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2310 Gulf Drive North, #206, Bradenton Beach, Florida 34217
2310 Gulf Drive North, #206, Bradenton Beach, Florida 34217
Beauty and the Beach!... Delightful, Direct Gulf Front, 2 bedroom/1 bathroom corner condo on beau...
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Key Royale Boat Dock, Holmes Beach, Florida 34217
Key Royale Boat Dock, Holmes Beach, Florida 34217
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8027 Marina Isles Lane, Holmes Beach, Florida 34217
8027 Marina Isles Lane, Holmes Beach, Florida 34217
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907 North Shore Drive, Anna Maria, Florida 34216
907 North Shore Drive, Anna Maria, Florida 34216
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6 Lakeview Place, Anna Maria, Florida 34216
6 Lakeview Place, Anna Maria, Florida 34216
Tucked away on a quiet cove off Lake La Vista in the village of Anna Maria is this magnificently ...
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Sunsets – An Anna Maria Island Ritual

Sun Setting Through the Pine Trees Just South of the Sandbar Restaurant

Sun Setting Through the Pine Trees Just South of the Sandbar Restaurant

It only takes about three minutes for the sun to disappear after it touches the horizon, but perhaps nowhere on the planet is that time celebrated with more passion than Anna Maria Island.
Watching the sunset is a cherished ritual on this sleepy barrier island, about 20 miles west of Bradenton in Manatee County. Visitors and locals alike gather on the beaches to savor the dimming of the day, an ordinary event extraordinary enough to inspire spontaneous applause.

“In Anna Maria, the sunset is a celebration,” says Kathy Wooten, manager of the Queen’s Gate Resort, one of the many mom-and-pop hotels that dot the three towns — Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Anna Maria — on the seven-mile slip of island. “If you come here, it’s the one thing you have to do.”

Clapping is optional, of course.

It always seems to happen, though, whether on a secluded stretch of sand or at the iconic Sandbar restaurant on the north end of Anna Maria. In this spot, diners have gathered to watch the ritual since 1913, when a restaurant known as “The Pavilion” entertained guests who could only reach the island by boat.

Nowadays, the Sandbar features dining either indoors or on an outdoor deck with some of the tables perched on the sand itself. Employees and patrons alike stop to watch the show on the horizon, which is acknowledged by the ringing of a bell — and applause, of course.

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It always seems to happen, though, whether on a secluded stretch of sand or at the iconic Sandbar restaurant on the north end of Anna Maria. In this spot, diners have gathered to watch the ritual since 1913, when a restaurant known as “The Pavilion” entertained guests who could only reach the island by boat.
Nowadays, the Sandbar features dining either indoors or on an outdoor deck with some of the tables perched on the sand itself. Employees and patrons alike stop to watch the show on the horizon, which is acknowledged by the ringing of a bell — and applause, of course.

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The “Old Florida” Feel of Anna Maria Island

Beachside dining at the Sandbar Restaurant in Anna Maria

Beachside dining at the Sandbar Restaurant in Anna Maria

By Kitty Bean Yancey – USA Today

Unlike similar sunset celebrations in Florida tourist meccas such as Key West, there are no rowdy crowds, wall-to-wall bars or panhandlers. Also absent on Anna Maria are high-rise condos and chain hotels. You’ll have to drive off-island for a McDonald’s or Starbucks fix.

“We’ve been all over Florida, but we love Anna Maria Island because it’s so oldy-worldy,” says Glynis Bayles of England, who is here with her husband, Robert, a retiree. Europeans and the value-minded favor this getaway, where low-rise is the rule. (Just one condo complex stands more than three stories high, and no more tall buildings are allowed.)

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Calendar Sales to Benefit Community Center

Holmes Beach/Lakeland resident Robert Harper is donating proceeds from his calendar “Sunrises and Sunsets featuring Anna Maria Island” to the Island Community Center.  You can pick up a copy of the calendar at the Community Center or at Bark & Company Realty.  Donation is $12.
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By Pat Copeland | sun staff writer

Community Center Executive Director Pierrette Kelly meets with calendar artist Robert Harper and his wife, Amy.

Community Center Executive Director Pierrette Kelly meets with calendar artist Robert Harper and his wife, Amy.

ANNA MARIA – Robert Harper captures the beauty of Florida sunrise and sunsets and is using this beauty to benefit the Island Community Center.

“A few weeks ago, I read an article in the newspaper that said the Community Center needed donations, and I thought about making a calendar of my oils and donating it to the Community Center,” Harper explained. “It came about really quickly.”

Harper and his wife, Amy, called the Center’s Executive Director Pierrette Kelly and the three met and made Harper’s gift a reality. All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will be donated to the Center.

Harper, who is from Lakeland, has a long history with the Island. From the age of eight, his family made it their annual vacation spot.

The Shining of North Shore - March 2010

The Shining of North Shore - March 2010 (from the calendar)

To view Harper’s art go to his web site at
By Pat Copeland | sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA – Robert Harper captures the beauty of Florida sunrise and sunsets and is using this beauty to benefit the Island Community Center.
“A few weeks ago, I read an article in the newspaper that said the Community Center needed donations, and I thought about making a calendar of my oils and donating it to the Community Center,” Harper explained. “It came about really quickly.”
Harper and his wife, Amy, called the Center’s Executive Director Pierrette Kelly and the three met and made Harper’s gift a reality. All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will be donated to the Center.
Harper, who is from Lakeland, has a long history with the Island. From the age of eight, his family made it their annual vacation spotBy Pat Copeland | sun staff writer
ANNA MARIA – Robert Harper captures the beauty of Florida sunrise and sunsets and is using this beauty to benefit the Island Community Center.
“A few weeks ago, I read an article in the newspaper that said the Community Center needed donations, and I thought about making a calendar of my oils and donating it to the Community Center,” Harper explained. “It came about really quickly.”
Harper and his wife, Amy, called the Center’s Executive Director Pierrette Kelly and the three met and made Harper’s gift a reality. All proceeds from the sale of the calendar will be donated to the Center.
Harper, who is from Lakeland, has a long history with the Island. From the age of eight, his family made it their annual vacation spot.

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