Anna Maria Island-Top Ten Seaside Towns


Top 10 Nominees – Anna Maria Island FL, Bellport NY, Bluffton SC, Cambria CA, Cannon Beach OR, Cape Charles VA, Hampton Beach NH, Ocean City NJ, Traverse City MI, Vero Beach FL

To choose the 2018 finalists, nominations were called via social media. Then Coastal Living looked at their rank on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, percentage of clear and sunny days, healthiness of beaches, commute times, walkability, crime ratings, standard of living and financial well-being of locals, geographic diversity, and Coastal Living editors’ assessment of each town’s “coastal vibe.” The result is an all-star list for 2018 from coast to coast! (Previous winners were not eligible.)

Anna Maria Island was in fourth place spot in the week leading up to the polling closed. I voted as often as they would allow, I sure hope it was enough!

I am one of the many “happiest people” when I’m on the Seaside Town of Anna Maria Island, so the results won’t change anything for me. But, it sure is nice to see Anna Maria Island named in the Top 10. Whether the result is first or tenth anyone living or visiting Anna Maria Island already know the “Happiness in Paradise’ feeling you get while you are there.

The final rankings will be revealed online Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Will Anna Maria Island be declared the happiest seaside town in the United States? We will have to wait a few months to find out. Stay tuned, I will post the results as soon they’re in.

For the latest up to date news, things to do, travel tips, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog 

Anna Maria Island - Beach House Restaurant


One of my favourite shops to visit, the Olive Oil Outpost is so much more than olive oil! This wonderful little shop has a beautiful selection of wine, cheese, infused oils and balsamic vinegars of all different flavours. I have bought some of the most awesome lemon balsamic and coconut balsamic vinegar.

Located at 401 Pine Ave, Anna Maria, FL 34216, USA and just a short trolley ride from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. – Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217.

One visit I found some Himalayan salt, artisan pasta, honey and Ethiopian coffee. At this unique shop you can expect to find everything from, jellies, organic products, artisan pasta, a coffee bar and various gift items.

They also bring in fresh fruit – locally picked strawberries were just coming in when we went last time, and they’re the best I’ve ever had! They regularly stock limes, lemons, onion, squash, and the biggest best green peppers.

As for cheese, seems like every time I go there has been a great selection of cheese out for tasting. And an olive bar. Loads of pasta and sauces and condiments.

When you don’t feel like cooking they have whatever you need for a fabulous meal. Pick up some cheese, local pickles, bread, oranges, honey and don’t forget the wine. Makes for an easy and delicious meal!

We have enjoyed the wine tastings here. Friendly and informative. The wine is usually from one or two places, mostly Italy, but not all. The owners come and discuss their wineries and the wines. They also provide a few trays of tasty small bites for sampling. bar is good and reasonably priced. Very enjoyable low key approach.

Friday is bread day and they have all kinds, ciabatta, Tuscan rounds and rings, semolina, baguettes, focaccia, tomato bread, almond ring, pepperoni rolls and more! The order sometimes gets delayed because they travel to a bakery in St. Petersburg to bring it back fresh.

Depending on the traffic they are sometimes later getting back to the Island. If you come after 1:00 PM it should be there and there should be lots. Trust me, it is worth the wait!

Added attractions: Outside areas to sit and on chilly nights a separate seating area around a fire pit!  Ice water with lemon inside and very friendly service.

This place is just wonderful! A little gem right here on Anna Maria Island with friendly staff offering great products that are reasonably priced. Doesn’t get any better than that!

For the latest up to date news, events, special offers, travel tips and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog


In October Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. – Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217 wrote, The Sarasota Bradenton Ferry water taxi service will be launching in early 2018. It has now been announced the project has been delayed. We anticipate the launch will take place mid 2018 and promise to keep you updated.

The service will connect downtown Sarasota and downtown Bradenton to Bradenton Beach. The drive between Sarasota and Bradenton Beach (Anna Maria Island) can take approximately 40 minutes without traffic, but the commute by water is expected to take just 28 minutes. With the approval by all three cities in 2017, Captain Sherman Baldwin, owner of Paradise Boat Tours in Bradenton is ready to provide this innovative service. Unfortunately, a Bradenton Beach floating dock is delaying this long-awaited water taxi service.

Sarasota Bradenton Ferry is all ready to launch its 149-passenger high speed catamaran. The docks from the 10th Street Pier at Centennial Park in downtown Sarasota and the Bradenton Riverwalk in downtown Bradenton have been secured. The installation of the Bradenton Beach floating dock to unload and load passengers at the Historic Bridge Street Pier is the only thing holding the project back. Lenders will not release the ferry until all three docks are cleared for use. So until Bradenton Beach gets its dock in place this service is docked so to speak.

The Bradenton Beach dock contractor, Technomarine were to begin work in September 2017, butte active  hurricane season put them behind. We were in Bradenton Beach when Hurricane Irma swept through the area which gives us a better understanding of the delay. Installation of the dock is now scheduled for February 2018.

This long term project becoming a longer term project has work commuters, locals and tourists waiting a little longer. One thing we are sure of is that this long-awaited water taxi service will be worth the wait.

For the latest up to date news, events, things to do, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog

UPDATE ON ANNA MARIA CITY PIER – repurposing of the wooden pier planks

In one of my recent blogs, I wrote about the tearing down and rebuilding of of the Anna Maria City Pier due to extensive damage sustained from Hurricane Irma. The estimated date to re-open the Pier is 2019. In that blog, I questioned, what would happen to the wooden planks carved with names and remembrances?

We know that the planks that currently line the Anna Maria City Pier will be removed and replaced as part of the city’s plan to rebuild the pier, but what would happen to these personalized planks? Since Hurricane Irma swept through the state of Florida in September 2017 many people have asked the same question. I thought that the planks would be sold and people would line up to buy a piece of what remains of their pier.

Well, a decision has been made and my guess was wrong. On January 5, 2018 the Anna Maria city commissioners approved Mayor Murphy’s proposal. The decision made is to use the 1,100 engraved planks in making a custom fence on the perimeter of City Pier Park and at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society. Anyone that sponsored a plank can request to have it returned. Requests will be received by the City of Anna Maria until January 26, 2018.

The proposal included an offer from an Anna Maria Island contractor, Frank Agnelli, who offered to pull up and store the planks for free until they are used to build the new fence. Kudos to Frank Agnelli as the City had received estimates of $50,000. to pull the planks up. What a wonderful and charitable thing for Mr. Agnelli to offer to do.

The fence project will take approximately one year at an estimated cost of $10,000. Obviously, and understandably, the pier will take much longer, the contractor Ayer Associates are allowed sixty-two to eighty-two weeks to rebuild.

For the latest up to date news, events, things to do, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog


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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This post was created by Terry Whyte

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