Apr
 
23
 

Phyllis & Brian Benson with one of their treasured grandchildren

For Brian Benson, it was the draw of an active 55+ community near the beach. For his wife Phyllis, an avid traveler, it was more about access to planes, trains, ships and highways. What drew the couple to World Golf Village was that it offered both!

The Bensons, who bought a home in The Cascades, have certainly made the most of life in their new community. We recently caught up with Phyllis to learn more about them.

What do you like best about living in The Cascades?  No yard work! The Cascades offers beautiful and well maintained facilities, an active community life, and friendly neighbors. The first time we walked into our house it felt like coming home for both of us. 

We have attended several functions and met many new friends since joining The Cascades community.  We recently learned that we are part of a growing “younger” crowd moving into The Cascades; the more the merrier.

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Apr
 
10

Good Growth – Invest in Your Place

Posted by: Rick Pariani in News
 

One of our nation’s premier professional land planning and development institutions, the Urban Land Institute, says that “Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how”.

How indeed. In our neck-of-the-woods, significant change is underway. It is rapid – more so in the residential realm than commercial and mixed-use (but that too is following and will continue to do so). It isn’t whether change will come and when – it is already here on a daily basis.

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Bill Murray and his five brothers opened their first restaurant in St. Augustine’s World Golf Village in 2001.  The restaurant is done in golf décor and memorabilia from its namesake – Caddyshack – the movie which came out in 1980, which was written by one of Bill’s brothers, Brian Doyle-Murray.  The serving staff all sport caddy attire and if you look around, you might see a gopher or two.

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There are plenty of beautiful public beaches all along the First Coast. However, as many locals will tell you, finding easy and convenient ways to access the beaches takes a little savvy. Here are the top five best places to access the beach all along the Northeast Florida coast:
ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH – St. Johns County Pier (350 A1A Beach Boulevard)
Pros: This is a great access spot for many reasons—plenty of parking, lots of activities and an abundance of soft, white sand. Also, while neighbor to the north Vilano Beach is more cramped due to crowds and vehicle access on the beach, St. Augustine Beach offers lots of space to spread out and throw around a football. Enjoy water sports, fishing, a beachfront splash park for kids, or stroll to one of several restaurants and bars near the pier.
Cons: Unless you live in or near St. Augustine Beach, getting to this spot on Anastasia Island may be a trek (especially on busy weekends).

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Mar
 
2
 
We live in a very mobile society. International travel for education and leisure is now commonplace. Travel, whether spur-of-the-moment short duration trips or well-planned group or individual extended excursions are becoming the norm for families and friends. People seem to gravitate, through curiosity and inquisitiveness, to the pursuit of new experiences. For many, the acquisition of these experiences is far more satisfying than being the beneficiary of gifts and material goods.
I believe that folks have many “a-ha” moments during their travels. I think that more and more people are developing an understanding and appreciation of the role that art, architecture, urban design and public space play in illuminating cultural connections and inspiring our lives.
The foremost architect / architectural theorist / urban planner, Leon Krier, is a champion of the European city and village as a model for community building. He has been quoted as stating, “The architecture of the city and public space is a matter of common concern to the same degree as laws and language. They are the foundation of civility and civilization”.
Usually, in a suburban context, the public realm is not surrounded and framed by interesting, modern or historic architecture. The suburban public realm can, however, be as diverse – albeit, more spacious and interwoven throughout the built elements of the community. It is visually and experientially evident and it is critical to defining a sense-of-place that distinguishes a community.
When you shop for that perfect place for your residence – be cognizant and alert to the natural character and spirit of the place as much as you are focused on the features and appointments of the home itself.
Of course, individual recreational parks, pocket-parks and trailheads, community social buildings and amenities are the anchors for the suburban public realm, in most master-planned communities. But in a more grand manner, the public realm of the community is displayed in its open space – its vistas and view corridors – its setting and backdrop – its natural complexion and its conservation of sensitive lands. Neighborhood sidewalks, paths, trails, bike lanes, fields and fairways, lakes and waterways and even the manner in which the streets and roads were threaded – all come together to showcase the public realm.
Each community and its collection of neighborhoods is different. Those whose public realm was consciously considered and designed into the fabric of the place are those that beckon and attract the most interest. They are the places that offer true respite – beyond the walls of the house.
Comfort and commons, comradery and community are the key attributes of great neighborhoods. When the public realm of a community is celebrated and cared for – values for everyone are enhanced.
Find the place that serves you the best – one that feels right – not just one that fits your budget. And, when you do find that special place, be a part of its public realm care and stewardship. When you do – you will protect yours and your neighbors values and you will enjoy a more balanced, healthy and happy lifestyle.
 
 
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St. Augustine’s regional history, local geography and diverse culture define, and importantly characterize – our place. Contextually, our place is far different than any other. Recognizing our context is the first step to preserving our unique attributes. We don’t need to be like everywhere else. As we grow our communities, we need to fuse the new with the old while insuring quality and originality.
History reigns over our region. St. Augustine is America’s original city. Some historians claim the actual First Thanksgiving was celebrated in the stronghold on September 8, 1565, over 450 years ago and at least 56 years before the Pilgrims in Massachusetts. A visit to the Old Town can inspire inquisitiveness. Return trips illuminate the stories of early occupation. Familiarity induces multiple explorations and discoveries and an appreciation of the city’s proximity and accessibility. Our authentic sense-of-place is evocative of the history and heritage of St. Augustine as America’s initial melting pot.

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If you believe in the importance of eating healthy while supporting your local farmers, and you want to experience a little local southern fare with a St. Augustine flair, you definitely have to try The Floridian restaurant located in the Spanish Quarter of downtown St. Augustine.  Even Chef Emeril Lagasse will highly recommend you do so, as The Floridian was featured in an episode of the Cooking Channel’s Emeril’s Florida, which featured Farm-to-Table venues.
Owners Jeff and Chef Genie McNally opened The Floridian in 2010 showcasing a great deal of respect for St. Augustine’s history and culture.  Their passion for food is evident when you peruse their menu, which provides a various array of options from seafood, steak, chicken, right down to vegetarian or gluten-free.  The not-your-ordinary appetizer options of Fried Green Tomatoes, Pickled Pepper Shrimps or Biscuits and Belly (to name just a few) are a great way to start your mouth to watering for the main entrée.  If you have a hard time picking just one appetizer, wait until you get to the main course!  The Cajuns might be known for their jambalayas and crawfish pies, but the Minorcans of St. Augustine are known for their pilaus and cornbread, which The Floridian proudly showcases in its “Shrimp and Sausage Pilau” entrée.  It would be remiss to not include that the cornbread with this entrée is drizzled with hot honey.

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It is hard to believe that there was a time that the World Golf Village consisted of only a sales trailer, guard shack and burgeoning infrastructure, but Davidson Realty’s employee Judy Hagen-Kashou remembers that time well.
Judy and her late husband, George Kashou, moved to the World Golf Village in August of 1998 from Chicago, but they had been coming to St. Augustine long before that as Judy had family in the area and they had been reading all of the press releases on what was to come and were excited about the project.  In effect, they watched the World Golf Village grow and they decided that they wanted to be a part of it.  With this decision made, their Panitz home was the third home constructed in Turnberry in the Neighborhoods of World Golf Village.

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Dec
 
19
 
The World Golf Hall of Fame celebrates the history, heritage and traditions of golf. The World Golf Village (WGV) community-at-large celebrates its ever-evolving special place through continued good-growth in a Live Oak punctuated landscape that is well on its way to making its own history and establishing its own legacy.
The original neighborhoods of Turnberry, Royal Pines, St. Andrews, The Legends, Meadows and Heritage Landing are all complete – with over 2,200 homes. The King and Bear neighborhoods are 92% occupied, with 892 of their 968 homes complete. The first WGV age-restricted neighborhood is thoroughly-well established with 450 single-family homes in The Cascades.
Recently, there has been a resurgence of home-building that is filling out and completing many of the associated WGV neighborhoods. Greenside at WGV is rapidly building 36 single family homes overlooking the Slammer & Squire #6 fairway. Legacy Trail is also nearing completion with 30 exclusive single family homes – most overlooking the #16 & #17 fairways of the Slammer & Squire.
 
 
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Davidson agent Mirtha Barzaga hosted a Thanksgiving donation drive in Heritage Landing on Saturday, November 11, to benefit the Emergency Services & Homeless Coalition of St. Johns County. Donors brought hundreds of bags of food, supplies and toys for families in need.

 

Barzaga was joined by several volunteers including students from Nease High School’s Junior ROTC and Coaltion volunteer Sergio Quintanal (pictured).

 

“My sincere thanks to everyone who came out and showed their generosity,” said Barzaga, a top performing Davidson Realtor. “Since Hurricane Irma, the Coalition has experienced an increased need for everything a family needs, so every little bit helps.”

 

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