Beachhouse.com Clients go GREEN!

This video shares the story of the Anna Maria Historic Green Village, the pioneering sustainable development and one of the most exciting projects Anna Maria Island has seen.

Click HERE to view some great vacation rental properties on Anna Maria Island!

Through the Historic Green Village, we aim to create a new standard for sustainability by developing the first LEED Platinum and the first Net Zero Energy campus in the Florida.  LEED means Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a rating system with certification for “green” buildings developed by the Green Building Environmental Council of the United States (USGBC) and provides certain environmental standards for construction.  Being Zero Net Energy, means the Green Village, will generate more energy on-site than it will consume in a given year.

The Green Village covers 6 lots on Pine Avenue in Anna Maria City and when completed, will contain 7 commercial buildings and 2 rental units.  Our goal is to showcase the best in sustainable design and technologies while maintaining the unique charm of our historic seaside community.   Over the last six month we have planned and designed a wide range of strategies and technologies that demonstrate how we can foster a sustainable future while preserving the historic charm and scale of Anna Maria Island and set a new benchmark of performance in energy, water and sustainable design.

The project will feature:

  • HOT Technology: 100 kilowatts of Photovoltaic’s (PV) panels to generate electricity on-site and solar thermal panels to produce a steady supply of hot water for our café
  • COOL Technology: Geothermal Cooling & Heating – using the constant temperature of the earth to reduce the energy required to cool & heat our buildings
  • SMART Technology: from the simple – using cisterns to capture rainwater to irrigate our site and flush toilets, to High Performance equipment: all fixtures and appliances will be either EPA Energy Star or Water Sense certified; ensuring that only the most-efficient equipment is used
  • REUSE & RECYCLING on a big scale – historic buildings, recycled materials, low-emitting paints, sealants and solvents, and a range of other sustainable design choices and material selections choices that reflect our desire to have minimum impact on our environment.

We hope that you might find this video interesting in regard to the projects and programs you are currently involved.  For more information, please visit the Anna Maria Historic Green Village Website.

Beachhouse.com Homeowners go GREEN!

Beachhouse.com is lucky enough to work with some of the best homeowners in the world…they never cease to amaze us.  One of our clients, PineappleFish, is so committed to doing good for the planet, that they went green for the Holidays.  We are happy to present to you…

The Greenest Christmas Tree in Florida!

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PineappleFish wanted to celebrate the holiday season with a beautiful tree at the site of the Anna Maria Green Village, but of course, being Green they did not want to use electricity to power the lights.

The Result?  The first Zero Net Energy Tree ever seen on Anna Maria, with power for the lights generated by the sun!

Tom Stockebrand, their solar expert, took a very simple solar panel, generating 175 W of energy over 5 hours.  He hooked it into a bunch of 24-volt batteries to store the energy and an inverter, which converts the energy into an electrical current to turn the tree lights on.  Then they set the tree lights onto a timer – from 6pm to 11pm each night.   Only 5 hours of sunshine charges the batteries!   They switch the lights on when the sun goes down and get 5 hours of electricity to light the lights!

The panel actually generates more than they need because the tree lights don’t need very much (and Florida has plenty of wonderful sunshine).
If you’re on the Island, check it out, and perhaps take a photo with the only sun-powered Christmas Tree in Anna Maria (maybe the whole of Florida!)

Click HERE for more information on the Anna Maria Historic Green Village and all of the Green initiatives on Anna Maria Island.

Top 5 Most Romantic Beaches in the World

It’s hard to say what, exactly, makes a vacation HOT.  It’s more than the just weather, as Heidi Klum and hubby Seal could tell you – he infamously popped the question in a snow cave atop a glacier – but you can bet their engagement night was anything but frosty.  And while canopy beds, private hot tubs and candles can’t hurt, they can’t do all the work either.

We’ve gathered the top 5 most romantic beach destinations in the world as a starting point for your next X-rated escape.  There’s everything from a private island to a sizzling Latin locale – so pack your suit and anything else you may need…that is, if you even plan on emerging from your hotel room – yeah, we know your type…

Hayman Island, Australia – There must be a heap of  too-hot-for-TV Gilligan’s Island clips on someone’s cutting room floor.  I mean, after being stranded on that island for so long, wouldn’t the Professor ever get the urge to play doctor with Mary Ann?  Surely Ginger got into character and role played with Gilligan at least once?  If you’ve ever had the urge to reenact your very own “stranded on a deserted island” fantasy, look no further than Hayman Island (and not to worry – even though it’s far less populated than most places, it still isn’t completely deserted). Part of the world wonder that is Aussie’s Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island is paradise found – an Eden that unabashedly flaunts its beauty that will have you asking your Lovey, “Who’s your Skipper?”  This sultry tropical setting has sprawling pure silica-white-crystal beaches and is where wildlife flourishes – it’s common to see everything from cockatoos and swans to bats and butterflies. At night, the stars seem to light the ink-black sky like perpetually frozen fireworks, so go ahead…get your Gilligan on.  Where to stay? Hayman Island Resort

Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica – Do you like your romance on the wild side?  Go au-natural at this raw eco-tourism haven…it’s hot and sticky most of the year, and Corcovado has a masterful balance of dense rain forests that open up onto stunningly beautiful beaches.  You and your sweetheart can experience the park’s virgin beauty with its green-sand beaches, wild mix of animals, and lantern-lit tent camps – the perfect location for you to reenact that unadulterated “In the jungle…” moment a la Ace Ventura…except at Corcovado there’s not a noisy headboard to give you away!  Afterward, you’ll want to cool down with some tropical cocktails, frolic in the warm surf, or strip down and rinse off in a fresh-water stream as it spills out from the jungle.  It may be taxing to get there, but just think of it as foreplay.  A-weema-weh A-weema-weh A-weema-weh… Where to stay? Corcovado Tent Camp

Shell Beach, California – Why should places like Paris, Ipanema and Santorini have all the fun?  You don’t have to travel out of the country to fall in love again – rekindle the passion amidst a wine-soaked love-fest on California’s picturesque Central Coast.  Shell Beach (and its neighbor Silver Shoals) feature the region’s famous dramatic rocky coastline.  If you can take your eyes off each other, enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific, Point Conception and Avila Bay from the bluffs or walk down the cliff trail to access the secluded beach, where you can swim, surf, or sunbathe.  Afterwards, take your sun-kissed bods to one of  the areas infamous vineyards.  There are plenty of romantic tasting rooms scattered throughout the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo county, so pick up a bottle of wine and perhaps some edible chocolate body paint and head back to your hotel to see where the night takes you!  Where to stay? Dolphin Bay Resort

Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico – Just like Dancing with the Stars’ Gilles Marini could make your heart skip a beat without missing a beat, this steamy setting will leave you and your partner feeling hot and bothered.  You two are sure to feel the energy of the Latin culture at this secluded sandy beach that was named after the hot and sensual dance.  Framed by lush, green hills, the 1.5 mile wide horse-shoe shaped bay offers a wide, pink-tinted sandy beach and aqua blue, translucent and calm waters that almost resembles a swimming pool – perfect for snorkeling.  As daylight fades and temperatures cools a bit, the regions magical ocean bioluminescence are revealed.  This natural wonder, paired with the brightness of the starry night sky make Flamenco Beach about as romantic as you can get and will have you feeling HOT HOT HOT!  Where to stay? Bahia Marina Condo Hotel

Happy Bay, St. Martin – Two words – clothing optional.  After passing the last bar at Friar’s Bay, a short walk down a dirt path leads you to the sweeping views of Happy Bay beach. Fairly undiscovered, there isn’t much at this beach to interrupt your afternoon or to distract you from each other – no crowds, noisy restaurants, or traffic sounds. Don’t forget to pack your suntan oil – exchange sensual massages and you and your love can melt away on Happy Bay’s powdery white beach.  And if things get too steamy, there are plenty of palm trees lining the beach for shade or, uh-hem, added privacy.  Afterwards, stroll the wide beach and take in the vibrant, breathtaking vista.  If you’re up for more exercise, dip into the calm waters to enjoy some of the best snorkeling St. Martin has to offer.  Go ahead – leave your inhibitions and your tan lines behind.  Where to stay? Happy Bay Villa

Guest Blog – Stacy & Jeff do SE Asia (23 of 40)

boatin through the delta

boatin through the delta

delta blues…
“woke up one morning, do do do sat right up in bed, do do do pour myself some whiskey, do do do i look over and kiss my baby still asleep in bed, and then i cried ive got the delta blues,  the delta blues baby  oooh ive got the delta blues.

we’re traveling to the mekong delta to a home stay on a fruit orchard. locals have been starting an ecotourism on the islands of the delta  where you arrive by boat to rustic bungalows on their property. the average costs are around 7 to 10 dollars a night and the dinners are usually a set menu.

a 400 lb catfish was caught here last year (biggest ever!)

a 400 lb catfish was caught here last year (biggest ever!)

in the delta the local specialty is the elephant ear fish. first they cook the fish on the grill which they fuel with the husk of the rice, giving the fish a flakey crust. then they stand the fish up in between some wooden dowels so you can see the fish (i couldn’t see an elephant ear). next they bring you an assortment of fresh greens and herbs with a plate of rice noodles and rice papers. you place the greens first, next some noodles and top it of with the flakey fish. roll it up and savor the fresh creation.

we chose a home stay on a fruit orchard which proved to be difficult to reach on our own. we tried to do this without a tour company so we could move on our own schedule. we first booked a 1 day tour of the mekong to reach one of the islands (this was recommended to us so we could see a few diffrent things and also advance further along)  we were planning to get off the tour half way through and catch a ferrry to another island. the remainder of the group would return to saigon.

taking a rest

taking a rest

on the tour we first visited a local coconut candy shop where they make a delicious coconut taffy. then we took the boat to a bee farm where the locals capture the queen bee to produce honey. another attraction was the pythons which you can hold and take your picture with. if you wish, you can stay here at their home stay – we thought it might not be such a good idea to sleep at a home stay with with snakes and bees.

so here is where we decided to travel by the seat of our pants.

picture stacy and i with our packs (that weigh around 60 pounds each). our boat guide tells us it’s around ten km to the boat ferry, so we catch a local horse and buggy taxi to the dock (turns out the 10 km was only about 1 km).  we reach the ferry only to find out it was the wrong one. our ride cost us 6 dollars – looks like the driver will be eating steak and lobster tonight.

mekong canals

mekong canals

so then we had to hire motorbikes to take us to the bus stop, which scared the shit out of stacy. with the heavy packs, we were on the scooter with some random guy, zooming along a large bridge that went up and down like a roller coaster – we held on for dear life. were dropped off on the side of the road and greeted by the local vender who offered us a chair and some shade. at this point no one spoke any english so we just smiled and let the trip unfold.

soon after, the shop vender yells out at a mini van passing by to negotiate our bus ticket. seconds later were stuffed into the minivan. one thing about bus travel is that, when we get on, they make the locals get out of their seats so we can have the seat. we feel a little weird, but since we’re paying more than everyone else its ok. the driver gives the local vender a little kick and away we go.

now the stares begin…everyone usually turns to you smiles and laughs and talks in vietemese. our minivan cargo consists of 12 people, 1 motorbike, lots of boxes, and us. eventually one of the girls started a conversation of broken english to get our story. come to find out she wants stacy to find another boyfriend and she wants me (understandable –  i’m pretty damn good looking).

river house

river house

i have to decline but she still continues to share her fruit and coffee with us. 5 hours later were dropped off at the bus station (the wrong one again). here we have to hire another motorbike to the car ferry. we get on the bikes and away we go to the wrong ferry. the guys are gone before we realize and now we need to get to the car ferry to reach our orchard island. lucky for all travellers, help is always one step away (for the right price).  we’re now the most frustrated we have ever been. we must hire a boat to take us directly to the family ranch or take another scooter ride to the right ferry.  once we calmed down, we bit the bullet and hired the boat ride directly to the orchard guest house.  this $7 a night room has just cost us a total of $35 to get there.

looking through out boat

looking through out boat

after spending two relaxing nights, a day of boating around the floating market and canals, we left on our way to the cambodian border.  another motorcycle ride on skinny little pathways and bridges and we made it to our bus – a local bus. once again the seats were cleared for us and we were on our way to chau doc.  we were told the ride should be about 4 hours long.  after the first hour or so we hit traffic.  we were at a dead stop on the road behind a line of working trucks, minivans, and other buses.  the roads beside the bus are filled with scooters and people.  the scooter guys are poaching people from the buses and vans, and at this point we don’t know whats going on.  ladies are walking up to the windows selling everything from cold water and towels to grilled corn, sticky rice, gum, you name it.  we sat in this traffic line, moving slowly – inch by inch – for at least an hour until we reached a ferry dock.  we realized what the scooters were doing now.  in the distance you could see major construction of a massive bridge.  until it gets completed, this ferry line would be a daily activity for most.

coconut candy makers

coconut candy makers

finally we had fresh air blowing in the bus again (local bus means no AC, just hot sticky and sweaty – smells real good).  an hour later we stop for lunch.  we take a seat and realize everyone’s looking at us again.  guess we’re in an area where not too many westerners pass through.  we sit down sipping our pepsi over ice and take in the silent stares.  i (jeff) begin rolling a ciggy and an old man with ho chi minh characteristics, who has been sweeping around us, takes notice.  he stops.  he stares. he smiles.  we come to realize, maybe he hasn’t seen a rolly since the last time he came across americans some 30 years ago.  jeff offers him one and he smiles and sits down in acceptance.  by now, he’s smoking in silence with a smile, others from the bus are circling around us in silence, and we just sit there and take it all in.  very much like when robin williams returns to neverland in hook and all the lost boys surround him in curiosity staring and touching.  finally the old man says two or three words softly and kindly (we have no idea what he said).  but they were probably the softest words we’ve heard in all of the vietnam language.  after this surreal moment, we load back on the bus and in a few more hours we arrive at our destination.

coconut candy...like caramel

coconut candy...like caramel

we hop on the back of a bike – with both our bags and both of us…major weight – and the guy rides us around from hotel to hotel until we find one that fits us.  now we’ve settled in, we have a great balcony to watch the kites fly in the sky, the mellow traffic below and enjoy the 24 pack of beer 333 that jeff bought and the many mangoes stacy bought.  we’re happy campers.

wo here we are, do do do do, ice cold beer in my hand, do do do do, killin them mosquitoes to survive, do do do do, hopin my next ride will be alright, do do do do , cause that’s how the mekong delta blues carries you through the night, do do do do…

xo”

honey bee man

honey bee man

mekong bees - can you find the queen?

mekong bees - can you find the queen?

wildman jeff

wildman jeff

water buffalo - keeping it cool

water buffalo - keeping it cool

starting to charge a bit now...

starting to charge a bit now...

$6 horse and carriage ride - what a rip off!

$6 horse and carriage ride - what a rip off!

boatin it - its been a looong day

boatin it - it's been a looong day

typical mekong scene

typical mekong scene

cute little whiskers!

cute little whiskers!

wood

wood

watermelon

watermelon

stacy

stacy

jeff in front of our homestay

jeff in front of our homestay

mekong cathedral

mekong cathedral

canal scene

canal scene

boy peeling fruit

boy peeling fruit

floating market

floating market

house

house

schools out

school's out

arriving in chau doc

arriving in chau doc

jeff + beer = happy camper

jeff + beer = happy camper

moon rising

moon rising

dusk settling from our balcony view

dusk settling from our balcony view