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All Blog Entries by Mark Washburn

Found 640 blog entries published by Mark Washburn.

corkscrew swamp walkway - naples fl

Photo: Wilson Bilkovich

Take an adventurous two-mile walk through various natural ecosystems, exploring native wildlife along the way at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. One of the few locations left of its kind in the region, the 13,000 acres is full of native plants and animals, presenting a virtual outdoor classroom for kids and grownups alike.

As you take your walk on the wild side, you’ll see the unique site provides a home for turtles, deer, otters and alligators. You’ll also find massive old trees, wading birds and songbirds at home throughout the sanctuary.

The site is home to marshland, wet prairie, pine flatwoods and North America’s largest forest of old growth Bald Cypress trees. Inside the Blair Audubon Visitor Center, meanwhile,

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Mockingbird Crossing Naples FL

One of the most desirable new neighborhoods in North Naples is nearing a sellout. The gated community of Mockingbird Crossing is not only coveted for its location but also its large homesites and impressive designs.

Just a handful or new, single-family homes remain for sale in the DR Horton community, with three different floor plans ranging from around 2,500 square feet to 3,100 square feet of living space. Buyers can expect to find open-concept homes with plenty of space for living and for entertaining.

Priced starting from the low $600,000s, remaining new homes in Mockingbird Crossing sit on nearly one-third of an acre, many of which include some impressive outdoor living space. Some homes also come with views of nearby wooded areas or

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naples international film festival

Naples is much more than just beautiful beaches, golf courses and upscale shopping. In fact, its latest honor is for its “coolness” factor, and this one has nothing to do with the weather in Southwest Florida.

The Naples International Film Festival just picked up the honor of being named one of “The 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World”. The honor comes from MovieMaker magazine, a premiere publication for independent filmmakers.

In particular, the Naples International Film Festival received high marks for its presentation ambience. The film festival takes place at the Silverspot Cinema, putting filmgoers in a fantastic location surrounded by vibrant nightlife and dining options. MovieMaker also made mention of the festival’s “sun-soaked

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baker park - naples fl

A decades-long dream comes closer to reality, as the City of Naples opens up a portion of Baker Park. Crews recently opened phase one of the park, including the park’s Sunrise Terrace on the edge of the Gordon River. It’s now being used for everything from yoga classes to simply catching a spectacular sunset.

Crews also opened up access to The Peninsula, outdoor fitness equipment, a kayak launch, and some picnic shelters in the park. Visitors will be able to experience more of the park in the near future when additional park features open to the public this October.

The highly anticipated park was first thought up years ago, but it wasn’t officially thought of as a work in progress until city leaders approved purchasing more land for

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carlton lakes - naples fl

For affordable luxury in Naples, come explore the gated development of Carlton Lakes. This nearly 250-acre community is filled with an array of upscale amenities, yet it retains a more affordable price point than some other communities.

The gated development features access to an impressive nine community swimming pools, a bocce court and several lighted tennis courts. In addition, residents are treated to a private fishing pier and stocked lakes in the community, along with a series of walking and biking trails for outdoor recreation, barbeque areas and a tot lot for young residents.

The Carlton Lakes amenity center additionally provides residents with access to more social space and a fitness room. Surrounded by lakes and nature preserves,

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 naples fl family

Photo: Nathan Rupert

If you’re searching for a family-friendly location, Florida’s definitely at the top of any list. Afterall, the state is filled with family fun, from its theme parks to its beaches. In particular, though, certain cities rank particularly high in a variety of family-friendly categories.

The city gets an “A” from WalletHub when it comes to its “Best & Worst Cities for Florida Families”. A few years back the website ranked Naples as number five overall, but number one in terms of health, safety and education.

That’s not surprising considering the large number of exceptional schools in Naples. Many of the area’s great schools are also close to family-friendly neighborhoods, which is extremely appealing for local parents.

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marco island

Already popular for their beaches, shopping, cultural attractions and entertainment options, it seems Marco Island and Naples are also among Florida’s safest cities. Both locations recently ranked high on a number of lists comparing the safest cities in the Sunshine State.

According to an analysis by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, Marco Island comes in at number three in terms of “The Safest Cities in Florida” for 2019. Right behind it is Naples in the number four spot. Marco Island boasts a low rate of violent crimes and fewer property crimes than many other Florida cities it compared.

Another website called HomeSnacks crunched FBI data to come up with its own list of the “10 Safest Cities in Florida for 2019”. In that

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kalea bay - naples fl

Celebrated Kalea Bay is expanding once again, this time with news of its third luxury tower. The developer of the high-rise community recently released pre-construction pricing on the units of Tower 300.

Reservations are being offered right now for the property’s third tower, with contracts expected sometime later this fall. Priced starting above $1 million, many of the units of Tower 300 will enjoy views directly overlooking the water and nearby preserve.

New buyers can expect to choose from a half-dozen different floor plans, including designs with three-bedrooms plus a den or four-bedrooms. The units range from around 3,700 to 3,900 square feet of living space.

Tower 300 provides for large private lanais, designed to be used as outdoor

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brookside - naples fl

If you’re in love with the look of a Mid-century Modern home, you’re sure to find some fantastic options in Naples. While you won’t find as many as you used to, they still exist if you know where to look.

Most of these Naples homes were constructed between the 1940s to the mid-1960s. While unfortunately some have been replaced by more modern home designs, you can still find a great home if you act quickly.

Some of the local neighborhoods you may want to start your search for a Mid-century Modern home include Lake Park, Midtown, Brookside and Big Cypress. While it’s likely you’ll need to put in some time and money for renovations, the results are certainly worth it.

Lake Park sits near the zoo and the mall, plus it offers a number of

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bob seger - naples flPhoto: Tamara

You don’t have to be a celebrity to live in Naples, but it’s likely you’ll run into one or two if you do. Big name entertainers and personalities are just as attracted to Florida’s Paradise Coast as the rest of us, and that makes it pretty likely you’ll spot a celebrity in the Naples area.

It’s something that’s been happening for years. It’s said President Cleveland’s sister was the very first to sign in when the original Naples Hotel opened its doors in the late 1800s. Since then it’s attracted the likes of Thomas Edison and Gary Cooper.

Flash forward to more recent years and we’ve had several reports of celebrity sightings in Naples, including singer Keith Urban, his wife actress Nicole Kidman, singer Steven Tyler, and celebrity

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