When Peter Santangelo became president and owner of his parents' nursery business at age 17, he carried on his parents' horticultural expertise and the Santangelo entrepreneurial spirit to make his business a success. He traveled all over Florida to cull his botanical inventory, and over the years he expanded the nursery and even started doing his own farming.
A winner of the 2011 and 2012 Best of Suncoast silver award, Canterbury Farms employs botany buffs who tend to 43 acres of Florida-friendly woodland plants that include palms, shrubs, and tropical herbage. The lush, green landscape is punctuated by colorful exotic plants as well as by Amigo, a cartoonish fiberglass statue that once perched on the roof of Peter’s parents' nursery decades ago. Pensive green thumbs may solicit shrub-related style from Canterbury Farms experts by bringing in photos of their outdoor or indoor spaces, and free estimates are also available for landscaping projects.
The roar of falling pins, the sight of fist-bumping teammates, the aroma of bubbling pizzas. These stimuli greet the senses of visitors crossing the threshold into Mariner Bowling Lanes. A haven for family fun, the alley has all the necessary equipment to provide hours of bonding, including soda and snacks, arcade games, and bowling leagues.
Magnolia Terrace Tea Room and Bistro immerses visitors in a palette of pastel hues, from its light yellow walls to chairs tied with gauzy pink bows. On tables swathed in floral cloths, tiered platters display traditional English tea sandwiches and snacks, fruit- and cheese-laden salads, and fresh-baked scones. An assortment of rich herbal teas steep in nearby pots, and bakers supplement savory dishes with strawberries dipped in chocolate, cupcakes, and other sweets.
Carolina Factory Outlet's interior stylists sup up homes with an array of factory-direct furniture pieces. Step into a 16,000-square-foot warehouse and sift through scores of decorative duds, such as Westbrook four-piece bedroom sets, with dresser, mirror, nightstand, and headboard made from oak-tree skin ($299+). Carolina Factory Outlet stocks more than 150 pairs of table lamps ($99–$199) that light up rooms more effectively than a Chia Head filled with sparklers. Three-packs of entertainment tables ($317/set) liven up soirees or solo TV-dinner interludes, and rocker recliners ($277) usher in quiet time spent lounging in sequined Lycra suits.
Hudson Tire’s talented technicians restore motor mojo and smooth handling to road-weary wagons. After dispatching dingy, contaminant-ridden oil, techs infuse vehicular veins with up to five quarts of a fresh synthetic oil blend. Aging oil filters are similarly swapped for new, clog-free oil sieves. A tire rotation moves talkative rear tires to the front of the class before computerized wheel balance will correct uneven individual tires that can cause vibrations at certain speeds and during the rinse cycle. Before reuniting man and Miata, vehicles are probed with a 14-point inspection to ensure the roadworthiness of brakes, shocks, lights, and more.
Towering oak trees cast their shade across the 3,600 acres of plantation land that surround Florida Estates Winery, but the precious grapes can be found hanging from trellised vines that sprout in their own sunnier patches of soil. Refreshing and approachable, the wine selection includes the soft-bodied Plantation Red as well as the Plantation Blush, which balances its notes of ripe fruit with a gripping core of zesty acidity.
Scuba West's expert instructors impart the skills and certification needed for unsupervised journeys into the deep blue. Participants can earn their PADI open-water certifications at Scuba West’s full training facility, which features classrooms, an on-site heated pool, an open-water training site, and a retail area with equipment that can be rented or purchased. Students can further their water skills in courses or even get their PADI open-water certification, which enables them to explore most bodies of water without a manatee chaperone.