour in Wakulla Springs State Park be sure to stop at the Soda Fountain. The fountain is an old Marble Soda Fountain known as the “longest marble soda fountain ever built.” The marble soda fountain is 70 feet plus 6 inches long and serves Root Beer Floats, Cherry Phosphates, Ginger Yips, and Sundaes. Soda Jerks man the counter and serve guests 7 days a week with ice cream treats, hot dogs, chili, sandwiches, and chips. A flash back to the fountain service you may have enjoyed “back in the day.” When I was a child, My Aunts and Uncles had a Soda Fountain in Little Ferry NJ and this fountain brought back many happy memories of sitting at the counter, legs dangling from the stools that spun around sipping Chocolate Egg Crème Sodas.

Enjoy a walk in Fort Sam Marcos de Apalache State Park, you can take a self-guided interpretive trail that will walk you through the historic ruins or book a ranger guided interpretive tour a few weeks in advance of your visit. The rangers will make every effort to accommodate your request. When Lee and I were last in town, we stopped at one of the local markets, picked up a picnic lunch and enjoyed a quiet afternoon in the parks’ picnic area. Head over to Tucker’s Point for a scenic view at the water’s edge where the St. Marks River joins the Wakulla River and flows out into Apalache Bay.

The park’s museum displays pottery and tools that were unearthed near the fort. Stop and stay to view the short video recounting the days the Spanish, English, American and Confederate forces occupied the site. The video is informative and will tie all the periods of the fort’s history together for you.

There are lots of small towns in the area to stop and enjoy that “away from it all” feeling. Enjoy a Stay in a B & B, a Motel, the Lodge, or a hotel, but take time to enjoy the quiet beauty that surrounds you.

Extend your Weekend Trip and take a detour on your way home

If the Wakulla Springs Trip sounds like your “cup of tea” then why not make this weekend destination into a road trip and extend your stay a few more days. Simply continue your road trip to Cedar Key, it is on your way home to Poinciana, travel south and head to the Gulf Coast to enjoy Florida, the way it was before Disney Moved into town. If you love Florida fresh seafood, you have arrived in paradise. Book a fishing charter, take a walk along the hidden Gulf Coast, and enjoy the sweet, salty air. Tourists, like the condominiums outnumber the fishermen these days, but the tourists are laidback as the beaches are not the main draw. Instead, these beaches are quiet little strips of sand hidden away from lots of beach goers. Grab a book, blanket, a chair, a hat for sunshade, and find the perfect spot to spend the day.

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New Address, New Key

In an amazingly brief time, smart home technology has made the transition from a novelty to real world integrated features that homeowners rely upon. Lee and I installed a Ring Doorbell at our new address and my sister installed a Keyless Home Entry System at her home. No need to carry a key anymore, we now open our homes with a verbal command, a touch of a button, or with our cell phones, even when we are not anywhere near our homes. These systems are dependable, attractive, and easy to use. We are all happy with our new keyless systems, but in addition, we have keypads on our garage, plus garage door openers in our cars, so the days of our being locked out are over and we no longer need to hide a key under a rock or our door mat.

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Moving In and Moving Out. Who do you Notify?

It is always fun to move to a new address and begin a new adventure, but to be honest the moving part is not so much fun. Between deciding what to pack and, more importantly what not to pack, to interviewing movers, to obtaining moving estimates, the task seems daunting.

Lately we have had many sellers decide to sell their homes furnished, or to sell most of their furniture prior to listing their home. It is a good idea to lighten the load, moving costs have become quite expensive, and it is fun to start over with some new items. Our tastes change, styles change, and our needs change, at this stage, who needs place settings for twenty. As a realtor I recommend that when you decide to list your home you take a good hard look at what you really want to move to your new address, what to donate, and what to sell. In Solivita it is easy to purchase items from folks in our community but, if it is new furniture you seek, furniture stores are all over the world and that includes Florida. Of course, antiques, artwork and cherished items should move with you to your new address. If you are moving a Piano, a hot tub, refrigerator, or any other heavy items, please get a price to move the item before making a final decision. I have found through my own home moves and our many client moves, that sometimes it costs more to move an item than it is worth.

Knowing whom to notify when you move is essential to making a smooth transition. I have made a checklist to help reduce the stress and worry that will accompany any move.

  • The Post Office
  • Your Employer
  • Utilities
  • Financial Institutions
  • The DMV
  • Insurance Providers
  • IRS –
  • Cellphone provider
  • Social Security Administration
  • Voter registration – In Florida when you register your car at the DMV you can register to vote too.
  • Health Care Providers
  • TSA Precheck/Global Entry
  • Subscriptions
  • Family and Friends

You can make the move less stressful by planning in advance, hiring a qualified team of moving professionals and “rolling with the punches” just in case the move is not as smooth as you planned. However, the move goes, once you arrive at your new home in Florida rest assured your new home will be ready to welcome you. The fun begins the minute you open the door and start getting settled in. The pools are perfect, the weather is sunny, the grass is green, and the skies of Central Florida are blue. There is always time to unpack the boxes, but first take a walk around your new neighborhood and embrace the start of your new adventure.

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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.