Category Archives: Communities

With Communities we hope to offer you some description and personality of the particular town or area and what they have to offer.

Just who is the “Bird Whisperer?”

parrot on toyI will be the first to admit that when I hung up the phone and readied myself for the journey out to Zaksee bird sanctuary I WAS NOT THINKING!  No, I was simply going to check out “Magic” the bird whisperer, and his beautiful Macaws and Cockatoos, for our event in the park. His story intrigued me and, being an animal lover, I thought his sanctuary might be something we could support and that would also provide some “spokes-birds” for our event.

Let me just say, for those of you that might be coorange and green parrotnsidering checking out this Sanctuary, that high heels and sleeveless tops are inappropriate attire, if you don’t want to permanently plant yourself in the jungle or be carried away by mosquitos the size of parakeets, not to mention that a little cotton or a pair of good old ear plugs would be helpful.

For those of you who have not made the acquaintance of many parrots, I will tell you, they can be LOUD, sometimes bite, and tend to not be very good housekeepers, which reasons are probably what started this whole thing to begin with.

Now, parrots are beautiful smart birds, to be sure and some people are great bird parents but we’ve all known someone who, at one time or another, owned a parrot, then, when it cramped their style, had to give it up. But many of these birds can live to be 50 years or older, so where do they go when they’re not welcome in their adopted home anymore, when even Jimmy Buffet fans can’t be reached? A few of the lucky ones have come to Zaksee bird Sanctuary, the Florida equivalent of foster care for the parrot set, where they are welcomed and provided for by owner “Magic” Esmaeili.

The problem is, the sanctuary already has about 200 birds and turns away about 10 a day. Now math never was a strong suit of mine but that’s over 3600 birds out there


Empty cages of Birds left at the sanctuary

circling the block, looking for a new home. Can you say Polly wants a room?

Starting to see the problem?  Yes, this is why Magic, started this sanctuary, named after one of his first Macaws, and why he has the goal to educate the public on the downside of parrot ownership — before Grandma buys that lovely African Grey for her 10-year-old grand-daughter who will probably lose interest within the week.  The sanctuary         also needs more cages and an adoption program that will place the birds in long term homes with people who understand what duties will be required of parrot ownership.

You’ll see the caring for these animals is genuine and it’s very apparent when “Magic” bursts into a duet of “pretty bird” with one of his charges, that this is his passion. So, if you believe that responsible stewardship of these beautiful birds is something you’d like to support, give him a call. Your time would be welcome, so would your donations.  But if you go, wear your sneakers and don’t skimp on the bug spray – mosquitos are not an endangered species!


Does your house hug you when you come home?

Or, have you settleLafayette and Rushfordd for plain functional space, a comfy couch and some yellowed lace curtains? Think that 70’s shag carpet still looks good? Still consider LumaDome lighting as “fashion forward?” Then stop, read no further, no seriously, you may go blind…

If the above doesn’t describe you and you’re someone who likes to live with a little pizazz, and some really spiffy things — if you believe your house should do more than provide shelter, then listen up, this is something you and your house are going to love!

Lafayette and Rushford, (not a name that rolls off the tongue folks) is a specialty boutique for the home in downtown Dunedin.  The name is an homage to the home towns (Lafayette Indiana and Rushford NY) of owners Linda Painter and Rick Davies, whose collaboration has evolved into this amazingly unique and wonderful place. inside entry Lafayette and Rushford

 “Your house should give you a hug,” is Linda’s philosophy, and that philosophy is very evident when you walk through their doors.

Personally, I ccaterpillar and hookahouldn’t help but think of “Wonderland,” (yes that Wonderland -only with candles instead of hookahs)  high arching ceilings with some of the coolest fixtures suspended in space (coolest?  talk about the 70s???). Throughout the store there are ornamental focal pieces, must have vintage furniture and chests, wrought iron decorations, soaps, books and vases that draw you in – just like the “drink me” bottle Alice couldn’t resist (only with less side effects.)  Of course it didn’t hurt that there were rabbits everywhere either, (I’m pretty sure one of them had a vest and a stop watch)white rabbit but I’m guessing that’s because I was there around Easter time and the store is an ever-evolving themed landscape for the seasons.

Now, I have to admit that it took me a minute to grasp the whole themed idea because most stores do some seasonal decorating, but I’m talking way beyond Christmas trees in December and red white and blue around the 4th. This store “becomes” the season, not only decorated to delight its customers but to offer its customers the ability to create an environment in their own homes that will reflect the creativity and fun of the season. And don’t worry, help is available, even if you’re somewhat decoratively-challenged. Linda and her knowledgeable staff have some amazing suggestions and are always willing to offer their valuable advice.

And what of the times in between seasons?  Lafayette and Rushford is a great place to give your home a little glamour and panache or to pick up just the right gift. Check out their adorable children’s clothing lines – if you don’t have children, you might reconsider once you’ve seen their outfits grouchy child




– or not.

No matter whether you’re in the mood to decorate or not, you will want to stop into this magical store in downtown Dunedin – look for the grey building with the green awning and “Flip” the bird on the outside (who says you can’t be classy and still have a sense of humor?) crows laughing

Wanna get those kids out of the house, off the phone and doing something that’s good for them?…


kidsoncomputersThat maybe, just maybe, they’ll love?  Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay is here to provide community, purpose and exposure to dance and acrobatic skills for your kids, and possibly you, Mom or Dad. Hey, it could happen…

Surely you remember, as a kid, wanting to run away to the circus?….. Well, actually me neither, but I did love the Disney movie – Toby Tyler and I used to fanatisize about being that girl on the flying trapeze; come to think of it I also wanted to be one of the Rockettes, kicking up my fishnets with a feather boa but,…………. never mind that. How did we get on that subject anyway?

Well, today, if you or I wanted to run away to the circus, we wouldn’t have to because the circus has come to us– at least the means of getting there as a performer.

Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay, off of Belcher Rd. in Clearwater is the brainchild and long-time passion of dancer Beth Brier. Originally from New York City, where she had a career as a professional dancer, Beth and her husband Marcello moved here over 15 years ago and soon started BBs Dance Factory. From its early beginnings it offered a safe and welcoming atmosphere with the goal of ensuring that a child, who worked hard and had the desire, would be able to realize their dream of becoming a professional dancer. For those that had less lofty goals, it became a second home, a social hub to share time and rejoice in the art of movement.

It still is that hub, but since it’s humble beginnings, BBs has become Dance and Circus Arts and now offers its students a wide curriculum of circus related skills as well as dance.  Its instructors have been trained by some of the finest in the business and it’s not unusual to have performers from Cirque Du Soleil drop by to visit or give a seminar (Yes, name dropping intended).  In addition, Beth explains that they are the first circus arts school in the country to be certified by the American Circus Educators Association (Bet you didn’t know there was such a thing, did you? )for their safety procedures and policy.

Beth has been a personal friend of mine for many years but I’d never visited her school until recently (see first line in second paragraph) mostly because I’ve been busy selling houses and doing stuff that life demands that isn’t dance. But, the other day, I happened to get the grand tour through the school, with its many studios and specialized equipment. I was blown away.  It was something akin to suddenly realizing that Clark Kent, behind those horn-rimmed glasses, might actually be Superman, and I, Jimmy Olson, never suspected! “So, Mr. Kent, you say you fly.  What airline do you generally take?”

When I reflected on my visit, I realized what a BIG DEAL this school is for the area.  This is, after all, Clearwater.  Now, before your Pinellas pride starts to grow fangs, I mean only that when people think of this area they mostly think of blue-green water, palm trees, fishing and Spring training, or for those visiting in the winter, not having to shovel their driveways.  I don’t know of many people whose first thought was that it offers a world-class school for circus arts, (unless, of course, they know about Dance and Circus Arts of Tampa Bay)

So, if your son or daughter, or for that matter, you, have ever had the urge to dance or if you’ve thought about finding a really great group that would offer not only a variety of lessons but a real “community,” this is it, your home away from home. Oh, and just between you and me (well, actually, probably anyone else reading this) I can think of no one more suited than Beth to administer a school for dance and circus arts and to teach budding artists.  Competent, firm, but with a personality that makes you feel like you’re in step with Mary Poppins, she makes this a magical place to be part of!

mary poppins


Where can you eat lunch with Sea Turtles in downtown Dunedin?


By way of disclosure, let me say that I am not a food blogger (which may be painfully obvious in just a few minutes) nor am I a restaurant critic – see same parentheses.  Why then, you ask, are you blogging about restaurants on a real estate blog?

I will tell you.  It’s pretty simple.  I have found, by survey, that an overwhelming number of home owners, not to mention renters, EAT!  Yes that’s right, in fact, pretty much all of them do.  And quite a high percentage of them like to go OUT to eat.  Are you starting to see the connection? I thought you might.

This first foray into the realm of writing about restaurants was actually inspired by a brand new restaurant in Dunedin, which I’ll tell you about in a moment.  My friend Beth, who drove by the place for weeks before it was official, saw its transformation over that period and suggested we try it for our “girl’s lunch out.” Little did we know it had just opened 3 days before.

Not only were we completely charmed by the outside of the place, which didn’t disappoint on the inside, but we thoroughly enjoyed the food and its artistic presentation.  We had purple mashed potatoes, for heaven’s sake – I mean purple!  And what’s more, they were delicious.

Beth declared that it was food with Integrity, which I never thought of to describe food – mostly because I’ve never seen a celery stalk or a carrot stand for anything, but it made sense to me on a different level so I’m going with it. I will say that the taste, freshness and character of all the ingredients, hadn’t been compromised by the preparation.  They had just joined in a wonderful taste explosion.

Thinking about it, I realized what a nice introduction to Communities,  the restaurants , shops and people that make a community a cohesive and memorable place, would be.  In the future I may write about many different things under this Communities tab but it will always be with an eye to what gives a place its personality and makes it unique – I may even throw in a few neighborhoods – since this is a real estate blog, but this post just happens to be about a restaurant.

So, what’s the restaurant, you ask?  It’s called The HONU, which translated from Hawaiian means turtle – to be precise, green sea turtle. 

constructionv6  construction1 our chef

Its owner Kimberly Platt, has worked in the food service industry for a good part of her life – in fact she owns and still runs Charlie Tulum’s Dos Tacos Food Truck – named after the sea turtle of the same name from Tulum Mexico who resides at Indian Rocks Beach. Kimberly  and her partner fell in love with the sea turtles and with Hawaii and have brought back their love of the animals and Hawaii’s culinary culture to downtown Dunedin, just across from city hall on Grant drive.  Check out the website for HONU at or just give them a ring at 727-333-7777 (how did they get that number?) You won’t be disappointed (that is unless you go there for dinner – they are only open from 10:00 to 3:00 right now)   Then, for dessert, you might want to consider buying a house….