- Wil Engineer (40)
- Christine Mom (39)
- Vincent Student (13)
"A year from now what will you wish you had done today?"...
Every day we ask ourselves that quote "A year from now what will you wish you had done today?". For us that means travel to all of wonderfully diverse and culturally rich places on the earth. We are an outgoing family of 3 looking to share our home with others.
Our home is located in beautiful Sarasota, FL. The house is almost 2,800 square feet (260 square meters) and has 4 bedrooms and 3 baths, central air-conditioning, a pool and close access to plenty of activities or you can just lounge around with your feet up and enjoy the community we live in with its walkways, pool, bike trails and outdoor sports courts.
Our home is on one level which makes it perfect for older travelers or families with young children. It can sleep up to 8 but currently one bedroom is used as a home-office. The kitchen has all updated appliances, granite counter tops and there is plenty of seating throughout the house for groups to gather and relax or just throw open all the doors and invite friends or family over to entertain. There is also a kitchen appliance pantry with Cusinart food processor, Kitchen Aid Mixer (for baking or making fresh pasta), Breville panini machine, and a Breville juicer for any guests who like to make fresh, healthy juices. The adjoining family room has a large flat-screen tv and premium cable channels like HBO, Showtime, HGTV and of course Sports Center (US). We have both an X-box and Wii systems and most games have an "E" rating so everyone can play. There is a Bose sound-system which can enhance your viewing experience. There is a computer with internet access and tons of books for both children and adults. The Master bedroom has a king sized bed, en-suite bathroom with separate sinks, a jetted tub and large walk-in shower. There are also his & hers walk-in closets. All other bedrooms have queen and full sized mattresses. The second bedroom can sleep 2 small children and has toys and books for kids who love to read.
Outside our pool area has a charcoal grill, and plenty of seating. The pool comes with a hot tub and a child safety fence can be installed for any travelers who have young children who cannot swim. The community is focused on appreciating nature and there are plenty of sidewalks, and the 6.5 mile long nature trail is a short walk or bike ride away. For those families who like to camp we live next to Oscar Scherer State Park and you can always opt to spend time there hiking for the day or camping out. We are also a short drive away from Siesta Key Beach which has consistently been ranked as one of the best beaches in the country. Our family loves the quieter and less crowded Nokomis Beach which is also a short drive away. There is plenty of fishing, kayaking, boating, para-sailing and paddle-boarding companies near-by. There are plenty of restaurants that serve any appetite and as part of your stay in our home we will provide a reference journal on the best of Sarasota. Travelers who seek to do a car exchange can make use of our car (local trips only please) and all of the area attractions will be loaded in to the GPS to make getting there a breeze.
Our garage has 2 bikes, a Trek tow that seats 1 small child or if you want to "go native" you can stock a cooler full of drinks and food and put it in the Trek tow and head out for the day. There are also beach chairs for 4 and a child's skim board.
For travelers who wish to explore the state we are 1 hour from Tampa, FL., 2 hours from Orlando, FL. and ALL Disney attractions and 3.5 hours from Miami FL. and the latin infused South Beach, world class shopping other activities. The only rules we have are respect our home and NO smoking and NO pets.
We love living here and know you will enjoy your visit. We look forward to sharing our home with you.
July 5 — July 26, 2015 These dates are flexible
July 5 — July 26, 2015 These dates are flexible
July 13 — August 3, 2015
We just love the ability to see and experience things that are different from what we see and experience on a day-to-day basis. We believe that the best way we can build an understanding of our world is to visit other places, eat food from other cultures, dance to different music and try to listen to the languages spoken in other countries. It is by doing so that we become caring of the differences in our world. We are outgoing, fun loving and eager travelers.
Christine and Wilfred's home in Sarasota, exceeded (if possible) our high expectations. It was extremely well equipped in all aspects and most exclusively decorated and yet with a very homey atmosphere. We spent lots of time by the wonderful pool and the lounge area with the fantastic BBQ. We were provided with excellent tips and suggestions what to do and were to go (booklet). Wilfred and Christine were always available and very helpful. They went that extra mile to ensure our stay would be as pleasant and comfortable we could only dream of. The immediate neighborhood was beautiful, quiet, upscale and safe where you could go for walks/runs or even play tennis, which we enjoyed a lot. The city of Sarasota was very nice with many restaurants to please all different tastes and preferences. However, the main attraction, are the many beaches, all very close. The Siesta Key Beach is said to be US #1 best beach, we could not agree more. Boat trips, amusement parks, alligator safaris are some excursions a few hours away. We loved our stay in Sarasota!
Our family had the distinct pleasure of staying in this lovely apartment belonging to Martina and Roger. Our every comfort was met in this luxurious and expansive flat. Close to the action of central Stockholm but quiet enough to make you feel wrapped in serenity and peace. Martina and Roger were always available to us if we had a question and no comfort was spared from the fully stocked and well appointed kitchen to the lush master and secondary bedroom. The small but cozy outdoor terrace allowed for dining alfresco and the neighbors were all lovely and helpful The flat sits within quick walking distance of trains and buses and in 15 minutes we could walk down to the center of Stockholm to partake in high end shops, quaint diners, extensive museums (we personally recommend the ABBA museum, The Swedish Museum of History and the Viking Exhibit, the Vasa Museum) which are all well curated and family friendly and the boat tours that can take you all over the archipelago for both local tours and tours of small villages like Sandhamn. Each distinct community has something to offer every taste and style of vacationing. Commuting to and from major airports is easy but coming to this particular home after a long day of sight-seeing, shopping, or dining out was even better. Anyone who decides to visit stockholm and has the privilege of being able to stay in the home of Roger & Martina will easily rank Stockholm, Sweden as a favorite vacation destination.
We had a great home exchange with Chris and Will, their house is awsome, very functional, and top clean. We had very good chat by mail before and during our stay. They were also very careful with our appartment. Osprey/Sarasota is a great place with lots af white sand beaches, nature all around, and also easy acces to all Florida, as we did the Everglades, Miami, Key West, Orlando and Cape Canaveral, during our stay.
Where should we start? The house is just a perfect home for a home exchange. Start with three bedrooms and three bathrooms! The house was clean, the floors are tiled, and easy to clean as well. The house is practical and cozy at the same time. Actually, it inspired us to change things in our own house. In addition, everything in the house was extremely well explained, and everything we needed for our vacation, was there. I think Christine and Wil must be the perfect advisors for home exchangers. We learnt a lot from the Pascasio family, from what they had prepared and arranged in the house, and how they organized things. Christine had made a catalog with all the information we needed, practical things in the house, suggestions for shopping, restaurants and things to do in the neighborhood, in Sarasota and Florida in general. Excellent! They had a large sun umbrella we could use on the beach, beach chairs, one BIG coolbox with wheels and even a small one for just some drinks in the car. Those were things we really needed for a warm day at the beach. It was absolutely great. Probably no need to mention, but the beaches are just fantastic, and reachable just a short 5-10 minutes drive from the house. Actually, there are several first class beaches in a short distance from the house. A morning run will take you to the Gulf coast in 15 minutes. The neighborhood is, like our 17 years old daughter expressed it, looked like in the TV series “Desperate Housewives” (huge complement from a big fan ). Our kids went running on their own (one by one or together) in the early morning (early because it was too warm for training later), and it was so nice and a holiday experience on its own. Looking at the houses and the area, meeting neighbors walking, some with their dogs, cheerfully greeting us good morning. After the morning run, some of us had gymnastics by the pool, others relaxed in the sofa group and had a cup of coffee. The pool area is surrounded by walls and a ceiling that keeps the mosquitos, other insects outside, but let the sun inside so no problem with the tanning. The house is close to the forest/park, and evening meals in the pool area was magical, listening to the sounds from the forest, lights can be turned on to lighten up the nice plants outside the “mosquito walls”. Nice, warm evenings, sitting in a downlighted darkness. It was a magical experience. It made the family dinners at home very special. It is a short drive to get into the Oscar Scherer State Park- Perfect park for walking /hiking and running. The park has several marked walks and there are several activities inside. There are guided tours in the park as well. We regret that we visited Oscar Scherer State park a little late in our state. We would have been there more if we had visited earlier. Another local attraction we loved and highly recommend (as recommended to us by the Pascasio family), was the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. Of other things we loved the most, just a 2-3 hours drive from “home”, was the alligator air boat trip in Everglades. We also took the Key West express boat from Marco Island (Boat departs from Fort Myers Beach as well) to Key West and we stayed one night at a hotel in Key West and took the boat back the next day. Key West was different and lovely. We also went to the Universal Studios in Orlando. Visiting at least one park felt obligatory when staying in Florida, and we had fun. With two girls 17 and 19 years old, we went shopping at quite a few outlets and malls. Even our son 14 yrs old who usually avoids shopping, liked visiting a couple of malls/outlets. It is a different shopping experience, and cheaper, than what we are used to in Norway. There are several malls and outlets to choose among, some very close, and the Orlando Premium outlet is 2-3 hours drive away. By the way, we think the Premium outlet at Ellington (30 minutes drive) was better than the one in Orlando, though smaller. For advices to other things to do, we refer to Christine´s excellent catalog. We have updated her on our experiences of the different attractions. We would never have visited Owen’s Fish Camp if not recommended by the Pascasio family. Nice live music in the backyard while we waited to be seated. It is a must to visit Owen’s Fish Camp when staying in Osprey/Sarasota. One funny thing was that we wanted to go to the Miami side of Florida. We are so glad that we ended up at the Gulf coast. It is a great area. Our son attended the IMG academy in Bradenton (basket ball acadamy), 40 minutes from Osprey. Excellent for him to stay there from Sunday evening to Friday afternoon, and join the family in the weekends. The Pascasio family was very helpful. We got to know them through the e-mail correspondence previous to the stay, but we also had the chance to meet since the swap was for some days non simultaneous. They are great people, kind and helpful, and we are so glad to have new friends in Osprey, Florida. They are always welcome back. Just for the record, our house was in perfect condition when we came home. I hope that readers of our review will understand that an exchange with Wil, Christine and Vincent is highly recommended. A review should perhaps contain a negative experience, something that could have been better? We cannot find a single thing to improve. For us, it felt like winning a lottery. Hands down, the Pascasio home in Osprey is the best exchange. Thank you.
What can I say about this exchange, this family and this country that would communicate in words how wonderful the experience was. Everything was absolutely fantastic. The Westby Family are warm, welcoming, caring and very responsive to our every need or question and the home is set up to offer nothing but stunning views, comfort and convienence. After spending almost 2 months bopping around NYC, Croatia & Prague, we set this exchange up as our final stop and it was like heaven came down and literally took all of our cares and exhaustion from earlier travel and tossed them away. I kid you not when I say that for the first 4 days I literally went from stunning view to stunning view of the the Oslo Fjord from the red couches in the living room, to making dinner in their kitchen and staring out the windows and having drinks on the expansive porch and then sometimes to throwing pillows on the trampoline in the backyard and staring up at the clouds or sitting on the top of the slide and just taking it all in. In addition the home is well situated withing walking distance of a well stocked supermarket, train station (which takes you in to Oslo in under 30 minutes) and the Mall from Hell. I call it the Mall from Hell because I could not shop and buy things fast enough. It is big, beautiful and every store had something I wanted. I spent 2 days there and still did not see all the stores. You can tell from the home that the family is very active, we had a treadmill, ping pong table, and other training equipment that we made good use of. One of the best things of all was that our son made friends with the friends of the Westby's youngest child. They were the cherry on top of a fantastic stay for him. We also spent the day at their cottage on Bronnoya. The scenery there is breathtaking and you just got this warm feeling in the middle of your chest seeing hundreds of boaters, swimmers, sunbathers and families out enjoying the luscious natural beauty. Their neighbor (who's name I do not recall) assisted us in getting the motor going on the cruiser and passersby stopped to chat with us. The people of Norway are warm and very conversational. Oslo offered city fun with a casual vibe. We walked just about all of Oslo and learned each neighborhood. Public transportation is very timely and aside from a few rainy days getting around on foot is a breeze and quite fun. The Westby daughters also gave us some advice on things to see including Aker Brygge and the sculpture park at Vigeland. We were also able to spend several hours visiting the Nobel Peace Prize Museum where in a strange coincidence they had an exhibit on Malala Yousafzai and my son had a summer report on her book "I Am Malala". It was wonderful for him to bridge the written work with the visuals in the exhibit. We made (in hindsight) a mistake in taking on side trips to Copenhagen and Stockholm when I think we could have stayed every second in Norway. We did not make it to some of the more Northern areas and I refused the Oslo Fjord Cruise because my heart was set on Geirangerfjord and Bergen. But most of all that house and the Westby family truly made our first visit to Norway one to remember and we will be back.