1. A Night to Remember


    A few weeks ago John Neal Homes hosted a very special Realtor® event celebrating the opening of their newest model home in the Haddington neighborhood of Country Club East in Lakewood Ranch. Homes start in the $400’s and up in this community depending upon your lot and upgrades. Their new Palmavera model offers a spacious, refreshingly open floor plan that overlooked a small lake.

    Inside the spacious kitchen, John Neal Homes had brought in the celebrity Chef Tommy Klauber, and his staff from Polo Grill and Fête Catering and Ballroom, located on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.

    The honored guests enjoyed a wine tasting with about eight various wines to try from Michael’s Wine Cellar. An array of hors d’oeuvres from Fête Catering, were served. From Moll’s Mac & Cheese Balls to hand picked Mini Blue Crab Cakes with a sweet chili dipping sauce; each appetizer was to die for.

    While guests toured this stunning home, John Neal was available to answer any questions about the property and the available upgrades. Meanwhile, Chef Tommy Klauber, demonstrated how to make his Sarasota Seafood Pan Roast.

    This surely was a night to remember! Good wine, good-looking food, gorgeous homes and great cooking skills.



  2. Spotlight on Lakewood Ranch

    You’ve heard the phase “ Location, location, location.” Since the beginning of time, homebuyers have wanted to purchase a home in location that best suits their needs and provide better resale value if the time ever comes to sell the home. To some, they prefer a location close to work for shorter commute time, or near downtown close to the shops and restaurants. Others might want something out in the middle of nowhere, by the beach, or in a top rated school district.  And of course, safety plays a huge role in the decision of many when selecting their home and community.

    Neal Communities’ residents can rest assured knowing they live in communities that are second to none. As a well-known and respected builder in Southwest Florida, Neal Communities builds communities in areas known for A-rated school districts, low crime, and strong family values.

    Many of our communities including Central Park at Lakewood Ranch and The Country Club at Lakewood Ranch are located in the beautiful and highly coveted community, Lakewood Ranch.

    Let’s start with the food. Whatever you’re craving, you can find it in the many family-friendly and gourmet restaurants in the area. MacAllisters Grill & Tavern, a Scottish golf themed bar and restaurant, is a hot spot among locals. Located in the heart of Main Street overlooking a beautiful fountain, patrons can dine on sandwiches, salads,  seafood, ribs, and so much more. Will you be daring enough to try the liver and onions, lamb burger, or other Scottish influenced dishes?

    If you want to take advantage of the beautiful weather only Southwest Florida can offer, check out the Main Street Trattoria. Sit outside, sip some wine ( make sure to ask about their monthly wine special), and listen to live jazz music. Happy hour is everyday from 3pm-7pm. And what is there to NOT be happy about when you are sitting outside in warm weather in good company in December!

    Take a break from the hassle of everyday life at Station 400, a restaurant who emphases life at a slower speed.  Drop by for brunch and try the smoked salmon scramble, hash and eggs, an omelet, or the light and airy pancakes.  If you are looking to splurge, don’t forget to grab a coffee cake, chocolate croissant, or cinnamon roll. Remember, this restaurant wants you to appreciate the good things in life – why can’t a delicious, gooey dessert be a part of that?

    If you aren’t the mood for eating, we know you are always in the mood to shop (aren’t we all?) Lakewood Ranch offers an array of unique boutiques and shops for the fashionista in us all.  Visit Main Street offers unique shops to satisfy whatever you might be searching for. Jewelry, clothing, lotions, foods, furniture, you are sure to find it here!

    And if you aren’t one to claim that shopping is your cardio, get your real cardio on at one of the many parks, lakes, or nature preserves. Why not take your workout outdoors while the weather is cooler? Try this 30-minute outdoor workout to get started!

    Heron’s Nest Nature Park offers Over 29-acres to fish and boat. Hit the trails (there’s over 110 acres) with your roller blades, feet, or bike. If team sports are more your cup of tea, you better believe this wonderful community has that to offer as well. Pick your sport; tennis, basketball, soccer, racquetball, softball, or even football are played year-round at Lakewood Ranch District Park. Or head to the Gulf coast to enjoy a day of sun, sand, and seashells at one of the handfuls of local beaches.

    If you haven’t started looking into buying a home in the one and only Lakewood Ranch, now is the time. But for those already living here,enjoy exploring your community! .

  3. November Fun

    Can you believe that it is already November? Neither can we! The cooler weather, impressive list of things to do this month, and the fact that holidays are just around the corner certainly make this month one to be thankful for.

    Here’s what’s happening around your Neal Community!

    Water lovers unite at the Sarasota Bay Water Festival which will feature SCUBA displays, paddleboard and kayak demos, performances by ski teams and live music. Over 60 local exhibits, food vendors, and entertainment will fill

    Football Fanatics, specifically Florida State Fans, Bobby Bowden will be visiting the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium on Nov. 8th at 7pm. Tickets are $25 for adults and $5 for students and benefit the Sarasota Medical Pregnancy Center.

    Hear ye, Hear ye!! Come one, come all to the Sarasota Medieval Fair taking place on November 9th at the Sarasota County Fairgrounds. Feast on turkey legs while watching an intense j

    oist of knights. Live theatrical performances, children activities, music and food fit for a king will be taking place all weekend.

    Foodies (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) the Taste of Manatee will be held November 2-3 giving you the chance to stroll along the beautiful riverfront and enjoy great food, music, arts and crafts.  This is your chance to sample the cuisine of local restaurants.

    If you attend the festivals and stuff yourself on food, or if you just enjoy a challenging workout, consider competing in the Revolution-3 event in Venice. This 70.3 miles triathlon will begin near Sharky’s with a 1.2 mile swim in the beautiful Gulf . Next, competitors will bike 56-miles and finish with a 13.1 mile footrace to the finish line. Not interested? What if we told you there’s $50,000 in prizes? We thought so. Visit here for more information.

    Take a moment from your busy November schedule to remember our Vets! November 11th is Veteran’s Day. Sarasota will have a parade starting on main street and Osprey Avenue starting at 10 a.m. In Patriot’s Park of Venice, bring your chairs and salute the soldiers at this ceremony.

    Headed to the beach this month? Make sure to schedule some time to visit Siesta Key November 15-18th for the Crystal Classic Master Sand Sculpting Competition.  Twenty extremely talented sculptors will compete for cash prizes. The sculptors will amaze you! And the next time you try to build a sandcastle, you are bound to have even more respect for the artists who compete.

    November 24th will be a night country music lovers will mark down considering Gretchen Wilson, Easton Corbin, Love and Theft, and more will be performing at the Desoto Music Fest. Gates open at 11 a.m. and will last all day so bring your chairs and cowboy hats to the Manatee Fairgrounds.

    Kick off the holiday season with the famous Venice Holiday Parade on November 30th. The 37th Annual Parade begins at 7 p.m. and will feature over 3,000 participants, 120 local companies, and draw over 40,000 viewers. The route runs from Park Blvd. to the Venice Community Center. Come early for the best seats and parking.

    This November, you’ll have more to look forward to than turkey and football  with all the events happening near you! Be sure to check out the events happening in your Neal Community, too!


  4. August Adventures- Things to Do Around Town

    Summer is coming to an end, but before the kids go back to school, there is still plenty of fun to be had.  Living near the Gulf Coast, what are some things you enjoy doing? Whether your answer is fishing, hiking, listening to live music outdoors, crafts, or even enjoying an adult beverage, there is something for you to enjoy this month. Why not try something new?

    Do you love to fish? Do you think you could out fish others? The Sarasota Slam Fishing Tournament is your chance to put your skills to the test. Visit the link to get an entry form and more info.  The tournament takes place August 6-10.

    Help get your kids excited to go back to school by taking them to the Back to School Splash Bash at Lakewood Ranch YMCA Pool and Pavillion on August 24. This event is free for kids up to 13 and will offer music, slip and slides, a dunk tank, pool games, prizes, water balloon fights and so much more. Don’t forget your suit and a towel! Interested? Visit this link for more information.

    If you don’t have kids, there is still fun to be had on August 24 at the Annual Sarasota Beer Festival. Admission is $35 at the door (or $20-30 in advance) and includes unlimited sampling of over 100 imported and craft beers, and live music. Bottoms up!

    If you are always looking for something to do on a Friday night, have you ever checked out the “Live from Downtown Sarasota, it’s Friday Night?” Every Friday, locals gather to socialize, listen to live music, and check out local entertainers, street performances, and musicians. When you live somewhere as beautiful as the Gulf Coast, what could be better than enjoying some time outdoors meeting new people and appreciating great weather?

    Have you done your back to school shopping? If your children are in need of new notebooks, pencils, backpacks, or glue, don’t forget to get all your supplies early! If you live in Sarasota, find this list of schools for more information on lunch menus, bus routes, school supply lists and more.

    Don’t forget about Florida’s tax free weekend taking place from August 2-4. This applies to books, clothing, and footwear (75$ or less) and school supplies (15$ or less). For more information, visit this link! Don’t miss out on your chance to save money on back to school supplies.

    Summer may be coming to a close, but there is still plenty of things to do.  What activities will you participate in before school starts?



  5. Red, White, and Boom

    The Fourth of July is a holiday filled with fireworks, food, and fun and Sarasota offers locals so much to do, no matter your age or interests! Have you made plans for the holiday? Consider trying some of the fun events happening around your community.

    The Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix takes place from June 29-July 7th and offers entertainment for all! A golf classic, car show, boat races, poker tournament, fireworks, live music, delicious food and so much more. This year’s festival parade will honor hometown hero Nik Wallenda, who was the first person to walk across the Grand Canyon on a high wire. Watch a clip of this here. This is one event you won’t want to miss.

    On the breathtaking Longboat Key, pre-fireworks can be enjoyed on July 2 at the Boom Boom on the Bay. Fireworks will begin after dark.

    Anna Maria Island will be setting off fireworks over the Gulf right behind Beachhouse Restaurant located at 200 Gulf Drive N on Bradenton Beach. They start after dark but grab your spot early!

    If you are looking for a place to burn off the calories you’ve consumed in hot dogs, hamburgers, and apple pie, don’t miss the 7th Annual Firecracker Run. It takes place July 4th at the Morgan Family Community Center at 6207 West Price Blvd, and begins at 7:30 a.m. Find more information on registration here.

    Are you planning on staying home for the holiday? Or setting off fireworks of your own? While it’s always best to leave it to professionals, there are safety tips you can follow to lower the risk of injury.  The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission put together a list of safety tips you should follow if you will be shooting off your own fireworks. Considering an average of 200 people have to visit the E.R. around the holiday, we highly suggest you follow the tips closely!

    And for those who just can’t wait, here’s a sneak peak of last years fireworks.


    Share with us you plans for the holidays! Where will you be watching fireworks? Whatever you decide to do this 4th of July, we hope you have a safe and fun holiday with your loved ones.

  6. April Events- Get Ready for Some Fun!

    They say April showers bring May flowers, but we think April will bring some fun in the sun!

    Neal Communities is fortunate to be located in the beautiful gulf community Sarasota, with white sandy beaches and pristine blue waters nearby.

    If your family is looking for something to do this month, check out some of these events happening near you!

    April 5-14:  15th Annual Sarasota Film Festival. If you are hoping for a celebrity spotting, you can look forward to this event. Actress Mariel Hemingway, director Peter Bogdanovich, actor Griffin Dunne and more will be in attendance. For more information, visit this website for details. 

    April 6: If you are an avid runner or just someone who enjoys helping the greater good, there will be a Run/Walk for the Turtles. This race takes place on Siesta Key Public Beach by the Mote Marina. Registration begins at 6:30 am. All fees benefit the Sea Turtle Conservation and Research Program.  More details can be found here.

    April 12-14: If you are a fan of good food and music, the Rhythm and Ribfest is the place for you. Located at the Manatee County Fairgrounds, live music, fun, and food will be bountiful.  Visit the website for more information.

    April 13-21: The Sarasota Open USTA Championship Tournament brings the top tennis players from around the world to Sarasota . For ticket and more information visit the website.

    April 29: 10th Annual Ride the Beaches event will take place on Sharky’s by the Pier. Riders can select to bike 65 or 35 mile and will benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Contact Sharky’s for more information.

    All these events and more can be also be found on The Escape to Sarasota website. Which event will you and your family be attending this month?

  7. Spring into March Events Around You

    Spring is just days away and for some, spring break is just around the corner.  For those of you staying home for the holiday, Sarasota and surrounding areas have a lot to offer!

    Check out some of these events happening around you.

    March 8- Yeehaw! The annual Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo is taking place at the Rodeo Arena in Arcadia.  Come see how long these cowboys can stay on their bulls, barrel races, and bareback riding.  For ticket information, visit http://www.arcadiarodeo.com/.

    March 9- Chill lounge Night takes place in downtown Sarasota along Palm Avenue. The street is blocked off and turned into an outdoor nightclub/lounge with live music and lighting.  All proceeds benefit the United Cerebral Palsy of Sarasota-Manatee.

    March 15-24 The 77th Annual Sarasota County Fair will take place at the Sarasota Fairgrounds. Plan on staying all day, and eating a lot, because this fair has tons of delicious foods, games, and activities for all ages.  Visit the website for more information and directions.

    March 16- St Patty’s day is a pot of golden fun, especially at the Irish Celtic Festival taking place at Central Park in Lakewood Ranch.  Scavenger hunts, parades, foods, and music will make this a day to remember! Find more information here.

    March 23- Hop your way down to Lakewood Ranch for the EGGstravaganza Easter Egg Hunt for children ages 2-13. Rumor has it the Easter Bunny will make a special appearance and there will be a petting zoo and face painters there as well.  The festivities begin at 9:30 am. Find more egg-cellent information here!

    What events will you be attending in March?