Alys Beach

All photos courtesy of Alys Beach

A beautiful beach off the Gulf Coast in Northwest Florida, a luxury home and vacation rental community with well-planned urban design, gorgeous architecture and knockout amenities — this venue is simply stunning.  

Alys Beach, off Highway 3oA in South Walton County is unique among planned residential developments in its striking architectural style, inspired by traditional homes of Bermuda and Antigua, it is reminiscent of Spanish-Baroque style but modern, with white stone walls, antique cypress wood,  and lush landscaping.  

Designed by the award-winning firm behind Seaside, Alys Beach sits on a bluff which affords glorious views of the Gulf. The 158-acre town is bounded by 1500 feet of white sand beachfront, and bordered on the north by a verdant 20 acre nature preserve with walking and biking trails through the wetlands.  

Alys Beach

It’s property that’s unique and well worth viewing … (more…)

5656 SOuth Shore Blvd Wellington Florida

With the news that Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs purchased an estate in Wellington, Florida for $15.3 million in cash across the street from Bill Gates’ equestrian estate, the town of Wellington, Fla., made national headlines. Wellington, a town of approximately 60,000 around 15 miles east of tony West Palm Beach has become a nexus of wealth and power due to one factor: horses and the people who ride them for show. Jobs and Gates, it just so happens, each sired a daughter with a love of and talent for show riding.

The news of the Jobs’ purchase came fast on the heels of June reports that Bill Gates had purchased what nearly amounted to a whole street in Wellington, simply to provide privacy. Gossip Extra detailed how Gates spent approximately $37 million in Wellington.

But why is this place so attractive to the moneyed elite?

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Watersound Origins Village Commons. All photos courtesy of Watersound Origins

Watersound Origins Village Commons (Photos: courtesy of Watersound Origins)

If renting a house at the beach  is your family vacation tradition, chances are good you are on your way, at, or planning a trip soon to the Florida Panhandle.  As Candy Evans noted in an earlier report this month, the region encompassing Destin, Panama City Beach, and South Walton is the second largest vacation rental ownership market in the country, and for good reason.

Snow white sand beaches, sea oat-covered dunes, pine forests, wetlands, and coastal dune lakes along the Scenic Coastal Highway 30A corridor of  the “Emerald Coast,” as it’s known, make for a wonderland of outdoor recreational activities in stunning natural beauty. But, especially if you are a regular, the problem with staying in touristy housing is that, well, everyone there is a tourist.

Not so three miles inland of South Walton Beach at the residential development Watersound Origins, which has just announced the opening of its second phase. Short-term rentals are banned here — it’s a community dedicated to those with a permanent commitment in mind.  And what does it have to offer? Jump to see … (more…)

89 Watercolor BoulevardThis week is spring break for a lot of peeps, and we know that a hefty slice of Dallasites and North Texans have invaded the Beaches of Walton County, Florida, those picture-perfect white sands along Highway 30-A in the panhandle of northwest Florida.

And after October, we might just re-populate the place.

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Alys Beach

Winter in Canada is a long, cold slog for the country’s 34.5 million residents. From the first snow to the final melted puddle, we’re talking 8 months, sometimes 9.

Now, if you were Canadian and you owned a second home in say, Alys Beach, Florida, you’d want to trade the shoulder-high mountains of grey snow for sandy dunes while you work on your tan for as long as possible, right? Me too. But under current laws, “Snowbirds” are allowed to stay in the US for 6 months. If a bill authored by Sen. Chuck Schumer is passed, they could escape Canada’s bitter cold for an extra two months.

That has to be good news for our neighbors to the north:

The impetus for the change comes from the Canadian Snowbird Association, based in Toronto, which estimates that Canadian snowbirds made 1.08 million trips to the U.S. During 2011. The association defines a “Canadian snowbird” as someone aged 55 or older who spends 31 or more consecutive days in the US during the winter time.

“The association estimates that 70% of Canadian travelers spending over one month in the sunbelt states choose Florida as their destination,” stated Evan Rachkovsky, research officer for the Canadian Snowbird Association, in an interview with USA Today. There are many Canadians who own second homes in the U.S., particularly in the states of California, Florida, Arizona, and Texas.

“A lot of people want to stay longer,” explained Bob Slack, president of the Canadian Snowbird Association, and a keen supporter of the new bill. “They’d like to stay for seven months if they can.”

Other popular winter residences for Canadians include the states of Arizona, especially around Yuma, Lake Havasu, Tucson and Mesa, and California, in particular the Palm Springs area. Meanwhile, Texas is another choice destination for Canadians, especially around Rio Grande Valley, McAllen, Brownsville and South Padre Island.

I love the Florida Keys, but Key West isn’t always the best place to spend a vacation. I mean, I love the Conch Republic and all, but sometimes I just want to watch the waves crash, do some surfing, or have a cocktail without navigating Duval Street.

This island is undergoing rapid development, so now is the time to buy up a lot and build your dream beach house, or buy one of these incredible homes that make the drive over the long Overseas Highway so worth it.

That’s what’s great about Islamorada — the high-end Florida Key with beautiful beaches and gorgeous homes. So here’s our love note to the stunning island, one of the larger Florida Keys:

1) 87961 Old Hwy.

87961 Old Hwy

2) 220 Plantation Blvd.

220 Plantation Boulevard

3) 75140 Overseas Hwy.

75140 Overseas Hwy

4) 88060 Overseas Hwy.

88060 Overseas Hwy

5) 138 N Rolling Hill Rd.

138 N Rolling Hill

 

It’s March Madness, so we took a cue from our nation’s obsession with basketball to showcase some great properties in Fort Myers, Fla., home of Florida Gulf Coast University, this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament Cindarella story.

In my opinion, this city is an ideal spot for a second home. There’s a great mix of rentals, condos, and fractional properties, and you’re bound to find something close to water within your price range, thanks to the abundant coastline provided by Cape Coral.

This is the place we use for daydreaming, though, so here are our top-5 Fort Myers, Fla., vacation homes.

1) 650 Randy Ln.

Fort Myers 1

2) 21441 Widgeon Terrace

Fort Myers 2

3) 1662 I Street

Fort Myers 3

4) 41 Pearl Street

Fort Myers 4

5) 5580 Williams Drive

Fort Myers 5

Beloved by old Hollywood star Katherine Hepburn, Gasparilla Island is a small island just off the Gulf coast of Florida. It’s small enough to feel exclusive, but not so tiny to feel isolated.

And, because of The Gasparilla Act, the island won’t be changing much, at least anytime soon. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The Gasparilla Act, a state law passed in 1980, put a tight lid on population density, building heights and commercial development.”

The island is so small, in fact, that golf carts, particularly those tricked out and customized to resemble classic cars, are the best way to get around. Harrison Ford is a frequent visitor to the island, so keep your eyes peeled!

Here are a few of our favorite Gasparilla Island homes on the market right now!

1) 4120 Snail Island Court

2) 9902 Little Gasparilla Island

3) 1675 Jose Gaspar Drive

4) 2925 Shore Lane

5) 16250 Sunset Pine Circle