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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


ANNA MARIA ISLAND’S NEWEST RESTAURANT ELIZA ANN’S NOW OPEN 

Eliza Ann’s Coastal Kitchen, part of the new Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club is now open at 5325 Marina Drive in Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island. For those that have visited with us before, you might remember Pete Reynard’s Yacht Club Restaurant. Seems like yesterday when we dined at this iconic revolving restaurant which closed in 2001. Fast forward to 2017 and we are now able to dine on the same waterfront site at Eliza Ann’s.
Just a short trolley ride north of Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Fl 34217

Located steps from the water’s edge the restaurant has an open kitchen, reclaimed wood table tops, an oyster shell chandelier and seating for 76 in a rustic/nautical atmosphere. The restaurant has a solid fuel grill which burns live oak to give steak and seafood dishes a smoky, natural flavour. Featuring fresh seafood, locally sourced cuisine and Florida inspired cocktails they have daily specials based on local catch.

Eliza Ann’s is open for dinner daily from 4 to 10 p.m. with a late night happy hour from 10 to 11 pm on Friday and Saturday. Daily happy hour from 4 to 6 pm features beer, wine, spirits and chef’s choice small plates all for $5. Wine Wednesdays showcase half-off all bottles of wine during dinner. Brunch is available Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 4 p.m. We have only had dinner there, but the resort plans to introduce breakfast and lunch service beginning in February.

We haven’t met the Restaurant’s chef personally, but have inquired about him. We learned that Chef James has more than 20 years of culinary experience with a real passion for culinary excellence. And, after several visits we were not disappointed. The food was great. We have tried a varied number of dishes, all were well prepared and flavourful. We found the service very efficient and the staff warm and friendly.

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


UNUSUAL LOCAL SHOPS – Anna Maria Island

THE SEA HAGG IN CORTEZ FISHING VILLAGE  –  941-795-5756

Don’t miss taking a stroll through this very unique store minutes from our condo. While travelling East you will find The Sea Hagg on Cortez Road about three blocks past the Cortez bridge.
Before you even enter the shop you will see many interesting pieces. The front yard, referred to as the Salvage Garden, you will find old boats, sculptures and probably something that no one else has. So many eclectic items and nautical themed salvage. Located a short walk across the Cortez Bridge from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. – Anna Maria Island 34217 – Florida

The inside of The Gift shop is amazing. You will see some of most interestIng floor to ceiling Nautical curiosities, antiques and gifts. If you’re looking for an unusual, one-of-a-kind piece, this place will have it.

I found some cute mermaid and seahorse decorative soaps as well as coffee mugs priced very reasonably. I thought some items were priced high, but asked myself, could I find them somewhere else? The answer was, probably not.

The Sea Hagg will ship items (domestic delivery) to your doorstep, please ask them about International delivery.

VILLAGE OF THE ARTS IN DOWNTOWN BRADENTON  –  villageofthearts.com

Located only five blocks from downtown Bradenton in a quaint residential-commercial area.

The Village of the Arts is full of 1920’s restored bungalows. These colourful bungalows are home to galleries, restaurants, studios and specialty shops. This vibrant art community has lots of unique venues. The Village offers an eclectic mix of art, ranging from pottery, paintings, metal work, jewellery music, gourmet cuisine, fashion and literature.

It is amazing to go into these artists own homes/studios to view their products. We found so many different types and styles of art on display and were amazed how talented all these artists are. The variety of art and artist is beyond impressive. All the neighbours we met were very friendly and the artists were very talkative.

There are several restaurants to choose, the following are my favourites, Bird Rock Taco Shack, Arts and Eats and Orytgia.

Businesses are open year round, seven days a week, but each has different daily hours. We found the best time to go is the First Friday night or Saturday afternoon of the month (First Friday Art Walk) as most places will be open. I recommend calling the galleries and the restaurant you’re planning on visiting the day before because this is a live/work community and many places are by appointment only. Most places in Village has easy access to free street parking.

We love the Village of Arts and the mom and pop feel of a genuine live/work neighbourhood along with the sincerity of the unique artists and vendors.

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


CYCLING ON ANNA MARIA ISLAND

Cycling is encouraged over driving, with friendly paths and bike rentals available. You don’t have to travel with a bicycle to enjoy cycling on Anna Maria Island. Enjoy the Island wildlife as you are greeted by squirrels or native Blue Heron. If you are lucky, you may spot dolphins frolicking in the waves.

Many shops provide bike rentals for guests to just get around or to explore the island. Enjoy the day/week/month with a bike ride. Put your car keys away and enjoy your bicycle ride to the beach.

Any of these companies will be happy to help with your Bike Rental.

Fun and More Rentals offer outstanding service, and fast delivery. They will deliver bicycles anywhere on the island, along with helmets, bike passenger seats and bike trailers. In addition to standard cruisers, they also offer kid’s bikes, adult tricycles, tandems and bikes equipped with a co-pilot trainer. Rentals are available per day or per week. Delivery and helmets are free. Fun and More Rentals 941-462-2719

JUST 4 FUN pride themselves on being the Premier rental agency on the Beaches of Anna Maria Island. Their great customer service is second to none. FREE delivery is also available. JUST 4 FUN 941-896-7884

Beach Bums are eager to assist and dedicated to providing a large, meticulously maintained line of rental bikes. They offer free delivery and pick up to your Anna Maria Island Beach rental. Beach Bums 941-778-3316

Bike Paths- In addition to riding on roadways and through neighbourhoods the cities of Anna Maria Island have several designated paths. Paved bike friendly paths make it easy to ride from one end of this 7 mile long Island to the other.  Bicycles are not permitted on the beaches as the powdery sand make cruising a little difficult.

The city of Bradenton Beach has five miles of bike paths and bike lanes along Gulf Drive, connecting to more than 50 miles of similar lanes across the island, as well as more on Longboat Key.

From the condo heading south on Gulf Drive passing Cortez Beach you will then access the Coquina Beach Path which leads to beautiful Coquina Beach. Continuing south into Longboat Key will take you to St. Armand’s Circle and beyond. On the Longboat side, there is a 10 mph speed limit and cyclists are required to have a bell to ring for pedestrians.

Riding East over the Cortez or Manatee bridges provides a pleasant trail to take in the sights, sounds and smells of the Intracoastal Waterway. Travelling East on Cortez Bridge you will pass the quaint Village of Cortez and if you’re feeling adventuresome continue on into the City of Bradenton. If you travel East over the Manatee bridge there is a bike path through Robinson Preserve which offers great nature viewing opportunities along with safe flat trails.

Be sure to check out the Anna Maria Island bike path map available on-line www.cityofannamaria.com

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

Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. – Anna Maria Island – Florida – 34217


Looking for a different way to see Anna Maria Island? Here are a few tours we recommend…

Paradise Boat Tours – 200 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach FL – 941- 465-8624
A twenty-eight passenger power catamaran with padded seating and wind protection for cooler days. This is a great tour for all ages with a discount for seniors and children 3 and under are free. Take this fully narrated 90 minute tour while looking for dolphins, manatee, stingray and other wildlife. They advertise that 95% of their tours see dolphins. Tours are daily with sunset BYOB. (Located just a few minutes walk of Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Fl 34217).

Happy Paddler Kayak Tours & EcoVentures – Anna Maria, FL – 941- 773-1920
Enjoy an amazing tour combining ecology, history, preservation, and wildlife. Happy Paddler tours are suitable for any fitness level. They offer different tours all at a comfortable pace and you can take little breaks along the way.You can plan to encounter ospreys, egrets and pelicans, along with manatees, dolphins, possibly even a sea turtle!
We highly recommend Casey for a truly unique gulf coast experience.

Snapper Addict Fishing Charter – 2504 88th St Ct NW, Bradenton, FL – 941-812-6364
Captain Layne has been fishing local waters his entire life. He will personalize your fishing trip, just tell him what you want. Great for the first time or seasoned fisherman Layne will customize your trip bringing his vast experience and love for fishing to your offshore adventure. Snapper Addict specializes in light tackle helping you catch Snapper, Grouper, Kingfish, Hogfish, Covina or Shark. Individual or a family looking for a fun afternoon on the water? Give Snapper Addict Fishing Charter a call, you will be glad you did!

Bradenton Beach Marina – 402 Church Avenue North, Bradenton Beach FL – 941-778-2288
Offering a wide selection of boat tours, boat rentals and jet ski rentals. Want a boat rental on Anna Maria Island where you can spend 1/2 day or full day cruising the bay? The Bradenton Beach Marina offers bowriders, deck boats and pontoon boats. Their boat tours include dolphin tours and sunset cruises. No matter which tour or rental you choose we know you will enjoy the great views of beautiful Anna Maria Island.

Segs by the Sea – 102 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach FL – 941- 209-5970
Segs by the Sea offers a variety of beautiful scenic Segway tours throughout Anna Maria Island, Longboat Key, and Cortez. Enjoy Bradenton Beach and the surrounding areas using this Eco-Friendly form of transportation. Segways are available for self guided rentals, guided and and custom tours. Training and helmets are provided. Segs by the Sea also offers bikes, electric bikes, scooters kayaks, stand up paddle boards and golf carts for tours and rentals as well. Jetskis, boat rentals and tours, and parasailing can also be reserved at Segs by the Sea, Bradenton Beach.

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


WE HAD THE MOST AMAZING STAY AT THIS CONDO

A Huge Shout Out To The Cooper Family For Their Awesome Review

Reviewer Name: Mark Cooper

Review Date: Dec 30, 2017
Star Rating: 5+++++++

We had the most amazing stay at this condo. It’s been recently remodelled so has a great mix of modern amenities with old Florida style. The location is excellent and the view of the ocean at sunset unbeatable. Terry was a great host and speedy to reply to any questions we had. We hope to be back. We would recommend to anyone.

“Thank you Terry. We had a perfect stay and hope to be back next year.”

The Beach Sands Condo – 601 Gulf Dr. N. – Anna Maria Island, Fl 34217

My Response:

Hi Mark,

Thank you for the nice review and thank you again for being our guests. We look forward to having you can your family as our guests again soon.

P.S. Hope you liked the gift we sent you for your birthday and we are delighted you choose our property to celebrate your birthday and Christmas.

Happy New Year.

Sincerely, Terry, Sandy & Family

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


MCDONALD’S GOLDEN ARCHES COMING TO ANNA MARIA ISLAND? 

Business people were concerned after a Dunkin Donuts and Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop opened in Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island in 2017. Will a McDonald’s be next?

Anna Maria Island has always been home to mom and pop shops so the opening of chains opens up the floodgates to, what’s next? Chains want to come to our popular Island that over the last few years has become a year-round vacation spot. What people love most about Anna Maria Island is that Old Florida feeling you get when you visit. There isn’t a McDonald’s, Burger King or Starbucks on every street corner which suits property owners and visitors alike.

For years now people have been talking about the ‘if or when’ a McDonald’s will come to the Island. Rumours have been circulating recently about a McDonald’s opening at 699 Manatee Avenue, the site of a former Bank of America. Since the branch closed permanently December 5, 2017 speculation has been rampant about possible new tenants.

On December 20, 2017 three signs reading “McDonald’s Coming Soon” were found posted on the Bank of America site at the intersection of East Bay Drive and Manatee Avenue. One of the signs was posted facing East Bay Drive traffic, one faced Manatee Avenue West and another was on the turn lane for northbound motorists from East Bay Drive to access eastbound Manatee Avenue West and the Anna Maria Island Bridge.

Not long after sign sightings, the phones at the Holmes Beach city hall were ringing off the hook.  Holmes Beach Commissioner, Pat Morton said,  “it’s somebody’s idea of a joke and it’s not going to happen”. According to Holmes Beach code enforcement officer, Nate Brown, the signs were phoney and posted illegally and he confirmed that the property is not zoned for a restaurant.  From a distance the signs appeared authentic, but looking closely the signs were made of a thin paper covering old political signs from 2016 Forward Manatee. The signs have since been removed.

Gone for now is the excitement — negative or positive — spurred by the purportedly imminent arrival of the burger chain.

My opinion – NO McDonald’s, NO problem, the abundance of restaurants and food options on Anna Maria Island are endless.

We will not be disappointed if a McDonald’s is never built on Anna Maria Island. We, like others, enjoy the quiet Old Florida charm of our beloved Island.

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


Anna Maria Island Historical Museum ~ Belle Haven Cottage ~ Old City Jail 

This small museum is worth the stop! The staff are welcoming and extremely knowledgable. All sorts of interesting facts – ie: one of the original island residents was the creator of the Fig Newton recipe! – Or, tourists used to rent WOOL bathing suits at the beach when they visited the island!
We stopped in on a whim while shopping on Pine Avenue and really enjoyed it. You can browse and spend just an hour or you could take your time and spend hours reading and investigating all they have to offer. Great for both adults and children. They offer a scavenger hunt for kids with a prize at the end. Admission is free, but please remember to leave a donation!
Just a short free trolley ride from Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island 34217
Learn about the early settlers and the Museum Building that was constructed as an icehouse in 1920. It went on to serve as an automotive garage, a sea turtle hatchery, and a public administration building. In 1992, the City of Anna Maria began leasing the building to the Historical Society for use as a museum. The museum’s exhibits tell the story of the first settlers on the island and their legacy including archived records for research into families and businesses. You can also learn the Island’s fishing and baseball history.
After seeing the Museum visit The Belle Haven Cottage which is a historical cottage furnished with heirlooms and antiques demonstrating early island living. The cottage was originally built on the City Pier in 1920 and was used as a fish packing plant, rental cottage and bait shop. In 1926 it fell into Tampa Bay Bay and was pulled from the waters to become a family home on the Island for decades. Belle Haven was rescued from demolition in 2001 and moved to the Historical Park being restored in 2006.
Continue to the Old City Jail that was built in 1927 to detain local troublemakers and house the rowdies who had a little too much to drink at the local roadhouse. It was used as a jail until it caught fire in the 1940’s. Left with no roof, no windows bars and no door it is used as a photo op for visitors. The jail is one of the most photographed attractions on the island and a  “must-see” site that was featured in Ripley’s “Believe it or Not”.

Sale of Settler’s Bread-On Wednesdays, November through March come for food and fun in the Historical Park.

Taste the original Settler’s Recipe Bread. Proceeds benefit theAMIHS Scholarship Fund. 

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


New Years Eve on Anna Maria Island

CELEBRATE NEW YEAR’S EVE 2017

There are lots of exciting events this year on Anna Maria Island or in nearby Bradenton or Sarasota.

Hosting its festive beachside New Year’s Eve party that rivals the best of them, with a full fireworks display. 

Dinner will be served outdoors on the covered deck as well as inside the restaurant. Enjoy their impressive seafood and cocktails. First-come-first serve tables so come early.

SEAFOOD SHACK – 4110 127th St W,  Cortez, FL 34215    941-794-1235

Seafood Shack’s The Neptune Room will host a most entertaining New Year’s Eve celebration. Includes party favors, multiple bars, drink specials, Chef’s special Party Appetizer Menu and live music & dancing with The Eric Von Band.BRADENTONOld Main Street, 400 12th Street W, Bradenton

Food trucks, pubs, casual eateries, boutique shops, and other independent businesses are all joining in the festivities of Main Street Live this New Year’s Eve.

Aside from an eclectic and unique selection of specialty food providers from all over the city, you will find a bustling center of local live music, family activities, and dancing on the closed off streets.

You will have to take a short drive off of Anna Maria Island for the event, but it is well worth it. Be sure to leave room for a few different dinner options. There’s every type of cuisine available in downtown Bradenton and more. The event starts at 5pm and will continue past midnight.

SARASOTA

You are guaranteed a full afternoon and evening of excitement at The Pineapple Drop in Sarasota. 

Rivalling the Times Square ball drop enjoy the fun in a much warmer climate.

The drop occurs at midnight, but the party starts earlier in the afternoon at around 1 p.m. around Lemon Avenue and Main Street. People from all over the country visit for the carnival-like atmosphere, vendors, incredible local food, gifts, rides, live music and a host of other spectacular attractions.

Marina Jack Fireworks – 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota    941-365-4232

Marina Jack’s will be host to a brilliant firework display. The display will be outside the marina at midnight. You can watch the fireworks from an inside table or free at the Bayfront Park or other nearby points.

Inside the marina you’ll get to enjoy live music while dining on elegant seafood and sipping their specialty cocktails.

Seating for dinner at the Deep Six Lounge & Piano Bar and Blue Sunshine Patio Bar & Grill at the marina will start at around 7pm. The dining room will have two seating options, one from 4pm to 7pm and another starting at 8:45pm. Or, take a cruise on the Marina II with a full buffet, while dancing to live music.

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ANNA MARIA ISLAND CONDO RENTALS!


ANNA MARIA ISLAND – RAINY DAY THINGS TO DO ….

 

Every once in a while it rains in Paradise. If you happen to be on Anna Maria Island on a rainy day there is still plenty to do. Below is a list of a few things we do to endure a rainy day. Those listed off the Island, can be found on Manatee Avenue or Cortez Road in Bradenton, all a short drive from the condo.

  • Bowling at AMF Bradenton Lanes-4208 Cortez Road West-Only 10 minutes east of Anna Maria Island you will find open bowling on Cortez.
  • Take in a movie at Oakmount Theatre – 4901 Cortez Road West, Bradenton is only 10 minutes from Anna Maria Island.  There you will find all the normal requirements necessary to enjoy the latest blockbuster of a movie.  Popcorn, reclining seats, hot dogs, candy, soda, everything you need to ensure you are on a true vacation.
  • Trolley Hopping (bring an umbrella) – Take the entire day and hop on the free Island TROLLEY. Get off at the many stops and enjoy the many stores, bars and restaurants along the way. Make your last stop at the Island Grocery Store and buy fresh seafood to cook for dinner that night.
  • Visit the Bradenton Beach Library – Relax and read a good book or catch up on the latest magazine gossip or news at the Tingley Memorial Library, 111 2nd Street N. Bradenton Beach. Located two blocks south of Cortez Road, within walking distance of the condo and near a Free Trolley Stop. You do not need to be a member of the library to use the services. You will need a library card if you plan to take books, CD’s, or DVD’s home.  Enjoy their free 24/7 Wireless Access to use with your own device or use their on-site computers with Internet. They have current popular fiction and non-fiction large print books and an amazing collection of movies, as well as magazines and puzzles available for check-out or purchase. They have an ongoing book sale including first editions and rare books. The children’s area has plenty of books, games, a computer for their use as well as toys to play with.
  • Spa Day – Pamper yourself with a SPA DAY.  Anna Maria Island offers many spas that can accommodate your every whim. Massage, pedicure, hair, sea wraps, you name it.  Anna Maria City, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach boasts several spa choices to choose from.  In addition there are several individuals that will come to your VACATION RENTAL and give you a massage in your accommodations. It’s a bit tough to schedule a rainy day in paradise but you should be able to plan your spa day last minute as there are plenty of choices on Anna Maria Island.
  • Enjoy your Anna Maria Island beach rental – The benefit of a beach rental is the feeling of being in a home and not just a hotel room. Our beach rentals offer great amenities and activities. During your visit you may find DVD players, board games, books and wireless internet to keep you entertained. Or, curl up on the couch and take a nap. What better place to do that than in your luxury beach rental.
  • Our last suggestion is to wait a few hours. Anna Maria Island rarely has weather where it rains all day. If you are lucky you just might look outside and the sun will be shining again.
  • For the latest up to date news, things, to do, events, special offers and more continue to follow our blog @ Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals/Blog

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