ideal towns >>> bradenton, fl
When it comes to this part of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bradenton might not be as well-known as its ophisticated neighbor to the south, Sarasota. But
that’s just fine for the folks flocking to the Bradenton region,
which is equally rich in culture and recreational wonders
with a laidback hometown vibe all its own.
In fact, whether it’s 17,500-acre Lakewood Ranch to the
east, one of the America’s top selling master-planned communities in 2014, or the idyllic beaches and beach towns of
Anna Maria Island to the west, Bradenton and its surrounding
Manatee County market has something for everyone.
For Bob Potorski and his wife, the decision to move to
Florida was all about the water. Specifically, the many rivers,
lakes and nearby ocean that his Tidewater Preserve community feature.
Potorski and his wife, Bridget, discovered their retirement
home after visiting some friends in nearby Venice. The Potorskis
initially looked at living in their friend’s community, the
Venetian, when they stumbled along an Interstate 75 billboard
for WCI Communities’ Tidewater Preserve.
“We drove in and it was just beautiful,” recalls Potorski,
whose family has been frequenting the region for several years,
going back and forth between their other home in Pennsylva-
nia. “With the Manatee River right there, it looks like you’re
on the ocean. The scenery is just beautiful.”
Originally from the Poconos, Potorski says his family likes
the idea of having all the “little lakes around you and water-
ways that can lead you to the ocean.”
“I don’t have a boat yet, but we plan to,” Potorski adds.
“Having access to the ocean and surrounding waterways …
that was really attractive. You’re also close to Tampa-St. Pete
and Sarasota, with all of them being about a half hour away.
So you’re close to everything but just 20 minutes away from
beautiful beaches and places like Anna Maria Island.”
Florida’s Bay Area
Beauty by Scott Kauffman
• Lucky Frog, run by European master chefs, boasts modern German and Mediterranean cuisine that’s a hit with
folks looking for authentic schnitzel, Vienna-style.
• Sage Biscuit Café’s classically French-trained owners
serve the very best in vegetarian and locally-sourced traditional foods for breakfast and lunch.
• SandBar, owned by Ed Chiles, son of former Florida
Governor Lawton Chiles, is a newly-expanded beachfront
institution with a panoramic view of Anna Maria Beach.
• Sugar Cubed, located in downtown Bradenton, is a
sweet-tooth staple for fresh-baked goods, coffee and tea.
• Waterfront Restaurant is another leading Anna
Maria eatery serving quality seafood, fine wines and
an extraordinary view of Tampa Bay, Egmont Key
and Sunshine Skyway.
TOP THINGS TO DO
• Anna Maria Beach
Located on Anna Maria Island’s north end, this pristine
stretch of powdery sand is a perennial favorite for both
Floridians and tourists alike.
• McKechnie Field
The longtime spring training home for the Pittsburgh
Pirates is a great place to catch a Minor League baseball
game in the summer.
Situated on the Manatee River’s southern shore,
Riverwalk is a public park with numerous recreational
areas, phenomenal ocean views and plenty of restaurants
and boutique shops.
• Robinson Nature Preserve
This Florida gem is a popular place for bird watching
or exploring the many lagoons and clear waters of the
bay via kayak or canoe.