Life In Bonita Springs Florida - Local Info & Real Estate

 

Jan. 25, 2016

Bonita Springs Estero Market Reports December 2015

Bonita Springs Estero Market Reports December 2015

 

Bonita Springs Estero Market Reports December 2015

Bonita Springs Home sales Dec 2015

The latest Bonita Springs and Estero Florida home sales statistics show that we’re closing about 55% of our sales as cash transactions.  It’s down a little bit from months before partly due to rising prices.

Bonita Springs Home Prices Dec 2015

The sales remain steady with about eighty-six percent of the closed sales in the Bonita Springs area occurring in the $600,000 and under price point.    About eight percent of our closed sales would be considered luxury real estate sales.  Considering the amount of waterfront home buyers  we’ve been helping in Barefoot Beach and Bonita Bay I would anticipate that to go up in the months to come.

Bonita Springs Distressed homes Dec 2015

Bonita Springs Distressed Homes Sold 12-2015

Most important, we have less than three percent of our homes and condos for sale considered distressed properties.  Which means fewer than three percent of the properties for sale in Bonita Springs and Ester would be considered a short sale or a foreclosure.  Great news!

Bonita Springs Home Units Dec 2015

If you’re in the market to purchase or list your home in the Bonita Springs and Estero Florida area give us a call to learn more about the inventory and how it could effect your real estate transaction.  Contact Chris or Angela today.

Posted in Market Reports
Jan. 24, 2016

Thirty Days to a Perfect Bonita Springs Butterfly Garden

Bonita Springs Butterflies

Butterfly Gardening in Bonita Springs

A few days ago a friend of mine posted a photo of her eight year old daughter to Facebook. There was a kid grinning ear to ear with a bright orange butterfly perched on her finger. I immediately interjected that it was a Gulf Fritillary butterfly and that, given the time of day the moment was photographed, it was newly hatched from a chrysalis.

Creating this type of magical moment in your own back yard isn’t much harder than following the directions on the back of a cake mix box. On a scale of one to ten, you can easily get there somewhere around a two on both labor and expense, just to get started. Where you go from there is your own private Idaho.

If you’re considering a venture into butterfly gardening, know that’s it is as easy as planting flowers and trees which will produce nectar so they will have something to eat in conjunction with planting plants they are able to lay their eggs on. The eggs hatch into caterpillars, the caterpillars eat the plants until they are large enough to turn into a chrysalis and then emerge as butterflies. The cycle then repeats.

By far, the easiest butterfly to attract and grow is the common monarch butterfly. The entire process can be achieved with simply one plant, the milkweed or scarlet milkweed depending upon the store or nursery you’re shopping in. The milkweed-monarch system is the Ron Popeil “set it and forget it” type of butterfly gardening. Odds are that when you purchase the plant you will be bringing it home with either caterpillar stowaways or tiny eggs which have already been laid on the leaves. It’s an all in one butterfly starter kit.

There are many other easy to purchase plants and vines which will attract butterflies indigenous to the southwest Florida area. An attractive vine to plant which will attract both the gulf fritillary and the Florida state butterfly, the zebra longwing, is the passaflora. There are a number of passaflora or passion vines available but I recommend purchasing the purple passaflora because it’s has gorgeous, unusual blossoms. The zebra longwing love it and they’re my favorite butterfly because they are gliders and easier to watch and enjoy. They have a longer life span of up to six months. Many butterflies only live a few weeks.

Another fun vine to plant is Dutchman’s pipe vine which will attract the pipevine butterfly and gold rim butterfly which are basically black butterflies. Considering the variety of colorful butterflies in the area most people never notice the black butterflies.

Planting a few cassia trees will bring you the buttery yellow sulfur butterflies. If you have cassia already you probably haven’t even noticed the yellow and green caterpillars because of their perfect camouflage.

Supporting butterflies in your backyard at all times isn’t as difficult as most people imagine, even in a homeowner association. Many of these plants can be displayed in pots and containers for portability and HOA compliance. If you are able to back yard garden know that you can improve the length of time that butterflies hang around by slipping in a few other nectar plant sources such as porter weed, penta, lantana and firebush. The nectar plants will attract a variety of more unusual varieties of hungry butterflies such as skippers, buckeye and peacock butterflies, too.

If you’d like to learn more about back yard butterfly gardening consider touring a few local butterfly gardens such as The Butterfly Estates in Fort Myers or Everglades Wonder Gardens and Bonita Nature Place, both of which in Bonita Springs.

Happy trails and butterfly gardening!

Posted in Things To Do
Jan. 20, 2016

Seeing Bonita Springs on Two Wheels

Engels Bikes Bonita Springs

Peddling All Over Bonita Springs

To Call Engel’s: (239) 498-9913

27310 Old 41 Rd, Bonita Springs, FL 34135

Once upon a time I ran every mean street in Bonita Springs.  With age comes wisdom so after years of talking about it for the longest time I finally manned up and bought a bike.

My biking adventure included Jerry getting a bike, too. Our first swipe at bike shopping took place at Target at Coconut Point.  My brilliant idea included selecting bikes and riding them home … which is only five miles away from the mall. At the time we had quite a winter storm front winding up so as we walked into the store, leaning at a forty-five degree angle, we determined that “today might not be the day” to get the bikes.

As we looked at the big box bikes I suggested that we also go visit Engel’s bike store before we take the plunge and I am glad I did.  Long story short, Craig at Engel’s talked to me a little bit about what we were looking for in a bike which included the words, non-competitive riding, safety, stable, easy riding. We ended up with a couple of Fiji, seven speed cruiser bikes.  The quality and lightness of the bikes at Engel’s Bike Store makes them peddle circles around the big box store production bikes.

We chose two bikes, ordered a couple of bike bells plus a front basket so that Dillon could ride along.  Within about thirty minutes we were on our way. We cut through Island Park, through the Plan of Riverside on Riverside Drive and we were back in Brendan Cove in about 15 minutes.  No accidents, which is quite an accomplishment since it had been years since either of us rode a bike.  It was cold and the sun was going down so the bikes were parked in the garage for another day.  We’re looking forward to biking all over Bonita Springs!

If you’re looking for expert advise when purchasing a bike visit Engel’s bikes.  It was totally worth comparing! A bike purchased there also includes lifetime service which is perfect for people like me, with little skill and few tools!  See you around Bonita!

Jan. 16, 2016

Florida Wild Life | Preserves in Bonita Springs

Gopher Tortoise in SWFL

Preserves Protect Florida Wildlife

This is Dill and Dill found a gopher tortoise while we were out paddle boarding. I pulled up on a mangrove island to rest and a few minutes later he was on point watching one of natures little tanks motor across the clearing.  Just to be clear, not all “turtles” belong in water. The critter above is a Gopher Tortoise.  Tortoises do not swim so never put them in water. They are vegetarian and eat grass and weeds. 

In many of our Bonita Springs area gated communities sections of land are reserved to protect animals and provide a habitat for them to live in safely.. It is not unusual to see gopher tortoises in many of our residential communities. 

You can spot them in the day time easily in Barefoot Beach at the state beach park plus in the communities of West Bay Club, Pelican Sound and other communities.

There are many nature parks and preserve that host gopher tortoises in habitat such as Bonita Nature Place, Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve East and CREW Trails.

Click through to read full park reviews of each of the nature parks and preserves mentioned above plus you can click this link to find Things to Do in SWFL.

Posted in Things To Do
Jan. 13, 2016

Riverside Park Both Sides of the Tracks | Bonita Springs Florida

Riverside Park Bonita Springs

Riverside Park and Depot Park Things to Do

At this time (Jan 2016) the downtown Bonita Springs area is in full redevelopment mode and a bit of a mess so it’s not as easy to find parking and access to the park system.  I’d like to recommend you drive to the Depot Park parking lot on Pennsylvania Avenue.  The entrance is right across the street from the Lion’s Club.

Many locals and vacationers visit Riverside Park for festivals or just to walk around however they do not realize that if they were to cross the railroad tracks to the Depot Park section and walk north to Island Park.  The Imperial River splits the two parks and there is a beautiful red footpath bridge that connects the two.  Enormous grandfather oak trees frame the walking paths.  There is even a floating dock in the water.

It’s a great place to walk and it is even pet friendly so you will frequently see a variety of locals who meet up on a regular basis to socialize their dogs.

Looking forward there will be easy access to the park once the redevelopment is complete.  The park is a hub for festivals and activity now and going forward new life will be brought to the downtown area as the infrastructure is completed and new development begins. To learn more about the downtown changes, read also: Downtown Redevelopment in Bonita Springs

Posted in Things To Do
Jan. 10, 2016

Coots at EdenBridge Lake Bonita Springs

Coots at Edenbridge

Coot Lakefront Homes at Edenbridge

Aren't they coot? These coots were swimming on the lake that lies between Outback Steakhouse and Carabbas and the community of Edenbridge in Bonita Springs, Florida.   I was driving from The Fresh Market to West Terry Street and saw them. I thought I’d pull over and take their picture.  As usual, there were a couple of herons and egrets fishing on the shore, too.  Coots are one of my favorite Florida ducks because they have a cartoon quality to their look.  They’re tiny, black and sporting bright beaks.

Posted in Around Town
Jan. 10, 2016

Hickory Island Power Ball Winner Bonita Springs Florida

Bonita Beach Bonita Springs

Meanwhile on Hickory Island Bonita Beach

Well, it looks like there was no winner drawn in the $950M power ball last night. I was really hoping that it was going to you be you. I was expecting a call so that I could set you up with the house with this view. It’s right on Hickory Blvd in Bonita Springs there is one that you should probably look at in Barefoot Beach, too. Sure, there are plenty of homes for sale in Naples but you get more for your money in Bonita Springs. Just because you’re filthy stinking rich doesn’t mean you should be foolish with your wealth, right?

Posted in Bonita Beach
Jan. 9, 2016

Bonita Springs Tomatoes on Bonita Beach Rd.

Garguilo Tomato Truck

Bonita Springs Tomato Packing Plants?

Most Americans do not get to see the tomato before it gets to the grocery store. They don’t know what a tomato plant looks like or that a tomato is picked green in the commercial  farming process.  A few weeks ago I spoke of Bonita Springs being the tomato capital of the world, back in the day.  It was not uncommon to see Gargiulo trucks hauling loads of tomatoes all over town.

These days the trucks make the trip from fields in Immokalee and Naples to the Bonita Beach Road exit on i-75.  If you get to this intersection and pay close attention to the green balls on the edge of the street you’ll quickly realize that all of the tomatoes do not make the turn successfully.  The trucks turn on Old 41 Road and head south to the Gargiulo processing plant by the Rail Head industrial park.  The green tomatoes are treated to ripen somewhere in the process. 

Now you know when you see a truck like this, what is on board – unfried green tomatoes.

Posted in Around Town
Jan. 8, 2016

US 41 Day Trip From Bonita Springs Florida

Ochopee Post Office

The Ochopee Post Office on US 41

If you’re looking for something to do while you’re in the Bonita Springs area that doesn’t involve the beach or golfing consider a day trip to cross Florida on US 41. Besides being a lovely, scenic way to see the “river of grass” there are a few great places to pull over such as the historic Ochopee Post Office. It’s as big as a minute.  Notice the blue postal box behind the building to scale the size for you. 

While you’re out in Big Cypress consider stopping into Clyde Butcher’s Big Cypress Gallery, too.  My last trip across 41 included a tour down Krome Avenue in Homestead.  Besides a variety of exotic fruit farms (like dragon fruit) there are all sorts of bromeliad and orchid growers.  For the orchid lovers, you can literally walk into greenhouses jam packed with thousands of orchids.  Some of the orchids are common but there are varieties that are so distinct and unusual that you just won’t see them in a common store.  It’s certainly worth the drive to see at least once.  If you’re an orchid lover you’ll give up a day, easily.

There are few orchid sales centers on the west coast of Florida, including East Fork Orchid in Bonita Springs, Florida but nothing matches Krome Ave. in Homestead!

Posted in Things To Do
Jan. 7, 2016

Bonita Farms Gulf Access Adventure

Gulf Access Bonita Springs

From the Canal Front in Bonita Springs

A friend of mine took this picture for me a few weeks ago.  Recently, I purchased my own new home on the water, (new to me, anyway.  It’s  in Bonita Springs in the Bonita Farms area where homes are on canals.  From the left, person number 1 and person number 3 were getting a primer on canal and water safety.    1.) What to do if you’re near the water’s edge and 2.) what to do if you fall in the water at Grandma’s house.

You can never be to safe where water and kids are concerned in southwest Florida. There are pools, canals, lakes, ponds, rivers everywhere so you always want to make sure that kids are aware and don’t panic if they do fall in.  Both littles where told what to do, where to go to get out of the canal and not to panic. It doesn’t mean that any of the grown ups in this picture would not panic just at the sheer temperature of the water touching our flesh.

At any rate, we are all less afraid of the water and, more importantly, have a plan of what to do even if we do fall in.  First and foremost, standup … the water isn’t deep and odds are you’re in 2-4 foot of water depending upon the tide. Like most homes in Bonita Farms, Brendan Cove, Paradise Village, Plan of Riverside and Heitmans  with gulf access in Bonita Springs, there isn’t a lot of draft for huge boats.  The popular vessels in the area are fishing boats, pontoon boats, etc.  Outboard engines are easier and preferred to use due to tide fluctuations.