Keeping it Real: March

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Why live here? Join me as I count the reasons

By Natalie Gutwein

It’s March. Many of you picking up his newspaper are visiting us and embarking on the journey to find your dream home. As a real estate professional frequently connecting with soon-to-be residents, I’m often posed with the question “Why Siesta Key?”

Let’s delve into what sets this island apart and makes it the destination you should choose.
First of all, Siesta Key boasts not only one, but two lively villages that add character to our island. We have about a million restaurants (give or take), offering a myriad of dining options from savoring island-inspired cocktails accompanied by live music at Gilligan’s, to relishing the finest steak at Summerhouse, or indulging in reeeeally good Italian at Flavio’s or Cafe Gabbiano, the island is a haven for food enthusiasts.
I would be remiss if I left out pizza lovers. Ripfire, Pi, IL Panificio, and Flavio’s offer the pizza connoisseur a plethora of options for the pizza palette. And of course, Blasé Cafe serves up martinis that are second to none.
Breakfast choices are equally impressive, with Village Cafe, Bonjour French Cafe, Sun Garden, Another Broken Egg, and Toasted Mango catering to various tastes.
Asian cuisine aficionados can satisfy their cravings at Star Thai and Sushi.
And Siesta Key takes the crown for its abundance of ice cream shops, ensuring a sweet treat is never too far away.
Don’t forget the south village! It adds an extra layer of vibrancy with spots like Captain Curt’s, the Crescent Club – an old-school bar with character – and the Daiquiri Deck. From live music to boat and jet ski rentals, this area is a hub of food and entertainment.
Siesta Key goes beyond the culinary and entertainment delights, with two gourmet grocery stores offering an array of meat and side choices that would put any supermarket to shame. Although these stores won’t eliminate the need for the weekly shopping trip, they provide quality ingredients for those impromptu dinner plans or everything you need for your picnic on the world’s most beautiful beach.
The island is also home to a wide array of clothing stores. From the ultra-designer options at Foxy Lady, to the casual exuberance of Coral & Reef where you can always find something perfect for that night out, to Casa Smeralda’s where she always has a hidden treasure waiting for you to find.
The allure of Siesta Key extends to the convenience ingrained in our landscape. Have you ever been stuck at a bridge on Longboat Key and had to turn around and go all the way back to the other? You very quickly learn why it’s called Longboat Key!
There is the occasional incident that closes one bridge or the other, but the charm lies in the manageable distance of just about 5 miles from bridge to bridge. This compact layout ensures that any bridge closures are more easily navigable, allowing residents and visitors to maintain a seamless flow of movement – a distinctive advantage of Siesta Key’s well-planned geography.
A key highlight for Siesta Key is its convenient trolley system. Stretching from Turtle Beach at the southern end to Morton’s Market, this free-of-charge service operates daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The beauty of the trolley lies in its accessibility – simply wave it down at any point along the route to hop on.
Beyond the obvious convenience, the trolley plays a crucial role in alleviating traffic congestion on the island, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable experience, especially for those indulging in a refreshing drink at one of our esteemed dining establishments.
Noteworthy is the fact that our island boasts a remarkable 12 public beach access points, offering a myriad of opportunities for both residents and visitors. Embracing the spirit of leisurely exploration, many opt for the enjoyable alternatives of biking or cruising in a golf cart to access the diverse array of beach options available.
Admittedly, my perspective may be influenced as I am both a resident and a real estate professional on this captivating island. Yet, when evaluating the spectrum of island living options from Anna Maria to Manasota Key, Siesta Key undoubtedly stands out as an exceptional choice. Its unparalleled allure lies in a seamless fusion of culinary delights, lively entertainment, diverse retail experiences, efficient transportation, and idyllic beach access points.
As you embark on the quest to find your dream home, take a moment to contemplate the distinct advantages that Siesta Key offers, promising an unparalleled and truly exceptional island living experience.

(Natalie Gutwein is a licensed Realtor with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty’s Judie Berger Team and a member of the board of directors of the Siesta Key Association.)

Natalie Gutwein
Author: Natalie Gutwein

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