Florida birds

My husband is a pretty good photographer, and Florida birds are a favorite subject for him. He says he took this picture of a mama duck and her two ducklings at the public golf course in Dunedin, right off Alternate 19, south of Tampa Road. Maybe I’ll post some more of his Florida bird pictures once in a while.

 

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Breakfast spots 1

There’s quite a few breakfast spots around the northern part of Pinellas County that are well worth the trip. One that I like is Toula’s Trailside, which is in downtown Tarpon Springs right on, you guessed it, the Pinellas Trail.

IMG_3209We had breakfast there on Sunday. We sat outside — something that I’m usually not that enthusiastic about, but it was very pleasant on this day, mild temps and no bugs! I had a Mexican scramble — chorizo, peppers and cheddar cheese. Nice!

One benefit to sitting outside at Toula’s is that you can watch the passing parade on the Pinellas Trail — lots of people on bicycles, walkers and joggers, couples, singles, and kids in bike helmets. It’s fun and entertaining, and you might spot one of your neighbors.

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Pinellas sunsets

ts sunset 12Sunsets on the west coast of Florida can be pretty spectacular, as can the skies over the Gulf of Mexico.  This is the sunset that greeted us last night as we had dinner at a restaurant on the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks.

 

Garden animal art in Tarpon Springs

IMG_8827There’s a store I pass several times a week in Tarpon Springs, Tarpon Home and Garden, that specializes in whimsical animal creations for the yard or garden.  It’s a bit like passing a zoo, where all the animals line up near the sidewalk to wave hello.

I always say, “I’ve got to stop there sometime,” but I never have. Always in a hurry, always on my way somewhere else.

On a recent morning, however, I had some extra time, and I pulled into the side street and walked over to the store with my camera.

These are some of the shots I got. I love these remarkable creations, which would cheer up anyone’s yard or garden. The Tarpon Home and Garden website calls these animal creations “metal yard art,” and the site says many of their items are imported from Mexico.

Just another business that Makes Tarpon Springs so much fun.

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More Downtown Tarpon Springs pics

A few more shots from my walking tour this week of downtown Tarpon Springs…

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The Pinellas Trail, which runs right through downtown Tarpon and then on to south Pinellas County, maybe 25+ miles away. This used to be a railroad right-of-way — now it is a very popular walking and biking trail.

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A bicycle shop, one of the businesses that the Pinellas Trail has attracted.

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Here is something you don’t see every day anymore, an actual old-timey butcher shop. Tarpon has one in its downtown, and it’s been here for around 35 years.

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Ready for a beer? Tarpon has more than one craft beer shops.

Tarpon Springs Not-The-Sponge-Docks

Tarpon Springs, the town where I live in Florida’s Pinellas County, is well-known for its Greek population, its great Greek Restaurants, and its Sponge Docks, a stretch along the Anclote River where sponge divers and merchants have gathered for more than 100 years.

The Sponge Docks is home to retail stores, souvenir shops, sponge boats and eateries, all of which celebrate the community’s sponge-harvesting past and present.

IMG_8462But one piece of Tarpon Springs that is perhaps less-celebrated is its downtown, a mile or so south of Dodecanese Boulevard, which is the Sponge Docks’ main street.

Located on east Tarpon Avenue and several surrounding streets,  the downtown has been undergoing a bit of a renaissance in recent years, giving residents and visitors a choice when it comes to spending free evening and weekend time. A number of excellent restaurants have sprung up, and the Pinellas Trail runs right through the heart of the downtown bringing new eating and drinking spots, bicycle shops and other retail businesses.

IMG_8405Another reason to visit Tarpon Springs’ Downtown is First Friday a street fair event that takes place in the evening of (yup, you guessed it) the first Friday of every month. Its a noisy, crowded affair that offers food, vendors, music and more.

IMG_8419I spent an early morning wandering around the downtown recently, and I brought my camera with me..

The numbers prove it’s a seller’s market

The local real estate market remains strong, and that’s good for buyers and sellers and real estate agents like me. So I sure don’t want to complain – we’ve all been through good times and bad times over recent years real estate-wise, and right now is one of the good times.

abode-987096__340[1]But I would be even happier if we had more listings to sell. I’ve worked with a number of qualified buyers over the past year who were ready and willing to buy a new home, but were frustrated by a lack of good homes on the market. Good listings that are priced right are simply flying off the market almost as soon as they are listed, so buyers sometimes simply can’t find the right home because listing inventory is so low.

I went to the Pinellas Realtor Organization website to look over their statistics, and the numbers bear this out.

In March, the number of new listings was up 5.1 per cent from the previous March – 2,540 listings county-wide for the month in 2016 versus 2,670 for March 2017. That’s a bit better than the previous month (February), when new listings were actually DOWN from February a year ago.

While it’s nice to see that number climbing a bit, it’s still not enough to satisfy the strong market demand.

realtor-156501__340[1]So, to state it simply, we have an over-abundance of good qualified buyers, and a shortage of good, well-priced listings.

It’s a quandary, because it would be hard to find a better time to sell one’s home. The medium sales price for single-family homes was UP a startling 15 percent in March over March a year ago! Medium sales price was $200,000 in March 2016, but $230,000 in March 2017.

I think the only answer for me is to work even harder to find good listings. If I can list them, I know I can sell them!

Are you thinking about selling? Take advantage of this extraordinary market! It won’t last forever.

Give me a call! 727-643-7100.

Dog parks in Pinellas County

There are some great parks in Pinellas County, but did you know there are a number of parks where dogs are welcome? In fact, there are seven parks in the county that provide fenced areas where unleashed dogs can frolic to their heart’s content.

border-collie-playing[1]And it gets better; there are some parks in the county that are not run by Pinellas County, but which are managed by municipalities. And some of those parks are very welcoming of dogs, as well. An example: North Anclote River Nature Park in Tarpon Springs. This park is near my home, and it welcomes dogs. It even provides free poop bags (and really hopes that you’ll use them); free dog-level watering stations for thirsty doggies; and even showers for overheated dogs.

Here are the Pinellas County parks that have dog areas for unleashed dogs:

As you might expect, there are a number of rules that the county insists upon. Here they are:

  • All dogs must be leashed when entering and exiting the park.
  • Park closes at dusk.
  • Patrons use the dog park at their own risk.
  • Handlers are liable for any injury or damage caused by their dog (s).
  • Handlers are limited to three dogs.
  • Dogs shall be licensed and vaccinated with a tag on their collar at all times.
  • Dogs in heat are prohibited.
  • Handlers must be 16 years of age or older.
  • Children under 12 are not permitted without a responsible adult.
  • Handlers must control their dogs and attend to them at all times.
  • Handlers must carry a leash with them at all times while in the park.
  • Handlers are responsible for picking up and disposing of their dog’s waste in designated receptacles.
  • No dogs under four months of age. Check with your veterinarian before introducing a new puppy to the dog park.
  • No aggressive dogs.
  • Handlers must stop their dogs from digging and are responsible for filling any holes their dogs make.
  • No excessive barking.
  • No bathing of dogs within the park.
  • No food or smoking within the fenced area.

The county suggests that you not walk barefoot in the fenced dog areas. I think that is great advice.

 

2B 2B 2G villa in Palm Harbor!

I’m excited about this listing because it is in one of my very favorite gated communities in North Pinellas County. I’ve sold quite a number of homes in Wescott Square over the years, and I hope to sell many more, including this one!

front3This one is a smaller unit, with a Great Room design, a roomy master bedroom and another smaller bedroom. It has two baths, an eat-in kitchen, and the large lanai has been enclosed and is now part of the total interior square footage, so its pretty roomy — 1,560 square feet in all!

Great rmThe back of the unit overlooks a scenic pond, which attracts some of those lovely Florida birds. On the other side of the pond is the community pool.There is a fireplace, a wet bar, and an inside laundry room. The garage connects to the unit via an enclosed breezeway.

This gorgeous home is just waiting for you to bring your own touches — fresh paint and new flooring, for example.

IMG_4754I’d love to show it to you, but hurry! Homes in Wescott Square don’t stay on the market very long.

Watching a Tarpon Springs sponge diver

tarpon-paul-103If you live in Pinellas County you know about the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs. But did you know you can take a one-hour tour on a sponge boat, hear a description about sponge diving. and actually watch a sponge diver in action?

tarpon-diver-034We did this a while back and had a great time. We learned a lot, not the least of which was how incredibly long it takes for the diver to get into his suit. It was fun, and educational too.

Sponge harvesting has been going on in Tarpon Springs since the 1880s, and diving for sponges was introduced in 1905. Experienced divers and crewmen starting coming over from Greece in the early days of the 20th century, and Greek culture is still a major part of life in Tarpon Springs.

Interested? Come to the sponge docks and look for the white-and-orange St. Nicholas VII — its tied up not far from the statue of the sponge diver. Or you can call ahead — 727-937-5417. I believe the cost was around $8 per head when we did it, but the price may have changed since then so be sure to ask.

tarpon-diver-106Follow up your boat tour with an authentic Greek meal at one of the many nearby Greek restaurants.