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sandybeachvacay October 3, 2020

Look, there’s no getting around it. Seven months in, the pandemic has upended the way we live, the way we play and the way we work (for those of us lucky enough to still have jobs) during this difficult time. But if you’re among the legions of digitally connected employees who have been sheltering in place for most of this year, by now you’ve figured out that home – or work – can be anywhere. And if that’s the case, I can think of three reasons why you might want to tuck your laptop under your arm and head to either Ponce Inlet or Anna Marie Island this fall.

1) Great Work Setting – Imagine beginning your day with an early morning beach stroll, before heading back to your beautifully furnished and well-connected condo to power up for the day. Now picture yourself working until noon, and then making your way to the pool for a quick swim before you tackle your afternoon work tasks. When your workday is over, you can put in your takeout order (or make dinner in your fully-stocked kitchen!), kick back and enjoy both your meal and a crisp evening breeze from the comfort of your balcony. Who wouldn’t want to sign up for a workday like this?

2) Ideal Weather – Warm days and cool nights are a great combo for those of us who want to hang onto our summertime selves throughout the fall. Autumn in Florida offers one of the best times of the year to enjoy the beach, the restaurants (with appropriate measures) and the town – without the brutal heat and family crowds that typify the height of the summer season. Whether you’re working or retired, the fall is a terrific time to come to Florida and stay on either the gulf or Atlantic side

3) The Right Price – Now that you’ve envisioned yourself in an ideal work setting, where the weather is wonderful and your combo workplace/staycation plans are in place — what if you could have all this for a price that’s roughly 30% lower than what you would have paid just three months ago? And yet, this is exactly what you can expect to pay, whether you choose to nest in either Ponce Inlet or Anna Marie Island.

All you need to do is click here www.sandybeachvacay.com to get your work, stay and vacay plans started.

C’mon, it’s Christmas in October! What are you waiting for?

Fondly,
Sandy

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sandybeachvacay August 25, 2020

 

If you’ve been weighing the pros and cons of staying in a hotel vs. toughing out your vacation in a rental unit – look no further. I can help you with this.

But first, I begin with a cautionary tale involving my two sisters, who in July decided to drive to Maine (a low-Covid state) for a few days of nice sightseeing, good company and great lobster.  Having booked the Hampton in Kennebunkport through Hotels.com, and they were looking forward to the usual amenities – free breakfast, indoor pool, room service, etc.

And here’s where it went a bit sideways. First, the pool was closed. Second, because of Covid concerns, the hotel was not serving breakfast (though we could pick up from the lobby in the morning a “grab and go” featuring a banana, a Nutrigrain bar and a muffin.  As for room service? Out of an abundance of understandable caution and respect for people’s safety, the hotel would provide it, but only if you requested it in advance.

Now, none of this ruined the vacation, which was still lovely for my sisters and brothers-in-laws. They drove along the beautiful coastline, enjoyed shopping in some quaint towns, and thankfully still experienced wonderful meals (a la outside dining, of course).

But when you compare their hotel experience with what they might have experienced if they had rented a condo, I can think of three reasons why a rental unit makes more sense during a time when most of us are already weary of the restrictions governing our day-to-day lives:

  • Control – From the time you enter the unit until the day you leave, your environment belongs to you. Like other rental unit owners in Florida, I’m complying with CDC guidelines for cleaning and sanitizing each unit in between renters, (Sandy Beach Vacay Cleaning Guidelines), so you know the unit is completely clean and sanitized, from beginning to end.
  • Safety – This one goes together with control; in that you can create your own “pod” by inviting whoever you feel comfortable being with into your unit. You can stock your own supplies and cook your own meals (or bring in take-out) without risk and in general, live in a self-contained – and therefore completely safe – indoor environment, when you’re not out and about on the beach or by the pool. Which brings me to advantage number 3.
  •  Better experience and more options – My sisters were really looking forward to hanging by the pool when they reserved their rooms at the hotel in Maine. It was the main (no pun intended) reason why they picked the place. The fact that they didn’t have this option put a real crimp in their plans.

Imagine if they had traveled to Florida and stayed at one of the units at Ponce Inlet or Anna Marie Island. The pool would have been open and available to them all day, every day. And the beach would have been steps away, rather than the 40-minute car ride they had to take to get to the beach in Ogunquit.

Not only that, they could have hung out in a 1200 sq. ft. fully equipped two-bedroom condo with kitchen, balcony and living room, rather than the 325 sq. ft. hotel room that offered little more than a bed and an empty mini-bar. There’s no question – a condo definitely expands your entertaining options, especially if you’re vacationing with other family members or friends.

The choice is yours, of course. But if you are weighing the pros and cons of hotel/motel versus renting a condo, I really believe the better option is renting your own unit.

So…book a reservation at www.sandybeachvacay.com and see you poolside!

(Except not you, Pen and Candy – because you girls went to Maine instead. Sorry about that….)

Sandy

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sandybeachvacay July 17, 2020

When our governor first re-opened Florida in the wake of Coronavirus concerns, I was worried at first that people would be afraid to leave their homes and head to the beach.
Ha!
We all know how that went.
I can’t keep up with the calls from would-be renters desperate to break free from their home quarantines. It’s astonishing to realize just how many people are looking for relief, and a return to normal living.
But it got me to thinking. Even in so-called “normal times,” what is it about the beach – sans the pesky sea gulls – that calls out to us, long before we actually pack our bags and go?
Here are the 5 reasons I came up with:
1) Family – For many of us, this is the number one reason why people book a beach vacation. I so get this. For many years, summer meant hanging out at the Jersey shore with my dad and my sisters and their kids. I have wonderful memories of Pop making Mickey Mouse pancakes in the morning, before we all packed up and headed down to the beach for hours of lazy lounging, interspersed with short bursts of boogie-boarding or sand-castle building. In the late afternoon, we would pack up yet again and head to the pool to cool off before dinnertime. And that’s how it went for two weeks, every year for too many years to count. We just made great memories. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

2) Friends – Okay, I’ll admit it. I headed to the beach this week with friends to celebrate my birthday – in a socially-distanced appropriate way, of course! Cold beer, good conversation and great people sitting together against the backdrop of a breezy, sun-speckled ocean. C’mon, guys. Is there any better way to mark a major milestone?

3) Solitude – And then there are those at the other end of the spectrum. The people who just need to get away, by themselves, from the noise and chaos of their lives. One of my renters – let’s call him Joe – has done this for years. He spends several months in the winter in one of my units, just living his life, alone and content. It works for him. You’d be surprised. It works for a lot of people.

4) Healing – We don’t typically think of the beach as a sanctuary, but for some, it can become that quiet place to work out whatever it is that’s going on in your life. That’s what it was for my sister, who lost her husband to cancer when she was still in her 40s. I would watch her head down to the beach in the morning by herself, and wouldn’t see her again for hours. With the ocean in front of her, she washed away her grief in those first difficult years. When everything in your life has fallen apart, she would say, it’s good to watch dolphins frolicking in the waves. (She even made allowances for the damn seagulls, but she’s a more generous person. To me, they’re just cheese doodle thieves).

5) Finally…..the Experience – For someone who has never done it, it’s just exhilarating to throw up your umbrella with everyone else and join the beach crowd on a hot summer day. Don’t we all, at some point in our life, yearn to be part of the experience in a place where everyone just seems to beam with joy? It’s contagious (in a good way!). I feel the same way about mountains, by the way. Skiers and snowboarders are some of the happiest people on earth. Unfortunately, I don’t rent chalets.
Yeah, I totally get why my phone is ringing off the hook. The great news is this: We’ve gone above and beyond to keep our units safe (insert link from previous blog) so you can have a wonderful experience.
So if the ocean is calling you – for any reason – I know a place Sandy Beach Vacay.

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sandybeachvacay June 23, 2020

It’s been three weeks since our governor lifted statewide restrictions on vacation rentals and I, for one, couldn’t be happier to be welcoming families and friends back to Florida beaches.

After months spent in isolation and with the beach and pool calling your name, you might even be lulled into forgetting that we’re still in the middle of pandemic.

But…..we are. And people are still nervous, especially here in Florida, where the virus is stubbornly lingering. I’d just like to gently remind everyone to continue to observe the CDC guidelines for social distancing, whether you’re on the beach, at a restaurant, by the pool or just strolling through town.  It’s a relatively small thing, but it makes a huge difference in how we can all avoid the virus while still having a wonderful vacation experience. Believe me, I’m all for banishing the winter quarantine blues! But we still need to be smart.

I’m doing everything I can to make sure everyone can safely enjoy their stay in my units. All I ask is that you do the same. And let me just say that so far….you guys have been great!

I’d like to take this moment to thank my rental clients, who have been both understanding and accommodating, not only to the needs of their own family, but also to the local community at large.

As the state continues its reopening efforts, I’ll come back soon with some sightseeing tips. (You’d be surprised how much history resides in our little towns here in Florida),

But for now, let the beach be your lure and come visit.  But stay safe!

Sandy

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sandybeachvacay June 4, 2020

After a really tough spring and a rough start to the summer season, our state and local officials have given Florida property owners the green light to rent their beachfront properties to vacationers once again.

While I’m delighted to be back in business and able to offer my condos to everyone out there who desperately needs a break out from the “shelter-in-place blues,” my top priority is to make sure that your vacation experience is a safe one.  Please know that we’re doing everything we can (and then some) to comply with the recommendations issued by both the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and our local county officials.

What does this mean? For the foreseeable future, we’ll be:

  • Cleaning and disinfecting all frequently-touched surfaces within the unit between each guest stay.
  • Washing all linen, dishware and other service items available for use by guests between each rental.
  • Putting more time in between the conclusion of a guest stay and the check-in of the next guest to allow for appropriate cleaning and sanitation.
  • Minimizing direct contact with guests by using remote check-in and check-out procedures.

I hope you find this helpful.  I’ve also placed copies of our safety plan in each of my rental units, as required by county law.

I’m looking forward to you shaking off the surreal times we’re in with a break-out vacation experience that you’ll remember for a long time to come.

With a little bit of patience and a lot of social distancing on the beach and in town, (our new normal for the time being), I’ve no doubt you’ll be able to enjoy the sun, sand and surf to put yourself in a better frame of mind.  I know I’m feeling the call of the ocean……

Enjoy (and please stay safe!)

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sandybeachvacay April 15, 2020

“Ponce Park” used to be a fishing village that was home to a few families in early 1908. Valda Stone was the daughter of Frank E and Annie who had moved to Ponce Park from Titusville. Valda met and married B.G. Timmons and took over the family river row boat business. In 1948 they officially opened Timmons Fish Camp. B.G. Timmons son Frank bought a party boat “Marianne” to berth at the fish camp and began running deep sea fishing trips.

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sandybeachvacay April 21, 2015

During low tide every day without fail an island appears as the water recedes at the inlet where Ponce Inlet  and New Smyrna almost meet. When it does, boaters from all around come to play on the pure sandy island. It is as if it were made for recreational boating. The island is easily accessible from various boat ramps in the area. Buit it is only accessible by boat. For several hours it provides sunbathing, fishing, swimming and a party atmosphere. Once the tide comes in it disappears until the next low tide.

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sandybeachvacay

One of my all time favorite things to do on Saturday or Sunday when I am over at Ponce Inlet is go to Joe’s Crab Shack for a made to order omelet and mimosa. Sitting in the open air tables on the pier,  I can watch the waves roll in while sipping on the bubbly and eating my breakfast creation.  The location is close enough that I can ride my beach bike up A1A to Joe’s and then work off my brunch before heading to the beach. Go earlier (before 9am) if you want to beat the crowds.

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sandybeachvacay

I eat at this restaurant all the time. Over the years I have learned more and more about the history of this site and beginnings of today’s NASCAR racing.

Before race cars negotiated the banks and bends of Daytona International Speedway, the need for speed was met on a mix of sand and asphalt along the Atlantic Coast. The roar of engines has been heard around this part of Volusia County since 1936. The Daytona Beach road course once stretched to Ponce Inlet.

Racing’s North Turn Beach Bar & Grille in Ponce Inlet is located at one of local racing history’s pivotal points.  In 2007, the Ponce Inlet Historic & Archaeological Preservation Board recognized the site of the casual ocean-side restaurant as a historic landmark. From the north turn on the pavement of Atlantic Avenue, the path went south two miles on U.S. Highway A1A to the end of the road.  There, drivers hit the beach to speed two miles north and catch another lap at the north turn, according to RacingsNorthTurn.com. These wild and woolly car races ran until 1958, according to local historians, when they were relocated to one of the world’s most famous tracks, Daytona International Speedway. Today, the aroma of sunscreen has replaced the smell of gas, oil and burning rubber. But Racing’s North is still making history.

Inside the restaurant, guests are greeted with cases of race-car memorabilia, including event photos and a gallery of drivers. The menu has a checkered flag theme with some sandwiches named for racing legends such as Russ Truelove, Vicki Wood and Ray Fox. There is an inside dining room– but really, you came to the beach to eat inside? … Take a table outside or eat at the bar. Service is time-trials quick, but you will want to linger with the ocean view. A wall of glass doors lines one side as wind protection, I suppose. But on most days they are open to a long deck set with Adirondack chairs.

We started our first lap with the fish dip ($8.99). It’s a very cream cheesy blend with minced vegetables and garlic and served with buttery crackers. It’s extremely light on the smoked flavor promised on the menu but it’s a nice spread nonetheless. The clam chowder is a favorite anytime of the year.

We also shared the fried coconut shrimp ($8.99). It’s large enough for a light entree, if that’s the route you are seeking.

The Cup Series Cuban ($9.25) landed at our pit stop barely fitting in the basket. Generously piled with meat, it’s not an authentic Cuban but it’s a darn good sandwich created in the Cuban style. All the fish sandwiches are loaded up with a huge filet spilling over the side. The snow crab legs are one of my favorite.

With no caution flags in sight, we barreled into lap three with the Crew Chief Chicken Sandwich ($9.25 plus 75 cents for bacon) and fries ($1.75). The pounded tender breast meat was nicely grilled and the salty bacon added a BLT punch. Also, we ordered the prime rib sandwich ($9.75) with a side car of slaw ($1.75). The beef was medium-rare as requested, and the horseradish kicked it into overdrive.

On the weekends they do breakfast and Bloody Mary’s in case you didn’t get your fill the night before. Drinks are reasonably priced and they offer several varieties of beer (available in ice filled buckets) for large parties. Racing’s North Turn has long been a local favorite for its sense of place, but it clearly stands on its own as a fun beach-side eatery as well. Walk across the parking lot to enjoy a piece of history, you won’t regret it.

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sandybeachvacay April 20, 2015

In 1870, Congress appropriated $60,000 to buy a site and build a lighthouse near Mosquito Inlet in Volusia County. Within a few years the site was secured and an engineer was appointed for the construction. After naming the lighthouse Ponce Park, the engineer DROWNED in the inlet, but the lighthouse was completed in 1887. Within a few years a hotel was built nearby called the Ponce Park subdivision and President Theodore Roosevelt designated Mosquito Inlet a bird sanctuary. In 1928, the name was changed to Ponce de Leon Inlet and the town of Ponce Inlet was incorporated in 1963. The first town council was sworn in at the lighthouse office, which became the first Town Hall after the municipality leased the lighthouse property from the U.S. Government for $1 per year. Ponce Inlet has long since constructed a Town Hall and today the city is popular for its deep sea fishing charters, beaches and seafood restaurants. The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is the second tallest in the U.S. and is still a prominent feature. The restored lighthouse and grounds are now a museum and park.

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