Help: Anna Maria Lodging

Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 01:41 PM
  #1  
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Help: Anna Maria Lodging

Hi:
Unfortunately, our plans to visit Sanibel in September were ruined by Charley (the motel we were staying at is closed until November). We are trying to find a nice, quite, romantic, beachy place near Tampa. I think I've narrowed it down to Anna Maria Island and have done quite a bit of research on it. We are on a limited budget, but still want to stay on the beach with a patio/balcony and great view (asking a lot, huh?). I found a place called Seaside Inn and Resort and was wondering if anyone has stayed there or has any info about it. It seems motel-ish, but that's ok as long as it's clean and in a nice location. Any help would be appreciated.
Tracy
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 04:16 PM
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Tracy, I don't know many places there but be aware that there is Anna Maria city and there's Anna Maria Island. The island has the three cities of Anna Maria, Holmes Beach, and Bradenton Beach. Holmes Beach has a lot of high-rises that might not be what you're looking for. But the northern edge of Holmes Beach has some lower budget hotels, that are nice and cozy. Some places say they're in Anna Maria because that's where people want to stay. So check this out carefully.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 05:19 PM
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annamariaislandchamber.org

Tracy, I checked out your place, it's on Bradenton Beach. Bradenton Beach is nice in spots. This seems like an OK spot of Bradenton. But it's not Anna Maria.

Try the chamber site above. Anna Maria is pricier than Bradenton. I've had good luck with Island Realty and I see they have a listing. I've actually booked a one-bedroom apartment through them that was gulffront and very very reasonable. Also, they are very helpful so if they don't have a place that's in your price range, they might suggest a hotel for you. The north end of Holmes Beach is nice and I recall some reasonable places there. Again, ask Island Realty.

Unfortunately, Anna Maria is mostly residential so there aren't many places at all in the city of AM. If you don't get any recs here, be sure to give them a call (and no, I'm not affilitated with them, but once I was looking for real estate down there and they were very helpful).

Other places to consider are Passe-A-Grille and Sunset beaches (St. Pete area).
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:01 PM
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Tandoori Girl, I'm not sure I understood your last message. Bradenton Beach is on Anna Maria Island. You said "this seems like an OK part of Bradenton." Bradenton city actually ends quite a few miles to the east of the island - my parents live a few miles from the island and they are not officially part of the city of Bradenton.

I looked it up on mapquest and it's in a pretty good location - restaurants are nearby, etc. I am not familar with this particular resort but their web page looks pretty nice!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:16 PM
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My top picks are Bungalow Beach (Bradenton Beach), and Harrington House (Spangler and Huth houses; Holmes Beach). These are the two we recommend when friends visit and want to stay on the beach. Bungalow Beach has several cozy, nicely appointed cottages. Harrington House is a B&B in a home that was owned by a local doctor and they added the Spangler and Huth residences which are a little more private than the main house.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:22 PM
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Hi, birder. I don't know the city of Bradenton Beach as well as I do the city of Anna Maria, and sometimes people book on Bradenton Beach or Holmes Beach when they want the city of Anna Maria. They confuse the island with the city. And usually the hotels don't differentiate because Anna Maria has such caché and is such a big draw, they don't want to lose their customer.

But after re-reading her post, it sounds like Tracy isn't expecting to be in the city of Anna Maria but rather on the island of Anna Maria so I suppose she's OK with the Seaside Inn. She did say she wanted "romantic" and I think Anna Maria (city) is higher on the romance meter than Bradenton Beach. I've actually romanced there myself.

But it is altogether possible, birder, that I'm merely losing my mind. I am a bit hurricane crazy.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:46 PM
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Just to clarify - there is one high rise on the entire island of Anna Marie - regardless of what city you're talking about. (Just north of Homes Beach where you can get all-the-pankcakes-you-can eat). After that went in, the island passed an ordinance that nothing taller than 3 stories could be built. There are plenty of those but I don't call them high rises.

Seaside is very nice - we drive past it on Gulf Drive which is served by an island trolley from one end to the other.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 07:54 PM
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Hmmm. I guess the fact that they've built those ones so close to the beach on Holmes Beach makes them seem higher. Frankly, I thought they were.

Thanks for that clarification.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 06:00 AM
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Clarification: I don't care what city it is on Anna Maria, really, unless you guys are saying that one is much better or different than the others. The web doesn't indicate that one city is wildly different than the others. I guess I was just thinking that we'd prefer Anna Maria over, say, Siesta Key for instance. And I can see driving to Longboat Key for some shopping and drinks, but I don't need to stay there. Most of this is price motivated, plus I don't want to stay at like a Hilton-type place. I just want it to be clean and be able to spit into the ocean (not that I would ever... )
Thanks again for all your help.
Tracy
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 06:52 AM
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I like all three cities but they are all three very different, IMHO. The biggest difference is the traffic that can be so incredibly stifling on the main street that runs the length of the island (Gulf Blvd?). This is not a problem in Anna Maria (city) which is at the northernmost tip of the island where that road eventually ends, but it can cause traffic to crawl or come to a standstill in Bradenton Beach during the high season. I think you will be fine in September. But the locals surely know better than I.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:04 AM
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t73a,

No, the beach communities on the island don't differ much from each other. They all kind of run together. The locals just refer to it as "the island" as a whole. The north end is considered Anna Maria proper and is less congested than the Bradenton Beach end. You do have to beware of traffic on Bradenton Beach on the stretch of Gulf Drive between the two bridges. That is one problem with the Bungalow Beach as it is on the edge of that stretch. Things slow down in September, so traffic should only be heavy on the weekends.

I forgot to mention that the Harrington House is an easy walk to the Holmes Beach public beach which has a cafe that's very popular. The pavilion there is scheduled for renovation soon but I don't know if it will start this month.

At my age I avoid the beach but I will be going to a wedding on the island next weekend if you want me to run by the Seaside and take a look for you. I'm not familiar with it but I'm always interested in places that I can recommend to friends and family. Let me know.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 03:08 PM
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TG - OK, I see, some people prefer the actual city of Anna Maria over the other two cities. I can understand that given its location. One year we came down to visit my parents, and a friend of the family offered his beach house in Anna Maria to us. It was directly on the Gulf. Wow, what a fabulous place. We had a great time.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 03:21 PM
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birder, I like them all. The beaches there are gorgeous. Bradenton Beach has that funky "downtown" area with the wonderful public beach, Holmes Beach is still affordable and close-knit, and Anna Maria has that older tropical feel. Love them all.

Hey, birder, have you been out and about? The streets are really crowded in S. Tampa, everybody going to the grocery, hardward, gas station -- but the interstates are empty. I drove into Ybor and there were lots of folks walking around. But then it is Friday. You're up in Oldsmar, right?
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 03:58 PM
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Classes were cancelled today, but hubby and I went to secure my computer etc at UT, and then we went to the home show at the convention center. There didn't seem to be much traffic on the major roads, although there were a lot of people at the home show. (The show was OK, not great.) Yes, I do teach at UT - it's a great place with excellent colleagues.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 05:27 PM
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Birder,
I just saw your post on another thread about going to high school near Anna Maria and wanted to repeat my question here in case you don't check back in on that one.

Where did you go to high school? I'm assuming it was Manatee since it's the closest to the island. In case I'm not too old, I wondered if we might have been class mates!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 07:23 PM
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Hi, actually, I went to Bayshore. My parents are off Cortez Road. Graduated in 1989 - oh my, 15 years ago, I can't believe it! Argh!
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Old Sep 3rd, 2004, 08:54 PM
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Birder-

If you can't believe it's been 15 years, would you believe that I went to Bayshore when it was a middle school?! I'm closing in on my MHS 30th reunion. My dad still lives in the house I grew up in on 26th St.(it was a dirt road when they bought the house!).

My daughter was very unhappy when her volleyball match against Bayshore was cancelled tonight because of the hurricane.

Small world isn't it?
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Old Sep 4th, 2004, 09:47 AM
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It is a small world! My sister lives on 26th. One of my students at UT just graduated from Bayshore and knew some of the teachers I had - I can't believe they are still there!
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Old Sep 4th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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My oldest son started Manatee High this year and I was shocked to see some of the teachers I had were still there. I remember thinking how old they were when I was a teenager! Of course they are now senior citizens. It warmed my heart to see one in particular; she was a skinny PE teacher who made the girls line up and she would walk behind the line and tell each girl how much weight they needed to lose. She is now about 40 pounds over weight! What goes around comes around.

My dad lives near the community college (junior college in the 70's!).
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Old Sep 7th, 2004, 06:52 AM
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Hello Jayne -
I'm curious about the wedding on Anna Maria. Can you report back?
Thanks!
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