Category Archives: News

Anna Maria Island Bridge and Cortez Bridge Openings Change

Update Oct, 2017: USCG approved changes to opening times, effective Oct. 5 year-round, to be at quarter past, 0015, and quarter to the hour, 0045, from 0600 to 1900H, on the Manatee Ave (Anna Maria Island) Bridge and the Cortez Bridge. The change also applies to Stickney Point and Siesta Drive bridges in Sarasota. Longboat Pass bridge continues as open on-demand.

Update Feb, 2017: U.S. Coast Guard proposes changing operating schedule of bridges across the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from three times per hour to twice. Anna Maria Bridge and Cortez Bridge will open on the quarter hour and three-quarter hour on demand, during daylight hours. The change is to be year-round. The proposal is open for comment until April 14.

On Jan 15, 2014, the US Coast Guard began its winter schedule for the timed raising of 2 bridges that connect Anna Maria Island to the mainland.

Anna Maria Bridge opening

Passing under the Anna Maria Island Bridge

The summer schedule allowed for on-demand raising at 20 minute intervals: on the hour, 20 past, and 20 ’til, if required by a boat during daylight hours.

The winter schedule now in force from Jan 15 to May 15 is for 30 minute intervals: on the hour, and the half hour, on demand, during daylight.

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St Patrick’s Day Parade On Anna Maria Island

Holmes Beach restaurateur Sean Murphy of the Beach Bistro hosted the 17th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday. The popular parade attracts over 15,000 celebrators to enjoy the free event consisting of floats, bands, cars, animals, boats and walkers. It is open to all-comers.

The parade participants assembled at the Holmes Beach City Hall field at 2 pm and began moving at 4 pm north up Marina Drive and Palm Drive to 78th Street. Large crowds lined the route on the mild, sunny day. Local area school bands and pipe bands pumped out their music, floats’ riders threw out candy and beads, and decorated golf carts, cars and trucks carried local business owners.

It doesn’t take only an Irishman to enjoy the sounds and sights of a St. Patrick’s parade, and the animals and ornaments thrilled children and adults alike. Green was the theme but the celebration was for everyone.

Top 10 US Islands

Anna Maria Island beach

Anna Maria Island beach

Anna Maria Island has been rated fourth by Trip Advisors Travelers’ Choice Islands awards 2012, for US islands.

Only 4th? Well the survey is based on a year of travelers’ feedback on quantity and quality of island attractions, hotels, and restaurants, so it does come with some objectivity but I wonder if a few days’ visit is enough to get anything more than a superficial impression.

The U.S. list:

  1. San Juan Island, Washington
  2. Kauai, Hawaii
  3. Marco Island, Florida
  4. Anna Maria Island, Florida
  5. Continue reading “Top 10 US Islands” »

Visitors Rentals and Real Estate Warm Up 2013

The year 2013 is off to a sunny start with a very warm first weeks on Anna Maria Island. In contrast to the typical January’s cool air and fog, January, 2013, has been balmy so far. The temperature has passed 80 degrees on many days. Even the cold fronts have not brought frigid weather.

Warm weather on the island in January has its pros and cons. It’s nice not to have to turn on the heat, but this year many people’s air conditioners are still running.

Even though the island is at the northernmost point at which coconut palms can survive, it’s not surprising that from time to time they are wiped out. In the past few years, Anna Maria Island has lost many of its beautiful coconut palms. Very cold temperatures either killed them immediately or damaged them enough that they have not thrived and have been vulnerable to insect pests and disease. The warm temperatures have been very good news for some of the more cold-sensitive plants. It’s fortunate for the trees that recent cold winters have not been followed by even more cold, but, unfortunately, warm temperatures also help encourage pests.

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Tropical Storm Isaac Effect On Anna Maria Island

All eyes were on the tropics last week as a depression formed into the named storm Isaac, which soon became tropical storm strength and headed into the Caribbean towards Hispaniola. Haiti took the first hit with heavy rains and flooding. Cuba was next in line with high surf and over-wash on the northern coast.

As Isaac continued unsubdued by land and on over the warm waters of the Florida Straights, intensification appeared likely but lack of vertical alignment of the core left the center ill-defined and passed by Key West with relatively little impact.

Meanwhile, Tampa prepared for the Republican Party national convention in the coming week but switched over to storm mode. The forecast path would bring Tropical Storm Isaac up the Gulf of Mexico coastline and risked dangerous consequences for the low-lying city and convention visitors.

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