May
 
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The World Golf Village community has earned a reputation for being one of the best places in Northeast Florida to raise a family—and for good reason! The area offers grade-A schools and an endless list of things to do, including arts, play and sports. One of the organizations in World Golf Village that is actively working to improve the lives of kids on the First Coast is First Tee of North Florida.

First Tee is more than just a youth development organization. It’s a community that empowers kids to build the strength of character that lasts a lifetime. Their experienced instructors use golf to create an active learning experience, where golf skills are more than just a game. Children build inner strength, self-confidence and resilience that translates to their everyday lives. Each year, First Tee reaches 2.2 million youth through its programs. And with over 45 million Americans enjoying golf, it’s a great way to bridge the generational gap through a shared interest.

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The Jacksonville Jaguars aren’t the only big cats in town! Residents can visit the Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary and get up close and personal with resident lions, tigers, leopards and more. Open to the public since 2004, Catty Shack’s mission is to provide a safe, loving, forever home for endangered big cats and to educate the public about their plight in the wild and captivity.

Executive Director and Curator Curt LoGiudice’s love of animals is evident. He began his career training dogs in the law enforcement service. He then moved on to working with exotic animals, and in 1994, the Florida Panther Project asked him to represent the organization in Jacksonville, making educational presentations. Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary was granted non-profit 501(c)(3) status in 2003 and a year later became accredited to welcome visitors.

LoGiudice believes that education is the best way to teach the public about the plight of large cats in the wild, as well as the dangers of private home ownership. Catty Shack is dedicated to providing these animals with a safe and comfortable home – they do not buy, sell, trade or breed any of their animals. The sanctuary rescues animals from serious situations and provides thorough medical care and a safe living space. Catty Shack’s residents include tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, caracal, bobcats, serval, coatimundis, foxes and horses.

Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary offers tours to the public as well as educational school tours. All tours begin with an introductory video that covers the sanctuary’s mission and history. The Day Tours are offered daily from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Guests can take a self-guided tour of the animal habitats while interacting with volunteers stationed throughout the sanctuary to answer questions. The Night Feeding is available on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Guests can enjoy a self-guided walking tour. At 7 p.m., Executive Director Curt LoGiudice provides a guided tour full of fascinating facts and background on the animals as the animals enjoy their dinner – the cats can eat up to 600 pounds of meat! Enrichment tours are on every Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Enrichment is when staff provides the animals with activities that stimulate them mentally and physically. Visitors can enjoy a self-guided tour and watch animals enjoy their enrichment activities. Tickets may be purchased online or at the gate (for the Day and Enrichment tours only).

Taking care of all these exotic animals takes a lot of resources. The Sanctuary is completely funded through visitation, concession stand sales, honorary adoptions and financial and material donations. Take a day trip that helps care for these magnificent animals!

 
 
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The neighborhoods of World Golf Village aren’t just a paradise for adults. Kids have plenty of fun and exciting activities to keep them happy and engaged. World Golf Village (WGV) Gymnastics has been keeping kids flipping with joy since 2011!

With over 200 years of combined experience, the coaches at WGV Gymnastics offer fun for the entire family. Their professional staff come from various gymnastics backgrounds, offering a well-rounded breadth of experience. WGV Gymnastics has seven team coaches, 33 recreational coaches, two meet directors, one former judge, 14 previous competitive gymnasts and several competitive cheerleaders. Andrea Gavric’s daughters have thrived under their coaches. “We have been coming for a few months, and both of my daughters love it here! The coaches are great, very hands-on and super friendly. Great staff, a fun learning environment, great coaches, and very professional.”

Their 14,000-square-foot facility is a hotbed of activity. Children can practice recreational or competitive gymnastics in progressive classes. Preschool Gymnastics teaches the fundamentals in a fun and supportive atmosphere. Students can progress to Beginner Classes, where they will build up to testing for Intermediate Level. Gymnasts can then test for Pre-Team, those wishing to join a competitive team, or Advanced, those who aren’t interested in team competition but want to learn advanced skills.

WGV Gymnastics offers three competitive team programs. The Xcel program, designed by USA Gymnastics, features five levels of competition. The Women’s Developmental Program uses standard routines to build advanced skills through nationwide competition. Younger children can compete in pre-pre-elite experiences through the TOPS and HOPES programs.

Students can enjoy specialty classes like skills clinics, private lessons, homeschool and boys’ classes in gymnastics, tumbling and ninja. WGC Gymnastics Tumbling classes are the perfect supplement to other sports. Kids playing soccer, cheering, dancing and more can learn dynamic and powerful moves through mat work and tumbling trak practice.

Little ones can get in the action with the Parent & Tot classes, Preschool Open Gym and their very popular Preschool Gym-n-Learn. Designed for 3 to 5-year-olds, this preschool program focuses on learning the fundamentals of gymnastics and incorporates craft time, educational learning, creative music and movement.

Parent Theresa Conley says, “My 3-year-old started their Gym N Learn program and she did the full year and she has grown immensely. They teach everything from the ABCs to Writing their names, counting, etc., plus all things gymnastics and she loved every single minute of it. Coach Stacey and Coach Aliza, along with Coach Christina are truly amazing with the kids. My daughter became a strong, confident and brave little girl while she was there and I’m so grateful to them for it!”

Social events like camps, birthday parties, after-school programs and Parent’s Night Out provide parents with safe and fun options for kids. Make sure to check out this amazing local business that provides love and encouragement while inspiring kids to develop self-esteem and confidence through gymnastics. WGV Gymnastics is located at 135 Center Place Way. You can visit their website at wgvgymnastics.com or follow along on social @WGVGymnastics

 
 
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Northeast Florida is thriving and ready to be enjoyed! “Residents of World Golf Village live in the perfect location to conveniently explore each neighborhood that makes Northeast Florida so special. In such a fruitful area, all the activities, restaurants, and sites provide a unique experience to make lasting memories with friends and family,” shares Davidson Realty President, Sherry Davidson. We’re sharing some MUST visit neighborhoods on the First Coast that you need to check out! 

Ponte Vedra Beach 

Known for its elegant shopping and fine dining, Ponte Vedra Beach is a luxury resort town with plenty to see and do! Ponte Vedra Beach is home of the pristine TPC Sawgrass, one of the most famous golf courses in the world, and the host course for The Players Championship. If you’re interested in a little outdoor adventure to take in the beauty of Northeast Florida, enjoy a hike at the GTM Reserve. Ponte Vedra Beach provides ample options for a night out with friends like Valley Smoke which offers classic Southern BBQ plus a variety of tasty cocktails. 

Downtown St. Augustine 

Even if you’ve visited historic Downtown St. Augustine before, you likely only scratched the surface of this charming city on Florida’s Historic Coast. Truly immerse yourself in the Old City by paying a visit to Villa Zorayda to see art from around the world, taking a stroll down St. George Street and having lunch at Columbia, and partaking in the #1 Whiskey Tour in North America at St. Augustine Distillery. There is always something new to find in Downtown St. Augustine.

Anastasia Island

Just east of St. Augustine, you’ll find a barrier, 14-mile-long island called Anastasia Island. Known for its breathtaking beaches, Anastasia Island gives visitors a taste of Historic St. Augustine without the crowds. To get the full Anastasia Island experience, visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, the Fort Matanzas National Monument, and Anastasia State Park. Oh and if you have some little ones with you, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm is a MUST SEE! 

Riverside/Avondale 

New meets old in historic, eclectic Riverside and Avondale! While the area is most popularly known for being the home of the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, Riverside and Avondale have the wonderful ability of making everyone feel like a local. From the charming Riverside Arts Market under the Fuller Warren Bridge on Saturday to the multitude of breweries (Aardwolf and Brewz are excellent choices!), there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Amelia Island 

Whether you are interested in a romantic getaway, a fun family vacation, or a day trip exploring, Amelia Island has it all! Amelia Island is a quiet piece of Northeast Florida paradise with a stunning beach and a quaint town. Enjoy a bite at Joe’s 2nd Street Bistro for a relaxed, island atmosphere and fresh seafood specialties. Visit the tranquil Amelia Island State Park – the only Florida state park that offers horseback riding on its beaches! Once you visit historic Amelia Island once, you’ll be longing for another visit. 

It doesn’t matter where you live on the First Coast, you’re always just a short drive to something new to discover.

 
 
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It’s finally summer vacation. Take advantage of the beauty and fun Northeast Florida has to offer and create a summer full of memories to remember with your family and friends with our summer bucket list! 

Treat Yourself

Kickback, relax, and enjoy a sweet treat! Stop by The Donut Experiment for some donuts you won’t soon forget. We’re serious…they have a Sriracha Donut! If you’re in need of a cold treat, look no further than Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops to cool you down. The Mango Mojito and Blueberry Lavender Lemonade are just a sampling of the refreshing and delicious flavors you can choose from. If you’re in the cookie mood, pick up a box of Insomnia Cookies and try the Confetti Deluxe Cookie and the Salted Caramel Cookie. Enjoy the sugar rush – it’s summer! 

Move Around

Make staying active fun this summer no matter how hot it is outside! Embrace the heat and make a splash at Shipwreck Island Water Park. From the waterslides to the Typhoon Lagoon, you will have hours of fun in the sun. Visit Fiesta Falls Miniature Golf Course after dinner to enjoy a leisurely round of mini golf while the sun is going down. Don’t forget to grab a soft serve ice cream cone while you’re there! Take a break from the heat at Anastasia Bowling Lanes. Sign your kids up for a Summer Fun Bowling Pass and receive two FREE games of bowling every day all summer long.

Try Something New 

Ditch your comfort zone and try something different! Sign up for a Candy Class at Sweet Pete’s Candy where you can learn how to make all kinds of tasty treats like Lollipops and Taffy. Take an afternoon to explore Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park. Hanna Park is one of the premier surf spots in Jacksonville and the perfect place to watch the waves. 

Back to Basics

You can never go wrong with some classic Northeast Florida staples. The Jacksonville Zoo is always a hit! IllumiZoo will be happening every Friday night between June 4 and August 27 from 6-10 pm. The Zoo will come alive at night with live music and entertainment that are sure to make for a memorable evening. Root for the home team at the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp game this summer. Get tickets for a Friday game and enjoy fireworks after the game! 


Make this a summer to remember! Be sure to tag us on Instagram and Facebook every time you cross one of these experiences off your list.

 
 
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Spring has sprung and rain is inevitable. While the weather in Northeast Florida is envied by many with an average of 223 sunny days a year, St. Augustine also gets, on average, fifty-one inches of rainfall per year. Keep those rainy days interesting with a trip to one of these classic spots in St. Augustine that will be sure to entertain and educate you.

St. Augustine Pirate & Treasure Museum

AHOY, MATEY! Spend the day at The Pirate Museum and explore owner Pat Croce’s impressive collection of pirate memorabilia. Hunt through more than 800 pirate artifacts and state-of-the-art displays created by the Disney Imagineers. The Pirate Museum is home to the only surviving treasure chest in the world AND one of the only remaining Jolly Roger flags. Before you leave, be sure to stop by the gift shop to purchase a little pirate booty of your own to take home. To plan your day at the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, visit www.thepiratemuseum.com.

The Old Jail

In 1891, Henry Flagler commissioned the company that eventually built Alcatraz to construct a jail just north of downtown St. Augustine. To avoid instilling fear in the public and to encourage his friends to invest in the city, Henry Flagler disguised the jail to look like a hotel! The Old Jail provides guests a glimpse into the daily lives of St. Augustine’s most notorious prisoners. Enjoy an interactive experience as costumed actors tell stories of the jail and the prisoners behind bars. Visitors will also have a chance to view the large collection of weapons and artifacts on display. The Old Jail is truly a must-visit in St. Augustine!

St. Augustine Distillery

If a rainy day has you in a drinking mood, stop by St. Augustine Distillery. This family owned and operated establishment is committed to making world-class spirits using the best of Florida’s agriculture. St. Augustine Distillery offers free tours everyday so visitors can learn how they make their spirits from farm to bottle, the differences between each spirit, and, best of all, learn how to make St. Augustine Distillery’s FOUR signature cocktails! No reservation is required for these amazing tours and they are FREE – can’t get much better than that! 

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum

If you haven’t already visited, you have to admit you’ve always been curious about Ripley’s Believe It or Not! From incredible artwork to shrunken heads, your eyes won’t know where to look next. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum was founded by Robert Leroy Ripley to display the amazing artifact collection from his extensive travels. He documented his adventures in his famous comic strip, “Believe It or Not!”. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit their website

Contact each location for their latest COVID protocols and restrictions.

 
 
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St. Augustine, Florida is most popularly known for being America’s oldest continuously occupied city, however, St. Augustine is also building quite a reputation as a foodie paradise. Walk the historic streets to find a restaurant scene that is far from predictable. From craft cocktail bars and specialty wine to Spanish cuisine and steakhouses, there is something for every appetite in St. Augustine. With so many dining options to choose from, locals are truly the best to get recommendations from. Below are the TOP three restaurants in downtown St. Augustine selected by World Golf Village residents. 

Michael’s

Nestled on the scenic Calle Cuna you will find Michael’s complete with a refined, nautical finish and cozy courtyard. With a specialty for steaks and coastal Spanish cuisine which incorporate fresh, local ingredients, you’ll discover a seasonal entree menu as well as classic Michael’s dishes including Plantain Bon Bons and Seacuterie Board.  Chef Michael Lugo, a self-taught Puerto Rican Chef, developed his passion and mastery of cooking from his grandmother. For an elevated dining experience, Chef Michael will take you on a guided multiple course meal with each course paired with the perfect wine. Call Michael’s to inquire about availability and make reservations at (904) 810-2400 or by visiting their reservations page

Prohibition

Take a step back in time! Prohibition Kitchen is a retro, gastro pub paying homage to the Prohibition and Gilded Age giving you a taste of the 1920’s. Grab a seat at the bar and enjoy a drink and live music to completely take in the friendly, vintage atmosphere. Located in the heart of downtown St. Augustine on St. George Street, Prohibition Kitchen has a large variety of craft beers and handcrafted cocktails. Prohibition Kitchen’s menu is a foodie’s dream come true. With decadent, unexpected pub grub including Lobster Roll, Rabbit Pot Pie, and spiked milkshakes you will definitely be satisfied at locally sourced Prohibition Kitchen. You are truly in for an experience at Prohibition Kitchen. 

Collage

For an upscale, intimate dining experience with something for everyone, look no further than Collage in St. Augustine’s historic district. From French Escargot to New Zealand Lamb Rack, you and your party will enjoy specialty cuisine from all over the world. The menu adequately showcases the eclectic taste of owners Mike Hyatt and Cindy Stangby. Collage was recently named one of OpenTable’s 100 Most Romantic Restaurants In America, clearly making it the perfect date night restaurant.  Collage’s local, fresh ingredients, quaint atmosphere, and unique international fare provide a dining experience you won’t soon forget. Make a reservation today by calling (904) 829-0055 or clicking here

Contact each restaurant for their latest hours of operations and measures for COVID compliance. 

 
 
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Someone needs to remind Mother Nature that it is October and it’s time to send in the cooler temperatures. But despite the heat, the rain, and the humidity we are currently experiencing in Northeast Florida – it is FALL! That means all things pumpkins, pumpkin spice, pumpkin flavors, and pumpkin patches! Most of us wouldn’t actually give up our year-round temperate weather we experience on the First Coast for the bitter cold months our neighbors north of us endure. And while it would be pleasant to enjoy fall-like weather and leaves changing colors there are a few places we highly recommend to enjoy the fall season (even if you do have to wear tanks, shorts, and flip-flops.)

Travel over to Green Cove Springs and enjoy a full day of fun at Amazing Grace Family Farms www.agcropmaze.com which is open Fridays and Saturdays through October 31st. The list of activities available at Amazing Grace Family Farms will keep children of all ages busy enjoying the adventures and will likely have them sleeping on the way home. From their pumpkin patch worthy of family photos to the enormous jump pad that will completely exhaust any kid or even kid-at-heart, there’s plenty to see and do. The crop maze will challenge the adventurers with its many twists and turns. The BarnYard Ball Zone will have the crowd going wild. The Tug-O-War brings just the right amount of competition for the family (or maybe family vs. family). And a highlight every year is the farm animal petting zoo where children are able to experience real life on the farm with these precious animals. Parents, be sure to have your phones ready because this beautiful farm provides plenty of picture perfect moments to capture the wholesome fun you’ll enjoy outdoors making memories.

Next on our list, is CONNER’S A-MAIZE-ING ACRES. This small family farm packs in a HUGE and exciting day. Located in Hilliard, CONNER’S A-MAIZE-ING ACRES is a local favorite for many reasons. With 125 acres of a working family farm, during October and select days in November, Conner’s A-MAIZE-ING ACRES is open to the public for people to enjoy their sweet farm animals, wagon rides, playground, ride horses, pumpkin patch, and most importantly the incredible corn maze that changes from year to year. With last year’s maze shaped with The Wizard of OZ theme, this year’s maze will have you lost in a web…Charlotte’s Web, that is! Be sure to bring your appetite, too. Conner’s A-MAIZE-ING ACRES offers plenty of eating options perfect for your day on the farm. For more information visit www.connerscornmaze.com

Rounding out our TOP 3 is SYKE’S FAMILY FARMS. The Sykes Family has more than 50 years of farming experience and provides their guests with a tradition people can enjoy year after year. The 9-acre corn maze is filled with twists and turns and will have families laughing and navigating as they enjoy the outdoors together making memories. Syke’s Family Farms also provides a play area, farm animals, cow milking, hayrides, pumpkin patches, cow train, teeter-totters, duck races, and plenty of wholesome entertainment to keep the family busy for hours. For more information about hours of operation and tickets visit www.sycofarms.com

All three locations are operating under state recommendations and providing COVID-19 precautions. Please contact the locations prior to your visit for a better understanding of how each farm is operating.

 
 
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Are you noticing things around St. Augustine seem to be slowly getting back to normal? While the pandemic and precautions are still part of our everyday lives, an overwhelming majority of St. Johns County students are back in school and for most of us that looks like a slight return to normalcy, bus routes in the morning and afternoon, and fewer crowds in our favorite spots. Let’s get out in our great city and safely enjoy the best that St. Augustine has to offer. Grab your bags Moms, Dads, Grandparents, and empty nesters! It’s time to act like a tourist and hit Davidson Realty’s Top 3 Places to Visit in St. Augustine! While it was very difficult for us to narrow it down to just three, our Davidson Realty team focused on a few that aren’t often found on everyone’s list like Leisure Group Travel Magazine and U.S. News & Travel.

St. Augustine Distillery 

As Americans seemed to experience the great hunt for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, one local St. Augustine company stepped up in a big way to help with the shortage of hand sanitizer across the First Coast. The St. Augustine Distillery is located in the historic district of St. Augustine in an old ice plant. Known for their vodka, rum, gin, and whiskey, you can find their labels on the shelves of local liquor stores. But you can also take a free tour of the distillery while also enjoying a sampling of their spirits. The St. Augustine Distillery is operating under CDC guidelines and accommodating tours every 30 minutes with no reservations but on a first-come-first-serve basis. Open Monday through Friday from 10 am until 6 pm, St. Augustine Distillery is a place we highly recommend touring and enjoying a cocktail.

Trolley Tours

With a couple to choose from (and we don’t want to single either one out) we highly encourage you to hop aboard one of the trolley tours in this historic St. Augustine area. Even in the hottest of temperatures, the movement along the bank and through the streets of downtown provides a breeze and a little bit of relaxation as you get a St. Augustine History 101 tour and learn about Ponce de Leon and the early settlers. The Trolley Tours are also a great way to navigate some ideal and popular dining spots. Hop on and hop off as you view the beautiful buildings, experience the historic charm, and enjoy the ride. 

Vilano Beach

With so many beautiful choices of sandy beaches in St. Johns County, our Davidson Realty team selected Vilano Beach as one of our favorite places to visit. It’s important to know the history of Vilano Beach to fully appreciate why it’s one of our favorites. The prestige of this beautiful stretch of shoreline dates back to the late 1800s when Henry Flagler would host his millionaire friends at Vilano Beach. A quaint little beach village, Vilano offers some of the area’s most charming restaurants, shopping, and plenty of rentals to enjoy a “staycation” in your own backyard. Vilano Beach offers a casual, laid back atmosphere, beautiful natural surroundings, and some of the best sunset views. Pack up the car because Vilano Beach also allows four-wheel drive vehicles on the beach making it so convenient to spend a day on the sand.

With so many options to choose from that include the Castillo de San Marcos, the Lightner Museum, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and so much more, sometimes it’s fun to tour the road less traveled. We encourage you to tour our Top 3 Places to Visit in St. Augustine, maybe for the first time but likely for a repeat visit, and let us know what you think!

 
 
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Mother’s Day is fast approaching (Sunday, May 10) and we can all agree this year’s special day will be a little different. While we may not be able to take Mom out to eat or to the day spa due to social distancing guidelines, there are lots of creative ideas out there to make her feel special!

Here are some creative ways to make this year’s Mother’s Day even more extraordinary than any other year:

  1. Make a picnic for Mom.While going out to eat is not in the cards, you can plan to go “out” to eat at a nearby park or even your backyard. Everyone will enjoy getting out of the house for some fresh air and a relaxing picnic. You can make her favorite meal at home or, if cooking is not a good option, plan to arrange delivery or takeout ahead of your excursion
  2. Create a memory scrapbook.Pull out your dusty photo albums and transform old pictures of Mom into a new collage. Gather the whole family to peruse together, asking questions about her younger self—old jobs, schools, hobbies, travels, friends, even old fashion choices! Mom will love the trip down memory lane.

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