Are you noticing things around St. Augustine seem to be slowly getting back to normal? While the pandemic and precautions are still part of our everyday lives, an overwhelming majority of St. Johns County students are back in school and for most of us that looks like a slight return to normalcy, bus routes in the morning and afternoon, and fewer crowds in our favorite spots. Let’s get out in our great city and safely enjoy the best that St. Augustine has to offer. Grab your bags Moms, Dads, Grandparents, and empty nesters! It’s time to act like a tourist and hit Davidson Realty’s Top 3 Places to Visit in St. Augustine! While it was very difficult for us to narrow it down to just three, our Davidson Realty team focused on a few that aren’t often found on everyone’s list like Leisure Group Travel Magazine and U.S. News & Travel.

St. Augustine Distillery 

As Americans seemed to experience the great hunt for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, one local St. Augustine company stepped up in a big way to help with the shortage of hand sanitizer across the First Coast. The St. Augustine Distillery is located in the historic district of St. Augustine in an old ice plant. Known for their vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey, you can find their labels on the shelves of local liquor stores. But you can also take a free tour of the distillery while also enjoying a sampling of their spirits. The St. Augustine Distillery is operating under CDC guidelines and accommodating tours every 30 minutes with no reservations but on a first-come-first-serve basis. Open Monday through Friday from 10 am until 6 pm, St. Augustine Distillery is a place we highly recommend touring and enjoying a cocktail.

Trolley Tours

With a couple to choose from (and we don’t want to single either one out) we highly encourage you to hop aboard one of the trolley tours in this historic St. Augustine area. Even in the hottest of temperatures, the movement along the bank and through the streets of downtown provides a breeze and a little bit of relaxation as you get a St. Augustine History 101 tour and learn about Ponce de Leon and the early settlers. The Trolley Tours are also a great way to navigate some ideal and popular dining spots. Hop on and hop off as you view the beautiful buildings, experience the historic charm, and enjoy the ride. 

Vilano Beach

With so many beautiful choices of sandy beaches in St. Johns County, our Davidson Realty team selected Vilano Beach as one of our favorite places to visit. It’s important to know the history of Vilano Beach to fully appreciate why it’s one of our favorites. The prestige of this beautiful stretch of shoreline dates back to the late 1800s when Henry Flagler would host his millionaire friends at Vilano Beach. A quaint little beach village, Vilano offers some of the area’s most charming restaurants, shopping, and plenty of rentals to enjoy a “staycation” in your own backyard. Vilano Beach offers a casual, laid back atmosphere, beautiful natural surroundings, and some of the best sunset views. Pack up the car because Vilano Beach also allows four-wheel drive vehicles on the beach making it so convenient to spend a day on the sand.

With so many options to choose from that include the Castillo de San Marcos, the Lightner Museum, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and so much more, sometimes it’s fun to tour the road less traveled. We encourage you to tour our Top 3 Places to Visit in St. Augustine, maybe for the first time but likely for a repeat visit, and let us know what you think!

 
 
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Remember March? When the weather was perfect, people spent more time outside and neighbors seemed more “neighborly” as we all navigated through this pandemic together? It seemed the words we heard so frequently were “new normal”, “unsettling”, “uncertainty” and don’t forget the word “pivot.” Certainly, those words still ring true as we experience the threat of the novel coronavirus but what we can tell you with no uncertainty and without having to pivot is that NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO SELL YOUR HOME.

Real Estate experts across the country along with our Davidson Realty team of experts have closely examined the trends and the current market conditions and we’re all saying the same thing – this is the best time to sell a home in YEARS!

1. This is probably the best reason: SUPPLY AND DEMAND. While the data shows there are plenty of homebuyers, our Davidson Realty agents can also tell you that there’s just not enough inventory available which means you are almost guaranteed to get people to look at your home. There are lots of reasons economist say are contributing to the low housing inventory: people are living in their homes longer, more people are choosing to renovate, and government stimulus has allowed people to stay in their homes.

2. COVID – While stated above we know the supply is low there are still lots of reasons people are looking to move. Covid-19 created many situations for homeowners across the country and here in Northeast Florida. Some Americans are having to downsize, relocate for jobs due to layoffs or now don’t need to live so close to work since many companies have shifted to “work from home” models. In addition, many homeowners are recognizing the inefficiencies in their current home after being under lockdown restrictions and are looking to move…and quickly! And with parents deciding to continue with a virtual school model from home, the need for flex-space or a room dedicated for school work is now a priority. With most homebuyers looking to purchase in the suburbs, Jacksonville offers plenty of communities that fit the bill.

3. MONEY AND MORTAGE RATES – You’ve got what buyers want and there’s not a lot of competition on the market which means you can get more money for your home. The pandemic has not impacted home prices. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, home asking price growth is actually higher than it was before the pandemic. Still not convinced now is the time to sell your home? Consider mortgage rates. Average interest rates recently reached a new record low for a 30-year fixed-rate.

Davidson Realty has a team of experts in place to help you get your home “show ready” and on the market! Contact our office to start the conversation.

 
 
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Mother’s Day is fast approaching (Sunday, May 10) and we can all agree this year’s special day will be a little different. While we may not be able to take Mom out to eat or to the day spa due to social distancing guidelines, there are lots of creative ideas out there to make her feel special!

Here are some creative ways to make this year’s Mother’s Day even more extraordinary than any other year:

  1. Make a picnic for Mom.While going out to eat is not in the cards, you can plan to go “out” to eat at a nearby park or even your backyard. Everyone will enjoy getting out of the house for some fresh air and a relaxing picnic. You can make her favorite meal at home or, if cooking is not a good option, plan to arrange delivery or takeout ahead of your excursion
  2. Create a memory scrapbook.Pull out your dusty photo albums and transform old pictures of Mom into a new collage. Gather the whole family to peruse together, asking questions about her younger self—old jobs, schools, hobbies, travels, friends, even old fashion choices! Mom will love the trip down memory lane.

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No matter where you live in World Golf Village, Nocatee or other St. Johns communities, it is a common site to see groups of teenagers (sometimes preteens) driving golf carts. While they travel at relatively safe speeds, it is important that they realize the risks. And there are plenty of risks.

Just last year, a teenage girl in South Florida flipped a golf cart she was driving with her friends. The girl was airlifted to a nearby hospital with severe brain injuries. She later died of those injuries. Another teen, a local named Olivia Love, fell off the back of a golf cart and sustained a terrible head injury. She is still relearning how to walk and talk.

Although most teens are fairly safe, the facts remain: These are open-air vehicles with no seatbelts that flip over easily. Add to that distracted drivers who might be tempted to impress friends by jumping a curb or taking a turn quickly in a high traffic neighborhood, and the risks increase significantly.

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When making improvements to your home, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer number of manufacturers and products. Knowing which brand to trust can be difficult, especially when you’re not familiar with many of them.

To help, BUILDER Brand just released its 2020 Build Brand Use Study. Conducted by The Farnsworth Group, the annual survey gauges the attitudes of nearly 1,000 builders, developers and contractors all over the U.S. (both public and private).

From vinyl siding to light fixtures, the report covers nearly every corner of home improvement in more than 50 categories. Brands are included based mainly on familiarity, frequency of use and quality. Respondents also factored in performance, price, availability, warranty, green/sustainability and brand reputation.

While many brands continue to dominate (e.g. Trex is the decided choice in decking), other lesser known brands pop up in the survey as well, thanks to respondents who voiced their willingness to try new products and brands. This helps to provide well-rounded survey results.

Whether you are upgrading your home to sell, investing in a house to flip, or renovating your forever home, it’s important to choose high quality, trusted brands. Here are just some of the results from the survey, which may help you to narrow down product selections in your home improvement project!

Faucets                     

Brand Familiarity: American Standard

Used in the Past 2 Years: Kohler / Moen

Used the Most: Moen

Highest Quality: Kohler

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There is no doubt that this year’s Easter celebration on Sunday, April 12, will be like no other we’ve ever had. The great thing is people are getting very creative with their celebrations!

Many churches are streaming their services online and drive-in style services have popped up around the country. Families have also taken to apps like Zoom and Skype to be “together” during these holidays while complying with social distancing guidelines. Seeing everything from virtual Easter egg hunts to family gatherings via Facetime, it is clear we as people are nothing if not resourceful.

Here are some other ways you can connect with loved ones this holiday weekend:

Organize a neighborhood Easter parade. Many communities have Facebook pages where activities like this are planned. Neighbors may decorate their cars and golf carts, meet at the community clubhouse and conduct a slow parade around the neighborhood playing music and waving hello—a special treat for anyone who cannot leave their home!

Live in the King & Bear? The community will have an Easter Bunny Drive-by on Easter Sunday. Check out the K&B Facebook pageto learn more and make sure he drives by your house!

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If you’re like many of us who are at least partly self-quarantined, you have binged all the Netflix you can handle and taken more naps than you can count. Cabin fever has set in for the entire family and you’re looking for something to engage the whole crew.

Now is the perfect time to start a family home project. Here are some ideas to get inspired and get everyone to pitch in and help—without taking a single trip to the home improvement store or spending a dime!


1.) Garage overhaul –
This is a great project because nearly all of us need to do it, everyone can help, and it doesn’t require any additional equipment! The best way to tackle to garage overhaul is to empty everything onto the driveway. Once empty, determine where all the “like” items will go—lawn equipment, home improvement tools, camping gear, beach stuff, bikes, etc. Everything should have a home together.

Make a point to only add the items you currently use or will use in the next 12 months. Consider donating, selling or tossing anything that isn’t useful to you. JDog Junk Removal & Hauling, a local veteran-owned company, is a great resource to take away your garage junk. Click hereto check out JDog’s garage clean-up guide.

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A lot has changed in our community within the past few weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Chiefly among those, requirements to practice social distancing.

As a result, many of us are self-quarantined or, at the very least, limiting our time away from home. However, even though we might be stuck at home, it is still important to keep up with exercise to maintain physical health and keep our spirits up!

To help, the First Coast YMCA has temporarily made lots of on-demand virtual workouts and classes available to everyone for free!

Virtual Studio –This is a YouTube channel with loads of on-demand workout routines from Zumba and HIIT training to yoga and light cardio.

Access here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL69QazyB2WpZD0ckIsXGnIZHnvdsEj89T

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With all the news coverage about COVID-19, it can be difficult to know how to get the most accurate and up-to-date information to protect yourself and your family.

Further, plenty of misinformation is circulating about prevention. Here are the most basic do’s and don’ts as curated from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Do:  Wash your hands often, for 20 seconds or longer. Also, use hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.

Don’t: Rely on face masks to protect you. According to Johns Hopkins, “For the general public without respiratory illness, wearing lightweight disposable surgical masks is not recommended. Because they don’t fit tightly, they may allow tiny infected droplets to get into the nose, mouth or eyes.”

Do:  Go about your regular activities but try to keep a distance of at least 2-3 feet from those around you. Also, avoid large groups and mass gatherings. In fact, Gov. DeSantis has asked that all mass gatherings in the state be cancelled for the next month.

Don’t: Try to prevent or kill the COVID-19 virus by ingesting, gargling or applying harsh chemicals to your body. It has been rumored that chlorine bleach or alcohol can mitigate the spread. WHO says this is not true and is very dangerous.

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The St. Johns County School District hosted two town hall meetings to present zoning changes for local high schools, and as a result, has announced newly revised plans.

The new WGV school, currently referred to as High School HHH, will be built on International Golf Parkway next to Mill Creek Academy.

According to the zoning revisions, students who live in areas located west of I95 (all of World Golf Village) will be rezoned from Nease High School to High School HHH once complete. This extends to CR 16A south of Shearwater as well as Orangedale (the portion east of Trout Creek and SR 16). Areas west of Trout Creek are proposed to remain at Bartram Trail.

The rezoning from Nease to HHH will also include a few areas east of I95 including Bannon Lakes, Markland and homes along North Francis Road.

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