Larry Starr, Sarasota Businessman, Discusses Florida Vacation Rentals

Larry Starr Sarasota

Larry Starr Sarasota

Larry Starr, Sarasota vacation rental expert who heads Resort Vacation Accommodations, understands the many considerations families and individuals face when securing rental properties. In the following interview, Larry Starr, Sarasota resident and entrepreneur, offers advice on choosing vacation rentals and some suggestions on what to do and see in the area.

Gathering of Experts: Thanks for joining us! Can you start by telling us what a vacation rental is?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Vacation rentals are a dozen steps up from staying in a traditional hotel. Vacation rentals are usually houses, condominiums or townhomes that offer more living space, privacy and freedom. The best part is that many of the rentals are located near or directly on the beach!

Gathering of Experts: Where are your Resort Vacation Accommodations properties located in Florida?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Resort Vacation Accommodations has hundreds of gorgeous rental properties to choose from in the Southwest Florida region from Bradenton to Venice.

Gathering of Experts: Which cities might be familiar to readers?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Currently, vacation rentals are located in Anna Maria Island, Bradenton and Bradenton Beach, Longboat Key, Sarasota, Lido Key, Siesta Key, Casey Key and Venice.

Gathering of Experts: What should vacationers consider when choosing a vacation rental?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Each vacationing family is unique and should think about what will suit them best. For example, consider whether beachfront or beach access properties would be most pleasing. Sarasota’s properties and the surrounding rental’s amenities can vary greatly; consider how much personal, onsite services are ideal. Also, think about the amount of space that will be needed and the proximity to area shopping, restaurants, and attractions that is desired.

Gathering of Experts: With seven gorgeous locations, how does a vacationer choose between them?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: You’re right, Sarasota and the surrounding area has much to offer to every different type of vacationer! The best way to research is to visit the Resort Vacation Accommodations website to learn more about each area and the available properties offered.

Gathering of Experts: Which type of vacationer would enjoy Southwest Florida?

Larry Starr, Sarasota Vacation Rental Expert: Southwest Florida is unique in that while it is both a beach lover’s paradise. It also offers golf, fishing, shopping, fine dining, and more–all in close proximity to the beaches. If golf and luxury dining are on the agenda, vacationers should consider Longboat Key. If vacationers are looking for adventure and great nightlife, Sarasota mainland or Siesta Key may be the choice. If “just off the beaten path” rings true, consider Anna Maria Island, which is close the hustle and bustle of the city, but not too close, explains Larry Starr, Sarasota ’s biggest fan!

Larry Starr, Sarasota and surrounding Southwest Florida vacation rental expert, has been involved in the travel and vacation industry for 25 years. He owns AutoXotic, a luxury vehicle rental and ownership company, a natural extension of his vacation services. Larry Starr’s Sarasota community contributions include activity with the Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau and membership with the Sarasota County Arts Council and many local Chambers of Commerce.

Stay Strong: Better Health During Winter Months

It is common for humans to sort of hibernate during winter’s cold months. Our calorie intake increases, physical activity decreases. Result: lack of energy, weight gain, colds and flus.

Q: Is it okay to exercise in the cold?

A: Exercise is a good way to strengthen the immune system during the cold months and to gain more energy. One of the biggest misconceptions people have about exercising in cold weather is the need to dress too warmly. Exercise produces lots of heat — it tricks you into feeling like it’s much warmer than it really is. But once your sweat dries, you can get very cold. It’s important to wear layers. Remove them as soon as you start sweating and put then put them back on as needed. Slim people may need more padding than someone who is heavier. Wear a scarf or a face mask to warm the air before it hits your lungs. Protect your feet with extra thick socks. Don’t forget about your hands and ears which are vulnerable to frostbite too.

Q: What are some good comfort foods to serve kids during winter?

A: Soups. Hot soups are one of the best comfort foods during snowy winters. You can make soup at home from scratch or buy ready-to-heat cans from grocery store. Soups are healthy and delicious and fairly inexpensive. They help prevent winter cough and cold and are also great decongestants.

Hot Chocolate: What’s tastier than a cup of rich hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream and marshmallows, when your hands are cold from the freezing temperature outside?

Q: How can I get more vitamin D in the winter?

A: Sunshine is the best source of vitamin D. But if you live in a place where most days are grey and gloomy, you need to find other ways to get enough sunshine for your daily dose of vitamin D. Spend as much time outside as you possibly can to take advantage of every sunray.  Go for a walk or eat your lunch outside. Your hands and face will absorb some vitamin D. It may not be your required dose of vitamin D, but it’s better than nothing and the fresh air will be good for you on many levels too. Egg yolks and salmon are the foods with high amounts of vitamin D, so eat more of these foods in the winter. A last resort, take Vitamin D supplements.

Peter Spittler Architectural Services on the Many Facets of Planning

Peter Spittler Architectural Services

Peter Spittler Architectural Services

As a full-service firm, Peter Spittler Architectural Services provides planning services to clients ranging from regional land use planning to detailed, site-specific planning. In the following Q&A, the team at Peter Spittler Architectural Services discusses the many facets of planning required for successful and thoughtful land use.

Q:  Why is planning such an important part of designing and building?

Peter Spittler Architectural Services:  There are a multitude of factors to consider in determining the best use of land when planning a development. This is necessary in order to make sure that all parties involved benefit, and all established rules and regulations are followed.  The Peter Spittler Architectural Services team provides expert guidance to wade through all of the planning issues that must be addressed.

Q:  How does the team at Peter Spittler Architectural Services begin to breakdown the planning process for clients?

Peter Spittler Architectural Services:  The services provided by the team vary with the size, scope and location of each project.  Peter Spittler Architectural Services provides planning services that address maximizing land use, regional planning, smart growth, and site-specific issues.

Q:  Would you explain how Peter Spittler Architectural Services helps clients plan for maximizing land use?

Peter Spittler Architectural Services:  Our team is committed to promoting the best use of land possible.  With that in mind, Peter Spittler Architectural Services guides clients to find ways to turn blighted urban areas into vital, revenue-generating centers, for example.  Land use planning also includes steps for protecting and promoting open spaces and natural/wild habitats for long-term sustainability whenever possible. The success of the project is based on balancing the ecology, economy and cultural assets of the site and host community

Q:  What are some of the main facets of regional planning?

Peter Spittler Architectural Services:  Regional planning takes into account the implications that built infrastructure can have on an area much greater than just a city or neighborhood.  It is a means for ensuring the long-term vitality of a region, which could be a state, several states, or even a grouping of cities.  Regional plans are critical to ensure development is not built upon a flood plain or space is set aside for unsightly, but critical landfills; greenbelt areas are maintained; and the health and wellness of people in the region are put first and foremost.

Q:  We have read about Peter Spittler Architectural Services’ commitment to smart growth. Can you tell us more, please?

Peter Spittler Architectural Services:  Sure! Smart growth has been a hallmark of the Peter Spittler Architectural Services team’s major projects.  Peter Spittler Architectural Services is dedicated to easing urban sprawl to protect our natural spaces and to rebuild community centers that were once central to healthy, vital cities and towns.  Smart growth refers to developing communities that are compact, walkable, and that include restaurants and retail options onsite, rather than three miles away in a strip mall.

Peter Spittler Architectural Services is a design firm located in the Cleveland/Akron Ohio area.

Gregory Fake: Passionate About Literature

Gregory Fake

Gregory Fake

On any given day, Gregory Fake can be found talking with bestselling, celebrity, and children’s authors while developing segments for the award-winning Lifetime Television series, The Balancing Act.  “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” explains Gregory Fake, “I have a longtime passion for literature.”

Beginning at an early age, Gregory Fake developed a love for reading and the written word.  In fourth grade, he read 140 books, more than any other student at Sam Houston Elementary School that year.  Small wonder, considering Gregory Fake’s parents were both writers and reading and writing were commonplace in his household.

As an adult, Gregory Fake is captivated by fantasy and science fiction writing and is especially fond of the great authors, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien.  “These two authors with similar childhood stories, who later went on to become friends at one point, were able to create fantastical worlds like no other,” offers Gregory Fake.  “While C. S. Lewis developed an early interest in animals and bringing life to animals, J. R. R. Tolkien created his own languages with his cousins.  The basis for their great novels was born well before either one of them knew it,” Gregory Fake continues.

Much like these great authors, Gregory Fake leveraged his childhood of watching his grandfather excel in high steel and listening to him discuss the stock market, into a successful business and now television production career.  Today at The Balancing Act, Gregory Fake is able to combine his business training and experience with creativity and know-how to produce provocative, empowering television for women.  While he would love to be a renowned author, he is grateful for the current influence of literature and words in his work in television.

Not surprisingly, Gregory Fake is currently exploring the works of the various authors who were members of the Inklings, a literary club formed in the 1930’s at Oxford University, which included Lewis and Tolkien.  His love of fantasy and science fiction allow Gregory Fake to bring creativity and intrigue to The Balancing Act morning program each week.

Gregory Fake received a degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Georgetown. He has consulted for Fortune 500 companies and has practiced banking law.  Residing in Pompano Beach, Florida with his wife and kids, Gregory Fake enjoys fishing, volunteering at his church, and spending time on the beach with his family.

Aldo Todini Offers Advice on Capri Travel

Aldo Todini

Aldo Todini

Aldo Todini stays busy with his career as a business consultant. However, he also takes time to relax and rejuvenate. Today, the Gathering of Experts Blog catches up with Todini who says the tiny Island of Capri is his go-to getaway.

Gathering of Experts: Thanks for taking time out to chat with us today. We always enjoy hearing about attractions that even the locals love.

Aldo Todini: My pleasure.

Gathering of Experts: Let’s talk about the island itself. Capri is known for its unique shoreline. Tell us about it.

Aldo Todini: The Island has many rock formations known as faraglioni. These are tall rock “islands” that jut out from the ocean, just off the coast. Plus, the waters are clear and blue – very picturesque.

Gathering of Experts: And, away from the ocean – what attractions does the mainland offer?

Aldo Todini: Anacapri, the Island’s highest town – it has spectacular views of the harbor and offers visitors the opportunity to ascend to Mount Solaro.

Gathering of Experts: Emperor Tiberius spent a great deal of time on the Island, correct?

Aldo Todini: Yes, he had several private villas here and used the island as a personal retreat.

Gathering of Experts: Can you tell us a bit about the town of Capri?

Aldo Todini: This is the main city on the Island, and also its namesake. Piazza Umberto I is located here. La Piazzetta, as the Piazza is known, is where the Santa Stefano cathedral is located.

Gathering of Experts: Capri is notable for having a traditional Mediterranean feel. How is that?

Aldo Todini: There are grapevines and olive trees growing throughout the island and the towns that dot the landscape. Capri is very typical of a Mediterranean village.

Gathering of Experts: What about shopping?

Aldo Todini: The Island and its towns are home to many unique shops. Handmade items and regional foods and wines are sold here throughout the year.

Gathering of Experts: Tell us about the monastery…

Aldo Todini: In the 14th century, Carthusian monks erected the Certosa di San Giacomo. Historically, there has been much controversy around the land, stemming between the native islanders and the monks who lived there. Of course, now, the area is more modern and houses museums and a school. It is one of the main attractions on the island.

Gathering of Experts: Where are the best views on the Island?

Aldo Todini: I’d have to say that is from the Phoenician Steps – a set of 800 steps leading down to the sea from Anacapri.

Gathering of Experts: Sound like this is an interesting vacation destination.

Aldo Todini: Indeed and it is a wonderful day trip from Naples. I’d like to suggest visiting the Grotto Azzurra. This sea cave has the most beautifully colored waters in the world.

Gathering of Experts: We will keep that in mind. Thank you for talking with us today. We look forward to hearing more about Italy and all of its charms.

Aldo Todini: Again, my pleasure – I am always happy to share the beauty of my county with travelers.

Aldo Todini was born in Turkey to Italian parents and has lived here since early childhood. While he has traveled the world in his career as a technical and business consultant, Aldo Todini says there is no place that can rival the feeling of unity one feels in an Italian home or restaurant. 


Aldo Todini offre consigli su Capri di viaggio

Aldo Todini molto impegnato dalla sua attività di consulente aziendale, ogni tanto si concede anche qualche giorno di vacanza per rilassarsi e rigenerarsi. Oggi, Gathering of Experts Blog si è fatto raccontare da Todini Capri, la sua destinazione preferita.

Gathering of Experts: Grazie per aver trovato il tempo per parlare con noi oggi. Abbiamo sempre piacere di parlare di luoghi meravigliosi con le persone che li amano.

Aldo Todini: Il piacere è mio.

Gathering of Experts: Parliamo dell’isola. Capri è conosciuta per il suo litorale unico. Ce ne parli?

Aldo Todini: L’isola ha molte formazioni rocciose conosciute come faraglioni. Questi sono “isole” – scogli alti – che spuntano dal mare, vicino alla costa. Inoltre, le acque sono limpide e blu – molto pittoresco.

Gathering of Experts: A parte il mare cosa offre la terraferma?

Aldo Todini: Anacapri, paese più alto dell’isola – ha una vista spettacolare sul porto e offre ai visitatori la possibilità di salire al Monte Solaro.

Gathering of Experts: L’imperatore Tiberio andava spesso sull’Isola, giusto?

Aldo Todini: Sì, aveva alcune residenze private e usava l’isola come un rifugio personale.

Gathering of Experts: Puoi dirci un po’ sulla cittadina Capri?
Aldo Todini: E’ la cittadina principale dell’isola. Piazza Umberto I si trova qui. La Piazzetta, la famosa piazza di Capri, è dove si trova la cattedrale di S. Stefano.

Gathering of Experts: Capri si distingue per la sua tradizionale atmosfera mediterranea. In che senso?

Aldo Todini: Viti, ulivi e limoni crescono in tutta l’isola e ne punteggiano il paesaggio. Capri è alla fine un tipico di un villaggio mediterraneo.

Gathering of Experts: Che dire sullo shopping?

Aldo Todini: L’isola è piena di negozietti unici. I prodotti che vi si trovano sono spesso fatti a mano e i cibi e i vini locali sono in vendita tutto l’anno.

Gathering of Experts: Parlaci del monastero …

Aldo Todini: Nel 14° Secolo i monaci certosini costruirono la Certosa di San Giacomo. Storicamente, ci sono state molte frizioni tra gli isolani e i monaci che vi abitavano. Naturalmente ora la situazione è  serena e all’interno della Certosa sorge un museo e una scuola. E’ una delle principali attrazioni dell’isola.

Gathering of Experts: Dove sono i migliori panorami?

Aldo Todini: Secondo me alla Scala Fenicia – una scalinata di 800 gradini che scende verso il mare da Anacapri.

Gathering of Experts: Sembra come una meta turistica interessante.

Aldo Todini: infatti, ed è una gita meravigliosa che si può fare tranquillamente in un giorno da Napoli. Suggerisco ovviamente di visitare la Grotta Azzurra. Questa grotta sul mare ha le acque più incredibilmente colorate del mondo.

Gathering of Experts: Lo terremo a mente. Grazie per aver parlato con noi oggi. Non vediamo l’ora di farci raccontare di più sull’Italia e tutto il suoi luoghi pieni di fascino.

Aldo Todini: E’ mio il piacere – io sono sempre felice di condividere la bellezza del mio paese con i viaggiatori di tutto il mondo.

Aldo Todini è nato in Turchia da genitori italiani. Mentre lui ha girato il mondo nella sua carriera come consulente di business e d’investimenti, Aldo Todini dice che non c’è luogo che può rivaleggiare con il sentimento di calore e di unione che si sente in una casa italiana o al ristorante con i propri cari

Scott Sohr Says Winterset Woods Is Ideal for Families

Scott Sohr

Scott Sohr

Developer Scott Sohr has interests in several residential neighborhoods that are ideal for raising a family. Affirming that proximity to award-winning schools, easy access to shopping, and a short commute to work are a priority for most parents today, Scott Sohr has focused on properties that feature all of these things and more, including peaceful, scenic locations and luxurious amenities.

Located near Brentwood, Tennessee, just south of Nashville is a neighborhood jewel named Winterset Woods. According to Scott Sohr, Winterset Woods is located off Nolensville Road in Williamson County. As Scott Sohr explains, Winterset Woods is located on Sunset Road, and is a community of luxury homes priced in the $300s and $400s.

Scott Sohr describes the homes in Winterset Woods as award winning with Drees Homes and Celebration Homes, homebuilders that have been around for more than 85 years. According to Scott Sohr, Drees Homes offers a variety of floor plans so that homebuyers may select the floor plan that works best for their family. Winterset Woods offers seven different floor plans ranging from 2421 to 3302 square feet, each featuring all-brick construction and a two-car garage with a side entry.

When complete, says Scott Sohr, Winterset Woods will offer only 61 home sites, keeping the neighborhood small. Winterset Woods will offer a variety of amenities to help bring the community together, including a clubhouse and several pocket parks. Parents with children will love the playground and Scott Sohr projects that the pool will appeal to residents of all ages. Not only is there an adult pool in the subdivision, there is also a children’s pool that includes a mushroom waterfall, Scott Sohr reveals.

According to Scott Sohr, one of the highlights of the neighborhood is the ornate fountain at the community’s entrance. Beautiful, well-kept landscaping enhances the quality of life in Winterset Woods and commuters will have an easy time getting to work as well, says Scott Sohr, with major interstates only ten minutes away.

In addition to the neighborhood of Winterset Woods, Scott Sohr owns several properties in Middle Tennessee, including several other luxury communities in Brentwood and Franklin. He holds an interest in Courtside at Southern Wood, in addition to the new Arrington Retreat development further south. Scott Sohr also owns commercial, residential, and manufacturing properties in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama.


Scott Sohr has a long and varied career with experience in all facets of business development and management. His first successful enterprise was selling engineered thermoplastics to industrial corporations. As a commissioned manufacturing representative, Scott Sohr was free to build a team of customer service and engineering professionals who helped him grow his business very successfully. Sohr sold his interest to A. Schulman in 2010.

Scott Sohr currently uses his entrepreneurial skills in the real estate sector as a developer and investor. He has backed several commercial and residential developments and runs Stonegate Land, which boasts Arrington retreat and Winterset Woods among its many notable communities.