The End of an Era

I haven’t posted anything for the past couple of weeks as I’ve been very busy exploring Florida, looking at houses there, and coming back to Columbia University Medical Center to celebrate my 15 year career there and to officially “retire”.

Bob and I have decided to move to Florida.  We have explored the idea of so many locations that our accountant says she needs a map with push pins.  We’ve looked over the past couple of years at Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and decided that many of the attributes found in these locations (ocean, plethora of flora and fauna, etc) could be found right here in the USA.  We are attracted to the Gulf of Mexico rather than the eastern side of Florida. 

Last week Trevor, Bob and I made a visit there. We went down anticipating that Naples would be the perfect spot.  I’m not sure it was the Spring Break most teens would envision but we tired Trevor out!

We had a wonderful time in Naples. We took a fanboat tour through the Everglades, walked through the Audubon Cypress Swamp Preserve, spent a delightful afternoon (despite the rain) at the zoo, visited the beaches, enjoyed St Patrick’s Day in the downtown, and looked at houses that were on the market. 

While no one could deny the beauty,  and upscale culture of this city, we determined that it was primarily a tourist location with little to sustain us in terms of the arts, theater, or diversity. 

The most amazing thing about Florida is all the marvelous birds.  Everywhere you look you’ll find exotic looking birds flying overhead, checking out the goodies to be found along side the road, or sharing the beach.  Trevor and an ibis even vied for sandcrabs.  The ibis won.

We also spent some time north of Tampa looking at a number of small towns, each with their own charm but also lacking that special something.I felt like Goldilocks – this one was too hot and this one was too cold. Finally based on the advice from a number of friends we headed to Sarasota. We booked a hotel on Siesta Key and started to explore.  YES! Sarasota was perfect.

I am told the beaches on Longboat and Siesta Keys are the most beautiful in the world and it is easy to agree. The sand is a talcum powder white quartz that is incredibly soft and sparkling.  Sarasota has a vibe to it that draws one in. We spent one day at the botanical garden and later walked around the downtown, delighting in the variety of ethnic restaurants (Thai, Spanish, French, Mexican, Vietnamese, Italian, and so forth) and listening to the live music played everywhere.  The downtown is vibrant and interesting and very walkable. 

A memorable day was spent in the botanical gardens there.  The orchid display was incredible. Now there is a flower that just screams SEX!

Trevor found a serene spot and pet the koi.

We knew we would decide where to move based on “falling in love” with the place.  Sarasota won our hearts.  We spent the day with a realtor who quickly became one of those kindred spirits that you intuitively realize will end up being more than a business colleague.  Candice McLeod was originally from South Africa and I enjoyed listening to her accent.  She spent the day introducing us to the area and her enthusiasm for this city was contagious. We found that is not too big, not too small, and filled with interesting things to see and do.  

We looked at a great number of places and have put in an offer on a house. It’s a short sale which has to be one of the greatest misnomers as short sales take a loooong time – up to six months. 

Meanwhile we have already had a showing of our lovely Deer Isle home and I am told the couple had only complimentary things to say about it. 

Spring is here. The gazillion bulbs I planted (and some in the basement that didn’t quite get in the earth) are sprouting.  I am filled with hope!


About Shawn Phillips

As someone who has relocated several times – buying and selling houses of my own for personal and investment purposes – I can easily put myself in my clients’ shoes. I know what I needed from my Realtors and I attempt to provide that or better for my clients. My family relocated to Charleston six years ago and my love for the city and the lifestyle is one I enjoy sharing with others. Prior to entering real estate in the Low Country I was a hospital administrator for many years in Charleston and New York City and was a Realtor in Sarasota, Florida. Leveraging my experience, I pride myself in providing outstanding client service, availability, personal touches, multi-faceted marketing, and skilled negotiations. The level of trust given to me by a client is the greatest compliment I receive as a professional. It is the foundation of my practice. My dedication to each and every client is evident before, during, and after the sale!
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7 Responses to The End of an Era

  1. Marie says:

    Nice photos! I’ve been to Miami & Key West, love it.

    Already wrote to my friend in Sarasota and gave her your name, muhahhahahaha. Am I good or am I good? I also sensed you will be moving soon, within what, 3 weeks?

    You must promise me you will meet my son Sean before you fly away and become a snow bird. Promise!!! He is fantastic and sure he and Trevor would get along famously. I have a guy hangout set up in the snowmobile shed, complete with old easy chairs & a couch. Have him bring a guitar if possible, Sean is jonesing for his.

  2. Hi Shawn – I’ve been reading your blog for a while and just love hearing what you’ve been up to. You may recall me from Womyns Wisdom Circle (I went to CUC Paramus).

    My husband and I moved to Seattle about 5-1/2 years ago and while I’m not retired, I’m working on reinventing myself as an energy healer. So I understand totally what it’s like to follow heart and Spirit where it moves you.

    Blessings to you on your new journey to Florida. I look forward to hearing more about your journey!

    * Sue *

  3. lsinha says:

    Wow, I’m sorry you’re leaving Maine, but Sarasota looks beautiful. We’ll miss you!

    • You can’t imagine how much I wish I had the money to keep a house here, in NJ, on the coast of California and in Florida! Deer Isle is remarkable and we feel incredibly lucky to have lived here for the past 6 months.

  4. Geri says:

    Love you choice, Now we can visit easily and will see my cousin Michael, too. My brother, Carl, is looking to buy a condo there. So, things are looking even sweeter………. My cousin also has a friend in Real Estate if you want to check with anyone else, I know he would hook you up to look around. He also has a house he rents out if your looking for a longer stay while you are out there hunting for a new home. Geri

    • We are working with the most attentive buyers’ agent in Sarasota – Candice McLeod ( She has not only a remarkable grasp of the area and the market but also is the perfect advocate for the buyer. She’s tough and on target and I feel like we have the best possible partner in this endeavor. If anyone is looking for real estate in Sarasota, Florida, I highly recommend her. Here is her contact info: Gulf Coast Realty – 941 914 1338

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