Love is in the Florida Air: All There Is to Know About a Romantic Weekend Trip to Orlando

If you live in the Sunshine state, you’re in the right location to take some great day or weekend trips around this big, beautiful Florida state. You could end up in Orlando, the “theme park capital of the world,” or you could venture to a Palm Beach spot you just haven’t gotten around to exploring. Go put-putting, swan boating, or soak up some art at a museum nearby, better yet, find a great rental car and take it out to the backcountry for some hiking. No matter what you choose, leave the kids at home and enjoy a beautiful night out in whichever town you choose, just the two of you. Here are some of the best places to take your significant other when you have some time to be together.

1. Swap Shop Drive-In

Wait until all the kids are gone and enjoy great vendors and the world’s largest drive in movie theater at the Swap Shop Drive-In, which is only thirty minutes from Boca Raton. This flea market drive-in combination is a fantastic way to spend an evening. has a 1950s sci-fi and horror movie theme.

The 180,000 square foot air-conditioned building houses over 2000 vendors, arcade games, a free Ferrari museum, and a large food court if watching a movie from your car wasn’t cool enough. There is also a carnival, so go win your hunny some giant stuffed animals and giggle over some cotton candy.

2. Big City Hunt

It makes sense to take a day trip out to Orlando every once in a while, — there’s no better way to explore a new city than through a scavenger hunt. With Big City Hunt, the two of you have two hours to solve 15 clues. To play, just download a launch code and start whenever you wish.

The clues come straight to your smartphone, and they include interesting facts about the sites you encounter. At the end of the game, see how your points stack up to players from around the world on a virtual leaderboard. The game gives a whole new meaning to the term, “power couple.”

3. Lake Eola Park

Did you know swans mate for life? If you’re corny and you’ve found your soul mate, it’s about time you take your significant other out on the water. Celebrate lifelong love and rent a swan boat at Lake Eola Park in Orlando. The paddle boats are available to rent for $15 per half hour and no reservations are needed. The park is in the heart of downtown Orlando, and it often hosts live performances.

Lake Eola also has a fountain which changes colors at night. Sundays are the best time for a day-time date. There is all-levels yoga (go like their Facebook page!) at the park for $5 on Sundays. Hungry couples are encouraged to check out the farmer’s market afterward from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

4. Harry P. Leu Gardens

Take some time to smell the roses at the Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando. Covering nearly 50 acres, the gardens have lakes, shaded oak trails and a forest of camellias flowers. The garden was created by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Leu, a couple who traveled the world collecting plants and flowers together.

Take tour through the butterfly garden or take photos together in the flowering tree collection. Many couples take wedding photos at the demonstration gardens, and for good reason.

5. Orlando Museum of Art

Check out work from the city’s up and coming artists at the Orlando Museum of Art. The museum is doing a Florida Prize in Contemporary Art exhibition, featuring the 10 most exciting artists doing work in the state. This year’s artists include Domingo Castillo, Coco Fusco and Dana Hargrove.

The exhibition includes a variety of photos, sculptures and paintings. Other than the exhibition, the museum has 900 works of art by more than 35 ancient cultures in the Art of the Ancient Americas collection. The museum describes the collection as “the most comprehensive in its kind” in the Southeast United States.

6. Urbain 40

After the museum, make a reservation for dinner at Urbain 40. The restaurant received a Golden Spoon award by Florida Trend as the best new restaurant in Orlando. While known for its French cuisine, such as freshly baked baguettes and mushroom crepes, the restaurant also serves a variety of pasta dishes.

The decor is 1940’s swing era, and Orlando weekly describes it as “arguably the most beautiful restaurant space in the city.” A live jazz band often performs at the restaurant, lending a nice backdrop of music to a lovely evening out.

7. Turkey Lake Park

You don’t have to go too far to get away from the city and have a romantic outdoor adventure at Bill Frederick Park. Also known as Turkey Lake Park, the location covers 178 acres making it Orlando’s largest park.

The area has a calm 2.4-mile hiking trail for a nice day trip. For a longer stay, bring a tent or rent one of the park’s cabins. Bring a frisbee for one of the two 18-hole disc golf courses. Or bring a fishing pole for a calm time on the pier. The park also has a swimming pool, picnic area and a paved bicycle path.

8. Couples Massage Day Trip

Located in Weston, Florida, the Wellness Suites Weston is a highly regarded spa that offers great deals for couple’s massages. There is literally nothing better than a relaxing massage. If you go with your love, the benefits don’t end when the massage does. Take the time for a hot stone session together and feel truly pampered. You and your partner will be relaxed, joyful, and basking in the glow of such a romantic day.

Even if a massage isn’t your idea of fun, this spa offers many unique services to its customers. From manicures, to eyelashes, to wellness sessions, there truly is something for everyone. Inside, they have a stunning vintage boutique and rare jewelry offerings, which make great surprise gifts for your significant other.

9. Herman’s Loan Office Speakeasy

Grab a cocktail at the speakeasy-inspired Herman’s Loan Office. The lounge used to be a pawn shop and loan shark office in the mid 1900’s, and some of the old design has been incorporated into the new space.

The bar is led by General Manager and Head Bartender René Nguyen. He and his team were also behind the highly successful craft cocktail space Hanson’s Shoe Repair. With an intimate feel and a fireplace, the Loan Office is great for conversations with loved ones over an expertly-crafted drink.

No matter where in Florida you come from, you’re sure to find something on this list to make for a memorable night out with your loved one. What are some things you like to do for a night on the town?

The Best Public Tennis and Basketball Courts in Naples, FL

Naples, Florida, located on the state’s west coast, has some of the most breathtaking beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. While from the outside this beach town may seem inactive and sleepy, it is quite the opposite. In fact, Naples is the perfect place for retirees to stay active year-round. Many locals spend their days golfing on pristine courses, sport fishing offshore, enjoying luxury and boutique shopping, and taking long walks along the water during sunset. With all these desirable amenities, it’s easy to see why Naples is a top destination for those looking to settle down and enjoy their lives after retirement.

Along with all the available activities for Naples retirees, tennis and basketball remain tried and true favorites, and for good reason. Participating in these sports builds bone strength, promotes cardiovascular health, and boosts mental development. Thanks to beautiful Florida weather, either of these activities are available outdoors year-round with many courts available to the public. Below are our top three parks boasting tennis and/or basketball courts, along with many other options for outdoor activities.

Veterans Community Park

Located in North Naples, Veterans Community Park attracts all ages. From children’s activities to exercise classes for seniors, it is one of the busiest community destinations in the area. This park is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and is the ideal place for tennis as it has four lit courts.

Activities

There is no shortage of things to do while at Veterans Community Park. With a long list of amenities, you could spend a whole weekend exploring all there is to offer.

Enjoy the following: a Community Center, 3 lit softball fields, a lit baseball field, lit bocce ball courts, 4 lit tennis courts, 4 lit racquetball courts, a lit playground, a lit soccer/football field, a picnic area, 2 sand volleyball courts, a covered lit multi-purpose rink, and 2 picnic pavilions.

Other features

Drop in on Bone Builders, a fitness class begun by Collier Country’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program and designed to assist those with Osteoporosis by building their strength safely.

Are you dog owner? Enjoy Rover Run, the only dog park in the North Naples area. Open from 7:30 a.m. to dusk, the park includes two fenced in areas, one for large dogs and one for small, so it is the ideal place to let your four-legged friends run off leash.

Pelican Bay Community Club

For a relaxing afternoon on the water playing some of your favorite outdoor sports, look no further than Pelican Bay Community Club. Located on Vanderbilt Beach Rd., one of the main attractions of this park is the lovely, white sand beach. There’s no doubt that this is one of the most beautiful parks in Naples and it is open to the public.

Open Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-9 pm, Sat & Sun 9a.m.-5p.m., Pelican Bay Community Club is best known for its tennis courts. Get an annual membership (Single for $400/year or Couple for $700/year) or pay a one-time court fee of just over $10/person for an hour and a half. Private lessons are also available for just $35/half hour or $65/hour.

Activities

On the grounds of Pelican Bay you will find 8 lit tennis courts, 4 lit racquetball courts, 2 bocce ball courts, a lit basketball court, a lit playground, a softball field, a soccer field, a walking trail system, a pavilion, and a beautiful lake.

East Naples Community Park

The East Naples Community Park caters to both children and adults with youth activities, fitness programs for all ages, a skating park and playground, senior programs, and a community center. Open daily from 8 a.m.-10 p.m., this park also offers after school and summer camp programs that include outdoor activities and recreational sports.

Activities

Included on the grounds of this sprawling park are 2 lit basketball courts, 2 racquetball courts, 8 lit tennis courts, 4 lit softball fields, a lit playground, a lit exercise trail around the lake, a picnic area, a pavilion, a roller hockey rink, 2 lit football/soccer fields, a senior center, and 25 pickleball courts.

Yes, 25 pickleball courts. Did you know that East Naples Community Park was the home of the US Open Pickleball 2017 Championships? If you’re looking to pick up a new hobby, this might be just what you’ve been waiting for.

 

How to Cleanse Your Home of Unwanted Junk When Moving

Garbage. Refuse. Rubbish. Junk by any other name is just as pervasive, wasteful and undesirable. Whether it’s an old appliance taking up space in your basement or a piece of furniture that needs to be replaced, we all have cumbersome junk that can’t simply be put in a garbage bin and require a bit of extra effort in order to get rid of it.

Recycling

One of the easiest ways to get rid of junk is to just recycle it! Whether you’re making use of recycling bins or recycling centers, you can never go wrong with recycling.

You can even recycle old electronics that might contain hazardous materials that landfills won’t accept or will release toxic chemicals into the soil if disposed of improperly. By recycling, you divert waste away from the landfills, help protect your local environment, and enable new materials to be made from your old junk.

Donating

Another great way to divert junk from landfills is to donate it. Thrift stores, charities and donation centers often freely accept what you deem to be junk, as long as it is in reasonably good condition. It’s one thing to donate an old microwave; it’s another to give them an old microwave without a door.

You’ll also want to avoid trying to donate built-in appliances, monitors, and mattresses, as these items take up a lot of space and are a hassle for some centers to accept. Instead, see if a specialty organizations like Habitat for Humanity or Bye-Bye Mattress will accept them. You can also contact local homeless shelters see if they could use any of your departing junk.

Don’t forget to ask for a receipt when donating; donations are tax deductible!

Landfill

One of the more direct routes people take is to just load up their junk into a pick-up truck and take it to a municipal landfill. Generally, these facilities will accept most non-hazardous materials and charge by the weight, but you should check with your local landfill before heading out. Some landfills charge user fees, have a different pricing structure for yard waste or will only allow those with the proper vehicle registration to use them.

While landfills are a straightforward solution, factors like costs, transportation, and labor might make this solution unfavorable for you.

Junk Removal Services

Of course, the easiest route might just be to call someone up and have them manage the process. By going this route, you’ll be able to save invaluable time and you won’t have to get your hands messy. In addition to the ease of service and upfront pricing, 1-800-GOT-JUNK also works to keep as much junk out of landfills as possible by donating and recycling items they take.

4 Tips for First-Time Home Buyers on How to Get Things Ready Financially

Buying your first home can be exciting and scary at the same time. You may have the down payment saved up and you think you have all your ducks in a row. To make sure that this really is the case, have a look at our tips below. First-time home buyers may not always know exactly what is required or how to set things in order to make sure their home buying process runs smoothly.

Tip 1: Know your assets and liabilities

Not having a lot of debt and paying your bills on time is not necessarily enough to make you ready for owning a home. You need to carefully evaluate what you are getting in and what is going out. You need to understand cash flow and how it influences your finances. Your income will also play a role. If you are self-employed, it will be harder to get a loan.

Tip 2: Have all your documents ready and organized

There is a lot of documents involved when applying for a home loan and buying a house. You need records of payslips, years’ worth of W-2s, tax returns, and bank statements. You may also need copies of your marriage certificate. Have all these documents on hand before you start the process of applying for a home loan. This will make the process run better.

Tip 3: Know what you can afford

When you start thinking about buying a home, you probably have a good idea of what you can put down as a down payment and also how much you can afford on a monthly basis. This way, you already know what the bank will say. Avoid going over the amount that you can afford. Rather go for a home price that is a bit lower than you can afford.

Tip 4: Get your down payment together

Saving up or getting together a big enough sum to be your down payment can be hard. You should do research on programs that assist first-time home buyers with their down payments. Also, talk to friends and family and find out what they did. Research money lenders and find out what their processes and requirements are.

This will get you prepared for what to expect when buying your first home. If you do research and plan well, you will have a much smoother process.

5 Financial Benefits of Owning a Home

Owning a home has many financial benefits and these tend to become especially evident during tax season. From financial stability to tax benefits, owning a home is not a bad thing at all. Let’s have a look at exactly what the benefits are:

Owning a home is financially savvy

Recent turbulence in the real estate market has made people unsure about owning a home. However, it is still a smart thing to do if you do it right. Buying a house that you can afford will build wealth over time and make homeownership worth it.

Your monthly payments build your equity

Your home equity is determined by the amount that you can sell it for minus the amount that you still owe on it. This means, that every month when you pay your mortgage you are increasing your equity.

You get tax deduction benefits

There are different tax deduction benefits that you may qualify for. These include tax deduction that allows homeowners to deduct mortgage interest; property tax deductions; and closing cost deductions for the first year you buy your home.

You could qualify for capital gains exclusion

To qualify, you need have bought a house with the main purpose to live in it and have done so for at least two years. If you bought your house before 2003, chances are that it has gained value and not lost value. Based on all this, you could walk away with a profit of between $250 000 and $500 000 when you sell your house and you will not owe capital gains taxes.

Buying is cheaper in the long run

Buying a house may be costly in the beginning, but compared to renting for the same amount of time and monthly payments, buying is definitely cheaper in the long run. Instead of paying off someone else’s mortgage, you may as well rather pay your own.

Buying a home is a sound financial decision as long as you plan for it and can afford it. Don’t buy over the amount that you can comfortably afford and you will be fine and can enjoy your home.

3 Trends to Expect in Real Estate in 2017

There have been quite a few changes happening in the USA. The election of Donald Trump as the president kicked off interesting responses and will have interesting results. Based on this and the changing real estate environment, we have predicted the following trends to influence real estate.

1. Drones will be widely used for photographs

Drones are being used more and more for different purposes. It will be very effective in taking flyover and bird’s eye view shots from the air. Properties will be photographed from their best angles and in such a way that their best features shine out.

2. The new name for mixed housing communities is surban

American housing and residential areas have changed from suburban-style sprawl to housing arrangements that consist of different types of homes. You will find houses, flats, townhouses, and others all mixed together in garcinia a single community. These mixed housing communities are called surban. This term refers to a mix of urban and suburban living. People can work and have all the modern-day amenities, but also have access to urban environments and space to play and relax.zetaclear

3. Millennials will be buying houses

Millennials are those people who were born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s. It is expected that these millennials will be buying houses this year. This is based on information gathered that indicate many have paid off their student loans and has been able to save enough money for a down payment. It is also expected that some of them will buy more house than real estate agents may expect.

These are the top 3 trends we expect to influence real estate in 2017. President Trump’s election will most likely influence interest rates in some way as well, but that we will have to wait and see. The housing market is doing well and things are looking good for the real estate environment.