Bonita Springs Real Estate Listings

Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate

 

Jan. 16, 2015

Natural Gas in Bonita Springs & Estero Area

Natural Gas Bonita Spring

Natural Gas Communities in Bonita Springs - Estero

For the folks who really like cooking or heating with natural gas instead of electric heat, there are only a handful of communities in the area with natural gas or access to natural gas.  Natural gas is not in every neighborhood in the Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida area because the infrastructure has not been installed in some of the established areas.

Some of the newer neighborhoods in southwest Florida offer natural gas. You can easily search for home in a community that offers natural gas below by clicking on the name.

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Jan. 15, 2015

Cullum's Bonita Trail at Bonita Nature Place

Cullum's Bonita Trail

Cullum’s Bonita Trail at Bonita Nature Place

If you haven’t been to Cullum’s Trail in Bonita Springs you’re missing out on one of the best little trails hidden in plain sight. It’s sort of like one of those “where the locals go” places. Not long ago I invited my friend, The Fraulein, to walk the trail with me and the dogs. She’d not been to Cullum’s trail nor had she heard about it, which surprised me, since she is a full-time resident of Bonita Springs and has been in the area before. I’d previously dragged her to Bonita Nature Place to watch the bats leave the bat house at dusk so she’d been in the area. I know what you’re thinking; I sure know how to show my friends a good time.

Cullum's Bonita TrailIf you’re already slacking on your new year’s resolution to exercise more this is the perfect opportunity to turn over a new leaf. The trail has a few different routes so it’s flexible in length. You can easily map out a twenty or thirty minute walk to add to you morning. The path is made of packed shell and supplemented with boardwalks over low lying areas. There are a few benches sprinkled along the way so you can take some time to enjoy the surroundings.

Cullum’s Trail is a labor of love by Cullum Hasty, a local resident who is an environmentalist and nature lover. He’s helped make this trail a reality for the residents of Bonita Springs, plus he’s still working on the expansion which is coming soon. This special trail runs along the Imperial River and offers views of old growth cypress, towering oak trees plus a huge variety of native Florida flora and fauna.

This trail features a canoe and kayak launch giving paddler’s access to the prettiest and most remote part of the Imperial River. From the launch heading east toward the back side of Nature Place the path is a fun, narrow, loosely groomed trail with a few logs to hop over and vines that swag over the path. There are also a few small valleys to cross, which hold water during the summer rainy season. The trail is marked with metal token hiking trail signs so hikers can stay the course. This is my favorite part of the trail because it is so undisturbed.

As far as accessibility, this area is not totally stroller or wheelchair friendly so keep that in mind when you plan your outing. This trail is easily doable with small kids and they’ll certainly enjoy the adventure. I’d recommend coming up with a scavenger list of items they are likely see to really engage them in the hike. A few things they’re almost guaranteed to see: Mushrooms, birds, spiders, fern, flowers, tortoise, purple berries, bees, fish/minnows and butterflies.

Cullum’s Trail is super east to get to. It’s located on Kent Road in Bonita Springs, just beyond the YMCA. When you turn on Kent Road, drive past Bonita Nature Place main entrance to the parking area for Cullum’s trail. You can’t miss it. There is no fee for parking or entry to the trail. Be sure to visit Bonita Nature Place while you’re in the area, too.

Happy Trail and Boardwalks!

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This column is special to Southwest Spotlight

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Jan. 7, 2015

The Management Company Must Document Budget & Fees

Condo Budget Florida LAw

Disclosure of Budget & Fees By Management Company

Today, for the umpteenth time I went round-and-round with a property management company about fees. Some management companies put up websites with info on it thinking that they have covered their own bases and they’re good to go. this particular company only had the application for the purchase hosted online.  The brush their hands and make it easier for themselves but the problem is that they don’t understand real estate law in Florida or what is needed to protect the current condo owner and even future condo owner through the sale and purchase. 

This is important information for both condo buyer and condo sellers especially if they are buying or selling for sale by owner because this is where you will get the information.  You don’t know what you don’t know so consider this.

Florida real estate law reads that whether you’re buying an inexpensive resale in Bermuda Ridge or a resale  high rise penthouse in Tavira at Bonita Bay a condo buyer is legally entitle three days to review the condominium association budget, frequently asked questions (FAQ), rules and regulations and also they need to get a current application to join the association and the association bylaws, articles of incorporation.  If a condo buyer does not receive those items they are legally able to cancel their contract.  That is how the seller is protected through the transaction, by not losing their contract over a technicality.

So, recently I had to make over a half dozen phone calls and just as many emails before I finally got to someone at a professional management company to send me the documents.  The manager is opening the emails (I have a tracking program) but not responding.   I don’t think they understood that in addition to the law there are other items we need to disclose to buyer that actually go in the MLS up front.  I ended up finding someone higher up to get this information:

1. Transfer fees. There are often capital contributions due to the association by the buyer. At the closing time is not the place to find out that there is a couple thousand dollars due.

2.  Quarterly condo fee.  The fee is verified in the budget. Sometimes the owners are wrong and I, as an experienced real estate professional, trust but verify.  Especially at the first of the year when the budget for the year gets changed and released.

3. Master HOA fees.  Sometimes there are more than one fee due from the owner; the quarterly condo fee and the master HOA fee.

4. Special assessments and lawsuits are often disclosed in the FAQ’s.  Every buyer has a right to know if there is a lawsuit (which could effect financing a buyer) or a special assessment to make up a shortfall in the budget or for a major repair.

5.  Reserves for replacement.  An alarmingly  low amount of reserves can be a tip that a condo may not qualify for traditional financing programs.

There really is no reason for this info to not be readily available in a .PDF to email to a real estate agent or potential buyer.  I check the MLS to see how many sales occurred in the complex I have been trying to get the info for.  Forty-two properties have have closed sale in the last year.  That means forty-two times that the manager was annoyed at real estate listing agents and purposefully unavailable to produce the documentation instead of just popping it off in a .PDF. The manager probably just things that real estate agents are pesky and annoying when they could, in fact, stream line what is need and happened forty-two times within the last year.  It’s probably going to happen 42 times next year, too.

This situation isn’t limited to professional management companies. There are some condo associations managed by the residents who get weirded out by handing over the financials. Look, we don’t want bank account numbers, we need to produce the fiscal information to prospective buyers and their lenders (if the buyer is financing) by law.  If you were buyer  you would sure as heck want to know.

Special thanks to those CAM’s and management companies who get it right and know that most of this info can be handled in one interaction, in an email so that every aspect of the transaction goes smoothly from contract through close.

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Jan. 6, 2015

Here are 8 Ways to Find Real Estate Steals in Bonita Springs Florida

Bonita Springs homes for sale

Finding a Bonita Springs Home Steal

If you think you missed the boat because the distressed real estate pool has gotten shallow, here are some great tips to make sure you bet the best deal when shopping for a home in Bonita Springs, Florida. Here are 8 Ways to Find Real Estate Steals in Bonita Springs Florida:

1. Short SalesShort sales have become really unpopular for real estate buyers because of the uncertainty of the closing date and the swiftness of the real estate market.  The fact of the matter is that your buyer’s agent should be able to ask a few pointed questions to screen the transaction for viability and likeliness to close or close in short order.

2. Foreclosures – There aren’t a lot of foreclosures in the Bonita Springs real estate market but when they do come to the market they’re often a deal for a cash buyer.  Financing home buyers can attempt to purchase them but the owning financial institutions often choose a cash buyer over a financing buyer.

3. Heavy Inventory -  This technique takes a little skill from your real estate agent.  Find a neighborhood or price range with a large absorption rate or heavy inventory.  Where there is excessive choice there is always an owner who will negotiate because they want to or need to sell.  Any offer made on a home or condo must have the absorption rate accompany it so the seller understands how many years of inventory there is and how much longer they could potentially own the home between offers.

4. Special Assessments & Lawsuits – This too shall pass … any special assessment is going to get paid or HOA lawsuit is going to be settled.  What happens during the process is an inventory build up by stalled sales. Recently, I located a very affordable condo that was underpriced because the condo association had filed bankruptcy and was suing the master HOA.  Worst case scenario, a $6,000 special assessment could be levied for the condo. Considering how low the price of the condo was (at least 30-40K under value), it was still a deal even if there was a special assessment levied.  *Condos in litigation do not qualify for traditional financing so they would have to be a cash buyer.

5. Shop Above Budget – Look at homes in Bonita Spring above your budget. Look at “days on market” and find the home that has been sitting because it is overpriced. Those home owner may be ready for an offer and may not understand that their property is over priced and will have to appraise if the buyer is financing.  Make an offer that and allow the comparable properties to accompany the offer so the seller understands pricing, appraisal and the offer.

6. Geography - If you like a particular floor plan figure out where else in southwest Florida that home can be located.  If you fall in love with a home in Hawthorne try looking in  Palmira, Shadow Wood or Emerson Square in South Fort Myers.  Same home builder, same floor plan, different location.

7. For Sale By Owner – If you find a home for sale by owner ask your agent to call.  Many home owners cooperate with buyers agents and even if they don’t the properly vetted and negotiated FSBO could be a steal in an upwardly trending market.  Most seller’s don’t understand closed sales and comparable sales and could be mispriced for the market.

8. First In The Hood – New construction  is popping up all over the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida area.  Your buyer’s agent can get you in on entry level, pre-construction prices. This is a great technique for those who may not be retiring for a few years or who do not need a home immediately. Very often there are neighborhood renderings or duplicate neighborhoods to tour.  For example, homes for sale in Bonita National can also be found in Treviso Bay Naples.  Bonita National has no model homes to tour but super pre-construction deals  (Jan 2015) A home buyer can find the model/budget they prefer, choose the home site in Bonita Springs at Bonita National and tour the decorated model in Naples.

If you are searching for real estate in Bonita Springs, Florida and need the services of an Accredited Buyer's Representative contact Chris Griffith by phone or text at 239-273-7430.

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Jan. 4, 2015

Bonita Springs Real Estate Market Report December 2014

Bonita Springs Home sales

 Bonita Springs Home Sales Statistics

We’ve closed the real estate books on 2014 and went out with a bang. Continuing the trend, the 200-400K price range outsold the 200K and under price point only because the bottom inventory is continually selling off driving home and condo prices in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida areas up. This makes for an improving real estate market, stabilization of distressed property inventory.

Historical Bonita Springs home sales

Historical Bonita Springs Home Sales

Usually, I compile a decade of closed sales, however, seeing that there were 289 closed sales (at the time of data collection) I felt there may be real estate consumers, like me, who were curious about 2004.  Remember the great real estate boom?  I wanted to share how 2014 closed sales compared to 2004 closed sale in the month of December.  2014 officially conquered 2004 in unit sales.

Distressed Bonita Springs Homes

Distressed Home in Bonita Springs Estero

Let me preface the information on the graph above because I believe the amount of closed foreclosure sales in Bonita Springs and Estero represent the lending institutions rush to close properties by the end of the 4th quarter of the  year to record the assets.  The 4th quarter closed foreclosures is about double what was on trend and does not indicate an increase in local foreclosures for sale.

Distressed Bonita Springs Listings

Foreclosures Short Sales Bonita Springs

You’ll notice that comparing this graph of active real estate to the closed sale is a reflection of the expected trend and is a sneak peek into the future of closed sales, equity, foreclosures or short sales.  The active real estate market in Bonita Springs and Estero Florida is only about 4% distressed listings.

Bonita Springs Home Financing

How Bonita Springs Homes are Financed

Cash home sales continue to trend highly followed by conventional mortgages. FHA and VA mortgages represent a fraction of the closed sales partly due to the swiftness of the market and the cash transactions championing multiple offer situations.  Also, entry level priced homes in Bonita Springs and Estero are experiencing low inventory. There just aren’t many homes available at this time.  There are only 20 homes for sale under $200,000 and only 6 of those homes are three bedroom or larger.

If you are curious about cash transactions in other southwest Florida cities:  Cape Coral 43% cash, Naples 62% cash, Fort Myers Beach 82% cash, Fort Myers 60% cash, Lehigh Acres 39% cash, Marco Island  55% cash, Pine Island/Matlacha 72% cash.

Download the FREE December 2014 Market Reports in .PDF form HERE

Posted in Market Reports
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Jan. 2, 2015

Why Doesn’t Bonita Springs Have a High School?

Bonita Springs High School

Why Doesn’t Bonita Springs Have a High School?

This is an appeal to everyone in Bonita Springs but especially to my own grown children, their friends and anyone else who plans on raising a family in the city Bonita Springs, Florida. For the record, my children have purchased homes with the intention of raising their family in the 34135. They don’t realize it but they are at a very important crossroads of what could make or break life in the city of Bonita springs for young families. The future growth of our local economy and the retention of young families actually depends upon it. Continue: Why Doesn’t Bonita Springs Have a High School?

Did you know that the city of Bonita Springs is one of the only cities in Southwest Florida without its own high school? I told a friend of mine who lives in Tallahassee that and she nearly fell off her chair. She couldn’t believe how large our city has grown without having or getting its own high school. I had no explanation for her other than “there aren’t enough people fighting for it”. It’s true. The residents are going to have to fight for it to make it happen. That means you. That means me.

The fact of the matter is that our government and business leaders want to keep young families in Bonita Springs. They also want new families to move to Bonita Springs but there is an issue. We don’t have a high school. So, if you want an education for your children in a convenient location you need to put some skin in the game and actively lobby and fight for your high school.

Here’s a fact: The Lee County School System actually needs and is planning for another high school in south Lee County and they will put it in South Fort Myers or Estero … again, unless you do something about it.

Why should this even matter to any of us? There are parents, both married parents and single parents who cannot afford the time or the gas money to have their kids in football, band, baseball, cheerleading or any other school based club that takes place after school. The purpose of having a high school in Bonita Springs would be to have a well-rounded city infrastructure and to close the achievement gap for ALL of the kids in Bonita Springs. There are many kids who will miss out because “they don’t have a ride” or the financial means to participate so they can build their achievements and hone their skills and talents. Those are also skills that could get them into the college of their choice not to mention a scholarship for excelling. It’s really an economic penalty that the residents and children of our great city shouldn’t have to pay.

Now, keep this little gem in mind: The next “south” high school is going to be the bee’s knees. It will be a spanking new, state of the art school with the newest in education materials, tools and equipment. Why shouldn’t the children of Bonita Springs, the only city in SWFL without a high school, have access to that in their own back yard?

So, what should you do to help? We are swimming through the greatest social media culture in the history of mankind. The sad truth is that I can put this appeal up on Facebook and get one thousand “likes” on it but “likes” don’t move mountains, “likes” don’t register voters, “likes” don’t get residents to show up at town hall meetings and “likes” don’t get residents and parents to write a letter to any of the elected city council leaders of the city of Bonita Springs asking them why they aren’t fighting for a high school for the City of Bonita Springs. Certainly, I can’t be the only person wondering why they aren’t fighting for this high school.

The mayor, Ben Nelson, is doing his best but, frankly, there is silence at city hall. The silence at city hall needs to be filled with the voices of residents and parents who understand that a local high school in Bonita Springs is past due and much deserved. It’s an economic necessity for the people who live here and will be a major factor for any future businesses who will be considering the city of Bonita Springs as the new home of their headquarters.

Why is a high school important to those businesses? Well, their employees will move here and those employees want the best for their kids, too. We are currently not able to offer the best and the best is about to slip through our fingers. Major corporations will skip right over us if we can’t provide a decent education for their employee’s kids with the added convenience of the school being minutes away, not 30 minutes away, each way for the duration of their child’s educational and extra-curricular career. I won’t go into detail about how businesses moving to our area benefit Bonita Springs economically but they do. Heck, some of the current city residents will likely find better jobs at some of the relocating corporations, too.

Here’s the deal, it’s your tax dollars that will be used to build the next high school so those dollars may as well benefit your family, your city and your economic future. It’s our turn. It’s your kids turn. It’s the city of Bonita Springs’ turn.

Put this date in your calendar, January 14, 2015 at 5:30. It’s the date of the next City of Bonita Springs Town Hall.  Please come, bring a friend, and share your ideas, comments, questions and concerns. I implore you to come.

I also recommend that you contact your city council members and ask them “Why, exactly, don’t we have a high school and why aren’t they [council] backing a high school for the city of Bonita Springs by lobbying the Lee County School board on our behalf?”

This is the phone number to city hall: (239)-949-6262 and these are their email addresses, below. You might also choose to drop the printed email off at city hall or mail it to them c/o City of Bonita Springs, 9101 Bonita Beach Road Southeast, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.

stephen.mcintosh@cityofbonitasprings.org Stephen McIntosh District 1

janet.martin@cityofbonitasprings.org Janet Martin District 2

steven.slachta@cityofbonitasprings.org Steven Slachta District 3

peter.simmons@cityofbonitasprings.org Peter Simmons District 4

Mike.Gibson@cityofbonitasprings.org Mike Gibson District 5

bill.lonkart@cityofbonitasprings.org Bill Lonkart District 6

If you aren’t sure who to contact, contact them all.  It's three bucks in stamps and a few minutes of your time.  

Then contact the Lee County School Board and voice your concerns. Call up the board and talk with Cathleen Morgan.  She is your Rep for Bonita Springs. Let her know again and again and again. School Board office phone number: 239-337-8303 and her email is CathleenOM@leeschools.net

 

Very truly yours,

Chris Griffith

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Jan. 1, 2015

Effective Bonita Springs Home Search

Bonita Springs Home Search

Effective Bonita Springs Home Searches

Today, New Years Day, a real estate buyer set up a search on one of my websites for the following terms:

County:Collier County, Lee County

City:Bonita Springs, Goodland, Naples, Cape Coral, Estero, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach 

Property type:Single Family Home, Condo/Townhouse, Co-op, Mobile/Manufactured 

Beds:2+  baths:2+ 

Price:$25,000-$100,000 

Listing status:Active

I just shake my head.  Real estate consumers, those who are searching for a home or condo to buy in Bonita Springs or anywhere in Southwest Florida are going nowhere with a search like that.  I went to the actual MLS and put those search terms in and it produced 996 results. I’m trained and experienced in real estate sale and that quantity of real estate potentials (plus updates that follow as new listings come to the market) is an insane number and a fruitless search.

I’m sorry, real estate buyer, but the there is a world of difference between Goodland and Cape Coral or Estero and Fort Myers Beach.  Comparing condos to manufactured homes is like shopping for a new ride and comparing mini-vans to a two door convertible.  Should you limit your search?  Well, no, but you need to quantify and qualify it. You need to figure out if $300+ per month for a condo fee is your gig or not. If you aren’t up for paying that fee then you need to nix the condos.  That’s going to weed out a chunk of distraction for you.  Next do a search for “single family home, price, city name” for each city, not all of the cities. 

If you’re going to search for real estate in Bonita Springs, make it productive and don’t throw 900+ properties into your search. You’re setting yourself up for a miserable home buying experience.  To start your home search click here: Bonita Springs Homes For Sale

Posted in Buyer Tips
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Jan. 1, 2015

Bonita Springs Homeowner Association Fees

Bonita Springs Homeowner Association Fees

Verifying Bonita Springs Homeowner Association Fees

Periodically, I get an email with a great question I end up writing a reply to that should be on my website for future Googlers.  Today’s real estate question: Is there a web site we can go to, to get HOA (home owner association) fees and what they cover?  It’s important information in the Bonita Springs/Estero Florida area because we are 75%+ gated and deed restricted.  You need to protect yourself and your Bonita Springs real estate investment going in.

The short answer to is no, there is no website.  The long answer is that the listing agent is supposed to have those fees assembled onto a “Home Owner Association Disclosure” that is given to a potential buyer or even hosted on the MLS so that if a buyer is presenting an offer on a home or condo, the HOA disclosure (and other necessary disclosures) can accompany the offer.  That doesn’t always happen. 

Frankly, at the time of this blog post we are entering a “low skill” market where real estate sells farily easily so laddy-datty-and-every-body is getting a real estate license and they just “don’t do it well”.  So, to verify homeowner association fees or even condo fees there are a few things a real estate buyer or their buyer’s agent can do to verify fees.

1. Call the listing agent and ask for a budget. The budget lists the expenses of the HOA plus the fees collected from home owners.

2. Contact the professional HOA management company and speak with the representative who handles that particular community.  Ask them what the HOA fees are to verify and then ask them what it covers; landscape, irrigation water, reserves, etc.

3. If you don’t know who the management company is for a homeowners association or a condo association visit the community clubhouse or pool area, it is often posted publicly.  It is also listed at Sunbiz.org, along with board members who you may also be able to contact.

A few things to remember about HOA and Condo purchases.  Florida real estate law dictates that the HOA disclosure is mandatory but I have personally run into many listing agents do not treat it that way.

Disclosure Summary for Mandatory Associations: IF THE DISCLOSURE SUMMARY REQUIRED BY SECTION 720.401, FLORIDA STATUTES, HAS NOT BEEN PROVIDED TO THE PROSPECTIVE PURCHASER BEFORE EXECUTING THIS CONTRACT FOR SALE, THIS CONTRACT IS VOIDABLE BY BUYER BY DELIVERING TO SELLER OR SELLER'S AGENT OR REPRESENTATIVE WRITTEN NOTICE OF THE BUYER'S INTENTION TO CANCEL WITHIN 3 DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE DISCLOSURE SUMMARY OR PRIOR TO CLOSING, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST. ANY PURPORTED WAIVER OF THIS VOIDABILITY RIGHT HAS NO EFFECT. BUYER'S RIGHT TO VOID THIS CONTRACT SHALL TERMINATE AT CLOSING.

Florida real estate law also provides that purchaser of a condominium has three days to review the condominium association budget, rules and regulations, articles of incorporation, FAQ’s and such.  The rules for condos are important because there could be important use restrictions such as limited or no rentals, pet restrictions, no RV or truck parking.  Again, if you have pointed questions about the condo association rules contact the management company and ask the representative directly to verify.

Should you have any questions about buying a home in an HOA or Condo association, call or text Chris at 239-273-7430.

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Dec. 23, 2014

Naples Beach Hotel Orchids Naples Florida

Naples Beach Hotel Orchid

Naples Beach Hotel Orchid House

I have come to the conclusion that there are Floridians who love orchids and then there are Floridians who have full blown love affairs with orchids. A friend of mine from the real estate world (who has taken to naming her orchids) recommended that ‘for something different to write about’ I visit the Naples Beach Hotel and take the orchid house tour. It turns out that many years ago the owners of the hotel were inspired to cultivate orchids on-site after a trip to Hawaii. The hotel now grows and has maintained a substantial orchid collection since 1991.

Naples Beach Hotel OrchidsTaking the tour wasn’t an immediate decision simply because I happen to be the third type of Floridian; the type who falls in love with orchids at the store, buys them and then watches all the pedals and leaves fall off. Orchids never bounce back at my house so I initially thought it best that I keep my distance from one of the largest collections of orchids in the area.

Eventually, curiosity got the best of me and on a random Tuesday morning I went to visit the orchids. After checking out the orchids in the lobby and common areas I hopped the hotel shuttle to the orchid house in the belly of the golf course. In the quiet, non-descript building there are about four thousand orchid plants in various stages growth. Some are in full blossom patiently waiting for the next hotel event. Some are mere babies doing time until they’re mature enough to produce blossoms. They’re all very beautiful.

The hotel hosts many weddings and special events so white orchids are a common request of guests. Both white and purple orchids pepper the greenhouse but there are some really unusual colors and exotic varieties to see, too. Vince, the orchid guide with the best job in the whole wide world, answered so many questions and even showed us a few of his favorite beauties. He even shared a few addresses of south Florida orchid growers, including a local grower, East Fork Orchids in Bonita Springs, Florida.

The tour really made me appreciate the work they put into cultivating orchids and inspired me to try to raise an orchid one more time in spite of my ugly past history with the plant. Vince made me promise to try growing an orchid again and I promised to send him an orchid obituary if it didn’t work out so well. Only time will tell how this adventure is going to go.

If you’re thinking of taking the orchid tour visit the hotel website at www.NaplesBeachHotel.com to learn more. Individual guest tours are currently on Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m. They also offer private group tours for up to 12 people, with the purchase of lunch. It’s a great way to get a group or club together for an interesting event.

Happy Trails and Greenhouses!

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Special to Southwest Spotlight

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Dec. 23, 2014

Museum of Military Memorabilia Naples Florida

Museum of Military Memorabilia Naples

Museum of Military Memorabilia Things To Do

On the heels of the sweltering, downtown Bonita Springs July 4th parade I thought it would be in everyone’s best interest to be taken on an air conditioned adventure this month. What immediately sprang to mind was the Museum of Military Memorabilia which is located at the Naples Municipal Airport in Naples, Florida. Years ago I saw a presentation for this museum and had yet to make it to take a tour.

Museum of Military Memorabilia Naples Photo AlbumThe museum is easy to get to and it’s open to the general pubic at no charge, but donations are greatly appreciated. This is an inexpensive outing. Parking is even free!

The collection is placed in display cases in the concourse and also in a dedicated room. That is also where you can locate a museum docent. On the day of my visit the docent was Kathy Macumber, a southwest Florida resident who authored the book “The Forgotten Generation of WWII” which is still available in eBook on Amazon.

At my request, Kathy gladly showed me her favorite items on display and it helped me sort through this vast collection of memorabilia. How ever would I know that what looked like a grass hula skirt was relevant to the war because it was made of shredded parachute cord? Other favorites included items known as “trench art” which were trinkets or useful items such as ash trays or salt and pepper shakers made while passing the time in the trench and putting to use spent shell casings and metal fragments.

Standard military equipment including, uniforms, weapons, badges and medals are arranged throughout the exhibit. There are several display cases arranged by specific war such as Desert Storm, the Vietnam War and the Korean War in addition to World War I & II displays. Plus, there are great time-specific pieces on display such as newspapers and magazines. Even more special are the letters and diaries documenting the life and times of those from the period.

The museum has acquired many of their ten-thousand plus items by donation and they are always accepting more to help rotate the inventory on display. Kathy told me that the white nurse uniform was sealed in a trunk since WWII and the whole trunk was donated by the family of the service member. She also added that the service member was still able to fit into the uniform. Many donations are from veterans or family members who would like to have the items properly preserved, cared for and displayed for future generations to appreciate.

If you’d like to learn a little about American history and the brave men and women who fought for our freedoms visit the museum at the Naples Municipal Airport. While you’re walking the concourse remember that before private planes whizzed in and out of there it was a WWII Army Air Forces Training Base called the Naples Army Airfield.

To learn more about the museum, visit their website www.museum-mm.org and be sure to sign up for their electronic newsletter so you will know about upcoming special events and feature displays for holidays and remembrances.

Happy trails … and air conditioned museums.

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Special to Southwest Spotlight

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