First Sarasota-Bradenton EARTH FARE Grocery Store to open Jan. 27, 2018

Earth Fare, founded in 1975 in Asheville, N.C. will open its newest store January 27, 2018 in The Green shopping centre at Lakewood Ranch, Florida. The shopping centre is located on the northeast corner of Lakewood Ranch Boulevard and State Road 70 East.
Just a short drive south along the Gulf of Mexico from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217.
Earth Fare is passionate about clean foods and the connection to their shopper’s healthy, longer lives. They pride themselves on providing healthy food choices that are easy and enjoyable.
Earth Fare will join other Manatee/Sarasota boutique-style markets like Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market and Whole Foods.
The 23,500 square foot store wont be selling just groceries, will feature Earth Fare’s Heirloom Organic Café and Juice Bar. Enjoy, coffee, smoothies and juices at their Cafe/Juice Bar.
I have shopped at a couple of Earth Fare stores in other states and in both stores the aisles were filled with foods with no additives, hormones, antibiotics, artificial sweeteners under any name, bleached or bromated flours, transfats, or artificial colours and their selections were amazing.
The fresh fish counters featured excellent choices at reasonable prices and we have enjoyed their shrimp, cod, snapper, tuna, and crab cakes… including gluten free versions.
Their meat departments were extensive areas with many tempting offerings in various cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken and sausages. I have also visited the olive bar and bought assorted olives and pickled mushrooms adding tasty treats to our meals.
The bakery, amazing, I love the carrot cake varieties! The breads, so many varieties, all tempting as well.
As for the deli case – I am prisoner to their various potato salads, so far the herb style being my favourite. The cranberry-almond chicken salad and tuna salad were delicious. They had a super choice of lunch meats and cheeses galore which were not loaded with nitrates and salt!

On another trip I headed straight to the fresh food court where you can have salads, sushi made in front of you, sandwiches pre-made or made fresh for you, along with pizza ( including gluten free pizza) and soups or hot dishes of various varieties. This area appeared successful as there was a crowd there with many people eating in the tabled area provided. A great store to people watch, I saw many running in to get fresh meals to go.The stores I have shopped in have been so clean and service oriented, I think Earth Fare it is sure to be a growing success.

I look forward to shopping at their new Bradenton-Sarasota store.
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Palma Sola Botanical Garden

Just a ten minute drive from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217
Palma Sola Botanical Garden is a ten acre botanical garden at the end of a residential area in the heart of NW Bradenton. It is designed around three ponds with two attractive “Old Florida style buildings” as well as several nice gazebos. There is an enclosed picnic pavilion, a small playground for children and lovely shelled walkways and bench areas.

Not an overly large park, it is a great place to walk along the paths running throughout the sculptured gardens that show off rare palm trees, fruit and flowering trees and a butterfly garden. You can relax with your lunch and a good book and enjoy nature while sitting beside one of the three sizeable ponds. We saw some very unusual things including, native and tropical plants, a succulent garden, lotus pond and an exotic fruit tree section. There is a nice gazebo near one of the ponds with an attractive bridge that connects the rare fruit tree area to the back of the park. The rare and unusual tree exhibit is one Palma Sola Botanical Garden’s major attractions. There is a post beside each tree that identifies what it is.

Two outstanding finds for us, the Screw-Pine from Madagascar and ceiba which was blooming beautifully.

All the Buildings are modern and well maintained. The Galleria is an educational and administrative building and on a large green space is the Baden Building. The Baden Building, a reception/multipurpose building for small group gatherings, weddings, public events and festivals. It is also host to several events throughout the month, such as yoga, plant sales, antique sales and kids events.

PALMA SOLA BOTANICAL PARK is a private, non-profit foundation. Funds to keep the park open come from individual donations and the rental of on-site facilities. Also insuring this Park remains open are Volunteers from the community that help with planting, trimming and maintenance as well as helping at the events that the Park holds.

Open from 8:00 AM until sunset.

There are not any paved paths or a visitor Center. The Park has an adequate parking lot with Public restrooms and water fountains.

Entry to the Park is FREE and it is pet friendly.

This community Botanical Park is terrific. Bring your lunch and enjoy the day!

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Christmas on Anna Maria Island for our guests staying with us at Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island 34217 and everyone visiting the island for Christmas.


Date: Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sunday Mass with the St. Bernard Community
  • Time: 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
  •            10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
  • Christmas Vigil Mass
    • Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
    •            10:00 PM – 11:00 PM
    • Date: Monday, December 25, 2017
    • Christmas Day Mass 
    • Time: 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
      •            10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
DateSunday, December 24, 2017
Time9:00 AM     Holy Eucharist
           4:30 PM     Carol Sing preceding the service
           5:00 PM     Holy Eucharist
          10:30 PM    Carol Sing preceding the service
           11:00 PM    Holy Eucharist
Date: Monday, December 25, 2017    Time9:00 AM     Christmas Day Service


Sunday, December 24, 2017 Time: 9:30 – Worship         Time: 10:30 Fellowship

CLOSED – Christmas Day


DateSunday, December 24, 2017


 The 5:30 PM Family Service features a Nativity Pageant in which all children are invited to participate. This service is meant especially for families, but all are welcome. There will be singing of carols, special music by the Joyful Noise Children’s Choir and “Good News!” from Dr. Bob O’Keef. All children will receive a gift. The service will end with the singing of Silent Night and the Passing of the Light.

At the 9:00 PM Traditional Service there will be special music and the singing of carols. Dr. Bob O’Keef will bring the message of “Good News!” The service ends with the singing of “Silent Night” and the Passing of the Light.

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Bay Fest on Anna Maria Island!


BayFest – Anna Maria Island

Ride the free island trolley (stop right out front of our condo) to…
The BayFest Event – free, family friendly public event
Date: Saturday, October 21, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM – 9:00 PM EDT
Where: Pine Avenue, City of Anna Maria
Ticket prices: Free

Bayfest, one of Anna Maria Island’s most anticipated events, returns for its 17th year October 21, 2017. Bayfest is Anna Maria Island’s largest and longest running music, crafts and food festival. Enjoy a fun filled day on Pine Avenue in the City of Anna Maria!
The AMI Chamber of Commerce is the proud presenter of their 17th annual Bayfest
Annual street festival.
There is no admission charge!

What is planned for you to enjoy:
Over 100 classic, antique, custom, muscle cars and street rods will be on display.
Mike Sales – Emcee – 10AM – 9PM
Renegade 10:30AM – 12:30PM soulRcoaster 1PM – 3PM
Yesterdayze 3:30PM – 5PM Dr. Dave Band 5:30PM – 7PM
Karen & Jimmy Band 7:30PM – 9PM

Hurricane Hanks – poutine & clam chowder Poppo’s Taqueria – tacos
Rocky Top Concessions – hot dogs, corn dogs, Italian sausage & peppers, nachos, french fries,Subz n Grubz – grub balls, friend shrimp basket, lobster mac & cheese, crab cake bitesThe Feast – coconut shrimp, conch fritters Village Idiot Pizzeria – pizza
T & L BBQ – BBQ fare The Waterfront Restaurant – grouper tacos, pork carnitas
The Schnitzel Trailer – German brats, currywurst, Vienna styple pork schnitzel, homemade goulasch soup The Paella Kitchen – Greek cuisine Rolling Smoke – gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches.

Privateers – hamburgers & corn on the cob Tyler’s Ice Cream
REFRESHMENTS AND SNACKS Kona Ice – shaved ice Tropi-Coco – fresh coconut water, coconut smoothie, virgin piña colada fresh squeezed lemonade, water and soda, Hahn’s Kettle Corn, Joey’s Italian icebeer, wine, rum runners, margaritas, rum and cokes ARTS AND CRAFTS VENDORS Block after block of artisans, crafters and vendors with their unique, one-of-a-kind items.

A fun play area for the kids including a bounce house and fun inflatables
Privateers pirate ship
• Ride the free AMI trolley to Pine Avenue. The trolley runs until 10:30 pm
• Park just offsite at Crosspointe Fellowship Church at 8605 Gulf Drive on the north end of Holmes Beach and ride the free dedicated trolley that will be shuttling people directly from the church to the City Pier at the end of Pine Avenue.
• Some neighborhood street parking is available – be sure to read the signs that indicate where parking is permitted, park with all four tires off the roadway and sidewalks, and with the direction of traffic.

* source – photo and info Retrieved 10/03/2017

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LET’S GO SHOPPING On Anna Maria Island!



Take a drive north or south on Gulf Drive to experience the cute shops the island has to offer, or hop on the trolley.. The trolley has many stops making for a short walk to what just might become your favourite shop.

Shopping on Anna Maria Island is convenient, diverse, and affordable, with stores located in one of the three towns. On the North end, the city of Anna Maria has charming Pine Avenue a nice outdoor shops and restaurants right on the Tampa Bay. Holmes Beach hosts a centrally located outdoor strip mall with lots of keepsake shops and necessity items. Bradenton Beach offers historic Bridge Street with all sorts of cafes and boutiques. If you need a break from the sun and beach all these spots are well worth an afternoon stroll.

Bella by the Sea Boutique ~ Anna Maria

Bella brings to Pine Avenue a collection of women’s designer clothes, handbags, industrial furniture, vintage wicker and home accents. A calming shopping experience in a sea side atmosphere!

Pink & Navy Boutique ~ Anna Maria

Has a little of everything, cute & beachy. On Pine Ave on Anna Maria, you most definitely need to visit P&N! From clothing/gifts for littles to amazing swim, clothing for guys/gals to the hippest book selection or yummy candles, P&N truly has something for everyone!

Egret’s Island Stores ~

Each of their three stores offers a varied collection of unique gifts, apparel, home furnishings and more.
The Egret’s Landing ~ Holmes Beach
Home furnishings & Interior design

The White Egret ~ Anna Maria
Home accents and gifts.

The Egret’s Nest ~ Anna Maria
Ladies’ apparel and baby boutique

Be sure to stop in each Egret location. The island stores that offers a colorful collection of stylish , artworks, accessories and coastal living décor.

Ginny’s & Jane E’s at the Old IGA ~ Anna Maria

This little store is fast becoming an island novelty. Located in the Historic City of Anna Maria, a quaint “Old Florida” area on the north end of Anna Maria Island the store is a unique collection of local art and antiquities. They also provide beach supplies, like suntan lotion, sunglasses, flip flops and other items to help you have fun and stay comfortable while at the beach. At Ginny’s & Jane E’s you will hear the sound of people enjoying a meal together with their friends and neighbors. Their cafe and bakery offers a great breakfast and lunch menu. Perhaps you want a break from the sun and cool down with an all fruit smoothie, or just relax with a cold beer or a mimosa. The unique setting offers quiet corners or big family tables.

Island Bazaar ~ Holmes Beach

This store is packed with goodies to take back home. Island Bazaar has a little bit of everything, from funny tee’s, to sundresses, Reef and Sanuk sandals, toys and gag gifts that are fun for all ages! The best part is the prices are low!
Sun & Surf Beach Shop ~ Holmes Beach

Sun and Surf Lifestyle Apparel is a can’t miss store on Anna Maria Island! Well known for the exotic birds on the sidewalk outside of the store, the Sun and Surf Lifestyle Apparel has a large selection of clothing, handbags, shoes, and jewelry. A fun tropical shopping experience.

The Sand Dollar Gift Shop ~ Holmes Beach

Stylish clothes and gifts for the home. Great place to buy gifts for family while on vacation. Not the normal gifts, things you can put up around your house year round to remind you of your great time in AMI. Very reasonable pricing. I always find something new each visit.

Island Fresh Market – Seafood ~ Holmes Beach

Fresh fish and prepared foods located on central Anna Maria Island. Island Fresh Market specializes in local seafood, locally grown seasonal vegetables , and spices and condiments to compliment any meal.

Island Fresh Market is owned and operated by local island resident Nancy Feely, who grew up in nearby Bradenton. Nancy offers a vast knowledge in the culinary arts and a background in the food service industry. Serving fresh, sustainable products and foods in a fun and welcoming environment is her passion. She strives to make the market as green as possible.

Walgreen’s Pharmacy & Liquor ~ Holmes Beach

Pharmacy and Liquor Store on Central Anna Maria Island.
Publix Super Market ~ Holmes Beach

Always recognized as one of the best grocery stores.
Green Turtle Shell & Gift Shop ~ Bradenton Beach

The name says it all a must stop for the essential keepsakes. They have quality items and many unique things. Their prices are reasonable and fun island music is piped into the background. Very enjoyable place, the store our kids always love to visit!

One Stop Shell Shop ~ Bradenton Beach

Truly an island trinket shop, with all kinds of goodies. Seems like you can always find and affordable novelty gift.
Bridge Street Bazaar ~ Bradenton Beach

This small store carries lots of beach necessities (sunscreen, beach toys, clothing items) and souvenirs (post cards, glasses, decor). They also have the Maui Babe browning lotion that is highly sought after, yet difficult to find. Come check it out on historic Bridge Street. Fun for the whole family.

Bridge Street Interiors ~ Bradenton Beach

Bridge Street Interiors offers a wide variety of beautiful

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A Musical Event in the Key of the Sea — SYMPHONY ON THE SAND

The 5th annual Symphony on the Sand is a celebration of the music and art of the island. A musical and gourmet event hosted by the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra is a one-night concert taking place at Coquina Beach on Saturday, November 11th, 2017, at 4:30pm.
With a golden sunset as the backdrop and sand between your toes, the Symphony on the Sand is the perfect way to spend your day at the beach. The event features live music performances and a sand sculpture competition. Catered food from local restaurants including Beach House Restaurant, Coquina Cafe, Harry’s Continental Kitchen and two others will add to your experience Whether it’s the grand symphony or a soloist serenading you with their instrument, the musical performances are always truly inspirational.
Enjoy an elegant evening on picturesque Coquina Beach featuring three hours of fine food and music provided by the island’s own 45-piece orchestra, Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra. Noted local soloists, supported by a professional chorus will provide local talent.
Pricing for official events varies depending on the different types of tables. There will be open seating for blanket and beach towel lovers, VIP dining tables and VIP corporate sponsor seating areas.
All tickets must be purchased in advance from the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra website.
Sponsors and $125 VIP ticket holders enjoy complimentary wine, select beer, and access to luxury restrooms exclusive for VIP table guests. Patrons, VIP Corporate and Table Sponsors are seated on the beautiful white sand overlooking the Gulf of Mexico while musicians perform renowned selections of international and American musical compositions, with the famed Anna Maria Island sunset as a backdrop. Bring the family and introduce the children to Strauss and Mozart. The Orchestra will also perform popular American Classics, selections from famous Operas, Broadway productions and movies, plus selections honoring our courageous veterans.

Saturday, 11/11/2017 SYMPHONY ON THE SAND, 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
$125 – Ticket/Person Includes: Table Seating (at table of 10) with delicious small plates by area restaurateurs, complimentary fine wine and select beers
$50 – Ticket/Person Includes: Concert Chair with 2 drink vouchers per ticket & concessionaire food purchase options
$20 – Ticket/Person Includes: General Admission bring your own seating with cash bar & concessionaire food purchase options
VIP Sponsorship opportunities available, contact –

If you are in the area and don’t have tickets, then walk out to our private beach access, turn left (south) walk along the beach (approximately 30 minute walk.)
Or, take the free Island trolley. Stop is out front of the condo on Gulf Drive and stops right at Coquina Beach (be sure to take the south bound trolley.)
Listen to the music accompanied by the gentle lapping of the waves and enjoy!

Symphony on the Sand is the perfect way to spend the day!

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Top Things To Do On Anna Maria Island!

Bean Point (Anna Maria) ~ On the quiet end of Anna Maria, a hidden gem. Beautiful sand and calm waters this beach is natural and unspoiled. No rentals, life guards or public facilities, just a great place to watch the stingray, dolphins and manatees swim by. The views of the mainland, Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the cities on the horizon are spectacular!

Bradenton Beach ~ Idyllic, long sandy beach. Clean and safe without the crowds. Lots of shells for the collectors and a number of short piers to fish off of. There are a great many shops and restaurants all within walking distance of the beach. (Walk out from our private beach access at onto Bradenton Beach)

Coquina Beach ~ Excellent Beach for kids and families. The water is clear with powder soft sand. Lots of free parking with change stations, showers and public restrooms. A cafe right on the beach, picnic area, a playground, everything you could want and more.

Manatee Public Beach ~ Also called Holmes Beach, they are one and the same. This beach has perfect sand – miles of shoreline to find your perfect spot. You can stay close to the café or venture further up or down beach for more privacy. The AMI Café is a great place for food and refreshment where you can eat inside in A/C, or outside with your feet in the sand while soaking up the sun. You will find beach chairs and umbrella rentals, picnic tables, grills, showers, change rooms and restrooms, free parking and a stop for the free island trolley service.
They have a large gift store there with all kinds of great souvenirs. Restaurant, bar and excellent nightly entertainment. Wonderful place to enjoy the beach while on AMI.

Anna Maria City Pier ~ Stop here for the views and gorgeous water. An old historical pier a restaurant awaits at the end. The Sunshine Skyway Bridge can be seen from the pier and many surrounding islands. Parking is free to the left of the pier if you eat at the restaurant. There is not a lot of parking, but you can park on one of the streets and easily walk to it. Fun to watch the fishermen on the pier and the many birds. Night fishing is the best with the breezes off the bay and cooler temperatures. And it is free to fish from the Pier!

Bradenton Beach City Pier ~ make a point to visit this pier. Very clean and family friendly. Restaurant on the pier, but also many others along Bridge Street. Take a nice walk down the pier to see the boats, the beautiful views and people fishing. You can rent a pole and fish without a license. It has fish cleaning stations and places to put multiple rods. At the end it has a swing to relax on and many benches to sit. Enjoy watching the people fish and seeing their catches. The sunset is awesome too. A great spot! (just a five minute walk from

Adventure Away (Bradenton Beach) ~ too many adventures to list, contact them

Boat Tours ~ many tours, see contact info below

Coquina Bay-walk ~ If you want an escape from the beach or shops then this is your perfect diversion: a beautiful boardwalk through a Nature Reserve. This is called Leffis Key and it is on the bay side [LH side] as you drive south towards Longboat Key. Generally this is quiet and you can walk though the mangrove boardwalks and emerge on to viewing platforms over looking the bay and inter coastal water way. You might see the shoals of small fish [shiners] eating the weed in the clear water. You might also see heron, ibis, different types of crab, lizards, woodpeckers and the list goes on. If you are lucky to watch a shoal of large mullet approach you will see how the shiners got there name. Spend an hour, free parking and sights that you will carry with you in years to come.

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