Strong Tourism Season for Manatee County
Bradenton Herald - By Josh Salman - June 20, 2012
Manatee -- Tourism officials are keeping a close eye on prices at the pump. Recent declines in gas have inflated summer travel expectations in Florida. Read article here...
Anna Maria Island Wedding Festival
Anna Maria Island Chamber Festival
This festival kicked off with a "Welcome Reception" on Saturday, May 5th, 2012 and continued until Sunday, May 6th, 2012 with a Grande Finale. Food, prize giveaways and mock wedding were just some of the events enjoyed at the festival. View article with photos...
Best Florida Destinations for Families
Family Circle Magazine, April, 2012 - By Ellen Parlapiano
Anna Maria Island ranked #5 this year in the to 10. Special mention of Tortuga Beach Resort! Read entire article...
Anna Maria Island Resorts Announces Joint Venture with Activision TV, Inc.
Anna Maria Island, Florida, March 12, 2012
Anna Maria Island Resorts announced today its arrangement to become the first Florida installation for Activision TV, Inc’s interactive “In-Room System” in its four resorts; the Tortuga Beach Resort, Tradewinds Resort, Sea Side Beach Resort and Tropical Isle Beach Resort. The Activision TV System will provide guests a personal on-screen menu offering a new level of service - from selecting movies to finding restaurants and local events – to surfing the internet – all from the privacy and convenience of an in-room 40 inch HDTV with a built in computer. The Activision TV System even allows guests to book reservations and purchase tickets right from their room! Read article here...
FLORIDA'S PEARL IN THE SUN: ANNA MARIA ISLAND
2011 - Fall Issue | By AURELIE RESCH
“Please, please, make this destination a quiet retreat in paradise.” I kept repeating this to myself as I drove across the Skyway Bridge. I had had quite a frantic life (but who doesn’t?) over the past months and the last thing I needed was another bubbling and noisy beach destination. As I drove onto the Manatee River Bridge, I gazed at the sun in the pink sky. A light breeze wrinkled the calm surface on the water below. No heavy traffic on the road as I turned left on Gulf Drive. No frenzy on the sidewalks and on the terraces. Just a casual atmosphere among pedestrians and seasonal visitors. I released some tension and started to breathe normally. Read article here...
Commission approves trolley ad plan
Find out which waterside escapes are real gems for families.
By Lisa Neff, Islander Reporter - May 2011
Manatee County commissioners approved an agreement for the Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce to again sell ads on the Island Trolley to generate revenue for the fare-free service. Click to view.
The 10 Best Beaches for Families: 2011
Find out which waterside escapes are real gems for families.
By Karen Cicero - Parents Magazine- May 2011
7. Coquina Beach Park, Bradenton, Florida. This beach, on the southern tip of Anna Marie Island, near Sarasota, is famous for "coquinas," colorful mini seashells. Click to view.
Tourism Increases in Manatee County
By Grace Gagliano - Bradenton Herald - March 10, 2011
Tourisim Increases in Manatee County. Local tourism headed up after oil spill, northern storms.
ANNA MARIA ISLAND - Christy Krauss took a look at the spring reservations at her family-owned Holmes Beach resort this week. The reservation schedule through April at Island Garden Villas shows exactly what Krauss wanted to see. “We’re pretty solidly booked,” she said. Read full article.
In One Hour - Retreat Mind, Body & Soul
By Leslie Joy Ickowitz - Published with permission from VERTICAL Tampa Bay
Anna Maria Island - Read full article.
Eight Florida isles, no two alike
By Andrea Sachs - Washington Post - Jan. 17, 2010
GULF ISLANDS, Fla. - If I were a brown pelican, flying high above the Gulf of Mexico near Sarasota, I imagine that I would see thin strips of land trimmed in white, surrounded by water as clear and blue as the cloudless sky above. However, I am not a bird. I am flightless, and as I drove across bridge after bridge to eight different islands in the chain, I found that though they all inhabit the same body of water, they are hardly identical octuplets.
Nor are these islands clones of the Florida Keys, the more popular and party-wise archipelago off the state's southern tip.
The Gulf Islands are arranged like steppingstones along the western coast of Florida. You can skip from one to the other - Anna Maria Island to Longboat Key, City Island, St. Armands Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key, Venice, and Manasota Key - with few interruptions. But as I ventured from one key to another, I couldn't help noticing that what I had left behind only faintly resembled what I had just arrived at. The structures, natural environments, amenities, mind-sets, and even sand compositions varied remarkably, creating islands with unique, identifiable characters.
They say that no two snowflakes or Baldwin brothers are alike; I'd add the Gulf Islands to that list.
Anna Maria Island - Low-key and all - natural
Anna Maria Island is Florida as a living diorama, with no chain hotels, a speed limit that never exceeds 35 m.p.h., and a building limit of three stories. It is also home to a genteel first lady.
"We are loath to go the route of Longboat Key, with condo high-rises," said Rhea Chiles, the wife of former Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, whose family has owned property here since 1958. "The look of the place has been passed down from one generation to another. It's all of those words: quaint, neighborly, natural."
Chiles was the visionary behind the Studio at Gulf and Pine, a multi-use space that exhibits local artworks, including a painting of her own, and holds classes, such as the book club I was making her late for. So I left Chiles to her plot twists for the turns of a kayak.
Shawn Duytschaver, whose family opened the first gift shop on Anna Maria, owns Native Rentals, where he rents boats and preps guests before pushing them off to fend for themselves. He suggested that I paddle Robinson Preserve, a 400-acre mangrove and salt marsh reserve that opened in 2008 and is buffered from motorized traffic. (By comparison, around nearby Lido Key, kayakers must contend with the din of boats and cars, he said.)
At the put-in spot across the Intracoastal Waterway, Duytschaver handed me a laminated map and said I could probably make it to the bald eagle nest before sunset. He also warned me about the black "bugs" in the mangroves. They're not spiders, he said, but crabs. Underlying message: Don't freak out and abandon ship.
I found the small entryway to the preserve but got my left and right confused. Instead of kayaking in the wider bayou (to the right), I ended up in the narrow tunnel, where mangrove roots kicked out like chorus girls. In several areas, my paddle was wider than the channel. At one point, I was so wedged in, my only choices were stand up and pick up the boat or try an eight-point U-turn. Only the crabs know which option I took.
Abandoning the mangrove, I entered open water, where mullet were jumping so high and so close to my boat that I could feasibly have landed one with some clever maneuvering. I hadn't gotten far into my laissez-faire fishing when I spotted a bald eagle sitting stoically in a tree. Having reached my goal, I turned back, a much easier trip now that I was wise to the tangle of mangroves.
On the Gulf Islands, sunset is a momentous occasion. At the Sandbar Restaurant, on the beach on Anna Maria Island, waiters ask diners to guess the time of the sun drop. Those with the correct answer win a bottle of champagne.
The wait for a table exceeded the time left before sunset, so I watched the show from a dugout in the sand. At 6:58, a bell rang. Couples kissed and families snapped photos with the cranberry-streaked sky as a backdrop. I overheard a waiter consoling his customers about their losing time, trying to ease their disappointment with dessert.
Hopping the Gulf Islands - Places to stay
Tortuga Beach Resort
1325 Gulf Dr. N.
Anna Maria Island
Spacious rooms with tasteful Old Florida decor. Across the street from the beach. Rates from $120, depending on season and hotel type.
Teitelbaum honored by peers
By Tom Vaught - Sun Staff Writer - November 11, 2009
David Teitelbaum is a busy man. He runs three resorts in Bradenton Beach, serves on the Manatee County Tourism Development Council and he's organizing an Island-wide effort to raise money to keep the trolleys free to riders. All that hard work has paid off this year as the Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island named him the Anna Maria Island Businessperson of the Year at the Island Chamber of Commerce Installation Banquet on Monday, Nov. 9. .
Read full article...
In the Gulf, enough islands to match any personality
by Andrea Sachs - Washington Post - November 8, 2009
If I were a brown pelican, flying high above the Gulf Islands of Florida, I imagine that I would see thin strips of land trimmed in white, surrounded by water as clear and blue as the cloudless sky above.. Tortuga Inn was featured in their article. Read full article...
"Best of the World" List - World's 14 Best Islands
by Chris - Islands Magazine - November, 2009
The November 2009 issue of ISLANDS magazine, featured Anna Maria Island Florida in their "Best of the World" list - World’s 14 Best Islands for Families. Tortuga Inn was featured in their article.
A Florida Island, End to End, Table by Table
By CINDY PRICE | July 26, 2009 | New York Times Choice Tables
FLORIDA is a clever little peninsula. Just when you think you've seen everything under its proverbial sun, you stumble across a place like Anna Maria Island - a seven-mile slip of cushy white sand tucked in the Gulf of Mexico where you can dump the car, rent a bike, swim in smooth, teal waters and eat remarkably well. Read full article...
A Date & Destination to Remember
Southern Bride Midsouth Magazine | Romantic Destinations
One notable Inn is the SeaSide Inn Beach resort in Bradenton Beach, with one of the best private beach locations on the island. The SeaSide Resort is an intimate charming inn with cozy beach front rooms or two and three bedroom studios complete with kitchenettes. All rooms have private patios over-looking the gulf and an unobstructed view of the magnificent sunset with access to lounge chairs, umbrellas and grills. Once you check-in you won't want to check-out.
Read full article...
Trolley appears fare-free for another year
By Rick Catlin and Lisa Neff | Islander Reporters - July 8th, 2009
Manatee County administrator Ed Hunzeker agreed with Island mayors June 28 to keep the trolley fare-free, while at the same time endorsing a "Save Our Trolley" campaign proposed by Island businessman David Teitelbaum.
Read full article...
Island spring break is family affair
By Rick Catlin - The Islander - April 2009
Don´t look now, but Anna Maria Island could be over-run with spring breakers this week and next. Islanders and beach goers, however, can rest easy. Spring breakers on Anna Maria Island are not the same spring break crowd that over-runs Panama Beach, Clearwater Beach, South Beach and Daytona Beach at this time of year, Island accommodation owners and managers say. Read full article...
By Wanda McKinney - Southern Living - March 2009
The motto of Florida's Anna Maria Island says it all: "Welcome to paradise without an attitude." Our Insider's guide helps you make it your own slice of heaven. Read full article...
The 'Old Florida' feel of Anna Maria Island
By Kitty Bean Yancey, USA TODAY
ANNA MARIA ISLAND, Fla. "Please be sweet and rinse your feet," hand-painted signs over troughs of water outside rooms at the beachfront, 23-unit Cedar Cove Resort & Cottages gently urge. Tanned owner Eric Cairns makes his rounds in Jimmy Buffet-style tropical shirts and oversees the resort's "Queen for Your Stay" program, in which the name of a lucky woman staying a week or more is picked from a hat. She gets a crown, massage and other royal perks during her visit. Read full article...
County benefits from publicity
By Dale White | Saturday, March 21, 2009
MANATEE COUNTY - The power of favorable publicity is giving motels and other tourist-related businesses on Anna Maria Island and the Manatee County half of Longboat Key a shot of financial adrenaline. Read full article...
Blog Article About Anna Maria Island
By Chris Tauber - Managing Editor of Island Magazine - 06/09/2008
I'm fresh back from a very relaxing, if too short, weekend getaway to Florida's Gulf Islands -- Anna Maria and Longboat Key, just off the coast of Bradenton. The trip was to help research the annual ISLANDS Romantic Retreats issue, out this January. I was looking for an affordable island escape that my wife and I could enjoy without getting on a plane.
Read full article...
What recession? Island attracting bevy of spring break tourists.
By GRACE GAGLIANO
ANNA MARIA ISLAND A full-blown recession doesn´t appear to be keeping beachgoers from heading to Anna Maria Island to celebrate another spring break. Read full article...
A sound investment - Hike bed tax to boost tourism industry
NEWS - OUR TAKE
Thanks to great exposure in magazines and newspapers, Anna Maria Island remains strong as a tourist destination. And businesses on the entire island are profiting, too. Old Florida´s a romantic and easy sell, attractive to people weary of condo and hotel towers and throngs of sun worshippers cluttering many of the state´s beaches. Read full article...
National publicity sparks interest in Island
By Cindy Lane | sun staff writer - Jan 4, 2009
Vacationers longing for a laid-back, old-time Florida beach vacation during the holidays found it on Anna Maria Island, courtesy of USA Today, Baltimore Magazine and the Internet. Read full article...
A Hidden Island
Anna Maria on Florida's West Coast promises a sunny escape for the winter weary.
By Suzanne Loudermilk
Definitely come here for the sunsets, but plan to stay for the sunrises, too. Anna Maria Islanda wisp of a seven-mile island along Florida's West Coastis a place that revels in the end of day. Read entire article.
Resort owner installs blue film to help turtles
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Read entire article...
Laid Back Low-Cost Florida
by Kitty Bean Yancey
Been looking for a place that's low cost, unpretentious and fun? Read entire article...
FLORIDA WITHOUT THE MASSES
Anna Maria Island in "The Herald Express"
January 23, 2009
Read entire article.
In One Hour
By Leslie Joy Ickowitz
In one hour, which is how long it takes to get to Anna Maria Island by car from Tampa, we cross water eight times. Eight times! And one of those times is a breezy excursion over the soaring Sunshine Skyway. Read entire article.
Tortuga Inn Beach Resort. Old Florida Charm & Old Florida Style.
eCity of Travel.com Article by Ken Panton
Nearly a well-kept secret Florida's Gulf Islands, including Anna Maria Island and Long Boat Key, have been a winter haven for those in the know. Read entire article.
LAID-BACK ANNA MARIA IS FLORIDA'S BEST-KEPT SECRET
Saturday November 29,2008
I was only an hour’s drive from Tampa but it felt like I had entered a different world: an island paradise of cozy, clapboard guesthouses, endless white-sand beaches and family-run restaurants. Read entire article...
Islands Magazine Visit
Chris Tauber with Islands magazine visited us recently. Read what he had to say on his blog:
Islands Magazine Blog
Check out the video footage below from Chris Tauber's visit:
Holmes Beach celebrates 60 years at Founder's Day
BY PAT COPELAND - SUN STAFF WRITER
HOLMES BEACH - Mayor Rich Bohnenberger welcomed guests celebrating the 60th anniversary of the city's incorporation and the third annual Founder's Day on Friday at city hall.
Guests mingled in the city hall lobby telling stories of the past and enjoying historic photos, while a quartet from the Anna Maria Island Chorus and Orchestra played in the commission chamber.
At the program's start, the American Legion Color Guard posted the colors, Margaret Smelser led the group in the national anthem and Carol Saggau offered a prayer.
"What makes our city great is the citizen participation," Bohnenberger told the group as he prepared to announce the Community Partners award, which recognizes individuals and organizations that have contributed to the quality of life in the city.
This year's award was presented to the Anna Maria Island Privateers and Bohnenberger noted, "For 39 years, this organization has worked to benefit the children of the community."
Following the presentation, city officials and members of the AMI Chamber of Commerce cut the ribbon on the new restroom by the skate park that was built with a donation from Rex Hagen.
Island flocks to Parrothead Dance
BY TOM VAUGHT - SUN STAFF WRITER
BRADENTON BEACH – Jimmy Buffett take note: you might want to be out our way next year when we hold our next Parrothead dance. Not because it bears your brand, but because if you’re not there, you’re missing a great time.
More than 300 people paid $10 each to enjoy hors d’oeuvre in the Anna Maia Island Community Center’s auditorium along with a cash bar featuring beer, wine and margaritas and $2 Cheeseburgers in Paradise and most of those people came to dance.
Dan Mobley played some of Buffett's tunes and then Island Idol third-place winner David Teitelbaum sang. He did a great impression of Elvis while singing "Can't Help Falling in Love."
Taylor Zebracki, who won a karaoke contest recently at the Sandbar restaurant, also sang and the female winner of the Island Idol contest in association with the Real Florida Festival, Katie Greenwood, gave a spirited rendition of several songs.
After that, DJ and singer Mike Sales took over a got the crowd out on the dance floor. When he played "Macarena," the crowd followed along, then he got two volunteers to bring out the limbo pole and everyone went under it. He introduced another song and told them to form a conga line, which snaked through the huge auditorium. The crowd formed the letters with their arms during "YMCA" and before long, the crowd was cheering after each song and there were more dancers than people sitting at their tables.
If you've ever been in a conga line at any past or present Anna Maria Island nightspot, you'll want to come back next year because the Parrothead dance is slated to return.
"I've already booked it for next year because it had a great turnout and the crowd had so much fun," said Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce Special Events Coordinator Susanne Arbannis. "The best part for me was to see everybody get up and move."
Real Florida Festival Organizer David Teitelbaum said that he was impressed that the Chamber and the Community Center worked so well together. "This is the first time the two groups have worked on a project together and it was an obvious success," he said. "A lot of people said that they had never been to the Community Center before, so it shows that we could attract a lot of people who don't normally come to events there." Sales said it was gratifying to see a crowd enjoy themselves.
"It was the right music for the right group and they had a ball," Sales said. "I fed off their energy and picked the music I thought they would enjoy and they did."
Arbannis said she would announce the date of next year's dance later, after they iron out the details.
Island rallies for free trolley rides
BY TOM VAUGHT - SUN STAFF WRITER
The first annual Real Florida Festival has come and gone, and it was a weekend that featured something for just about everybody from one end of the Island to the other.
It began with the Holmes Beach Founder's Day celebration at city hall and a daylong festival in the adjacent field.
Inside city hall, the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra provided the music for the 60th anniversary of Holmes Beach as Mayor Rich Bohnenberger introduced former mayors and outstanding citizens and visitors looked over the historical photos and news stories on display. The action moved to the field at 5 p.m., where music prevailed as the crowd looked at arts and crafts, enjoyed food and drink and the Island Idol contestants performed. Katie Greenwood won first place with lively performances of Patsy Cline and Janis Joplin songs. Chip Ragsdale took second with an original song about Anna Maria Island, and David Teitelbaum took third with songs made popular by Neil Diamond and Dean Martin. On Saturday, skateboarders took to the nearby skate park for a competition of talented kids 6 to 18 years old, sponsored by the city of Holmes Beach, West Coast Surf Shop and Six Third Productions.
The arts and crafts festival began again at 9:30 a.m. with live musical performances, food and drink and shopping for unique items. The Community Center took on a Margaritaville look starting at 6 p.m. at the Parrothead Dance hosted by the AMI Chamber. Those who paid the $10 entry fee got free hors d'oeuvres from the Sandbar, The Sun House, Island Gourmet and Rotten Ralph's restaurant. The Chamber sold $2 Cheeseburgers in Paradise."The venue moved Sunday to Bradenton Beach, where gray skies and a misty rain kept some people away for the morning run/walk on the beach. Only five people signed up, two of them on vacation. They decided to enter when they read about the event in The Sun.
Rich Medema, of Elmhurst, Ind., took first place in the run with Dana Snell, from Bradenton, coming in second and Keith Grabill, of Midland, Mich., coming in third. The walkers were Steve Huneke, of Bradenton, in first place; his wife, LeAnne, in second; and Frank Burberry, of Danville, Ky., in third.
Bridge Street was dressed up with outdoor vendors in tents selling everything from souvenirs and arts and crafts to green products and services in honor of Earth Day. The mist continued until about 11:30 a.m. when it got heavier, forcing the band Hwy 41 to pack up or risk damaging its equipment. One of the two kayak dealers offering free kayak demos failed to appear and nobody had tried a kayak by noon. The bad weather did force cancelation of some activities, but those who stuck it out were rewarded when the skies cleared Sunday afteroon.
Organizer David Teitelbaum said he felt the three-day event had gone far to increase public awareness of the trolleys and to raise money for non-profit organizations and to keep the trolleys on the Island fare-free as the county deals with the loss of grant money that kept them free for the past several years.
"We'll assess what we did and make some changes for next year," he said. "All in all, I thought it was a great weekend, and I thank everybody who helped put it on and those who attended."
ANNA MARIA ~ BRADENTON BEACH ~ HOLMES BEACH ~ APRIL 16, 17 & 18, 2010
The Anna Maria Island Chamber of Commerce is putting our finishing touches on our 1st Annual Real Florida Festival scheduled for April 16,17 and 18th 2010. This is a 3 day, 3 city fun packed event with may activities to choose from. An all-island celebration of our rich folk heritage and the relaxed way of life we're famous for. This is a place that really knows how to have a good time! The proceeds from the Real Florida Festival will go toward supporting our much-needed and highly valued community service programs, which includes saving our famous Anna Maria Island Trolleys and keep them free charge. Save The Trolley.com
We've planned a full schedule of fabulous things for you and your family to see and do, with exciting events and programs for people of all ages, beginning Friday, April 16th and lasting through Sunday evening, April 18th. If you're a resident or local friend, you already know that Anna Maria Island is the perfect place for a weekend party! And if you're a visitor to our sunny shores, you're just a friend we haven't met! Come experience for yourself what the Real Florida is all about! See you at the Festival! Real Florida Festival.com