Summertime and the living in easy on the First Coast


Contributing Editor

Welcome to the summer issue of Sand Castles, a luxury, lifestyle and real estate seasonal section. A year ago, I wrote about the “Dog Days of Summer,” that last from July 3 until August 11. Webster defines those days as “a period marked with lethargy, inactivity or indolence.”

This year, with a major political election taking place, summertime, while still very hot is definitely not inactive.

In fact, in June I attended the post-election remarks of Donald Trump after the California Republican primary with my daughter, Katie Hughes, and granddaughters Anna and Haley. In this issue, Anna shares her insights as a student reporter covering the remarks given by presidential nominee Donald Trump on June 7 at Trump National Golf Club.

Whether you are planning a trip to Paris or New York, you can glean a few insights in this issue of Sand Castles. Betty Lemons shares the story of her barge trip that started in Paris and traveled through France, while I share a few tips on visiting the Big Apple in my article “Five Days in New York.”

But while it’s great to hear about wonderful places to visit, we all know there is no place like home. “A Warm Welcome,” a new company that helps you turn your house into a home, is featured in this issue, along with Mark Dilworth – managing partner with Keller Williams Atlantic Partners – who gives us an update on the local market as well as tips for understanding leading indicators.

One indicator of a vibrant market is the number of wonderful properties for sale, and in this issue eight seasoned First Coast Realtors share the stories of their listings – from the waterfront to the golf course and everywhere in between. And if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors this summer, you will need to read “Summertime Skin Care” by the Ponte Vedra Plastic Surgery skin team!

With international real estate transactions on the rise, Christy Budnick, vice president of Berkshire Hathaway HSFNR, weighs in on the international business opportunities that Realtors with the CIPS designations have for navigating the often-complex international real estate market.

Two unique destinations we can travel to in support of our local charities are also featured – from the CSX charity train that has delivered dollars to several charities for more than 13 years to Delicious Destinations, which takes place Sept. 8-10 and celebrates the St Vincent’s Foundation’s 100 years of faithful service to the community. This highly anticipated annual event features culinary delights from world-class chefs from Mar a Lago to the Greenbrier!

Closer to home, Elaine Caldwell – owner of Luxury for Less – transforms a home stuck in Mediterranean rut. The before and after photos are amazing! And I write about design ideas for your home to attract buyers for the best return on one of your most important investments.

Our home is our castle, and at the beach it is our castle in the sand. From palm trees to sand dunes, golf courses to resort living, Ponte Vedra Beach and the Beaches communities offer the most desirable real estate in Northeast Florida!

Janet Westling, Realtor, CIPS,GRI
Berkshire Hathaway HSFNR

Creator and Contributing Editor