Crocodiles and Alligators, friend or foe

Anna Maria Island – Florida has an amazingly complex eco system home to everything from the Florida Black Bear to the majestic manatee, but a little known fact is that Florida is one of the only geographies that can support both alligators and crocodiles. So do these scaly reptiles pose a threat to the average vacationer?

“Nile Crocodile” Native to Africa – you will not find this type of croc in Florida.

Well let’s look at the facts; alligators are not naturally aggressive creatures. There were only 10 fatal alligator attacks in the US between 1970 and 2000 (compared to the 25 fatal attacks by house hold dogs just between 1970 and 1980). This works out to be about .3 per year and several of these reports were of people who started out with harassing or feeding alligators in their natural habitat. Crocodiles however claimed over 50 lives between 1990 and 1994. Having said that, NONE of these attacks occurred in the US furthermore these attacks were all credited to the freshwater crocs (like the one in the picture to the left) found in southern Africa and Australia, not the much more docile saltwater crocodiles found here in Florida.

In addition to this the American Alligator is known as a “Keystone Species” or one whose presence can affect the entire ecosystem. For example before the endangered species act alligators were hunted because local fishermen thought this would improve the numbers of game fish in the water. The outcome was an overpopulation of a type of fish called gar, and what is the meal of choice for gar? You guessed it, game fish and this caused a steep decline in their numbers. So at the end of the day the odds of an alligator invasion of your vacation rental is highly unlikely, if you leave them alone they’ll probably do the same. But if you find yourself yearning for an up close encounter they can be found at the Myakka State Park and viewed up close and personal from airboat tours.


Wally Lambs – Beach Reads Anna Maria Island

“We Are Water” by author Wally Lambs is a heart warming novel about family, marriage, and how strong a human can be in a time of a tragedy.

Wally Lambs We Are Water

This alternating character perspective book will have you glued to your chair in your own world. You’ll forget you’re even on vacation at all! This story truly grabs the readers attention and will have you hooked on the first page.

Told from many character’s perspectives, this book is thrilling to read. Dealing with family, divorce, marriage and understanding you won’t want to put this down.

To read a full description check out the Amazon page, I don’t want to give any of this novel away! Wally Lambs We are Water

With toes in the sand, there is nothing better than a good beach read. Just make sure you put on plenty of sunblock too!

For more great beach reads check out the local scene page. From time to time we update our blog with great things locals are reading.

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island – Dine and Drink El Fresco!

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island is the quintessential way to hang out in beautiful tropical climate! There’s nothing better than when going out to grab a bite to eat or drinks, having the warm island breeze surrounding you. Some of the wonderful restaurants I’ve listed below have beautiful water views of either the crystal clear Gulf or Bay, or an open-air setting directly across the street from the beach.

The fresh air of AMI always makes your food taste that much better and your drinks that much tastier, bringing you relaxing vibes that will be sure to lift your spirit. I have suggested different places from smaller and more quant spots, to casual any-time spots, to romantic night spots.

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island

Sandbar – 100 Spring Ave, Anna Maria

Direct Gulf front


The Waterfront – 111 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Bay views


Anna Maria Pier – 100 South Bay Blvd, Anna Maria
Out in the middle of the Tampa Bay


Bridgetender – 135 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Direct bay front


Island Time Bar & Grill – 111 Gulf Drive South, Bradenton Beach
Open-air setting, across the street from the Gulf

Island time

The Beachhouse – 200 Gulf Drive North, Bradenton Beach
Direct Gulf front


Coquina Café – 2650 Gulf Drive South, Coquina Beach
Direct Gulf front

Outdoor Dining Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island Wedding Festival – A Great Resource!

The Anna Maria Island Wedding Festival is a great resource! There is no better way to walk down the aisle on your special day than with toes in the sand. Enjoy the island breeze dancing on your skin with the captivating Gulf of Mexico as your back drop. Truly a romantic experience.

Anna Maria Island wedding Festival

Anna Maria Island has many festivals and events happening annually throughout the year. However, one of those festivals is Anna Maria Island’s Chamber of Commerce Wedding Festival! Meet with photographers, venues, caterers, florists, hair and make-up professionals and other wedding vendors. These folks can all help in planning your dream-come-true day!

There are prize giveaways including a wedding package which will has many of the amenities for a wedding. Examples of the prizes include dinner gift certificates, spa services, beach or wedding portraits, floral arrangements, music or DJ services, jewelry, island business gift certificates, complimentary resort stays, water sport certificates and sailing certificates too!

Upon check-in, you will receive a complimentary wedding festival tote to collect information in throughout the day. Also an island map to all the vendor sites and a schedule of activities and events happening throughout the day. You can then travel by the island’s free trolley or a mode of transport of your own to visit with vendors that interest you. In the evening, everyone will meet at a beach location for the Grand Finale. Additionally, food, prize giveaways and a mock wedding are just some of the events planned for this festival!



beach-wedding-setup-ideas-lagaoth9 Anna Maria Island wedding festival wedding

Havana Cabana, Anna Maria Island's Cuban restaurant



The Havana Cabana Grill is a Cuban restaurant situated on the Marina Drive, Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Island. The restaurant has a large selection of dishes available for people eating in and ordering out. The food served is a mixture between Greek, Italian and Cuban traditional dishes and there are a variety of others. There are dinner specials available and for the adventurous spirits out there the catch of the day will offer a delicious fresh meal. Be sure to ask what it is!! There is a relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant and one immediately feels at home and welcome.

On my visit to the Havana Cabana I had an authentic Cuban sandwich and my aunt had the Sopa del Dia, both of which were extremely good. I would recommend any of the sandwiches that are made with Cuban bread. There is so much to choose from and I will definitely be going back. The restaurant is owned and managed by John Droukas who is also the chef, you can be sure one of the better chefs on the island. The best way in testing the theory is by testing the food. We were served by a kind lady by the name of Michelle Ruiz del Vizo who was very knowledgeable of the state of Florida and its cultural heritage. We learnt from her the meaning behind the term ‘cracker’, used to describe people who are born in Florida. The term derived from the crack of the whip above herds of cattle that were being herded by the first Floridian residents, early pioneers of the region. She is a proud Cuban cracker.

To view what is available you can visit which is a website containing the menu and contact details.

Now, enough reading for you and time to crack on to the Havana Cabana grill to experience the culinary delight that awaits you.


Havana Cabana Grill
5904 Marina Drive
Holmes Beach, Florida 34217

World’s Longest Conga Line This Weekend On Anna Maria Island

Worlds Largest Conga Line
Come And Join The World’s Longest Conga Line This Weekend
Mike Sales and other Anna Maria Island organizers are attempting the world’s longest conga line in Bradenton Beach on Anna Maria Island this Saturday. This event will take place from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 23, on the beach behind the Moose Lodge, located at 110 Gulf Drive S., in Bradenton Beach, just north of the Bridge Street.
Festivities will start earlier in the day.  The gathering point is Bradenton Beach roundabout at Bridge Street. (Moose Lodge)

11:00am The Moose will be open for beverages and we will have music. Our very talented local artist, Cheeta, will be performing “Live Sand Art”

12:30pm-1pm  Begin to line up for Conga

1:00pm-2:00pm  CONGA!!! Will include live music by Mike Sales, a video will be shot for a music video. Aerial Photos to be taken.

The proceeds from the event will benefit the Moonracer No-Kill Animal Rescue founded by Lisa Williams. Moonracer No-Kill Animal Rescue has started a no kill animal campaign for Manatee County, and locals are starting to get on board, I know I am.
Save the animals they have rights too! See you all in Bradenton Beach on Saturday at 1p.m. so we can all be a part of the world’s longest conga line with original music played by Mike Sales.

Music For Everyone This Spring – Downtown Bradenton

Music Slam Header

This spring downtown Bradenton & riverfront community will be alive with events that showcase music.  Shop, dine, and celebrate Bradenton’s unique mix of arts, culture, and heritage downtown along the riverfront this spring.

Take a look at the Music Slam event list for April and May below.  If you would like more information on this spring’s Music Slam or any other events in Bradenton, Sarasota, and Anna Maria Island, contact Island Real Estate.

Saturday, April 16th 1-2:30pm

History & All That Jazz

Palmetto Historical Park & Manatee County Agricultural Museum.

Enjoy a free Jazz Ensemble, and guided tours of the park’s historical buildings.

Thursday, April 21st 6-10pm

Get Down Downtown

Old Main Street Downtown Bradenton.

Head downtown, and hang out with your friends, eat some food, and grab a drink while listing to live music in the streets of Bradenton.

Wednesday, April 27th 2:30-7:30pm

Musical & Fashion Show

Desoto Historical Society Bradenton Municipal Auditorium.

You do not want to miss the 2011 De Soto Heritage Musical Festival which will feature skilled dance routines.

Saturday, April 30th 6 & 7:30pm

Classics at Ortygia Ristorante

The Village of The Arts.

World renowned tenor Joe Spinella will sing in the Ortygia Courtyard, and Chef Gaetano Cannata will delight you with classic food and wine.

Wednesday’s, May 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th

Courthouse Square Concerts

Realize Bradenton

Free live concerts in May at the Historic Courthouse in downtown Bradenton featuring Henry Lawrence, Michael Mac, & a Jazz Ensemble.

Thursday, May 5th – Sunday May 22nd

Signin’ In The Rain,

The Manatee Players

This musical is a return to the old fashioned showbiz glamour and big dance numbers.

Friday, May 6th 6-9:30pm

Musical Chairs Art Walk

The Village of the Arts

Art and Music everything from bluegrass to an interactive musical sculpture.

Saturday, May 7th 3-7pm

Rock ‘n’ Art

Art Center Manatee

Rock N Roll concert and cool art activities; don’t miss the family fun featuring local bands and artists.

Saturday, May 7th 4-8pm

Sing into Spring!

South Florida Museum

Sing along with your favorite musical kids flick and put on your own Karaoke show. Food will be available at normal price.

Every Saturday In May 9am-2pm

Farmers Market

Old Main Street Bradenton

Fresh produce and live music in the streets of downtown Bradenton.


Saturday May 14th 11:30am – 2pm

Jazzy Ladies

ArtCenter Manatee Courtyard by Marriott

Luncheon & Fashion Show, with fashions from Irene’s in Holmes Beach.

Thursday, May 19th 6-10pm

Get Down Downtown

Old Main Street Downtown Bradenton.

Head downtown and hang out with your friends, eat some food, and grab a drink while listing to live music in the streets of Bradenton.

Friday, May 20th Sunset

Reels at Rossi free film

Rossi Park Bradenton

Don’t miss this family musical with heart, and food will be available for purchase.

Saturday, May 21st 7-11pm

Party on The Plaza Manatee Young Professionals and Realize Bradenton

First Bank 1301 6th Avenue West Bradenton

Join your friend’s downtown Bradenton for live music, drinks, and delicious appetizers under the stars.

Saturday, May 28th 8-9pm

Sonic Art With Paul Ramshaw

Palmetto Art Center

Paul Ramshaw’s electro-acoustic compositions are created from micro-samples of live orchestral and operatic vocal sources.

A Tuesday In January At The Beach On Anna Maria Island

It’s just another Tuesday in January on Anna Maria Island, the sun is out, the weather is about 72 degrees and there is a slight sea breeze.  I was out shooting some beach footage the other day and thought I would share with everyone.  Especially all of the unfortunate people stuck in the snow, and cold up north, and would rather be somewhere else.  Maybe this beach video on Anna Maria Island will warm you up just a little.

After watching that video I’m sure that you are ready for an Anna Maria Island Vacation.  Just remember in your quest for  the pefect vacation, outdoor dining, fishing, shopping, or for the best beach to lay on, check in with an Anna Maria Island vacation specialist.  We have beach house rentals all over Anna Maria Island.  Call Island Real Estate today toll free at  877-778-6066 and book your island getaway!

Island Real Estate Offers Deep Discounted Thrifty Car Rental Rates

thrifty corp code exampleIsland Real Estate of Anna Maria Island is happy to announce our recent affiliation with the Thrifty Car Rental company making it possible to offer our guests a significant discount on their rental car costs.

If are looking for a rental car while vacationing with us in Anna Maria Island or in other cities, just click on the Thrifty Car Rental logo on our website to make your reservations.   You can then easily pick up your car at the airport or other locations when you arrive.

Savings can be up to 40% off  in most cases depending on travel dates.  Island Real Estate’s Corporate Code is 004C005932.  This code should be entered in the Corporate Code box to enjoy the discounts we are able to pass on to our guests and clients.

Here are some helpful rental car tips:

  • Always print your confirmation when you book your reservation online.  It is always helpful to have a copy of the confirmation with you in case of any discrepancies on the rental fee.
  • Check back from time to time and re-price your reservation.  Rates change often and you may be able to lower your cost by re- booking the reservation.   Don’t forget to use our discount Corporate Code 004C005932.
  • Join the car rental company’s frequent renter program.  This will often save you time in line for picking up the vehicle, and may even offer special discounts.
  • Check for different car classes. You may find a special offer on a minivan rather than a compact at times.  It pays to shop the car classes. When gas prices rise, you may find that a SUV rents for less than a mid-size car.

Don’t forget to book your next vacation to Anna Maria Island with us at Island Real Estate of Anna Maria Island.   We are here 7 days a week for your convenience and offer everything from luxury gulf front accommodations to Old Florida style cottages from gulf front to bay and canal front and everything in between!

If you need additional information on which Airport to fly into ,etc be sure to visit our Travel to Anna Maria Island Information page.

Silhouettes at Sunset ~ Nov. 21, 2009 ~ Happy Thanksgiving

My Canadian Clients ~ David and Nataliya on Anna Maria Island
My Canadian Clients ~ David and Nataliya on Anna Maria Island

Anna Maria Island continues to see beautiful weather and amazing sunsets. Many families will rush to the Island to leave the cold and gather with other family members to partake in Turkey and the trimmings. If you live on Anna Maria you do not wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks. Everyday you wake up and see the splendor of our Island, you cannot help but stop and give thanks for the opportunity that we,  somehow in life,  have managed to live and be surrounded by nature in a place where most visitors simply describe as Paradise.
We will see many seeking out the Island to spend some family time and catch some incredible sunsets as they make their guilt walks on the beach from indulging in way too much delicious holiday food and fun!! A special thanks to the families that became my silhouettes this week and were enjoying the beauty on Anna Maria while staying connected to family and nature! Remember to click on the gallery pictures to enlarge them!

Written by Melinda Bordes~941-705-0146~ ~Whether buying or selling on Anna Maria Island or surrounding areas please feel free to contact me for all of your real estate needs! Season is fast approaching and inventory is dropping. The time is now!! Remember to be thankful this week and every week because some of the most beautiful and richest gifts are free. Just look around and please enjoy the sunset! Happy Thanksgiving!