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Christmas from the heart of Longboat Key

JEANETTE BILLINGS
Staff Writer
jbillings@lbknews.com

If your holiday shopping isn’t finished yet but your energy level is, perhaps shopping close to home is the answer. Whether your list is short or long, with everyone on it from young to old, for friends or family, Longboat Key offers pleasurable shopping with plenty of options.

Although these are not the only gift opportunities available here on Longboat Key, these businesses have ideas to make your holiday shopping easier. Check out the following LBK shops and businesses that bring smiles to givers and receivers alike:

Invited to dinner and want to bring something special to the host/hostess, visit Exotica Florist in the Center Shops at 5360 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Suite 105 (next to Ciao Restaurant). Exotica Florist, Longboat Key’s premier floral shop, is family owned and operated, thus assuring all of its customer’s exceptional quality and service.

Exotica Florist provides fresh flowers, healthy plants, quality service and a wide variety of beautiful designs. Exotica offers Christmas flowers, holiday and winter arrangements, as well as a large variety of exotic florals. The shop is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday. Though you don’t actually have to leave your home to give this gift, simply call (941) 383-2276 or visit them on the web at ExoticaFlorist.biz.

Longboaters’ Dr. George and Cynthia Noble own a unique shop that makes floral arrangement you can eat. Edible Arrangements offers delicious chocolate covered strawberries and fresh fruit sculptures that resemble flowers in bloom. These tasty, fruit gift baskets inspired by bouquets arrive chilled and ready to devour. And you don’t even have to leave your home—just call (941) 316-9400.

If you would like to give the gift of vino or spirits, look no further than Avenue of the Flowers, where you have two stores that offer a wide variety of both. Anthony V’s at 12 Avenue of the Flowers is a full liquor store, offering a wide variety of scotches, brandies, cognacs, wines and other liquors. Anthony V’s is in the breezeway between Publix and CVS. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday.

You can also visit the Longboat Key Publix for a large assortment of wines from around the world, even wines produced by Longboat Key residents Pat and Bob Gussin, owners of Oceanview Vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand. The vineyards have been a great success for the Gussins as well. Their label, Villa Maria, is now available at Publix stores.

Perhaps you would like to give the gift of food. If that is the case, then a visit to Harry’s Continental Kitchen and gourmet deli is a must. It was more than 30 years ago that Harry and Lynn Christensen started the bistro and gourmet deli, and they have been helping Longboaters’ celebrate the holidays without the hassle of cooking ever since. Enjoy what is truly important over the holidays—friends and family—without any stress. Harry’s features gourmet take-out dinners with everything from soup to nuts, full catering services and a large variety of wines and desserts. Harry’s is the place to go when bringing food to friends and family. The deli is at 525 St. Judes Drive and is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday. For catering services, call (941) 383-0777.

Perhaps your loved one is a photography lover. If so, check out the lovely, artistic photography from Mary Lou Johnson. Johnson’s passion centers on people, places and anything else that intrigues her at the moment. You can purchase photographs by contacting Johnson through her Web site at www.MaryLouJohnsonPhotography.com or hire her to create a private portrait of family and friends for the holiday.

For a bird’s-eye view of Sarasota, Longboat Key, Lido or St. Armands, visit photographer Jack Elka’s Web site, JackElka.com, to find truly unique gifts for the aerial enthusiast in your life.

If you have admired some of this year’s majestic Longboat Key News A1 photos, chances are photographer and Longboat Key News newcomer Sean Looney shot them. Looney has captured some fascinating Longboat waves. For photographs from Looney, visit LooneyPhotography.com.

Are you looking for a gift for someone who has it all yet is very deserving of something one-of-a-kind. Consider visiting Art by Suzanne at 5620 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Owner Suzanne Patton uses the studio as a teaching facility and portrait studio. Bright, vibrant canvasses line the window and provide a glimpse into this talented painter and teacher. Commission a portrait or buy painting classes for your loved one. For more information on classes or portrait work, call Patton at (941) 538-8803.

Have a person to buy for that loves collectibles and antiques? Whitney Beach Plaza’s Stephanie Claussen may have just the thing. Clausen owns Steff’s Stuff at 6828 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat. Call Steff for shop hours at (941) 383-1901.

Maybe your loved one deserves a pampered spa day. There is more than one place to find relaxation and be pampered on Longboat Key. Panache Salon at 22 Avenue of the Flowers offers everything from standard hair and nail treatments to luxury full-body massages, aromatherapy, hot stones, reflexology and many more treatments.

Further north on the Key is David Gregory Salon in the Centre Shops, formerly the Don Frank Salon. The salon offers hair and nail services and massages. David Gregory Salon is at 5370 Gulf of Mexico Drive right next to the Blue Dolphin Café. For appointments, call (941) 383-8699.

Just north of the Center Shops is Tina’s Beauty Salon and Manny the Barber. For that man that loves an old-fashioned shave and haircut, Manny has been working on the key for well more than 24 years. Tina’s can offer ladies a lovely haircut or hair up-do for the holidays. Tina’s is at 5610 Gulf of Mexico Drive where Manny’s barbershop is as well. For and appointment, call (941) 383-5877.

Live on the North End? Look no further than Design 2000 for your beauty fix. Irina and Rick LaRose have served Longboaters since 1994. Located in the Whitney Beach Plaza at 6840 Gulf of Mexico Drive, the design team at Design 2000 offers manicures, pedicures and total services for women and men. For appointments, call (941) 387-9807 or visit www.Design2000LongboatKeyFL.com.

Do you need a gift for a history or Longboat lover? Cross that person off your list and contact the Longboat Key Historical Society, located in the Whitney Beach Plaza at 6826 Gulf of Mexico Drive. President Tom Mayers said the shop is open most days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Longboat Key Historical Society offers books, bags, hats, t-shirts and a variety of unique Longboat items. Call ahead if you would like to (941) 387-8323.

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