Category Archives: Lifestyle

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The Top 5 Travel Destinations for 2016

When you live in The Colony, chances are, every day is a vacation. You’ve got every amenity at your disposal – from private beach access and a community boat launch to top notch golfing, everything you could ever want is available at The Colony. The surrounding area in Bonita Springs also offers excellent shopping and fine dining options. However, nothing can beat a change of pace. Getting out and exploring what the United States has to offer beyond Florida can bring you the memories of a lifetime and experiences you won’t forget. Read on to find out about the top 5 travel destinations that are perfect for those looking to get away!

#1: New York

NEW YORK CITY – If you’re looking for the excitement of a big city, look no further than New York City! You certainly won’t run out of things to do with all that The Big Apple has to offer. There is a myriad of well-known museums, theatres and operas, like Carnegie Hall and The Metropolitan Opera. For any American, visiting the 9/11 Memorial is sure to be a moving and memorable experience as well. On a lighter note, you could pack a picnic and experience gorgeous Central Park, or get dinner and drinks and feel the buzz of Times Square.  You will also have to visit the historic Statue of Liberty to round out your visit. And we would be remiss if we didn’t mention taking in the views of the gargantuan skyscrapers of Wall Street, too! And this is just a snippet of what you could do in New York!

THE HAMPTONS –  If you’re thinking of a change of scenery that’s not quite as action packed and more on the relaxing side, look no further than the Hamptons. Experience a different kind of beach while still enjoying the comforts of luxury. There are still plenty of activities to do — golfing, fishing, kayaking are just a few things you can do in this top notch vacation destination. Sip on some wine while touring the vineyards. In the Hamptons, you can eat some of the best seafood that the east coast has to offer, all while in the company of people who like to enjoy the finer things in life.

#2: Hawaii

OAHU & KAUAI – Hawaii brings a tropical paradise that is unlike any beach destination on the mainland. Whether you’re visiting the popular Oahu or the less populated Kauai to take in stunning views, there are endless options to satisfy anyone’s vacation tastes. You can be active and go hiking amongst the volcanoes and waterfalls or experience underwater sea life with some of the best spots for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can simply relax on the beach or take advantage of health spas in the area, too. With all the entertainment opportunities, you’ll be able to experience whatever you like — restaurants, shopping, and nightlife options are endless! Hawaii tops almost any vacation destination list because it’s really got everything!

#3: Colorado

ASPEN/VAIL – If you started out as a snowbird and are now living in The Colony permanently, you might miss a touch of snow from time to time. The perfect cure for that itch is to visit the slopes in Vail or Aspen, Colorado! Take in the views of the Rockies while cruising down the slopes.  Although Vail offers more challenging slopes than Aspen, Aspen can add a historical dimension to your trip— visit the mining museums while you’re there to add to your experience!

#4: Nevada

LAS VEGAS – Viva, Las Vegas! Trade in laying on the beach for getting waited on poolside, and once the sun goes down, you can hit up the strip. There are endless casinos, shows, and dining options at your fingertips. Take a tour of the strip or walk it yourself — you’ll never get bored! You’ve also got access to excellent spas and shopping, so this can be a perfect trip for guys and gals alike!

If you’ve had enough of the nonstop flashing lights and never-ending nightlife, take a short trip over to the Grand Canyon and experience it by helicopter! You’ll never be able to get the breathtaking views on land, but it’s definitely a trip for those with easy flying legs. Do more than just the strip and experience nature’s wonders!

#5: Tennessee

Get out there and see something different! Just a short trip away, Tennessee offers majestic mountains and some unbeatable vacation destinations that are just a short trip away.

NASHVILLE – If you’re a fan of country music, Nashville is a must — see a show at the Grand Ole Opry and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. Have a fun time exploring downtown Nashville, which offers shopping, excellent restaurants, and exciting nightlife. Discover new artists while listening to live country music at any of the honky tonks in the area! Music City is sure to be a pleaser for country music fans and novices alike, and it’s a perfect destination for an extended weekend stay!

MEMPHIS – Similarly, if you’re an Elvis or blues fan, Memphis is also a great spot to visit. Have a blast on Beale Street, visit Sun Studios and Graceland, and experience the National Civil Rights Museum, which is located at the Lorraine Motel.

GATLINBURG – Gatlinburg is also sure to hit the spot of those seeking more out of their vacation than beaches and traditional tourist destinations. Get adventurous in Tennessee — go whitewater rafting, zip lining, hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, camping, and more. When you’re ready for a break from all the activity, take home a mason jar of Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine at their distillery in Gatlinburg.

Get Out and Travel!

If you’re looking to get away, the bottom line is that you’ve got a pick a place that aligns with your interests. What are you hoping to experience and how do you envision your vacation? These are some great options, but it’s a big world out there — get exploring!


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Get Involved: Top Nonprofits in Bonita Springs & Naples

One of the best parts about living in Bonita Springs and Naples is that there are a number of things to do — whether you want to relax by the beach, play a round of golf, go shopping or eat out at any of the excellent restaurants in the area, the list is endless. However, when you live a vacation lifestyle, you may develop a desire to do more than just relax. Finding activities in which you can help others can be gratifying and rewarding. This idea is supported by Stephanie Watson, who writes for Harvard Health Publications. She explains that volunteering your time can reward you with both physical and mental health benefits — meaning that individuals who volunteer can experience lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan while thwarting loneliness and depression. It also just feels good to give back!

Here are some options to get involved — the names of each nonprofit link to their volunteer page:

Help People

Literacy Council Gulf Coast

Bonita Springs, FL

If you’d rather not work with animals, the Literacy Council Gulf Coast is a great option to help adults and children improve their literacy. This nonprofit focuses on helping individuals in the immediate area, and you can volunteer your time by sharing stories, tutoring, or helping out with various other activities for the Council.

Cafe of Life

Bonita Springs, FL

Help out the less fortunate with the Cafe of Life, a nonprofit that focuses on assisting and meeting the needs of people in the community with nutritional and supplemental support. You can volunteer to be a cook or server or you can help deliver/pick up groceries. There are also options to help with administrative support. “Care, Share, and Serve” your fellow man!

Bonita Community Health Center

Bonita Springs, FL

The Bonita Springs Community Health Center is a nonprofit that offers a variety of healthcare services to people in the community. They rely on the help from volunteers to keep day to day operations running and to provide health care services. They try to match volunteers with their greatest interest. Contact them directly for more information on how you can help.

Centers for the Arts

Bonita Springs

The Centers for the Arts in Bonita Springs is an excellent nonprofit organization for you to volunteer your time — no special skills needed! Get immersed in the performing and visual arts environment by helping The Centers for the Arts, a nonprofit that seeks to enrich the lives of people in the community through art education, expression and appreciation. You can participate in special events, greet visitors, serve on committees, answer phones and assist with community outreach programs. Additionally, Centers for the Arts also has opportunities to volunteer that don’t require you to be gregarious and outspoken. You can help out the Centers by making copies, filing and entering data, or completing research.

Join a Cause

Habitat for Humanity – ReStore

Ft. Myers, FL

If you have time to volunteer, Habitat for Humanity ReStore offers a multitude of opportunities for people with a variety of skills. From their website, volunteer opportunities include: Driver Helper, Donation Processing, Handyman, Facilities Maintenance, Dispatcher, Social Media, and Volunteer Coordinator. Contact Habitat for Humanity to learn more and to find out how you can contribute.

SUSAN G. KOMEN SWFL

Bonita Springs, FL

Become an advocate for breast cancer awareness and volunteer with the Susan G. Komen Southwest Florida organization. You can volunteer to help out in the office, health care fairs, and help with marketing or as an organizer. You can also participate in or help out the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.

Make-a-Wish Foundation Southern Florida

Bonita Springs, FL

The Make-a-Wish Foundation is responsible for orchestrating and making the dreams of children with life-threatening medical conditions come true. Be a part of something special and participate as an airport greeter, office volunteer, speaker, special events volunteer, or wish granter!

Help Animals

Humane Society – Naples

Naples, FL

If you love dogs and/or cats, you can make a difference in their lives by volunteering at the Humane Society in Naples. You can donate your time and help care for the animals who are being housed and cared for at the shelter by helping with daily operations, education and outreach (shelter tours and social enrichment opportunities), or acting as a canine coach or female ambassador (handling animals in the kennels, at events, and at the mall location).  You can also foster dogs or work special events and assist with the mobile adoption bus. There’s plenty of things to do within the shelter and outside that can benefit the animals in its care.

Naples Equestrian Challenge

Naples, FL

Naples Equestrian Challenge is a nonprofit organization that offers therapeutic horseback riding to adults and children with disabilities of Collier County. You don’t have to be a seasoned equestrian to volunteer your time, but if you have a love of horses, this is the place to be! If you don’t, all you need is a desire to be compassionate and give reliable support. The volunteer opportunities include side walking, leading, grooming, tacking, participation in fundraising activities, serving on the board or committee, and more. Volunteers do go through a training session prior to helping out.

Bird Gardens of Naples

Naples, FL

If large animals aren’t your thing, you can always work with the stunningly beautiful tropical parrots who live at the Bird Gardens sanctuary. This nonprofit focuses on caring for parrots in captivity, which come to the sanctuary from occasions of neglect, abuse, or abandonment. The Bird Gardens provides a beautiful home for the intelligent parrots and further gives back to the community by giving educational tours to the community. There are a multitude of volunteer options — when you visit the web page, scroll all the way to the bottom to reach out and express your desire to help.

Volunteer Today!

Volunteering at a local nonprofit is a fantastic way to help out the community and feel good about yourself. The above is a list of some of the nearby nonprofit organizations. If you have a desire to help, there’s someone out there who needs you. So, get out there and do some good!


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7 Luxurious Additions to Make to Your Colony Home

When you live in one of the gorgeous Colony homes, you’ve got the best of the best. Colony homes in Bonita Springs offer exceptional amenities and options for every taste. However, making your home truly yours is something every homeowner seeks. Putting your personal touch on your space can make your condo go from a Colony model to your home.

We have a list of seven luxurious additions that can accommodate your needs and really make your home a reflection of you. Read on to discover what luxurious additions you can add!

1. Wine Closet

Who doesn’t love a glass of wine?! After all, indulging in a glass of red wine daily can provide a number of health benefits. If you’re a wine connoisseur, keep your wine at your fingertips and stored properly in a custom wine closet. To create a true wine closet, you’ll want to make sure that you can control the temperature and humidity, as well as storing it away from UV light (this is what makes converting a closet an ideal location). You can create this yourself or hire a contractor to make your vision a reality. Houzz offers step-by-step instructions and images of some spectacular in-home wine closets that would be a perfect fit inside any Colony home. If wine isn’t your thing, there are number of other luxury options you can add to your home, so keep reading!

In-Home Theatre

An in-home theatre is a perfect addition to take advantage of rainy days or when you just need a time-out from the sun. Cuddling up on theatre style seating complete with top of the line audio and video can take simply watching a movie to a supreme theatre experience. This addition is also great for a night in with friends — catch up on the latest blockbuster hits, watch the classics, or even relive a time in your past by watching a home movie with the best quality sound and video. Nothing quite matches the rumble as you feel part of the action in your favorite action flick. You can create an in-home theatre environment by including video projection, premium sound, dimming lights, and the theatre seating of your choice. If you’re making it an entertainment space, elevate the back row for a true in-home movie-going experience!

Heated Floors

All Floridians know that the winter in Florida can still put a chill in the air. Despite the normally warm climate, rainy days in January can still make you close up the lanai and crank up the heat. And nothing beats getting out of a shower or bath and stepping out onto a warm floor! Whether you choose to install heated flooring in just your bathroom or throughout your Colony home, heating flooring is beneficial not just from a luxury standpoint — it also can help you feel comfortable and warm. Living in comfort is certainly a must-have!

Towel Warmer

Speaking of comfort, adding a towel warmer will give you that warm, just out of the dryer feeling every time you step out of the shower or bath. Pamper yourself with a towel warmer that reflects your personality — there are a variety of styles to choose from. You can have a free-standing towel warmer, one hardwired and installed in the wall, or you can even have a tucked away towel warming drawer. For open towel warmers, you can add in a modern flair or keep it classic looking. There really is an option for everyone!

Kitchen Improvements

From upgrading your entire kitchen to a chef’s kitchen or adding in simple luxuries, kitchen upgrades are sure to please everyone. Gourmet kitchens are an excellent option for those who enjoy cooking, but if you don’t plan on cooking large meals regularly, these features will surely be a waste of money. Opt for the upgrades you know you’ll use, like a touchless water faucet or flush countertop steamer. Your kitchen is also an excellent place to display your natural side. Install eco-friendly features like bamboo flooring or countertops or cork flooring and help out the environment while making a statement. If you don’t want to scream green, you can still upgrade your appliances (if they aren’t energy efficient already) or add in a recycling center conveniently into your existing cabinets.

Wireless Home Automation

Wireless home automation might be an improvement for the tech-savvy homeowners, but it really can be a benefit for everyone. Most of these systems are quite user-friendly, so even the technically challenged can find it’s a breeze to use. Wireless home automation allows you to control everything in your home from a smartphone or tablet. This is a phenomenal feature, especially for Colony residents who like to travel and want to check in on their home while they’re away. You can also just install the parts that matter most, like smart thermostats, and reap in the benefits of being energy efficient, or you can make your outlets and switches wirelessly controlled. The options are really endless, and this is also a great feature to add to your home theatre.

Details! Feature Lighting & Hardware

Your hardware and lighting choices are simple details that are often overlooked. You can really show off your personality in a subtle way by incorporating lighting fixtures and hardware that echo your sense of style. For example, the kitchen is an excellent place to install feature lighting to show off your dishes or illuminate your latest cooking creation. Additionally, knobs, pulls, and handles are everywhere in your home and offer the perfect opportunity for you to incorporate a touch of you. Selecting high-end, yet classic hardware can show a refined taste. Or, if you’re more whimsical, splurge on exciting or fun pulls, like silverware in the kitchen, etc. This is your chance to show off your style, whether it’s modern, traditional, luxe, or minimal! You’ll be amazed at what a big difference such a small touch can do!

Make a House a Home

At the end of the day, your home in the Colony should be just that — your home.  Make additions to your home to personalize it, increase comfort, and make you happy. By adding luxurious items like the above, we hope you’ll find that your home is your happy place. After all, nothing beats easy living! Which items will you be adding?


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Where to Find Quality Wine in Bonita Springs

Now is the perfect time of year to get together with friends to enjoy a nice glass of wine. Though it’s always relaxing to enjoy a glass or bottle in your home, sometimes you want to be a bit more social when enjoying your vino.

Whether you are looking for quality wine at a retailer, fine dining establishment, or in a more relaxed atmosphere, here are 3 places to enjoy a fine wine in Bonita Springs:

The Grape Base

Location: 23101 Fashion Drive Suite 113, Estero

Website: http://www.thegrapebase.com/

The Grape Base provides a unique experience, serving as a cross between a retail wine store and a wine bar and café. This distinct establishment offers an assortment of wines from around the world, including those that are hard to find. In addition to taking home your favorite bottle, you can visit The Grape Base for one of their daily wine tastings, or enjoy wine by the glass or bottle with friends in the café. The Grape Base is also available for private parties, in which they will close their doors to the public and offer you the space for your own special event, complete with decorations and catering.

Angelina’s Ristorante

Location: 24041 South Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs

Website: http://www.angelinasofbonitasprings.com/

You might see Angelina’s turn up on many “top” lists for dining in Bonita, and for good reason! In addition to a full menu of fine Italian dining options, Angelina’s also happens to have one of the best wine lists in the area. With a 30 foot wine tower in the middle of the restaurant, you can tell they mean business. Wine is available by the glass, half bottle, and bottle. If you are looking for something special, Angelina’s has a list from the Sommelier Collector’s Cellar which includes a fine selection of vintages with limited availability.

C Level Bistro & Wine Bar

Location: 4450 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs

Website: http://www.c-levelbar.com/

If you want to go out and socialize, but you are looking to escape the sports bar scene, C Level Bistro & Wine Bar offers a more refined atmosphere with a French bistro-style design. In addition to a fine selection of wines, the bistro also offers light fare, including an Artisan Charcuterie Gourmet Plate as well as other menu and beer options. This is a great place to bring guests to enjoy a glass in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Wine Lockers at The Colony Golf & Bay Club

The Colony Bay Club is pleased to offer residents the option of securing a temperature controlled custom built wine locker for storage of those special bottles they might wish to share with friends and family when dining at The Bay Club.

Each locker may hold up to 16 bottles, depending upon bottle format and type, and as an added benefit, when dining at The Bay Club a personalized, up to date wine list is placed at your table prior to your arrival, allowing you to hand pick which of your wines would best suit the dining experience.

The yearly lease of the wine locker includes the waiving of any corkage fee for bottles brought into The Bay Club for the Resident of record; and also allows the resident of record to purchase wines from the club at a very favorable rate, either for storage in their locker or to enjoy at a later date at their residence.

Live the Lifestyle You Want at The Colony

If you enjoy the finer things in life, you want to live in a community that supports your lifestyle. The Colony is perfect for those looking for a luxury residence with high-class amenities in beautiful Bonita Springs, FL. Residents enjoy a private, waterfront dining facility, championship golf course designed by Jerry Pate, spacious Clubhouse, fully equipped Spa and Fitness Center, as well as an outdoor pool.

Interested in seeing what life at The Colony is like? Contact Jill Kushner today to find out more about the abundant amenities, luxurious lifestyle, and available homes in The Colony.

What are some of your favorite wine bars? Leave your answers in the comments!