Let’s Hit the Road! Easy Weekend Getaways

After a long and tiring work week, the last thing anyone wants is to take a lengthy trip and return even more tired, just in time for Monday! However, for those who live in South Florida, there is a wide selection of excellent attractions and activities within easy reach. Here are some of our favorite weekend getaways, activities and attractions that won’t take long to reach.

Peanut Island Park and Campground

Peanut Island is a fantastic destination for a family weekend getaway. Featuring excellent snorkeling facilities, pathways to explore, swimming spots and plenty of places for overnight camping, Peanut Island is a great place to spend a quiet weekend with the great outdoors. The best ways to reach Peanut Island is on the water taxi which stops at Riviera Beach Marina and Sailfish Marina. Don’t forget to visit the John F. Kennedy Bunker while you are there.

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center

Located in Boca Raton, the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is a great place to visit if you and your family are interested in animals. The Center features sharks, sea turtles and various other aquatic creatures within aquariums as well as a beautiful butterfly garden. You can also walk through a hammock and climb up the 40 foot tower to experience a stunning panoramic view. The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center also has a Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Facility where visitors can learn more about the gentle creatures. If you would like to take home some memorabilia, you can stop by at the nature-themed gift shop for environmentally friendly and unique gifts.

Florida National Scenic Trail

The Florida National Scenic Trail offers plenty of ground to explore the Sunshine State. If you are planning a weekend trip, then you won’t be able to explore the entire trail in one visit. You can however, break it up to segments so that you can enjoy the trail in many different ways. The segment from Lake Okeechobee to the Atlantic Ocean is a connector segment of the trail. This trail features a lake and an ocean that are large enough to be considered an inland sea. You can also explore the Belle Glade, South Bay, Pahokee and Canal Point on the LOST segment of the Florida National Scenic Trail. The LOST segment can be accessed from several points scattered across the Western portion of the Palm Beaches.

Mounts Botanical Garden

Located in West Palm Beach, the Mounts Botanical Garden is the largest and oldest botanical garden in Palm Beach County. Spread across 14 acres, the garden is home to over 2000 species of native, exotic, tropical and subtropical species of plants. This is a great place to spend a day, exploring some fascinating flora.

Beat The Heat: Stay Cool In These Summer Hangouts

It’s that time of the year where air conditioning is crucial for any hangout place! Luckily for the residents of Palm Beach County, there are plenty of great places to enjoy some quiet time, catch up on some work, read a book or simply relax with a cup of coffee. Here are some great places to escape the summer heat in Palm Beach County!

The Beat Cup

If you are looking for a great cup of coffee, some good food and shopping options all in one air conditioned space, head down to The Beat Cup in Delray Beach. This coffee shop is more than just a coffee shop. Featuring art, consignment shopping, books and of course, great coffee, this is a perfect hangout spot to relax and escape the heat. The establishment features a Brazilian atmosphere and offers a great selection of pastries, cakes, salads and sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. Their handmade sandwiches are a favorite among the locals and the coffee comes in a wide variety, including iced yerba mate, regular coffee and cold brew iced coffee.

Brew Urban Cafe

What’s better than a great place to grab a cup of coffee when the days get too hot? A coffee shop that also serves beer and wine! Brew Urban Café is the perfect place to grab some unique coffee-based drinks. The menu offers unique concoctions such as the Godzilla, a drink consisting of 4 espresso shots and 40 grams of protein, and the Electric Shock, which is made from cinnamon and vanilla infused espresso and topped with caramel glaze. If you are hoping to catch up on some work, Brew Urban Café also offers free Wi-Fi and comfortable plush chairs.

Sloan’s Ice Cream Parlor

There is no better time than Summer to treat your sweet tooth to some delicious ice cream! Sloan’s Ice Cream Parlor, located in Palm Beach Gardens, is a fun place to cool off in style. This is truly the sugar lover’s dream! Featuring 50 homemade ice cream flavors, 70 types of candies and 27 flavors of jelly beans, there is definitely something for everyone at Sloan’s.

Elements Yogurt Shoppe

Looking for a slightly healthier alternative to ice cream? Then head down to Elements Yogurt Shoppe to enjoy a delicious selection of frozen treats. The restaurant specializes in self-service frozen yogurt with a great selection of toppings. This is a great place to get out of the sun and enjoy a range of delicious and healthy treats. The establishment also offers roasted coffees and organic acai bowls.

Must See Summer Flicks

Who doesn’t like to go to the movies in the summer? Here are some great upcoming movies to look forward to this summer. There’s something for everyone!

Minions – July 10th (MPAA Rating – PG)

Kids and adults loved the minions from Despicable Me 1 and 2. This movie focuses on Kevin, Bob and Stuart on their search for a new master. The story starts at the dawn of time when the minions started out as single-cell organisms. Through their evolution, they serve various masters bunt accidentally end up killing them. The three minions meet Scarlet Overkill, the first female super villain in the world and face the challenge of saving their species from annihilation. Featuring the voice talents of Sandra Bullock and John Hamm, Minions is guaranteed to be a fun-filled ride for the whole family.

Ant Man – July 17th (MPAA Rating – PG13)

Based on a Marvel comic, Ant Man is about Scott Lang, a conman, who can shrink in size but possess great strength, size thanks to a spectacular suit. Featuring the talents of Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lily, the movie is full of great thrills and excitement.

Pixels – July 24th (MPAA Rating – PG13)

Pixels is an adaptation of a short film by Patrick Jean. The movie is about popular videogame characters from the 80’s going on a rampage around New York City. The city’s only hope is to put together a team of videogame experts to beat the classic game characters. Pixels stars Adam Sandler and Peter Dinklage and is directed by Chris Colombus. This would be a fascinating trip down memory lane for fans of vintage video games such as Pac Man and Donkey Kong.

Dark Places – August 7th (MPAA Rating – R)

For those of you loved the critically acclaimed “Gone Girl”, Dark Places is another adaptation of a novel by Gillian Flynn. The movie tells the story of Libby Day who survived the massacre of her entire family at the age of 7. She identifies her 16 year old brother, Ben, as the killer and puts him behind bars for life. After 25 years, Libby meets Lyle Wirth who is a part of a crime solving circle and finds out that Ben might have been innocent and starts piecing the puzzle together. If you are a fan of crime thrillers and movies that portray the darker human emotions, Dark Places might be the perfect summer flick to enjoy. Dark Places stars Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Christina Hendricks and Chloe Moretz.

Sinister 2 – August 21st (MPAA Rating – R)

This is a real treat for horror fans. Sinister tells the tale of the after math of Sinister. A protective mother and her 9 year old twins find themselves living in a rural house marked by Bughuul, the evil spirit that is responsible for the deaths of several families. Sinister 2 is told from the point of view of the child and is certain to pack some serious thrills. The movie starts Robert and Dartanian Sloan and Shannyn Sossamon.

Best Travel Apps to Help You Plan Your Last Trip This Summer

Thinking about planning the perfect summer getaway? Then you need to get your hands on some of the best travel apps out there to help you plan every detail. Aside from customer review websites such as Yelp and TripAdvisor, there are plenty of other apps that can help organize the trip by providing great ideas on dining, activities and leisure. Here are some of our top picks.

Gogobot

Gogobot groups travellers into “Tribes” to sort out their interests and experiences. Then, the app provides recommendations on various activities and restaurants. This is a great choice if you are specific about your travel requirements. For instance, if you often travel with your kids, Gogobot will put you in a Tribe where you can obtain recommendations of various kid-friendly destinations, dining establishments and activities. You can also make reservations and bookings from the app through Expedia and Booking.com.

JetPac City Guides

Have you ever looked at a beautiful Instagram of a traveller and thought to yourself ‘where is this beautiful place’? JetPac City provides answers to this question and many other travel questions. JetPac City is constructed on top of Instagram and analyzes the photos to provide more information about the locations in which they were taken.

Nara

Nara is designed to save the time you spend on review websites and search engines, looking for the right destination, accommodation and activity. The app has an intelligent design that provides users with the information they need as per their individual preferences.

Tripit

Tripit is a great choice for creating customized travel itineraries. The app enables you to keep your flight information and hotel booking details all in one place without having to go through your email every single time. You simply have to forward your confirmations to the Tripit email and the app takes care of everything else. The app is also capable of automatically importing confirmations from hotels and travel booking sites for easy reference.

GasBuddy

This is a great app for those who love a good road trip in the summer. The app is designed to allow users to search for gas stations closest to you while you are on the road. The app also helps you find information on pricing so that you don’t have to overpay. The information is kept updated by users’ input.

Localeur

If you are travelling within the US, then Localeur can help you find the authentic local experience. If you are interested in navigating the major US cities like a local, then you can find a great selection of nearby activities, restaurants and hangout spots that are popular among the residents. The app functions by connecting to your GPS and allows you to find places on the go as well as to see where your friends have been visiting.

 

Keep an Eye on Katharine: Tracking the Most Popular Great White Shark

Katharine is a 14 foot Great White Shark who was implanted with a transmitter in August, 2013. Now, her movements are tracked and followed by shark enthusiasts. As of January 30th, 2015, Katharine has travelled more than 10,000 miles around the coastline of the United States since her tagging. According to Greg Skomal, a scientist who works with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, Katharine’s travels around the ocean displays a seasonal pattern because her migrations depend on the temperature of the water. Fitted with a tracker on her dorsal fin when she was captured off Cape Cod, Katharine has become a beloved personality whose appearances excite enough people to make headlines.

Every new ‘ping’ or appearance from Katharine brings all new revelations to the science community. In fact, it was assumed that sharks simply roam about the ocean at random. However, thanks to the data provided by Katharine’s travels, researchers have come to the conclusion that these apex predators travel about the ocean due to many reasons.

It has been reported that Katharine often swims very close to the shores. She generally keeps to herself and is often tracked by photographers who dream of capturing her majestic beauty. It is speculated that Katharine is the massive shark that swam right under a pair of paddle boaters in Florida without a care. Although Katharine gives no regard to people, more and more people are gaining an interest in her travels. Katharine is an original in a list of sharks that were tagged by the OCEARCH research team. Now, shark enthusiasts are able to track the movements of Katharine and other sharks as they travel along the Atlantic Ocean. If you are to visit the OCEARCH website, you will be able to view Katharine’s most recent location, as well as her incredibly predictable migratory pattern. The newest update was received on the 16th of July at 4.53am at Cape Cod.

Although Katharine’s travels are predictable, it is reported that not all great white sharks travel in the same way. According to a study published in PLOS One in June, 2014, great white sharks are currently in recovery from their near-threatened population. Another thing must be noted that since sharks are not very easy to track, there may not have been an actual decline in their population at all. It is possible that due to climate changes, and various other influences, a lot of great white sharks may have simply changed their routes.

If you are interested in tracking Katharine, be sure to visit the OCEARCH website, subscribe to their Facebook page and also to follow their Twitter for updates.

To Rent or To Buy?

At some point in your life, you may face the dilemma of whether you should rent or buy a home. In reality, there is no simple answer. Buying a home is a one of the largest financial decisions that most people make in their entire lives. Building equity is one of the biggest reasons for people to consider buying a home. However, after the 2008 financial crisis, the housing market in the US suffered considerable losses all over the country and as result, prospective homeowners are now, more concerned than ever at the pros and cons of such a large financial decision.

Despite the more cautious approach, there is still a great deal of drive among people to own their own homes. If you are facing this dilemma, here are some important considerations to help you make the right decision in your situation.

Why you should rent

More flexibility – Renting is a great option to explore a neighborhood without making a long-term commitment.

Uncertainty – If you are plans to move in the near future or to change careers that may take you out of town or across the country, renting is a good idea until things get sorted for you. Aside from career changes, uncertainty can also apply to your finances. If you are expecting an increase or decrease in your income, then it will affect your ability to obtain a loan. Additionally, a change in your financial status will also affect your ability to pay your mortgage.

Bad credit – Qualifying for a mortgage is a must for many people who are looking to buy a house. If you have a history of not paying your bills on time that can affect your credit score in the long run.

Save up on maintenance – When you live in a rental, anything broken will be sorted out by the landlord and in some cases, utilities may be included in the rent.

Why you should buy

Build equity – When you buy a home and make mortgage payments, you are building equity by increasing your ownership of the house. A general rule to keep in mind is that if you plan on staying in your home for 5 – 7 years at the least, the money you spent on the purchase is most likely to be offset by the equity you have built up.

Tax deductions – The interest of your mortgage and your property taxes can be deducted from your taxes.

More control – The customization options of a rental are quite limited. When you own a house, you can decorate it however you like.

Whether you want to buy a home or rent it depends on your requirements, financial capabilities as well as the current housing market in the neighborhood of your choice. Renting and buying both have their fair share of pros and cons. It is important that you approach the issue with patience and caution to make the right decision.

Summer Recipes You Can’t Miss!

Summer is a great time to hone your cooking skills. With plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables readily available, you can get creative and crafty to make irresistible meals. Here are some great options that will have your family and guests asking for seconds!

Salmon Burgers

Ingredients – 1 cup chopped onion, 1/4 thinly shredded fresh basil, salt, pepper, 1 pound skinned and chopped salmon fillet, hot sauce, 1 egg white, cooking spray and bread of your choice.

Combine salmon with the onion, basil and seasoning. Add the egg white and hot pepper into the mixture and stir until combined. Divide the mixture into 4 parts and form patties (about ½ an inch in thickness).  Coat a pan with cooking spray, place on medium-high heat and cook the patties for 3 minutes each side. Serve between your favorite burger buns.

Strawberry Salad with Poppy Dressing

Ingredients – 3 tablespoons sugar, 3 tablespoons mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar, a bag of romaine lettuce, 1 cup sliced strawberries, 2 tablespoons toasted and slivered almonds.

Mix the sugar, mayonnaise, milk, white wine vinegar and poppy seeds with a whisk in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, toss the strawberries, lettuce and almonds together. Serve the dressing on the side so that guests can drizzle the desired amount on their salad portion, just before eating.

Grilled Shrimp and Watermelon Kabobs

Ingredients – Peeled and deveined large shrimps, watermelon cut in to 1 inch cubes, olive oils, red pepper flakes, chopped scallions, ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese, ¼ cup chopped peanuts and lime wedges.

Thread the shrimp and watermelon cubes into metal skewers. You can make as many as you like depending on the number of diners you have to feed. Brush the skewers with olive oil and sprinkle red pepper flakes over them. Lay the skewers on a grill at high heat and cook until the shrimps are opaque (about 3 – 5 minutes on each side). You can serve the kabobs on their own or on rice. Scatter the feta, scallions and peanuts on top and serve with lime wedges.

Sangria

Ingredients – 1 bottle of red wine (preferably a Merlot), 1 cup brandy, ½ cup each of orange, pineapple and apple juice, ginger ale, ice cubes, orange slices, maraschino cherries.

Take a pitcher and mix all ingredients except for the ginger ale. Place the pitcher in a fridge for about 24 hours before drinking to allow for the flavors to combine. Serve with a bit of ginger ale, orange slices and maraschino cherries in each glass.

Summer Fruit Pie

Ingredients – 2 ½ cups flour, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ cup shortening, 1 stick butter, 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cubes, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 6 ripe peaches (cut into wedges), 1 pint strawberries, ¼ cup instant tapioca, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and ½ cup granulated sugar.

Combine flour, shortening, butter stick and salt in a food processor. The mixture should resemble pea sized crumbs when done. Beat the egg and add vinegar and water until the mixture measures up to ½ a cup. Add the egg mixture into the flour and pulse until a soft dough is formed. Halve the dough, shape into flat disks, cover and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour. On a floured surface, roll one disk to line a 9 inch wide, 2 inch deep pie tin. Toss the fruits, lemon juice, sugar and tapioca in a bowl. Add the fruit mixture into the pie tin and scatter the butter cubes before refrigerating. Roll the second dough disk into a circle and drape over the pie. Trim the edges with ½ inch hanging over to seal. Crimp the edge and refrigerate for half an hour. Brush the crust lightly with cold water and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. Cut a few slashes on the top and bake until golden in a 425 degree oven for about 18 – 22 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees until the juices start bubbling (up to 40 minutes more). Serve after cooling on a rack.

Why Fit Girls Are The New It Girls

Beauty standards have seen a great deal of change over time. Nowadays, it’s all about being fit, strong and healthy. If you have plans on losing weight, building muscle, increasing stamina and enhancing flexibility, Palm Beach County has several great establishments that can help you achieve your goals.

Fitness Edge – West Palm Beach

Fitness Edge is the place to visit if you are looking for flexibility training, conditioning, fitness and strength. This gym also provides expert guidance on nutrition, stress reduction techniques as well as wellness related activities and programs. Established in 1991, the gym is presently owned by Bill Neylon. He also runs the establishment and has achieved championships in competitive bodybuilding, certified in personal training and has been a professional personal trainer since the late 1980’s. Fitness Edge is actually a studio type establishment and not a membership gym.

Crazytrain CrossFit – West Palm Beach

If you are thinking of taking up CrossFit, then be sure to consider Crazytrain CrossFit for excellent advice and top of the level equipment. The establishment spans across 4000 square feet and is equipment with top-quality CrossFit equipment. The equipment includes recent additions to CrossFit equipment such as ski ergs, Concept II rowers and Schwinn Airdynes. Crazytrain offers personal coaching as well as group coaching if you would like to sign up as a group. There are also weekly skills classes, classes for kids and their mothers as well as elite coaching programs.

Rock Fitness Center – West Palm Beach

Rock Fitness Center is a fully equipped gym featuring top notch equipment and professional training. The gym features equipment for strength training and cardiovascular exercise along with professional coaches to help their clients achieve their fitness goals.

Haute Yoga – Palm Beach

Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or expert at yoga, Haute Yoga is a great place to sign up to keep up the practice. Haute yoga features a studio that is heated up to 90 degrees to help your muscles warm up faster and to help build flexibility with greater efficiency. This practice also carries cleansing capabilities to cleanse your mind and body from impurities. This is a great place to learn yoga as well as to continue your practice as the establishment features experienced teachers with  a focus on inspiring students.

Prem Yoga Center – West Palm Beach

This is one of the oldest yoga centers in Florida. Prem Yoga Center is the training place for about 20% of the yoga teachers all across South Florida and hundreds all over the world. The yoga center offers a diverse range of yoga classes with something for just about everyone. All teachers are fully certified and offer classes for Kripalu Yoga, Turiya Meditation, Yoga Therapy as well as Yoga teacher training programs to become a certified instructor. Additionally Prem Yoga Center also offers Ayurveda lifestyle and diet consultations, spiritual chanting, tantra lessons and life coaching.

 

Keep Calm and Stay Dry: Indoor Fun for the Kids on Rainy Days

Summer is a great time to get your kids off their computers and to play outside in the sun. However, in South Florida, summertime also comes with the possibility of rainy days every now and then. Here are some great places with indoor activities to keep your kids occupied and entertained on rainy days this summer.

Joey’s Outback Adventure – Wellington

This is a great place to take the kids on a rainy summer’s day. The establishment features the best indoor playground in Wellington. Owned and run by a family, the establishment features a family friendly atmosphere and plenty of fun activities to keep your kids entertained. This is a unique place that offers you a chance to create personalized activities for the whole family.

Playtown Café – Boca Raton

Playtown Café is another great indoor park to let your kids run about as they please. The establishment is clean and safe and features a selection of activities such as a toddler terrace, dress-up boutique and a giant building zone. Aside from providing hours of entertainment for your kids, this is a great place for parents to relax a little.

Boca Raton Children’s Museum

A museum is a great place to visit on a rainy day. However, your kids won’t like the idea of going to a place full of “Do Not Touch” signs. Instead, take them to the Boca Raton Children’s Museum. This establishment actually allows kids to touch and feel the exhibits and to learn a lot in the process. The museum features fun interactive displays, cultural events and various other unique programs, all created with kids’ development in mind. The exhibits come in different theme and updated often. Some of the most popular exhibits include a replica of the first grocery store in Boca Raton, a real working bank and fossils along with a miniature theater.

XBK Zone – Fort Lauderdale

Formerly known as Xtreme Indoor Karting, XBK Zone is a great place to take your kids on a rainy day. The establishment features ultra-modern facilities for indoor karting. The high quality equipment is suitable for various different age limits and come with full training from qualified instructors. Additionally, the establishment also features a family friendly bowling alley with a few interesting twists. XBK Zone is not only a fun place for the kids but also for the whole family.

Food Truck Invasion Palm Beach County

Food Truck Invasion is a fantastic opportunity for families and friends to take the good old dining experience up to a whole new fun-filled level. These events bring together some of the most popular food trucks in the area to meet new food lovers at set dates and locations. If you are a fan of food trucks, keep your calendar marked for these events happening throughout the month of July.

Royal Palm Beach Commons Park

The last Friday of every month is a fantastic opportunity for food lovers to explore new tastes. Food Truck Invasion at Royal Palm Beach is a huge outdoor picnic style event where a fantastic selection of food trucks will be ready to take your order. These food trucks are not essentially fast food but cuisine from various different origins that you can try out. The selection of trucks offers comfort foods, delectable fusion dishes and plenty of great options to treat your sweet tooth. There will be over 20 food trucks at Commons Park on the 31st of July so be sure to bring your blankets, folding chairs, your favorite company and of course, a huge appetite!

Abacoa Town Center, Jupiter

Every second Friday of the month offers the residents of Jupiter a great opportunity to sample the treats from some of the most popular food trucks in Palm Beach County. The trucks will park at University Boulevard and Main Street from 5pm until 10pm to create a delectable fiesta for any food lover. These mobile kitchens will feature a fantastic selection of southern comfort food, regional fare and adventurous fusion cuisine to ease all your cravings. Of course, those with a sweet tooth won’t be left disappointed as there will be plenty of dessert options as well.

Wellington Amphitheater

Food Truck Invasion visits the Wellington Amphitheater every Thursday night from November to May. After mid-May, the dates are switched to twice a month. As for this month, you can head down to the Wellington Amphitheater to enjoy the delicious fare from 20 food trucks on the 9th and 23rd of July. The event starts at 5 pm and as always, presents a wide selection of delicious treats. Visitors will also be treated with a free concert to provide some excellent entertainment as they enjoy the food.

Cultural Plaza Lake Worth

Save your appetite to enjoy a fantastic selection of delicious food at Food Truck Invasion on the second Monday of this month. The event starts at 6pm and is held until 10pm. This is a great opportunity for the whole family to enjoy the delight of al-fresco dining on a summer evening. You can expect the popular food trucks from Food Truck Invasion such as Palate Party, BC Tacos, The Lobsta Guy, Munchie’s Snack Shack, Dr. Smokehouse, Tiparoo among many others.

Frankel Realty Group follows the letter and spirit of the Equal Housing Act, and is a member of the Northern Palm Beach County Board of Realtors, the Florida Multiple Listing Service, and National Board of Realtors.  Thomas Frankel is Broker of Record.   Frankel Realty Group and all of its affiliated agents are licensed as either brokers or salespersons by the Florida Real Estate Commission.  Copyright © 2013 Frankel Realty Group, All Rights Reserved. The name Frankel Realty Group and its logo and design are trademarks of Frankel Enterprises or its affiliates.

 

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