Two Headed Alligator Statue is Turning Heads

By:  Sherri Lonon, Bradenton Patch

TAMPA, FL — An unusual sight along North Nebraska Avenue is making folks who pass by question their eyes. After all, a two-headed alligator isn’t exactly something people see every day.

Seminole Heights Patch reader Charlie Williams reached out after spotting the unique statue outside of Southern Brewing & Winemaking.

“A huge 6-foot, two-headed alligator statue just popped up in Seminole Heights,” Williams wrote.

Williams sent in some shots of the colorful critter in response to our call for photos taken in and around town.

“How can you not stop when you see a giant two-headed alligator statute,” Williams explained. “It’s gotta be one of the strangest roadside attractions I’ve ever seen.”

After taking some shots, Williams went inside to find out more about the statue. The bartender pointed him to a fable hanging on the wall, “Bite of Smite.” The old story, a cautionary tale, dates to the 1920s and involves a rabbit, a turtle and a two-headed alligator along the Hillsborough River.

Suspecting there was more to the story, Patch reached out to Southern Brewing. The folks there connected us with artist Justin Arnold, who confirmed the old folktale was the inspiration for his piece.

“It deals with two common characters in Florida folklore, the trickster rabbit and the alligator,” Arnold said. “The exception with this alligator is that it has a second head. Like many folktales, there’s a lesson to be learned from it, but the unusual imagery of a two-headed alligator is what attracted me.”

Wanting to bring that two-headed alligator to life, so to say, Arnold set out about three weeks ago to install the steel inner structure outside the Seminole Heights business. The rest was sculpted with concrete right on the site. It was finished only a few days ago.

To create the welded steel rebar that serves as the piece’s inner structure, Justin worked with his father, Alan Arnold. The elder Arnold once worked on the Ferrari Formula One racing crew building race car bodies, so he knows his way around working with steel, his son explained.

The whole process, including filling it with solid concrete and carving out the final details took about 60 hours, Justin said.

“My friends Eric and Andy helped with the concrete and my father, sister, her husband and my friends Erin and Roxanne helped tile and grout,” he said.

The whole project came about through Urban Art Attack, a community arts program. It seems Justin has some paintings in places like Ella’s Folk Art Café and was approached about doing something bigger. The statue was recommended and the rest is history, so to say.

As for Southern Brewing, it was their idea to put the statute right out front. That move, Williams can attest to, has turned out to be a hit with passersby.

Justin seems pleased with the buzz his work is creating.

“I guess you don’t see too many giant, colorful, concrete two-headed alligators in a friendly, anthropomorphic pose on the side of the road,” he said.

Justin also noted the process of creating the statue also stirred up a lot of enthusiasm and encounters with area residents who stopped by to ask questions and take pictures.

“There was one older man who was a poet in an Ybor art collective in the 60s who would stop by every night to talk,” Justin recalled. “Another guy told me he was going to build a two-headed alligator statue in another part of the neighborhood, but was going to scratch his plans since I did one first. I told him that was absurd! I don’t think there could be too many two-headed alligator statues. I feel like the two-headed alligator is something that belongs to all of us.”

To see the two-headed gator in person, visit Southern Brewing & Winemaking at 4500 N. Nebraska Ave. To find out more about Urban Art Attack, visit it online.

 

Let Your Inner Tarzan Run Wild At TreeUmph In Bradenton

Swinging through the trees like Tarzan, the legendary jungle acrobat, becomes a dream come true for adventurous souls brave enough to tackle the obstacles and hurtle across the zip-lines at TreeUmph, a treetop adventure course that elevates extreme sport to dizzying new heights in east Bradenton.

TreeUmph features an aerial array of wobbly bridges, swinging logs, climb-through barrels, bungee swings, climbing walls, suspended surfboards and hanging rope nets that participants of nearly all ages can monkey around on as they ascend into the treetops.

“Not many people have the opportunity to get outdoors and play these days. This is a place where they can get outside, challenge themselves and have fun,” says TreeUmph Owner Kathy Corr, who opened the business with her husband, Aaron, in December, 2012.

After “learning the ropes” and getting a feel for the harness, climbing gear and safety instructions supplied by the staff at TreeUmph Base Camp, participants ages seven and up have an opportunity to challenge their bodies and nerves on the park’s five obstacle courses, which progress in difficulty and elevation.

To date, Corr says the oldest tree-trekker to tackle the obstacle courses at TreeUmph is 87 years old. Two 75 year-old TreeUmph-ers recently became the oldest individuals to complete the extreme “Summit Course,” a nerve-wracking 60 foot-high series of challenges that only approximately 10 percent of park visitors have the bravado and upper body strength to undertake. No matter which course participants choose, the adventure culminates in a final, thrilling zip-line ride that starts at 60 feet in elevation and rockets the triumphant TreeUmph course-conquerors back to the Base Camp 650 feet across the park.

“We get a lot of feedback on how physically challenging the course was. People want to conquer it. We’ve had a number of people come in who are afraid of heights, and that really takes guts. One lady actually came to us in tears after completing the zip-line, and she said, ‘Thank you for building this. I’ve overcome my fear of heights.’ I think that’s the most rewarding thing for us — that people are out here having fun, challenging themselves and really getting something valuable out of the experience.”

Moving To Florida

Kathy, whose background is in physical therapy, and her husband, Aaron, a civil engineer, ran several successful businesses in Canada including kayak eco-tours and physical therapy clinics before relocating their family to the Sunshine State in 2009. A desire to “get out from behind the desk” prompted them to openTreeUmph.

“Aaron and I used to enjoy going on walks to a park about a half mile from our home in Canada. One day, someone was out marking trees, and we got really frustrated because we thought they were going to cut down the trees and that we wouldn’t have our nice walking trail anymore. As it turns out, they were building a treetop adventure course, and it looked like something that would be fun to do with our kids, so we were psyched,” Corr recalls.

Upon their arrival on Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Corrs set out to locate a site for their own treetop adventure course. They settled on an undeveloped location in eastern Manatee County, approximately nine miles east of the interstate.

“Finding a piece of property that was affordable and had enough tall trees that we could use without having to bring in many big poles was the biggest challenge. Over half of the course is built on the trees that are already here,” Corr says.

Careful consideration was taken to ensure eco-conservation in the construction of the 14-acre course, which is erected among the loblolly pines and live oak trees that grow naturally in Florida’s wetlands. TreeUmph courses were designed to minimize root damage and an innovative compression system was employed in course construction to safely secure platforms to the trees without damaging them.

“Rather than drilling into the trees with bolts and nails, the entire course was erected using wooden blocks that compress around the trees without harming them. We run inspections every day and every month for safety, and the builders come in once a year to adjust the platform slightly so that the sap  can continue running through the tree, keeping it healthy and allowing it to continue growing naturally,” Corr explains.

It Takes A Global Village

The $1.5 million course was designed and built by Outplay Adventures, the upstate New York distributor of Quebec-based TreeGo, an international leader in aerial adventure courses, which Corr says has been building similar courses in Europe for more than 30 years. More than 40 similar TreeGo courses exist in France, Holland, Canada and the United States. Outplay Adventures conducts routine material safety inspections and repairs at TreeUmph and trains course guides and staff in safety procedures and guidelines that are time-tested at other TreeGo parks.

“A lot of the courses up north are built on ski mountains, but this course is a bigger park, more spread out,” Corr says of the TreeUmph adventure park. “There’s more varied terrain here than you’ll see in other locations. Our builders told us our ‘extreme course’ is the most extreme one they’d built until that point.”

Zip-lining — arguably the most “extreme” attraction at TreeUmph, at heights of 60 feet where the platforms sway in the wind — is catching on in the urban world, as well. Thrill-seekers who are intrigued by the birds-eye-view of nature provided by the six-stories-high, 600-foot-long zip-line that gets the adrenaline pumping at TreeUmph can also check out the new Sky Trail at MOSI in Tampa. The Sky Trail kicks off at 65 feet and zooms its riders across a portion of the museum campus, over the “Kids in Charge!” building to a tower more than a football field’s length away, and back again. Unlike the intense upper-body workout that precedes the zip-line at TreeUmph, it’s the brain that does the most exercise during a trip to MOSI. But the thrill of the zip-line is guaranteed to get the heart and adrenaline pumping during a day at the museum.

TreeUmph’s estimated economic impact is expected to reach $2 million, with $1 million in local consulting and construction services; $500,000 in annual payroll, supplies and materials; and $500,000 in peripheral business from visitors traveling each year to Bradenton to experience the course.

Local businesses participated in the construction of TreeUmph, with financing provided by Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida. Sarasota architect, Steve Isaacson, designed the Base Camp; site engineering was provided by Lombardo, Foley & Kolarik of Palmetto; and Base Camp construction and development was managed by Holland Construction of Sarasota.

Destination For Tourists, Residents

In its first seven months in business, the park, which can serve up to 400 people per day, has become a popular destination for individuals and families, corporate groups, catered events and kids birthday parties. The park is estimated to draw 25,000 – 40,000 people from the greater Tampa and Fort Myers areas east Manatee County annually.

“We thought it would be a great place from a tourism standpoint, but also because there’s a large local community out east that is full of people who want to get outside and be active. We have 15-20 season pass holders who come in once or twice a week,” Corr says.

Tickets to TreeUmph are available by reservation starting at $25.95 for children and ranging up to $49.95 for adults. The course is open 6 days per week from 7:30am – 3:30pm, and is closed on Wednesdays. TreeUmph also recently introduced a nighttime course option. Starting at 7:30pm every Friday night, headlamp-equipped night owls can now take a nocturnal jaunt through the treetops.

Adventurers and thrill-seekers of all ages who simply cannot seem to keep their feet on the ground can seize the unique opportunity to take an aerial walk on the wild side and experience the world from high above the natural Florida wetlands at TreeUmph. The climb is challenging, but there is no greater reward than the “TreeUmphant” feeling of being on top of the world — except, perhaps, the feeling of soaring back toward that world on a thrilling, 660-foot-long zip-line. Don’t forget your Tarzan yell.

Jessi Smith, a native Floridian, is a freelance writer who lives and works in downtown Sarasota. When she isn’t writing about local arts and culture, she can generally be found practicing yoga or drinking craft beers and talking about her magnificent cat. Jessi received her bachelor’s degree in art history from Florida International University and, predictably, perpetually smells of patchouli. Comments? Contact 83 Degrees.

Bradenton Area Featured in How To Do Florida

Bradenton, FL – Manatee County will get its day in the spotlight this weekend when the area’s attractions are featured on statewide television.

The seventh season of How to do Florida kicks off on Saturday, June 11 at 5:30 p.m. on WWSB Channel 7 with the episode “Bradenton Family Vacation,” according to theHow to Do Florida website. Another episode of the Emmy award-winning series will air Sunday at 5 p.m.

beach in patchShot entirely throughout Bradenton, Longboat Key and Anna Maria Island, the episode takes viewers on an adventure in Manatee County. The series creator and host, third-generation Floridian Chad Crawford, is joined by his family participating in various activities, including off-shore fishing, shopping on Pine Avenue, having fun at TreeUmph!, stopping for a treat at Dakin Dairy and bradentonvisits to the beaches.

How to Do Florida captures the great adventures our state offers beyond our beautiful beaches, and we are honored to be featured in the season seven premiere for such a large Emmy award-winning TV series,” said Elliott Falcione, executive director for the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Residents and visitors are sure to enjoy the real, authentic Florida charm of the Bradenton Area that’s captured in this premiere episode, and they may even discover a few new hidden gems here in our backyard as well.”

For more information on How to do Florida and to view past episodes, visit www.howtodoflorida.com. Episodes can also be found on iTunes and the “Discover Florida” Roku channel.

Images courtesy of Crawford Entertainment

Article is from Bradenton Patch.com

Some of our favorite restaurants in Bradenton and Sarasota Florida

 

 As Realtors, Bruce Harrison and I get asked all the time is what are some of our favorite Restaurants in Bradenton and Sarasota Florida.  Well, today I’ll make some suggestions for breakfast and lunch.

Suzie
Suzie

 Mocha Joe’s is located at 3633 Cortez Road West, Bradenton, FL  34210.  Delightful place to go for good fresh food.  Open 7am to 2pm Saturday through Wedensday and 7am to 7pm on Thursday and Friday. mocha1 Chili Cheese Burger is to die for!  One of the nice things I like about Mocha Joe’s is if your sandwich comes with Fries, you can substitute soup at no extra charge.  Incorporated in the restaurant is a bakery with freshly made goodies daily.  They have WiFi if you want to just have a coffee or an espresso and work on your laptop.  Incredibly friendly staff and Joe, one of the owners always stop by your table to just say hello.  Here’s their website.  http://www.mocha-joes.com/

 

 Now down in Sarasota is The Alpine Steak House.  Yes great steaks, but so much more.  This quaint restaurant is located at 4520 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida 34231.

Stuffed Pork Chop
Stuffed Pork Chop
Kaye
Kaye

  It’s hard to get food any fresher the Alpine.  It’s a meat market with a restaurant.  This is the home of the famous “Turducken”.    A Turducken is a boneless chicken, stuffed inside a boneless duck, stuffed inside a boneless Turkey, with a layer of stuffing in between birds.  It has been quite the show just to watch how this is prepared.  Stuffed and cooked for like 12 hours at a low temperature.    There are specials every day from fresh grilled oysters to a stuffed pork chop with mashed potatoes.  They are closed on Sunday, so plan ahead!  You can visit their website at http://store7.geomerx.com/alpine/index.cfm?fuseaction=category&categoryID=23  .

 On beautiful Anna Maria Island there is a funky little place called Mr Bones.mr bones  As you enter you are greeted by their mascot, a partially clad skeleton and a coffin filled with a great selection of specialty beers and ice.  What a great way to spend a lazy lunch while visiting the pure white sandy beaches.  There is quite a large menu for the size of the restaurant with items ranging from some of the best black beans I have ever had two ribs with rubbed spices and more.  Looking for something a little spicy and on island time, try it out next time your in our area.  You can view Mr. Bone’s website at  http://www.mrbonesbbq.com/

 This is just a small sample of some of the wonderful restaurants in the Bradenton Sarasota, Florida area.

 Please follow our blog at http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com

 Bruce Harrison, Realtor

Brian Heavrin, Realtor, Marketing Consultant

 RE/MAX Alliance Group

 3007 Manatee Ave W

 Bradenton, FL  34205

 Office:  941.758.7777

 Direct:  941.545.5786

 E-mail:  http:// www.House@mindspring.com

 Web site:    http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com/

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Food and Wine On Pine, Anna Maria Island Florida

Wine on Pine, Anna Maria Island, Florida was a big hit this past weekend.  There were food, wine, beer, music, art and actors.  Add a perfect sunny day and you have a great time regardless of your age.
Enjoy this video taken at the 2015 Food and Wine on Pine Celebration!

As you roam up and down Pine Street on the beautiful Anna Marie Island, you had the opportunity to sample all kinds of goodies.  There were 20 of best local restaurants, 30 upscale wines and a variety of craft and domestic beers.  In addition, there were 32 local artists as well as national chalk artists.  The kids had their own art tent featuring local children’s art work and an activity area for the kids with old school games and activities.  Even in Florida we remember The Kentucky Derby Horse Race.  There was a tent dedicated to the Kentuck Derby as well as many of the women donning their Derby hats.
wine on pine
Food and Wine on Pine, Anna Marie Island 2016

Money collected by the event will benefit these cultural and arts groups.  They are the Anna Maria Island Concert, Chorus and Orchestra, The Anna Maria Island Preservation Trust, Cultural Connections, The Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island, The Anna Maria Island Historical Society, The Center of Anna Maria Island and the American Cancer Society.

Make plans to join the fun next year!
Photo by Jack Elka Photograph
For more information, visit :http://www.foodandwineonpine.com.
Please follow our blog at http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com

Bruce Harrison, Realtor

Brian Heavrin, Realtor, Marketing Consultant

RE/MAX Alliance Group

3007 Manatee Ave W

Bradenton, FL  34205

Office:  941.758.7777

Direct:  941.545.5786

E-mail:  House@mindspring.com

Web site:    http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com

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Actor Bill Murray and Bradenton, Florida “The Friendly City”

bill murrayBRADENTON, Florida – Hollywood actor Bill Murray passed through Bradenton, Florida recently, know as the “friendly city” and apparently was quite impressed with the residents there. In an interview this week Murray said:

“Well, we had a flat tire just as we were about to leave the city limits of Bradenton and two, maybe three cars pulled over within five minutes to help us with it. And no, they had no idea who I was before they pulled over. They were very helpful and very friendly. I gotta say, I was really impressed with the people of Bradenton, Florida! That would’ve never happened in L.A.!”

Bill’s vehicle was back on the road within a short period of time. What a great testament to the residents of Bradenton!

Source: WMAC

Please follow our blog at http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com

Bruce Harrison, Realtor

Brian Heavrin, Realtor, Marketing Consultant

RE/MAX Alliance Group

3007 Manatee Ave W

Bradenton, FL  34205

Office:  941.758.7777

Direct:  941.545.5786

E-mail:  House@mindspring.com

Web site:    http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com/

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44th Annual Siesta Sand Sculpture Contest is May 7th

The 44th Annual Siesta Sand Sculpture Contest is being held May 7th on the pure white sand beach of Siesta Key, FL.  Just a short 20 minute drive from Bradenton, Florida is the contest that has become a popular event for vacationers and locals alike.  Siesta Key, Florida has been rated the Number One beach by various articles and the world famous contest has even been featured on “The Travel Channel”.

siesta-sand-sculpture-6Everyone is welcome to participate with three categories of competitors.  Adult Humorous, Adult Micellaneous, children 10 and under and Youth 11-17.  You will find all skill levels and ages. Registration is free.

Take a few minutes an watch the video from last years contest.  You will find that there are some very talented sculptors in our area and from around the state.

This is a very popular event, so bring your beach chairs and coolers and enjoy the day at the beach.  This time of year pretty much guarantees great weather with the bright Florida sunshine and blue skies with the background of the beautiful turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

For more information on this contest and other things to do in Sunny Sarasota, go to http://www.Escape-to-Sarasota.com

Please follow our blog at http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com

 

Bruce Harrison, Realtor

Brian Heavrin, Realtor, Marketing Consultant

RE/MAX Alliance Group

3007 Manatee Ave W

Bradenton, FL  34205

Office:  941.758.7777

Direct:  941.545.5786

E-mail:  House@mindspring.com

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Bank Foreclosure in Parrish, Florida $219,900

This Bank Foreclosure in Parrsih, Florida $219,900 is a bargain.  Beautiful 3 Bedroom/2 Bath /Dining Room with Wood Floors very open floor plan in well located Aberdeen Subdivision ! Freshly painted, new carpet in the bedrooms. The kitchen is beautiful with granite countertops and Stainless appliances. The master bath has a garden tub, separate shower and double sinks. Located on an extra large corner lot, this won’t last long !  Looking for a good value, check out this bank foreclosure in Parrish Florida.  Email us at House@mindspring.com for additional information and photos!

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Follow our Florida Blog at http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com/.  Use this site to get information on real estate anywhere in Florida!

Bruce Harrison, Realtor

Brian Heavrin, Realtor, Marketing Consultant

RE/MAX Alliance Group

3007 Manatee Ave W

Bradenton, FL  34205

Office:  941.758.7777

Direct:  941.545.5786

E-mail:  House@mindspring.com

Web site:    http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com/

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75th Annual Hernando De Soto Heritage Festival in Bradenton, Florida

After the Easter break you would expect lower tourism activity in the Bradenton, Florida area. With a  vibrant downtown Bradenton, the River Walk and the Village of the Arts – a working artists’ community. It’s a place to be where the sun is always shining.  This weekend Bradenton offers one of its most important festivals of the year, the 75th Annual Hernando DeSoto Heritage Festival. A tradition that has invaded the streets of Manatee County and is not only taking us all back in time, but allows tourist to celebrate and relive the historical significance of the 1539 landing of Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto on the Manatee River. Each year, Society members elect a modern-day Hernando De Soto, about 30 others to serve as his Crewe, and a De Soto Queen and Princess. The event is a gathering of visitors from all over the country with an estimate of 150,000 people this year.  The parade starts at Manatee High School, then cuts over and runs 2 and a half miles down Manatee Avenue, the parade will last until 11 or 12 pm. With a great variety of tourist attractions that Bradenton offers.  Stroll along the waterfront downtown, canoeing, fish for grouper and mahi mahi, play golf or just relax and watch the sun dip into the sea.

It is recommended that you visit the Hernando Soto museum in the city which will provide visitors with knowledge about the festival. With his 600 Conquistadors, De Soto claimed possession of La Florida on behalf of the Spanish crown and later began his lengthy exploration of what is now the southeastern United States. The Hernando De Soto Historical Society is responsible for maintaining the Sister City relationship with Barcarrota, Spain, De Soto’s hometown. The De Soto Memorial has a very good film which, if seen first, helps explain the self guided tour. There are park rangers who portray the people left behind while De Soto was exploring for gold. It is hands on to see and touch the armor they wore and tools they used. Nice views of the river and local nature, accessible via comfortable walkways. This is a great beach alternative and a healthy walk while you’re enjoying the area.

Bradenton is quite but is also a lively place.  Today the area is a booming beach community as well as a pleasant residential area and retirement destination.  Bradenton is mostly residential but close enough to the Tampa and Sarasota area that some make the commute, while also being close enough to Tampa and Orlando that many weekenders make the trip south to enjoy Bradenton’s beaches.  There is plenty to do.  There is always festivals, museums, walking tours, nature trails and more.  Bradenton is located minutes to Sarasota, 45 minutes to Tampa and two hours to Walt Disney World.

Whether you live in Bradenton or come to visit it’s a wonderful place to be, and events like the Hernando Soto Festival is just a reminder of how lively and fun this small city is.

Please follow our blog at www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com

Bruce Harrison, Realtor

Brian Heavrin, Realtor, Marketing Consultant

RE/MAX Alliance Group

3007 Manatee Ave W

Bradenton, FL  34205

Office:  941.758.7777

Direct:  941.545.5786

E-mail:  House@mindspring.com

Web site:    http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com/

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Bank Foreclosure in Bradenton, Florida $352,900

 

Bank Foreclosure in Bradenton, Florida $35!  HURRY HOME! Wonderful curb appeal welcomes you to this lovely & spacious 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in the Northwest Bradenton community of Woodlands Park on Palma Sola Bay. Grand double door entry is accented by arched and column detailing. You’ll love the roomy, open, & bright Great room plan offering great living flow & perfect space for entertaining. A separate formal dining room will host many a special occasion in style. The chef’s kitchen, with cozy breakfast room close by, is the heart of this home, open to the gathering space so the chef can be a part of conversation, & features: closet pantry, solid surface counter tops, & abundant storage w/ whipalma sola woodste raised panel cabinetry. A master suite with luxurious master bath, featuring: garden bath, separate shower, & dual sink will be a welcome retreat at the end of a busy day. Step outside to the caged pool area to relax during leisure time, cool off during hot summer months, & to socialize w/ family & friends – completely enjoying our perfect Florida weather- surrounded by lush tropical foliage. Everything you need for your own ‘Florida Paradise’ can be found in this lovely, spacious home. Location is prime, close proximity to: abundant shopping, schools, public transportation, medical facilities, Robinson Preserve – an outstanding park offering miles of bike paths & kayaking – & Desoto Memorial Park. The white sugar sands of Anna Maria Island & Holmes Beach are just 5 minutes away. Don’t let this one get away!

Bruce Harrison, REALTOR
Brian Heavrin, Realtor, Marketing Consultant
RE/MAX Alliance Group
3007 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, Florida 34205
Office:  941.758.7777
Direct:  941.545.5786
Email:  house@mindspring.com

http://www.YourFloridaWinterHome.com/

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