Monday, 5 July 2010

Check out this great guide to the island from Marvin the Manatee - but don't worry if you don't speak manatee, there are handy subtitles.

Kinda makes you just want to jump into that crystal clear sea and float your troubles away...

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Still reelin em in!

Do you know, of all the fancy places to eat on Anna Maria Island - and there are a few - the best rated restaurant on the whole island, according to TripAdvisor users, is the Rod n Reel Pier?

Here is a just a quick, er, taste of some of the reviews about the place:

From alwaysmoving: 'Reading previous reviews left us wondering if we should try this place out. We are glad we did. The food was simple, good and quickly served. The views are wonderful and it was fun to dine and watch people fishing. Be prepared for rickety, old wooden steps and floors with basic furnishings -- this is definitely NOT a fancy place but worth the visit. We would return.'

From gibbs1530: 'My husband and I are from Clearwater. We took the day off today and drove down to Anna Maria. Had read about The Rod and Reel on Trip Advisor and decided to check it out. Grouper sandwiches were great and service good. Just what you'd expect of a small fishing pier and cafe. Nothing fancy, but definitely a stop you should plan to make.'

From Bjean2105: 'My husband and I have been to Anna Maria Island 3 times so far and our 1st stop is always the Rod & Reel! The food is always great and the fries are to die for. We don't usually eat fries but in this case we make an exception. The fish is always so fresh and they offer really great meal deals. We love to go here for lunch and the view is great. We always hang around the pier for awhile after lunch to watch the fishermen and to watch the sea life. We have observed Manatees, fish, sting rays and a baby hammerhead!! Fun place to stop.'

There are some less glowing reports on there, but it must be doing something right to be 83% recommended by TripAdvisor users and No1 on the island.

If you want to go there and check it out yourself, you'll find it at 875 N Shore Dr, Anna Maria, FL 34216. Just drive past the City Pier on North Bay Blvd, hang a right and you can't miss it.

Come to Anna Maria and stay with us at Anna Maria Vacations. Visit for the best vacation rentals money can buy

Friday, 18 December 2009

In the market for food

Stock up on those tasty Christmas treats at one of the farmers markets being held in Bradenton.

The Community Farmers Market at New Medicine Community at Health Park East, 6040 State Rd. 70, Bradenton (761-9816) runs through April 2010.
This market features local, organic and sustainable goods from Florida farmers and friends. 2:30-6:30 p.m. every Wednesday.

Farmers Market. Along Main Street, Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton (907-943 or This seasonal market returns to Lakewood Ranch for its third season and runs 8 a.m.-1 p.m. every Saturday.

So get out there and support our farmers. And you might even get the odd free sample - well it is Christmas after all...

Friday, 27 November 2009

Crab craw, made easy

So it's stone crab season down here in Florida, and everyone's eatin' the little critters.

But for the first-time chef, just getting through the shell can be something of a trial. Well, perhaps the easiest way to show you how to do it is to, er, show you how to do it.

Here's expert Bert Davis to show you how. Bert has been cutting fish for 18 years. He is the sales and marketing manager for Waterstreet Seafood, one of the largest import/export companies of fresh and frozen seafood.


Don't just visit Anna Maria Island, Fl, stay there. For the very best in luxury rental accommodation, visit

Friday, 20 November 2009

Fun, folk, fish ... and ice cream!

Like your folk music? Like eating some of the best seafood on the west coast of Florida? Well if the answer to just one of those questions is yes then you really need to be heading over to Crotez for this weekend's second annual Cortez Folk Festival.

The festival starts at 10am and runs to 4pm. Admission is free.

As well as some great folk music, the festival also features nearly 30 vendors offering crafts, food and fun for all the family. Several area bands will be performing, from folk, to bluegrass and country tunes, among them Hatch Motley's Sea Chanties, Myakka, Something Special, Eric Von Hahmann, Maple Mountain Music and Cortez String Band, as well as Glen Hines, Tony Polidori, Heather Doig and Culbreath.

The Florida Maritime Museum will also host guided tours, several vessels of the museum's wooden boat fleet will be on display, and there will be a special demonstration at the F.I.S.H. Boat Shop.

Along with an ice cream eating contest, organizers plan to raffle off a 19-foot sailboat.
For more information, call 708-6120 or visit

Sorry, we really should mention that again in big letters: AN ICE CREAM EATING CONTEST! Actually, forget the fish and the folk, that is reason enough to clear your diary. See you there, big spoons at the ready...

Come to Anna Maria Island and stay with us. Visit for details of how you could be spending your next vacation in paradise.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Reggae rhythm hits Bradenton Beach

A taste of the Caribbean has come to Anna Maria Island.

Next time you go back to Anna Maria Island you might notice something new on the strip. Actually, this new restaurant is halfway along Gulf Drive North (opposite the Bradenton Beach Club, at 1700 Gulf).

It is already proving popular with the locals, and more than once I spotted a steel band outside treating the patrons to some real sounds of the Caribbean.

The menu looks varied, but very much Caribbean cuisine, and should make a nice change for the island.