Saint Augustine, FL Real Estate News

By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
At their peak, it sounds like torrential rain on your windshield.  But when you put on your wipers, you are simply smearing a sticky yellow glob of unspeakable goo across your visual field, making matters much, much worse.  They are  Plecia nearctica but are called lovebugs because they mate in flight.  They not only obscure motorist's vision, but they can clog radiators and get into refrigeration systems on trucks.  These critters have their higher-ups on the food chain, including birds and armadillos.  But when they swarm, they are annoying beyond measure and topic of conversation #1 until they are gone.  My car came back from a short trip this weekend with what can only be described as a mustache on the grill.  Black and furry and disgusting.  I'm a nurse and yet I tasted my lunch wh...
Comments 10
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Unbeknownst to me, this is off season in St. Augustine.  I'm not sure what that means, but according to the Holiday Inn at St. Augustine Beach on Anastasia Island, they are not providing beach chairs, umbrellas, or any beach services at their beach-front resort hotel.  OK.  I must have missed this, but I have talked to others who say we have no off season.  We are open for tourist business every day of the year, winter, summer, spring and fall.  This is an historic destination, not just a fun-in-the-sun get-away. If you are planning a vacation to our wonderful city, you will be greeted with the warmest welcome ever.  But I now recommend you check with your host to see if umbrellas, beach chairs, and hotel coolers are available to you when you get here.  If not, perhaps you can prepare o...
Comments 3
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
My greatest fear when first coming to Florida was alligators.  But having encountered a few of those, I realize they're much less interested in me than I am in them. Today, however, I went to Mt. Dora with my husband.  We wanted lunch and shopping, and Mt. Dora is rife with both.  We didn't stay long because we saw some heavy weather coming in, and we left around 3:30.  We took some main road north just to see what Leesburg looked like, then took a right on 44E for some country viewing.  All was well until we got to the LPGA Blvd and from there, almost right at I95 I saw it.  Not far from us, I'm thinking no more than 3 or 4 miles back, maybe less, over the west side of I95 where we just came from, three twisty clouds came slowly, and I think this took no more than about 3 minutes, down...
Comments 20
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Excuse me???? I'm compelled to share these arcane laws I found in a more arcane book I just bought about my beloved state of Florida.  I will paraphrase so as not to commit any criminal acts of plagiarism.  Italics mine. First and foremost, selling your children is a criminal act.  How about simply trading them in? An elephant tied to a parking meter requires the same fee as a car parked in the space.  And who's going to make him pay? You must be married to legally parachute over Florida on a Sunday.  I guess that means by the time you hit the ground.  In Daytona, it's illegal to molest trash cans.  This must have been put on the books during Bike Week. In Cape Coral it is illegal to hang clothes outside on a clothesline.  So use powerlines.  They'll dry quicker. In Key West, chickens a...
Comments 31
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
I had a suspicion that many of our "Snowbirds" (those who are here only for the winter months) are from Canada, but a recent published statistic bore that out.  Canada makes up the majority of our visiting foreigners.  No one would dispute that it's a weather issue that brings our Canadian friends south, but it's the shear beauty of this area and the affordability of housing that brings them to St. Augustine and Jacksonville. I was surprised to learn that 84.6 million (total) tourists came to Florida in 2006 which is up from 83.6 million in 2005.  We must be doing something right according to the U.S. Department of Commerce which ranks Florida number two in the nation for visiting foreigners.  And though you might think it's all about Disney, St. Augustine gets more than its fair share....
Comments 1
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.  A nor-easter will come from what appears to be nowhere and wreak havoc on our fair city.  Because there's normally not as much wind as a hurricane, the warnings are a bit dissimilar.  But this current storm, the one that's just had the baby in the gulf that may turn into something much worse, has been a challenge for us all. Our annual rainfall is around 50 inches a year.  And the past two years have been considered draught conditions, so it's been much less.  However, from Monday morning until Wednesday evening of this week, we received over 11 inches in North St. Johns County.  That's a fifth of what we usually get in a normal year, and things have not been normal in St. Augustine in quite awhile. The La Nina and El Nino phenomena were not...
Comments 4
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
I was so sound asleep I remember being in mid-snore and catching my breath at the events transpiring before me.  First there was a light so bright, even with my eyes closed it was nothing short of what I would think a nuclear explosion might be like if it was 20 feet away. (And this was my first thought!) The sound was worse, as if 100 moving trains were in my bedroom.  My bed shook.  My bedroom shook.  My house shook, and for what seemed like at least a full two minutes.  And then it happened again, but this time I was awake enough to know that either my home, or my neighbor's home, had been struck by lightning. It was around 5:30 a.m., and my husband was already gone.  I must have looked like a police dog with my nose high in the air, running herky-jerky around the house, half asleep,...
Comments 6
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
I was sound asleep.  So soundly in fact that it took my husband a few minutes to get me to stand up and come to the front porch to see, and I am quoting him here, "the biggest frog on the planet." Actually he wasn't kidding.  At first I thought it was some kind of statuary.  You know, those frogs made of crushed walnut shells, and painted to look real.  It was sitting, stone-faced on my front porch.  My husband had turned on the light, and according to him he hadn't moved in over 5 minutes, the frog that is.  So I poked it with something, and it moved, but only about a millimeter.  I assumed this was a defense mechanism, though rolling over with his legs stiff in the air would have been a more plausible fake death.  We grabbed a DVD case and set it beside him, took the picture, decided ...
Comments 9
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Well, maybe they are, like a high school wrestling team, or something.  But the scaly kind are definitely real.  They are big.  And they live in my backyard. I remember thinking, before actually flying down to buy a home here, that I must be crazy moving to a state that had alligators, roaches the size of Buicks, and scorpions.  But the truth is:  I've seen one Palmetto Bug (that I believe the cat brought in), one scorpion, that was already dead and it was in an office a mile away, and then there's the alligator.  I've seen several, in fact, two of which were right here in my neighborhood.  We live in a community that keeps the wetlands and wildlife intact.  I like that, and thus far we've lived in harmony with these creatures.  Once alligators reach a certain length, they are picked up...
Comments 4
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Last year our new parking facility opened and could be considered a destination in itself.  It's so beautiful, and so attractively landscaped, it's hard to believe it is merely a parking lot.  Adjacent to the Visitors Center, it's an easy walk to most of our historic sites.  It also has a playground, and if you are inclined, some interesting mini-parks complete with a footbridge to nowhere.  The city fathers spared no expense when building this, assuring the lifeblood of our city, tourism, will remain vibrant. What I can't understand is why, with 1200 spaces and a very nominal fee of $1.25 per hour, and a maximum of $7.50 per day, I rarely see anyone driving in or out of it, and I'm downtown often.  True, our volume of visitors drops in the summer, and it's been this summer that things ...
Comments 3
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
If you love paying taxes, and who doesn't, don't move to Florida.  Make sense?  Of course not.  I'm making a joke, but I'm also making a point. Florida has one of the lowest tax rates in the nation.  We have no "personal" income tax, and we are rated among the lowest tax states (considering income, property and local taxes) according to the Tax Foundation.  In fact, Florida ranked 45th in tax liability in 2004.  That means 45 states pay more than we do.  Our state sales tax is 6%, but there is that pesky local sales tax, which disappears during school-clothes-buying week. If the state government really wanted to rake it in, they would tax the sunshine and blue skies and white, sandy beaches, especially in St. Augustine.  And that would be something worth paying taxes for. Patsy Ittner, ...
Comments 4
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
When we first moved to St. Augustine, we were unabashedly awed by the herons, ospreys, and all manner of gulls, ducks and geese.  We'd break out our binoculars and watch them as if they held some secret to the cosmos and were about to divulge this information. But lately, and this is a first in this house, I've been hearing songbirds.  Lots of songbirds.  I have been grabbing my binoculars and looking everywhere for the origin of this happy sound, thrilled to have the chirping back in my life, reminding me of my Virginia home.  And today I found that flock.  All two of them.  There are two Mockingbirds either fighting with or fawning over each other in my backyard, and they're driving my cat insane.  Turn your back and you'd think there were a hundred songbirds back there.  But nay, jus...
Comments 4
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
If you read my blog often enough, you might think I weigh 500 pounds.  Well, I'm working on it, and mostly with my Sunday brunches with my husband.  We finally found a Restaurant Times for St. Augustine and now have about 30 more restaurants to try.  Cortesses Bistro at 172 San Marco Avenue is a bit out of the way but directly across from the merry-go-round, so there's a nice stroll involved after your meal. It was my turn for the crab Eggs Benedict and I chose the right restaurant to try it.  Everything they brought out, including the ice-tea was delicious.  Excellent service, but I was disappointed that the advertised Sunday live music was instead taped.  And our vista was the parking lot, though admittedly we chose inside because of the heat.  If you look closely at the picture, that...
Comments 4
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Moving is difficult and expensive.  Leaving friends and schools and memories behind is traumatic.  But what if there was a place that consists of thousands of people who say they wish they'd moved here years ago!  What would make a place so beautiful, so livable, so capable of making those who visit pull up stakes and move there?It would take a perfect climate, one of long summer days no hotter than those of Washington, D.C. but without the haze.  It would take sublime winters of cool nights and open windows all through the day.  It might require constant gentle breezes upon which glide herons, ospreys and hawks.  It must have songbirds, especially mockingbirds, to keep you guessing about who they are.  The clouds must be huge and white, and capable of evading the sun's constant light u...
Comments 16
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Starting tomorrow, September 7th, the St. Augustine Art Association in St. Augustine, Florida, is holding its Member Show.  The beginning will coincide with the First Friday Art Walk, held on the first Friday of each month for all member galleries.  Judging will be on Sunday, and there will be light refreshments.I visited the Art Association today and even after telling them what an awful artist I was, they invited me to join, take classes, volunteer, and share in the friendship.  I was even allowed a preview of the show, which promises to be very exciting.Located at 22 Marine Street, though the street is presently being repaved, there's plenty of parking along the river.  Or, for every First Friday Walk you can park at the San Sabastian Winery and they have free trolleys to shuttle you...
Comments 4
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Of all the things I love about living here, the shopping opportunities are very high on the list.  St. Johns Town Center opened since I moved here three years ago, and the timing couldn't have been better.Strategically located between the cities of Jacksonville and St. Augustine, and with easy access off JTB and 9A, this mall is an outdoor mall with just about anything and everything you could ever want.  Great restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory, and fabulous clothing stores, with Dillards being the biggest.  Parking is easy.  There's always a sale somewhere.  And it's my opinion that this mall equals if not surpasses Virginia's second most-visited attraction, Potomac Mills.  The picture below shows the newest phase, as of today, not yet completed but apparently "on schedule,"...
Comments 3
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Moving from Washington, D.C. to St. Augustine, Florida has afforded numerous advantages including the weather, the shear beauty of the landscape, and my personal favorite, no traffic.  But when I want to go somewhere, like Europe, I have to admit that it's quite a hassle to fly to a larger airport to get across the pond, and it adds many, many hours to the trip, sometimes equal to the overseas flight itself. BUT, and this is a big but, we went on a cruise not too long ago, and the act of accessing the ship could not have been more painless.  No planes or trains, but yes, an automobile.  The ride to Port Canaveral was a dream, (about 2 hours) and it could have been even easier because there's a port right here in Jacksonville.  Cruising is growing faster than most vacation venues, and if...
Comments 2
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
After brunch on Sundays we take a walk.  With the recent heatwave on the east coast, this has required quite a bit of endurance.  But St. Augustine is worth it.  The streets are often so narrow that they provide good shade, and around every corner, we always find something of interest. Case in point, we found this little park last Sunday.  I can't tell you how many times I've walked these streets, and we thought it a miracle that we'd missed this.  The sign tells the story, and the gate doesn't have a lock on it, so I assume it's always open.  Not but a block or two from the water, there was a breeze and it was very inviting.  Since our visit, I can't get the thought out of my mind as to why they filled the well with furniture.  That's the thing about St. Augustine.  It's filled with my...
Comments 1
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Unless you have actually witnessed the power and sound and fury of a real shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral, you can't possibly understand how, as a spectator, you'll find not only yourself, but those around you, with faces wet with tears.  Even the guys cry. It's the shear noise and the breathtaking plumbs of smoke against that azure blue sky that momentarily takes your mind off the fact that there are human beings in that ship, and they are on the ride of their lives.  Who among us is thinking about the scientific research, and the exploration of our atmosphere, and the hundreds and hundreds of experiments that those astronauts will perform while they spin around our globe at thousands of miles per hour?  What heroes they are!  And a teacher in space, finally.  God speed to them all. I...
Comments 5
By Patsy Ittner, Your Premier Broker Selling St. Augustine Real Estate
(Little Fox Realty)
Everyday, usually between 8 and 9 a.m. I call my dear friend Pat. This is as much a part of my life routine as having breakfast. She lives where I used to live, just south of Washington, D.C. in what was once the Village of Garrison (later named Garrisonville), and now simply "Stafford." It's near the Marine Corp headquarters of Quantico, so it has a fair number of "Jets Overhead" (not the band), and faux wars with resulting bomb noise. There was a time when the Milky Way was visible almost every night. The sky was blue and the concept of a traffic jam was unknown. But that was then and this is now. Traffic, traffic, traffic. Absolutely, there are more stores, so shopping is now convenient, and restaurants, and more schools, more people, more houses, more, more, more. I moved to St. Aug...
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